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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

'Palestinians' making sure the 'peace process' stays dead and buried

Back in June, the 'Palestinians' made four demands (really five) that they deemed conditions for the resumption of 'peace negotiations.'
The Palestinian Authority passed on four official demands to the Mideast Quartet for discussion in upcoming meetings, PLO official Saeb Erekat told Saudi newspaper Al-Watan on Friday.


Erekat said the demands included a complete halt to all Israeli settlement activity, 1967 borders as the basis for peace negotiations with mutually agreed land swaps, EU support for reconciliation talks "which will strengthen peace opportunities" and EU support for a Palestinian UN statehood bid in September.

He also wanted EU acknowledgment that a UN statehood bid does not contradict peace negotiations.
Of course, none of the demands made of Israel has ever been fulfilled. But now, with the United States and others trying to push the 'Palestinians' back into 'negotiations,' the 'Palestinians' are raising additional demands to ensure that the 'peace process' remains dead and buried. This is from Haaretz.
The Palestinian Authority is set to demand that the Quartet pressure Israel to release prisoners in fulfillment of a pledge made by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, senior Palestinian sources told Haaretz on Monday.

Among the prisoners The PA wants released are Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Saadat. The former is a member of the Fatah leadership, while Saadat is Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
I discussed the alleged Olmert promise here. You will recall that there was no mention there of which terrorists might be released. For that, the 'Palestinians' are embellishing Olmert's 'promise' a little bit.
The PA's chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said on Monday that during meetings between Olmert and Abbas in Jerusalem in September 2008, as well as a few months later, Olmert pledged to release Palestinian prisoners if a prisoner swap for Shalit was concluded.

Erekat said a specific number of prisoners was not mentioned, nor were specific criteria, but that Olmert had agreed at the time that the number and criteria would be the same as those for prisoners released in exchange for Shalit, "and even better."

Erekat said this was not to be a condition for restarting negotiations, "just as the freezing of construction in the settlements is not a condition." Rather, it was a matter of fulfilling obligations, he said.
In other words, it's a condition.

But, points out Jonathan Tobin, the last thing Abu Mazen wants is for Barghouti to be released. Abu Mazen is throwing out Barghouti's release as a condition he does not believe can ever be met.
But more specifically, Abbas’s demand is patently absurd, and a clear indication he does not want to restart negotiations. Netanyahu has played hard-to-get himself in recent weeks, following the Palestinian attempt to void the Oslo accords at the UN. But Abbas is transparently torpedoing negotiations. He does not want Barghouti released; the suggestion that Barghouti was involved in the Shalit deal was universally seen as an attempt by Hamas to embarrass Abbas.

Abbas’s term in office legally ended quite some time ago. Barghouti’s popularity would easily eclipse that of Abbas, and finally give the Palestinians a reason to evict Arafat’s understudy. Abbas knows that Israel won’t agree to this trade. And that is the danger in opening the door to multiple preconditions: it’s a slippery slope. If the Obama administration supported the settlement freeze as a precondition, why wouldn’t they support Israel using the 1949 armistice lines as a precondition? And why not Barghouti too?

Abbas’s fear is that, just as Netanyahu agreed to the previous settlement freeze, he will agree to another one. So a second precondition had to be added, in the form of using the armistice lines as the basis for negotiations. But then there were murmurs that Netanyahu was willing to accept those too. So a third must be added. Whatever it takes to keep negotiations at bay. Because negotiations are also a slippery slope: what happens if a peace deal is reached? Just think of all the trouble Abbas has had to go through just to void the last one.
But what if Netanyahu were to take the plunge and release Barghouti too as some in Israel have suggested? The 'Palestinians' have their next preconditions all lined up. This is from JPost.
Erekat repeated the charge that Israel was responsible for the current stalemate in the peace process by “preferring settlements over peace.”

Erekat expressed hope the Quartet would endorse the PA position and also blame Israel.

“The moment Israel declares a cessation of settlement construction and agrees to a timeline for withdrawing to the 1967 borders we will go back to the negotiations,” Erekat said.

He said PA officials have been meeting with Quartet representatives on a weekly basis “and they know our position very well.”

The PA is planning to present the Quartet representatives later this week with a “detailed report” about Israel’s settlement activities, he added.
Even if it were true that Israel is to blame (which it is not), what do you think the chances are that Obama would blame Israel like that with a year to go before the US Presidential elections? And just to make it complete, the 'Palestinians' reiterated on Tuesday that they reject any solution that is not based on a 'complete' 'settlement freeze.' We already know that's a non-starter. Even if Netanyahu were to give in and implement another freeze (which I don't believe he has the cabinet votes to do), it would be limited in time and probably not (officially) include Jerusalem.

So what is Abu Mazen trying to accomplish? He is trying to clear the way for his unilateral declaration of independence to gain an endorsement from the United Nations. That's because his goal is not to live in peace with the State of Israel but to destroy it. The good news is that most Israelis now recognize that reality.

What could go wrong?

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At 12:42 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Palestinians are not interested in peace with Israel.

They have come up with so many preconditions as to make the resumption of peace talks literally impossible.

In the highly unlikely event Israel were to agree to all of the current PA demands, the odds are good the Palestinians would come up with new conditions.

Don't look for peace to happen in our lifetime.


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