Palestine – Pantomime and Paradox…writes David Singer

June 14, 2013 by David Singer
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Any cynicism or disbelief that Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu was seriously interested in trying to reach a two-state solution with the PLO was dispelled this week with the revelation that Netanyahu last year offered to free 50 long term Palestinian security prisoners sentenced before the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993 – in a vain bid to entice Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table.

Abbas’s three year refusal to resume negotiations without a prior commitment from Netanyahu to freeze all building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank continues to cause US Secretary of State John Kerry growing frustration – after investing considerable time and putting the prestige of his office on the line attempting to get Abbas to backdown.

Netanyahu has always made it clear that he will not commit to any such building freeze – for good reason.

A unilateral decison by Netanyahu to do exactly that for 10 months in November 2009 proved to be a farce. Abbas turned up shortly before the expiry date of the freeze and then had the temerity to request an extension.

Once bitten – twice shy.

In the bizarre bazaar that comprises these negotiations – refusing to agree to a building freeze as a condition for resuming talks apparently does not preclude Netanyahu offering an inducement to get Abbas back to the table by offering to release 50 long term prisoners with blood on their hands.

The Times of Israel report on the proposed prisoner release and the bargaining that surrounded the offer was particularly informative:

“Prior to the offer of 50 releases, Israel had offered to release smaller numbers of the pre-Oslo veterans. Israel’s initial proposal was to free only five or six prisoners, but that number went up over time. A later proposal was to free 25 prisoners in several phases, again conditioned on direct Netanyahu-Abbas meetings, with five more prisoners to go free after each such meeting

Abbas, for his part, did agree to meet with Netanyahu — but only if all pre-Oslo prisoners were released, and not as part of resumed peace talks. Rather, Abbas was willing to meet Netanyahu, after all the prisoners were freed, in order to make clear to Netanyahu, face-to-face, his terms for restarting the negotiations.”

Once again Abbas apparently overreached and ended up a loser yet again – as has occurred on so many occasions with the Palestinian Arab leadership since the Mandate for Palestine was established by the League of Nations in 1922.

After this latest rebuff one can be excused for being slightly bemused when learning that Netanyahu told his cabinet last Sunday that he and Secretary of State Kerry would:

“try to make progress to find the opening for negotiations with the Palestinians, with the goal of reaching an agreement”

However Netanyahu also made it clear that he would not deviate from the position he has consistently adopted since 2009:

“This agreement will be based on a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state, and on firm security arrangements based on the IDF (Israeli military)”

It must be crystal clear that the PLO can never agree to these conditions – which would undermine  the PLO Charter claiming all of former Palestine to be an indivisible part of the Arab homeland.

So too – Israel can never accept the two-state solution propounded by the PLO – a Jew-free Arab state in all the territory lost by Jordan to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War – having its capital in Jerusalem –  its current  500000 Jewish population having to abandon their homes – whilst millions of Palestinian Arabs are allowed to emigrate to Israel.

The two-state solution to be artificially created for the first time ever in history – as contemplated by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap – is dead in the water.

Is the international community so blind in failing to recognise the impossibility of creating a second Arab state in former Palestine – in addition to Jordan – given the totally divergent and unyielding positions that both Israel and the PLO hold?

How many more years must these “negotiations” continue before the penny drops?

More winks, nods, understandings and attempted back room deals leading nowhere seem to be the order of the day – whilst a vicious and unrelenting effort to undermine and delegitimise Israel continues with ever increasing ferocity and intensity.

Airlines, hotels and restaurants will be the only sure winners as the “negotiators” and their entourages flit from capital to capital in the never ending quest to never achieve their very different conceptions of the “two state solution”.

Waiting in the wings is another ” two-state solution” – based on history, geography and demography – that offers hope for the resolution of the long running Jewish-Arab conflict. It involves  allocating sovereignty in the West Bank between Israel and Jordan – the two successor states to the Mandate for Palestine.

Not one Arab or Jew need move from his existing home under this scenario.

Jordan must first replace the PLO as Israel’s negotiating partner before this solution can be addressed and progressed.

International diplomatic pressure coupled with financial, military and humanitarian aid to Jordan – rather than the PLO – would materially help in achieving this solution.

Meantime – the paradox of “negotiations with the PLO that are not negotiations” will continue going south until their inevitable denouement.

What cost to human suffering – both Jewish and Arab – will this pantomime continue to wreak until it finally becomes political history?

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network

Comments

14 Responses to “Palestine – Pantomime and Paradox…writes David Singer”
  1. Ben David says:

    David/Paul,

    History will judge the decisions of the Palestinians in 1948 1967 2000 2001 and 2008. However, whether it judges them harshly or not, this has no relevance at all to the question of whether settlements should have expanded or not. This question is a completely separate issue and it is illogical to see them as connected, or as Paul says “The Arabs must learn that there is a price to pay for aggression and arrogance”. There is simply no principle of int law that gives Isr the right to expand because of any rejection by the Pals. It can of course under Int law place its military in the WB to defend itself but any “aggression and arrogance” of the Pals does not give Isr the right to annex and expand its territory as it has been doing since 1967.

    • David says:

      Ben David

      The right of Jews to live in the West Bank to reconstitute the Jewish National Home there is enshrined in article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.

      Jews actually were doing just that until they were driven out in the 1948 War and not allowed to return by the occupying power – Jordan.

      Their return after the 1967 War was undertaken in accord with the above mentioned law.

      The last internationally recognized sovereign occupier was Great Britain.

      The West Bank is currently no mans land under no one’s sovereignty.

      Israel’s is entitled to claim sovereignty in all or part of the West Bank pursuant to the rights vested in the Jewish people under the Mandate and the UN Charter – once the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap have been finally declared dead and buried.

  2. Otto Waldmann says:

    No.1 – can we all agree that what ANYBODY notices at the palestinian camp BUT totally missed out by the Israelis on the ground is just a joke, a fairly good one, if the better ones are sold out.

    Nr. 2 – Can we all agree that the palestinian politcal entity is a badly fragmented one to the point of not being a reliable structure. Economically palestinians do not exist, yet look at today’s Gaza ! Perhaps the most rapid development site in the world. Where is the mezuma coming from !! I’ll tell you where from:
    From the smartest scheme in milking almost an entire Globe. They are successful and dynamic parasites and why would they change it !!!
    Same goes for the palestinian political class. Proffessional international victims and eac one of them leads a life of luxury and fun. Fun at the credulous imbeciles who finance them and also fun at watching even we, little Yids, commenting, arguing, debating moral points. The populace inside the criminal enclaves they call now palestine have been conditioned to perpetuate thi system for they too are parasites, no work BY CHOICE, no schooling BY CHOICE, yet heaps on the out on the streets brandishing all kind of symbolic drek pretending that they have a CAUSE !!
    Who cares what a Ben E says, harking back constantly to bloody UN resos, 1948, 1947 then back to 1922 as if anyone on the streets of Ramala gives a drek about it.
    Abbas and his happy parasites have no intention to enter any negotiations because that would mean certain possible conditions that would change their comfy status, just in case the flow of funds may be conditioned by some degree of observance of what would be “agreed” upon at the end of the negotiations non-event.
    Meanwhile Paul and Gill I enjoy tremendously your stuff, emes !! David you ar safely up there too as the chief alfa stirrer.

    otto in Bucharest ( still )

  3. Paul Winter says:

    I concur with Gil’s points and would just add points.

    It was just announced that no new building has been allowed in the eastern part of Israel’s capital; that is, in effect, a building freeze. Netanyahu is a hopeless dill to offer the Arabs anything. If they want to get anything they need to talk and make compromises. The present situation where they demand and back those demands with violence must be stopped by a new Israeli leadership that is prepared to get off its knees.

    In returning Gaza to the then PA, and in returning Sinai Israel has made more than enough territorial compromises that the hypocritical iinternational community called for. If the Arabs won’t talk, Israel must take.

    Negotiations have failed and Israel must take unilateral action. The Israel/Jordan takeover of the talks again pushed by David is a non starter. Abdullah is in no position to digress from the uncompromising mohammedan line.

    Israel must make plans to take control of Judea and Samaria as proposed by Ephraim Karsh. The Arabs can have self-government if 7 cities where 95% of them live. And they should not be subsidised; they must no longer get water and electricity for free. Israel must also return to Gaza and clean it out before it becomes self-governing again.

    Israel must make sure that the Arabs in their cities behave or conditions are created where emigratrion is the only option. Finally Israel must make plans to denaturalise any citizen who is an enemy, Jew or Arab. Israel cannot tolerate a situation where Jews are unsafe on the roads, where Bedouin steal land and where, as Feiglin just revealed, the 20% of Israeli Arabs commit 70% of the murders and murder attempts. The Arabs must shape up or ship out, from Israel as well as from other Western countries,including Australia.

  4. Gil Solomon says:

    I find the naivete of Netanyahu quite astonishing.
    The revelation that last year he offered the release of 50 prisoners with Jewish blood on their hands just to get Abbas back to the negotiating table, is to me an obscenity.

    When will Israeli leadership ever learn that Abbas is not interested in peace talks? He wants the lot. It is this arab’s intention, with the aid of many in the international arena to bleed Israel to death, concession by concession, till there is nothing else left to concede.

    Jews have to get it into their heads that Arab leaders never want this issue to be resolved peacefully, as peace would divert attention to the miserable lives, bloodshed and death facing those residing in the Arab world on a daily basis. The only terms acceptable to the Arab world for the end of this conflict is the annihilation of Israel. David, in your own words, there is a “vicious and unrelenting effort to undermine and delegitimize Israel with ever increasing ferocity.” And Netanyahu foolishly thinks that by releasing 50 prisoners he can get Abbas back to the negotiating table! To negotiate what? Any hope of negotiations have long ago past their use by date.

    If Arabs were serious, as a first step they would have to cease the indoctrination of school children in hate. By their inaction on this front they have ensured the next generation of Jew haters are alive and well, ready to fulfil their role, in whatever capacity this takes.

    To divert briefly in order to dismiss Ben E’s typical leftist mantra of settlement expansion being an obstacle to peace. Unfortunately, countless numbers like you Ben seem to not want to let facts get in the way of your opinions. Not that it will make any difference, as you will never acknowledge the truth, but I’ll say it anyway. There is NO settlement expansion. Any building activity is in respect to building a new house or an extension to an existing one, but all within the boundaries of the existing settlement. Case closed.

    Israel has only one option to end this festering boil and that is to walk away from this so called “peace process”, to take unilateral action on borders and hand the welfare of those people outside those borders to the UNHCR where it always belonged.

    Should there be another war, Israel must not allow the next one to end prematurely or inconclusively like all others in the past because of world pressure. This one has to end with the unconditional surrender of the enemy on Israel’s terms, just as any normal country would do.

    David, I hate to say this but your “other two state solution” is, from where I sit, a legalistic fantsyland scenario that will never see the light of day. Arab countries do not want a peaceful solution, not now, not ever. It’s time the Jewish world faced reality.

    • david says:

      Gil – The two state solution – Israel and Jordan – was not a legal fantasy land between 1948-1967.

      It existed and indeed the West Bank was unified with Transjordan in 1950 to form a new territorial entity renamed Jordan.

      Had Jordan not entered the Six Day War – ignoring Israel’s plea that it keep out of that War – then one could fairly speculate that it would have been the two-state solution in place today – with not one Jew living there..

      Jordan and Israel have a signed peace treaty – something that has not happened with the PLO and Israel since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.

      If there is to be any hope of progress towards peacefully ending the Jewish-Arab conflict – then a return to the position existing at 5 June 1967 – in so far as is now possible taking into account the present facts on the ground – seems to me to be the only way forward.

      Such a solution involves drawing the existing border between Israel and Jordan.

      Is that such an impossible solution to achieve?

      Alternatively – what is your solution?

      • Gil Solomon says:

        Hi David,

        I thought I made my solution abundantly clear in the 3rd and 2nd last paragraphs of my above reply.

        The possibilities of what could have happenned over 40 years ago in respect to a peaceful solution have long gone.

        In my opinion, if the Jordanian monarch tried to do anything constructive towards a genuine peace, I’m sure he would be assassinated, just as was Anwar Sadat. Even more so now that the Muslim Brotherhood controls Egypt and Hamas controls Gaza. Fatah, which was supposed to be “moderate” has been radicalised to the point that I see no difference between that organisation and Hamas. They are one and the same by every standard that counts.

        In the next round of hostilities which will happen as sure as night follows day, the gloves should come off, the IAF unleashed with no targets off limits, no more warnings and of course the absurdity of supplying the Palestinians with electricity from the Israeli grid especially during a war has to cease. If the Palestinians want to continue their bomb making activities, then they should by all means be allowed to do so in tunnels and by candlelight.

        • david says:

          Gil

          So you have no proposal to try to progress a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

          You may well be right about Abdullah being bumped off.

          However Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel is in its 19th year and Abdullah has survived. He would be an Arab hero if he was able to secure the return of the major part of the West Bank into Arab hands once again.

          The Hashemites have for 90 years preserved for the Arabs 77% of the land promised to the Jews for their national home. No mean feat that few people realise.

          In contrast the PLO and Hamas have been complete disasters.bringing nothing but suffering to the constituencies they supposedly represent.

          There seems to me no other path to tread now.

          Whether it succeeds depends on Israel and Jordan.

          • Gil Solomon says:

            David,

            You say in talking about Abdullah that “He would be an Arab hero if he was able to secure the return of the major part of the West Bank into Arab hands once again”.

            The Arab world does not want the major part of the West Bank.
            They want everything including every centimetre of Israel.

            They make ludicrous claims to ensure this conflict goes on and on. They realise that for Israel to accept their terms would mean commiting suicide. So they continue with the propaganda in order that their people can be fixated on something to hate and that something is Israel. Peace would divert attention to the sorry lives of those living under Arab regimes and the Arab world will therefore not even tolerate this thought.

            The only peace they seek with Israel is the peace of the grave.
            You make the claim that I have no proposal for a peaceful resolution of this conflict.

            In my mind there is no strictly “peaceful” resolution, just resolution which I’ve already outlined above and will repeat for your benefit.
            “Israel has only one option to end this festering boil and that is to walk away from this so called ‘peace process’ and to take unilateral action on borders”

            Your legal argument against this would no doubt be that the world would not recognise any unilateral move by Israel. Well the world does not recognise anything Israel does, so what’s new?

            David, you have to forget about the political landscape of decades ago.
            The Muslim Brotherhood are now in charge in Egypt.
            Iran dictates what goes on in Gaza and the West Bank.
            Iran dictates what Hesbollah does or does not do in Lebanon.

            The possibilities of what could have been negotiated decades ago has long gone.
            Israel is not conducting negotiations with Australia or NZ.
            It is trying to conductuct negotiations with people whose signature is not worth the paper it is written on. The “Palestinians” will not honour anything they sign and have no problem tearing up any agreement, knowing full well that the Western world will not hold them to account for any breaches they may make.

  5. ben E says:

    Mr Singer seems to forget that the talks are supposed to be about the division of Palestine and expanding settlements pre-empts the outcome of the talks byoccupying as much as Israel can. Freeing 50 (offering to free that is) is littlemore than a cosmetic gesture in the face of the reality of ever expanding settlements, barrier, exclusive roads, military and agricultural settlements. Israel is in military occupation of the West bank and can arrest at will.

    • Rami says:

      Well Ben, if thats the case, I would think that the Palestinians would rush to achieve an agreement ASAP. Their never ending political games is just working in Israels favour according to,your words. An agreement would stop any further Israeli “expansion”, but they don’t seem to want an agreement with Israel. They said no in 1948 1967 2000 2001 and 2008.

    • Paul Winter says:

      Yes, Ben E, the talks were supposed to be about the borders of Judea, Samaria and Gaza as called for by UNSC 242. Israel offerred to return everything for peace in ’67 only to be met by the 3 NOs of Khartoum: no negotiations, no recognition, no peace. After ’93, Israel made plans for two states for two people. The Arab enemy has not – repeat NOT – ratified any agreement signed by Arafat. Oslo 2, the Road Map etc therefore no more binding on Israel that UNGA 181, which the Arabs rejected.

      Repeating false Arab propaganda about continuing Israeli settlement expansion does not excuse the Arabs from their 242 obligations to negotiate. And since they have failed to honour anything they signed – showing the worth of their signature – Israel should take unilateral action on territory it gained in a defensive war. The Arabs must learn that there is a price to pay for aggression and arrogance.

      • ben eleijah says:

        Hello Mr Winter

        Another piece of Zionist hasbara fantasy. The 1967 Israeli cabinet offer was for peace with Egypt and Syria along established borders and meeting Israel’s “security needs. This is another specious untruth peddled along side Barak’s “generous offer” to justify continued occupation.

    • david says:

      benE

      Rami has referred to IsraeI’s offers in 2001 and 2008 – when it was prepared to cede its claims to more than 90% of the West Bank .

      The PLO want 100% – not one sq metre less and all the Jews kicked out.

      Perhaps you might like to answer this question – why are 500000 Jews living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem an obstacle to peace when 1.4 million Moslems living in Israel are not?

      Your remark that the offer to release fifty long term convicted Jewish murderers as a “cosmetic gesture” as a condition of getting the “President of Palestine” to just come and sit down at a table and talk peace is offensive and shameful.

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