With direct peace talks between Israel and the West Bank Palestinians scheduled to start up on Thursday, some powers in the region are making sure their voices are heard loud and clear. And what they have to say isn’t pretty.
With only 2 days to go before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to sit down to talk peace with West Bank Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington, Iran-backed Hamas let its feelings about the negotiations be known, when Hamas gunmen murdered four Israelis, including a pregnant woman, in a terrorist attack near the town of Kiryat Arba.
The Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, issued an official congratulation to the gunmen, saying the attack was “a normal reaction.”
The attack was clearly staged to sabotage the direct talks, which have been delayed by various acts of violence and continuing distrust for over 20 months. One of the major concerns delaying a final settlement has been the question of how well can Palestinian security forces fullfill their commitment to control the extremists’ violence, prevent terrorist attacks, and deliver a measure of security to the Israelis when left to govern the area.
While it did succeed in raising the level of caution going into the talks, this murderous attempt did fail in its ultimate goal – derailing the talks completely. According to Israeli Embassy spokesman Jonathan Peled,
It [the attack] impacts, but it shouldn’t derail the talks that are coming to fruition this week. This terror act is a clear sign of the imperative need for us to ensure that if Israel’s security needs are not addressed, it’s going to be very, very difficult to begin making concessions in the West Bank.
The timing of this is deliberate to try and derail the Palestinians and all those who seek peace in the region from coming and sitting down at the table with Israel.
I’m really glad that the talks will go on as scheduled. Israel has never been a country that bows down to terrorists and extremists, and it shouldn’t start now, and neither should the West Bank Palestinian leadership. It does make you wonder though.
Let’s not forget that the Hamas charter clearly states that
The land of Palestine has been an Islamic waqf (religious endowment) throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or a part of it or abandon it or a part of it…
Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.
So it makes me wonder:
What is the future likely to bring, with a terrorist group that is religiously(!) opposed to any negotiations of the possibility of peace, ruling over a million of the Palestinians?
And what kind of negotiation or peace settlement can there be, when part of the leadership is open to it, and part of the leadership prepared to kill(!) to stop any chance for peace?
Does make me think the three-state solution may be the only option after all. But Hamas (and its backer Iran) will make sure even that will be over many dead bodies.
Weigh in: What do you think? Does this latest attack change how you think about this upcoming round of peace negotiations? And how serious a blow is the presence of Hamas to the possibility of peace?
“Let’s not forget that the Hamas charter clearly states that….”
Let’s not forget what right wing settlers and their Israeli politician sponsors have CLEARLY STATED AND DONE in the past few years.
“What is the future likely to bring, with a terrorist group that is religiously(!) opposed to any negotiations of the possibility of peace, ruling over a million of the Palestinians?”
Does that include the Israeli party of Avidgor Lieberman and his favorite Rabbi who said that all Palestinians must be exterminated ?
“three state-solution” as sponsored by Jenna Mittleman….
No where in that you will see the words “removal of all settlements” on Palestinian lands. Wonder why ?
To answer your very good first question –
First, I’m not sure whether you are aware, but Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beyteinu party is actually a very secular party. In fact, they as a party, and the majority of their constituents, are often rather anti-religious. You may be confused between them and some of the more minor Israeli religious parties.
Second, being a political party in a parliamentary democracy, they and their positions only have power to the extent that people agree with their ideas. They are politicians, and like all politicians, will take the positions and say the things that will gain them power (remind you of anything back home?). If a given position does not work for the people anymore, they will change, or they will lose power. That’s how it works in a democracy, remember? People make the choices, and elect those leaders who match those choices. Not the other way around, where a party promotes what it likes, and ends up in power for a good long time, their people be damned. I realize that in the Middle East, it’s easy to forget, but that is how it works in the free countries.
To answer your second question –
Funny, but as I recall, there were *no* words of any kind in my proposal regarding what the final settlement should look like.
I did not say anything about settlement removal; nor did I say anything about Palestinian security forces, or Jerusalem, or anything else.
Do you know why?
That is because I believe in negotiations as a very powerful thing.
And the secret to negotiations is that you cannot go into them have pre-judged the outcome.
Not only is that arrogant, but it also paints the negotiations broker as hopelessly biased, and is likely to lead to a stall in those very same negotiations.
I believe it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who ultimately need to live with their accepted solution. And so I respect them enough as grown adults to believe that they can sit down, and *negotiate*, and come to a resolution that actually works for them.
How is saying “you go negotiate, but you know this here is Palestinian land, right?” helping anyone?
It is called a negotiation, and that means they will negotiate a specific solution that works for them. Not the solution that satisfies you, or me, or our conception of where “Israeli land” and “Palestinian land” begins and ends, or what is good for each party. When they elect one of us universal-dictator-for-life, then we can do that – until such time, we have to trust these people to negotiate and solve their problems for themselves, the way they see fit. They are the ones living with the consequences, after all.
However, taking a small aside for a moment – and understanding that everything is up for a negotiation – why can no Jews live in an eventual Palestine? There are Arabs living in Israel, after all. And Jews living in America. Why is the eventual Palestine just assumed to definitely be “Jew-free” and ban all Jews? Is it not conceivable that in a final negotiation, some may choose to stay, and live in Palestine?
For that matter, why do you assume that whatever land happens to be on the other side of a random cease-fire line from 1949 is in some grand, universal way “Palestinian land”? Had the troops stopped 2 miles to the east or west, would that have made that land somehow mistically, universally “Palestinian”? And not to be negotiated away under any circumstances, for any price? Funny, there are some Palestinian groups that do think that way. Just not ones I would particularly trust in a negotiation.
In response to your Avigdor Liberman Post:
Your statement that i pointed to was:
“What is the future likely to bring, with a terrorist group that is religiously(!) opposed to any negotiations of the possibility of peace, ruling over a million of the Palestinians?”
In return i pointed to Avigdor Lieberman, as u are well aware of similar statements by him. Also the “rabbi” piece was of the Shas Rabbi whose party is part of the Govt. that called for the extermination of all Palestinians.
Kind a’ like the same statements and words you are complaining about. I was looking for a balance in your quotes, but then I do have to read the name of the blog to correct myself.
Regarding Lieberman being a secularist. I do realize that secularist on your mind has an entirely different meaning.
Would u consider an American politician a secularist if he stated that all Jewish and Moslem people in America (not Christians) would have to take a “loyalty oath”.
In response to your answer to my second question:
Firstly u state it should all be negotiated. Fine. Then could u tell me why does not Israel negotiate with Hamas. Why all those preconditions ? Abbas and the PLO had to recognize Israel before the US and Israel would sit down with him Not a precondition ? More on this later.
Secondly your three state solution was an endorsement of an opinion piece. That very piece pointed to an economic three solution. It states:
“Once detached from Gaza, the West Bank leadership probably could force Israel to dismantle roadblocks and evacuate settlements.”
It is not me presuming anything. Rather pointing to your own endorsement (not by the LA Times) of the “three state” by the which is nothing more Netenyahus “peace plan” which is nothing more than Bantustans.
Funny, but sad. Many of us who follow the I-P conflict are well aware of the lingo.
Thirdly your quote: “Had the troops stopped 2 miles to the east or west, would that have made that land somehow mistically, universally “Palestinian”? And not to be negotiated away under any circumstances, for any price? Funny, there are some Palestinian groups that do think that way. Just not ones I would particularly trust in a negotiation.”
Funny u consider this a precondition. Then when Abbas was asked to recognize Israel, can u tell me which Israel ? Can u show me the map.
If it is not a precondition why go into a tizzy when Hamas brings out a map of Palestine where there is no Israel ? After all every thing is to be negotiated. Right ?
There are Israeli groups who’ve made a life time of “they want to destroy Israel” just to avoid any negotiations. And now u are saying they are all wrong ?
Fourthly your quote:”However, taking a small aside for a moment – and understanding that everything is up for a negotiation – why can no Jews live in an eventual Palestine? There are Arabs living in Israel, after all. And Jews living in America. Why is the eventual Palestine just assumed to definitely be “Jew-free” and ban all Jews? Is it not conceivable that in a final negotiation, some may choose to stay, and live in Palestine? ”
Can u point out where i said any Palestine state should be Jewish free. You are very concerned about my “assumptions” but aren’t u now making assumptions.
I totally agree. Israel/Palestine as envisioned by the world community was Jews and Palestinians living together. So if there was a new Palestine then Jews should be allowed to emigrate to Palestine and Palestinians should be allowed to emigrate to Israel. I’m sure u will agree with that statement.
Those Jews who want to live under the rules of a Palestinian state, just as Palestinian Christians and Moslems already will have to should be allowed. Just as Jews who live in America under the rules of America. I’m sure u will agree with me that America cannot allow Israeli controlled settlements on its land.
After all just like Jews and Moslems in America, I’m sure u would agree that you would not consider yourself an equal citizen if only say Bahai’s or Christians were allowed to emigrate to America.
Finally your quote “I realize that in the Middle East, it’s easy to forget, but that is how it works in the free countries.”
I’m sure people in the Middle East love freedom. But look at the history of those pointing fingers at them. Holding hands with the Saudis, sucking up to the butcher of Egypt and looking the other way while he butchers his people, torturing by pulling out the nails (the real nails, not fake nails) of thousands of Iranians. Nice to preach freedom by America and Israel while we’ve been busy propping up almost every dictator in the Middle East
And to cap it all off u even have a new article telling us how wonderful Mubarak of Egypt is !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a Happy Holiday.
The terrifying thing about anti-Israel propagandists is that they really don’t any difference between Hamas murdering a pregnant woman days ago and Israeli “settlers” living on territory that Palestinians want to be “Jew-free”. Murder and house-building are completely equivalent to them; moreover, murder perpetrated by Hamas is somehow excused in their eyes and is never, never discussed as anything negative.
“anti-Israel” propagandists. Now comes the smearing. Not a single line to challenge any statement, but straight to the smearing. Whats new.
“Jew free”, Where ? How ? All that was a proposed was Jews and Palestinians be allowed to emigrate as they please. And that is “Jew free” ?
“murder perpetrated by Hamas” – which statement condoned that ? Oh wait never mind. He’s not going to respond. Just smear and walk away. Can’t answer the inconvenient questions.
Thank you for your comment and concern. I try to make it my policy to respond to any comments, as long as they raise actual points or questions, and do not descend into random baiting, or offensive namecalling.
I appreciate your dedication to this debate (though I somewhat question how worthwhile it actually is – do you think there is anything at all that I could say that would have any chance of changing your mind? And if not – why ask?)
However, taking your comments at face value nevertheless:
I am well aware of *statements* by Avigdor Lieberman, and many other leaders of many other parties, on all sorts of matters. Certainly including their rather strong, and well-known, scepticism on the viability and advisability of the peace process.
However, I will remind you that I do not complain about words. I complain merely when those words are accompanied by ongoing, vicious violence, indiscriminately directed at civilian populations.
Like I’ve said before – Lieberman stands for whatever he wants to stand for. It’s a free country (or at least in Israel, it is). And he only has power to the extent that people support him, and vote for him. If tomorrow they choose to not vote for him (and I’m sure you know that Israeli politics is extremely variable from year to year), he will lose that power, and will simply quietly go home with his ideas, or present new ones, if they would keep him in power. That’s it. I do not begrudge politicians any statements or positions (though I may not vote for them) – since people have the ability to choose to support or not support those politicians. Just as they do in America (and I assure you, there are plenty of politicians whose positions I do not approve of right here in the States. Could you think of any?)
However, Lieberman is not the single-handed, nearly-all-powerful, all-controlling ruler of his country. Yes, I fully realize that Hamas was actually elected, rather overwhelmingly, but its people in 2006. Though I do wonder when the next elections might be…
We have politicians here in the States who say all sorts of things. Even Presidents. Even Presidents’ spiritual advisors. But I have not seen the entire United States of America judged as a nation in the world based on the specific statements of one Pastor Jeremiah Wright. Or any of the many other pastors that various US Presidents have had lunch, breakfast, or Sundar prayer meetings with. That would be a ludicrous measure by which to judge a nation.
However, to judge Gaza by the stated aims (think of a party platform, if you will) of the single body that is entirely in control of the place, and is not likely to be going anywhere anytime soon, and that has acted on those impulses by committing murder time and time again – that seems like a very different ballgame to me.
Are you really sure that you do not see the different between the stated positions of a single political party in a democracy, and the actual official actions of the single player in government? You seem brighter than that to me.
And on the subject of only needing to read the name of the blog to see how balanced it is: may I humbly point out that if you truly feel that we are such an extremely biased publications, and I, specifically, am such an incredibly biased author – I promise not to force you to read such biased drivel in future. Really. There is certainly lots of stuff I do not read on the internet.
Having said that, yes, in this conflict, I generally come down on the side of Israel being more generally in the right. That is actually not a knee-jerk position, but one I have thought through very carefully, and have very specific reasons for, so I do not make any apologies for my position. No, Israel is not always 100% right – as no one ever is – and I do not support all of their government policies – as I do not in this country, either. And no, the Palestinians, and the Arab countries generally, are not always 100% wrong – as no one ever is. However, in this case, having considered that Israel has historically always taken the opportunity to make peace, and has always sought that peace, and has not gone out to attempt to slaughter thousands of innocent civilians; and given that the Palestinians have generally rejected any attempt at reconciliation, and have generally pursued abhorrent, murderous, bloody means of expressing themselves against civilian victims – I’m pretty sure I know which side of that arrangement I come out on. You may be surprised to hear that well over half (by some counts, as many as 2/3) of Americans share my opinion. I suppose you might think that we are all biased extremists. In which case, assuming that it is important to you to live among people who agree with your positions, there is a multitude of other countries you could explore. I’m sure they would welcome you with open arms. (On second thought, if you’re an American, perhaps they won’t).
Have a wonderful holiday!
Whose side of this conflict u come down on is your prerogative, just as my views are mine. And yes I am glad to live in a free country that does not threatens to sue me or imprison me if I boycott something or hold a different point of view. Compare that to the Middle East where there are no such countries.
Your unwillingness to answer even a question of what is the map of Israel speaks volumes. Also is almost funny for a site that goes into overdrive to point out every actual and perceived anti-semitic statement now trying to cover up for one of the most vile racists in Israel today.
The “secular” Mr. Liberman is the Foreign minister of Israel. A post so important that it is comical to see him being portrayed as just another politician. And of course no response to questions about his “secular” credentials.
By your own standards weak standards for Mr Liberman one will wonder why all the protests against Lewis Farakkan and anyone like say Ellison who associated with him. Am i to believe now that it was all phony hysteria ?
Statements like “Why cannot jews live anywhere in Palestine” and “Israel has historically always taken the opportunity to make peace” and “Palestinians have generally rejected any attempt at reconcilliation” are entirely based on your biases. You won’t even tell me what the map of Israel is and why Israel cannot negotiate with Hamas when u stated there should be no pre-conditions.
When there was discrimination against Jews in this country would your statements to your Jewish peers have been “it is important to you live among people who agree with your positions, there is a multitude of other countries you could explore” ? Also gets me to wonder if u support such statements being made to Jewish people in say Morocco or Iran.
I do understand that the fact that almost 1/3 of Americans do not buy the constant stream of propaganda troubles you. The years of endless propaganda are now being countered by independent blogs and news sites and independent blogger’s like me who counter such “facts”.
1/3 of Americans would approx be around 130 million and I think that is a good start for my point of view (much to the consternation of Fox News). And with the changing demographics of America (more Muslims, Hindus, Hispanics) I believe time and the truth is on our side.
There are plenty of people who believe plenty of things including the 70% of this country who were all gung ho about going into Iraq to teach Saddam a get those WMDS that Israel and America and Britain where so sure that existed. How did that turn out ?