Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The NYTimes Does the Kerry Peace Process

Seems Saeb Erekat tried to work his "Natufian" magic on the Americans:-

Martin S. Indyk, trekked with a Palestinian leader to ancient ruins in Jericho

and explained:

“I meant to take Martin to ruins to show him nothing lasts and life goes on,” Mr. Erekat explained. “These were great empires — they’re gone. I know that the Israeli occupation will go. I know.”

But this may be relevant:

Mr. Erekat repeating certain mantras...“I don’t walk around with a neon sign saying ‘stupid’ on my head.”

In any case, whether or not Indyk was convinced that "Palestinians" predated Jews in this land, here is how the New York Times apportions blame for the failure of this latest round of peace negotiations:

The talks nonetheless collapsed two days later. Mr. Kerry has his share of the blame, at times leaving Israeli and Palestinian leaders with disparate understandings that would lead to later blowups and, toward the end, pushing beyond the White House’s comfort zone to create a new layer of internal negotiations that slowed events down.

But Mr. Netanyahu refused to risk alienating Israel’s right wing by restraining construction in West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements; about 13,000 new units moved forward during the talks. Mr. Abbas, looking for a dignified exit from the public stage and furious over the settlement building, never responded to the ideas Mr. Kerry’s team had formulated for a framework to guide further negotiations.

The correspondents did add this:

Tzipi Livni, acknowledged that continued settlement construction was a problem, but said the Palestinians knew it was coming. Twice in April, she pointed out, even as details of new deals were being completed, the Palestinians surprised Israel and Washingtonfirst by joining 15 international conventions to protest Israel’s failure to release a promised fourth batch of prisoners, and last week by reconciling with Hamas.

and further detailed this:

The Palestinians were outraged not only at the scale [of construction plans announced in early November], but that Israelis were suggesting they had agreed to trade construction for prisoners, when in fact the “price” was a pledge not to join international agencies and conventions for the duration of the talks.


I am fairly sure that that was the exact trade-off: the Pals. get prisoners and we continue building. After all, "settlements" are not restricted in any of the Oslo Accords, being reserved for final-status issues.

Then, there's this:

President Obama offered the framework outlines [in March] — though no document was ever shared — and Mr. Abbas simply did not respond.
“He had shut down,” said one of several American officials interviewed. “As he comes to the end of his life and certainly the end of his term in office, he’s fed up.”

As for Kerry, he

...had allowed the Palestinians to believe Arab-Israeli citizens would be among those freed without securing such a commitment from Mr. Netanyahu. The Israelis said no one would be let go unless talks were extended.  Mr. Kerry dangled the prospect of freeing Jonathan J. Pollard, the American convicted of spying for Israel, despite White House reservations.

And now this:

Secretary of State John Kerry issued an unusual statement Monday evening expressing his support for Israel after a controversy erupted over a politically charged phrase he used in a private appearance [that] Israel risked becoming an “apartheid state,”...

In the statement that Mr. Kerry issued Monday, which bore the title “On Support for Israel,” he said that...he did not believe that Israel was an “apartheid state” or intended to become one. Mr. Kerry did not dispute he had used the phrase but said it had led to a “misimpression” about his views.

“If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution,” he said.

“In the long term, a unitary, binational state cannot be the democratic Jewish state that Israel deserves or the prosperous state with full rights that the Palestinian people deserve,” he added.

J Street, a pro-peace Jewish organization, defended Mr. Kerry...But Aaron David Miller, a former American peace negotiator now at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said that Mr. Kerry’s comment had drawn him into an “unproductive fight with a close ally.”

But he did cover his tuches:

While Justice Minister Livni, former Prime Ministers Barak and Ohlmert have all invoked the specter of apartheid to underscore the dangers of a unitary state for the future, it is a word best left out of the debate here at home.

P.S.  Here's today's Haaretz's editorial:

Apartheid in planning rights
Israel’s discriminatory planning policy in the West Bank violates its most basic obligations.

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