* Barack Obama set to meet Mahmoud Abbas today
â€¢ Israel rejects demand to end settlement construction
Muslim POTUS pushes Islamic agenda:
Obama greets Abbas with a gift: “a toughly-worded, categorical US demand for Israel to stop settlements in Palestinian territories”
There was, of course, no corresponding gift to Netanyahu — only challenges to make various accommodations.
“Obama, Abbas talk peace,” by Farah Stockman for theÂ Boston Globe,Â via JW
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Hillarity Clinton told to get stuffed:
JERUSALEM (AFP) â€“Â IsraelÂ dismissed on Thursday a blunt US call for a halt to all Jewish settlement building on occupied Palestinian land, the latest sign Washington is hardening its tone towards its close ally. More>>
What “settlements?” Judea & Samaria has always been Jewish land. Who are the Palistanian usurpers?
By Ted Belman
Everyone assumes that Israel is committed to freezing settlement activity without preconditions. Not so. Here’s why.
TheÂ RoadmapÂ demanded that Israel “immediately dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001â€³ and provided that “Consistent with theÂ Mitchell Report, GOI freeze all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements)”.
The Mitchell Report was prepared in response to the terror unleashed by Arafat, after he turned down Barak’s genererous offer at Camp David. It’s goal was to make recommendations to end the violence.
It is important to understand the context and the wording of theÂ Mitchell ReportÂ because the settlement freeze demanded by the RoadmapÂ had to be consistent with it.
- RECOMMENDATIONSThe GOI and the PA must act swiftly and decisively to halt the violence. Their immediate objectives then should be to rebuild confidence and resume negotiations.END THE VIOLENCEÂ Â Â Â Â Â
* The GOI and the PA should reaffirm their commitment to existing agreements and undertakings andÂ should immediately implement an unconditional cessation of violence.
* The GOI and PA should immediately resume security cooperation.
Effective bilateral cooperation aimed at preventing violence will encourage theÂ resumption of negotiations… We believe that the security cooperation cannot long be sustained if meaningful negotiations are unreasonably deferred, if security measures “on the ground” are seen as hostile, or if steps are taken that are perceived as provocative or as prejudicing the outcome of negotiations.
By calling for negotiations, it imposed on Israel the duty to make an even better offer. “Meaningful negotiations”? Wasn’t that what just took place, to no avail?
- REBUILD CONFIDENCE* The PA and GOI should work together to establish a meaningful “cooling off period” and implement additional confidence building measures.* The PA and GOI should resume their efforts to identify, condemn and discourage incitement in all its forms.Â Â Â Â Â Â
* The PA should make clear through concrete action to Palestinians and Israelis alike that terrorism is reprehensible and unacceptable, and that the PA will make a 100 percent effort to prevent terrorist operations and to punish perpetrators. This effort should include immediate steps to apprehend and incarcerate terrorists operating within the PA’s jurisdiction.
If you read this carefully you will note that there are stages set out in this order
- 1. End the violence
2. Have a “cooling off” period
3. Confidence building measures.
Furthermore there is an acceptance that ending the violence and incitement is out of the questions and so only “100% efforts”, are demanded.
The confidence building measures required of Israel, included
- * The GOI should freeze all settlement activity, including the “natural growth” of existing settlements. The kind of security cooperation desired by the GOI cannot for long co-exist with settlement activity.* The GOI should give careful consideration to whether settlements which are focal points for substantial friction are valuable bargaining chips for future negotiations or provocations likely to preclude the onset of productive talks.
Clearly this Report accepted the notion that settlement growth is the cause of the violence. But as we know, the goal of the violence (Arab terrorism) is to destroy Israel rather than to only end the settlement activity. This issue was not addressed.
- * The GOI may wish to make it clear to the PA that a future peace would pose no threat to the territorial contiguity of a Palestinian State to be established in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.* The IDF should consider withdrawing to positions held before September 28, 2000 which will reduce the number of friction points and the potential for violent confrontations.
The Report advances the Palestinian desire to be contiguous, as legitimate. Why so? If they want to be contiguous let them offer something in return. This is a matter for negotiations, not fiat.
- RESUME NEGOTIATIONS* We reiterate our belief that a 100 percent effort to stop the violence, an immediate resumption of security cooperation and an exchange of confidence building measures are all important for the resumption of negotiations. Yet none of these steps will long be sustained absent a return to serious negotiations.It is not within our mandate to prescribe the venue, the basis or the agenda of negotiations. However, in order to provide an effective political context for practical cooperation between the parties, negotiations must not be unreasonably deferred andÂ they must, in our view, manifest a spirit of compromise, reconciliation and partnership, notwithstanding the events of the past seven months.
Needless to say, the Arabs have never shown “a spirit of compromise, reconciliation and partnership”. In the absence of same, the Mitchell Report is groundless.
Thus the Mitchell Reports simply puts forward recommendations, predicated on “a spirit of compromise”, to be followed in stages. A freeze of settlement activity is only a recommendated measure and not an order and it is accompanied by other recommendations which have yet to be fulfiulled.Â Since the Arabs did not end the violence and incitement, there is no imperative for Israel to freeze settlement activity.Â Yet the US would like to consider it an imperative unconnected to performance by the Palestinians.
It certainly rewards Arafat for his violence and intransigence by giving him what he could not get in negotiations. In essence, the report demands that Israel give more.
So what must the settlement freeze include to be consistent with the Mitchel Report?
Until now, Israel has refrained from dismantling the unlawful outposts in any serious way as required by the Roadmap. But this week Barak, with the support of Netanyahu, demolished three such outposts.
One wonders if this is being done to show a willingness to honour commitments or whether Israel received a quid pro quo for finally doing what they have been promising to do.
Time will tell whether Israel will follow through on this. I believe that she will, in exchange for permission, tacit or otherwise, to continue building elsewhere. Israel will never stop building in the settlement blocks nor should she.
After Obama met with Netanyahu in the White House recently he said
- Now, Israel is going to have to take some difficult steps as well, and I shared with the Prime Minister the fact that under the roadmap and under Annapolis that there’s a clear understanding that we have to make progress on settlements.Â Settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward.
Long before the Mitchell Report, the US has been against settlements calling them “illegal” or just “obstacles to peace”. The Mitchell Report recommended a freeze of settlement activity as part of a process and not as an absolute.
President Obama has made it an absolute.
But, as the Report sets out, the freeze on settlement activity is only a recommended “confidence building measure” to be preformed as the Arabs preform what is recommended of them
Beyond that, theÂ the Bush letter in “04Â in advance of disengagement provided, inter alia,
- In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.
Israel interprets this as a license to continue building in such population centers and these include Ariel and Maaleh Adumin.
Pres Obama, by demanding a stop to settlement construction, is contravening both of these documents in the name of honouring them.
Totally aside from the legalities, the peace process, of which the recommended freeze is a part, is intended to lead to a peace agreement. But what if such an agreement is not obtainable because the Arabs won’t compromise or if the freeze, if acted upon, will ensure that an agreement won’t be achieved because the Palestinians would have no need to compromise. In both cases, demanding a freeze is counterproductive.
The only way to put pressure on the Palestinians to compromise is to continue building in the settlements. The sooner the Palestinians make a deal the sooner the construction will stop.
In fact a deal could be done this year if they compromised so why waste time and energy on fighting over the freeze? The answer is obvious. The Arabs con’t intend to compromise but want Israel to stop building, period. According to the roadmap, the settlement freeze was not an end in itself as the Arabs demand but a step to an agreement based on compromise and good will.
Even if the Palestinians totally ended incitement and violence, the settlement construction should continue and not just in the major settlement blocks. This alone will ensure that the Palestinians compromise to acheive their state or that the two-state solution will be abandonned for something more attainable but excluding a bi-national state.
Furthermore, if these arguments aren’t enough, the Palestinians, including the Gazans, are divided but must be viewed in totality to judge whether they are living up to the confidence building measures demanded of them.
Under the title,Â Obama-Netanyahu meeting went better than you think,Â Haaretz reported on what Lieberman said.
- “On the Palestinian issue, there is agreement as to the final destination,” Lieberman said. “Everyone wants to see security, economic prosperity, and stability. Perhaps there is a tactical disagreement as to what is the best way to attain these goals. So there is much more in common and much more positive points.Â The meeting was much more positive than what one is led to believe.”Lieberman denied the West Bank settlements obstruct a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Zalman Shoval believesÂ US-Israel ties will stay strong.
Afterall, Israel and the US have always disagreed on the settlement issue and they will continue to disagree.
Yid with Lid:Â Its Different This Time, MUCH DIFFERENT
In her press conference on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary ClintonÂ Â toldÂ journalists that the Obama administration “wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions.”Â Â
On Thursday, President Obama stood with the “Moderate” Terrorist Leader Mahmoud Abbas calling for Israel to stop all settlement building including “Natural Growth.”Â As I have pointed out many times before, both President Bush and Secretary of State Rice have made similar statements over the past eight years. After talking to some of my contacts within Israel and those with intimate knowledge of what is happening within Israel, the reports are not good. This time it is different. More from the Yid…>>