Sunday, September 6, 2015

Netanyahu, Kerry want to restart PA-Israel talks, but why? - Ted Belman

by Ted Belman

There is only one way any progress can be made, but the other side will never accept it.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently declared he was ready to resume direct talks with the Palestinians.

“I believe there is a chance and I think it is imperative we have not lost sight of that issue,” Kerry said Wednesday in an interview with MSNBC.
What are we to make of this?

There is only one two-state solution envisaged by Kerry and the world, including AIPAC, and that is the one based on ’67 lines plus swaps and the division of Jerusalem. Nothing else in on the table or in the back rooms.

When Netanyahu and his negotiator Silvan Shalom invite talks, they understand exactly what any deal would entail. Therefore they simply focus on our security requirements and on recognition as a Jewish state. They have thrown in the towel on keeping more land and they accept the “land for peace” formula. This is one of the reasons that the prime minister doesn’t embrace the Levy Report.

Netanyahu knows that the right in Israel rejects this formula so he keeps pandering to them in words but not deeds. It is easier for him to capitulate to such a deal when he heads a right wing coalition, as history has shown, so he forms right wing coalitions.

Now that the Iran Deal looks certain, there is no way that the PA will even accept such a deal. Both Iran and the PA are dedicated to replacing all of Israel with Palestine. Surely Kerry knows this, but continues with the process. The one good thing with “playing the game” ie envisioning a peace agreement, is that it forestalls other actions by the PA or the UN.

In the absence of bold moves by Israel to change the situation, it will continue. Israel insists on playing defense. Without an offense she cannot win.

Evelyn Gordon wrote about the stalemate recently and argued that “ Israel should instead seek to negotiate over smaller issues on which agreement is reachable.”.  Netanyahu, Bennett and Lieberman, among others, are similarly on record. So perhaps, is the US.

The one hope, albeit a slim one, is to cut a deal with the next administration for a different deal.  Such a deal would have to be unilaterally imposed as the Muslims/Arabs would never agree to it.  For instance, if the US would agree to getting Jordan and others to absorb 2 million Palestinians now in the territories, Israel could annex all the territories and that would be the end of the “occupation” and the “resistance”.  At the same time the US should get rid of UNRWA.

Where there is life, there is hope.

Ted Belman


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