Some views of Kerry’s announcement (‘By George he did it!’ ‘Sovereignty over slivers’)

Here are a number of statements and views of the latest peace initiative in the Middle East that the United States announced yesterday with some fanfare.

First, excerpts of John Kerry’s announcement yesterday in Jordan:

On behalf of President Obama, I am pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. This is a significant and welcome step forward.

The agreement is still in the process of being formalized, so we are absolutely not going to talk about any of the elements now. ..

If everything goes as expected, Saeb Erekat and Tzipi Livni, Minister Livni, and Isaac Molho will be joining me in Washington to begin initial talks within the next week or so, and a further announcement will be made by all of us at that time…

[N]o one believes that the longstanding differences between the parties can be resolved overnight or just wiped away.We know that the challenges require some very tough choices in the days ahead. Today, however, I am hopeful. I’m hopeful because of the courageous leadership shown by President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu. Both of them have chosen to make difficult choices here, and both of them were instrumental in pushing in this direction. We wouldn’t be standing here tonight if they hadn’t made the choices.

I’m most hopeful because of the positive steps that Israelis themselves and Palestinians are taking on the ground and the promise that those steps represent about the possibilities of the future. The path to resolution of this longstanding conflict in this critical corner of the world, that path is not about fate. It’s about choices, choices that people can make. And this is not up to chance. It’s up to the Israeli people and the Palestinian people and no one else.

So knowing that the road ahead will be difficult and the challenges that the parties face are daunting, we will call on everybody to act in the best of faith and push forward. The representatives of two proud people today have decided that the difficult road ahead is worth traveling and that the daunting challenges that we face are worth tackling. So they have courageously recognized that in order for Israelis and Palestinians to live together side by side in peace and security, they must begin by sitting at the table together in direct talks.

I thank those leaders. I thank all those who have worked so hard, my team especially, who have been part of this. And I look forward to seeing my friends from this region in Washington next week or very soon thereafter. Thank you very much.

The New York Times story on the announcement, “Kerry Achieves Deal to Revive Mideast Talks,” offers wan hope. It quotes just one Palestinian on the matter, and five or six Israelis and American Israel lobbyists, including the inevitable Dennis Ross: 

There was no indication that either the Israelis or the Palestinians had compromised on core issues — such as ending Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank or conceding the right of return of Palestinian refugees — that have sunk previous negotiations. Rather, this round of diplomacy was focused on getting distrusting adversaries to sit in the same room.

…“He’s gotten them into the pool,” said David Makovsky, director of a project on the peace process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, referring to Mr. Kerry. “Right now they’re in the very shallow end, and they’re going to have to swim in deeper waters — and they can be treacherous. It’s still an achievement that he got them into the pool.”..

[Kerry] apparently won concessions on the new framework, which American, Israeli and Palestinian officials said would allow Washington to declare the 1967 prewar borders as the basis for the talks — along with the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state — but allow Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas to distance themselves from those terms…

Dennis B. Ross, a former American peace envoy to the Middle East, said that … having the talks start at the negotiator-level and remaining mum about the terms were smart steps by Mr. Kerry.

“You don’t need another situation where you bring the leaders together and build the expectations that you’re going to have a dramatic breakthrough,” Mr. Ross said.

Israeli politician/centrist/Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Facebook:

It was months of skepticism and cynicism. But now, four years of political deadlock are about to end. On occasion I also know that the negotiations will be complicated and not easy. But I believe with all my heart it’s the right thing for our future, for our security, economy and values of Israel. Get an estimate for the Prime Minister who took decisions that represent the interests of Israel. And the determination of the self-evident of the American Secretary of State led to the ג׳ון coming, and we, in the negotiations. In that room we will maintain the national and the security interests of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state — to that I vouch. [translation by both Bing and the NYT]

Martin Indyk, former US diplomat and Israel lobbyist, on Twitter:

So Kerry did it. By George he did it! Negotiations will resume forthwith. Now watch the naysayers declare there’ll never be an agreement.

To which our publisher, Scott Roth, responded:

how dense is Martin Indyk?

Diana Buttu, the lawyer and negotiator, speaking at the behest of Institute for Middle East Understanding:

“While there may be jubilation in some quarters over the resumption of talks, it is important to keep in mind that the goal is not to resume an already flawed and failed process but to liberate Palestine and Palestinians from decades of Israeli rule. That goal – freedom for Palestinians – will not be the result of these negotiations.”

MJ Rosenberg is, to say the least, unimpressed:

This agreement is utterly bogus. Israel agrees to allow the US to state that negotiations will be based on ’67 borders. That is precisely what U.S. policy has been since 1967 when UN Resolution 242 (promoted by the US) speaks of peace in exchange for “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
 
This is a typical Israeli trick. Make the US accept as a concession something that is a requirement under international law. On top of that, Israel does not accept that condition but simply allows us to.
 
Palestinians, on the other hand, have to agree to accept that the US favors recognizing Israel “as a Jewish state,” an entirely new requirement made up by the Likud and AIPAC.
 
The good news is that no one but Israel and its cutouts here — the lobby, J Street, etc — are celebrating this “breakthrough.”
 
It is obvious to everyone (1) that this is just a typical U.S-Israel production that was rammed down the PA’s throats and (2) that it has no significance whatsoever.

Dimi Reider of +972 also isn’t buying. He posted this image on Facebook.

Dimi Reider
Dimi Reider’s take

Nadia Hijab of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian policy network, also at the behest of IMEU, says this is a false undertaking, to grant Palestinians “little sovereignty over slivers of Palestine”:

There is now a strong Palestinian civil society call, backed by a powerful international solidarity movement, for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. They are likely to stand against a sell-out gilded in promises of economic prosperity.

J Street is over the moon, calls it a “breakthrough” and denounces “vocal minorities” who are naysayers:

Secretary of State John Kerry’s tireless efforts to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have created an historic opportunity which must not be missed.

…Secretary Kerry deserves the recognition of the entire world for his determination and creativity in achieving this breakthrough. We are confident he will remain fully engaged as the parties get down to negotiating. We thank President Obama for making this issue a top foreign policy priority of his second term.

We call on Congress and American Jews to get fully behind this peace effort to give the parties the support they need to make the tough decisions necessary to resolve their conflict.

…Such an agreement is also the only way to secure Israel’s future as both a democracy and a Jewish homeland and would provide Palestinians with a vehicle in which to fulfill their self-determination and national aspirations.

…Vocal minorities on both sides can be expected to oppose the negotiations going forward but must not be allowed to frustrate the desire of clear majorities of Israelis and Palestinians for a two-state solution to end this conflict.

Netanyahu’s twitter feed has nothing to say about the news. There is this from three days ago:

For more updates, statements and interviews follow PM Netanyahu’s spokespeople

But neither spokesperson, Ofir Gendelman or Mark Regev, has anything to say either.

Mouin Rabbani of the Institute for Palestine Studies says that Abbas will have only a negligible minority of Palestinians behind him; he calls for a wholesale repudiation of Oslo and ejection of the U.S. from the driver’s seat (again thanks to IMEU):

“In considering how to approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Washington has chosen to yet again re-invent the square wheel of Oslo. For good measure, it has removed yet a few more spokes, and according to the available reports the terms proposed by the Obama administration not only incorporate the Bush administration’s radical pro-Israeli tilt but take it significantly further.

“It is time to recognise that under such conditions, renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are not an opportunity for a peaceful settlement of the conflict but a permanent threat for such a settlement. Indeed, only a wholesale repudiation of Oslo, and of American hegemony over Middle East diplomacy, can succesfully salvage the prospects for Middle East peace.

“In agreeing to resume negotiations under these conditions, Mahmoud Abbas has the support of not only a negligible minority of his people, but – more dangerously for him – only a minority of his own leadership. His decision to capitulate to Obama yet again may yet prove very costly to his leadership.”

Mitchell Plitnick at Lobelog also says this is warmed-over Oslo and he has doubts about the U.S. ability to apply pressure to make that work, especially given Palestinian mistrust of Oslo and the growing importance of the refugee issue:

Any realistic agreement is probably going to involve Israel keeping the three large settlement blocs, which is going to be a tough sell to the Palestinians because of the way the Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim settlements slice apart the West Bank. Conversely, any conceivable agreement would also mean sharing Jerusalem and Israel taking at least token responsibility for the creation and long-term plight of Palestinian refugees, which might be an even tougher sell….

Although it has become much more difficult as the Israeli public and body politic has drifted well to the right from where it was in the mid-1990s, there is reason to believe that enough Israelis would support an Oslo deal to make it work. It is not at all clear that the same can be said about the Palestinians.

The mistrust and frustration that resulted from Oslo has certainly hardened the resolve of many Palestinians. And while Palestinian refugees have always been central to the national narrative, few would argue that the refugees have a more prominent place in Palestinian negotiations today than they did twenty years ago. It will be much harder to sell an agreement now where Israel takes in zero or close to zero refugees than it was when the Oslo Accords were agreed upon. It will also be much harder to sell a demilitarized state to Palestinians weary and wary from years of violence from Israel.

…Kerry was able to push Netanyahu a little more than usual this week, but that was nothing compared to what will be required to get Netanyahu to agree to sharing Jerusalem, provide some concession on the refugee issue and limit his own draconian security demands, which currently include a very large Israeli presence remaining in the Jordan Valley. There is no indication that the Obama administration is prepared to apply that kind of pressure or weather the ensuing political firestorm such a move would bring.

Steve Walt at Foreign Policy says the Israelis have been forced by international isolation to do something, but nothing will likely come of it:

The only serious question to ask is whether this new round of talks has a better chance [than Oslo] of succeeding. And let’s be clear: Success means actually reaching a final status agreement that establishes a viable state for the Palestinian people. Kicking the can down the road for another few years is not success. Endless discussions that collapse in mutual recriminations, while the bulldozers continue to demolish Palestinian homes and construction crews erect more condos and apartments for Israelis in the occupied territories, are not success either. And neither is another demonstration of American fecklessness, naivete, and diplomatic incompetence….

So what are the grounds for optimism? Well, it is possible that Netanyahu & Co. are aware of broader global trends that are working against them. … By reminding even hard-line Israelis that the occupation is eating away at their international acceptance, such events give even the current government some reason to think differently… 

It is also possible that Obama will show more spine than he did during his first term and that he’ll get sufficient cover from groups like J Street so that he can pursue a more effective approach. That approach is going to require a combination of bribes and pressure:

My forecast: a lot of talk, but ultimately no action. The Palestinians have nothing left to give up (save for symbolic concessions over the so-called “right to return”), and I can’t see Netanyahu offering them a deal that comes even close to a viable state. And while Kerry’s tenacity is admirable, I’ve yet to see any sign of a genuinely different U.S. approach. Remember: Assorted U.S. diplomats have spent thousands of hours going back and forth with both sides over the years and have ended up with bupkis. So I think we’ll see more talks, along with more settlement building, and ultimately no agreement. And then Obama and Kerry will be gone, and another “opportunity” for peace — if it even is one — will have been lost.

I take no pleasure in this gloomy appraisal, and I will be genuinely delighted to be proved wrong here. I’m prepared to eat my words, but alas, I fear I won’t have to.

Yousef Munayyer at the Jerusalem Fund, before the announcement, wanted to have faith in the process, but addressed the ability of the lobby to short-circuit any pressure on Netanyahu. 

The incentives, for all parties, are structured toward having talks for the sake of having talks and not for them to succeed.

The reason for this problem is simple. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians believe that the United States will exert the necessary pressure on Israel during negotiations to get them to agree to a just peace…
If Kerry wants to succeed, triumph over cynicism and start talks aimed at more than just talking, he can only do so by shaking things up dramatically and sending the parties, specifically Israel, a message that will leave them uncomfortable and force them to recalculate their policies. Coddling has long since proven a failure.

Of course to actually press Israel, Kerry, Obama and their allies must be prepared to deal with the domestic political backlash. With Egypt and Syria erupting and devolving, pro-Israel voices will be even quicker to assert that this is not the time for any U.S. pressure on Israel.

So then here is the true test of John Kerry’s commitment. It is not something that can be measured in trips taken to the region, miles traveled or meetings held. Rather, it can only be through the willingness to take a political risk at a time when it is most inconvenient to do so.

Short of this, Israeli colonization of the West Bank will continue unabated and the peace can will be kicked down the road for the next White House occupant to deal with.

Benjamin Netanyahu, who knows this all too well, sleeps comfortably because of it.

It’s time he got a rude awakening.

Three days ago at a press conference in Amman with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, who has played a lead role in this effort, Kerry indicated the lineaments of the new understanding in the Arab Peace Initiative that is over 10 years old and is based on the ’67 borders, and in economic collaboration efforts– to normalize relations between Israelis and Palestinians without ending the occupation. 

And the Arab Peace Initiative, which [Jordanian] King Abdullah put forward a number of years ago, I have said before, was a very important departure point and one which never received the full attention and focus that it should have.

I’m glad that it is today because it promises to open up significant potential for normalized relations, for the potential for trade and growth in historic and very important ways. And it promises Israel – Israel needs to look hard at this initiative, which promises Israel peace with 22 Arab nations and 35 Muslim nations, a total of 57 nations that are standing and waiting for the possibility of making peace with Israel.

Their willingness that they brought to Washington in April was very significant, because at that time they not only restated the commitment to a two-state solution, the only solution that is real, but they also included the potential of land swaps, as a mechanism for achieving that solution. And that was another historic moment and historic departure by the Arab community.

Here’s his statement about folks investing in the peace process, — which Nadia Hijab specifically faulted, above:

What we have designed together with major business leaders and particularly the leadership of a number of consultants of major international consultant firms who have now compiled about eight years of man-hours through two months of work, and they have done an analysis of the economic challenges of the Palestinian territories, looking at the sectors of the economy – tourism, manufacturing, infrastructure, energy, water, and so forth. And the analysis has been made with a view to trying to figure out: How do we have a transformative initiative that actually impacts the lives of Palestinians in a way that they will feel quickly, not rhetorical, but real, on-the-ground steps?

They have now laid out a set of projects, and we are working with Israel and with the Palestinians together in order to identify projects that could rapidly be invested in, rapidly be approved, that will have a direct impact on unemployment. Our hope is that, over the span of about three years, you could actually reduce the unemployment rate from 21 percent to 8 percent, that you could double the GDP of all of the Palestinian territory. And this initiative is not just for the West Bank; it’s also for Gaza. And our hope is – in the days ahead, our hope is to be able to have specific announcements about those projects and about these initiatives in order for people to see concrete, tangible ways in which their lives could change and in which a peace process could, in fact, attract investment and have a way of having an impact on life in Jordan and Israel as well.

And while declining to talk about political discussions, Kerry addressed the “security track.”

On the security track, everybody knows that one of the greatest challenges to peace has always been the perception in Israel of the threat to Israel, and Israel’s security is paramount. It’s paramount to Israelis, obviously. It’s existential to any leader of Israel and to the Israeli people. But it’s also important to America, which supports Israel, and important to the allies and friends of Israel. And it is important, in fact, to the region – important to Jordan, important to the Palestinians – that there be security for the region.

One of the things that is mentioned prominently in the Arab Peace Initiative is a regional security concept. The Arab community is prepared to commit to a regional security framework, which has yet to be defined. So security is a very important component of any peace process. You must provide for the security of the Palestinians, the security of the Jordanians, the security of the region, and particularly, obviously, Israel will not sign a peace agreement if it does not feel that it will be secure.

The Wall Street Journal report on terms of negotiations two days ago indicates that talks could not begin till the Israelis gave in on the “principle” of ’67 with landswaps, and on a settlement freeze:

The senior Palestinian official said the leaders would ask Mr. Kerry for three guarantees: a pledge that Israel will freeze building in Jewish settlements while peace talks are continuing; a pledge that Israel’s 1967 borders will form the basis of negotiations, with agreed-upon land swaps to allow for Israel to retain its largest settlement blocs as part of Israel in a final peace deal; and a time limit on negotiations to prevent Israel from dragging them out indefinitely as Palestinians have accused Israel of doing in the past.

Mr. Kerry has given Mr. Abbas oral guarantees that address the Palestinian concerns, but the Palestinian leadership wants Mr. Kerry to make those guarantees publicly or in writing, according to Amin Maqbul, a Fatah Party leader. ..

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment on the deliberations in Ramallah or on Mr. Kerry’s proposal to restart peace talks. The spokesman, Mark Regev, did say that Israel hasn’t accepted the principle of 1967 borders with land swaps as a basis for negotiations. That principle has formed the backbone of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process since the early 1990s.

The Israeli refusal to accept it appeared to have been a main factor in the Palestinians’ decision. As the Palestinian leadership was meeting on Thursday afternoon, reports circulated that Mr. Netanyahu had agreed to accept 1967 borders with swaps as a basis to start talks. Mr. Netanyahu’s office issued a prompt denial.

The Onion, from three days ago: “Man Who Couldn’t Defeat George W. Bush Attempting To Resolve Israel-Palestine Conflict”:

Arriving in the Middle East today for top-level negotiations with Palestinian and Israeli officials, a man who could not even devise a way to beat George W. Bush in a head-to-head vote will spend the next several days attempting to bring a peaceful resolution to the most intractable global conflict of the modern era, State Department sources confirmed.

 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 42 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Donald says:

    “We know that the challenges require some very tough choices in the days ahead. ”

    Traditional code words meaning “Palestinians will be pressured to give up basic rights, while Israelis may not be able to steal as much as they had hoped.”

    • There is a distnction between theft of ownership of land in Palestine, and a change of borders merely because Jews are living on given pieces of land.

      • American says:

        James Canning says:
        July 20, 2013 at 1:49 pm

        There is a distnction between theft of ownership of land in Palestine, and a change of borders merely because Jews are living on given pieces of land.>>>>

        Did you mean to end that statement with a question mark?

      • Donald says:

        What’s your point? Mine is that two sides will be treated as having equal power when they don’t. In another context, it’s the same as when American politicians say that everyone will need to make sacrifices, as though the 1 percent and the poor are in the same boat.

        • bilal a says:

          Why can’t Palestine accept Israeli investments in infrastructure , ie settlements, but insist they make 1/2 of the housing stock available to non-Jews,eg Arab Christians, Muslims and African migrants.

          I cant see how Likud can publicly oppose a call for desegregation of Israeli housing , Jim Crow prohibitions against Christians, natives, and immigrants.

          Of course they would have to be supplied at discounted prices, and Israeli Jews could be offered Palistinian citizenship (dual).

          The one state solution can begin on the West Bank.

        • @Donald – - Your question was directed to me? My point is that any problems of “theft” of land within Palestine, by Jews, is a different problem from a change of borders caused by the presence of Jews (in which case the land would be in Israel, subject to Israeli laws).

  2. HarryLaw says:

    Sounds like Abbas has gone into the pool over his neck, any negotiations without a complete settlement freeze agreed by Natenyahu would be a betrayal of the Palestinian position, and would make the collective Palestinian leadership a bunch of liars. I assume any agreement to talk must also mean no application for the UN agencies in September and obviously no formal application to join the ICC, if these talks go ahead the Israelis would have won hands down, while continuing ethnic cleansing and settlement expansion, Abbas cannot agree to this humiliation.

    • Hostage says:

      only a wholesale repudiation of Oslo, and of American hegemony over Middle East diplomacy, can succesfully salvage the prospects for Middle East peace.

      I agree, but the status quo has already shifted decidedly in that direction: 1) the Palestinians have a recognized right to pursue unilateral actions like any other state through all the treaty bodies and courts if talks don’t produce results in their favor; 2) the EU has already adopted sanctions against the Zionist colonial project, including cut-off of loans from the European Investment Bank; 3) the President of the ICC just appointed a three Judge panel to review the request for an investigation into the Israeli attack on the Gaza Aid Flotilla. Kerry and Netanyahu can’t predict or control the course of events or the outcome of all these other new factors and players.

  3. American says:

    ”I’m most hopeful because of the positive steps that Israelis themselves and Palestinians are taking on the ground and the promise that those steps represent about the possibilities of the future’>>>>>

    Blah, blah, blah..blah blah.

    From May of last year- 2012, Israel has approved more than 6,600 new housing units for Jewish settlers and demolished 535 Palestinian structures according to the EU Observer.

    You either stop the Israeli cult at Palestine or they will have to be stopped later in another ME ‘re-alignment.
    Doesn’t matter who Israel temporarily aligns with—whether it’s Saudi on Iran and Syria —or who aligns with Israel, such as Egyptian governments on the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
    The scorpion on the frog’s back will always be a scorpion—-because of it’s nature it will always sting it’s carrier —- in the ME scenario the scorpion sting means Israel and the frog will then fight each other to keep from drowing.

  4. amigo says:

    “If everything goes as expected, Saeb Erekat and Tzipi Livni, Minister Livni, and Isaac Molho will be joining me in Washington “Kerry.

    Fair and balanced, eh.

    One Palestinian and three from the opposite side.

  5. amigo says:

    “Today, however, I am hopeful. I’m hopeful because of the courageous leadership shown by President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu.”Kerry

    Since when do Palestinians get to make choices and is continuing to build illegal settlements Kerry,s idea of courageous leadership.

  6. amigo says:

    “In that room we will maintain the national and the security interests of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state”livni (of cast lead fame)

    Take your pick tipsy, you can,t have both.

  7. amigo says:

    Forget all this 2SS nonsense.It is dead.Here,s why.

    ” State comptroller’s report || Planning and construction in West Bank is a free-for-all, state comptroller finds
    Prevailing atmosphere in Israeli settlements in the West Bank is ‘everyone does as he sees fit’; Civil Administration fears settlers’ reactions if it enforces law.”

    link to haaretz.com

  8. Citizen says:

    So, Obama/Kerry handlers have deduced that maybe, given the fact the old Middle East stability regarding Israel anchored in the US annual bribe to Egypt, is no longer certain given the twisting & turning of the aging Arab Spring, and given also the increasing power of BDS that can’t be bribed like Hagel and Power have been bribed, that it’s time to take full advantage of the on-going hardship of Palestinian daily life, and try seriously to bribe the Palestinians with some immediate tangible upgrades in standard of living, paid for, no doubt, directly and indirectly, by US taxpayers.

  9. media portray that neither israel nor palestine want talks, truth is of course that israel doesnt want talks.

  10. I think the Palestinians do well to continue to seek to protect their own state of West Bank and Gaza, during the years of illegal colony-building by Israel.

  11. gingershot says:

    As Mandella said, ‘Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts’ and ‘There is no peace without equality’

    Abbas doesn’t have a legal mandate to represent the Palestinians, Palestinians have to be free from occupation before any peace talks to be discussed or negotiated.

    Abbas is Israel’s battered wife

  12. I wholly agree with Israel in this. The 1967 borders should not be the basis of negotiations. Of course they intend that the disputed territory of Istratine should be resolved, with no preconditions. This is the only way of achieving the only reasonable and workable solution of a 50% division of land and resources.

    • @southern – - You want Israel to steal half of the 22% of Palestine remaining for the Palestinians?

    • talknic says:

      southernobserver “The 1967 borders should not be the basis of negotiations.

      There are no ’67 orders. They were ceasefire lines. The only proclaimed and Internationally recognized borders are those Israel asked to be and was recognized by in 1948 link to trumanlibrary.org

      Of course they intend that the disputed territory.. “

      Show me an official UN document using the phrase ‘disputed territory’. The phrase used is “occupied territories” or “territories occupied”

      ” Istratine “ Childish nonsense.

      “… should be resolved, with no preconditions. “

      Problem … Israel keeps expanding the ILLEGAL settlements & claiming Jerusalem is Israeli (read UNSC res 476). Demanding Palestine recognize “THE STATE OF ISRAEL” as the Jewish state, (no other country in the world has ever recognized Israel as anything but the State of Israel), demanding Palestine be dis-armed (all states have an equal right to self defense) ….. all of the above ARE preconditions.

      “This is the only way of achieving the only reasonable and workable solution of a 50% division of land and resources”

      Uh? 56% of Palestine was granted the Jewish State in 1947.

      Nothing you’ve said makes any sense what so ever.

      • mea culpa. I was trying to say that Israel inside the 1967 cease fire lines is also disputed, if we follow the Israeli terminology. The only sort of just resolution now would be to negotiate based on the original 1947 proposal.

        I blame the failed humor on incipient alzheimers. Oh well. All the same, seriously, it isn’t clear to me how even a successful, genuine partition would deliver a functional Palestine? The ever expanding illegal occupation of protoPalestine of course ensures that it has not even that remove chance of becoming successful.

        Surely the best chance that Israel will negotiate seriously is to withdraw all recognition?

      • @Talknic – - EU is going with the 1967 borders. So is the PA. And the Arab League.

  13. gingershot says:

    Whatever secret pressure was applied to Abbas – what it should have been would be

    1- Support of Palestinian statehood at the UN Sec Council this coming session – withdrawal of the Sec Council veto of Palestinian statehood
    2- Kerry’s the offer of full US support at the ICC in Sept if Israel plays it’s usual game 3- explicit withdrawal of UN veto support of Israeli crimes

    It’s time Palestine started getting something in return – anything else is PATHETIC

    What a ridiculous game if KERRY alone gives Palestinians support for negotiating on 1967 borders while Netanyahu is simultaneously and publically REFUSING such guarantees. It’s worse than ridiculous, it’s pathetic

  14. dbroncos says:

    If Kerry’s economic bonanza plans for Palestine are approved, American tax payers can look forward to providing yet another ME nation with an “aid package” to make the world safe for the Jewish State. Israel, Egypt and Jordan collectively receive close to $6 b per year. If we include the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (indirectly linked to our support for Israel) the costs of supporting ethno-nationalism in Israel exceeds $2 trillion – and the band plays on…

  15. piotr says:

    Dennis B. Ross, a former American peace envoy to the Middle East, said that … having the talks start at the negotiator-level and remaining mum about the terms were smart steps by Mr. Kerry.

    “You don’t need another situation where you bring the leaders together and build the expectations that you’re going to have a dramatic breakthrough,” Mr. Ross said.

    It reminds me an ancient joke from “Mad Magazine”. There was a page of cartoons “It is fishy when…” of which I remember one: “It is fishy when the barber refuses to show the mirror after the haircut.”

    • Do we know Dennis Ross’ own position on Israel/Palestine? Does he want Isrel to keep most of the illegal colonies permanently?

      • seanmcbride says:

        James Canning,

        Do we know Dennis Ross’ own position on Israel/Palestine? Does he want Isrel to keep most of the illegal colonies permanently?

        At every step of the way, Dennis Ross has obstructed and sabotaged the peace process and the two-state solution under the guise of promoting them — and he has intimate ties to neoconservatives (see the membership list of UANI (United Against Nuclear Iran)).

        It should be obvious by now what his real agenda is. He is a “liberal Zionist” — a neoconservative who is pretending to be a liberal. It’s quite a racket — and it has been highly successful. Ross and his associates have greatly facilitated the entire Greater Israel project. That is how the game is being played.

        • @seanmcbride – - I think it is clear Dennis Ross helped to wreck Obama’s effort to stop the growth of the illegal colonies in the West Bank. (Hillary Clinton also had made an effort in that direction, but Ross blocked it.)

          I don’t know what Ross’s own wishes are, regarding how many of the illegal colonies he hopes Israel can keep permanently.

        • seanmcbride says:

          James Canning,

          I don’t know what Ross’s own wishes are, regarding how many of the illegal colonies he hopes Israel can keep permanently.

          Perusing Ross’s social network provides come clues about his real agenda (as opposed to his misleading pro-peace patter) — particularly notice the neoconservative connections:

          # Dennis Ross: some key topics

          1. Aaron David Miller
          2. ADL (Anti-Defamation League)
          3. Afghanistan War
          4. Afpak War
          5. AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)
          6. Bilderberg Group
          7. BPC (Bipartisan Policy Center)
          8. Bush 41 administration
          9. Bush 43 administration
          10. Carter administration
          11. CFR (Council on Foreign Relations)
          12. Clinton administration
          13. Conservative Judaism
          14. Daniel Pipes
          15. David Makovsky
          16. Fouad Ajami
          17. Fox News
          18. Global War on Terror
          19. Haim Saban
          20. Iran sanctions
          21. Iran War
          22. Iraq War
          23. Israel lobby
          24. James Woolsey
          25. Jewish lobby
          26. Jonathan Pollard
          27. JPPI (Jewish People Policy Institute)
          28. Kol Shalom synagogue
          29. Lewis Libby Defense Fund
          30. Martin Indyk
          31. Martin Peretz
          32. Masorti
          33. MERCAZ USA
          34. Michael Makovsky
          35. Michael Rubin
          36. Middle East Forum
          37. Middle East Quarterly
          38. neoconservatives
          39. neoliberals
          40. New Republic
          41. Obama administration
          42. Paul Wolfowitz
          43. PNAC (Project for the New American Century)
          44. Reagan administration
          45. religious Zionism
          46. Robert Satloff
          47. Rupert Murdoch
          48. Thomas Friedman
          49. torture
          50. UANI (United Against Nuclear Iran)
          51. WINEP (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

          Definitions of “patter”:

          1. Talk at length without saying anything significant.

          2. Rapid or smooth-flowing continuous talk, such as that used by a comedian or salesman.

      • piotr says:

        We discussed Ross’s 14 point plan to improve chances for peace, which was an elaboration of an earlier 12 point plant. Pretty pathetic. Of interest is the concept of settlements blocks that “everyone agrees that will belong to Israel after the peace agreement”.

        The problem with Ross and Indyk is not that they are not liberal, but that they debased what “liberal” means.

        • Hostage says:

          Of interest is the concept of settlements blocks that “everyone agrees that will belong to Israel after the peace agreement”.

          That interpretation of the infamous Bush letter was explicitly repudiated by Kerry’s predecessor, Secretary Clinton:

          The Israelis say they received commitments from the previous US administration of President George W. Bush permitting some growth in existing settlements.

          They say the US position was laid out in a 2004 letter from Bush to then Israeli premier Ariel Sharon.

          Clinton rejected that claim, saying any such US stance was informal and “did not become part of the official position of the United States government.”

          She reiterated the US position that Israel is obliged to follow commitments made in a so-called “road map” for peace negotiations with the Palestinians which foresaw a halt to settlement activity.

          “Those obligations are very clear,” Clinton said.

          link to ynetnews.com

        • Hillary Clinton tried to stop the growth of the illegal colonies in the West Bank.

          Dennis Ross helped to wreck her effort. Lester Crown surely played a key role too.

        • piotr says:

          Your interpretations are of legal nature, mine are more sociological. Namely, that in the circle of people that Ross and Indyk communicate with this is indeed the consensus opinion. Like Alan Derschowitz said: “I never met a person who cares about Palestinians.” Some people in that circle are “liberal”, some are not, but all of them reject any ideas from outside their narrow circle.

          Concerning what Secretary Clinton said, there are very good reasons to believe that she was not sincere. Verbal support of the settlement expansion would cause a trouble for USA with various governments so it is avoided. Any action that could halt the settlement expansion would cause a trouble for the Administration with the lobby (that shall remain unnamed), so it is avoided.

        • “Everyone” does NOT agree.

        • @piotr – - Of course you are quite right that there is a bubble of sorts, in which Dennis Ross et al live. “Everyone” agrees Israel will keep the largest illegal colonies of Jews.

          Obama clearly was sincere in wishing to stop growth of the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank. Hillary Clinton may have been sincere. Issue admittedly is not clear. Clinton indicated to the Financial Times the White House failed to back her when she opposed growth of the illegal colonies.

  16. Egbert says:

    Reality: Israel has never had any intent for there to be a 2SS. All it wants is land and resources free of Palestinians. It wants Palestinians either totally out of whatever it regards as Israel, or herded into the smallest, least viable areas of land within it. Settlement growth will not be ceased voluntarily. It is also happy for talks about talks to proceed, or not, indefintely.

    Prediction: The talks about talks will fail and it will be presented as the fault of the Palestinians.

    • Citizen says:

      And Obama will get a plus on his report card for trying really hard, which will greatly help funding for his presidential library and future book and speaking tours.

  17. Citizen says:

    Obama, the ultimate PC guy, knows just whom to publicly honor, whom to not so subtly diss, thinks of his daughters asleep in their room when he thinks of those rockets attacking Israeli kids, and thinks of his hypothetical son dead in his arms when he thinks of the Zimmerman case. And he recalls his white grandmother once went on a small rant in front of him and grand poppa about a black man who harassed her, made her fearful, at a bus stop. (He can thank his maternal white grandparents for funding, supporting, guiding him on path to where he is today–has he ever done this?)

  18. One side cuts the cake, the other side chooses the slice.

    If you were Israel, how would you divide the land knowing that too lopsided a balance would leave you with far less than you might obtain being an honest broker?

    And if you were Palestine?

    If you could pick whether you would be the one to divide or choose, which one would you prefer?

    It would be nice to see a negotiation where Israel was not holding all the aces.