Random notes from news coverage of the peace talks.
What common mistake did John Kerry make in his note in Netanyahu’s guest book, tweeted by the State Department? Got the year wrong.
And notice the language: “We have a good deal of work to do!” Scott Roth translates: “That’s diplomatic code for ‘F— yourself you petulant arrogant prick.'”
Ira Glunts sent along this amendment:
Speaking today in Jerusalem, Kerry said that both sides are taking courageous steps toward a “framework” agreement that is not even an interim agreement. Kerry boasted that he had a 100 percent voting record for Israel’s security during 29 years in the Senate, then he said he is going to Saudi Arabia to press the Arab Peace Initiative (i.e., pressure on the Palestinians) because of the importance of the conflict to the world.
The stakes here are much bigger than just Israel and Palestine. This is a conflict that is felt around the world. It is a conflict that has implications with every leader I have met anywhere in the world as Secretary of State or a senator. They all ask about the conflict of the Middle East and whether or not it can be resolved.
Too true. But Kerry’s indices of progress in the talks are somewhat vague.
the path is becoming clearer, the puzzle is becoming more defined, and it is becoming much more apparent to everybody what the remaining tough choices are
And under questioning, he said there will be an end to all this.
The answer is yes. I have a deadline in mind.
AFP says the end is April, and it is reporting that the Israelis have openly rejected any plan that would force them to leave the Jordan Valley.
“Security must remain in our hands. Anyone who proposes a solution in the Jordan Valley by deploying an international force, Palestinian police or technological means … does not understand the Middle East,” Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israeli public radio.
Peace Now’s review of the Hebrew media says this is a red herring.
Maariv had a scoop revealing that former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said the Jordan Beqaa Valley has no strategic importance for Israel’s security, a very important statement when the Valley has become a sticking point in negotiations. “I have no problem with the political demand that the valley should be part of the State of Israel,” said Dagan said in a lecture at a Kfar Saba café last week, according to Maariv. “Such a position is permissible. What bothers me is that it’s being depicted as some kind of security problem. There is no Iraqi army, there is no eastern front. There’s peace with Jordan. I don’t like the talk that the valley is essential to Israel’s security.”
Haaretz+ and Maan both share quotes in English from the article.
But The New York Times is echoing the Israeli talking points, describing the Jordan Valley as a strategic corrridor:
As negotiators struggle to make headway in peace talks, they remain at odds over the strategic corridor that runs between the populous heartland of the West Bank and the border with Jordan.
A friend comments:
This is one for the “Times is behind the times” file. This piece calls the Jordan River Valley a “strategic corridor” the same day Ha’aretz runs a piece quoting former Mossad head Meir Dagan saying it has no strategic importance to Israel. Of course, if you read both articles, it is clear the issue is really Israeli domestic politics and the settler tail wagging the Israeli and American dog. Power of the Master Narrative is evident yet again! Wonder if they’re already working on a piece blaming Palestinians for failure of Kerry initiative?
Peace Now’s daily briefing has some other excellent moments:
chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that if Abbas were Mother Teresa it wouldn’t be enough for Israel. He also said he fears for Abbas’ life after reading letters from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman addressed to various European countries demanding the removal of Abbas, who Lieberman deemed a danger to Israel. Ynet reported that while Kerry met with Abbas, about 150 Palestinians demonstrators marched through the streets of downtown Ramallah to protest Kerry’s visit, chanting, “The people want the fall of the framework!…It’s clear, Kerry, we don’t want to see you! The Americans are the enemy of our people!” Yasser Abed Rabbo, Abbas’s deputy in the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the framework plan restricts Palestinian sovereignty on Palestinian land and that “the Palestinian side will not even look at a worthless piece of paper, a framework agreement, which contains general principles for later negotiations, when the two sides have already been negotiating for months and years.”