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Abbas lays out his two-state vision in video address to Israeli security conference

Israel/Palestine
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Mahmoud Abbas talks about his vision of a Palestinian state

The above video shows Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) being interviewed by the Israeli lawyer and former negotiator at the 2000 Camp David summit, Gilead Sher. It was recorded about a month ago and today (Tuesday) Sher will screen it at an important high level Israeli conference on security  in Tel Aviv.  Although, Abbas has made known his desire to meet with Israeli leaders in private and in public forums, the Israeli organizers chose not to invite him to the conference.

Among the participants are:  Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, Defense Minister, Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon, Opposition Leader, Isaac “Buji” Herzog, and head of the Jewish Home Party, Naftali Bennett.  I call them “The Killer B’s,” after members of the feared Miami Dolphins defense of the 80s.  Although Bennett may be dropped from the team shortly, after berating Netanyahu in the press this week.

Abbas is rarely given a platform in the Western media outside of his speeches at the United Nations.  To actually hear and see him speak, in an interview setting, about his vision of a two-state solution is, indeed, an uncommon opportunity. One of the reasons why we probably do not hear from Abbas as much as we did from Yasser Arafat, is that Abbas does not speak publicly in English.

In this interview, Sher’s questions are in English and Abbas responds in Arabic. The President’s answers are subtitled in English and Hebrew.

These are some of the main points Abbas made:

  • Abbas talks about a three year transition period during which NATO forces can ensure that the treaty is being enforced.  He bluntly states, referring to Israeli demands,  “Anyone who suggests 10 or 15 years, does not want to withdraw.”
  • He is willing to meet with Netanyahu and would consider inviting him to speak to the Palestinian legislature.  Abbas said he would consider speaking at the Knesset if invited.
  • The borders of the Palestinian state must be under the control of the Palestinians and not the Israelis.
  • Jerusalem should be an open city with free access to all.  East Jerusalem must be the capital of Palestine.
  • The agreement would include full diplomatic relations for Israel with 57 Arab and Muslim countries.
  • If there is a final status agreement with Israel, he is sure that Fatah and Hamas will sign a unity agreement.  This has already been agreed upon, according to the Palestinian President.

*********************************************

INSS

The 7th Annual Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) Conference: 
Meeting the Future:  New Approaches to Political and Security Challenges
(Watch the conference live — Netanyahu schedule to speak at 2:30 PM EST today)

The interview with President Abbas was shown today at 10:00 AM  (Tuesday) Israeli time as part of a panel called “The Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations:  Opportunity for Change?”  The panel includes Gilead Sher, who is Head of the Center for Applied Negotiations at the INSS, and two pollsters, Dr. Yehuda Ben Meir of the INSS and the only Palestinian or Arab presenter, Dr. Khalil Shikaki.

This is quite the two-day conference.  Both PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Economics Minister Natali Bennet will speak today.  Both have been involved in an acrimonious public verbal battle which may lead Bennet to withdraw his Jewish Home Party from the governing coalition. The possible battle of the speeches could be worth the price of admission.

Other Israeli speakers of note are: Yair Lapid, Amos Yadlin and Shimon Peres.

The American speakers include a very heavy dose of the pro-Israel lobby.  They include: Robert Satloff, Martin Indyk and Dennis Ross (WINEP), Stephen Hadley, David Petraeus, David Ignatius, U.S. Amb. to Israel, Dan Shapiro, Jane Harman and Elliott Abrams.

 *********************************************

 Some Thoughts on Why Mahmoud Abbas Is Important

Despite Mahmoud Abbas’ shortcomings, ignoring his influence on the immediate future of the Palestinian people would be a serious error.

The President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Mahmoud Abbas, is a controversial figure among many Palestinians and Palestinian solidarity activists.  He was elected President in 2005 and has retained that position despite his term of office having expired in 2009.

Abbas and the PA have been dogged by persistent accusations of corruption from the time that Yasser Arafat and the PLO returned to Palestine after the signing of the Oslo Accords.  The great wealth accumulated by Abbas’ two sons have fueled charges of venality and dishonesty against the Palestinian leader.

Abbas has been branded a collaborator with Israel by some, due to the close and subordinate relationship of his governing authority with the Israeli occupiers.  This is particularly an issue in security matters, where Abbas is often seen as using his security forces to suppress legitimate non-violent protest, as well as to crackdown with excessive force against more militant opposition such as the Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

The Palestinian President is viewed by critics as intransigent in regard to Hamas and as being an obstacle to the creation of a unity government between the two major Palestinian factions.  He is also criticized for his role in the armed conflict between his Fatah party and Hamas, after the Hamas electoral victory in 2006 which resulted in the political division of the two Palestinian territories, and the economic and political isolation of Gaza.

Despite these criticisms, President Abbas has managed to maintain his governmental authority under the difficult to impossible conditions of occupation.  The PA has established civilian and police authority in parts of the West Bank which has distanced the Israeli occupation from the day-to-day lives of many Palestinians.  During the time of Abbas’ tenure as President there has been some economic development in the West Bank, especially among the upper middle class in the city of Ramallah.

Abbas has been a moderate in the PLO since the 70s, and in the last two decades has publicly and repeatedly renounced the Palestinian armed struggle.   He presents a calm, reasoned, fatherly voice who appears much more suited to present the Palestinian case for self-determination and redress of grievances to the international community than his predecessor Yasser Arafat. 

For Abbas, as for Arafat, the preferred strategy for achieving a Palestinian state is through negotiations with Israel under the auspices of the United States.  That strategy in the past has been a complete failure.  However, the fact that the U.S. is the world’s sole superpower and possesses the requisite power to force the Israelis into a compromise, makes the negotiation route understandably compelling, despite the U.S. history of reluctance to assert itself as an honest broker.

Like Arafat, Abbas has appealed to the world community to help the Palestinians achieve their political rights.  If the current U.S.- sponsored talks fail, Abbas has said he would appeal to the United Nations, its various agencies and the international courts. He also talks about internationalizing the conflict, advocating the use of multi-state conferences, such as the present conference on Syria in Switzerland.  Abbas also is seeking allies outside of the U.S. sphere.  He has recently spoken about involving Russia as a mediator in the negotiations with the Israelis.

Abbas’ performance in the “peace talks” will  be important.  There still is a possibility, although apparently diminishing, that some type of interim arrangement could result, which would ameliorate the sufferings of the Palestinians in the West Bank.  If the talks collapse, the question of which side is blamed will be at least partially the result of the positions both leaders take.

If the current talks collapse, Abbas leadership in internationalizing the conflict will be crucial to the continuation of the Palestinian struggle.

Ira Glunts
About Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY. His twitter handle is @abushalom

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42 Responses

  1. amigo
    amigo
    January 28, 2014, 11:01 am

    No doubt the Israeli dirty tricks dept is burning midnight oil dreaming up ways to place the blame on the Palestinians.

    They are running out of ideas as the international community has cottoned on to zionist duplicity and deceit .

    Camp David and Taba lies will not pass muster this time around.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      January 28, 2014, 4:03 pm

      Camp David and Taba lies will not pass muster this time around.

      Actually, the Hasbarats usually avoid mentioning Taba altogether. They prefer to push the lie that Arafat walked out of Camp David, gave up the offer of a lifetime and refused talk.

      Taba blows up the myth that the offer was any good or that Arafat was not interested on taliking. In fact, it was Barak who walked out of Taba.

  2. amigo
    amigo
    January 28, 2014, 11:51 am

    It occurred to me that Nuttyahoo could claim he “Has gone further than any Israeli Leader before him”.

    Indeed he has.All the way to the Jordan River.

  3. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    January 28, 2014, 12:17 pm

    Did I miss it? Did Abbas mention the exiles of 1948? Or mention recognition of Israel as “Jewish”? I guess he was NOT mentioning ALL the conditions for peace, but just those that related to Israeli (Palestinian?) “security”. Thus boundaries. But, in Isrfael’s view, everything relates to “security” (Isrfel is insecure unless it has a high Jewish majority), so the question of PRoR is a “security” issue, I’d say.

    Oh, well, I’d never make a negotiator, that much is clear.

    • Walid
      Walid
      January 28, 2014, 3:29 pm

      You didn’t miss it, pabelmont, it was very clear and has been so since the Palestine Papers leaks that the RoR is no longer an issue. The only thing that remained to be resolved was if Israel was going to accept the token return of 5,000 or 10,000 refugees spread out over 5 or 10 years to avoid Israelis to lessen their shock at the sudden influx of all those Palestinians, out 2 million that are still stateless in camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, other than those that are currently in Gaza and the WB.

      Twice he repeated the “carrot” about the 57 Arab and Muslim states as if it’s going to have an effect; Israel is already doing business with most of them and this offer must give Israelis a good laugh. One has to feel for the Palestinians to have such leaders.

    • talknic
      talknic
      January 28, 2014, 7:02 pm

      @ pabelmont Did Abbas mention the exiles of 1948? 01:57 UNGA res 194 applies to all refugees

      recognition of Israel as “Jewish” There’s no legal basis for the demand

  4. HarryLaw
    HarryLaw
    January 28, 2014, 12:23 pm

    I like that question to Abbas, ” can you convey any message of hope and security to the Israeli people” that should be “can you convey any message of hope and security to the people who are colonizing your land, ethnically cleansing and murdering your people on a daily basis”.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      January 28, 2014, 7:11 pm

      Right at the start of the interview, Abbas is asked what action he is taking against “violence, terrorism and acts of hostility.” He could have interpreted the question logically as referring to violence against both sides and at least mentioned the Zionist violence against Palestinians in some of its forms (even though he would have been hard put to say what he was doing to protect his fellow Palestinians). Instead, he interprets the question in the way the Israelis expect of him, as referring exclusively to Palestinian violence against Jews.

      The asymmetric rule with which Abbas complies is that only Israel’s security matters. The job of the PA forces is exactly the same as the job of Israel’s direct security forces — to take care of Israel’s security. No one even raises the issue of security for Palestinians. Perhaps Abbas tries to raise it in private, to give him the benefit of the doubt. Does anyone have any insight into this?

  5. Felipe
    Felipe
    January 28, 2014, 1:20 pm

    Internationalizing the conflict???? Is Abbas thinking about this now???

    This would almost be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. During the last 20 plus years of this sad ordeal the US has repeatedly shown that it’s never been an “honest broker” when it comes to Israel/Palestine negotiations. After Arafat’s death, it became clear that, despite all hopes to the contrary, American favoritism of Israeli interests would not allow the possibility of a just resolution to the conflict based on the much touted “international consensus” derived from international law. Had the Palestinian leadership decided to thoroughly internationalize the conflict years ago, very likely the situation today would be different, maybe by now we would have a negotiated solution that upheld the legitimate rights of Palestinians.

    It seems painfully clear the PA leadership failed the Palestinian people when they needed them the most. Now instead of having gained enough leverage for negotiating a fair and comprehensive solution, their leaders seem desperate to salvage what looks more like an israeli-designed, pseudo-resolution that ends the occupation in name only.

    Maybe there is still time to bring the conflict to all relevant international forums and organizations in order to exert real pressure Israel to negotiate in good faith. But the longer it takes for it to happen, the less favorable conditions will be for a resolution that takes into account the legitimate rights of the palestinians.

  6. giladg
    giladg
    January 28, 2014, 2:26 pm

    You are looking at the head of the snake. That’s what Abbas is. He is a polished liar. Before I give an example, I must say the Gilead Sher interviewing him is an absolute disgrace. As someone so deeply involved in prior negotiations with Arafat and Abbas, Sher has done something here that is to be condemned and never forgiven. He has disgraced the position that a democratic Israeli government gave him. He has compromised the position that others currently hold and will hold and he should never be allowed to return to it either.
    Abbas is no Mandela. Do not under estimate what I am saying here. There is no reconciliation and acceptance of the other side, in anything he had to say. Notice what he said about Jerusalem. “Jerusalem will be open to all religions” he said. There is nothing there about the historic connection to the Temple Mount that Jews have. There is nothing there about sharing with Israel and the Jewish people. Abbas is pathetic. He is weak and only the US and Israel are keeping him alive. The Jihadist’s will eventually have their way with him. He is nowhere ready to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, both in a historical perspective and the future need for this. Just go away Abbas, just go already!

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      January 28, 2014, 4:03 pm

      Typical pro-israel confusion, first you support abbas then you hate him.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      January 28, 2014, 4:32 pm

      “There is nothing there about the historic connection to the Temple Mount that Jews have. There is nothing there about sharing with Israel and the Jewish people.”

      Why should there be. It’s been exclusively Muslim for a millennium and a half. Any claim the Jews had to it expired 2,000 years ago. You have your Western Wall, go pray there.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        January 28, 2014, 4:56 pm

        How is historic connection to be understood? A state of mind or a matter of fact?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        January 28, 2014, 8:55 pm

        “How is historic connection to be understood? A state of mind or a matter of fact?”

        And what are the moral implications in each case?

      • giladg
        giladg
        January 29, 2014, 1:10 am

        Relax Woody, I am not calling to knock down the illegal mosques that now occupy the Temple Mount.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        January 29, 2014, 3:35 am

        I am not calling to knock down the illegal mosques that now occupy the Temple Mount.

        Relax gilad,

        There is still no indisputable evidence that the Haram esh-Sharif is actually sitting on the Temple Mount. There hasn’t been adequate archaeological research conducted in the modern era on the site to confirm those popular Jewish beliefs and legends. The eyewitness statements preserved in the accounts of the Jewish historian Josephus don’t match-up with the available evidence very well. His narratives say that Jerusalem was leveled to its very foundations and that the only monument left was the Roman encampment, Fort Antonia. The leader of the Zealots at Masada complained that it still dwelt upon the city’s ruins.

        So you see, the mosques are perfectly legal.

        Actual excavations carried out and the results published by the Israeli Antiquities Authority debunked the Jewish legends about the Temple on Mt. Gerazim that were published in the works of Josephus.
        See Yitzhak Magen, Haggai Misgav, and Levana Tsfania, “Mount Gerizim Excavations, volume 1 entitled “The Aramaic, Hebrew and Samaritan inscriptions”.

        The mosques

        There are still Jewish and Christian archeologists and scholars who dispute the connection of the so-called Western Wall to the sites of the ancient Jewish Temples, e.g. http://www.templemount.org/theories.html

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        January 29, 2014, 11:25 am

        So where was the Second Temple located? And what was on the current Temple Mount in Jesus’ time?

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        January 29, 2014, 1:59 pm

        “Relax Woody, I am not calling to knock down the illegal mosques that now occupy the Temple Mount.”

        There’s no such thing as the “Temple Mount.” There was, back in the Iron Age. But there hasn’t been for 2,000 years. But the fact that you would pretend that they are “illegal” is enough to demonstrate the truth about you and those like you.

    • talknic
      talknic
      January 28, 2014, 6:49 pm

      @ giladg // There is nothing there about the historic connection to the Temple Mount that Jews have. There is nothing there about sharing with Israel and the Jewish people. //

      Take your pathetic bitching to the Zionist Federation you stupid person, they caused this mess. Jews could and DID live anywhere in Palestine for 2,000 years of more. Now there is a Jewish state. It doesn’t include ANY of Palestine.

      • giladg
        giladg
        January 29, 2014, 1:19 am

        @talknic: Why do you ignore history? Jews could only live under Ottoman rule and keep the local Arab population quiet if the number of Jews living in Palestine was small. When more Jews started coming home, the local Arabs issued Fatwas banning the sale of land to them. And they began attacking them. You cherry pick history and you are too forgiving when it comes to Palestinian Arabs. They made huge mistakes and continue to make them.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        January 29, 2014, 3:37 am

        Jews could only live under Ottoman rule and keep the local Arab population quiet if the number of Jews living in Palestine was small.

        The Jews living in Palestine was small because Jews didn’t want to live there. Why would they?

        When more Jews started coming home, the local Arabs issued Fatwas banning the sale of land to them.

        No, they simply didn’t want to part with their land. Why would they sell land they had lived on for centuries? Where would they go?

        It’s you that doesn’t know history.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        January 29, 2014, 4:11 am

        When more Jews started coming home, the local Arabs issued Fatwas banning the sale of land to them.

        The very expression “coming home” implies a certain attitude to the land and its inhabitants that would not have been particularly conducive to friendly relations.

        The numbers were certainly a factor, but the attitudes and behaviour of the colonists were probably far more decisive (see e.g. Ahad Ha’am or the Haredi anti-Zionist work Or Layeshorim, in which Zionist political designs are blamed for Ottoman restrictions on religiously-motivated immigration and pilgrimage).

      • talknic
        talknic
        January 29, 2014, 6:02 am

        @giladg ” Jews could only live under Ottoman rule”

        If it was Ottoman, that seems very very logical! Do you have a point other than making yourself look really really stupid?

        “and keep the local Arab population quiet if the number of Jews living in Palestine was small.”

        Care to quote (verbatim) this Ottoman law….thx

        “When more Jews started coming home, the local Arabs issued Fatwas banning the sale of land to them”

        Quite common for local councils to ban the sale of land to non-citizens.

        Jewish citizens did buy ‘real estate’ tho and; Non-citizen Zionist Federation organizations also bought ‘real estate’. None bought ‘territory’. In fact the territory for the State of Israel was gained without paying a single shekel. Unlike the US who at least paid for Alaska, before then reaching an agreement for it to become legally annexed to the US

        It’s rather odd that at a time when Herzl could have immigrated to Palestine and acquired citizenship and bought land and settled anywhere in Palestine, he didn’t bother… (now he’s buried in territory never declared, never legally annexed to and illegally claimed by the Jewish State)

        It’s also really weird that for 2,000 years Jews could have returned to Palestine and acquired citizenship and bought land and settled anywhere in Palestine, they didn’t bother…

        When colonizing Palestine became a business under the Zionist Federation, Jews were given loans to immigrate legally and illegally and began arriving in numbers very likely to overburden resources and be detrimental to the local population

    • eljay
      eljay
      January 28, 2014, 7:25 pm

      >> He is nowhere ready to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people …

      “Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people” – or “Jewish State” for short – is a supremacist construct. No-one – not even the Palestinians – should be expected or required to recognize or accept a “Jewish State” or any other supremacist state.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      January 28, 2014, 7:26 pm

      Abbas talks about living together with the Israelis in peace as neighbors. That sounds quite conciliatory and accepting of the other side to me, and I think to any reasonable person. It seems you expect him to repeat various Zionist mantras word for word after you. That is crazy.

      Why do you imagine you have the right to tell Abbas to go away? Are there any limits to your arrogance? Do you recognize anyone’s right to tell you to go away?

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        January 28, 2014, 7:39 pm

        Are there any limits to your arrogance?

        It’s not arrogance, it’s delusion.

      • giladg
        giladg
        January 29, 2014, 1:27 am

        I know he is lying through his teeth. He knows that the type of Isreal he is talking about is unacceptable and will not meet the needs of the Jewish people. Islam has Mecca and Medina. The Jews have Jerusalem.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        January 29, 2014, 2:57 am

        He knows that the type of Isreal he is talking about is unacceptable and will not meet the needs of the Jewish people.

        That’s because Israel does not want peace or any kind of political settlement. They want to steal more land.

        The Jews have Jerusalem.

        They stole it and have possession of it for now.

      • talknic
        talknic
        January 29, 2014, 12:44 pm

        @ giladg “Islam has Mecca and Medina”

        Wrong. Saudi Arabia has Mecca and Medina within its sovereign territory

        “The Jews have Jerusalem”

        Wrong! corpus separatum was never legally instituted. Jerusalem has never been legally separated from what remained of Palestine after Israel proclaimed itself independent of Palestine.

        Jerusalem is not within the sovereign territory of the Jewish state.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        January 29, 2014, 1:50 pm

        “The Jews have Jerusalem.”

        The Muslims have al-Quds (al-Haram ash-Sharif), the Jews have Jerusalem (the Western Wall). The problem is that you are coveting their property.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      January 28, 2014, 7:37 pm

      As someone so deeply involved in prior negotiations with Arafat and Abbas, Sher has done something here that is to be condemned and never forgiven.

      Shouldn’t you make the same condemnation for Martin Indyk, who was o deeply involved in prior negotiations with Barak?

      Do not under estimate what I am saying here.

      Given how discredited your deranged rants have been, it would be nearly impossible to under estimate what you say.

      There is no reconciliation and acceptance of the other side, in anything he had to say.

      What is it about wanting peace with Israel that does not include acceptance or reconciliation?

      “Jerusalem will be open to all religions” he said. There is nothing there about the historic connection to the Temple Mount that Jews have.

      If it is open to all religions, then does that not include Judaism? Or do you insist that Jerusalem should only belong to Jews?

      There is nothing there about sharing with Israel and the Jewish people.

      Sharing what with Israel and the Jewish people? has any Israeli prime minister ever suggested Israel should be shared with non Israelis? Anyone who wants to share Palestine has to be a Palestinian citizen. Israelis might want to visit, but would have no rights.

      It is you that is pathetic.

      He is weak and only the US and Israel are keeping him alive.

      You’re right. As an Israeli and US puppet, he is largely dependent on them to hold on to power, which is how Israeli and the US want to keep it. Mind you, Russia has promised him a billion dollars, so he might be in a position to tell the Israeli and US to go to hell.

      He is nowhere ready to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people,

      No one does and no one is obliged to.

      Just go away Abbas, just go already!

      Yes, bring back a real Palestinian leader who will tell the ISraelis to get the F&*k out of Palestine and that he will see their murderous leaders at the Hague.

      • giladg
        giladg
        January 29, 2014, 1:06 am

        It is clear that you do understand the real issues and struggle. The Temple Mount is the most important site for Jews who know more than most of you here, about their own religion. It is important for many reasons and the lack of willingness by Abbas to acknowledge this will insure that he, Abbas, is not going to be the Palestinian leader who makes real peace with the Jewish people. So he continues to sweet talk and distort the story. The type of Israel he is thinking about, an Israel he can have peace with, in his eyes, is an Israel that is unable to defend itself both physically as well as spiritually.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        January 29, 2014, 3:30 am

        The Temple Mount is the most important site for Jews who know more than most of you here, about their own religion.

        Irrelevant. It might be important to them but that does not grant them ownership. Thus, there is no reason, let alone obligation, for any political leader to grant any consideration whatsoever to this matter.
        In fact, it’s likely that Temple Mount means nothing to most Jews. Not only that, but as Hostage points out, it’s likely that no Temple ever even existed there.

        The type of Israel he is thinking about, an Israel he can have peace with, in his eyes, is an Israel that is unable to defend itself both physically as well as spiritually.

        There is no Israel he can have peace with. They don’t want peace.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        January 29, 2014, 7:03 am

        To what extent is a religious principle to be accepted by those not of that religion? I don’t presume that the answer is ‘to no extent at all’.

      • talknic
        talknic
        January 29, 2014, 6:28 am

        @ giladg “The Temple Mount is the most important site for Jews who know more than most of you here, about their own religion”

        Do they know it ISN’T in Israeli territory?

        1. Reaffirms the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;

        2. Strongly deplores the continued refusal of Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly;

        3. Reconfirms that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East; UNSC res 476 http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/7D35E1F729DF491C85256EE700686136

        “It is important for many reasons and the lack of willingness by Abbas to acknowledge this”

        Strange, he said, “Jerusalem will be open for all religions with arrangements between the two parties I guess you need spectacles or reading lessons or get your guide dog to read the subtitles

        “So he continues to sweet talk and distort the story”

        Quote the distortion … verbatim …. thx

        ” The type of Israel he is thinking about, an Israel he can have peace with, in his eyes, is an Israel that is unable to defend itself both physically as well as spiritually”

        Ahh .. you’re a mind reader WOW!!! Are you on television? Meanwhile why don’t you watch the video, it’s at the top of the page in case you missed it. It even has English subtitles.
        ” … first, the two-state solution must become real, in which the State of Israel will live alongside the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders in security and stability.”

      • giladg
        giladg
        January 29, 2014, 1:30 am

        Indyk represented the US, not Israel.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        January 29, 2014, 2:56 am

        Indyk represented the US, not Israel.

        Indyk disagrees. He says he ‘made aliyah to Washington’ to save Israel
        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/martin-indyk-says-he-made-aliyah-to-washington-to-save-israel.html

  7. BillM
    BillM
    January 28, 2014, 3:53 pm

    Another day, another Israeli demand conceded to by Abbas. As always, this current round of negotiations is not about actually reaching a deal. Instead, it has 2 purposes: 1) to eat up another year or two as Israel consolidates its position, and 2) if outside powers ever actually force a settlement (if the US can’t or won’t protect Israel), then Israel can point out all the things Palestinians (Abbas) have already conceded to: settlements remaining, Israeli military remaining, demilitarization, abandoning the refugees, etc. These “negotiations” exist only to force Abbas to make public concessions in case they are ever useful to Israel in the future.

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      January 28, 2014, 7:11 pm

      OTOH, Abbas has already acknowledged that this is a failure and is making the public pronouncements required for Palestine to NOT be blamed for it. Could be a reality-based strategy. I think he knows, as we have all seen in recent months, that Israel will simply add conditions, the US will allow them, and that it doesn’t matter what he says or does, it isn’t going to happen. He might as well start looking forward and play the game accordingly.

      No fan of Abbas, but I don’t know if this is weakness or rare foresight until someone calls it a day on this round and Palestine either takes it or doesn’t take international, with meaning and purpose.

  8. January 28, 2014, 4:25 pm

    Thanks to Ira for a great article on this important subject. We need to listen to Abbas. Israeli and Jewish opinion gets too much emphasis in the US media as many articles in this forum point out vividly. David Makovsky is on the US negotiating team. Look at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/09/12/opinion/mapping-mideast-peace.html?_r=0
    so that you can see maps of what he has offered in the way of territorial swaps but note that he has little to say about Jerusalem. Think positive.

  9. Citizen
    Citizen
    January 28, 2014, 4:59 pm

    For the average American, who pays taxes to Israel in the form of the biggest chunk of US foreign aid, what does any of this discussion mean?

  10. Blownaway
    Blownaway
    January 28, 2014, 7:06 pm

    And he has to wear a kippa and sing Haktiva and keep kosher

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