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Apathy in Ramallah as negotiations with Israel dive

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Ramallah Cafe. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Ramallah Cafe. (Photo: Allison Deger)

As negotiations between Israeli and Palestinians leaders reach a crisis, in Ramallah, the urban reprieve and seat of President Mahmoud Abbas’s government, the breakdown passes with much apathy. Indeed, the nine months of direct talks are leaning to disaster, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stalled the release of a fourth round of Palestinian prisoners, and Palestinian President Abbas sent letters to join international treaties—a move the Israel view as unilateralism and a red line.

“For me, it makes no difference,” said Dr. Abdallah Shararah, 59, a pediatrician and the dean of a medical school in Ramallah, “because after 20 years of negotiations nothing was achieved of the national goals of the Palestinian people.” Dr. Abdallah, as his friends call him, took time out of a backgammon game to speak with me inside of the bustling Ramallah Café, a hub for Palestinian artists and intellectuals. The two-floor smoke shop is humbly decorated with Madrid and Barcelona soccer flags strung to the ceiling, crates of soda and Cappy—an Israeli version of Minute Maid juice—weathered books and academic journals, and a few “boycott Israeli goods” stickers slap dashed to the backs and underneaths of things.

“And,” continued Dr. Abdallah, “I don’t think the United States is a neutral sponsor for these negotiations. They are biased for the Israeli occupation.”

Dr. Abdallah went on to explain that irrespective of whether the negotiations fall apart this week, or succeed to form a “framework” for future discussions, the Israeli occupation cannot be removed through bilateral talks. And he finds, “talks” are the extent of an Israeli commitment.

“Negotiations are a means of continuation of occupation and delay as much as possible the achievement of the Palestinian goals, which gives Israel the chance to change realities on the ground.” By realities on the ground, Dr. Abdallah was referring to the 130% increase in settler construction during the peace talks, rendering the much awaited return to the table a difficult moment for Palestinian society.

He continued, “Political goals and negotiations are dictated by the balance of power on the ground. And it’s obvious that the Israelis have the upper hand and are supported by the biggest powers, the greatest power the United States, and at the same time I believe that no occupation can end without resistance. As well the occupier are not paying a price, the Israelis are not paying the price of the occupation. They are benefiting from it.”

Seated with Dr. Abdallah underneath a television that played a black and white Egyptian film that no one was watching was George Khleifi, 67, a film producer and director from Nazareth living in Ramallah.

“I was one-year old when Israel was declared,” he said half in jest. George, unlike Dr. Abdallah, does think the Palestinians have much to lose from negotiating with Israel, but out of fatalism or perhaps exhaustion, he too was not terribly concerned.

“To continue the negotiations without a real will to arrive at a solution from the Israeli side is useless. Not only useless, it can harm, because Israel under so-called negotiations,” George explained, “continues the large settlements, creates new settlements, and creates facts in Jerusalem that makes any acceptable solution for the Palestinians, the solution for two-states, impossible.

“Why give them a kind of legitimate umbrella with those negotiations?” George lamented, “That ‘s what most people here believe.”

Still if negotiations implode, George thinks ultimately it will have political reverberations and force the one-state option, and by logical extension, the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

“Of course, the only solution of what remains is the solution of one state. It will be a fact that Israel will control the whole territory that was supposed to be two-states.”

What will remain, said George, is, “one apartheid state: one state for two peoples where one has all of the rights, the Israelis, and one has none of the rights, the Palestinians.”

“I hope that they, the Israelis, will be logical and will understand that they don’t want the one-state but they are doing everything to make it happen,” concluded George.

And to the Palestinian leadership, the Ramallah street is a town apart from the motorcade of officials that zip in and out of the Muqataa and take lunch at the American Colony Hotel on special governmental “visas” to Israel.

“Our problem as Palestinians is the widening gap between the people and the politicians,” said Dr. Abdallah. Motioning at the others in the café, he said, “they are professionals, artists and writers. Drama, theater, cinema—and these people they know they have a mission for society. Change in their society and they are the people who carry the banner of hope when politicians fail.

“Simply there is an overall frustration,” said Dr. Abdallah before returning to his board game, “There are people who are benefiting from this situation and it’s not in their interest to change. They,” he said, “have common interest with the Israelis.”

But Dr. Abdallah warned that his society should not be brash and boot out the exiting leadership that keeps returning for more and more peace talks, such as with Gaza and the 2005 government sweep. “Electing Hamas,” he said was “uncalculated, a kind of revenge,” against the ruling party Fatah for corruption and unachieved freedom.

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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90 Responses

  1. Kay24 on April 5, 2014, 9:57 am

    It is sad to hear the Palestinians speak with no hope, and realistic about the situation.
    They have been treated badly, suffer on a daily basis, being robbed of their resources and property on a daily basis, and expect to give up much more. I do not fault them for not trusting the US to be an honest broker. Who can trust a nation that has armed, sent billions in aid, and enabled their brutal occupier, and protected, and defended it against condemnation from international, and human rights bodies? No rational person would. The entire world knows that this time, once again, Israel has shown that it prefers the status quo, and has disregarded all rules, and kept announcing more illegal settlements, insulted the US, and disrespected John Kerry, and did not keep it’s word, and release the last batch of prisoners, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Perhaps Mahmoud Abbas finally made that right decision, when he decided to go to the UN and get recognition, if their occupier cannot recognize their rights, and prefers to show greed instead.
    This would be a good opportunity for the US to cut off that parasitic rogue nation, but chances are slim.

  2. Walid on April 5, 2014, 9:59 am

    There’s a planned activity of some sort next week by Palestinians in Israeli prisons . The Palestinians in general now have their eyes wide open, as Allison wrote, and they realize that they have been taken for a ride with these “negotiations” all these years. America’s popularity is very low now and risks being much lower.

    • Walid on April 5, 2014, 10:31 am

      From JPost yesterday:

      PA minister: Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails to hold hunger strikes

      “… A senior Palestinian Authority minister warned on Friday that Palestinian inmates were planning to hold protests next week in Israeli jails.

      PA Deputy Minister for Prisoner Affairs Ziad Abu Ein said the protests in response to Israel’s decision to scrap a fourth release of long-serving prisoners for peace talks would include hunger strikes, Israel Radio reported.

      He did not elaborate on the measures.

      Earlier on Friday, Palestinian protestors clashed with IDF forces outside Israel’s Ofer Prison near Ramallah during riots calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel.”

      http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/PA-minister-Palestinian-prisoners-in-Israeli-jails-to-hold-hunger-strikes-347571

  3. Citizen on April 5, 2014, 10:18 am

    “‘Electing Hamas” he said was “uncalculated, a kind of revenge,” against the ruling party Fatah for corruption and unachieved freedom.”

    This strikes me as true, coupled with HAMAS providing social services where Fatah was failing via corruption, etc.

  4. Kathleen on April 5, 2014, 10:38 am

    “To continue the negotiations without a real will to arrive at a solution from the Israeli side is useless. Not only useless, it can harm, because Israel under so-called negotiations,” George explained, “continues the large settlements, creates new settlements, and creates facts in Jerusalem that makes any acceptable solution for the Palestinians, the solution for two-states, impossible’

    Allison thanks for the front row account. So personal and such a smooth and clear read. The message is so sad. Negotiations not working.. again.

  5. bilal a on April 5, 2014, 11:20 am

    With two states gone, at best the PA in a one state can develop a Reich-ian economic nationalism.

    http://ffilms.org/inequality-for-all-2013/

  6. Bandolero on April 5, 2014, 11:23 am

    There is an interesting development happening in Germany and the EU. Just a couple of minutes ago Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s foreign minister, was on state funded 1st German TV ARD – the largest and most serious German TV channel.

    Jean Asselborn declared that the negotiations are the last chance for a two state solution, they are falling apart and it’s all Israel’s fault, because Israel lacks the political will for a two state solution while the Palestinaians want it. Israel constructed even during the negotiations 12.000 new settlement units, and has shown thereby that Israel is not interested in negotiating a two state solution. While the Palestinians may agree to extend the negotiations by nine months, that makes only sense if their will be a complete freeze of settlement construction, because prolonged negotiations must not mean that Israel establishes more facts on the ground. If Israel doesn’t want this, then there is only one alternative a one state solution, but such a state mustn’t be an apartheid state. Yes, he uses the word apartheid.

    Such a critical comment regarding Israel I never heard on German TV before. For those of you able to understand German, here is a link:

    http://www.tagesschau.de/multimedia/video/video1384752.html

    I think it’s a historic moment that on German TV it is declared that Israel is guilty of not wanting peace and of running an apartheid system. And even more so it is important because Jean Asselborn is a very respected EU politician. It may well be a harbinger that serious EU action against Israel could be soon in the cards.

    • annie on April 5, 2014, 11:48 am

      While the Palestinians may agree to extend the negotiations by nine months, that makes only sense if their will be a complete freeze of settlement construction

      they have asked for a settlement freeze all along and this was dubbed ‘preconditions’ with the israel mantra being that they are for negotiations with no preconditions. anyway, this article http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Palestinians-set-new-conditions-for-peace-talks-to-continue-347482 now claims this is a new palestinian condition.

      The Palestinian Authority has set new conditions for agreeing to extend the peace talks with Israel after April, PA officials in Ramallah said Thursday.

      Two of the new conditions include Israeli recognition of the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital and the release of 1,200 more Palestinian prisoners, the officials said.

      The Palestinian Authority is now demanding that Israel release three senior terrorists: Marwan Barghouti, Ahmed Sa’adat and Fuad Shobaki.

      The conditions also include a complete cessation of settlement construction, the imposition of PA sovereignty over Area C in the West Bank, a halt to Israeli military operations in PA-controlled territories, and “reunion” permits for some 15,000 Palestinians.

      Still other conditions include reopening the Gaza border crossings, lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip, and permitting the return of Palestinian terrorists who were deported to the Gaza Strip and Europe after they sought shelter from the IDF in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002.

      • Bandolero on April 5, 2014, 11:57 am

        Annie

        Yes, of course, the Palestinians wanted a settlement freeze all along.

        New is that Luxembourgs foreign minister Asselborn made a complete settlement freeze during a possible extension of negotiations HIS demand, HIS precondition for an extension of negotiations.

      • justicewillprevail on April 5, 2014, 12:32 pm

        As the settlement policy is Israel’s way of waging ongoing war against Palestinians, with the squatters as their advance guard, it is ludicrous to even pretend that there can be serious negotiations between two sides, when one is still at war with the other, arresting their citizens and destroying their homes. There is a complete mismatch, which should be obvious to anybody, least of all supposed third parties. The Palestinians want a state, peace, justice and reparations; Israel is only interested in complete surrender to their continuing war of attrition. In other words, for Israel the ‘peace’ negotiations are simply a continuation of their war, in which they want a rubber-stamped victory. No serious negotiator could even contemplate trying to adjudicate between a state at war, armed with a colossally lethal army, and a dispossessed, defenceless people, as if they were somehow equivalent forces. Kerry and co are delusional to even think their is a way of squaring this circle of inequity. It is like a judge in a courtroom trying to settle a dispute where one of the parties is still shooting at the defendant, demanding they agree with him. Of course, the judge is likely to get injured too, as long as he refuses to stand up to the diabolical determination of the demagogue to get his way, as he sneers at the ineffectual timidity of the court and its inability to implement its laws.
        Kerry, how does it feel to be played as the patsy?

      • annie on April 5, 2014, 1:22 pm

        it’s very good news indeed bandelero.

        an interesting aside…when israel objected to palestinians proceeding at the UN simultaneously while negotiations were occurring kerry supported and facilitated the agreement to release the prisoners to implement that pre condition be imposed. but wrt to palestinian request, that there be a settlement freeze, nothing was done and israel just kept building.

        so enough of this. negotiations are a facade and palestinians are right to make reasonable demands (no building settlements, end the blockade and PA sovereignty in jordan valley ) before even considering further engagement. what would be the point of negotiating from the position of the imprisoned while soldiers are sport hunting your children with impunity. it’s insane.

      • Henry Norr on April 5, 2014, 2:38 pm

        Annie et al., note that the official PA negotiator immediately backed away from the relatively strong list of “conditions” (pre-67 borders, East Jerusaem as capital, release of Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Sa’adat, etc.). Here’s a some of a followup from Haaretz:

        Erekat: Leaked list doesn’t represent our official stand
        Palestinian negotiator says reported list of six demands came from Fatah officials, not him, and is not Palestinians’ official position.

        By Jack Khoury | Apr. 3, 2014 | 11:37 PM |

        Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat denied on Thursday that his team presented a list of demands to Israel that included the release of 1,200 prisoners, recognition of the 1967 borders and of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, as was reported in several Palestinian media.

        Erekat told associates that this list came from Fatah officials, not from him or his staff, and did not represent the official Palestinian negotiating position. He said that while he did tell U.S. envoy Martin Indyk and Israeli negotiators on Wednesday night that the Palestinians wanted to discuss the dispute’s core issues, he did not go into detail nor make the demands reported.

        Mohammed Shtayyeh, a senior Fatah official and formerly co-negotiator with Erekat, agreed that the list of demands did not represent the official Palestinian position. He told Haaretz that the key issue the Palestinians wanted to negotiate was borders.

        He said that from the start of negotiations last July, the Palestinians and Americans both sought to make borders the first issue on the table. “If we had the settled the issue of borders, we would have wrapped up several major sticking points, mainly settlements … and security arrangements. Each side would have known where his border lay, and we would have gone on to negotiate about Jerusalem and water, but Netanyahu and his government began raising difficulties and obstacles. What’s important to Netanyahu is to preserve his coalition and not to reach an agreement,” Shtayyeh said.

        He went on to say that the Palestinians’ opening negotiating position today is based on two goals: First, the fulfillment of the fourth release of prisoners and their return home, and second the setting out of a framework for continuing the talks on the basis of the 1967 borders.

        Whether the release of the stronger conditions, followed by a quick retreat, represents differences within the PA or some kind of diplomatic/PR ploy, I obviously don’t know. I give Abbas some credit for standing up to Kerry in this last round, but surely it would be a bad mistake to think that he and Erekat and the gang have suddenly become firm and principled advocates for Palestinian rights (not that you’re saying they have).

      • HarryLaw on April 5, 2014, 3:13 pm

        Yes Henry, the prisoners issue is easy for Israel to solve, just abide by the ground rules set up by Kerry and release the prisoners, if Abbas agrees to extend the talks beyond 29th April without at least a full settlement freeze it would prove Israeli blackmail and trashing of agreements has worked once again.
        To be honest the Israelis know they can play Abbas and Erekat like a fiddle, I would not trust that duo as far as I could throw them.

      • annie on April 6, 2014, 2:21 pm

        henry, there was a big screaming fight wed night that lasted for hours. i’ll see if i can find the notes i sent to phil. so this ‘list’ which was not a list possibly got bandied about during that conversation and then got leaked.

        and as for borders, i completely agree http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/the-borders-stupid.html

      • Henry Norr on April 6, 2014, 5:25 pm

        Yeah, I’ve read the Maan report, among others, about the “big screaming fight.” And yes, the new list of not-new Palestinian “demands” apparently came out of that meeting. But at least the Haaretz report about the demands implies that they were turned into some kind of documents – by “Fatah officials,” according to Erekat – rather than just being things “bandied about” during the meeting. Either the way, the problem is, or one problem is, that the people doing the negotiating for the PA make it very clear that they have no intention of fighting for the demands on that list.

      • annie on April 6, 2014, 2:31 pm

        here’s the note henry

        fun fun fun http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=687221

        The sources described the meeting as a “fierce political battle”, with Martin Indyk struggling to control heated exchanges between both sides.

        Erekat reportedly told the Israeli side that “we are here to negotiate in the name of the UN-recognized State of Palestine, not in the name of a Palestinian Authority whose inputs and outputs are controlled by Israel.”

        Israeli negotiators responded by threatening to put “endless” sanctions on the Palestinians, the sources said.

        During the heated exchanges, US special envoy Martin Indyk reiterated his support for Israel’s security.

        Majid Faraj responded by stressing that the Palestinians were there for “political, not security” talks and to negotiate about Jerusalem as the future capital of an independent Palestinian state.

        Erekat responded to Israeli threats of sanctions by saying the PLO would go after Israeli officials as “war criminals” in international institutions.

        http://linkis.com/www.jpost.com/Diplom/4gdZM

        and kerry called it “progress” (funny)

        While Palestinian sources described an acrimonious meeting with Israeli negotiators early Thursday morning, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the talks had “made progress” in narrowing some questions that arose over the last few days.

        Speaking during a state visit to Algeria, Kerry said the talks were at a “critical stage” and that gaps remain between the sides that “will have to be closed and closed fairly soon.”

        i was thinking of writing something up about it but it got lost in the shuffle.

      • just on April 6, 2014, 6:00 pm

        Sounds like the Palestinian negotiators got the better of Indyk et al, uh I mean Israeli negotiators.

        Indyk squirms like the worm he is.

      • Walid on April 6, 2014, 2:51 pm

        Henry, don’t get your hopes too high. A lot of what you are seeing is preparatory groundwork leading to an extension of the negotiations and the Palestinians leaders behaving themselves during the extension period that should drag into 2015. Erekat is beginning to slowly break the bad news.

      • puppies on April 6, 2014, 8:06 pm

        Exactly: another one-year extension, to delay for another year even the non-action of going to a court that won’t take action for several more years anyway.

    • American on April 5, 2014, 11:53 am

      Bandolero says:

      ” I think it’s a historic moment that on German TV it is declared that Israel is guilty of not wanting peace and of running an apartheid system. And even more so it is important because Jean Asselborn is a very respected EU politician. It may well be a harbinger that serious EU action against Israel could be soon in the cards’>>>

      I hope you are right and this is or becomes ‘Active & Official’ German position.
      But governments have to give up any expectation of sane ‘political will’ re the Zionist and admit Zionism is similar to the Nazi mentality and deal with it on that basis.
      It cant be reasoned with.

    • brenda on April 5, 2014, 12:00 pm

      No question in my mind that serious EU action against Israel is not only in the cards but already begun. I’m a regular reader of al-Monitor. Some of their Israeli journalists, especially Akiva Eldar former diplomatic editor of Ha’aretz, interview every European diplomat passing through Tel Aviv . I’m also regular reader of the Israeli press.

      It’s already happening. The Europeans have already brought in major economic and development sanctions, divestments, labeling of goods and services coming from Occupied Palestine. This is rattling the Israeli government and has inspired a major peace initiative from Israeli big businessmen. And this is just an appetizer. If the Kerry mission goes down the Europeans are waiting in the wings with much worse.

      I say “if”, not “when” because the European threat, both economic and diplomatic, is an important player driving Israel to settle. Most analysts have pronounced the Kerry mission dead in the water but I’m still seeing a lot of drama in the situation. I notice that the European pressure on Israel is never, ever mentioned in the US press. Never. It’s like it doesn’t exist here.

      • annie on April 5, 2014, 1:10 pm

        thanks brenda, for the most part that’s my take on it too. europe is waiting in the wings and israel knows it. and i wouldn’t be surprised if this was in coordination with obama’s administration. it makes sense to go thru the formalities of exhausting US diplomacy, but obama and kerry already said they could not stave off foreign (european) bds and warned of the repercussions. while the US is stymied by congress, it makes sense to pull back on pressuring europe to keep their hands off this. europe gave israel lots of warning, repeated warnings. they should act. the global community should engage and the US should pull back propping israel up. let the process unfold.

        there is absolutely no reason why israel can’t ‘negotiate’ while under pressure from an international BDS campaign and UN involvement. sanctions anyone?

      • just on April 5, 2014, 1:13 pm

        How I wish! I would dearly love to see sanctions imposed– yesterday, but tomorrow will do!

      • amigo on April 5, 2014, 2:02 pm

        “there is absolutely no reason why israel can’t ‘negotiate’ while under pressure from an international BDS campaign and UN involvement. sanctions anyone?”Annie.

        Sure there is!!.

        Israel,s leaders no longer control the squatters who are seriously infiltrated with IDF thugs and fascist elements.These people are going to fight to the last zio , even if a land swap is arranged the Greater Israel crowd will continue the “Fight”. Remember, these thugs most likely are armed to the teeth and have who knows what type of weapons hidden in the Illegal Jews only settlements.

        Personally , I hope for a civil war where zionists kill each other off and save the rest of us from having to send in troops to sort it out.

        I hope I am wrong and BDS works.

      • brenda on April 5, 2014, 3:35 pm

        Annie, can you pronounce Machiavelliobama? The Americans cannot bring Israel to heel by themselves. The US is too compromised politically. It will only happen if the Europeans get involved. And between the two, Israel is being squeezed in a vice of carrot & stick.

        I think a lot of the perceived ‘weakness’ coming from the Kerry mission is playing to the Europeans. Not for domestic consumption, for the Europeans. Kerry and Obama are taking a lot of sh*t, especially poor old Kerry. I’m surprised he’s standing up to it so well. But I think they are both playing a very good game and may be successful in driving this to a peace treaty. If not, international sanctions await — and Obama signaled in a Bloomberg News interview that he will not give the automatic UN veto if the peace talks go down. You can see why I am following this story on the edge of my seat :>)

      • adele on April 6, 2014, 3:02 pm

        I’m getting the same impression Brenda & Annie that there is some backroom coordination going on, it can’t just be coincidence that all of a sudden these large investment institutions in Europe/Scandinavia are applying pressure and following through on divestment. Not to mention civil society adding pressure via campus activism & greater awareness/abidance of BDS. While we are on the edge of our seat Israel is inching itself closer to the edge of the precipice.

      • puppies on April 6, 2014, 8:14 pm

        @Annie – Not so fast. European governments are not different from the US one on this. Only, they have to appear to be doing something to their public, which is not like the American one. So yes, expect a lot of words, but all words because all so-called “sanctions” are, and for the foreseeable future will remain, make-believe stuff that only touches so-called “settlements” of post-67 occupation. That seems to be the position of most of the official BDS movement, too. Any palpable progress may come only if the scam can be made clear to the European public –against the screaming and kicking resistance of the punks who call themselves “Liberals” or Liberal Zionists.

      • annie on April 7, 2014, 1:51 am

        So yes, expect a lot of words, but all words because all so-called “sanctions” are, and for the foreseeable future will remain, make-believe stuff that only touches so-called “settlements” of post-67 occupation. That seems to be the position of most of the official BDS movement, too.

        really? do tell .maybe we just hang in different ‘bds circles’.

      • puppies on April 7, 2014, 2:03 pm

        @Annie. Let’s not pretend that all BDS projects that make enough noise concern either post-67 occupation or divestment. Nothing against them, of course, but not seeing or hearing much directed at the Zionist entity itself (which is the part that hits the Zionists.)

      • Shingo on April 5, 2014, 10:26 pm

        And this is just an appetizer. If the Kerry mission goes down the Europeans are waiting in the wings with much worse.

        Can you verify this? It seems that diplomats from Germany and France have been falling over themselves to assure the Israelis that they will not back BDS.

        I notice that the European pressure on Israel is never, ever mentioned in the US press. Never. It’s like it doesn’t exist here.

        From what I can seen, it might as well not exist, given how limp wristed their efforts have been.

      • brenda on April 6, 2014, 11:13 am

        “Swell of boycotts driving Israel into international isolation”

        “Western activists and diplomats are gunning for Israel’s settlements in the Palestinian territories, and if peace talks fail, the rain of boycotts and sanctions could turn into a flood.”

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.563242

        Shingo, this is an old piece, Dec. 12, 2013, but it does a good job of outlining the problem for Israel and none of it has gone away. This is from Barak Ravid, the diplomatic correspondent for Ha’aretz. He’s as well-connected as anyone in Israel. Notice his interview with an unnamed Israeli official reporting on an interview with an unnamed European diplomat:

        “The marking of produce from the [Palestinian] territories is on hold at this stage,” the European diplomat said to his Israeli interlocutor. “However, should the negotiations with the Palestinians run aground you should expect a deluge of sanctions.” The Israeli official was taken aback by the sharp words. “Aren’t the circumstances of a breakdown in negotiations relevant,” he asked. The European replied laconically, “the way things look now, you will be the losers in the blame game.”

        You say, “It seems that diplomats from Germany and France have been falling over themselves to assure the Israelis that they will not back BDS.”
        (sorry I’m not computer-savvy enough to give this a better presentation)
        … and yes, you are right. None of these European diplomats are going to head-on head-butt Israel — they are after all, diplomats. And at the end of the day, Europe does still want to have a relationship with Israel. It takes a lot of reading to figure out what’s going on, there’s a lot of give and take, it’s a matter of learning a new language, diplomatese.

        I’ll give you an example — EU president Martin Schultz causes huge uproar in Knesset speech referring to water shortage of Palestinians vs. water use by Israelis. He later backs down:

        “On Tuesday Schulz made clear that the EU had not boycotted and would not boycott Israel over its settlements in the occupied territories. “In the European parliament there is not a majority for a potential boycott,” he said.
        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/12/israel-walkout-knesset-german-mep-speech

        Schultz backed down, but his speech still had the intended effect. Around the same time, mid-February, factions of the right wing government meet to strategize against the European boycott threat. Catherine Philp reports for the Times of Israel: “Israeli spies have been ordered to dig up intelligence showing that supporters of an economic boycott are linked to terrorists and enemy states.”
        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/israel-starts-new-propaganda-war-to-beat-boycott/story-fnb64oi6-1226823640289#

        One of my all-time favorite diplomatic interviews was with the Romanian foreign minister, Titus Corlatean. He was forthcoming about WHY the European nations were working to thwart Israeli aspirations. Unlike we lesser mortals, nation states are basically immoral. They do what they do not because it is the right thing to do, but because it is in their perceived national interests. Europe is not going to diplomatic war on behalf of suffering Palestinians, they will do it because it serves their own interests. Sometimes these can converge (harmonic convergence, anyone?)

        “Corlatean explained that Europe cannot afford to display indifference toward the Middle East, since the implications of events in the region affect every corner of the continent. “We are witnessing the growing infiltration of jihadists into Europe and the exploitation of the economic crisis to spread xenophobia, populism, racism and anti-Semitism.”

        Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/12/romania-foreign-minister-building-workers-settlements.html#ixzz2y7LZ5YD8

        This Akiva Eldar piece is rambling, like most of his writing. He touches on how Romania was friend to Israel against other EU countries, and why, and
        then how Israel pushed the issue and Romania sanctioned its workers from Occupied Territories construction:

        “In the November 2012 UN vote on upgrading the status of the Palestinian representation, Romania chose to abstain. Corlatean also did not affix his signature to the letter of 13 EU ministers announcing their countries’ decision to label products made in the settlements. In the interview with Al-Monitor he declared proudly that over the years Romania has managed to maintain open channels with the Israelis and the Palestinians.

        “But this state of affairs couldn’t last forever. And in fact, at the beginning of December, the lengthy talks between Israel’s Foreign Ministry and its Romanian equivalent over the employment of Romanian construction workers broke down. It happened after Israel rejected Romania’s demand that the workers not be employed in the construction of settlements across the Green Line.”

        I’ve probably given you more than what you really want to read, Shingo. This diplomatic stuff is tedious until you develop a taste for it, and it is like watching sumo wrestlers — not exactly duking it out, more like heavy-weights slowly circling the ring, looking for that small advantage which could lead to a win. Also, I realize I have not made a “case”; the outcome is still unknown. But there is plenty of reason to believe things will go the way we want them to.

      • Bandolero on April 6, 2014, 7:51 pm

        Brenda

        Thank you very much for your comment. It’s very informative and very much on the point.

        Yes, I’m aware of Akiva Eldar’s column in Al Monitor and I follow the news in diplo speak closely.

        Your analogy with Zumo ringers is quite fine. It’s slow change, but it can accumulate to something very powerful. I prefer to see at as the sea where the tides change. The change is slow, when you casually look at it, you may not notice the change at all, but when looking at it over a longer time that slow change in tides may accumulate to an enormous amount. A key currency in which such diplomatic change is measured is blame. Blame is quite important and Israel is just about to get a lot of it.

        That said: the key diplomatic battleground in relations of EU and Israel will not be in Romania, but in Germany, the EU economic powerhouse with it’s very special relation to Israel. That’s where the change must occur when there shall be change. When Germany changes it’s position on Israel the rest of the EU will likely follow.

      • annie on April 7, 2014, 2:15 am

        thank you so very much brenda.

      • brenda on April 8, 2014, 10:47 am

        Bandolero

        Your metaphor the changing direction of the tide is really very apt. It describes the totality of what is happening in Israel’s relationship with the world, it’s more than the diplomatic action alone. Although it does also describe the effects of diplomacy, both European and US.

        Also strongly agree with you on Germany. I mentioned the Romanian foreign minister interview because he was so forthcoming on the European agenda. But yes, gosh, for Americans it’s a little unsettling. Come to find out the slut has a special relationship with another nation!? Oh well. But there’s good news on that front — the special relationship with Germany is being frayed the same as ours, even the nature of the fights sound similar:

        “Recent years have seen several instances of tension between Germany and Israel. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have even shouted at each other on the telephone while discussing Israeli policies toward Palestinians.”

        http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/relations-between-germany-and-israel-at-all-time-low-for-merkel-a-954118.html

        shouting over the phone… shades of Obama-Netanyahu. I wonder if Netanyahu went off in a snit and started courting the Bundestag behind Merkel’s back…

        “The Israelis are still deeply unhappy with Germany’s abstention in a vote before the United Nations General Assembly in December 2012 to grant the Palestinians the status of a “non-member observer state.” Leaders in Jerusalem had believed Germany would vote against it. Berlin’s vote was particularly important because Israel had long seen Germany as a guarantee that the EU would not be unanimously opposed to Israeli interests.”

        Looking good I think, Bandolero. If it gets to UN sanctions against Israel, I would be ecstatic if Obama abstained instead of giving the automatic UN veto. It would be like the 2nd Declaration of American Independence. My opinion is it will not get that far, I think the Israelis will settle on the threat. But lovely pipe-dream don’t you think?

      • Bandolero on April 9, 2014, 11:27 pm

        Brenda

        “I think the Israelis will settle on the threat. But lovely pipe-dream don’t you think?”

        As it is reporting that Netanyahu shouted at Merkel I think Netanyahu is seriously underestimating Merkel. Merkel has a lot of experiences in dealing with arrogant men.

        Her own party, the CDU, is full of men who felt themselves powerful and didn’t see a dispute with a girl like Merkel as something real serious. All of them are politically dead now. A similar thing happened on the European stage: Berlusconi, Sarkozy, and whatever man else felt himself powerful in the face of Merkel and behaved arrogant, all are gone. Merkel has her own way in dealing with arrogant men. When such powerful men realize that Merkel is seriously out to get them done, they are already in a hopeless position because, before Merkel tackles someone, Merkel changes the environment in a way that suits her. See Merkel’s EU austerity policy as an example – I don’t believe one second that she enforced austerity because she believes in it economically. I think Merkel used austerity as a tool to shoot down “unpleasant” European politicians like Berlusconi and Sarkozy. When Merkel fights against a political adversary the price for her victory may be whatever it may cost:

        http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/politics/2012/06/angela-merkels-mania-austerity-destroying-europe

        A similar thing might happen to Netanyahu, especially now, after he screamed at her. It takes some time, but when Merkel’s efforts kick in, they are usually very powerful. If, however, the Israelis ditch Netanyahu, and more constructive forces come to the table, it might that a compromise can be reached before the Merkel-effect takes a huge toll on Israel.

      • NickJOCW on April 6, 2014, 7:03 am

        Brenda is quite right, I’ve always felt the impetus would come from Europe. What intrigues me is the suspicion that Obama has long known this and has been working towards it by gently taking his hand off the brake while no one was watching. Israel’s security is a military matter and doesn’t include the security of its illegal actions against a BDS onslaught. That’s what Ya’alon and others have come to realise and why they are so pissed off with Kerry. Just look at the unequivocal way The Independent reported Abbas’ actions a couple of days ago.

        The troubled peace process broke down this week over Israel’s failure to release a total of 104 prisoners in accordance with its commitment when the talks were launched last July. Mr Abbas responded by signing applications for Palestinian admission to 15 international treaties and conventions, something he had pledged to refrain from doing in exchange for the prisoner releases.

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/mahmoud-abbass-choice-membershipof-the-un-or-extend-the-negotiations-9239506.html

      • Kay24 on April 6, 2014, 7:30 am

        They deliberately report falsehoods to make the Palestinians look bad.
        Mahmoud Abbas signed those 15 applications after Israel refused to keep it’s word (worth nothing really), and he knew the peace talks have failed.
        Typical of the US media to twist it, zionist style and make the occupier look like a victim, again. According to the their narrative the Palestinians just love to be occupied, blockaded, resources stolen, and suffer, for decades.

      • Walid on April 6, 2014, 5:58 pm

        Kay, I still think those 15 applications are Abbas’ boarding pass to the extension. They made him into an overnight hero and will get him a stay of execution when the talks get extended. This extension business is all hocus-pocus but it serves its purpose in delaying the day of judgement at the ICC to give time to Israel to make a deal and avoid being prosecuted altogether as any final agreement will have this as the number 1 condition.

      • Kay24 on April 7, 2014, 2:06 am

        I hope so Walid, although I think (more emotionally I suppose) that Israel does not deserve any more time, and certainly not another chance.
        Enough is enough. Every day that passes is crucial, because zionists continue their brutal military occupation, and the Palestinian people suffer, or lose, even more than they have.

      • annie on April 7, 2014, 2:27 am

        This extension business is all hocus-pocus but it serves its purpose in delaying the day of judgement at the ICC

        true, but as i recall the prisoners to be released in this deal were not israel’s choice, they were the palestinian negotiators. there were some crucial people ..like perhaps abbas’s successor marwan barghouti. palestinian negotiators are playing hardball and they want borders. so it is likely or probable after israel releases the prisoners they already agree to release (back at the beginning), then the negotiations to extend might require israel to lay out a border proposal worth the time and effort of palestinians. so, i wouldn’t assume this is a repeat of last time or the time before.

      • Walid on April 7, 2014, 2:57 am

        Annie, sorry to be sounding like a grinch on this, especially that I’m always rooting and hoping for the Palestinians, but with their leaders’ long and disappointing track record of successive foldings and failures I can’t help thinking that this whole scenario of taking a stand so late in the game when there is practically not much left to take a stand about is nothing other than that and the final deal that includes a 20-year lease on the Valley, the swaps, the Jewishness mumbo-jumbo and the end of the RoR have already been agreed-to. All these posturings by both sides are soften up and make ready the people to swallow the bad news. I would love to get egg all over my face for being wrong on that one. People here are rooting for the wrong Barghouti to replace Abbas; Pam worked for the right one in the last elections.

    • just on April 5, 2014, 12:00 pm

      Thanks for the encouraging news!

      • peterfeld on April 5, 2014, 1:23 pm

        The EU pressure news is encouraging, but the analysis that it might revive the Kerry talks is depressing.

      • just on April 5, 2014, 1:29 pm

        I don’t think that will happen, peterfeld.

        The world is speaking aloud now……it’s time for the US of A to get aboard the train to freedom and peace for the indigenous Palestinians, and for Israel to be held to account…..

    • ziusudra on April 5, 2014, 12:16 pm

      Greetings Bandelero,
      Asselborn is very well known here in Germany, as he frequents the talk shows.
      ARD & BRD are state run tv channels which we all pay for here.
      They & all other channels ne’er show the Falesteeni, Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian & now Russian side of the coin!
      Asselborn Statement is truly unusual.
      ziusudra

    • Kay24 on April 5, 2014, 1:00 pm

      That is interesting news indeed. It seems almost the entire world gets it – that it was Israel who defiantly kept announcing illegal settlements during peace negotiations, kept moving the goal posts with demands of being recognized as a “Jewish” state, and could not define it’s borders. The Palestinians have shown they desperately wanted peace, their rights to be recognized, and most probably was willing to lose even more than they have. Of course, the US still defends Israel’s negative stance in the breakdown of these talks, some in the media, already blaming the Palestinians. As usual the US is way behind the Europeans, who have already started boycotting some Israeli products, and taking the lead. If only the US does the decent thing, and is severe with Israel, cutting all aid and support, perhaps Israeli leaders might realize that it is utterly stupid, and greedy, to want the status quo, and not peace.

      • MRW on April 5, 2014, 3:38 pm

        If one of the intentions behind the ex-IDF involvement in the Ukraine coup (like the guy called Delta who runs with Svoboda) was to help set up the upcoming sale of offshore Israeli gas to the EU, then sanctions will be prohibitive for Israel. A lot of investment has gone into the offshore project which is not expected to come online fully until 2018 (I think, although production has already started) and that timing competes with when South Stream is supposed to come online. Initially, Israel wanted to export to China and South Korea, but Russia is now supplying China via a monster pipeline. This is all speculation on my part.

      • libra on April 6, 2014, 6:19 pm

        MRW: If one of the intentions behind the ex-IDF involvement in the Ukraine coup (like the guy called Delta who runs with Svoboda) was to help set up the upcoming sale of offshore Israeli gas to the EU,

        The idea that tiny Israel would have enough gas reserves to replace Russia is as a supplier to Europe is preposterous. And would Germany be happier with Netanyahu’s hand on the gas valve rather than Putin’s? Don’t forget that Russia buys a huge amount of manufactured goods from Germany so its a mutually beneficial relationship. Just how many submarines could Germany export to Israel?

      • ritzl on April 7, 2014, 8:33 pm

        @libra It’s not about replacing Russia’s supply, imo. That would be preposterous. If it’s about what MRW is speculating about, the objective would be reducing Russia’s share and increasing Israel’s share, perchance to selling out Israel’s meager supply at a higher price.

        The Russian share of the EU market does seem to have been reduced because of Ukrainian tensions.

        Whether this diverges or converges from there remains to be seen. I wouldn’t put it past Israel though. It’s a nasty little amoral country, the embodiment of self-interest, and Lieberman is a known racketeer.

    • Kathleen on April 5, 2014, 5:42 pm

      thanks

    • bilal a on April 6, 2014, 11:59 pm

      yes, and Egypt’s new government, apparently echoing saudi perceptions, announced on state tv that 911 was an American Israeli operation :

      https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/10747-al-sisi-mouthpiece-uncovers-details-about-alleged-talks-between-saudi-king-and-obama

      “The American plan did not start today just as today’s positions did not come out of the blue. They have been proceeding in a consistent fashion since the events of 11 September 2001. It is true that the perpetrators were Arabs, Egyptians or Saudis or others. Yet, time has proven that a certain party, American or Zionist, was the one that hatched this plot or permitted its execution. The objective was to provide the Americans with a legitimate cover to mobilise their troops to strike in the region under the pretext of resisting terrorism. Immediately, they directed their strikes against Afghanistan and then they paved the way for striking Iraq and bringing down President Saddam Hussein under the pretext that he possessed weapons of mass destruction. “

  7. American on April 5, 2014, 11:39 am

    When the Apartheid State does arrive perhaps the world will have a good use for ALQ and jihadist .
    Battle of Algiers ring a bell?
    If there’s one thing the Israelis cant handle its their own blood being spilled.

    • Sumud on April 5, 2014, 7:34 pm

      While I agree Israelis are a precious lot, that would be playing very precisely into their hands; they know only how to combat (and spin) violence, not peaceful actions.

      Regardless if the perpetrators were Palestinian or not, global support for BDS would evaporate and we’d be back in familiar territory – the height of the second intifada with Israelis bleating endlessly about terrorism meanwhile killing Palestinians by the dozen.

      No, thank you!

  8. HarryLaw on April 5, 2014, 12:53 pm

    From Annie’s link to the J post above Abbas’s new conditions include complete halt of settlement construction, PA sovereignty over Area C, and no IDF operations in PA-controlled territories.
    One can only hope Abbas sticks to these demands, they will not get them from the Israelis because only a limited settlement freeze is remotely possible, which must not [according to Netanyahu] include East Jerusalem, I seem to remember the last short freeze [on paper only] had to be bought by the US with free? f16 jets. PA sovereignty of area C is probably the biggest no no as far as Israel is concerned, how can we [Israel] give away the sovereignty of area C when the whole of “the Land of Israel” including Judea and Samaria belongs to Israel and has done so for thousands of years. As far as no IDF operations in Palestinian areas goes, many Israeli observers do not admit that these areas are under occupation, which is not the view of the Israeli Supreme court, which say they are. I hope Abbas sticks to these reported demands, and realizes that they can only be achieved through the institutions of the UN, and of the ICC.

    • NickJOCW on April 6, 2014, 7:43 am

      I think he is defining in simple terms what the world should concentrate on. ‘Peace process’ is too vague.

  9. on April 5, 2014, 3:04 pm

    One positive thing today. Livni said in Haaretz that Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel intentionally sabotaged the talks by issuing the recent tenders for building in East Jerusalem. Usually they only blame the Pals but there is now a noticeable trend towards blaming Israel as well. Promising!

  10. on April 5, 2014, 4:17 pm

    Another snippet form Livni in the Guardian today:
    “Part of what happened in the past few months was more negotiations between us and the United States and less with the Palestinians,” Tzipi Livni told Israeli television.
    I believe we need to move to more meetings, more direct negotiations, more than we have had so far, and I think the Americans know this,” Livni said. “American involvement – yes, but as facilitators of bilateral negotiations.”
    I think that there should be more direct shouting and screaming between the Pals and the Israelis in order to get the picture straight. The Americans are only filtering out what they do not like and as many have said before ” acting like the lawyers for Israel”.

    • puppies on April 5, 2014, 7:41 pm

      @unverified – “more meetings, more direct negotiations, more than we have had so far,” more bullshit, more pretending, more procrastination, until we can have the land entirely cleansed of its owners and entirely secured. We know the game. There’s no call to be optimistic when one of the pirates proposes even more blackmailing sessions. There’s no call to pretend there is more than just one side to these “negotiations”: the Zionists, their two sock puppets, and their endless soap opera drama.

  11. Bandolero on April 5, 2014, 6:33 pm

    Have a look what Reuters says which side is to blame for the failure of the talks:

    The talks were catapulted into crisis when Israel refused to act on a previously agreed release of Palestinian prisoners unless it had assurances the Palestinians would continue negotiations beyond an initial end-April deadline.

    Source:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/05/us-palestinian-israel-idUSBREA340IR20140405

    Reuters – which is not really known as a bastion of pro-Palestinian activism – blames Israel for the collapse of the talks!

    • annie on April 5, 2014, 7:43 pm

      bandalero, livni is funny in your link

      The United States should change its role in the Middle East peace process allowing for more direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel’s chief negotiator Tzipi Livni said on Saturday.

      she makes it seem as tho after decades israelis and palestinians have not had the opportunity to do this themselves. this reminds me of the big olmert lie w/the map on a napkin!!! lol. and who could forget her own words revealed in the palestine papers. where were the americans then?

      “direct talks “! that’s going back to the old hasbara: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/the-borders-stupid.html

      Does anyone recall how the last round of “talks” torpedoed? Israel didn’t want to submit proposals for borders. Back in 2011 when the Quartet, the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia, requested that both parties submit comprehensive proposals on territory and security for two states, Netanyahu balked and stated such proposals should be presented in direct negotiations and not before……And then, they got together and predictably no proposal from Israel was forthcoming.

      what is it they want to say in these ‘direct negotiations’??

      what a joke.

      • just on April 5, 2014, 9:04 pm

        Quite the disgusting old joke. I read the article this morning and harrumphed.

        (trying to be polite)

    • Kay24 on April 5, 2014, 10:11 pm

      Apart from hasbaracuda comments, most people who have been following these talks, know it was Israel that has been putting spokes in the wheel, making ridiculous demands, defying all and announcing more settlements, which we all know is detrimental to these peace talks being successful. The US media is once again dishonest in it’s reporting, by trying to blame the Palestinians. When it comes to Israel neither the controlled congress, nor the controlled media, can be trusted to act in a balanced manner. This time Israel’s deliberate attempts at sabotaging the peace talks and bringing peace for the region, are loud and clear. No doubts.
      To think our congress keeps supporting them right or wrong, mostly wrong, is disgusting.

      • NickJOCW on April 6, 2014, 11:05 am

        Kay24, Yes, but it’s spilt milk. As demonstrated almost daily now, the European press is more balanced, which essentially means pro-Palestinian since you can’t really be balanced towards law breakers. Fortunately, perhaps, not that many people involved themselves with these issues, which largely went on in the background with a lot of other noise. Now, when they begin to take an interest they come relatively open-minded and will quickly get the point. Furthermore, since I know folk here don’t like me mentioning latent antisemitism, let me just say there exists no underlying affection or sympathy for Israel and its populace.

      • NickJOCW on April 6, 2014, 11:17 am

        That last sentence, by the way, does not mean negativity, just an absence of positivity.

      • Kay24 on April 7, 2014, 2:12 am

        I agree. Most definitely the European press, for that matter, the media all over the world, is more balanced in it’s reporting of this conflict. The disparity is so obvious, the moment you leave the US. I was hoping Al Jazeera America would operate a little more like the rest of the world does, but it seems they have been stifled too.
        You are right, I sense the sympathy towards the Palestinians outside the US, and it will be up to the EU to make a stand for the Palestinians.

  12. Mayhem on April 5, 2014, 7:18 pm

    The demands from both sides are the failure points in the negotiations. Israel made concessions to release Palestinian prisoners, while the Palestinians offered nothing in return.
    The concerns of each side need to be properly resolved through the negotiation process and not by insisting they become the pre-conditions for on-going talks.
    Neither side trusts the other so there is no prospect for any real move forward and Hamas is always the spoiler. I am sure Israelis feel the same apathetic scepticism as the Palestinians in Ramallah.

    • annie on April 5, 2014, 7:31 pm

      they didn’t offer “nothing in return”. they agreed to hold off going to the global community/UN for 9 months. that was why israel offered to release all those prisoners. don’t act like putting that off for 9 more months was nothing. occupation is painful. israel got off scott free building away and killing with impunity for 9 more months. let the sanctions begin, then talk to me about pre conditions. israel demands the pre condition of occupying millions of palestinians while they are negotiating, don’t act like that’s not a pre condition.

      israel demands the pre condition of detaining palestinians without charge while they are negotiating, don’t act like that’s not a pre condition.

      israel demands the pre condition of bulldozing palestinian homes while they are negotiating, don’t act like that’s not a pre condition.

      israel demands the pre condition of murdering palestinian children while they are negotiating, don’t act like that’s not a pre condition.

      all those things have happened during negotiations, so you’re not fooling anyone w/your framing.

      • Mayhem on April 6, 2014, 10:14 am

        @annie, the easy way out is to blame Israel for the demise of the Palestinians, whose leaders have failed to lead their own people responsibly. To repeat Israeli diplomat Abba Eban words, the Palestinian leadership “has never lost an opportunity to lose an opportunity.”
        Without foundation you stridently slander Israel as

        killing with impunity

        Do you ever bother to utter a word of concern about PA corruption where extrajudicial killings are commonplace?
        And then you spruik, without any regard for facts, your classical left-wing hyperbole

        israel demands the pre condition of occupying millions of palestinians

        At least ‘hasbara’ is an honest attempt to explain – your approach is just rhetoric.
        Rational argument is certainly not your method.

      • annie on April 6, 2014, 10:31 am

        spruik? but it’s true isn’t it. israel takes unilateral action all the time. it is a pre condition of these negotiations that they are taking place under occupation. that is a fact. it is a pre condition of these negotiations that they are taking while israel is expanding settlements, that’s a fact. it is a pre condition of these negotiations that they are taking while israel is murdering palestinian children, with impunity. that’s a fact.

        Without foundation you stridently slander Israel as killing with impunity

        slan·der
        ˈslandər/Submit
        nounLAW
        1.
        the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.

        it’s not false!

      • NickJOCW on April 6, 2014, 4:14 pm

        Annie, I have rarely encountered such nonsense as Mayhem spouts.

        He only does it to annoy because he knows it teases

      • libra on April 6, 2014, 4:35 pm

        annie: there’s only so much hypocrisy one can endure.

        annie, don’t forget the Palestinians have to endure the sharp end of Zionist hypocrisy every day; we just get to see the obnoxiousness in writing. That said, surely the worst we have to endure with Mayhem is boredom; his threadbare hasbara has no originality whatsoever. Perhaps he’s Netanyahu’s speechwriter.

      • Mayhem on April 6, 2014, 7:01 pm

        @annie, can’t you distinguish between pre-conditions that have to be satisfied in order for negotiations to continue with pre-existing factors that already are standing?
        As for the latter just to mention a few that Israel has to deal with:
        1. Unwillingness to accept Israel as a Jewish state
        2. Education process that breeds judeophobes
        3. Hamas
        4. Leadership that is unable to make any landmark decisions for fear of severe retributions

      • Mayhem on April 6, 2014, 11:29 pm

        @annie, how about an independent source that proves ‘Israel is murdering Palestinian children with impunity’. You certainly like to use inciteful, inflammatory language that has no basis in fact.

      • libra on April 6, 2014, 11:51 am

        Mayhem: ….the easy way out is to blame Israel for the demise of the Palestinians…

        The Palestinians survive, Mayhem. Soon you’ll be blaming them for the demise of “the Jewish state”.

      • annie on April 6, 2014, 2:16 pm

        there’s only so much hypocrisy one can endure. reading mayhem blame palestinians for their own oppression while lecturing me about taking the easy way out is farcical.

      • adele on April 6, 2014, 3:37 pm

        What opportunities exactly were the Palestinians given that they missed out on?

        AbbaCadabra Eban certainly made sure though that he provided cover for Israel when they NEVER MISSED an OPPORTUNITY to steal land and oppress its’ legal inhabitants.

        Give me a break Mayhem. The world knows, but if you are happy lying to yourself go right ahead.

    • Daniel Rich on April 5, 2014, 11:38 pm

      @ Mayhem,

      Yeah, like back in the day when the Apartheid State ‘promised’ to ‘give back’ 95% of the West Bank and all of Gaza.

      Sounds good, until you find out what the remaining 5% consists of.

      Nice try though.

  13. Daniel Rich on April 5, 2014, 11:34 pm

    When I waddle through this @ http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/israel-hears-palestinian-objections-to-archaeological-project-in-jerusalem-and-approves-it.html I wonder how much sense it makes to continue those ‘conversations’, with regard to the Apartheid State, as the Apartheid State continuously, and for decades on end, has done everything in its power to undermine anything that could result in a viable state for Palestinians. If nobody comes to their rescue, the Palestinians will have a few strips of land 2 decades from now and be fully expelled in 5.

  14. Walid on April 6, 2014, 12:27 am

    No wonder Israel is so pissed off at Abbas for having signed the UN/Vienna Convention applications for women’s and children’s rights; IDF soldiers won’t be able to get their thrills beating up on women and children anymore.

    From Maan News:

    “Minister: Over 1,500 Palestinian children killed since 2000
    Published yesterday 14:57
    RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Over 1,500 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli forces since the year 2000, the Palestinian Authority minister of social affairs said Saturday.

    Marking Palestinian Children’s Day, Kamal al-Sharafi said in a statement that 1,520 Palestinian children have been killed and approximately 6,000 injured by the Israeli military in the past 14 years.

    More than 10,000 have been arrested, al-Sharafi added, and 200 are currently being held in Israeli prisons.

    “Protecting and supporting children should be a national responsibility,” he said, calling upon the Palestinian Authority to ratify a law for the protection of minors.

    Palestinians mark Children’s Day on April 5 each year.”

    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=687611

    • puppies on April 6, 2014, 1:33 am

      @Walid – “IDF soldiers won’t be able to get their thrills beating up on women and children anymore.”…. because somebody signed on to some convention.
      I am not belittling all the lawyerly work, mind you. It is important to have international conventions.
      But please review your sentence. Soldiers won’t be able to…? Some sense of proportion please. We’re talking Zionists and respect of international law.

    • Kay24 on April 6, 2014, 7:35 am

      All brutal killings, murders, and human rights violations have been mostly recorded, and should be valid at any international court of law. Amnesty International, red Cross, UNHRC, and even BT’selem, have reported Israel’s war crimes, and violence against unarmed men, women, especially children.
      M. Abbas should not hesitate to bring justice for his people.

  15. amigo on April 6, 2014, 8:20 am

    Meanwhile back in ziocentral!!!.

    Nuttyahoo and Bennet and co are planning to file ,”War Crimes Charges against Abbas”.

    Haaretz did have a link but when I went back the story was pulled.

    One of my most recurring wishes would be to see Livni/nietanyahu/Bennet/olmert/diskin/et al in a chain gang on their way to the Hague.

    Then if they disrupt the court by shouting over others (A zionist habit) then gag these War Criminals .

    • Shingo on April 6, 2014, 8:38 am

      Nuttyahoo and Bennet and co are planning to file ,”War Crimes Charges against Abbas”.

      I am guessing that the reason the story was pulled is because Israel would have to join the ICC Convention to do so, thereby exposing themselves to ICC’s jurisdiction.

    • Kay24 on April 7, 2014, 2:14 am

      That’s rich. The brutal military occupier, with it’s long list of human rights violations and war crimes, going to file war crime charges against it’s victims.
      This must be zionist comedy at it’s worst.

  16. German Lefty on April 6, 2014, 2:52 pm
  17. Bandolero on April 6, 2014, 7:39 pm

    Seems like today’s efforts to save the talks failed.

    “Al Manar” offers this report:

    http://www.almanar.com.lb/adetails.php?eid=804802&cid=22&fromval=1&frid=21&seccatid=21&s1=1

    And “Times of Israel” offers this one:

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/no-breakthrough-seen-in-last-ditch-mideast-talks/

    Both see “No breakthrough” just putting a bit different spin on it.

  18. ivri on April 6, 2014, 8:08 pm

    In considering a boycott on Israel there is little doubt that there are quite a few in Europe who would love to do that. Yet, while there will be some problematic steps for Israel a boycott is unlikely even to a limited degree – and a Luxemburg`s politician is not the person who can change that. There are too many reasons for Europe not to get into that to count. The Jewish history in Europe – mainly affecting Germany`s reluctance from too strong moves against the Jewish state; The recent warming-up relations with France; The lingering-on financial difficulties in the EU, which is a main focus there now and also makes common economic European action harder; The shrinking “West camp” in general (of which Israel is a part), which is especially acute now in the face of the Putin challenge and also due to the loss of Turkey, which is sliding into autocracy; The chaos in the Mid-East region, especially in the unresolved Syria case and the Egypt conundrum – not a good time to add another crisis; The big shadow of China; The anticipated US objection; The spectacular rise of the Euro-skeptics in the EU, which will distract attention and hinder moves that require strong commitment from members states – also some of these new parties are against anti-Israel moves; The lack of appetite of Eastern-European countries for a quarrel with Israel 9and perhaps then losing some US sympathy) – they are too worried from Putin and also have their own agendas, which are separate from Western-European countries.

  19. chuckcarlos on April 6, 2014, 9:48 pm

    the current crop of Israeli goons are more or less like crack addicts…

    they are digging their own graves and absolutely no one can reason with them…

    feel sorry for jews who put their faith in this sham…

    Israel is TOAST…

    most americans could care less…for that jewish state means zippo to us…

  20. giladg on April 7, 2014, 3:13 am

    Allison, did not Abbas’s term as president end five years ago? Are these the democratic values you cherish so much? Oh, okay, blame Israel.

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