Stop worrying. The peace process is dead.

President Bush Discusses Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

    now is the time to make difficult choices.

Nobody is going to make difficult choices.

    I underscored to both Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas that progress needs to be made on four parallel tracks. First, both sides need to fulfill their commitments under the road map. Second, the Palestinians need to build their economy and their political and security institutions. And to do that, they need the help of Israel, the region, and the international community. Third, I reiterate my appreciation for the Arab League peace initiative, and I call upon the Arab countries to reach out to Israel, a step that is long overdue.

This goes against what Rice and Bush said previously. They called for first an agreement on core issues. Now he is back to the commitments under the Roadmap first. That’s significant. Although he calls for parallel tracks he orders their priority. Finally there is not a hope in hell that the Arab countries will reach out to Israel.

    In addition to these three tracks, both sides are getting down to the business of negotiating. I called upon both leaders to make sure their teams negotiate seriously, starting right now. I strongly supported the decision of the two leaders to continue their regular summit meetings, because they are the ones who can, and must, and — I am convinced — will lead.

Neither Abbas nor Olmert are able to lead where their people don’t want to go. This is form and not substance. Olmert will not jeopardize his government for the peace process. Abbas will not jeopardize his life with the peace process.

    I share with these two leaders the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. Both of these leaders believe that the outcome is in the interest of their peoples and are determined to arrive at a negotiated solution to achieve it.

While Olmert believes this, what Abbas believes is irrelevant.

    The point of departure for permanent status negotiations to realize this vision seems clear: There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The agreement must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people. These negotiations must ensure that Israel has secure, recognized, and defensible borders. And they must ensure that the state of Palestine is viable, contiguous, sovereign, and independent.

Israel is more than “a homeland for the Jewish people”. It is a Jewish state. His expression is a step back from that and he uses the words of the Palestine Mandate. Israel has no duty to ensure that “Palestine is viable, contiguous, sovereign, and independent”. In fact Israel is demanding that it be de-militarized and that Israel has unrestricted air rights both of which demands limit its sovereignty. The fact that all these things are demanded by Bush underscores that Palestine can’t be any of these things; ergo the whole idea of a two state solution is not attainable.

    It is vital that each side understands that satisfying the other’s fundamental objectives is key to a successful agreement. Security for Israel and viability for the Palestinian state are in the mutual interests of both parties.

The Arab desire to destroy Israel and the need for Israel to be secure are mutually exclusive.

    Achieving an agreement will require painful political concessions by both sides. While territory is an issue for both parties to decide, I believe that any peace agreement between them will require mutually agreed adjustments to the armistice lines of 1949 to reflect current realities and to ensure that the Palestinian state is viable and contiguous. I believe we need to look to the establishment of a Palestinian state and new international mechanisms, including compensation, to resolve the refugee issue.

Here he is no longer implying that Israel end the occupation but is back to his letter to Sharon where he talked about “current realities” being taken into account. What is new is that he is suggesting a tradeoff of current realities with contiguity.

    I reaffirm to each leader that implementation of any agreement is subject to implementation of the road map. Neither party should undertake any activity that contravenes road map obligations or prejudices the final status negotiations. On the Israeli side that includes ending settlement expansion and removing unauthorized outposts. On the Palestinian side that includes confronting terrorists and dismantling terrorist infrastructure.

This is the old formulation and it is not reiterated with conviction. Israel reserves the right to have internal growth. There is not difference to the outside world whether the settlements are illegal, unauthorized or an obstacle to peace. If Israel were to authorize them it would make no difference to the demand. Settlement construction will continue.

    I know Jerusalem is a tough issue. Both sides have deeply felt political and religious concerns. I fully understand that finding a solution to this issue will be one of the most difficult challenges on the road to peace, but that is the road we have chosen to walk.

Without the division of Jerusalem, the peace process is going nowhere. Israel has made it abundantly clear that there will be no division of Jerusalem. Even Olmert advised Bush that construction will continue and that means Har Homa will go ahead. Netanyahu in his strongest statement so far told Bush that Jerusalem is ours now and forever.

    Security is fundamental. No agreement and no Palestinian state will be born of terror. I reaffirm America’s steadfast commitment to Israel’s security.

Ain’t going to happen.

    The establishment of the state of Palestine is long overdue. The Palestinian people deserve it. And it will enhance the stability of the region, and it will contribute to the security of the people of Israel. The peace agreement should happen, and can happen, by the end of this year. I know each leader shares that important goal, and I am committed to doing all I can to achieve it.

The Palestinians will never compromise so it will never happen.

January 10, 2008 | Comments »

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