By Ted Belman
For any negotiation to end in an agreement, the parties to the negotiations must want an agreement at a price they are willing to pay or must need an agreement regardless of the price.
The US, EU and the UN undermine their own efforts to achieve an agreement because they ensure that the Palestinians don’t need an agreement by covering the total cost of Palestinian “resistance” including violence and incitement and they turn a blind eye to Palestinian corruption. Nor is there a need for the Palestinians to focus on economic development because the west will always cover the shortfall. Thus there is no need for the Palestinians to compromise and they are never held accountable.
Nor do the Palestinians want an agreement. The Fatah Charter calls for the liberation of Palestine by which they mean the eradication of Israel. The Hamas Charter not only calls for the same thing but also calls for the destruction of the Jews. The international community could care less.
The PA does not want a negotiated settlement because that would require compromise and the signing of an end of conflict agreement. This they will not do. Instead they want the world to give them the state of Palestine without the need for them to agree to peace.
John Kerry understands this and therefor seeks to get Israel to induce the PA to enter negotiations by giving them something in advance. Anything to keep the process going. The PA is happy to pocket the inducement though they have no intention of negotiating in good faith.
Last time around, PM Netanyahu was given a choice of what inducement to provide; release over 100 Palestinian murders or institute a freeze of settlement construction in Jerusalem and east of the green line, (’67 lines). He choose the former. But this wasn’t good enough for the US who also forced him to effect a de facto freeze which still is in place today, over 6 months after the end of the process.
On the other hand, there is no question that Israel both needs and wants an agreement. But the price demanded by the international community is too high. The broad strokes of the agreement have been laid down by them namely ’67 lines plus swaps, a division of Jerusalem and sooner or later a withdrawal from the Jordan Valley. But such a deal is not good enough for the Palestinians who continue to demand the “right of return” and to reject recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinians will also not agree to an end-of-conflict agreement.
According to a recent poll, 75% of Israelis, not including Arab Israelis, reject a two-state solution that requires any of these things. Netanyahu is not about to defy them.
Accepting these terms would require Jews to abandon their biblical heritage and their legal rights to the land. It would also necessitate evacuating 150,000 Israelis at a cost, estimated in excess, of $100 billion. And finally withdrawal would be an existential threat to Israel. As we have seen time and time again, international forces are worthless. Only the IDF can and will defend Israel.
Although the US says that the conflict must be resolved by direct negotiations, it severely limits those negotiations by mandating the outcome.
Perhaps Kerry is not insane. Perhaps he is not expecting a different result but merely wants to maintain the status quo and he sees the process as the best way to do this. Maintaining the peace process enables the US to remain involved, justifies their demands of Israel for concessions and curries favor with Saudi Arabia and other Arabs states that require the US to do something.
Of course, Kerry or Obama would never say so. Instead they make the ridiculous claim that the most important thing in the Middle East is to resolve the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, that it is costing the US blood and treasure and that it is fueling the rise of ISIS.
To enable the pretense to continue for the foreseeable future, they demand that Israel do nothing to strengthen her hold on Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria including building homes for Jews there or by any other activity.
This is a losing proposition. The Jewish will to reconstitute their ancient homeland in Judea and Samaria, as authorized by the Mandate for Palestine, will strengthen with each passing year.
By demanding a Palestinian state, the world is preventing the resolution of the conflict.
The time has long past for the US to cease this charade and to focus on resolving the conflict rather than creating another Arab state. If the US really wanted to resolve the conflict, it would allow Israel to manage the conflict as she sees and to fashion any solution it perceives as doable.
The world is also preventing the resolution of the conflict by supporting UNRWA which is mandated to maintain the Arab refugees, including their descendants, in a stateless limbo rather than to resettle them as UNHCR does. Should the refugees be resettled elsewhere, it would go a long way to ending the conflict.
The world is squandering an opportunity now to solve the Gaza problem and thus contribute to resolving the conflict. Martin Sherman, in his cogent article, Let Their People Go, argues for resettlement of Gazans rather than reconstruction of homes.
“Anybody with an iota of intellectual integrity, a minimal grasp of the facts on the ground, and a smidgen of moral concern for “the other,” must know that the only feasible solution for Gaza that can offer any realistic hope for the future, is not its RE-construction, but it’s DE-construction. [..]
“[T]he only durable solution is the dismantling of Gaza, humanitarian relocation of its non-belligerent Arab population, and extension of Israeli sovereignty over the region.”
Finally the US will not let Israel destroy Hamas. Surely this prolongs the conflict.
In the last conflict, to make sure that Israeli action was constrained, the US prevented the resupply to Israel of all munitions including hell-fire missiles. She also got the FAA to put a ban on flights to Israel thereby shutting down Israel’s only international airport. The USD paid lip service only to Israel’s right of self-defense while at the same time accusing Israel of breaching international law while exercising it.
Throughout the attempt to get a cease fire agreement, the US kept favoring terms that would benefit Hamas. Israel and Eqypt rejected these attempts and achieved a ceasefire in which no promises to Hamas were given. But thereafter the US continued to pressure Israel to change its policy toward Hamas and Gaza. It appears they were successful because Israel in the last two weeks has done a 180 degree turn around. She now accepts the unification between Hamas and the PA and she is lifting many restrictions on the flow of dual use supplies.
By every measure, US policies with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict perpetuate it rather than resolve it.