The “peace process” makes no progress because the US, Israel and the Arabs prefer the status quo

Comment by Ted Belman
Even before Condi crashed and burned on her visit to Israel this week, the intelligence communities in Israel and the US advised that no agreement was possible. Yet Olmert and Rice go through the motions. Isn’t it time that the two-state solution be rejected for a different model? Why is it that when it comes to Iraq and Iran all kinds of scenarios are mooted but not so in the Arab Israeli conflict. The US would rather spin its wheels getting nowhere so long as its Arab “friends” are placated. To allow Israel to pursue an alternate solution would obviously anger the Arabs. The status quo works best for the US and for Israel. Come to think of it, the Arabs like it best also.

World Tribune reported Dysfunctional Palestinian government seen pressing for more Israeli concessions

TEL AVIV — The Israeli intelligence community has reported to the government that the Middle East peace conference hosted by the United States in November was doomed to failure.

Sources said all of the agencies in the Israeli intelligence community have concluded that the Palestinian Authority would refuse to make any concessions or gestures that would ensure a successful summit in Annapolis, Md. Instead, the sources said the Israeli community has assessed that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas regarded the summit as a means to bring massive international pressure on Israel to agree to a unilateral withdrawal from virtually the entire West Bank.

A report by military intelligence said the PA has submitted a series of demands for the United States to pressure Israel over the next few weeks, Middle East Newsline reported. The demands included a prisoner release, the return of Palestinian insurgents from abroad, the transfer of tax funds to the PA and the reopening of Fatah and Hamas institutions closed in Jerusalem since 2000.

“Abbas is incapable of negotiating, let alone making concessions,” an intelligence source said. “His belief is that there will not be any demands made of him. Instead, we will face all the pressure.”

The sources said the intelligence community has presented its assessment of the summit to the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. They said military intelligence has warned that the PA was incapable of issuing or honoring any commitments, particularly in the area of counter-insurgency cooperation.

“The PA security forces have made very little progress over the last few months and remain incapable of controlling cities in Judea and Samaria [West Bank],” the source said. “The Fatah military wing is not under Abbas’s control either.”

Instead, the sources said, the PA has sought to recruit its Arab and Western allies to force Israel to agree to a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, massive prisoner release and the establishment of a Palestinian state in 2008. They cited plans by both Olmert and Vice Premier Haim Ramon for a unilateral withdrawal from at least 95 percent of the area.

The MI report said Fatah has been losing power to Hamas in the West Bank while the movement led by Abbas has been neutralized in the Gaza Strip. The report raised the prospect of a major Palestinian strike against Israel prior or during the summit.

On Thursday, Israel sent a message to the United States that warned that Egypt had failed to stop weapons smuggling from the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip. The message said the flow of insurgents and weapons from Sinai threatened the conference.

“The smuggling of weapons and terrorist experts from Sinai to the Gaza Strip through the Philadelphi Route [Sinai-Gaza border] poses a real threat to the holding of the Annapolis conference,” the message, quoted by the Israeli daily Haaretz, read.

So far, the summit has divided the Olmert government. Several senior ministers, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tsipi Livni, has opposed Olmert’s willingness to discuss the Palestinian demand for Jerusalem as well as the resettlement of millions of refugees in Israel.

The sources said the United States agrees with the Israeli intelligence assessment regarding the prospect of the forthcoming summit. They said the Bush administration has refrained from touting the peace conference or defining expectations.

“We haven’t issued any invitations yet,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. “We’re going to focus on making this meeting the most efficient and effective use of all the participants’ time to try to move the process forward.”

October 16, 2007 | Comments Off on The “peace process” makes no progress because the US, Israel and the Arabs prefer the status quo

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