Although this article is four days old I didn’t want you to miss it.
By Zalman Shoval, Israel Hayom, July 22/13,
Just as in a B movie, the (artificial) tension only broke at the very last minute. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that he had reached an agreement with Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which would serve as a basis for resuming peace talks. American pressure on PA President Mahmoud Abbas, with a little help from the Arab League, did its job, and Kerry went back to Washington satisfied. Still, Kerry is no doubt aware that he still has to overcome, if not the seven gates of hell, then at least a Palestinian steeplechase.
The Palestinians – emboldened by the European Union directive this past week over Israeli economic activities beyond the Green Line – continued to play deceitful games until the last minute, until Kerry signaled that his patience was wearing thin. Despite their forced acquiescence to Kerry’s proposals, the Palestinians haven’t given up on their strategic decision to avoid real negotiations, where they would have to compromise on or renounce critical (to them) issues such as refugees, Jerusalem, borders and recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
The Palestinian strategy is unwavering and consistent, it’s the tactic that adapts to the circumstances: terror and violence, raising preconditions to begin negotiations, petitioning the U.N. or other international organizations. And now, so as not to come off as refusers and potentially jeopardize their American lifeline, they have apparently accepted Kerry’s proposal, though they’re probably ready to try and distort the agreement down the road.
And it’s not just Kerry who ought to be satisfied. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should also be pleased with his lot. Netanyahu’s consistent position completely paid off. Negotiations will hit the ground running without preconditions, just as he always demanded. To resume peace talks, our negotiators won’t have to pay “Israeli currency” for Palestinian demands: pre-’67 borders and development beyond the Green Line. Negotiations will start from zero, contrary to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s proposals, which would have had far-reaching consequences. (Abbas rejected those as well, anyway).
Israel truly showed flexibility over the issue of releasing Palestinian prisoners, but not to the extent that the Palestinian Authority had wanted. It’s very possible that Washington, as it has in the past, offered the Palestinians certain assurances, however ambiguous, over some of these issues (maybe this is what Kerry conveyed to Netanyahu in their phone conversation). Still, Israel is not obligated to what was or was not offered. Israel has been operating this whole time at its maximum diplomatic prowess (the government certainly won’t accept the Left’s shallow advice to announce concessions in advance over the issues to prevent “hurting any chance for peace,” or the delusional Right’s preconditions or desire to annex portions of Judea and Samaria).
As far as Kerry has led us to believe, a breakthrough wasn’t achieved. Rather, a narrow window to introductory negotiations was opened. We know that the devil’s in the details (and …read more