After the US and our allies have spent the past however many months running around arm-twisting and cajoling the world to deny the Palestinians any recognition at the United Nations, after the US has intervened on behalf of Israel with regard to deteriorating ties with Turkey, Jordan and Egypt, after the US President gave a shameful, pandering speech to the United Nations articulating the Likud position on all matters and after the US ensured that the plan/statement issued by the Quartet two weeks ago would largely reflect Israel’s wishes, this is how our ally responds:
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Sunday that he welcomed “the Quartet’s call for direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions,” the premier intends to present a list of qualifications to the Quartet’s statement on a resumption of Mideast talks that in effect enfeeble that statement.
The plan, presented at UN Headquarters in New York by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, calls for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to renew direct talks within a month, to present proposals on borders and security within three months, and to reach a final agreement by the end of 2012.
The delay in Israel’s response was due to ongoing talks with U.S. officials, in which Israel asked for certain clarifications and assurances regarding the Quartet’s statement.
Speaking with Haaretz, one minister who participated in those meetings said that Israel’s answer to newly offered roadmap for peace amounted to a “yes, but” and that Israeli officials would present several qualifications concerning points included in the plan.
One such reservation is the three-month timetable presented in the Quartet document, with Israel expected to claim that such a schedule was unrealistic.
Israel will also object to separate negotiations concerning borders and security arrangements, and is expected to insist on a parallel discussion of the Palestinians’ recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, Palestinian refugees, and a Palestinian agreement to declare the conflict between the two peoples as resolved.
In addition, Netanyahu is expected to demand that the Palestinian Authority, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, freeze its bid for full UN membership in the Security Council during peace talks.
What right does Netanyahu have to demand anything?
As I wrote yesterday in my post about Angela Merkel, the Quartet (basically the US) worked with Israel on the statement they ultimately issued in order to ensure nothing in it would unduly offend Israel. Granted, Israel may not have received everything it wanted, but given the Palestinians received no such special treatment in being able to have input into the Quartet statement, this strikes me as particularly arrogant.
I suspect the US’ chief negotiator, Dennis Ross, is to blame for a lot of this shameless pandering. Ross has a long history of promoting Israel’s interests at the expense of a negotiated settlement to the conflict. And he makes no secret of it either. Why on earth Obama keeps this loser around is beyond me. I guess it is yet another bone being tossed to the Israel Lobby, who loves Ross specifically because he helps ensure there will never be a viable two state solution, all the while providing Israel cover by engaging in endless negotiations.
Europe (and the rest of the world), are you watching/listening to all of this? Time is running out. Are politicians in Germany, the UK, France, Russia, Australia, Canada, etc. willing to stand behind an apartheid one-state solution? Because that’s where we are headed, thanks largely to the unwillingness of the European Union nations to join together and prevent this never-ending kabuki theater orchestrated by the U.S. and Israel.
One last thing- the great thing about everything Israel and the US have done and said over the past 2 weeks just serves to demonstrate why the Palestinians really have no choice but to go to the UN and get the international community involved.