This is so frustrating but predictable.
I did a search of major news sources- Washington post, MSNBC, NYT, Reuters and even read the State Department press briefing from yesterday and with the exception of the Israeli Daily Haaretz, all are reporting Israel will return to negotiations based on the Quartet statement and is urging the Palestinians to do so without preconditions (see google results for this here). Here’s the problem- since the Quartet released it’s statement about 2 weeks ago Israel has been in constant contact with the U.S. trying to get clarification and assurances about what the statement does and doesn’t mean. According to Israeli officials, Bibi Netanyahu is quietly adding on his own list of preconditions to the Quartet statement if negotiations resume- I wrote a post about this the other day, here.
The implications of this are obvious- laud the Israelis for their flexibility and willingness to negotiate while casting the Palestinians as inflexible refuseniks. And round and round we go, where it stops nobody knows.
In addition, the media and commentators have made much of the fact that the Palestinian bid at the UN violates prior agreements between the parties. Well, guess what? Israel is in violation of prior agreements regarding settlements:
…Netanyahu depends on the fact that his tenants – namely, you, the citizens – won’t take the time to read the fine print in the Quartet’s document and won’t ask unnecessary questions. The main thing is that the media will report to the world that Israel has “adopted” the plan and is calling on the Palestinians to follow in its footsteps.
How many people will notice that the Quartet’s plan, which the government is now “happy to advance,” states that the authoritative source for the negotiations is a combination of Barack Obama’s May 19, 2011, speech, the 2003 Road Map and the Arab peace initiative of 2002? Who is able to pick out the differences between Obama’s speech to the U.S. Department of State and the ones he gave to AIPAC and to the UN? Who remembers that the Road Map requires that Israel freeze all construction in the settlements, including building to cater for the “natural growth” of the population, and dismantle the outposts immediately? Who is familiar with the Arab peace initiative, which recommends that in exchange for normalization of relations with the Arab states, Israel withdraws from the territories it conquered in 1967 (including the Golan Heights ) and lends a hand to a just and agreed-upon solution to the problem of refugees on the basis of UN Resolution 194?
Netanyahu has not changed his mind. The prime minister has learned from Ariel Sharon that there need not be a connection between accepting the Quartet’s plan and the facts on the ground. Even the UN Security Council’s decision to adopt the Road Map has not changed reality. Well, ok, it has changed; it’s taken a turn for the worse. Since the Israeli government “adopted” the Road Map plan in 2003, thousands of apartments have been added to the settlements, and the vast majority of outposts are still standing. And who is the American Congress punishing for breaching agreements by cutting aid? That’s right, the Palestinians, who dared to ask the UN to recognize their state.