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Palestinians Need Tough Talk From Europe

 
 
Reply Wed 26 Jun, 2013 02:39 pm
It is probably pretty hopeless to think that something will get the Palestinians to seriously negotiate a separate state and peace with Israel. However, I guess, considering the stakes involved, efforts have to continue.


Palestinians Need Tough Talk from Europe
By David Makovsky, The New York Times, June 14, 2013

The final communiqué of the G-8 summit meeting next week in Northern Ireland will invariably mention Middle East peace, perhaps supporting Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to revive peace negotiations. In any case, any statement will be promptly forgotten when the summit ends. Nevertheless, Europe can help Kerry.

It's worth remembering that just before the G-8 meeting two years ago, President Obama delivered a landmark speech on the Middle East, one that included an important expression of tough love. Here was a president of the United States, the traditional patron of Israel, saying that the baseline for territorial negotiations should be land exchanges based on the boundaries that existed before the 1967 war — a call that was echoed earlier this year by an Arab League delegation.

Because it delineated territorial terms of a peace accord, Obama's speech was not popular with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Nor was it well-received in the United States, where a leading Republican, Mitt Romney, charged that Obama was "throwing Israel under the bus." Democrats weren't very supportive either.

Obama won initial plaudits from the Europeans, but then there was silence. Unfortunately, the quartet of Middle East peacemakers — the United States, the European Union, Russia and the secretary general of the U.N. — never adequately backed the president's speech. After many drafts over the summer of 2011, Moscow helped quash any quartet statement of support due to aspects of the speech that it felt was not sufficiently to the Palestinians' liking.

The quartet has never recovered. It is no longer a diplomatic force, although its special envoy, former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, has been involved in favorable economic and governance actions supporting the Palestinians.

It's time for a unified European speech, one that would serve as an analogue to the Obama speech. If the U.S. president told the Israelis things that they didn't want to hear, the European Union, traditional patron of the Palestinians, needs to tell them what they need to hear. Such a speech would give Kerry a chance to succeed, albeit not a guarantee. It would tell the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, that he doesn't have a free pass from Europe, that E.U. patience with the Palestinians has its limits. It would also tell the Israelis that the deck isn't stacked against them in the international community.

It's hard for Europeans to argue that the Palestinians have exhausted negotiations, given that Abbas has agreed to only three weeks of talks in the last four years, and that an offer in September 2008 by Israel's then-prime minister, Ehud Olmert, never received a reply.

Of course, Netanyahu is not blameless: Consider the expansion of Israeli settlements. But the negotiating track has not been tried in many years, despite the myth to the contrary. The parties only agreed to deal with the final status or core issues one other time apart from 2008 — in 1999 and 2000, during Bill Clinton's final years in the White House.

In order to give Middle East peace talks a new chance, here are some things that a European speech needs to say:

The only way to achieve Palestinian statehood is through direct, unconditional talks with Israel. The European Union's council of ministers has said as much in a diplomatic communiqué, but it is not stated so directly to the Palestinians. The United Nations would willingly endorse statehood, but the Security Council has blocked this in the past, and joining Unesco will not lift Israeli control of the West Bank. The Palestinians must try negotiations. The road to statehood runs through peace.

Both Jews and Arabs have a historical connection to the land, and therefore, it must be shared.

Any Palestinian refugee can go to the new state of Palestine, but not to Palestine and Israel.

Israel is not wrong to insist on strict security arrangements. Security is not ancillary to any deal. Just as the world needs to empathize with the Palestinians' predicament, so too should we see security issues through Israel's eyes. On the Gaza-Egypt border, tunnels have been used to smuggle rockets into Gaza that have been repeatedly and indiscriminately fired on Israeli cities. It is indisputable that aspects of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 calling for an arms embargo on Hezbollah after the 2006 Lebanon war, were never implemented. Moreover, international peacekeepers cannot be the sole basis of security — as shown by Austria's recent decision to pull out of the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force interposed between Syrian and Israeli forces.
In private conversations, many European diplomats agree with many of these points. But no European leader has shown Obama's courage in endorsing them publicly. Perhaps it is time for the Europeans to stop complaining about the lack of American success in the Middle East. The point is not the identity of the messenger, but rather that there be a unified message.

Europe can and must have an impact. President Obama told the Israelis that they should have no illusions about the territorial price to be paid to end this conflict. The Europeans, no less a supporter of the Palestinians than the United States has been of Israel, need to do the same with the Palestinians. The Europeans need to tell them that E.U. support will no longer be unconditional.

Leadership is not about telling your friends what they want to hear; it's about telling them what they need to hear. Europe needs to reciprocate the Obama speech with one of its own.

David Makovsky is a senior fellow and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

 
InfraBlue
 
  3  
Reply Wed 26 Jun, 2013 04:52 pm
In yet another one of Advi's cut and paste jobs David Makovsky wrote:
In order to give Middle East peace talks a new chance, here are some things that a European speech needs to say:

The only way to achieve Palestinian statehood is through direct, unconditional talks with Israel.

The talks aren’t only about achieving Palestinian statehood. They are also about the Palestinians’ Right of Return and East Jerusalem as the Palestinian state’s capital.
Quote:
Any Palestinian refugee can go to the new state of Palestine, but not to Palestine and Israel.

Makovsky talks about unconditional talks, and then proceeds to set conditions.

Quote:
Israel is not wrong to insist on strict security arrangements. Security is not ancillary to any deal. Just as the world needs to empathize with the Palestinians' predicament, so too should we see security issues through Israel's eyes. On the Gaza-Egypt border, tunnels have been used to smuggle rockets into Gaza that have been repeatedly and indiscriminately fired on Israeli cities. It is indisputable that aspects of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 calling for an arms embargo on Hezbollah after the 2006 Lebanon war, were never implemented. Moreover, international peacekeepers cannot be the sole basis of security — as shown by Austria's recent decision to pull out of the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force interposed between Syrian and Israeli forces.

The very reason Israel lacks security is precisely because of its recalcitrance and refusal to accept its legal and moral responsibilities towards the Palestinian peoples.

It is plainly illogical, not to mention hypocritical, to expect security in the face of Israel’s oppression of and discrimination against the Palestinian peoples.

Israel wants to have its cake and eat it too.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Thu 27 Jun, 2013 04:34 am
@InfraBlue,
InfraBlue wrote:
The talks aren’t only about achieving Palestinian statehood. They are also about the Palestinians’ Right of Return and East Jerusalem as the Palestinian state’s capital.

Palestinians do not have any "right of return", and no Palestinian will ever be granted such a thing under any circumstances.

And at this point, there aren't going to be any more talks. It's just too late. The only available solution now is to forcibly move all the Palestinians to the Gaza Strip.


InfraBlue wrote:
The very reason Israel lacks security is precisely because of its recalcitrance and refusal to accept its legal and moral responsibilities towards the Palestinian peoples.

No such legal or moral responsibilities, and no such Israeli recalcitrance.

If Israel lacks security, it is because they do not bomb the Palestinians hard enough. Such a problem is easily rectified, as bombs are cheap.


InfraBlue wrote:
It is plainly illogical, not to mention hypocritical, to expect security in the face of Israel’s oppression of and discrimination against the Palestinian peoples.

"Forcing Palestinians to not massacre innocent people" (which is all that Israel is doing to them) is neither oppression nor discrimination.


InfraBlue wrote:
Israel wants to have its cake and eat it too.

Israel gave peace and negotiations a fair shot. Now that their many offers of peace have been answered with nothing but years of aggression, Israel has every right to take what they need by force.
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jun, 2013 08:33 am
@InfraBlue,
You say that the author sets preconditions. But he has no such powers. He is merely predicting the things to which Israel would not agree.

You chide me for copying and pasting. But you do the same thing to back up your silly and unreasonable statements.
InfraBlue
 
  3  
Reply Thu 27 Jun, 2013 01:02 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

InfraBlue wrote:
The talks aren’t only about achieving Palestinian statehood. They are also about the Palestinians’ Right of Return and East Jerusalem as the Palestinian state’s capital.

Palestinians do not have any "right of return", and no Palestinian will ever be granted such a thing under any circumstances.

Palestinians have the Right of Return through UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which is further reiterated in UN General Assembly Resolution 194, United Security Council Resolution 237, 242 and 338.
One thing is the Palestinians having the Right of Return, another thing all together is Israel’s rationalizations by which they’re violating the Palestinians’ Right.

oralloy wrote:
And at this point, there aren't going to be any more talks. It's just too late. The only available solution now is to forcibly move all the Palestinians to the Gaza Strip.

This act would only add to the Zionists’ repression of the Palestinian peoples, and it is doubtful, to say the very least, that the US would back such a move.


oralloy wrote:
InfraBlue wrote:
The very reason Israel lacks security is precisely because of its recalcitrance and refusal to accept its legal and moral responsibilities towards the Palestinian peoples.

No such legal or moral responsibilities, and no such Israeli recalcitrance.

Says you.

oralloy wrote:
If Israel lacks security, it is because they do not bomb the Palestinians hard enough. Such a problem is easily rectified, as bombs are cheap.

Needless to say, this act wouldn’t address the core issue of the conflict, the Zionists’ oppression of and discrimination against the Palestinian peoples, and would merely inflame the current situation.


oralloy wrote:
InfraBlue wrote:
It is plainly illogical, not to mention hypocritical, to expect security in the face of Israel’s oppression of and discrimination against the Palestinian peoples.

"Forcing Palestinians to not massacre innocent people" (which is all that Israel is doing to them) is neither oppression nor discrimination.

Violating the Palestinians legal, moral and human rights is precisely oppression and discrimination, rationalizations about massacring innocent people notwithstanding.

oralloy wrote:
InfraBlue wrote:
Israel wants to have its cake and eat it too.

Israel gave peace and negotiations a fair shot.

Hardly. What the Zionists gave were its own self-serving terms which were in utter violation of the aformentioned UN resolutions.
oralloy wrote:
Now that their many offers of peace have been answered with nothing but years of aggression, Israel has every right to take what they need by force.

Israel has no such right seeing as how what have been answered by years of aggression are the Zionists' self-serving terms and their repression of the Palestinian peoples.
InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Thu 27 Jun, 2013 01:17 pm
@Advocate,
Advocate wrote:

You say that the author sets preconditions. But he has no such powers. He is merely predicting the things to which Israel would not agree.

Of course, Advocate. He's advocating preconditions.

Quote:
You chide me for copying and pasting. But you do the same thing to back up your silly and unreasonable statements.


The only things I'm copying and pasting are my replies that I spell check before I post them.

My statements are neither silly or unreasonable, they're truthful assessments of the situation in Israel/Palestine.
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jun, 2013 01:56 pm
@InfraBlue,
I find your assessments absurd.

You are all about the destruction of Israel. Indeed, this may happen. But don't expect Israel to commit suicide.
InfraBlue
 
  3  
Reply Thu 27 Jun, 2013 04:04 pm
@Advocate,
Advocate wrote:

I find your assessments absurd.

You are all about the destruction of Israel. Indeed, this may happen. But don't expect Israel to commit suicide.

What's absurd, not to mention risable, are your bigoted, paranoid hysterics and hyperbole.
Advocate
 
  0  
Reply Fri 28 Jun, 2013 09:27 am
@InfraBlue,
If you are going to play the pedant, you should spell things correctly. The word is "risible."
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Fri 26 Jul, 2013 02:32 pm
@InfraBlue,
InfraBlue wrote:
Palestinians have the Right of Return through UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which is further reiterated in UN General Assembly Resolution 194,

General Assembly resolutions are irrelevant.


InfraBlue wrote:
United Security Council Resolution 237, 242 and 338.

No Security Council resolution mentions any "right of return".


InfraBlue wrote:
oralloy wrote:
The only available solution now is to forcibly move all the Palestinians to the Gaza Strip.

it is doubtful, to say the very least, that the US would back such a move.

Once it becomes clear that there is no other way, we'll be willing to look the other way and let Israel do what they have to.


InfraBlue wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Israel gave peace and negotiations a fair shot.

Hardly. What the Zionists gave were its own self-serving terms which were in utter violation of the aformentioned UN resolutions.

Your denial of Israel's past offers is even more reason for Israel to just take what they need by force. Why bother with more negotiations when the only thing they'll get for their trouble is you denying that they did it?

They might as well save themselves the trouble. I'm sure your denials of any future peace offers would be indistinguishable from your existing denials of past peace offers.


InfraBlue wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Now that their many offers of peace have been answered with nothing but years of aggression, Israel has every right to take what they need by force.

Israel has no such right

Sure they do. They gave peace and negotiations a fair shot, and the only thing they have to show for their troubles is you denying that they ever tried to make peace.

That gives Israel every right to now just take what they need by force.


InfraBlue wrote:
seeing as how what have been answered by years of aggression are the Zionists' self-serving terms

Denying Israel's past peace offers only justifies Israel simply taking what they need by force.
0 Replies
 
 

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