‘Peace process’ gone but pressure remains

Barry Rubin:

…any talk of Israel-Palestinian negotiations, peace process activity, compromise diplomacy, and all that stuff is meaningless now and here’s why:

The UN General Assembly made the Palestinian Authority (PA)-ruled entity a non-member state. Many in the West rationalized providing supporting votes or abstentions by saying this would do no harm and make Palestinians feel good…

Those of us who opposed this change explained that it means destruction of the 1993 Oslo agreement and the “peace process,” as moribund as it was, by handing the Palestinian Authority (at least on paper) everything it wanted without a single compromise on its part, not even living up to previous commitments.

And since the PA has just thrown away all the previous agreements it made with Israel, why should Israel pin its fate on some new one? Just as the PA took all the benefits it could from the Oslo agreement and then tore it up the same thing would happen–with a far more dangerous situation resulting–with a peace treaty in which Israel pulled out of the rest of the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Why is it that this issue is never even mentioned in the Western mass media, or by “experts” and politicians as a central aspect of the problem?

Mahmoud Abbas has now ordered that official documents bear the name “State of Palestine” rather than “Palestinian National Authority,” marking the end of the Oslo framework. Rubin continues,

In other words, the UN General Assembly’s action was the single most effective sabotage to a two-state solution since the Palestine Arab leadership’s rejection of a two-state solution based on partition in 1947. Much of the media, “experts,” and Western politicians will no doubt blame Israel and especially the Netanyahu government for the absence of a diplomatic miracle. In fact, though, Israel’s stances have now been rendered irrelevant in this regard. [my emphasis]

In a speech on January 4, Abbas made clear that he sees the Palestinian goal not as the establishment of a peaceful state alongside Israel, but the replacement of Israel by an Arab state. Jonathan D. Halevi describes it,

In his speech Abbas avoids all mention of a historic compromise with Israel that would bring the conflict to an end. Nor does he mention the land-for-peace formula, the establishment of a Palestinian state beside Israel, recognition of Israel, or Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Instead, Abbas chose to reemphasize that the Fatah movement has not changed since the day of its establishment – marked by its first anti-Israel terror attack on January 1, 1965 – and that the Palestinian people remain on the path of struggle. The keywords in his speech were the “dreams” and “national goals” to be achieved; that is, “historical justice,” as the Palestinians view it. Translated into the language of action, that means, according to Abbas, “realizing the dream of return” of the Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants.

Abbas reinforced his uncompromising message with a pledge to continue the path of struggle of previous Palestinian leaders, mentioning the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who forged a strategic alliance with Nazi Germany, and heads of Palestinian terror organizations who were directly responsible for the murder of thousands of Israeli civilians, including Halil al-Wazir Abu Jihad (Fatah), Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (Hamas), Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi (Hamas), Fathi al-Shikaki (Islamic Jihad), George Habash (Popular Front), Abu Ali Mustafa (Popular Front), Abu al-Abbas (Arab Liberation Front), and Izzadin al-Qassam (leader of the jihad war against the Jewish Yishuv and the British in the 1930s).

Abbas refrained from setting red lines for the “Palestinian struggle,” condemning terror, or denouncing Palestinian terror organizations and leaders. All of these, in his view, are equal and suitable partners in the Palestinian struggle, and their ideological platform, even if it is terrorist and/or radical-Islamist, is a source of inspiration for the Palestinian people in their ongoing endeavor to achieve their national goals.

In short, no more ‘peace process’. But that doesn’t mean the end of diplomatic pressure on Israel. On the contrary, the thugs on the ground in Europe and the Obama Administration now simply want to impose the UN’s diktat on Israel.

In an ugly salvo in this direction, the administration spoke through the pen of the friendly Jeffrey Goldberg:

In the weeks after the UN vote, Obama said privately and repeatedly, “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.” With each new settlement announcement, in Obama’s view, Netanyahu is moving his country down a path toward near-total isolation…

…what Obama wants is recognition by Netanyahu that Israel’s settlement policies are foreclosing on the possibility of a two-state solution, and he wants Netanyahu to acknowledge that a two-state solution represents the best chance of preserving the country as a Jewish-majority democracy.

I find it impossible to believe that Obama honestly thinks that construction anywhere east of the Green Line is what prevents an agreed-upon two-state solution. And it cannot have escaped his attention that the Palestinians are not on board for any kind of ‘solution’ that isn’t totally one-sided.

Nevertheless, he plows on, playing the good cop to the Europeans’ bad one, pretending that the pressure is for Israel’s own good. For some reason, no issue seems to be as important in US and EU policy than shrinking Israel.

Israel can go along with the program and endanger its chances for survival, or it can run the risk of whatever sanctions the Europeans and the US may dish out.

Neither option is terribly good, but in my opinion Israel should take the unilateral steps necessary to protect its security — and let the EU and Obama do their worst.

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4 Responses to “‘Peace process’ gone but pressure remains”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    Does Obama believe a peace process is really possible, after his experience in the past four years? I doubt it. He may blame us more than them, but I believe he understands well enough that they divided between Fatah and Hamas are capable of any real negotiation.
    So why the pressure?
    Well, I don’t think the pressure comes simply from the Administration or Obama. It seems to me it comes also from the Europeans, from the US Arab allies, and most insidiously from leftist Jewish organizations and ‘opinion- leaders’.
    It seems to me we too should remember that we presently have more urgent problems than a possible peace- process which most likely is not going to happen. Iran is working on its nuclear program, and has not been stopped. I suppose Obama is aware of that, and perhaps preparing a negotiating surprise for us. Syria is hopefully taking itself out of being a real military threat. But not quite yet. Hizbollah and its rockets are there, though Hizbollah is not necessarily suicidal. The whole area is in turmoil and the Shiite- Sunnite conflict pervades. Obama has to get out of Afghanistan without a great humiliation. That humiliation will probably come to some degree afterwards.
    Meanwhile the big project in the area of Defense is reducing the Budget. And that means no long – term costly foreign involvements.
    I believe in short when we look at the U.S. Administration and Obama we should not simply see them vis-a-vis us but also consider their total range of perspectives, many of which are probably beyond our range of perception.

  2. Vic Rosenthal says:


    One of the foundations of US Mideast policy since the 1970’s — when Kissinger promised the Arabs that it would be so — is that the results of the 1967 war must be reversed. This is why Obama continues trying to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which by any real measure is an unimportant piece of the general madness of the region.

    Most of the Europeans have never been happy with the existence of a Jewish state, and it has only gotten worse with the recent increase in European antisemitism, both the old Nazi-style and the newer Muslim variety. In this case I believe they are being encouraged by Obama, who yet again is “leading from behind.”

    I see the recent vote on Palestinian statehood — in which the Europeans either voted Yes or abstained while the US voted No — not so much as an illustration of a disagreement between the US and the Europeans, but rather as showing that the US did not try very hard to persuade its allies to go along with it. In fact, probably the opposite!

    Obama knows that for domestic reasons he couldn’t vote for Palestinian statehood in the UN — but he didn’t need to. While the US position is that the ‘solution’ should come from negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the UN vote puts more pressure on Israel to make concessions in order to avoid an imposed diktat.

    If, as you say, the US is actually concerned with the budget and various other issues, then the concentration on Israel and the Palestinians is irrational. I submit that there is something under the surface — either irrational antisemitism in State, CIA and WH, or a hidden commitment to Saudi Arabia and other oil producers going back to the time of Kissinger.

    One would expect new developments in oil production in the US to make the latter less important. In that case, one must wonder what the hell is the matter with the administration?

  3. Shalom Freedman says:

    Perhaps Kissinger made such a promise to the Arabs but it is hard for me to believe that this is the sole guiding principle of American policy all the years. Certainly there were many along the way, I think of George Schultz and perhaps too Clinton who genuinely sought the good of Israel also.
    The Arab- Israeli conflict and negotiations to solve it peacefully have been a central item on the U.S. foreign policy agenda for at least thirty- five years. The ‘peace- maker’ in this situation would be crowned as someone who has truly made or changed History.
    I believe you probably think me naive but I do not see Obama as intentionally anti-Israel. I believe that he along with most of the State Dept. and many American Jews, and even many real friends of Israel believe it is genuinely in Israel’s interest to sign a Peace agreement establishing a Palestinian state, and in so doing transform Israel’s position in the region and the world. Now I agree with you that this position is most likely mistaken. i.e. A Palestinian state would most likely not bring Peace, but much greater danger to Israel.
    There is a disagreement as to what is good and right for Israel to do. And those on the other side including people like Dershowitz are not necessarily in the enemy camp.
    Again though I would emphasize that the President of the United States dealing with the world must deal with many things, most of which have nothing whatsoever to do with Israel. But we when we are considering our own situation we always make a first element the question of the relationship with the U.S. This assymetry is not wonderful to Israel but it is the reality.

  4. SarahSue says:

    American administrations have never been a friend of Israel. When you look at the reality of today, there is a long list of bad decisions and deceitful actions that lead up to this point.

    Time after time when Israel was in real trouble, rather than getting unconditional support, there were always strings attached. She was treated as a supplicate rather than an ally or a sovereign country. We always knew best, not her.

    When America negotiated an agreement with Israel and our defense industry, she was told that she could not produce any weapons that would compete with America’s war plane industry. That was okay back then, but when Israel was concerned about a war with Syria, she asked the Obama administration where she would get replacement parts for her war planes. Israel was told that they would be send FedX. During a war, no less. Plus all American administrations have allowed the canard that our aid supports Israel and without it she would fail. As one commenter said, ‘We pay for the shirts on the Israeli’s backs. They had better listen to what America decides’. What baloney, yet many people believe it.

    George Bush gave one of the nicest speeches ever in Israel, yet he allowed Condoleezza Rice to badger and demonize Israel mercilessly. Remember the Annapolis Peace Conference in 2007 where she lined up almost 40 hostile countries against Israel to try and force Israel to capitulate to another hostile muslim state? Remember that these countries were so antagonistic that they made Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni come in through the kitchen?

    And how can anybody call Bill Clinton a friend when he forced Israel to negotiate with that arch terrorist Yasser Arafat? Yasser Arafat’s past was well know since at least 1971 where his double-dealing in Jordan made him persona non grata. He made agreements with Jordan and continually broke them. He tried to over throw the king, would not submit to Jordan law and caused thousands of his followers to die, yet this same person was elevated to peace partner?

    Then we come to President Obama. Went I researched him in 2007, I learned that he was bad for Israel and bad for America. His associates were the dregs of society. Sarah Palin was not kidding when she said he palled around with terrorists. He also palled around with communists, socialists and muslims. This was long before he became a senator. His past shows that he has nothing in common with Israel or America. Yet when he make one outrageous statement after another he has the media and the liberals to provide him cover. He will not acknowledge Israel’s own capital. He wants her to withdraw to the Armistices lines. He allows Susan Rice to chastise Israel at the UN. His first call to a foreign entity was not the PM of Canada, or the PM of Israel or any PM in Europe. Nope his first call was to Abu Mazen because that is who he supported long before he became president. All of Americas allies and friends were stiffed, not just Israel. His ring says, ‘there is no god but allah’, he says, ‘The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam’, he said, ‘Call to prayer “is one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset’.

    Yet we are still debating what his intentions are and whether he is a friend of Israel or any other democracy including America. My friends do not act like this. Do yours?