UPDATES 10 am Israel time, Friday, July 26 2013:
*The U.S. State Department was quick to cover John Kerry’s gaffe at the United Nations yesterday. Speaking to reporters, Kerry expressed hope that “peace negotiations” will begin soon: “It’s my hope that that will be able to happen as procedures are put in place by both countries in order to empower that.”
Both countries? There is no country of Palestine. Within hours the diplomatic wagons were circled and the State Department was saying that that Kerry’s statement was not a change in government policy.
It may not be a change in government policy, but it certainly lets you know Kerry’s mindset ahead of demanding ever more Israeli concessions.
*More demands from the Palestinians today which Israel must adhere to before the Palestinians will show up in Washington on Tuesday: 103 terrorists, not 82, must be released and the terrorists must include 24 Israeli-Arabs and Israeli residents of the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The Israeli cabinet is set to consider and vote on this terrorist release on Sunday.
*Also on Sunday the Cabinet will vote on establishing the Referendum Law as a Basic Law. This change would make it virtually impossible for the Netanyahu government to sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians without a vote of the Israeli public. Three cheers for Naftali Bennett for forcing the government to agree to this!
*Finally, someone in the Israeli government showed they have some cajones this morning with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon ordering the infamous COGAT head, Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, to turn down any and all requests by the European Union which relate to Judea and Samaria.
What does this mean?
*no new EU-funded construction projects for the Palestinians in Area C
*no more issuing of travel documents for EU personnel to travel in Judea and Samaria
*no more “work meetings” between COGAT and EU personnel concerning Judea and Samaria
All cooperation with the EU concerning Judea and Samaria is to be terminated immediately. Your humble servant would like to shake Moshe Ya’alon’s hand.
Can you imagine a news article this morning that reads:
“Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the PLO and the unelected leader of the Palestinian Authority, told Western reporters yesterday that the Palestinians are willing to make “significant concessions” for peace.
Abbas went on to say: “We Palestinians realize that the negotiations will be tough and both sides will have to compromise. For our part, we are ready to be flexible on the issues of Palestinian refugees and recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.”
He continued that the Palestinians are willing to entertain the idea of Israeli sovereignty over the Haram ash-Sharif in Jerusalem, and “while not agreeing to any preconditions” have agreed to pay Israel the nearly one billion shekels the PA owes in electrical bills in order to get the Israelis to come to the negotiating table.”
Of course you can’t.
You can’t because the Palestinians know how to “negotiate”. They never offer anything. Even when they make what seems to be a “concession” to get negotiations moving again such as agreeing not to pursue Palestinian statehood at the United Nations in September, their U.N. spokesman stands up in the Security Council the next week and accuses Israel of “war crimes.”
The Palestinians simply don’t care what the world thinks.
Contrast this attitude with that shown by Israel’s so-called Minister of Intelligence, Minister of International Relations, and Minister of Strategic Affairs, Yuval Steinitz. Steinitz, who also happens to be a protege of Benjamin Netanyahu, told the British newspaper “The Telegraph” in an interview dated this morning, July 26, 2013:
“We are prepared to make considerable concessions and it’s not going to be easy but both both sides will have to make very significant concessions and very difficult concessions. We will probably have to make very serious territorial concessions and the Palestinians will also have to make also those territorial concessions because there will be settlement blocks and things like that, but more important still they will have to recognize the very existence of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.”
In an otherwise fine statement about what the Palestinians will have to do, why in the world does Steinitz tell the world in advance “we will probably have to make very serious territorial concessions”? What kind of absurd negotiating strategy is it to tell the Palestinians what Israel is willing to give up before the Israeli concession process picks up full speed?
The simple fact is that Israel is obsessed with what the world thinks and will futilely go to almost any length to curry its favor. Israel seems determined to give away the store before even opening the door.