I’ve been catching up on some older documentaries lately, specifically Oslo related. The reason for that is the fact that though it is about 15 years later, it is hard to deny that we are back in Oslo all over again. The Palestinians have manned their PR / negotiation teams with the same cast of characters, rolled out the same demands, heck even the format so far is identical.
In Oslo the main event was the back & forth on the document known as the ‘declaration of principles’, today again the rush is on to formulate a ‘declaration of principles’ for Annapolis. There are a few key differences however.
- The Palestinians, the US, Quartet envoy Blair, Europe – Pretty much everyone save Israel wants the declaration of principles done before Oslo/Annapolis, in order to be able to move to final status issues at Annapolis itself. This makes the now hovering without a date Annapolis summit more dangerous
- Instead of a hidden estate in Norway under secrecy, Annapolis will feature every media outlet on Earth increasing the pressure on Israel exponentially, throw in Rice, & the President and the danger levels go off the scale. How often does Israel seek to go against its stalwart ally when its needs are not on par with America, worse a few minutes from Washington itself?
- Instead of Shamirs, Rabins, & Sharons, we have Olmert, Livni, & Barak. These lightweights are liable to hit the mat before the bikini clad lady even holds up the round 2 card. Instead of a group of Zionists who helped fight, found & dedicate their lives to the state we have a group of self serving pigs determined to hold on to their own gravy train, prestige & egos. One is the most unpopular PM in history, the others are seeking the PM spot above all else. Barak in fact is solely responsible for the Jerusalem dividing shenanigans we see now, thanks to the Oslo extended to Camp David, extended to Taba fiasco.
- Back in Oslo Israel controlled Gaza, the West Bank and South Lebanon. Today Hamas controls Gaza, No one controls the PA held West Bank, and Hezbollah controls south Lebanon.. Lovely. These are the results of the last time we headed out for this folly, it does not bode well for the results this time to say the least. Barak himself the locksmith who handed the Lebanese keys to Hezbollah, and put Jerusalem on the table disastrously simply cannot be trusted politically, as his domain is the military.
- Instead of a strong Israel with defensible borders, we have a tarnished post Lebanon II team and a nuclear seeking Iran. While back in Oslo we had a freshly collapsed Soviet Union which let a lot of steam out of the Arab engine, today we have Putin recklessly reviving despotic Arab support in the region and brushing up on his cold war history.
- Instead of a Terrorist Arafat with full sway over the Palestinian people, we have a Holocaust denier with nearly zero sway over the Palestinian people in Abbas, one who needs to feed on Israeli table scraps just to stay afloat – This keeps getting better & better.
The whole thing stinks, Israel Harel (not the founder of the Mossad who passed away, but a Haaretz columnist sharing the same name) writes today that the whole thing looks like a disaster waiting to happen in the sense that this team representing us in Annapolis is likely to implode in our faces.. I share his concerns, he’s no reader of tea leaves. This is all unfortunately clear as day, which makes it all the more absurd.
The main topic of international debate today is over rights. For that reason, the Palestinians, who never stop speaking the language of rights, have broad support in the world and even in the Israeli left. The language of the rights of the Jews, however, is unfamiliar to Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who were raised in the Betar movement. It is not uttered loudly – it is not uttered at all – not even on the ceremonial level, by those who are cooking up the stew of concessions for Annapolis. They promise us, just as Yossi Beilin and company promised at Oslo, that “there is a partner for dialogue” and “we must take advantage of the window of opportunity” and in order to reinforce the partner “we must make gestures,” and, above all, for the sake of peace, make “painful concessions.” “The partner,” in case you were not paying attention, is the same partner as in Oslo, and the language of gestures and concession is exactly the same language that led to the Oslo disaster.
Abbas’ negotiating team represented the Palestinians in the meetings that led to the Oslo Accords. It is the same team that will be facing us at Annapolis. Yasser Arafat went to the White House to reap the profits and, eventually, the Nobel Peace Prize. This team, headed by Ahmed Qureia, has returned 15 years later to push us into a new corner.
Israel already suffers the image of an opponent of peace. The regular guest at the Prime Minister’s Residence is unsheathing its claws and has stated that unless the 1967 borders are followed precisely, there will be no arrangement. He refuses to talk about canceling the right of return.
What about Israel? As usual, it is bewildered and defensive. If that is the case now, it is a snap to guess how it will behave under the intense media spotlight of Annapolis.
Rice having been here 4 days, now sees the logic in downplaying expectations. Evidently a visit here in reality which is less pastoral than the respected halls of Annapolis jolted her out of her reverie. The two sides are far apart, the Palestinians have nothing to give yet demand the world, while Israel the ally here, is being crunched and is likely to split like a wine grape.
The legacy of Annapolis won’t be peace, it will be concessions and the final stroke of this government. Just ask Barak, the last time he played peacemaker on the beaches of Taba he got his govt handed to him on a platter & a nice long 10 year vacation – Booted out on his tuchus by the Israeli electorate while Israel faced a new intifada.
Israel’s public itself is not even paying attention, unlike last time there is no wave of euphoria, no massive peace camp with marches & music. You have to walk miles to find someone who actually believes Annapolis is about peace around here.
UPDATE: Back to reality; Rice lays it out on the table.
Sec. Rice on her plane out of Tel-Aviv gave statements to reporters, they are quite encouraging and touch on a number of the issues raised above. Chiefly, a return to the Roadmap meaning commitments must be met before rushing to statehood, she recognized past failures & their effects on Israeli security. She also importantly distanced possible declarations from their resolution, meaning core issues raised by the parties will require negotiation, movement, resolution, verification & time – Not raw demands that are a fait accompli.
YNET has the story:
Rice lowers expectations ahead of peace conference
Yitzhak Benhorin Published: 10.18.07, 22:22 / Israel News
WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that Israel and the Palestinians would have to implement the diplomatic plan known as the road map en route to a permanent peaceagreement. Speaking to reporters on her flight from Tel Aviv to London, Rice hinted that to advance the peace process, Israel would have to freeze settlement growth and dismantle illegal outposts, while the Palestinians would have to take apart terror infrastructures.
Sources in Washington said the secretary of state’s comments indicate a “back to reality” attitude on her part. Rice said that her Mideast trip focused not only on obtaining a declaration of principles, but also on implementing the Road Map. “Obviously, this is the beginning of a process and it’s the most serious process that they’ve had in some time (Israel and the Palestinian Authority),” she said.
“And so I talked not only about the document but also about how they could, in advance of any meeting that would take place, enhance confidence that they are indeed moving to a new set of conditions. And that means carrying out phase one of the Road Map obligations. It means confidence-building measures that might be taken. So we spent a great deal of time, a good deal of time, on that issue as well.”
Rice also expressed her thoughts on the possible threats Israel may face should it withdraw from the territories. “If, in fact, they’re going to be asked to withdraw from the West Bank at some point, what does that mean for the security of Israel?That’s a fair question. It really is,” she said. “And so one of the things that I take back is that we are going to need to spend a lot of time thinking about how this (Palestinian) state, if we are fortunate enough to be able to bring it into being, how it is going to relate to the security of its neighbor and vice versa.
“They (Israel) had the withdrawal from Lebanon and it brought instability in Lebanon. They had the withdrawal from the Gaza, and look what happened in Gaza,” said the secretary of state. National Security Advisor Steve Hadley is expected to arrive in Israel next week, while Rice is scheduled to return to the region in November.
Rice said there was significant progress made regarding the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but stressed that the declaration of principles, which will apparently be presented at the upcoming Annapolis peace conference, would not resolve them. “It couldn’t completely do that in seven weeks, eight weeks, nine weeks. It couldn’t conceivably do that. So all this document is trying to do is to demonstrate that they believe that they have a basis for pushing forward on the resolution of those outstanding issues,” she said.
This is the 1st time of note we have heard pragmatism re-inserted into these discussions from the US perspective. Peace is a worthy goal, it must also be a workable peace, a practical peace & a real peace. These comments should hopefully bring both parties (who am I kidding, I mean the PA) back to earth. They’ve been talking a big game about ‘not attending’, apparently they don’t read the Hashmonean or they would know all my whining of late is precisely because you do not dis the Secretary of State of the United States of America lightly.
Rice’s comments are big step towards Israel avoiding that type of territory entirely, we will see what Mr. Abbas has to say.
Via memeorandum this gem from the Globe & Mail in frosty autumn Canada..
Some Palestinians prefer life in Israel – In East Jerusalem, residents say they would fight a handover to Abbas regime
MARK MACKINNON Globe and Mail
JERUSALEM – After 40 years of living under Israeli occupation, two stints in Israeli prisons and a military checkpoint on the same road as his odds-and-ends shop, one would think Nabil Gheit would be happy to hear an Israeli prime minister contemplate handing over parts of East Jerusalem to Palestinian control.
But the mayor of Ras Hamis, a Palestinian neighbourhood on the eastern fringe of this divided city, says that he can’t think of a worse fate for him and his constituents than being handed over to the weak and ineffective Palestinian Authority right now.
“If there was a referendum here, no one would vote to join the Palestinian Authority,” Mr. Gheit said, smoking a water pipe as he whiled away the afternoon watching Lebanese music videos. “We will not accept it. There would be another intifada [uprising] to defend ourselves from the PA.”
In comments that are likely to stir fierce debate on both sides, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested yesterday that Israel could relinquish several Arab areas on the periphery of East Jerusalem. The idea is likely to please very few, since many Israelis consider Jerusalem indivisible, while few Palestinians would accept a peace deal that didn’t include sovereignty over the al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam.
Those who live in the neighbourhoods Mr. Olmert spoke of handing over are nonetheless worried that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who is seen as weak and desperate for an achievement after losing control of the Gaza Strip to the Islamist Hamas movement, will accept the offer. They dislike the idea of their neighbourhoods, which are generally more prosperous than other parts of the West Bank, being absorbed into the chaotic Palestinian territories.
Mr. Gheit, with two posters of “the martyr Saddam Hussein” hanging over his cash register, can hardly be called an admirer of the Jewish state. But he says that an already difficult life would get worse if those living in Ras Hamis and the adjoining Shuafat refugee camp were suddenly no longer able to work in Israel, or use its publicly funded health system.
The 53-year-old said he’d be happy to one day live in a properly independent Palestinian state, but not one that looks anything like the corruption-racked and violence-prone areas that are split between the warring Hamas and Fatah factions. “I don’t believe in these factions. I only believe in putting bread on the table for my children. I fight only for them. At least in Israel, there’s law.” [...]
There’s more in the article, but it’s nice to see how happy the Palestinians have been so far in committing usury of Israel’s generosity to them. Few people realize the Palestinians barely had electricity or running water before Israel conquered territories from Jordan & Egypt in 1967, and now they benefit from massive development by Israel. Don’t expect them to admit this often as it doesn’t jive with the BS narrative we hear about everyday in the media of how poorly treated & abused the Palestinians are by the little Satan Israel..
More amazingly, the World is rushing to jam the Palestinians towards an un-viable due to their own incompetence state, as if this will magically cure the world’s ills. Seems, no matter what course is taken the Palestinians will resort to, you guessed it.. violence.
Blair better hurry up with all that institution building, as free Israeli health care, welfare, social services, justice & legal systems etc etc won’t last forever..
UPDATE: Palestinians in Israel have it better than Palestinians in Lebanon, BY FAR.
Amnesty International wakes up 60 YEARS later and finally acknowledges what has been widely known in these parts for decades, but remains hidden under the carpet by the rest of the world; That is that the Palestinian people are & have been used as pawns by the Arab world to keep the region in conflict and divert attention from their own despotic ways & regimes.
Haaretz via AP: Amnesty Int’l slams Lebanon for plight of Palestinian refugees
The Lebanese government must do more to alleviate the miserable conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon who are treated like “second-class citizens”, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
In a report “Exiled and Suffering: Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon”, the London-based human rights group said the refugees face discrimination in
education, jobs, health care and housing.
More than half the 400,000 registered Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
since their families fled their homes after the creation of Israel in 1948 live in 12 cramped, squalid and often unsanitary camps scattered across the country.
“The continuing restrictions on Palestinian refugees, which effectively
render them the status of second-class residents, continue to be little short of a scandal and they should be lifted without further procrastination or delay,” Amnesty said.
“The appalling social and economic conditions of those refugees demonstrate forcefully the failure of successive governments in Israel,
Lebanon, other regional states and the wider international community to respect and protect their rights, and to find a sustainable and just solution to their plight over a period that now stretches to almost six decades.”
Lebanese officials could not immediately be reached for comment. [...]
Notice how they chiefly 1st blame Israel up there!? Unreal, in any case the Palestinians in Lebanon who are termed refugees have been that way so long they’ve QUADRUPLED their population.. Why pray tell are they still refugees!? Because the Arabs prefer to keep them languishing in ghettos where they serve to enrage the world against Israel much more than they prefer to allow them to go on with their lives, perpetual refugees, the only ones on Earth – kept that way to serve their Arab masters.
Palestinian ‘refugees’, or should we say the grandchildren of original Palestinian refugees there in Lebanon are not allowed to own land, not allowed to work in numerous professions, be doctors, lawyers, nurses etc etc, build anything, the list goes on & on.
These terms are WAY harsher than ANYTHING Israel has ever imposed on its Palestinian population, but until today for 60 years you probably never heard anything about it, why would you? There’s no Zionists at work there in Lebanon, no meat for the media. Forget health-care, identity cards, or citizenship like Israeli Palestinians often benefit from, the only thing Lebanon gives them is the occasional bout of diarrhea from the sanitary conditions.
Where’s the outrage? The UN monitoring committees? The Arab League? Where’s Europe? Where’s the 20 odd Arabic countries who supposedly champion the Palestinian cause? All nowhere to be found, do you know why? Because they don’t champion the Palestinian cause, they champion the ANTI-ISRAEL cause.
CNN’s never ending slide into rampant leftism has further eroded the once heralded news station’s stature here in the Holy Land. A few years ago providers threatened to outright drop CNN from the grid due to what Israel perceived as enormous bias against our country in coverage.
The criticism went all the way up to official government spokespeople. That led to intervention by senior CNN executives and pledges to stiffen up the network’s coverage from the spineless jihad love fest normally being exhibited..
Now HOT Cable, the largest cable provider in Israel wants better terms on CNN’s renewal here, citing the network’s ‘fall from grace’ as the cable news leader to the Fox News network & is threatening to simply drop CNN outright.
More than half of Israel’s TV audience will lose access to CNN next month, the international news channel said Tuesday. The announcement came as contract negotiations collapsed between the news network and Hot Television, with the 24-hour news channel saying it had yet to receive a “serious” offer from Israel’s largest cable provider. [...]
A Hot representative confirmed Tuesday the company had refused to match the terms of its previous contract with CNN, saying expectations that it do so were “unrealistic” because CNN had lost its status as the top-rated news network to Fox News. The statement was a reference to Fox’s dominance in the American TV ratings, where it first surpassed CNN as the most-watched cable news network in 2002.
The apparent dig at CNN gave some insight into the tone of the negotiations between the two companies, which a CNN spokeswoman said had consisted of “a brief meeting and a few phone calls.” No additional talks are scheduled at the moment, officials for both sides confirmed. Hagit Mendes, the spokeswoman for CNN, described an initial renewal offer from HOT as “insulting,” saying the company would “basically deprive half the Israeli population of one of the most important channels in the world” should it go through with threats to remove CNN.
Mendes said that just three countries in the world – Iran, North Korea and Myanmar – didn’t carry CNN, and that “it wouldn’t look very good” if Israel were to move closer to joining that list. [...]
CNN’s typical liberal elitist arrogance is unmatched. We don’t need CNN here in Israel, nor would dropping CNN reflect poorly on Israel at all, the opposite in fact. It would be a reflection on the poor whitewashed Middle East coverage by the network, not Israel!
Miss Mendes like a little turd compares Israel to Iran & North Korea.. That’s the problem Miss Mendes, you keep equating Israel with Iran & North Korea the most appaling regimes on Earth, not only in your contract negotiations, but in your broad coverage which features endless moral equivalency that does not reflect reality. There’s so much Islamic ‘context’ & apologizing going on for the brutal savages that murder in Islam’s name that we here in Israel can’t stomach your network any longer.
On top of the insult that is CNN’s piss poor, monstrously left tilted reporting we are also expected to cut checks & pay for this privilege!? I think not personally. Israel is served by Fox News, Sky News, the already leftist diseased BBC etc and features one of the most wired / connected & informed populations on the planet, we don’t need your schlock – Take it & shove it where the sun don’t shine.
Don’t call us, we’ll call you.
Via YNET, loose lips at the UN leads to Syrian representatives mistakenly backing up claims that Israel struck a nuclear target..
Syrian officials have admitted that the site attacked by the Israeli air force last month was a nuclear facility, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, three Israeli diplomats present at a recent United Nations Disarmament Commission meeting overheard the Syrian representative clearly say that Israel’s attack targeted a nuclear facility. The Israeli delegation to the talks, headed by Miriam Ziv, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director general for strategic affairs, accused Syria of smuggling mass amounts of weapons into Lebanon in violation of the UN Security Council’s resolution. In response a Syrian representative said Israel was the aggressor and mentioned its attack on a “nuclear facility.” [...]
Meanwhile, Rice conducted an interview with Israel Channel 1 (Video in English with Ayala Hasson) and awkwardly fielded questions regarding Syria. Questioned about a conflict at senior levels of the Bush admin regarding Syrian strategy Rice referred to the incidents reported by the NY Times in some detail, mentioning herself, Cheney & Sec Def Robert Gates and then shot off a ‘don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper bit’, though she clearly has been reading a few herself lately..
Update: Big surprise, Syrian state run media denies it all..
Syria denied Wednesday its representatives to the United Nations had confirmed that an Israel Air Force strike last month targeted nuclear facility, and added that such facilities do not exist in Syria, state-run news agency said. The Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, quoting a foreign ministry source, said that Syria had made it clear in the past that there are no such facilities in Syria. [...]
Move along now kids, nothing to see here – A 7 hour investigation, wow! We all know how those work, I give you food.. You give me oil *wink wink*
Carnival Sunday has arrived, and with it a fresh Haveil Havalim over at the juggling carnival king Soccer Dad. Check out the Coulter section at the bottom for the big controversy this week, though I might maintain this was a controversy that never was. Speaking of fresh, the arrival of Rice today in Israel should propel the political news this week, as Annapolis begins to loom larger in the region..