Rice-Grip II: Summit Delay? Israel – No Sale.
Olmert Govt perceives upcoming chinese finger trap; seeks some sanity.
Yesterday I looked quickly at the hardening Palestinian position, in conjunction with the Vader like State Dept. pressure-grip on Israel.. Regarding the forced carving of a Palestinian State via this November Summit. It’s justifiably a hot topic, Soccer Dad also looked at the peace question and provided some good additional related links.
Today Israel is posting some reaction, the latest Palestinian positions are frankly untenable, whether one believes a peace deal is possible or not. Further, the as described until now opening terms themselves are liable to be meat enough to cause Olmert’s coalition to sway dangerously close to toppling angles. Israel has notified of a possible delay in the November time frame in order to set proper terms regarding the ‘declaration’, or negotiation guide for the summit.
Likely to reign in the wild eyed PA positions somewhat and loosen the Rice-Grip a little.
Haaretz – PM, Abbas meet in bid to formulate joint declaration
By Aluf Benn and Avi Isaacharoff, Haaretz Correspondents
[...] The meeting marks the start of the official negotiating process, which to date has been held behind closed doors between Olmert and Abbas.
There are significant gaps between the two sides’ starting positions, and a particularly bitter dispute revolves around the essence and substance of the joint declaration they are expected to draft. Olmert would like the declaration to be vague, while Abbas seek an explicit “framework” agreement with a timetable for final-status talks.
Olmert is now rejecting titles such as “declaration of principles” or “agreement of principles.” Instead, he is proposing a general “declaration of interests” – a term that did not exist in previous negotiations – that would serve as a starting point for detailed negotiations to begin following the summit, which is scheduled to take place in Annapolis.
The Bush Administration may delay its planned international peace conference until late November, so that Olmert and Abbas will have more time to formulate a joint declaration.
Olmert is also demanding that the declaration include a reference to two previous documents: President George W. Bush’s letter to prime minister Ariel Sharon on April 14, 2004, and the road map for a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Bush letter to Sharon stated that the border between Israel and the future Palestinian state could not be identical to the 1949 armistice line (i.e. the Green Line), due to the presence of “Israeli population concentrations” in the West Bank. Israel interprets this as referring to the large West Bank settlement blocs. The letter also says the final border will be established by agreement, which Israel interprets as referring to territorial exchanges.
The road map lays out a three-stage program for establishing a Palestinian state, and states that in the first stage, the Palestinian Authority must wage war on terrorism and reform PA institutions, while Israel must remove all illegal outposts established in the West Bank since 2001. [...]
The article goes on to flesh out PA demands etc, interesting stuff..
The letter was a key concession to Israel for the groundbreaking presidential push to recognize a Palestinian State in summer 2002, and Israel’s sacrifices since to implement that joint vision. Sharon requested this concept, that ‘the facts on the ground’ in the West Bank be recognized officially in the American peace initiative, as Israel cannot remove 200,000 people including major cities, be there peace or no peace. Even talk of peace must be pragmatic & grounded in reality, which is what Olmert is clearly seeking to clarify and set on the table, some realism.
I hope it’s enough to at least introduce some fresh air into the sudden screw Israel vacuum that this summit has become. Every day here in Israel on the news another anti-terror mission is carried out, from Jerusalem to Gaza to the West Bank they keep stopping & catching terrorists, suicide bombers – Our peace partners are trying to kill us currently.. Just thought I’d throw that reality bit back in here.
Palestinians suffering from memory loss
The big Rice push and the Palestinian reading their state is now a foregone conclusion, caused the PA negotiators to quickly forget the road-map, their requirements under numerous agreements, etc..
Something one should be concerned about as well the day after signing any potential peace agreements with them, as this memory loss phenomenon is habitual.
Quick Update: JPOST
Officials skeptical on deal with PA
Say coalition leaves PM little leeway in talking with PA; agreement would have to use vague language.