Peace Talks: What Is Behind The Palestinian Message?
Translations of this item:
For now, the Palestinian Authority's strategy is to continue talking while at the same time blaming Israel for the lack of progress. Its next step would be to seek international intervention and pressure to force Israel to all its demands, including a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.
Palestinian officials in Ramallah have lately been competing against each other over the release of statements regarding the secret peace talks with Israel.
All these statements have one theme in common: holding Israel responsible for the expected failure of the US-sponsored talks.
In briefings to Palestinian journalists, some of the officials have gone as far as threatening to pull out of the talks in protest against continued construction in the settlements.
Such statements and threats have accompanied the talks ever since they resumed several weeks ago.
PLO, Fatah and Palestinian Authority officials have described the talks as "futile," "unproductive," "a waste of time" and "a cover for Israel to pursue its policy of creating new facts on the ground."
U.S. Secretary of State Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Erekat address reporters in Washington, D.C., on July 30, 2013. Palestinians are disappointed that US envoy Martin Indyk has attended only one out of five sessions of talks with Israel, and some Palestinian officials have threatened to pull out of the talks. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
The officials who have been talking about the peace talks include the chief PLO negotiator, Saeb Erekat, PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo, PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef and Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Sha'ath.
Others have also been briefing reporters "on condition of anonymity" -- in violation of understandings reached with the Americans, according to which Israel and the Palestinians would refrain from talking about the peace negotiations.
There are a number of reasons behind the Palestinians' increased talk about the negotiations.
First, the Palestinian statements and threats are aimed at prompting the US Administration to exert pressure on Israel to comply with the Palestinian Authority's demands, including halting all settlement construction and the participation of a US representative in the negotiations.
The Palestinians hope that the presence of a US envoy at the negotiating table with Israel would help put pressure on the Israeli government to soften its position on a number of issues, including the settlements.
The Palestinians are disappointed that US envoy Martin Indyk has attended only one out of five sessions of talks with Israel.
Second, the Palestinian statements and threats to withdraw from the talks are directed toward the Palestinian public, which has not been quite supportive of the Palestinian Authority leadership's decision to resume the talks with Israel. The Palestinian remarks are designed to assure the Palestinian public that their negotiators have no intention to make "unacceptable" concessions to Israel.
Third, the Palestinian officials' comments about Israeli "intransigence" and "arrogance" are aimed at paving the way for holding Israel fully responsible for the failure of the peace talks. The message that the Palestinian officials are trying to send out to their own people and the international community is that the Israeli government, contrary to its public stance, is not interested in peace.
By sounding the alarm bell already, the Palestinians are hoping that when the talks fail they will be able to tell the world, "You see, we told you from the beginning that these Israelis do not want peace."
But these statements and threats have also proven to be counter-productive. The more Palestinian officials and leaders talk about the "futility" and "ineffectiveness" of the peace talks, the bigger the opposition grows to the negotiations with Israel.
Of course there is also the possibility that this type of anti-Israel rhetoric could spark another round of violence between the two sides.
No wonder, then, that Palestinians have been holding weekly demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip against the same peace talks that are being ridiculed and dismissed by none other than their leaders and negotiators. Why should any Palestinians be in favor of the peace talks when their leaders are declaring, almost on a daily basis, that the negotiations with Israel are just a waste of time?
Ironically, while the Palestinian officials are inciting their people against the peace talks, they are also deploying riot police to break up demonstrations opposed to the negotiations. This happened on a number of occasions over the past few weeks in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities.
Last week, five Palestinians were injured during a violent encounter with policemen outside the Ramallah headquarters of Mahmoud Abbas.
Asked why the Palestinians are not making good their threat to walk out of the "unproductive" talks, a senior Palestinian official explained: "We cannot pull out at this stage because of American and European pressure. We will continue with the talks for six to nine months in order to show the world in the end that Israel is not interested in peace."
For now, the Palestinian Authority's strategy is to continue talking while at the same time blaming Israel for the lack of progress.
Palestinian officials are hoping that by the time the talks fail, the world would have absorbed their message: namely, that the Israelis are not interested in peace. The Palestinian Authority's next step would be to seek international intervention and pressure to force Israel to accept all its demands, including a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.
Reader comments on this item
|Diplomacy with Palestinians [195 words]||A.T. Halmay||Sep 10, 2013 07:40|
|Let us note [145 words]||Jehudah Ben-Israel||Sep 10, 2013 06:12|
Comment on this item
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Soeren Kern
Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam and as a central hub for European jihadists to fight in Syria.
The proposed revisions would, among other changes, regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran to prevent its "misinterpretation" by Islamic extremists.
Muslims would be prohibited from citing Islamic sharia law as legal justification for ignoring or disobeying Austrian civil laws.
Leaders of Austria's Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to "institutionalized Islamophobia."
Official statistics show that nearly 60% of the inhabitants of Vienna are immigrants or foreigners. The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible.
by Samuel Westrop
Over 800 Iranians were executed during President Rouhani's first year in office.
Leading politicians, British government officials and businessmen nevertheless seemed happy to attend and speak at the Europe-Iran Forum.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
The "Arab Spring" did not erupt as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, it was the outcome of decades of tyranny and corruption in the Arab world. The Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis who removed their dictators from power did not do so because of the lack of a "two-state solution." This is the last thing they had in mind.
The thousands of Muslims who are volunteering to join the Islamic State [IS] are not doing so because they are frustrated with the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The only solution the Islamic State believes in is a Sunni Islamic Caliphate where the surviving non-Muslims who are not massacred would be subject to sharia law.
What Kerry perhaps does not know is that the Islamic State is not interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at all. Unlike Kerry, Sunni scholars fully understand that the Islamic State has more to do with Islam and terrorism than with any other conflict.
by Steven J. Rosen
Palestinian officials have generally been silent about security cooperation with Israel. They are loath to acknowledge how important it is for the survival of the Palestinian Authority [PA], and fear that critics, especially Hamas, will consider it "collaboration with the enemy."
"You smuggle weapons, explosives and cash to the West Bank, not for the fight with Israel, but for a coup against the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli intelligence chief visited me two weeks ago and told me about the [Hamas] group they arrested that was planning for a coup... We have a national unity government and you are thinking about a coup against me." — Mahmoud Abbas, PA President, to Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader.
According to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, if the IDF leaves the West Bank, Hamas will take over, and other terrorists groups such as the Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State would operate there.
In recent months, Abbas has been making a series of threats against Israel. If Abbas becomes another Arafat, it could be the Israeli side that loses interest in security cooperation.