Sunday, January 05, 2014

Kerry's guidelines

US Secty. of State John Kerry arrived in Israel again for the tenth time since taking office, bringing with him a set of "Guidelines" for a framework agreement that he will apparently propose to both sides in order to facilitate the ongoing Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations. This is another in a series of such proposals, such as the Oslo Accords, Pres. Bush's "Road Map," and Pres. Clinton's "Wye River Memorandum." Media reports speculate that according to these Guidelines, Israel would be required to give up land in the so-called Triangle area in central Israel, containing ca. 300,000 Arabs, in exchange for the areas of the West Bank where there are large Jewish communities, corresponding to ca. 6% of the area of the West Bank. Such a land-swap would have pluses and minuses for Israel, it would remove a large population of Arabs from Israel, but would also mean giving up portions of land that have been part of the sovereign State of Israel since Independence.

Those who say, well Israel should be prepared to give up anything for peace should consider the following: 1. It may be illegal under Israeli law and certainly unpopular to give up any part of the sovereign state of Israel and would set a terrible precedent for all future negotiations; 2. Some political parties, including Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Homeland), say they would quit the coalition if Netanyahu agreed to such a deal, causing a major Government crisis; 3. Israel is supposed to get the land on which the settlements are built as part of the deal, but the Palestinians don't honor their agreements, and actually getting the land may require Israel to engage in a war with Palestinian terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, that don't recognize any such deal; 4. The Arabs to be displaced who are Israeli citizens may refuse to give up their Israel citizenship to join a corrupt, dictatorial Palestinian entity ruled over by a quasi-terrorist organization.

Not only is such a land-swap full of uncertainties, but another presumed part of the agreement would be that Israel would recognize a Palestinian State in exchange for the PA recognizing Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Pres. Abbas has already stated unambiguously that he will never agree to this. It would in effect be denying the basic Palestinian claim that all of "Palestine" belongs to them. He also will not give up the so-called "right of return" of the Palestinian so-called "refugees," that is a non-starter for Israel. Further, he insists that Israel must stop construction on the West Bank, although it was made clear in the build-up to the talks that the Palestinians could have a prisoner release or a building pause, but not both. They chose to accept a prisoner release and have been honoring the released murderers with celebrations. Yet, they still also demand a construction stop, even though it was made clear up-front that this would not happen.

Would any other country but Israel release 200 terrorists, convicted in a court of law of mass murder, just to get the other side to sit down and talk? Certainly in the US the President would never release one, let alone 200, convicted terrorists. Then the pressure is again on Israel for continuing to build in the West Bank in territory to which it has a legitimate claim under international law. If these current "Guidelines" have any different result than all of the previous plans or proposals for Middle East peace, then I among many will be more than surprised. It is supposed to be a definition of madness to repeat the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Let Kerry instead concentrate on bringing peace to Syria or Iraq, where death and destruction are rampant.


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