Sunday, March 30, 2014

Prisoner release?

Apparently the whole of the Middle East peace process hinges on whether or not the Israeli Government releases 38 prisoners, the fourth group agreed to by PM Netanyahu under US pressure in order to get the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.  But, that agreement was 9 months ago.  At the end of next month the Palestinians have threatened not only to leave the talks after receiving the prisoners, but also to revert to their plan to unilaterally seek membership as a State in the UN.  Also, Netanyahu made recognition by the Palestinians of Israel as the Jewish State a requirement for any peace agreement, and the PA.  Pres Abbas not only rejected this, but he got the whole Arab League meeting in Kuwait to reject it too.  So much for US Secty Kerry's declaration that the Palestinians had already recognized Israel as a Jewish State, he'll apparently say anything to rescue his losing initiative.
The Israeli public and apparently the Security Cabinet too can see no point in releasing these terrorists when Israel will receive nothing in return.  So the release is on hold.  Meanwhile the Palestinians are mad and Kerry is racing around the world (from Rome to Amman) in order to try to entice Abbas to continue sitting uselessly in the same room as the Israelis.  Another farce brought to you by that famous troupe, the Obama Administration.  It was rumored that the US might release Pollard to sweeten the deal for Israel, but then this was vehemently denied by the State Dept. spokesman.

What particularly annoys Israelis is that the Palestinians insist that Israel relase 12 Israeli Arabs who were convicted of security/terrorism charges in that group.  It would establish a precedent if the PA were allowed to assume authority over these Arabs who in fact are Israeli citizens.  As a result of the controversy, PM Netanyahu would be relieved not to have to release this group of Israeli Arabs.  No one doubts that given a choice the vast majority of the ca. 1 million Israeli Arabs would choose to remain Israeli citizens rather than join a putative Palestinian State.  They know they are safer in Israel, but in a Palestinian State there will be violence, exploitation and chaos.  But there are always a few Israeli Arabs who have been radicalized by nationalism or Islamism.  But, for now Israel will not release them.


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