Israel putting forth 'unprecedented' concessions toward peace

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Pop Sickle, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. Israel wants peace. Why don't the arabs want peace?

    Israel putting forth 'unprecedented' concessions, Clinton says
    But Palestinians reject Netanyahu's offer on settlements

    By Karen DeYoung and Howard Schneider
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    JERUSALEM -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had offered "unprecedented" concessions on West Bank settlement construction in an effort to restart peace talks, a departure from the administration's earlier criticism of Israel and a possible signal of impatience with the refusal of Palestinian leaders to join negotiations.

    At the start of a day of diplomacy that stretched from Abu Dhabi to Jerusalem, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas rejected Israel's latest offer, relayed by Clinton, to curb most West Bank construction.

    The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said the plan would have excluded about 3,000 Israeli housing units under construction and would not have applied to East Jerusalem -- thus falling well short of what has become a firm Palestinian demand for resuming direct talks with Israel.

    "The U.S. said that is the best they can get" from Netanyahu, even though the Obama administration considers settlements 'illegal and illegitimate,' " Erekat said. The Palestinians will not accept a resumption of talks on that basis, he said.

    At a news conference here Saturday night with Netanyahu, Clinton did not comment on the Palestinian account of the talks she had earlier in the day with Abbas. She said the differences between the two sides on all issues should be negotiated face to face.

    Those comments and others seemed to mark a final departure from early U.S criticism with Israel over settlements, which ultimately served to bolster Netanyahu with the Israeli public even as it raised -- unrealistically, as it turned out -- Palestinian expectations that a building freeze was in the offing.

    The meetings came as the peace process appeared increasingly unlikely to achieve President Obama's stated goal of resuming direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations by the end of the year. Clinton's objective on this trip seemed less to achieve any real breakthrough than to give the impression of continued effort.

    But the Palestinian position, if anything, appears to have hardened in recent days, leaving Israel to portray itself as the more willing partner.

    Abbas, under fire from constituents for previous compromises with the United States, the controversy over a U.N. report on alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza and recent Israeli home demolitions in Jerusalem, is regarded as having little room to negotiate on the key demand for a settlement freeze.

    "I think the place to resolve differences of opinion is around the negotiating table," Netanyahu said. "We are prepared to start peace talks immediately," he said, calling for both sides to "get on with it and get with it."

    Although she reiterated the administration's position that "all settlement activity" must cease, Clinton seemed unwilling to press the point as forcefully as she had in the past and joined Netanyahu in portraying the Palestinians as the spoilers.

    She called for a resumption of talks "without preconditions" and suggested that the Palestinian demand for a halt to West Bank construction was an unreasonable obstacle.

    That marked a change in tone from a trip here in March, when she sharply criticized Israeli settlement policies. After her initial public demands that Israel stop building in the West Bank, Clinton on Saturday praised steps taken by Netanyahu as "unprecedented."

    Netanyahu, while demanding that some building in the West Bank continue, has said he would not approve any new settlements and would show "restraint" in expanding existing ones.

    The Palestinians regard the land occupied by about 300,000 West Bank settlers as part of a future Palestinian state, and consider continued settlement activity an effort to influence negotiations.

    Israel promised to halt settlements under previous international agreements, and Palestinian officials say they want those promises fulfilled.

    But "what the prime minister has offered in specifics, of restraint on the policy of settlements, of no new starts, for example, is unprecedented," Clinton said. The two sides, she said, should sit down together so that Netanyahu "will be able to present his government's proposal."

    Erekat said Clinton communicated the Israeli position in a two-hour meeting with Abbas in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, where the Palestinian leader had stopped on a regional tour to build Arab support. Clinton flew to Israel later in the evening for talks with Netanyahu.

    A senior administration official traveling with her also declined to comment on the Palestinians' account.

    State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley described the U.S. role as that of honest broker, saying Clinton and special envoy George J. Mitchell were speaking to both sides to help "narrow the gap" between them "to where negotiations make sense."

    Clinton's stops in Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem were added after she left Washington on Tuesday for a seven-day trip -- the first three days in Pakistan and the last two to be spent at a conference with Arab leaders in Morocco. When the trip was planned many weeks ago, the days in the middle were left free for a possible stop in Afghanistan.

    That possibility was ruled out when the Aug. 20 Afghan election proved inconclusive. The decision to skip Kabul was confirmed when a new election was scheduled for Nov. 7.
  2. Spin and propaganda. Israel understands only the language of the stick, and unless and until USA uses it on their heads, nothing will be done. Israel does not want peace. For instance, Ehud Barak revealed earlier this year that when he went to his meeting with Arafat and Clinton he planned to make it fail and assign it to Arafat, then spark an intifada and then accuse Arafat to justify the crackdown. Few weeks afterward, Barack then arranged military escorts for Sharon (The Coma Man) to muslim worship places to ignite things up. And things happened as planned, wished for, and initiated by Israel and Ehud Barack. The latter is now charged with war crimes in his last war on civilians in Gaza. These crimes are confirmed by UN fact finding mission led by Goldstone (who said that he Jewish and Zionist, and he did his best to protect his beloved Israel, but he could not put some facts away).
  3. LIES! Why can't you discuss this topic honestly?
  4. Tresor


    The land was stolen from the Palestinans. As every stolen thing it should be simply returned. It is a non-negotiable issue.

    If a thief steals a car from you, would you like to negotiate the further use of this car by the thief? Would you consider an offer to negotiate as a generous one or would you simply consider such an offer highly impertinent?
  5. One issue is that Israel allows Arabs to live on their soil, but the Palestinans will not allow a single Jew to live on its territory.

    20% of Israel's population is Arab. If the Palestinans would allow the same mix of population then it would be easier to draw boundries.
  6. Did America steal the Indians land? Did the Norman's steal England?
    Who decides what? This is why war is as fair as anything to settle some issues.
    If you are a leader of a society you need to form alliances and build defenses to protect the people you are responsible for.
    Sometimes in history a society gets blindsided by a stronger force and loses everything it has. Maybe unfair but reality.

    Just like a plane crash kills good people. nature is cruel.
    No one has a guarantee to life or land.
  7. Tresor


    Constructing Jewish settlements on the Palestinan land is a violation of the international law. PERIOD.

    If your neighbour starts constructing homes on your land, this would also be a violation of the law. SIMPLE AS THAT.
  8. Tresor


    In this case the international law decides. And this law decides that these settlments are illegal.
  9. International law.....All laws need to be enforced. The Palestinians have not been able to mount a defense to stop the settlements.
    A political compromise would be to allow the settlements and the Jewish inhabitants to remain there as part of a Palestinian state.
    Or the Palestinians could continue to complain with the hope that a larger power will help them change the situation. The US will not do it.
  10. Correction. Most of the land was given to Israel by the UN resolution during the partition. The rest was won (not stolen) in wars that Israel did not start but did win. According to UN resolutions, the land should not be returned, it should be returned in exchange for peace, secure borders and recognition. Given the unwillingness of the arab world to make peace with Israel and negotiate secure borders in good faith Israel is under no obligation to unilaterally return the land.
    #10     Nov 1, 2009