US Secretary of State John Kerry headed back to Israel Thursday as he continues a push to reignite peace negotiations.
Making his fourth trip to Israel since he began his tenure as the US chief diplomat in February, Kerry was due to arrive later Thursday and head straight into talks with top Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders.
The meetings come after a long day of diplomacy in Jordan, during which he met with 10 other foreign ministers from the “Friends of Syria” group in a bid to try to end the Syrian conflict.
After whirlwind talks Thursday and Friday, Kerry will return to the region on Monday to attend the World Economic Forum in Amman.
He has been seeking to put together a plan for the economic revival of PA-controlled territories and it is possible he could unveil his ideas at the forum, the AFP news agency reported.
It is expected from someone who is in charge of negotiating to educate for peace and not for incitement. Erekat claims to support the efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry, and at the same time presents a distorted reality which hurts the chances for peace.
The more the Palestinians continue to fertilize the soil with hatred toward Israel, the smaller the chances that the seeds of peace in the Middle East will sprout roots."
Ron Prosor - Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations
By Isi Liebler
In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain proclaimed there would be “peace in our time” in defense of his disastrous Munich Agreement with Hitler. History testifies that his policy of appeasement and failure to confront the aggressive Nazi barbarians virtually made World War II inevitable.
In August 1993, just 20 years ago, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, strongly pressured by then Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, embarked on what he described as a “gamble for peace” and consummated the Oslo Accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization, an act which bitterly divided the nation.
Passionate debates ensued, but in our desperate yearning for peace, until recently many of us deluded ourselves that we were engaged in an “irreversible” peace process. Some of us even mesmerized ourselves into believing that Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, were genuine peace partners, despite clear evidence from their own statements that in referring to peace, they did so with forked tongues and their real objective was to end Jewish sovereignty.
In recent years the vast majority of us reluctantly concluded that the “gamble for peace” was a failure and that, in the absence of a Palestinian leadership genuinely committed to coexistence, any prospect for a genuine peace was a mirage. This has become especially obvious as Palestinian leaders even refuse to engage in negotiations without preconditions.
Yet, the vast majority of Israelis would still now endorse major concessions to the Palestinians if they were convinced that this would lead to a genuine peace.
Sadly, many — including some of our friends — fail to appreciate this and continue urging Israel to be more forthcoming about the peace process.
U.S. President Barack Obama reversed his former confrontationist stance toward Israel and now even publicly endorses Israel’s right to take preemptive military action to defend itself. Nevertheless, an “Alice in Wonderland” atmosphere still dominates U.S. Middle East policy.
Thus, Secretary of State John Kerry waxes eloquent over an allegedly revised and improved version of the so-called Arab League Peace Initiative.
The imperative of placating the U.S. obligates our government not to reject out rightly this initiative which “agrees” to accept minor territorial swaps from the 1949 armistice lines yet still incorporates the right of return of Arab refugees, which would result in an end to the Jewish state.
Moreover, the genocidal Hamas, with which the PA seeks to merge, has condemned the scheme and adamantly reiterated that it would never countenance any compromise.
No Israeli government could conceivably contemplate acquiescing to a formula in which the opening benchmark in negotiations requires acceptance of the 1949 armistice lines. This would entail east Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, as well as the major settlement blocs, effectively becoming Palestinian territory until an agreement to engage in swaps is consummated. Precedents indicate that it is highly unlikely that agreement on swaps could be achieved with the current intransigent Palestinian leaders.
In this context, we must not ignore the reality that both Arafat and Abbas refused, and even failed to respond with a counteroffer, when Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert offered them 97 percent of the territories over the Green Line.
Nor can we dismiss the criminal character of Palestinian society and the fact that the PA, no less than Hamas, inculcates children from primary school to kill Jews and become “martyrs,” and publicly sanctifies mass murderers and allocates state pensions to families of suicide bombers and terrorists in Israeli jails.
Indeed, even “respectable” Palestinian websites such as spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi’s Miftach recently published an article reviving medieval blood libels, explicitly accusing Jews of drinking gentile blood on Passover.
The Palestinian state-sponsored anti-Semitic brainwashing in the media, mosques and schools is in fact as lethal as the Nazi propaganda that transformed Germans into willing accomplices of mass murder.
It is thus not surprising that recent polls show that Palestinians are globally the most supportive Muslim nation favoring suicide bombings, with over 40% justifying them.
Those promoting Abbas as a “peace partner” or “moderate” would be hard-pressed to quote a single positive statement by him about Israel to his own people. He may tactically have reached the conclusion that diplomacy is more effective for promoting Palestinian goals than terror. But while he consistently stresses that this is a pragmatic strategic approach, his Fatah subsidiary continues engaging in acts of terror and the PA continuously threatens to revert to the “armed struggle” if it fails to achieve its objectives by diplomatic means.
According to Palestinian Media Watch, only this month Sultan Abu Al-Einem, a senior PLO official, “saluted the heroic fighter” who had stabbed an Israeli civilian to death. At the same time, Jibril Rajoub, cosigner to the Oslo Accords and deputy secretary to the Fatah Central Committee, stated that “popular resistance, with all it entails, remains on our agenda,” and that “if we had a nuke we’d have used it [against Israel] this morning.”
Despite the fact that Abbas has breached the Oslo accords by unilaterally obtaining U.N. diplomatic recognition and is now constantly threatening to charge Israel with war crimes at the International Court of Justice, the world continues today to pressure us to maintain the manifestly false charade of engaging with a nonexistent peace partner.
Moreover, the “peaceniks” and their Western supporters, including some misguided Jews and Israelis, still demand that the Israeli government be more forthcoming with concessions.