Analysis News

diplomatic process

  • 'PLO to join 48 int'l organizations, treaties if talks fail'

    The current round of peace talks can only continue if the U.S. changes its approach, a senior Fatah official says.   The PLO will seek membership in an additional 48 international organizations, treaties and conventions if peace talks are not salvaged by the end of this month, Ma’an news agency quoted senior Palestinian official and Fatah Executive Committee member Nabil Shaath as saying on Monday. PLO Chairman -- and PA President -- Mahmoud Abbas began the process of acceding to 15 international treaties and conventions last week after Israel failed to follow through with the release of a fourth group of…

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  • Netanyahu's 'gift' of Palestinian statehood

    Statements by Israel's prime minister give insight into the -- problematic -- way he views peace talks with the Palestinians. And Naftali Bennett's emptiest threat yet. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday reiterated one of the most problematic views that he and his government hold -- that any future Palestinian state, if there ever is one, will be a painful, albeit generous gift from him to the Palestinian people. Responding to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s intent to accede to 15 international treaties and conventions, Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting: “[The Palestinians] will achieve a…

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  • A hard choice faces the Palestinians

    Politically, this is a moment of opportunity, but it carries a painful human price. The Palestinians have “won” the Kerry peace initiative: the Obama administration is blaming both sides for its likely failure, not just the Palestinian side, which is the most they could have expected. The New York Times editorial goes one better: it points the finger pretty squarely at Netanyahu, which is radical for a Times editorial. So the Palestinians, having the clear sympathy of Europe and the rest of the world as the aggrieved party, can go to the UN after the talks run out on April…

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  • Diplomatic process in crisis: Staying away is Kerry's best move

    Kerry's team has been so sensitive to Netanyahu's political needs that it kept handing the Israeli prime minister political achievements without getting anything in return. This dynamic has been put on hold now, and Kerry should probably thank Abbas for that. A sense of chaos has engulfed the diplomatic process after the Palestinians decided to submit a formal request to join 15 international treaties and conventions, among them the Fourth Geneva Convention. (See the full list below.) When the talks resumed last summer, the Palestinians agreed to refrain from joining international institutions, and Israel was to release 104 prisoners who had…

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  • What 'painful concessions' are left for Palestinians to make?

    From accepting a state on 22 percent of Mandate Palestine to Israel's facts-on-the-ground in the West bank and the loss of rights for refugees, Palestinians have already made significant, historic compromises. By Willem Aldershoff and Jaap Hamburger Despite the U.S.’s optimism, recent comments and statements coming from Israel and Palestine indicate that the U.S.-led Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are not progressing well. This is not only due to the relative complexity of the subject matter at hand, but first and foremost, due to the fact that the Palestinians and Israel differ greatly in power and position: one being the occupied, the other…

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  • The diplomatic process: There might be no Kerry proposal

    Trying to satisfy Netanyahu’s political needs might result in the Americans 'missing the moment of opportunity,' says a former Israeli official. The diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is at a crossroads as the American team, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, is said to be preparing an outline for a final-status agreement. President Obama will meet Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas in the coming weeks and later in the month, the American proposal will probably be made public. However, there is no official publication date and it is not clear what would such a…

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  • Channel 10: Obama refused to confront Netanyahu; Kerry proposal emptied of content

    Israeli media reports that Kerry's peace framework is being watered down. The White House pushes back. In its Sunday evening news broadcast, Israel's Channel 10 reported on one reason for the diminishing ambitiousness of an American final-status framework proposal, which Washington expects to present to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks. According to senior reported Raviv Druker, President Obama decided not to let Kerry confront Jerusalem, thus forcing his secretary of state to present a vague paper that both parties can live with, and to even allow them to submit their reservations to the American proposal. "The [Kerry]…

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  • The ever-shrinking Kerry peace process

    Once again, Prime Minister Netanyahu is allowed to avoid Israel's moment of truth. When the new round of direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced a solid framework for the process: nine months of dialogue, by the end of which the parties will need to sign a final status agreement -- or at least a framework for one. Since the Israeli government refused to accept the terms of reference agreed upon in previous rounds of negotiations, the time limit was necessary in order to prevent "talks for the sake of talks," i.e.,…

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  • What does Bibi actually want?

    Finally recognizing the pressure over the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu seems to be negotiating for 'an agreement with the world.' What does Bibi want? I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that question. With so many attempts to decipher him – in interviews with his proxies, accounts by former employees and analyses by pundits - speculation over the Israeli prime minister’s true intentions should have been recognized as an Olympic sport by now. TIME magazine had no problem twice posing the exact same question -- will Netanyahu make peace – on its cover, 16 years apart. The answer is hidden…

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  • The problem is Netanyahu, not Ya’alon

    With his attacks on Kerry, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is positioning himself as the new leader of the Israeli right. I basically agree with those claiming that there is no daylight between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on the issues, only on style and timing. Netanyahu has surrounded himself with opponents of the two-state solution: his political circles are full of settlers, national-religious and other hawks -- and not only in the cabinet, but in his own bureau. As veteran political correspondent Shalom Yerushalmi noted in Maariv on Wednesday, for weeks these people have been running around saying…

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  • Netanyahu: PA agreed to new settlement construction in exchange for prisoner release; Kerry denies

    This post has been updated to add John Kerry's statements. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming that the Palestinian leadership agreed to new settlement construction in exchange for release of Palestinian prisoners during the current bilateral peace negotiations. There have been reports of such an understanding in the Israeli media, but no official confirmation so far. In an interview to the Israeli news channel i24, Netanyahu said: "If they can't even stand up to, or stand behind the agreements that we had that we would release prisoners while we continue building, then how can I assume that they'll actually…

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  • The Israeli Left's last novel

    A new best-selling novel by Nir Baram takes aim at the Israeli 'peace industry,' globalization and the sense of betrayal a generation of left wing and progressive operatives is leaving behind. I've wanted to write about Nir Baram’s new novel, World Shadow (The book is alternatively titled, "The World is a Rumor" in English), for several weeks. It’s a story of power, the battle for and against it, and the inevitable corruption of all causes in the late-capitalist world. The theme is common to many works of fiction these days, but the context is unique, and especially the novel’s criticism of…

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  • Israelis and Palestinians are pessimistic about peace, poll finds

    Palestinians fear Israelis more than Israelis fear Palestinians, opinion survey finds. Both societies reject the one-state solution, but Israelis also oppose the Arab Peace Initiative. A poll released Tuesday reveals pessimism and mistrust among Israelis and Palestinians. Members of both societies seriously doubt the chances of meaningful negotiations taking place. According to a survey of both societies, conducted by the Harry Truman Research Institute at the Hebrew University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, a clear majority in Palestinian society – 57 percent – believe that Israel’s long-term desire is to expand its borders from the Mediterranean…

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