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De-coding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process

A breakdown of recent statements by principal players in the Kerry-led peace process.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan, June 29, 2013. (Photo by State Dept.)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan, June 29, 2013. (Photo by State Dept.)

The Israeli/Palestinian negotiations remind me of a volleyball court. With a lack of hard information available to the public, each player punts a ball into the air at regular intervals with identifying marks on it, to remind everyone that he or she is still there for ten seconds before the ball drops and another pops up.

These blips sound like a standard shouting match on the surface. But their subtext can give a snapshot of the peace process at this moment – and reveal why it’s so frail. Below are some of the recent statements by key players (paraphrased) that stood out to me, in no particular order, and my interpretation of what they mean.

Read +972’s full coverage of the Kerry peace process

-Naftali Bennett: “We have to look at the document before we decide whether to leave or stay in the coalition!” Translation: Please, please don’t make us bolt. We are desperate to stick to our first shot at power, build our electoral base beyond settlers and look very credible in other areas of life – including a slick call in the New York Times to bring Arab Israeli women and ultra-Orthodox into the work force. We just need to crack the big-party club and take power one day in order to ensure implementation of Naftali Bennett’s own plan for full Israeli control from the river to the sea, forever.

-Hamas (in Haaretz): “We won’t accept an international presence in Palestinian territory after the occupation army leaves!” Translation: We expect the IDF to leave the West Bank, which is what we now mean by Palestinian territory. We’re too weak to throw around our old maximalist rhetoric about pre-1967 Israel and our people are too fed up to take us seriously if we do.

-Netanyahu: “There is no reason Jews can’t stay there after the Palestinian state is established, just like we have an Arab minority!” Translation: This refers to Jews outside the large settlement blocs, and maybe I can provoke the Palestinian leadership to look like rejectionists. It’s a safe bet Abu Mazen says no: settlers who live that far inside the West Bank are often extremists and provocateurs, committed messianic expansionists – some are violent. Parallels to the Arab minority in Israel, who are primarily peaceful integrationists, are disingenuous but I’m hoping no one notices because it sounds nice and symmetrical.

-Abu Mazen: “There is no need to divide Jerusalem afresh,” and “We do not plan to flood Israel with refugees!” (from his talk with Israeli students visiting Ramallah, and a pamphlet distributed at the event written in perfect Hebrew). Translation: This is Fatah’s beyond-last chance at success, and we’d be idiots to wait for the Israeli government to come around. So we’re calling on the Israeli public to stop demonizing us and come to its senses by saying reasonable things in a firm, dignified way. Hopefully Palestinians won’t read the text, otherwise we’ll catch flak for being so ingratiating to occupiers.

-Hamas – responding to Abu Mazen, above: “We condemn this act of normalization with the occupiers and call for an end to the negotiations!” Translation: We have nothing new to say but we need to say something that will blend in with the scenery.

-Avigdor Liberman: “I will not support a two-state solution that does not include transfer of the Triangle and Wadi Ara.” Translation: Now that I’ve convinced everyone how moderate I am, I can laugh in your faces with a plan to disenfranchise roughly 300,000 Israelis of their citizenship, against their will. Who cares if this can be construed as another Nakba, destroying the political life of Israeli citizens? (Shame on any serious policymaker who takes this seriously – DS.)

-Tzipi Livni: “We are about to witness a tsunami!” (re: boycott and anti-Israel activism around the world). And to Netanyahu (in Maariv): “Boot Bennett out of the coalition before he bolts, bring in Labor and the ultra-Orthodox parties – for the sake of peace, I’ll wear a shtreimel!” Translation: After two shameful wars during my previous government, and dead silence while I was in opposition, I am finally taking political risks to advance an agreement instead of drowning it in talks. Better late than never. And everyone needs a political brand.

-The Israeli Public: _______________. (Yes, you heard correctly.) Translation: The Arabs are the same Arabs, the sea is the same sea (it works in Hebrew). Leaders play games while we try to pay rent. As long as those recent explosions come from gas balloons, we’ll cope; if they were terror attacks, we’d actively resist even the process. For now, over 60 percent of us support negotiations, only one-quarter think they’ll get anywhere. Israeli Jews are united over three things: 77 percent agree that Palestinians must recognize a Jewish state; 80 percent oppose the return of a limited number of refugees, and 74 percent oppose acknowledging Israel’s partial responsibility for Palestinian suffering. Don’t look for us in the town square.

-The Palestinian public: Over half supports a two-state solution; about half approve the full detailed package according to the Clinton/Geneva parameters, and the Saudi peace plan. Two-thirds support the “end of conflict” clause: ending all claims on the other side, and mutual recognition of “each state as the homeland of its people.” Translation: Half says, anything is better than our reality now. Half says – we’ll believe it when we see it, but for now – we won’t get fooled again.

Beware, J Street: The Kerry deal looks rigged against the Palestinians
The ever-shrinking Kerry peace process

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    1. bob wisby

      Yes, everyone is playing their part wonderfully. Look just how vibrant Israeli politics is! Hear the differing views! Witness the myriad standpoints! And meanwhile, keep building!Keep things moving forward. Expansion at all costs!

      Reply to Comment
      • Eric

        Well, i do hope that your Neighbor expands into your Territory too…..

        I’m getting sick and tired of people like you, trying to defend an Occupying, Racist country like Israel.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Right. Israel is a racist country that subsidizes and/or pays for the education of the children of her Muslim/Arab citizens from childhood to graduation! Indeed, Israel is a racist country that gives her Muslim/Arab citizens the same rights she gives to her Jewish citizens, allows Muslims/Arabs to live wherever they want in Israel and intermarry as they choose. Sure, Israel is a racist country because, on the one hand she forces her Jewish citizens to serve in the Army and die in wars to protect the country but, on the other hand, gives her Muslim/Arab citizens the right to choose whether or not to serve in the army and die for their country. No kidding, Israel is a racist country that has Muslim/Arab diplomats around the world, an Arab Supreme Court Judge that partook in convicting and sending a Jewish Israeli President to jail, etc. Eric, who do folks like you have such irrational hatred for Israel?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis


            Why do folks like …. (not “who do folks like ….”

            Reply to Comment
      • shachalnur

        Januari 2013 Nethanyahu visited China and signed multibillion Dollar deals with the Chinese.

        In return Nethanyahu had to promise not to build any new houses in the West Bank.

        Eventhough Israel is announcing building plans for new houses almost daily,no new houses have actually been build since januari 2013.

        If you make a deal with BRICS(Russia,China)at least you know the deal stands and Israel is fullfilling her promise,and BRICS is accepting Israel in their midst.

        BRICS(Russia) need Israel’s collaboration on Iran and Syria,Israel needs BRICS for financial reasons ,and their collaboration in stopping the US/Europe from blowing up the Middle East.

        What TPTB feed you in the newspapers is not neccessarily what happens behind the scenes.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          “Januari 2013 Nethanyahu visited China and signed multibillion Dollar deals with the Chinese. In return Nethanyahu had to promise not to build any new houses in the West Bank. Eventhough Israel is announcing building plans for new houses almost daily,no new houses have actually been build since januari 2013.”

          Wrong, my friend. (1) Israel has constantly promised not to build (i.e. establish) new settlements. (2) Israel did not promise not to build new houses (within existing settlements). There is a major difference between the two and the Palestinians, the American, the EU, China and Russia understand that very well (regardless of whether or not they agree that Israel should build at all). Moreover, the settlements occupy LESS than 4% of Judea and Samaria. You do agree with me, don’t you, that said 4% is not the reason for the absence of peace, but rather the excuse.

          Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            Still,Israel didn’t start building any new houses since Januari 2013,much to the chagrin of Yesha.

            Of course Nethanyahu will never admit the Chinese demanded the building stop in exchange for a strategic alliance(and a lot of money).

            But the official Chinese press did,and they are lying ofcourse,while the MSM in US/Europe can be trusted.

            Not that China cares too much about the Palestinians,but as part of the Global Chess Game this is a favor to Russia,who has more direct,and military, interests in the region.

            In BRICS’ strategy Russia uses it’s military and political muscle ,China pays for it with useless US bonds they want to get rid off anyway.

            What BRICS is offering is a lot better for Israel than Banker controlled US/Europe have in mind.

            Israel(and the US Zionist cheerleaders) will be fine as soon as she becomes part of the Middle East and Asia,it’s about time she cuts the umbilical cord,goes her own way.

            Abusive parents.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            My god. Do you really believe what you write? That is fascinating.

            There are houses being built at this very moment all over the territories. You want directions to the construction sites?

            Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            Yup,I do believe what I write.

            Did you know that NICE from Ra’anana is taking care of security in Sochi during the Olympics,100+ million Dollar contract and in control of the war room.

            Israel switched to BRICS in june 2012,all three “peace talks”(Syria,Iran and Israel-PA)are fake,so is the Israel-Iran stand off..

            US/Europe trying to ignite Syria,and consequently the whole Middle East is the only game in town,the rest is for public consumption.

            And I even believe Snowden is a BRICS/Israel operation against US/Europe.


            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Nonsense. Just like your stupid claim that there has been no construction in the settlements since the beginning of 2013.

            Israel has good relations with the Russians, Indians and Chinese. It sells them lots of things and buys lots of things from them. “BRICS” is not a real entity or alignment. It is just an acronym created by Goldman Sachs as a means of grouping rapidly growing economies. There is no “side” to switch to there.

            Seek help. Or maybe I should since I am having this discussion with you.

            Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            Yup,Colon9,you’re gonna need lot’s of help,time to call in Hasbara Central.

            “BRICS is not a real entity or alignment” Colon9 dixit.

            “The BRIC grouping’s first formal Summit,also held in Yekaterinburg,commenced on June 16th 2009……..In the aftermath of the Yekaterinburg summit,the BRIC nations announced the need for a NEW GLOBAL RESERVE CURRENCY.”(source;Wiki,notorious for covering the Bankers back,but even Wiki can’t cover up this one).

            That makes BRICS a London Banker’s nightmare,and since Israel joined BRICS in June 2012,the Bankers are losing.

            In a while we will be discussing the complete and open split between Israel and AIPAC/ADL,something very difficult to spin.

            Then you will remember my posts,because I’m trying to explain you that (US)Zionists and “Deep State”Israel have parted ways,because the ones that made AIPAC/ADL Zionists rich and powerfull in the US, are the same ones that pulled the plug on Israel for geo-political reasons.

            I call it the “Triple Loyalty” trap,a trap that was build into Zionism from the beginning(1897),by design;

            US/Europe-First,Israel/Judaism-First or London-Banker-First?

            This “Triple Loyalty” trap has already forced Abe Foxman to quit.(Abe is London Banker-First,ADL was created in 1913 alongside the US Federal Reserve by the same people,long before the Nazi’s,Holocaust and the State of Israel existed).

            So,BRICS is no “acronym created by Goldman Sachs”,or any of your invented Hasbara disinfo.

            I’m still waiting for you to contradict any of the arguments and facts I state,but that probably is causing cognitive dissonance at Hasbara Central.

            Keep reading my posts ,you might learn something.

            You might find out one day who you are ultimately serving,and it’s not Judaism or Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            BRIC was coined by Jim O’Neill in a 2001 paper entitled “Building Better Global Economic BRICs”. The acronym has come into widespread use as a symbol of the apparent shift in global economic power away from the developed G7 economies towards the developing world. South Africa was added to this acronym later to form BRICS.

            Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa have nearly nothing in common. The best one can expect from a gimmicky summit of countries with such a negligible common denominator is some vague self-congratulatory declaration about the ‘shifting’ economic power or the need for a ‘new reserve currency’ or a new ‘economic order’ or a change to the ‘global economic governance’. Individually some of these countries are serious players. As a group it is a platform for each country leader to make grandiose statements to inflate his/her own standing in his home country.

            Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur


            I see you did a Wiki search and the first sentence of the wikipage “BRIC” says;

            “not to be confused with “BRICS”(LOL)

            Jim O’Neill undeniably is a genius that managed to combine the letters B(rasil),R(ussia),I(ndia),C(hina) after identifying 4 huge regional developing economies.

            What these countries have in common is that their currencies are backed up by gold,where the Dollar and the Euro are worth less than toiletpaper by now,and their Central Banks are not controlled by London Bankers.

            They are therefore mortal enemies of the London Bankers ,and are doing what Iceland already did and Hungary is trying,i.e. kicking out the Bankers and taking control of their own Central Bank,currency and economy.

            Just like geniusses today identified PIGS(Portugal,Italy,Greece and Spain)as the first EU countries that will be destroyed by the IMF and the World Bank currently.

            The moment a group of countries call THEMSELVES “BRIC(S)” or “PI(I)GS” they stop being an acronym formulated by Goldman Sachs,and become an existing organization ,never mind how hard you try to deny their existence.

            It’s kind of telling you keep on discussing relatively insignificant details,and even there you’re wrong,,instead of contradicting the substance of my posts.

            I do appreciate the fact you stopped using terms as “nonsense”,”stupid”, “seek help”.

            Please read my post a bit lower on this page,and try to explain the facts I state,especially the ones concerning Turkey,Lebanon,Syria,Egypt and Russia.

            Reply to Comment
    2. bob wisby

      Someone else who’s gotten out of bed the wrong side this morning. Sorry if I’ve offended anyone.

      Reply to Comment
    3. shachalnur

      To look at the current Israel-PA negotiations as an isolated event is waste of time.

      Around 6-7 sept(Hebrew new year) 2013 the whole world agreed that the US was going to bomb Syria ,because of a chemical false flag in Damascus.

      For reasons still invisible to the outside world,the attack was aborted at the last moment.

      The next day the US announced negotiations with Iran,Syria and the Israel-PA “peace” negotiations.

      Where are all these negotiations going?

      They are going nowhere,and that’s by design.

      While Iran is doing bussiness with the world as if the negotiations don’t exist,the US is preparing for “changing the reality on the ground” in Syria.

      In the Israel-PA negotiations the US is making sure the conditions are unacceptable for both sides.

      To explain the entire manouvering behind the scens would take too much space,but one would be advised to understand that the Israel-PA conflict,the alleged Israel-Iran stand off,and the Syria situation are all part of a much bigger geo- political chessgame.

      The US is trying to be in control of all 3 conflicts by managing the “peace negotiations” on all fronts,while the parties involved are trying to get the US out of their faces.

      All sides are aware the US is not trying to solve any problem,they are trying to set up all sides against eachother and blow up the Middle East.

      The region ,together with BRICS is trying to avoid this scenario.

      In the past the bloody false flag attacks in Lebanon(Tripoli and Beirut)would cause another round of civil war,now it doesn’t.

      In the past crossborder fire from South Lebanon,killing an Israeli soldier ,would provoke a military response by Israel,now it doesn’t.

      Yesterday,two missiles landed in the Golan. Response?

      Why did Turkey(NATO member) stop collaborating with NATO/US on Syria and is making multibillion deals with Iran?

      Why did Al-Sisi(Pres.of Egypt) ,after receiving 18 billion dollars from Saudi -Arabia,fly to Moscow to sign multibillion dollar weapons deals?

      After the US strategy for the ME went to pieces since June 2012,they are trying to win time,because the ultimate goal,blowing up the ME through Syria and Lebanon,still stands.

      The region,BRICS and Israel are trying to stop this scenario,so don’t be surprised that the rethoric from the parties involved for public consumption, doesn’t make sense.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ginger Eis

      ‘Ya gotta be kitten me!’ I did not know that a columnist on +972.com is CAPABLE of writing something BALANCED, UNBIASED, without BAD FACTS and FALLACIES! Congratulations Ms. Scheindlin for this well written article, (and if you happen to be related to “Judge Judy”, pls. extend my greetings to her; she has been my hero since I was 14 and saw her shows). My “decoding” is this: those Israelis who (a) do not accept the right of return in any way shape or form, (b) want Israel to (b1) keep J’lem the undivided capital of the State Of Israel and retain (b2) all the large settlement blocs, including their existing boundaries and (b3) the Jordan valley under Israeli sovereignty, do not worry about what the Americans will do or that Netanyahu will succumb under pressure and sign away the country. Here is why: we, paradoxically, have a staunch ally who will never fail us, i.e. the Palestinian leadership. Said leadership will never accept the maximum the most leftist Israeli government will ever have to offer. As such there will be no “solution”, while we continue to build and fortify Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    5. bob wisby

      For once I agree with Ginger. It is quite obvious that the PA is a creature entirely at Israel’s bidding, staged disputations to the contrary. Nothing moves in the corridors of PA decision making without it being approved first by the masters in Tel Aviv. If it were not so, there would be genuine resistance and Israel would find itself up the creek.

      Reply to Comment