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On the collapse of the Kerry talks: The 'outrageous hypocrisy' of Tzipi Livni & Yair Lapid

Raviv Drucker is a prominent Israeli journalist and political analyst with his own program (co-hosted) on Channel 10 News. He’s one of my favorites, because he’s supremely well informed, doesn’t suffer fools (gladly or otherwise) and back in the day was generous with his knowledge toward novice journalists who speak Hebrew with a weird accent (could be me; I’m not saying…). Below is the blog post he published on Friday in response to the claim, put out by Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid, that the (still unofficial) collapse of the Kerry-sponsored talks is all the fault of  Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. The tone here is one of sarcasm, rage, and deep sadness. A note on the translation: Israeli journalists generally refer to Abbas as Abu Mazen, which is his kunya.  (Translated with permission of the author.)

Raviv Drucker reporting from Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Israel's Channel 10 (screenshot by Lisa Goldman, 2010)

Raviv Drucker reporting from Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Israel’s Channel 10 (screenshot by Lisa Goldman, 2010)

Yair Lapid issued a statement: Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] is the one at fault. He made a demand that was completely beyond the realm of acceptability. Israel is committed to the diplomatic process — of course we’re committed — but there is no way to make peace with a man like Abu Mazen. The people in Tzipi Livni’s inner circle are also saying that Netanyahu came a long way [in these negotiations] and Livni is angry — really boiling mad — at Abu Mazen for blowing the whole thing up.

These two representatives of the governing coalition’s so-called peace camp have set a new record in hypocrisy and revulsion. Their spin and self-delusion are nauseating, and are for only one purpose — strengthening their positions in the government. And the Israeli public will pay a heavy price for their venality. Ehud Barak could learn a thing or two from these novice politicians.

Just a few facts — not that facts are of any particular interest to Livni or Lapid. Israel blatantly and flagrantly violated the terms of agreement with the Palestinians. Upon entering these negotiations, the Palestinians agreed to shelve two of their three conditions (withdrawal to the pre-1967 boundaries and a freeze on settlement building). In return, the delighted Netanyahu committed “only” to the release of Palestinian prisoners. And then he simply did not release the fourth round of prisoners. Why? Just because. Because he felt like it. Instead, he decided that he had a condition: Abu Mazen should commit to keeping the negotiations going. Did you hear Livni and Lapid, the Knights of the Diplomatic Process, say anything about this flagrant violation of the agreement? Nope. That might have caused tension between them and Netanyahu. Heaven forbid. And then Abu Mazen “blew everything up” by submitting requests to join 15 international organizations under the auspices of the UN. Wow, what a painful violation. Once upon a time the Palestinian Authority was held responsible for releasing terrorists, or for turning a blind eye to information about terror attacks. Now their terrible violation is submitting requests to join international organizations. What a catastrophe. It’s a good thing we have 200 atom bombs to protect us from this threat to our existence.

Livni is not angry at Netanyahu for making a joke out of the negotiations, or for being responsible for more settlement growth than at any time in the history of the occupation. Lapid is not “boiling mad” because Israel suddenly made its security demands so onerous that it was impossible for Abu Mazen to meet them. Livni has nothing to say to the Israeli public about the fact that for eight months Netanyahu has prevented her from presenting a map of the negotiations, which have not progressed one centimeter. All that matters is keeping her seat as Minister of Justice while telling us with a straight face that the only reason she stays in politics is for the sake of the diplomatic process.

It’s all so depressing.

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    1. shachalnur

      Don’t be depressed,it’s all smoke and mirrors.

      These peacetalks were imposed on Israel and PA by the US,and are necessary in order to make it look like the US is in control of the situation.

      The same with the US/Syria/Russia chem weapons deal,and the US-Iran nuclear talks.

      All these talks will go nowhere,and are there to make the US look like they’re in charge.

      Nothing will happen,besides the US being pushed out as an unwanted rich uncle you can’t disinvite to a party.

      The fact Livni and Lapid went ballistic,is because they didn’t see the Abbas gambit coming.

      If the talks are finished now, Livni and Lapid will be history ,and that’s good since they represent foreign interests more than Israeli interests.

      But the talks might continue anyway,because for the US to just leave out of their own free will is out of the question.

      Israel and the PA will have to do that by force,and absorb the revenge from Washington and London.

      Reply to Comment
    2. I suppose Livni forgot how mad she was when the Housing Minister announced all those tenders, or the Defense Minister called Kerry messianic, or…

      I still see no evidence that Greater Israel is not inevitable, although I hope still to be wrong. How are you to have Two real States when another Jenin incursion cannot be precluded by Israel? The premise behind the talks is not credible, so they are used by various political factions for gain, on all sides.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bar

      Um, the Palestinians “shelved” their demand for “withdrawal to the pre-1967 boundaries?”

      Hahaha. Yeah, quite a shelving there, considering not only is this not on the table and never has been, but it is a flagrant violation of UNSCR 242 and 338 which also form the basis for Oslo.

      They shelved nothing. And this reporter, like Larry Derfner and all of us, has never seen or heard precisely what the prisoner deal was because the information has not been made public.

      However, the yelling Livni did at the Palestinians who were planning to do the very thing they did last week right after the prisoner release anyway (who are you guys kidding? The documents were obviously ready to go!) was about the fact that there were still efforts to release the prisoners, even if late, and that a cabinet vote was upcoming. The Palestinians only needed to wait a few hours or a day at most.

      Why didn’t they wait? Because they knew this was a perfect moment to claim they had the right to move forward. Very clever. But unfortunately, despite all the bullshit spin that the anti-Israel crowd wants to give us, the bottom line is that in these so-called negotiations, the Palestinians officially stated they would say NO to a Jewish State, NO to relinquishing the movement of millions of Arabs into Israel and NO to “end of conflict.”

      So spin away. The truth is plain for all to see.

      Reply to Comment
      • Felix Reichert

        Just because you’re prepared to release something, because you suspect the other party to not hold up their end of the bargain, doesn’t mean (in any way) that you would’ve released it anyway.

        The Palestinian leadership is obviously and understandably wary of the Israeli leadership, because they have been deceived by them time and time again.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Bar. Withdrawal to the pre-June 1967 boundaries is most certainly *not* a violation of 242 and 338. It is in fact the basis of the resolutions — withdrawal from occupied territory in exchange for peace.

      Obviously the PA had the documents for submission ready as a contingency. That is called planning.

      Your rude, blustering comments are most unwelcome on my channel. I won’t tolerate insults and /or posting false information. This is a first and last warning.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bar


        Your comment is fair, I was over the top.

        As for your comment:

        “Withdrawal to the pre-June 1967 boundaries is most certainly *not* a violation of 242 and 338. It is in fact the basis of the resolutions — withdrawal from occupied territory in exchange for peace.”

        That is false.

        First of all, 242 nor 338 refer to territory, not “the” territory and as the men who were involved in creating these resolutions, which involved months of debate, have written and said publicly, the language used was precise and chosen carefully. The resolution was written with the clear assumption, from their point of view, that Israel would not withdraw to 1949 (“pre-1967”) lines. One of the authors went on to become head of Yale’s law school, so his opinion on the subject is fairly authoritative.

        Second, while you are right that the premise of these accords is that Israel will leave land, the basis of the agreement is not at all connected to leaving the land in exchange for peace. Rather, the resolution indicates that there are two conditions which must be met in order for UN Charter principles that result in a peaceful Middle East to be met:

        1. “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

        2. Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;”

        As you can see, the very statement Abbas made to Obama wherein he entirely rejects “end of conflict” with Israel indicates that the second of 242 and 338’s conditions cannot be met. On the other hand, in reading this resolution carefully, one cannot help but see that even though Israel is still negotiating with the Palestinians over land, in fact their departure from Gaza probably fulfilled the letter of this resolution if not its spirit.

        Reply to Comment
          • BaladiAkka 1948

            “A useful ressource” ?
            Oh my ! A ‘report’ by the Likudnik think tank Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
            Ginger Eis aka Bar really thinks anyone else but right-wingers will take that seriously ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            The article is written by Ruth Lapidot, who is widely considered one of Israel’s foremost international law experts. You may wish to read it and educate yourself.

            Reply to Comment
        • Johnboy

          “First of all, 242 nor 338 refer to territory, not “the” territory ”

          Note the wording of that resolution i.e. it is saying that the aim is PEACE, and one of the two “principles” required for PEACE is that Israel withdraws the IDF from occupied territory.

          The corollary is, of course, that 1) WHILE Israel remains an occupier of territory
          2) THEN there can be no PEACE.

          Bar is arguing that the “missing the” means that Israel doesn’t have to withdraw the IDF from all the territory seized in June 1967.

          Axiomatically, that means that Israel continues to be an occupier of territory seized in June 1967.

          And – again, axiomatically – that means that Israel will forever ensure that the first of those two “principles” remains unmet.

          Endless occupation = no peace, ever.

          A pretty obvious and self-evident truth, really, when you think about it.

          Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            Actually, nothing is self evident at all. Israel has already left 100% of the Sinai and 100% of Gaza. Israel has offered the Palestinians 95% of Judea and Samaria and land inside Israel to compensate for the missing 5%. Israel also offered the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and in one offer, an internationalized Holy Basin.

            But what I find strange is that you are entirely missing the second requirement in that resolution. The countries and people around Israel have to agree to live in peace with it. That means end to the attempts to take it over, whether through fictions about a “right” of millions of Arabs to move in or of Arabs promising endless war and conflict.

            But don’t worry, it’s not in the interest of the international community, suck-ups that they are
            to the Arab and Muslim blocs in the international arena, to recall 242 and 338, so they ignore them regularly. Take a look at the acceptance of Palestinian statehood at the UN, it is entirely in contravention of the Oslo Accords and those accords are based on 242 and 338 with the agreement of both Israel and the Palestinians. Likewise, the ICJ ruling about the separation barrier almost entirely avoids this resolution.

            “International law” is a bad joke used primarily by stronger powers to beat up on smaller powers.

            Reply to Comment
          • Johnboy

            I’ll repeat my previous comment, because it is just as self-evidently true as ever.

            The wording of UNSCR242 is very precise, and therefore this remains very, very true: if there is ***ANY*** territory that the IDF refuses to withdraw from then **AXIOMATICALLY** that territory remains forever “Israeli occupied territory”.

            And the wording of UNSCR242 is such that an endless Israeli occupation of ***ANY*** “territory seized in the recent conflict” means that the first principle of “peace” remains unfulfilled.

            As in: there can be no “peace”, and the blame for that “lack of peace” will lie with “Israel, the occupying power”.

            That’s what UNSCR242 says, and so that’s what UNSCR242 means.

            Israel has only two ways of rectifying that sorry situation:
            a) Withdraw so that there remains no territory that is still “occupied in the recent conflict”, or
            b) Negotiate a land-swap so that this territory is CEDED TO Israel, thereby allowing that territory to be ANNEXED BY Israel.

            There is no third alternative, because the phrase “emphasising the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” precludes a unilateral annexation of occupied territory.

            Pretty simple, really.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            Just because you write something over and over, even if you write it in ALL CAPS, doesn’t make it any more true that if you wrote it once.

            Read the Ruth Lapidot article I provided above if you wish to enlighten yourself.

            Reply to Comment
        • Let me take a stab as to the “no end of conflict” position of the PA. First, it’s linked to Right of Return, which Abbas has also declined to renounce. I have repeatedly held the view that ROR is socio-economically impossible; I think it most likely so even if restricted to the remnant territory assigned to a Palestinian State. But its nationalist symbol role is crucial; Hamas uses it, and Abbas cannot give that card toto to Hamas, or other internal PA dissent. So any interm agreement would have to delay ROR (even if the delay is forever), which means that he must also say “no” to end of conflict.

          Secondly, a nascent Palestinian State will just not have full sovereignty. Everyone knows that. End of conflict could box the new State into perpetual sub-sovereignty. More, it could nullify future claims based on past and present settler expansion. Yes, I know the agreement should deal with those claims direct, but the reality is that Abbas “rules” by delaying “no’s” in a land of mostly no’s.

          I reiterate my view that all this rhetoric is very wasteful, no, harmful, given the obvious certainty that there shall be no truly sovereign Palestinian State. An incremental economic confederation completely shunts ROR, working towards economic development which should be stabilizing. As it is, promises unrealized are becoming motivation for hate.

          Are you willing to forego a Jenin like incursion because the target town is in the new Palestinian State? I don’t think so. Abbas’ plea for NATO peacekeepers was in recognition of the obvious non-sovereignty of a new State. I’m not railing against this present inevitability. I am saying that focus on a State that cannot exist is fueling resentment and dead end lives which may ultimately flame into violence. The PA’s move to request entry into international agreements is consequent of the State myth supported, for different reasons, on both sides. Instead of trying to improve the ground, both sides are railroading into a polarized trap where hatred and denial are the only tools available. I continue to fear Kerry/Obama have made a significant mistake by shooting for a final status agreement in from or outcome.

          That’s what I see, anyway.

          Reply to Comment
          • directrob

            “ROR is socio-economically impossible”

            So it is possible to withhold the rights of 5 million refugees for umpteen years just because letting them into Israel is inconvenient for the economics and social structure of Israel? You do know ROR is customary law?

            You do not be worried too much however. The refugees can choose compensation instead of to return (the have right of compensation anyway). This compensation is an integral part of a two state solution. How much money would you take in compensation for thirty years in a Gaza refugee camp or just Gaza instead of Israel? Maybe 20,000$ or 100.000$ or one million? Multiply with 5 million and you know what it should cost Israel to properly compensate the refugees.

            In practice the figure will be lower so Israel should be able to borrow the up to 400 billion without major consequences.

            Reply to Comment
          • Direct, I just say what I see. The US obviously didn’t compensate for the expulsion and mariginalization of prior residents either. Hell, many Native Americans were corralled into the Oklahoma Territory, with some talk at first of making it an Indian State of the Union. What happened to them when Oklahoma became a State? It seems my maternal grandmother was one of these.

            It won’t work. Compensation of any real magnitude will have to remove the exclusionary badges where the now third generation refugees live. I am not foregoing everything in some righteous solidarity stand when I see paths of improvement. Not huge improvement, but possible improvement.

            Incremental improvement is feasible. Flooding either Israel OR the West Bank would be disastrous. Gaza needs its ports opened, not made another pawn in ultimate compensation.

            Two States is leading all sides into polarized false utopias which are nigh incommensurate. And shooting people in civil war is customary too.

            Reply to Comment
          • directrob

            Where you see progress (or it must be that two states seem impossible) I do not know.

            Instead of thinking why, because of Israeli fears (or rather greed), Palestinian rights can be ignored it would be wiser to think how those rights can be realised despite your fears. Your slow wait for improvements can last another hundreds years.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            They are not going to get a cent unless 1 million Jewish refugees get compensated for being kicked out of Arab countries and for the confiscation of their assets and properties.

            People like you, directrob, don’t dictate to us.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            … oh and we are not going to include compensation to descendants of refugees. Only to the refugees themselves which in the case of Palestinian Arabs is about 700,000 not 5 million.

            Unles of course we would treat Jewish refugees the same way, we should then include compensation to the descendants of Jewish refugees too which would probably be more than the descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees.

            But it certainly isn’t customary law to give compensation to descendants of refugees.

            Reply to Comment
    5. Danny

      Not sure who make me want to vomit more – Livni or Lapid.

      I think it’s the former rather than the latter simply because this woman – the offspring of not one, but two terrorist parents who were responsible for numerous acts of murder in mandate Palestine – ran on the most deceptive and deceitful of platforms that deceitfully painted her as a moderate dove and stole precious votes of gullible lefties who liked her moderate tone. She is probably one of the worst imposters in Israeli political history, and in my opinion deserves to be brought to justice for war crimes (she was the poster girl for Cast Lead).

      Lapid is just a lowbrow moron who knew how to take advantage of his late father’s numerous political and media connections. He takes his cues directly from Netanyahu.

      The state of Israel has never been more rotten with this current government running the show. It’s a wonder this country somehow manages to function.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Jack bender

      There will never be any kind of a peace.until the Arabs give up the hope of defeating Israel,whatever the means…although it may seem unfair,and maybe it is.fairness is not a factor.the Palestinians should take whatever lousy deal they can get,no matter how unjust,and go on with their lives..for over the next generations things will come around for them..they will prosper and Israel will bend toward fairness,as long as there is peace

      Reply to Comment
    7. Samuel

      “Palestinians agreed to shelve two of their three conditions”

      Yea, all three are conditions on Israel to do something NOT on Palestinians to do something. Go figure …

      “(withdrawal to the pre-1967 boundaries”

      Why should Israel agree to give up on more secure borders even before negotiations begin? Was that really a concession by Abu Mazen? Of course NOT!

      “and a freeze on settlement building).”

      Why should Israel freeze “settlement” building within the perimeters of existing “settlements”? It would imply that Israel is willing to give up “settlements” even before negotiations?

      Was that really a concession by Abu Mazen? Of course NOT!

      Giving up on such demands was not a concession by Abu Mazen. It was a rare moment of recognizing reality.

      Real concessions would have been:

      1. Recognizing Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

      2. Stopping incitement.

      3. Giving up on the right of return demand.

      “In return, the delighted Netanyahu committed “only” to the release of Palestinian prisoners.”

      Yea, I am sure Bibi was delighted, NOT! Letting out convicted murderers of Israeli men, women and children was so easy for Bibi to agree to, NOT!

      “And then he simply did not release the fourth round of prisoners. Why? Just because. Because he felt like it. Instead, he decided that he had a condition: Abu Mazen should commit to keeping the negotiations going”

      Because he felt like it?

      Or because Abu Mazen stopped even pretending to negotiate? And because Abu Mazen broke his promise not to take unilateral steps in the UN.

      Well then, let him try his UN lawfare strategy. Let’s see where this latest so called weapon of theirs will take them. My prediction is that it will turn out to be another dead end Palestinian strategy.

      And when they will realise their latest mistake, maybe a couple of decades from now, after they will lose more of what they could have had today by compromising, I hope that Israel will be the one to play hardball with them. I hope that Israel will make them beg on their hands and knees before Israel will agree to negotiate with THEM.

      Reply to Comment
      • Sol

        Read the subheadline, Einstein?


        “Israel’s chief negotiator also hints US is over-involved, doesn’t endorse Abbas as partner, can’t promise current crisis will be overcome”

        Or paragraph two of the TOI tale?

        “She also slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for breaching their agreed negotiating framework, and sounded far from confident that the ruptured talks could be rescued.”

        How about paragraph seven?

        “She said she was ‘angry’ that Abbas had ‘lost patience’ after Israel delayed releasing a fourth and final group of longterm Palestinian terror convicts last weekend, and said he had ‘breached’ their understandings by applying to join 15 UN and other international treaties. ‘We can’t just smile and move on,’ she said.”

        Has all the hasbara rendered you blind? Or merely willfully ignorant for your pals and bosses in the Price Tag and Kahane crowd?

        Reply to Comment
        • Bar

          Um, what are you saying, exactly?

          Reply to Comment
    8. shachalnur

      Palestinians and Arabs will give Livni the run-around forever.

      In 2006,when Israel was blowing Beirut to pieces,Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora cried in public.

      Livni ,FM at the time,told him ,in public;”Tafsik liefkot,tatchil le’asot”(stop crying,start doing).

      Arabs don’t forget a thing like that easily,especially from some former Mossad honeytrap,killing the Lebanese population by the thousands.

      With Livni around no Arab will sign anything.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Samuel

      “With Livni around no Arab will sign anything.”

      Nu? What’s new …. ???

      And with Eshkol and with Aba Eban and with Rabin and with Ehud Barak and with Ehud Olmert. They never sign anything but even if they sign temporary treaties, they break the treaties even before the ink dries.

      Reply to Comment
      • shachalnur

        Why should the Palestinians sign anything they don’t like?

        They’ve been there for thousands of years,and are not in a hurry.

        Time is running against 1897 Zionism though.

        Not so much because of public opinion,but mainly because you have become a liability for the sponsors and enablers of your project.

        Reply to Comment
        • Samuel

          Sponsors, shmonsors. Keep on blabbering. There are NO sponsors.

          Reply to Comment
          • Samuel

            Israel is a modern miracle. We did have some help from some nations some of the time but on the whole we achieved what we achieved through our own talent, hard work and sacrifices.

            There are many who envy us for what we achieved despite all odds in 65 years. But even if they choke on their envy we are not going aywhere. We are here to stay and we won’t only survive, we will thrive. Get used to it or choke on it. We are not here to please you.

            Reply to Comment
    10. Philos

      Listening to the radio this morning the closest journalists are willing to get to the truth is this: both sides bear responsibility but Abu Mazen bears the most responsibility. Le’teferet medinat Yisrael.

      Reply to Comment
      • Philos

        Ah yes, and of course, “we” will take “our own unilateral actions” like:
        – blocking the Palestinian cellular network
        – implementing housing demolitions in Area B
        – cut off the electricity
        – stop passing on taxes collected on behalf of the PA

        Although, none of this will happen because it will lead to the collapse of the PA and force Israel to take over full responsibility for the West Bank but it just goes to show who has all the power and shrill hypocrisy of the Israeli establishment in creating a discourse of equality between the sides.

        Reply to Comment
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