+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

The rejectionist: Netanyahu and the peace talks

The Palestinian leadership changed, the political circumstances shifted, administrations came and went, but every round of talks involving Netanyahu follows the same dynamic, and ends the same way.

When talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed last summer, a couple of pollsters asked Israelis whether they think Prime Minister Netanyahu actually supports the two-state solution – which, at least in theory, was the agreed-upon goal of the process. The results didn’t receive enough attention at the time: one poll, published on Channel 2’s website, found that 50 percent of the public didn’t think Netanyahu genuinely adopted the two-state solution, as opposed to 23 percent who thought he did. Four days later, Haaretz came out with a poll that showed roughly the same results: 59 percent did not think that Bibi had committed to the two-state framework, while only 34 percent thought he had. It’s not surprising then that a clear majority in both polls didn’t think the talks would lead to an agreement (70 percent were skeptical in the Channel 2 poll, and 69 percent on Haaretz).

Polling on political image and perception can be tricky, so one should take them with a grain of salt. But Kerry’s team might have saved itself some time and trouble if it had taken those numbers into consideration. At the talks’ most optimistic moment, a clear majority of Israelis believed Bibi was bluffing.

As the negotiations moved forward – in time, not in substance – Netanyahu insisted on preparing the public for failure. If he made any concessions to the American team, they remain a tightly kept secret. Netanyahu rejected the idea of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, rejected Palestinian sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, rejected even symbolic recognition of the right of return (while placing a very central demand for symbolic recognition of Israel as “a Jewish State”).

More important, in his hostility toward the Palestinians, Netanyahu actually moved the public political barometer to the right during the negotiation period. By the time the talks broke down, if you were listening to the prime minister you would have thought that it was absolute madness to sign anything with Ramallah. Compare that to the language of “partners” that previous Israeli prime ministers used to describe their Palestinian counterparts, or their talk of “a common future.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry following their meeting in Jerusalem, December 5, 2013. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry following their meeting in Jerusalem, December 5, 2013. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

So why did Bibi enter these talks? I think Netanyahu understands the real dynamic of the peace process, as opposed to what others make of it. The diplomatic process is centered on a trade-off of land for legitimacy. Israel is expected to pay with land it holds claims to – in other words, to free the Palestinians living on it from the military occupation – and in return, receives legitimacy from the Palestinians, then the Arab world and the rest of the international community.

Read +972′s full coverage of the peace process

However, there is an unequal dynamic at work. While Israel — and the Israeli leadership that negotiates — receives legitimacy as it enters into talks, the Palestinians are only supposed to win their share long after the process is over. A Palestinian leadership bleeds support from the moments talks are called; for Israelis, the tough moment is about the evacuation of land, which only comes years after the ceremony on the White House lawn. You could actually see this dynamic at work in the past eight months: Netanyahu got stronger (his numbers at home rose as the talks began) while the PA lost what was left of its credibility by suspending opposition to the occupation and agreeing to a process that has yet to bring any real achievements.

* * *

Even if talks succeed, Netanyahu has a history of not delivering his part of agreements. After he got into the Prime Minister’s Office in 1996, Netanyahu refused to carry out the third and final withdrawal that Israel committed to in the second Oslo Accord. The Clinton Administration had to lead another process – on the implementation of the previous agreement – resulting in the Wye River Memorandum in 1998. The memorandum also had three stages; Netanayhu carried out the first and stalled on the second two, airing his old claims of Palestinian incitement and unilateralism. A certain pattern has emerged.

A couple of years later, in a private conversation with settlers, Netanyahu – not knowing he was being taped – explained how he used loopholes in the Oslo Accords in order to derail it. He also boasted that dealing with the American administration didn’t pose a problem, because “the U.S. can be easily pushed.”

The task was easier this time because Netanyahu didn’t have a real process on his hands when he returned to the Prime Minister’s Office – only the emerging framework for a two-state solution that Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert built with the PA. Netanyahu demanded that he not be bound by previous offers and wanted to “talk about everything,” thus rejecting the 1967 borders, compromise on Jerusalem and even redefining what “settlement blocs” mean. This led to four months of futile talks between the two sides, until somewhere in December when the secretary of state started working on his own framework.

The talks with the Palestinians pretty much ended at this point. Netanyahu’s goal became reaching an understanding with the Obama administration that would relieve international pressure off Israel for a long period of time. (At some point, Tzipi Livni went as far as saying that an agreement with the Palestinians is impossible, but “we might be able to have one with the world.”) Netanyahu then made the most maximalist demand about legitimacy – recognizing Israel as a Jewish state – before he was even willing to discuss borders or settlements. Then, true to his old habits, he refrained from carrying out his part of the deal – releasing the fourth and final group of prisoners – without getting more in return: a comfortable extension of the talks, and perhaps even a rare political trophy such as the release of Jonathan Pollard. The U.S., after all, can be easily pushed.

The bottom line would remain the same: this is not a symmetric conflict. The negotiations are not equal, just as the battlefield is not equal. But even with this given inequality, Netanyahu presents a unique phenomenon: a leader who has devoted his entire career to derailing the process and preventing the formation of a viable Palestinian state. He is this process’s true rejectionist. I understand the Obama administration’s political need to assign equal blame to both parties now that everything is collapsing before our eyes. But I also hope that in their mind, and behind closed doors, they know better. After all, even Netanyahu’s own voters didn’t take his peacenik image too seriously.

Related:
The ‘outrageous hypocrisy’ of Tzipi Livni & Yair Lapid
A hard choice faces the Palestinians
The peace process is dead, long live the peace process

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Kolumn9

      The real problem is that the Palestinians make it almost trivial for Bibi to get away with his game. They could have accepted Kerry’s framework and put the onus on Bibi to follow through. Instead they blew it up and instead of putting Bibi into a corner ended up demonstrating for all Israelis that they are uninterested in peace with Israel.

      There is really very little that can be done to convince the Israelis that the Palestinians are serious about peace when Mahmoud Abbas rejects the following three things:
      1) Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State
      2) Cancelling the “Right of Return”
      3) Ending the conflict

      The first two are arguable. One can argue that it is possible to make peace with the Palestinians accepting Israel (without recognizing it as a Jewish State) and with a minimal and obscure agreement on the “Right of Return” with token “returns”. The last is quite explicit in framing the approach the Palestinians have to the talks. At best what is at stake is a formal cease-fire. That is all the Palestinians are willing to offer Israel. They wish to retain the capacity to continue the struggle against Israel on better terms. There is basically zero reason why any Israeli government would accept giving up strategic assets in return for a cease-fire.

      Until the Palestinians get it in their heads that a peace treaty will end with a Jewish State as a permanent fixture there is absolutely no point in talking. At this stage Abbas and Hamas are barely distinguishable in terms of their approaches to the conflict with Israel. Neither is willing to do much more than agree to a cease-fire until they build up forces and the conflict can be reignited.

      Reply to Comment
      • Philos

        So, if the Palestinians only capitulated their main negotiation leverage before talks begin they will be in a better position to negotiate? Sounds pretty fantastical and they’re not that stupid (even if Kerry might be).

        Indeed, if the recognize Israel as a Jewish state then what’s to stop the next demand being, “the Palestinians must cede all territory that belonged to Jews ever at any time in history”? And so on. The pathetic irony is that Abbas is the only one fighting for a Jewish state via the two-state solution…

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Their main leverage? If their main leverage is to insist that they don’t accept that the goal of negotiations is the principle of two states for two peoples then they have no leverage because there is no point negotiating with them. At best they will get some variation of the status quo because there is no reason to give them additional power or territory from which to continue the struggle to destroy the Jewish State.

          Their position in this matter is the exact opposite of leverage. It is something that ensures that Israelis can make no compromises without having to take into consideration that they will be used against them in the future. Release of prisoners? To be used to attack Israelis in the future. Removal of IDF from the hills? To be used to deploy rockets to fire at Tel Aviv. Given the rejection of the Kerry framework all the Palestinians are offering is a cease-fire. It is not worth taking risks for.

          The Palestinians have explicitly declared their desire to achieve a state now, to flood Israel with Arabs through any and all means possible, and to continue the conflict until Israel is destroyed later. That is the only plausible explanation of the Palestinian rejection of the following three aspects of Kerry’s framework:
          1) Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State
          2) Cancellation of the demand to flood Israel with Arabs
          3) A peace treaty being the end of conflict and all claims.

          I also notice that in their final spasm of irrational euphoria the Palestinians demanded that Israel give citizenship to 15,000 Arabs as a condition for continuing peace talks for a few more months. In other words, the Palestinians are now explicitly demanding that Israel open itself up to a flood of Arabs as a *condition* for having peace talks during which they insist on rejecting the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State and reject ending the conflict. If any idiot in Israel prior to now thought the Palestinians were actually interested in leaving Israel alive, they now know better.

          This joke that the Americans tried to play is done. The Palestinians can go to the UN, the ICC, the ICJ or Mars for all I care. Of course they are probably going to have to use the assets they have abroad to do any of that since I expect their VIPs will shortly have their travel plans curtailed and their wallets much lightened. The sad thing is that the fanatical left-wing, both in Israel and abroad, brought this situation upon them. All this nonsense about BDS and the ICC and the ICJ has pumped the Palestinians up to entirely unrealistic expectations about what they can extract from the Israelis. Let them go out now and make good on their threats. In case it isn’t obvious, they are about to declare a diplomatic war against the United States. The outcome is hardly in doubt. The Palestinians are so so screwed and when they are at their lowest point we’ll chat again about the ridiculous conditions they insist on and see how confident they are then.

          Reply to Comment
          • Johnboy

            K9: “If their main leverage is to insist that they don’t accept that the goal of negotiations is the principle of two states for two peoples then”……

            ….. then I’d have to suggest that you are channelling Bibi Nentanyahu, not Abbas.

            After all, ABBAS insisted that the talks have an agreed-upon agenda:
            a) two-states with
            b) borders based upon the ’67 lines with mutually-agreed swaps
            c) Both states have Jerusalem as their capital
            d) A mutually-agreed solution to the refugee problem.

            By way of comparison, what did NETANYAHU offer as an agreed-upon agenda for talks?

            a) There Can Be No Preconditions (a.k.a. there will be no agenda)
            b) Oh, yeah, and regardless of (a) you must recognize “Israel is the Jewish state”. No ifs. No buts.

            Honestly, the ability of Zionists to completely invert reality is quite breathtaking.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Abbas insists on the following:
            a) two-states with
            b) borders based upon the ’67 lines with mutually-agreed swaps
            c) Both states have Jerusalem as their capital
            d) A mutually-agreed solution to the refugee problem.
            e) Neither of those states is Jewish
            f) The mutually-agreed solution to the refugee problem allows an unlimited number of Arabs to move to Israel
            g) The conflict does not end with the agreement on two states

            The last three points invalidate the rest of the ‘solution’ since it becomes apparent that Abbas wants baby steps towards the destruction of Israel which is the purpose of points e-g.

            Seriously, where is the inversion of reality? The Palestinians reject the idea that the conflict will be resolved as part of the two state agreement and insist that they are allowed to flood Israel with Arabs while rejecting the very idea that they can accept a Jewish State next door. There is no point negotiating with Abbas if he, like Hamas, insist that the only permanent solution he will accept is one in which Israel ceases to exist.

            Reply to Comment
      • Bara

        Koloum 9
        I think you are making it too personal for Bibi.

        the peace process or what is called the peace process does not belong to Bibi.
        the palastenian does not have to prove to him or anyone else that the man is hypocrite, or put him in the corner…

        and trust me, even if palastenian recognized israel as a jewish state, the israeli government will come with new idea to extend the negotiation. so stop fooling around…

        religion is a personal issue between you and god, why you are trying to improvise it on others ?

        Israel have the leverage to do wt ever it want under the current circumstances, would that last ??

        Reply to Comment
      • “At this stage Abbas and Hamas are barely distinguishable in terms of their approaches to the conflict with Israel.”

        Right. That’s why PA security cooperates with Israeli security, the latter saying so. Hamas is doing the same thing, so the PA and Hamas are “barely distinguishable.”

        I think the real issue is the Jordan Valley, which is why Abbas floated the idea of NATO peacekeepers. Israel cannot allow a sovereign Palestinian State. Jenin episodes will always be an option. That means Two States is a fiction from the start. It doesn’t matter whether Jordan Valley control is truly necessary for Israel–it has been defined so, as has the option of further Jenin events. “End of conflict” becomes meaningless for the PA. When tied to the Right of Return, both these inflame nationalism against Abbas, and that he cannot allow. So he gives you his “no’s.” He is asking for entry into treaties because it’s the only route left to attain a “State.” Internally, he has nothing left but that.

        I know you find it boring and tedious, but the only incremental forward path I see is a confederation, beginning with economic contracts among people, not nations. Israel is going to hold sovereignty of air space, entry into the territories, and military incursions in any case. There never was a feasible Two States this round.

        Let me alienate everyone here by suggesting that if one needs blame let’s put it on the US for an ideal goal of Two States after the second intifada.

        What, organizationally, is left on the West Bank Palestinian ground? A generation has lived on aspirations of a nation-state. Terrorism is waiting in the wings to show another way. It really doesn’t take that many people to start violence. There is no “Palestinian personality” making some sort of “collective decision” which has “renounced violence.” The US could have urged the creation of forward economic paths towards coexistence. Instead it tried to act as a marriage counselor for a yelling couple. By asking for so much, nothing seems to have been gained. I guess one can hope for an end of month turn around, but I can’t see it.

        Reply to Comment
        • Samuel

          “It really doesn’t take that many people to start violence.”

          Yes but violence begets violence. And everything that has a start, also has a finish. The side that will first finish violence will be the side that will tire of it first. And that side is likely to be the side that will suffer from it most. I wonder which side will be that side?

          Reply to Comment
          • As you probably know, I don’t advocate violence at all. I think, however, your analysis may be flawed. If Israel is forced, in its own perception, to intervene directly into PA controlled areas, they may face non-cooperation: work stoppage, refusal to sell, refusal to aid. Yes, that will hurt tremendously inside the PA areas. But there are actually many episodes in history where such hurt is endured.

            I don’t think it a good idea to say you can hurt the other side into submission. If the PA begins to refuse security cooperation, and this can happen among the rank and file, things will get bad for both sides. Granted, most Israelis will not notice anything at all, save when their sons and daughters are conscripted. Overtime, thought, that notice will build.

            I prefer to think of a positive way out, or incremental steps forward, via a nascent economic confederation, although that seems hopeless right now.

            Reply to Comment
          • Samuel

            “I don’t think it a good idea to say you can hurt the other side into submission.”

            Yes, well said. I couldn’t agree with you more. That is why I don’t agree with anyone threatening Israel with violence for whatever reason.

            I did not claim that you advocate violence but you did wield the prospect that some Palestinians may resort to violence.

            All I was saying that it would backfire on the Palestinians. Will it hurt both sides? Of course! But don’t expect Israel to shoot itself in the foot for fear that some Palestinian Arabs may resort to violence.

            Reply to Comment
          • Samuel, if I warn someone they might have cancer I’m not hoping they have cancer. As to violence, I have yet to see any movement on IDF abuses and neglect in the West Bank. That’s a form of violence. Nor have I seen a coherent argument that correction of these would derail security.

            I don’t see this situation as root for your team. Pointing out that predictions of violence are like threats of violence while there is no redress mechanism of note in the West Bank under occupation doesn’t change the latter. The Yesh Din reports on this site are an aid, not hindrance, if taken seriously.

            Reply to Comment
          • Samuel

            Again, Greg …

            I did not have a go at YOU personally. I argued against what you SAID. I didn’t even dismiss it entirely. I just put a bit of perspective about it.

            Things are never as simple as they first seem.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            In other words, the anti Israel propagandists think they will win. But they won’t.

            You might end up getting over it. No commiserations.

            Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Hamas has a force on the border with Gaza preventing rocket attacks on Israel. The PA is refusing to arrest terrorists in certain areas, which forces Israeli troops to operate in Jenin and elsewhere. Otherwise the PA is keeping Hamas in check, which is as much an Israeli security need as a Fatah political one. Both Hamas and Fatah see the current cease-fires with Israel as tactically useful and are sticking to them. Both have in the recent past carried out mass attacks on Israeli civilians. Neither has ever rejected the tactic or considered the perpetrators of such attacks anything less than heroes. Neither is interested in signing a peace treaty that resolves the conflict. What is the difference?

          If the PA is not interested in ending the conflict then they are just preparing for the next war regardless of whether there is a Palestinian State or not. As long as this is the case the Jordan Valley is not relevant. Israeli control over the Jordan Valley is meant to stabilize a more-or-less friendly Palestinian state. The same reasoning is what would allow Israel to hand over control over most of the West Bank. If the Palestinian state is going to be hostile the whole framework is irrelevant. There is no compelling reason to hand over assets to the other party for a ‘peace agreement’ while the other party a priori declares that it is interested in continuing the conflict. If Abbas can not sign an agreement that ends the conflict he is, as far as Israel is concerned, just another version of Hamas but with better PR in the West. He becomes a problem and an annoyance, rather than part of any potential solution. If he wants to get a state through the UN and through pressure on Israel and without ending the conflict, then the Israeli response would be to defang him, pressure him, or remove him.

          A confederation as you define it is not in the cards. The history of the confederations in this region – Lebanon, Syria, Iraq is not good. The history of confederations in general in the world – Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, etc.. is not good. They fail and they fail consistently. And when they fail they leave behind anarchy and civil war. Here we are in a situation where we can’t trust the Palestinians with their own state because it will make war on us. Proposing a confederation where the same Palestinians will have free access to us while avoiding resolving the underlying issues is absurd. Beyond that we are here for the express purpose of running our own affairs in our own state defended by our army. This is called self-determination. If someone gave you the impression that there is a significant proportion of the population that is flexible on this issue they have seriously done you a disservice. The Palestinians can have a state, as long as it is peaceful, and such a state will prosper. They can have no state and we will exclude them from ours. They can have the status quo. They can get their own ‘state’ recognized by the UN but the status quo will continue. What they are not going to get is an opportunity in which they will be given the power to overturn Israel and remove the capacity of Jews to defend themselves. Unfortunately that is precisely what pretty much all Palestinian factions are insisting on. Abbas wants a state so that he can pursue war against Israel. Hamas wants a permanent war against Israel. The one-staters want to eliminate Israel from the inside by removing the capacity of the Jews to run a state and defend themselves. Given that all of these wish to destroy Israel, Hamas is the easiest to deal with.

          Organizationally the PA is a state in the making. It has all the relevant bodies and is responsible for health, education, welfare, justice, etc. If there was a generation that lived on aspirations of a nation-state then the PA would have been a state by now. The problem is that this is a blatant lie. When people want a state they will swallow many bitter pills to make that the case. The Israelis negotiated a reparations package with the Germans several years after the Holocaust. This was the price of having a viable state. The Palestinians so far have been unwilling to compromise on both symbolic and meaningful issues. They can’t even bring themselves to accept the idea that the conflict will actually end and Israel will be left alive. The truth is that the generation that ‘lived on aspirations of a nation-state’ never managed to get over the idea that the nation-state should control all the land that is now Israel and that accepting less than that is a temporary compromise rather than a permanent outcome. When faced with the idea that that would be a permanent outcome they have balked repeatedly.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Rehmat

      Both Netanyahu and Kerry are living within ‘Zionist prism’, from which Gandhi tried Dr. Chaim Weizmann to pull-out.

      “Though I sympathizes with European Jewish people, I cannot agree to punish Palestinians for the crimes of Nazis. Palestine belongs to Arabs as much as France belongs to French and England to English people,” wrote Gandhi.

      Joseph Lelyveld (NYT) claims Gandhi was not antisemite as he was in love with German Jewish bodybuilder Dr. Hermann Kallenbach.

      http://rehmat1.com/2011/03/29/gandhi%E2%80%99s-secret-love-for-jews/

      Reply to Comment
    3. Tzutzik

      Who cares what Ghandi said or didn’t say and who he was or wasn’t in love with? All he cared about was self determination for the Indian people.

      He did not seem to give a stuff about the self determination of the Jewish people in our ancestral homeland and that disqualifies him from being an impartial observer.

      Why do Palestinian Arabs deserve the right to have self determination but not Palestinian Jews?

      Reply to Comment
      • un2here

        Perhaps because you never presented any solid proof of your ancestors actual whereabouts. It would be an impossible task as well, so that is perhaps not so surprising. Still, belief is not evidence, no matter how strongly you wish for it.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          We have solid evidence that the vast majority of Arabs here are migrants from elsewhere, as is the Arabic language and the Islamic religion. Ask pretty much any of them where their village or clan is from and they will proudly tell you where their ancestors came from and with rare exceptions it isn’t from here.

          Yet that doesn’t seem to bother some people that wish to grant them ‘native’ status rather than to the people that have no homeland but here and a language and a religion that were born here.

          Crazy, just crazy.

          Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          “Still, belief is not evidence, no matter how strongly you wish for it”

          Disbelief is not evidence either no matter how strongly you wish for it.

          Just for the record, I personally posted numerous links which gave historical and archeological evidence which proves that the land that some call Palestine was a Jewish kingdom for a couple of thousand years. But those who don’t want to believe just go on proclaiming that the earth is flat. No point in arguing with them.

          Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            Nobody is saying that there wasn’t a Jewish kingdom – but face it, the Christians and Muslims did not arrive from outer space. Judaism was abandoned in Palestine (weep if you must.)

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Nobody is saying that there wasn’t a Jewish kingdom”

            Then nobody is saying that it wasn’t our ancestral homeland? Good. We are making progress.

            As for “Judaism abandoned”, I am not sure what you mean by that. If you are saying that 2000 years ago most Jews were forced to leave the land of Judea under duress because of European colonisers, the Romans, you are correct.

            But abandoned? NEVER! The fact that we are BACK is ample proof that we never abandoned our ancestral homeland.

            Reply to Comment
          • Mike Panzone

            Who cares if it was your ancestral homeland. That was 2000 years ago. Get over it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Who cares if it was your ancestral homeland. That was 2000 years ago. Get over it.”

            Who cares about what you care?

            IT IS OUR ancestral homeland and we are here to stay. YOU get over it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Mike Panzone

            “we are here to stay”
            nobody can make that guarantee. a jewish state is as stupid an idea as an islamic republic. write a secular constitution and get over yourselves, why don’t you

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            You get over yourself, Mike. Go change the Islamic states first then come and preach to us.

            AND

            We are striving to create a Jewish secular state in which the Jewish nation is the majority but the state is secular. You haven’t heard of such a concept? Are you sure?

            Well then go to Britain. It is secular and democratic yet it is an Anglican state. The symbolic head of the country is the Queen who is also the head of the Anglican church.

            Last but not least, don’t over-rate “Secular”. Communism and Nazism were both secular and look what they “achieved”: millions of dead people in gulags and concentration camps.

            Just saying … just issuing a warning against being a secular zealot. Are you sure you are not one of those?

            Personally, I prefer secular too. But I am not bloody minded about it. A touch of religion never hurt anyone as long as moderation is the key. Live and let live I say. But if others don’t want to let me live, then all bets are off. I can be as nasty as others are nasty to me/us.

            Get it?

            Reply to Comment
    4. Tzutzik

      Oh by the way, Rehmat, thanks for clearly illustrating which of the two sides really rejects the two state solution.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Tzutzik

      Rehmat

      Israel doesn’t need enemies, period. No one does. Nevertheless, Israel does have enemies. You are one of them. That is why, you have no credibility when you try and tell us who are our friends or enemies but thanks for trying …

      Reply to Comment
    6. Bar

      It’s amazing to see an entire essay devoted to the question of negotiations, but to have the writer claim that only one side has any agency.

      Once again, Noam, the fact is the Palestinians have not budged on any of the critical issues at stake here. They refuse to end the conflict. They refuse to give up a desire to move millions of Arabs into Israel. They refuse to accept that the heart of Jerusalem have Jewish control over Jewish sites and over its historic Jewish areas.

      You can blame Netanyahu all you want, but according to Tzipi Livni’s interview the other day, he not only agreed to “complex” concessions, but was defined by her as an active partner of hers in the talks. She did not express such positive sentiments about Abbas’s efforts.

      Let’s stop blaming Israel for everything.

      Oh, and by the way, great stuff that you pulled up from the past. Of course, you forgot to mention that the US pushed Netanyahu quite effectively to sign Wye and Hebron.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Kolumn9

      What is up with the censorship? Two of my comments are missing on this thread.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        Nvrmind. They showed up.

        Reply to Comment
        • I’ve notice the delay for some time as well. Maybe they have somebody give quick looks before posting, that somebody going to lunch; maybe it is a server thing. Since we are on opposite polls of the spectrum, I don’t think has anything to do with you.

          Reply to Comment
    8. Mohamed ElKhateeb

      A great article! Finally someone is talking about the rejectionist and his role in killing peace in Palestine/Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Click here to load previous comments