Israeli/Washington Peace Terms: Unconditional Surrender
By Stephen Lendman
In-depth Report: PALESTINE
The charade began Monday night. It did so over a traditional Iftar dinner. It’s the Ramadan period evening meal. It breaks the daily fast. It was more like the last supper. According to Christian scripture, Christ shared his last meal with his Apostles. He did so before crucifixion. Palestinians have been crucified for decades. They’re hung out to dry ruthlessly. New talks are worthless. They’re fake. They’re futile. They’re another round of duplicity, failure and betrayal. Multiple previous efforts produced nothing. This time’s no different. Peace for our time won’t happen. Netanyahu won’t tolerate it. Nor will Washington. The books are cooked. The game’s rigged. It doesn’t rise to the level of a bad film plot. Illusion substitutes for reality. The mainstream media regurgitate false hopes. More on that below. According to US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation coordinator Josh Ruebner, Israeli/Palestinian peace talks meet Einstein’s definition of insanity. “The United States keeps doing the exact same thing over and over again, and somehow expects that it’s going to lead to a different result, and it’s not,” he said. Ahead of talks, John Kerry introduced Martin Indyk. He’s a former US ambassador to Israel. He was Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs. He’s Obama’s Special Envoy for ongoing talks. He’s no honest broker. He’s one-sidedly pro-Israeli. He spurns Palestinian rights. He pretends otherwise. So did Kerry, saying: He’s “a seasoned American diplomat.” He “agreed to take on this critical task at this crucial time.” “(H)e shares my belief that if the leaders on both sides continue to show strong leadership and a willingness to make those tough choices and a willingness to reasonably compromise, then peace is possible.” Indyk quoted Obama saying: “Peace is necessary, peace is just, and peace is possible.” Not as long as Palestinians have no willing partner. They never did. They don’t now. Pretending otherwise reflects illusions, not reality. According to Indyk, “(Y)ou, Mr. Secretary,” proved Obama “right. You’ve shown that it can be done.” How he said it with a straight face, he’ll have to explain. The Middle East boils. Conflict rages. Dozens, maybe hundreds, die daily. Washington, NATO partners, Israel, and rogue Arab despots bear full responsibility. Palestinians bear their own cross. They’ve suffered for decades. Militarized occupation terrorizes them. It does so ruthlessly. It continues during fake peace talks. Frank Lowenstein’s involved. He’s part of the charade. He’s Kerry’s senior regional peace talks advisor. On July 29, a White House press release headlined “Statement by the President on the Resumption of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations,” saying: “I am pleased that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas have accepted Secretary Kerry’s invitation to formally resume direct final status negotiations and have sent senior negotiating teams to Washington for the first round of meetings.” “This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead.” “During my March visit to the region, I experienced first-hand the profound desire for peace among both Israelis and Palestinians, which reinforced my belief that peace is both possible and necessary.” “I deeply appreciate Secretary Kerry’s tireless work with the parties to develop a common basis for resuming direct talks, and commend both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas for their leadership in coming to the table.” “The most difficult work of these negotiations is ahead, and I am hopeful that both the Israelis and Palestinians will approach these talks in good faith and with sustained focus and determination.” “The United States stands ready to support them throughout these negotiations, with the goal of achieving two states, living side by side in peace and security.” “I am pleased that Ambassador Martin Indyk will lead the US negotiating team as US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations.” “Ambassador Indyk brings unique experience and insight to this role, which will allow him to contribute immediately as the parties begin down the tough, but necessary, path of negotiations.” It was typical Obama doublespeak duplicity. He deplores peace. He’s waging multiple direct and proxy wars. He’s done so throughout his tenure. He has more death and destruction in mind. He thinks war is peace. He’s waging it at home and abroad. He’s mindless of Palestinian suffering. He pretends otherwise. He’s no peacemaker. He’s ravaging humanity. Doing so threatens its survival. Israeli/Palestinian talks are fake. They’re dead on arrival. Chances for a just peace are ZERO. Failure and betrayal are certain. No matter. Obama feigns feel my pain sentiment. He met Israeli and Palestinian negotiators face-to-face. He did so at the White House. He called rebooting talks “a promising step.” For whom he didn’t say. For sure not for Palestinians. In January 2011, Al Jazeera revealed the Palestine Papers. They include hundreds of internal documents, nearly 1,700 files, and thousands of pages of diplomatic correspondence. They cover a decade of Israeli/Palestinian talks (1999 – 2010). They include emails, maps, minutes of private meetings, accounts of high-level exchanges, strategy papers, and powerpoint presentations. They revealed: – the PA’s willingness to concede all East Jerusalem settlements except one; ¦PA “creativ(ity)” about Islam’s third holiest site, Haram al-Sharif (Nobel Sanctuary); Jews call it the Temple Mount; ¦compromise on the right of return; Saeb Erekat suggested abandonment beyond token amounts; ¦numerous details of PA-Israeli “cooperation;” they revealed PA complicity; they showed unconditional surrender to Israeli demands; and ¦private late 2009 PA-US negotiator exchanges when Goldstone Report discussions were ongoing at the UN. Abbas, Erekat, and PA co-conspirators are traitors. They’re double agents. They collaborate with Israel and Washington. They do so against their own people. They’ve done it for decades. They did it since the 1991 Madrid Conference attempt to restart talks. They’ve done it ever since. They sold out every time. They’re bought and paid for. They’re well rewarded for services rendered. Their agenda reflects treachery. On July 29, Daily News Egypt headlined “Abbas meets Adly Mansour in Cairo.” Instead of denouncing coup plotters, he embraced them. He did so disgracefully. He discussed “Egyptian-Palestinian relations.” He did so ahead of fake peace talks. He showed what side he’s on. He’s been there for decades. He’s no friend of Palestine. He’s Israel’s enforcer. He terrorizes his own people. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s a longtime pro-Western imperial stooge. On Monday, he endorsed the charade. He expressed his “strong support for the resumption of credible negotiations.” Deputy UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey added: “The secretary-general expressed his strong support for the resumption of credible negotiations to achieve the two-State solution and his appreciation for the recent courageous decision of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in this regard.” He “welcomed the positive engagement of the Arab League Peace Initiative follow-up committee.” “He stressed the importance of creating an environment conducive to the resumption of talks, and encouraged both sides to take further positive steps in this regard.” On July 29, Haaretz headlined “As talks kick off, recording reveals US envoy was pessimistic about peace.” About 18 months ago, Martin Indyk said: “I’m not particularly optimistic because I think that the heart of the matter is that the maximum concessions that this government of Israel would be prepared to make fall far short of the minimum requirements that Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) will insist on.” “So it may be possible to keep the talks going, which is a good thing, but I find it very hard to believe that they will reach an agreement.” His Monday statement was diplomatic doublespeak. He praised resumption of talks, saying: “Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas have made the tough decisions required to come back to the negotiating table.” “Perhaps we may yet be able to tell all those young Israelis and Palestinians who yearn for a different better tomorrow that, this time, we actually made it.” Will the real Martin Indyk please stand up? He knows Israel and Washington hold all trump cards. He said so months earlier on Israeli Radio. They call the shots. They decide. They control the process. They move things their way. They choose the wrong way every time. Peace for our time’s an illusion. It’s always been that way. It’s no different now. Change may come some day. Not now. Not according to New York Times columnist Roger Cohen. On July 29, he headlined “Netanyahu the Peacemaker,” saying: “The notion that Netanyahu the Likudnik – fierce opponent of the late Yitzhak Rabin’s peace push, reluctant latecomer to the notion of two states, longtime ideologue of the Jewish right to all the Biblical land of Israel – might reinvent himself as peacemaker is not new.” “I have heard it from several people who have spent long hours with Netanyahu, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain.” “Skepticism is de rigueur, but it would be wrong to dismiss the idea,” he added. Don’t expect him to explain illusions substituting for hard reality. Haaretz editors endorse them. On July 30, they headlined “Netanyahu showing signs of statesmanship,” saying: “(H)is decision to release 104 Palestinian prisoners may attest that the prime minister has finally internalized the need to extricate Israel from the diplomatic deep-freeze to which he has thus far sentenced it during his second and third terms of office.” In October 2011, he released 1,027 in return for Gilad Shalit. It was an empty gesture. Many were rearrested. Others are monitored, harassed, persecuted, and denied free movement. They’re in prison without cages and bars. According to Haaretz editors, Netanyahu showed “courage. For this, he deserves praise.” Hopefully he’ll “continue to act like a valiant statesman who is capable of coping with the challenges Israel faces and of making decisions even bolder than the one to release the prisoners.” “This is not only the opportunity of a lifetime for Netanyahu, who until now hasn’t led any significant positive moves; it’s also Israel’s big opportunity to change its image and improve its international standing.” “Israel must arrive at the negotiations in Washington armed not only with courage, but also with a sincere desire to reach a peace agreement.” “In Washington last night, a spark of hope was lit. Israel must not extinguish it.” Netanyahu’s no statesman. He’s a world class thug. He’s always been one. He’s no different now. Israel’s government is its worst in history. It reflects fascism writ large. Israel’s history is blood-drenched. Palestinians have been terrorized for decades. They’re brutalized now. They denied all rights. They’re treated like subhumans. They’re persecuted for wanting to live free on their own land in their own country at peace. Chances for resolving longstanding injustice remains a convenient fiction. Why Haaretz editors believe otherwise they’ll have to explain. Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Reviving the Israel-Palestine Negotiations: The Indyk Appointment
By Richard Falk August 01, 2013
“Information Clearing House – Appointing Martin Indyk as Special Envoy to the upcoming peace talks was to be expected. It was signaled in advance. And yet it is revealing and distressing. The only other candidates considered for the job were equally known as Israeli partisans: Daniel Kurtzer, former ambassador to Israel before becoming Commissioner of Israel’s Baseball League and Dennis Ross, co-founder in the 1980s (with Indyk) of the AIPAC backed Washington Institute for Near East Policy; handled the 2000 Camp David negotiations on behalf of Clinton. The winner among these three was Martin Indyk, former ambassador to Israel (1995-97; 2000-01), onetime AIPAC employee, British born, Australian educated American diplomat, with a long list of pro-Israeli credentials. Does it not seem strange for the United States, the convening party and the unconditional supporter of Israel, to rely exclusively for diplomatic guidance in this concerted effort to revive the peace talks on persons with such strong and unmistakable pro-Israeli credentials? What is stranger, still, is that the media never bothers to observe this peculiarity of a negotiating framework in which the side with massive advantages in hard and soft power, as well as great diplomatic and media leverage, needs to be further strengthened by having the mediating third-party so clearly in its corner. Is this numbness or bias? Are we so accustomed to a biased framework that it is taken for granted, or is it overlooked because it might spoil the PR effect of reviving the moribund peace process? John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, whose show this is, dutifully indicated when announcing the Indyk appointment, that success in the negotiations will depend on the willingness of the two sides to make ‘reasonable compromises.’ But who will decide on what is reasonable? It would be criminally negligent for the Palestinians to risk their future by trusting Mr. Indyk’s understanding of what is reasonable for the parties. But the Palestinians are now potentially entrapped. If they are put in a position where Israel accepts, and the Palestinian Authority rejects, “(un)reasonable compromises,” the Israelis will insist they have no “partner” for peace, and once more hasbara will rule the air waves. It is important to take note of the language of reasonable compromises, which as in earlier attempts at direct negotiations, excludes any reference to international law or the rights of the parties. Such an exclusion confirms that the essential feature of this diplomacy of negotiations is a bargaining process in which relative power and influence weighs heavily on what is proposed by and acceptable to the two sides. If I were advising the Palestinians, I would never recommend accepting a diplomatic framework that does not explicitly acknowledge the relevance of international law and the rights of the parties. In the relation of Israel and Palestine, international law could be the great equalizer, soft power neutralizing hard power. And this is precisely why Israel has worked so hard to keep international law out of the process, which is what I would certainly recommend if in Tel Aviv’s diplomatic corner. Can one even begin to contemplate, except in despair, what Benjamin Netanyahu and his pro-settler cabinet consider reasonable compromises? On what issues can we expect Israel to give ground: borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security? It would have been easy for Kerry to create a more positive format if he had done either of two things: appointed a Palestinian or at least someone of Middle Eastern background as co-envoy to the talks. Rashid Khalidi, President Obama’s onetime Chicago friend and neighbor, would have been a reassuring choice for the Palestinian side. Admittedly, having published a book a few months ago with the title Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Undermined Peace in the Middle East, the appointment of Khalidi, despite his stellar credentials, would have produced a firestorm in Washington. Agreed, Khalidi is beyond serious contemplation, but what about John Esposito, Chas Freeman, Ray Close? None of these alternatives, even Khalidi, is as close to the Palestinians as Indyk is to the Israelis, and yet such a selection would have been seen as a step taken to close the huge credibility deficit. Yet such credibility remains outside the boundaries of the Beltway’s political imagination, and is thus inhabits the realm of the unthinkable. It may be that Kerry is sincere in seeking to broker a solution to the conflict, yet this way of proceeding does not. Perhaps, there was no viable alternative. Israel would not come even to negotiate negotiations without being reassured in advance by an Indyk-like appointment. And if Israel had signaled its disapproval, Washington would be paralyzed. The only remaining question is why the Palestinian Authority goes along so meekly. What is there to gain in such a setting? Having accepted the Washington auspices, why could they not have demanded, at least, a more neutral or balanced negotiating envoy? I fear the answer to such questions is ‘blowin’ in the wind.’ And so we can expect to witness yet another charade falsely advertized as ‘the peace process.’ Such a diversion is costly for the Palestinians, beneficial for the Israelis. Settlement expansion and associated projects will continue, the occupation with all its rigors and humiliations will continue, and the prospects for a unified Palestinian leadership will be put on indefinite hold. Not a pretty picture. This picture is made more macabre when account is taken of the wider regional scene, especially the horrifying civil war in Syria and the bloody military coup in Egypt. Not to be forgotten, as well, are Israeli threats directed at Iran, backed to the hilt by the U.S. Congress, and the terrible legacy of violent sectarian struggle that is ripping Iraq apart. Naturally, there is speculation that some kind of faux solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict would release political energy in Washington that could be diverted to an anti-Assad intervention in Syria and even an attack on Iran. We cannot rule out such infatuations with morbid geopolitical projects, but neither should we assume that conspiratorial scenarios foretell the future. Richard Falk is an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35722.htm
Indyk was the first US ambassador to stripped of a security clearance: http://www.wrmea.org/wrmea-archives/217-washington-report-archives-2000-2005/december-2000/3480-us-ambassador-to-israel-martin-indyks-lost-and-found-security-clearance.html