Top Palestinian officials are doubtful of the veracity of leaked documents that show offers of major concessions to Israel. The documents, obtained by al-Jazeera, suggest the Palestinians offered Israel keeping major parts of illegally occupied East Jerusalem said to be rejected by Israel. Palestinians’ chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the leaks were lies. The BBC said it was unable to verify the documents.
Al-Jazeera says it has 16,076 confidential records of meetings, e-mails, communications between Palestinian, Israeli and US leaders, covering the years 2000-2010. It was leaked that the Palestinians proposed to handover Islamic holy sites to an international committee and limiting returning refugees to 100,000 over ten years. Mr Erekat questioned the authenticity of the leaked documents speaking with al-Jazeera. He questioned why Israel did not sign the accord if the concessions for actually offered. PA president Mahmoud Abbas, who is to attend talks with Egypt President Mubarak on the peace process on January 24, also expressed same doubts
Hamas spokesperson said the leaks revealed the ugly face of the PA and its cooperation with the occupation. It said Fatah was involved in attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause on the issues of refugees and East Jerusalem. They show "the level of the Fatah Authority’s [sic] involvement in attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause, particularly on the issue of Jerusalem and refugees, and its involvement against the resistance in the West Bank and Gaza Strip", Sami Abu Zuhri said, quoted by AFP news agency. Israel occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem on both of the rivals have claims. Israel built settlements for 500,000 settlements that are still continuing.
Article first published as US Abandons Efforts to Persuade Israel to Freeze Settlements on Blogcritics.
The United States has decided to abandon its efforts of persuading Israel to freeze its settlement construction, saying the tactic has failed. Palestinians’ leadership in West Bank, Palestinian Authority has been demanding total settlement freeze in order to attend direct talks with Israel under the US mediation. Israel’s self-imposed 10-month settlement freeze expired in November last week due to which the direct talks also ended as Israel refused to extend the freeze on illegal settlement construction in occupied territories for 90 more days as requested by the US.
The US offered a proposal with incentives such as supply of jet fighters and security guarantees in return to a 90-day extension of a previous 10-month settlement freeze. Israel cabinet rejected the proposal. On the other hand, Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu offered to freeze the construction if the Palestinians recognised Israel as a Jewish State, but Palestinian Authority dismissed the idea.
It is not clear what the US is planning. Israel Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the talks with the Americans were postponed because the US was busy dealing with the result of Wikileaks leakage of diplomatic cables. However, this is denied by the US state department spokesperson P J Crowley. The US made clear that abandoning efforts for settlement freeze does not mean giving total efforts. It said it recognised there was a need to change the tactics to resume the peace talks.
Article first published as Obama Proposes Devastating Peace Deal for Palestinians on Blogcritics.
Obama doesn’t know the value of peace. He doesn’t know how to achieve peace at all. Now, one can be sure that we cannot expect a viable peace plan for Middle-East from a person who received a Nobel peace prize within 13 days of his rule, even before he began signing government’s papers. We cannot expect a promising peace from a persona who confirms wars are needed to establish peace while receiving Noble peace prize. That is what Mr. Obama proved by his latest peace plan for Palestinians. It is actually more like maintaining status quo for Israeli state rather than delivering peaceful state for Palestinians.
It is no wonder Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu is confident of convincing his pro-settler cabinet to accept the new Obama-sponsored peace deal. One is well aware of Netanyahu’s far-right views on Palestinians and their leaders, which came to light through a leaked video. It was revealed in that video that Netanyahu preferred continuous beating Palestinians till they accept what was imposed by Israeli state as a peace deal. Given such views, his acceptance to the Obama-sponsored peace deal means a death blow to the national aspirations of the long-suffering Palestinian people.
Some features of Obama’s new peace deal are:
A declaration by Israel “an additional suspension of construction in the West Bank for a mere 90 day period that does not include East Jerusalem occupied by Israel in 1967 war but not accepted by the international community
A pledge not to seek any extension to the settlement freeze after the expiry of 90 days even the talks are not concluded
A guarantee to veto any resolutions deemed to be anti-Israel, brought to the United Nations Security Council and other international organisations that seek to impose a political settlement on Israel
A supply of $3 billion worth war planes to Israel to maintain its qualitative edge in the region
Signing of a more comprehensive deal by the US to enhance its substantial security aid to Israel as part of any future agreement with Palestinians
It can be seen that this is completely one sided deal prepared for the advantage of Israelis. A peace deal should not be advantageous to either parties, but should confirm the genuine aspirations on both sides.
Article first published as West Asia Peace Talks are a Game for Netanyahu on Blogcritics.
The much-hyped Middle East peace talks have faced a dead end with all parties standing rigid at their positions without making any move. As the self-imposed partial freeze of settlement building has expired on September 26, the settlement building resumed despite warnings and requests from the US establishment.
Although the peace talks were supposed to be held without preconditions, the president of the Palestinian Authority Mr. Abbas has declared before the talks that Israel must freeze its settlement building for the peace process to be continued. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told before leaving for talks, to the supporters of his Likud party that they had nothing to worry. “You don’t need to worry. Nobody needs to teach me what it is to love Eretz Yisrael,” referring to the idea of an Israel stretching from Mediterranean sea to the Jordan river including the whole of the West Bank. (‘Frontline’ fortnightly’s print edition – October 8, 2010)
Netanyahu’s love for Eretz Yisrael implies his unwillingness to the existence of Palestinians’ West Bank. If it is so, why should he dance to the tune of Mr. Obama? It is not clear whether Obama is in the pocket of Netanyahu or Netanyahu is in the pocket of Obama. However, the doubt appears to be cleared with a leaked video of Mr. Netanyahu.
A video was published on Youtube that shot Benjamin talking to a family, supposedly a victim of terrorist attack, in a West Bank settlement of Ofra. He asked to stop shooting preparing himself to tell something that cannot be
More than 430,000 settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, alongside 2.5 million Palestinians
20,000 settlers live in the Golan Heights
Settlements and the area they take up cover 40% of the West Bank
There are about 100 settlements not authorised by the Israeli govt in the West Bank
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to conclude three days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. With no sign of a deal on settlement building in the West Bank, Mr Abbas said there was no choice but to continue negotiating. President Mubarak of Egypt has urged Israel to extend the partial ban on construction for three months. Mrs Clinton repeated her confidence that all core issues could be resolved.
As Mrs Clinton arrived in Ramallah in the West Bank, Mr Abbas said everyone knew there was no alternative to peace through negotiations. "So we have no alternative other than to continue these efforts," he said. The Palestinian leader acknowledged that conditions were difficult, and a senior Palestinian official was quoted as saying that broad gaps remained on the question of settlements. Neither Mrs Clinton nor Mr Abbas spoke after the meeting. The US secretary of state then travelled to Jordan for a meeting with King Abdullah II. Jordan already has a peace treaty with Israel, and King Abdullah took part in
BBC News | 20 August 2010 | 18:11 GMT
Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to resume direct negotiations for the first time in 20 months, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have been invited to Washington on 2 September to start the talks. They have agreed to place a one-year time limit on the direct negotiations. But correspondents say prospects of a comprehensive deal are slim, as serious disagreements exist on the core issues. Sensitive areas – including the construction of Jewish settlements on occupied territory, the status of Jerusalem, the borders of a future Palestinian state and the right of return – will be difficult to overcome.
Speaking at the state department, Mrs Clinton said President Barack Obama had been encouraged by the leadership of Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas, and had invited them to Washington to “relaunch direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues, which we believe can be completed within one year”. “President Obama has invited President Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah of Jordan to attend, in view of their critical role in this effort. Their continued leadership and commitment to peace will be essential to our success,” she added. Mr Obama will hold meetings with the four leaders, followed by a dinner with them, on 1 September. Tony Blair, the special representative of the Middle East Quartet – which comprises the US, the UN, the EU and Russia – has also been invited.
A trilateral meeting at the state department between Mrs Clinton, Mr Abbas and Mr Netanyahu will formally relaunch the direct peace talks the following day. “As we move forward, it is important that actions by all sides help to advance our effort, not hinder it. There have been difficulties in the past, there will be difficulties ahead. Without a doubt, we will hit more obstacles,” Mrs Clinton said. “But I ask the parties to persevere, to keep moving forward even through difficult times and to continue working to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region,” she added. “These negotiations should take place without preconditions and be characterised by good faith and a commitment to their success, which will bring a better future to all of the people of the region.” Continue reading