Carter’s Wrong!, Obama’s the Reason There’s No Israeli/Palestinian Talks
posted at 8:02 am on October 23, 2012 by Jeff Dunetz
Former U.S. President Jimmy Cartersaid yesterday during a visit to Jerusalem that the prospect of an Israel-Palestinian peace accord is “vanishing. He blamed Israeli settlement of the West Bank.
Carter, a longtime Israel opponent called the current situation “catastrophic” and blamed Israel for the growing isolation of east Jerusalem from the West Bank. He said a Palestinian state has become “unviable.”
As he is with most things, the peanut President is 100% wrong. While the ultimate responsibility for the lack of talks rests with Palestinian President Abbas, it was American President Barack Obama that handed him the excuse he needed to avoid negotiating with Israel.
The Palestinian’s have never accepted Israeli settlements, stoppage of all settlement building has never been a precondition to talks. Israel had long ago agreed not to build new “settlements” in Judea and Samaria but would continue to add housing units to existing communities. They have never agreed to restrictions on building Jerusalem
During the government of PM Ehud Barak (during the Bush Administration), there were direct talks and construction continued as outlined above.
It was the Obama administration’s naiveté that made the settlements an issue. Hillary Clinton first demanded the freeze in 2009 and was quickly backed up by Obama. What the President and his advisers perceived as a minor concession (a settlement freeze including no new housing units in existing communities) was for Israel a grave sacrifice. From their point of view he was telling parents that their children that they could no longer live near them.
This was a major error by the Obama administration and it was compounded by their inclusion of Jerusalem in the mix and their constant public berating of the Jewish State. On top of all that was the revelation that his demand for a freeze of natural community growth broke a US/Israel agreement made during the Bush administration.
Obama, through his Secretary of State Ms Clinton, said there was never an agreement between Israel and the US about natural expansion of existing settlements. Elliot Abrams who negotiated the agreement for the United States says that Obama’s contention were simply not true.
Immediately the Palestinians seized upon the Obama-created issue. Seeing an opportunity to avoid talking, they used Obama’s demands to make a settlement freeze a precondition to further talks, even there were negotiations and construction going on simultaneously before Obama became president.
In August 2009 Prime Minister Netanyahu announced a ten month settlement freeze. It was approved and implemented on November 25, 2009 and ran till September 25, 2010. Despite pressure from the United States, the Palestinians wasted the first 9+ months of the freeze and would not come to the negotiation table till September 2010, three weeks before the freeze ended. A fact lost on the liberal media.
While the onus was been put on the Jewish State to extend the freeze, not one media outlet has questioned the Palestinian Authority’s refusal talk for the first nine months of a ten month freeze.
As the end of the construction halt approached, the US began to negotiate with the Israel to extend the freeze. Based on their experience with Obama and the deal negotiated by Elliot Abrams during the Bush Administration, Israel demanded that any proposal be presented in writing as any oral deal with the Obama administration was worth the paper it was printed on.
The written offer never came and worse yet, the Secretary of State wasn’t negotiating in good faith. Instead Ms Clinton was playing “Bait and Switch.”
As Israel waits for a letter clarifying America’s guarantees in exchange for a proposed building ban for Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, a diplomatic source has come forward saying that no such letter is on its way. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton misled Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and contrary to reports, the U.S. does not guarantee an end to the freeze, the source said.
The source, a senior diplomat with inside knowledge of Netanyahu’s recent meetings in Washington, said Clinton made commitments when talking to Netanyahu, but later slipped out of them by claiming that she had not been speaking on behalf of U.S. President Obama – who, she said in the end, did not give his approval.
When Netanyahu called the State Department to clarify America’s position, officials expressed surprise at his surprise, the source continued. While Clinton made promises, Netanyahu knew from the beginning that Obama has the final word, they allegedly said.
And still Israel tried to find a way out of this Obama created logjam and give the Palestinians a way “out.” In early October of 2010 he made a very simple offer to the PA. If you were to recognize Israel as the Jewish State, we will extend the freeze. As reported by Al Jazeera the answer was a resounding no:
Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has offered to renew a partial settlement construction freeze in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
He announced the offer on Monday, just three days after the Palestinians and Arab states gave the US a month to persuade Israel to renew a 10-month moratorium on settlement housing starts that expired on September 26.
Netanyahu’s proposal met with swift rejection from senior Palestinian officials.
“The whole world holds Netanyahu responsible for what is happening in the region, after he chose to push ahead with the settlement project at the expense of an advance in the peace process. Settlement freeze is a commitment Netanyahu should respect,” Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, told Al Jazeera.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior official of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, described the settlement issue as “an aggression on Palestinian rights and land”.
“What Israel calls itself is an Israeli matter that does not concern us. The two issues are not related,” he told Al Jazeera in reference to Netanyahu’s condition that Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state.
Nabil Abu Rudainah, the spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said a return to peace talks required a freeze on settlement building by Israel.
“The issue of the Jewishness of the state has nothing to do with the matter,” he told the Reuters news agency.
President Obama’s policy on the Israel/Palestinian issue failed because of his naivete and his blinders about the Palestinians. The fact that the Palestinian side refuses to make the most basic of acknowledgments, that Israel is the Jewish State. Until they recognize that fact, it is clear that the Palestinians have no desire to make peace.
Add to that the fact that one of the provisions taken out of the 2012 Democratic Platform was that Palestinian “refugees” would be resettled in a future Palestinian State. The removal of that provision was an acknowledgment that despite what he may say when looking for Jewish votes, this President does not acknowledge the fact that Israel is a Jewish State. Because the removal of that platform item means the Democrat believes it OK for Israel to lose it Jewish character by flooding it with millions of so called refugees (there were 800K in 1948, now all of a sudden there are over 4 million).
In the end the failure to bring about a two-state solution during the past four years, which has been endorsed by every Israeli PM after Rabin (Rabin never agreed to a Palestinian State), is a failure created by President Obama and no one else.
Jeff Dunetz is the Editor/Publisher of the Political Blog The Lid