Posted by Joshua on Thursday, April 8th, 2010
The Obama Peace Plan trial balloon has set off an all points push bacj in Israel. (Many thanks to Didi Remez at Coteret blog for passing on helpful quotes – Mercitain.)
1. Op-ed by Netanyahu mouthpiece Ari Shavit telling Obama to layoff on Palestinians and refocus on Syria. (copied below)
Netanyahu: “We will oppose an imposed solution”
Dennis Ross “believes the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have a slim chance of succeeding and that the focus should be on building the PA’s institutions from the bottom up, the source said.” This is the same view as Elliott Abram
Golan, not Jerusalem, is key to Mideast peace
By Ari Shavit, Haaretz Correspondent
The solution to the Jerusalem problem is widely known: The Jewish neighborhoods stay in Israel, the Arab ones are given to Palestine and the Holy Basin becomes part of a special regime. The solution to the refugee problem is also commonly known: Palestinians’ right of return will apply to the territory of the Palestinian state, while such claims will not apply to the territory of the Jewish state. Just as well known is the solution to the settlement problem: Territory swaps and annexing large settlement blocs to Israel, and the eviction of isolated settlements.
All of these solutions easily ensure that a demilitarized Palestinian state will live peacefully next to the Jewish nation state. And will allow us to move, within a year or two, from an era of conflict to an era of peace.
But here’s the rub: None of these popular, simple solutions can be implemented in the foreseeable future. As of today, the Palestinians are not agreeing to a demilitarized Palestine or a Jewish Israel, nor are they willing to renounce their claim to return to sovereign Israel. Israel, for its part, does not have a state institution powerful enough to evict 100 settlements with their 100,000 residents. And neither Israel nor Palestine possess the maturity and responsibility necessary to run a delicate coexistence regime over Jerusalem, the world’s most dangerous city.
The conclusion is obvious. Although everyone apparently knows how the agreement to partition the country will look, there is little chance it will be signed or implemented in the coming years. It’s no surprise that Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni failed to accomplish much during their year of talks with Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qureia. It’s also no surprise that the Palestinians are refusing to hold direct negotiations with Israel, and that Israel does nothing to evict illegal outposts.
The notion that peace is within reach is a falsehood, something both sides are simply telling the rest of the world in order to conceal their respective hidden agendas. The Palestinians feel history is working in their favor, and are not ready to compromise. The Israelis, meanwhile, are paralyzed. Both talk peace and play at peace, but neither are willing to pay the price of peace.
In the second half of 2010, the United States intends to pull half of its forces out of Iraq; it also seeks to end the war in Afghanistan some time in 2011. In between, it will have to deal with Iran. To succeed in these three gigantic missions, the United States is trying to appeal to the Arab Muslim world. It’s working to show that it is as attentive to 330 million Arabs as it is to 13 million Jews. As such, Washington is tempted to believe in the impossible: pleasing Islam by quickly closing the file on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This temptation is a lethal one. The United States can push Israel, but not the Palestinians. Trying to force the parties into a false, quick peace will end either in an explosion or in a dangerous, biased agreement. Either way, the result will be the opposite of that sought by the Americans. Breaking Israel’s back and instigating a series of ongoing crises in Jerusalem will destabilize the Middle East; sooner or later, it will bring about a renewal of violence. The war that will eventually erupt will not be a local one, but a regional war with a religious dimension.
The Obama administration has but one way out: Syria. Only an Israeli-Syrian peace agreement can balance out the Middle East. Only an Israeli-Syrian peace deal will help Iraq, isolate Iran and indirectly contribute to the cause in Afghanistan. Only such an agreement can create the time frame necessary to guarantee slow but certain progress on the Palestinian track.
So instead of demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers Jerusalem, Washington should demand that he delivers the Golan Heights. U.S. President Barack Obama must throw all his weight behind a peace agreement in the north. Israeli-Syrian reconciliation is the only realistic way to bring peace to the Middle East as early as this year, and to justify the Nobel Peace Prize presented to Obama in December.
Shlomo Cezana and Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom April 8 2010 [page 7]
Officials in Jerusalem rejected the possibility that the Obama administration might present an American peace plan and try to impose it on the parties, as the Washington Post reported. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said last night that he would oppose any attempt to impose a solution on Israel. “It won’t work,” Netanyahu said to his aides. “Thus far, the administration’s approach has been that he assists, and doesn’t impose, and that indeed is the correct approach.”
The Washington Post quoted senior US administration officials who said that President Obama was seriously considering announcing in the autumn a new American peace plan for the Middle East that would be based on the Clinton plan with certain changes. “Everyone knows the basic outlines of a peace deal,” one senior official was quoted as saying, while a second official said that “90 percent of the map would look the same.”
“The salient characteristic of this past year has been the rise of radical Islam and its armament,” said Netanyahu yesterday in response to accusations as if his policies were responsible for the diplomatic deadlock in the region. Netanyahu diligently refrained from casting blame either on Obama or on prominent European leaders, but that seemed to be his implied intention when he said: “The world has to decide whether it is fighting against the phenomenon of radical Islam or whether it is adapting to it. That has ramifications on the peace process.”
Netanyahu made his statements at a press conference he held in Jerusalem to sum up the first year of his term in office. “This march by radical Islam hasn’t been stopped until now. There are some people who cast responsibility for that on Israel, but anyone who examines the matter in depth knows that that is not the case. The Palestinians, with the support of others, have refused to engage in the peace process.”
Regarding construction in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said it was important to “keep perspective. This isn’t my policy but that of all Israeli governments.” He said that it wasn’t the policy that had changed but “the government in the United States has changed. I won’t say that there aren’t differences of opinion. There are some things that we agree about and some that we don’t.”
Netanyahu said he regretted the attacks that were made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan against Israel, describing them as a “regrettable phenomenon that does not serve the stability of relations or their promotion in our region.”
Netanyahu said that the efforts to bring about the release of Gilad Shalit were still under way. “We brought in a new mediator who made an offer, and we were prepared to go a long way to bring Gilad back home. We requested that this not place Israelis’ lives at too much risk. We have yet to receive an answer from Hamas up until this very day.”
Netanyahu warned the terror organizations in the Gaza Strip that the force of Israeli retaliation would be commensurate “with our regular policy to respond forcefully to every attack on us.”
Maariv page 9 adds:
Israeli officials responded with surprise to the reports. “The American approach being led by Obama is a naïve approach that was tried in the past and which failed, and anyone who talks in terms of timetables or an imposed solution is displaying an absence good judgment and the loss of a level head,” said one high-ranking political official. He said, “anyone who tries to ride the Iranian excuse is going to fail. The coalition against Iran is a primary interest of all the Sunni countries in the region which want to stop Iran at any price, irrespective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon criticized the initiative, and said: “We ought to underscore that it is utterly unreasonable that any international agent might try to impose a solution on the parties. There are no ready-made shelf peace plans, and every agreement needs to be based on direct negotiations between the parties. There is no ‘one fell swoop and we’re done’ when it comes to peace as well.”