Blogwatch

March 9, 2010
Bumpy road ahead for renewed Middle East peace talks

The Israeli West Bank barrier. Photo Flickr user ChrisYunker

Palestinian leaders have agreed to a further round of indirect negotiations with Israel, more than a year after the last attempt to reach a settlement broke down in December 2008.

The planned negotiations, which do not yet have a timetable, will be mediated by the U.S., and special envoy George Mitchell will travel between the two delegations. Direct talks are not envisaged at this stage.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization has set a four-month limit on the process, and its leaders have said they do not expect results from the renewed talks, which have been endorsed by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, Israel and the U.S.

In a recent development that has strained the peace talk proposals, yesterday Israel has approved the construction of 112 new apartments in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit. Israeli officials say the approval was granted before a 10-month moratorium on new construction in Jewish settlements within the disputed territory.

Israel has also approved plans to build 1,600 homes in East Jerusalem, an area not included in the moratorium but which the international community considers occupied territory.

This is how some commentators and bloggers have reacted to the renewed dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian leaders:

From Tikum Olam, a liberal Jewish-American blog:

[A]las it’s all a charade. For all the “proximity” the two sides may have they are universes apart on virtually every major issue that divides them. No commentators I have noticed have remarked upon the fact that these talks are in fact a deep regression from previous rounds of talks which, during the Olmert government, were direct and without U.S. mediation. Those talks too were largely ineffectual. But at least the parties had enough trust in each other that they were willing to talk face to face.

From a Talking Points Memo blog:

Everybody knows the core issues between Israelis and Palestinians, except for the one that will matter the most and can be acted on immediately, before any comprehensive deal; the one where Israel’s concessions will not compromise its security but enhance it. I am speaking of Palestine’s economy, specifically, its private sector, the driver of civil society and spine of any future state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks about “economic peace,” but seems to mean little more than giving Palestinian laborers more jobs in Israeli agriculture and construction projects. What Palestinians need, rather, are entrepreneurs, managers, and professionals with the freedom to build a growing node in an urban and global network. The latter have made a remarkable start, but the occupation is thwarting them in ways few outsiders appreciate.

From Beneath the Surface, commentary on the peace talks:

Most people saw through Netanyahu’s peace bluff in June, but for those who believed the “outstretched” arm he supposedly gave the Palestinians, he just went against his campaign promises. Does Israel want peace with Palestine? By the decisions made the last couple of days it doesn’t seem like it, it seems like Israel want Palestine to surrender to their terms. Netanyahu has been given credit by vice-president Joe Biden for his indirect initiative to peace negotiations, but in reality the prerequisites that he laid aground for these negotiations were a joke!

From an opinion article in Haaretz, an Israeli center-left newspaper:

Israel must talk to Hamas. Not secretly. Not indirectly. Not for a politician to rehabilitate himself on the way to taking over the leadership of a party, as Kadima’s Shaul Mofaz tried to do, but openly and seriously. Just as the United States regularly talks to the Israeli opposition, Israel should maintain a dialogue with the Palestinian opposition. The dialogue should cover all core issues including a final settlement.

View footage of a checkpoint outside of the Beitar Illit settlement, which has a majority ultra-Orthodox Jewish population:

- James Matthews

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Comments

6 comments

#6

The reason there is a bumpy road is that there should not be any “peace talks”. There was a loser,(the Arabs) who repeatedly attacked Israel and should have settled in Jordan, the Palestinian state. Jews who were forced out of Arab countries were welcomed into Israel, as the Palestinians should have been welcomed by their neighbors, but were not. The peace process only encourages violence and terrorism because it makes the aggressors think they can keep chipping away at their neighbor.

#5

Why Israel even sits down with enemies that have refused to even recognize the right of the JEwish state to exist is beyond me. No other state would do it.

#4

Rumors of peace, rumors of peace. The only “plan” is one to strangle Israel, and if the US can do it for the Arabs, who have failed in their many attempts, then the US is useful to them. If the US does not strangle Israel, then the Arabs have no use for the US. But Mark is correct, that the first partition was in 1922 when Eastern Palestine was turned into Transjordan, a state that never existed before. The western part was to become the Jewish National Home. But in the end, Britain welshed due to Arab revolts and gave up the League of Nations Mandate and turned it over to the newly formed UN in 1947 to deal with.
They offered a second partition into a Jewish state and another ARab state, but the Arabs went to war to destroy the newborn Jewish state in ‘48. And that is the nub of it.

#3

How can peace negotiations can take place while:

“Israel has also approved plans to build 1,600 homes in East Jerusalem, an area not included in the moratorium but which the international community considers occupied territory…”

#2

[...] were scrutinized and debated, it was clear that Arab and Muslim nations are still looking to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the ultimate yardstick of American resolve to turn noble [...]

#1

There is only solution is to follow 1920 UN resolution and relocate palestinian muslims to Jordan, which is actual Palestine.

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