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Archive for the ‘Palestinian Authority’ Category

Palestinian Leader Rejects Blueprint for Peace

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 1, 2011

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas returned to the West Bank last weekend to a triumphant welcome by the Palestinian people.  The reason for the warm welcome was his perceived successful visit to the United Nations where Abbas asked for full United Nations membership without having to make peace with Israel.  Abbas also took public a position that  many Palestinians have always and continue to demand; an end to the Israel as a Jewish State.

Abbas’s rejected a proposal being crafted by the peacemaking Quartet that includes the U.S., EU, United Nations and Russia.  Before the ink was even dry on the proposal, Abbas told reporters accompanying him that: “we will not deal with any initiative” that doesn’t upfront demand a freeze to Israeli settlements, as well as negotiations based on pre 1967 borders.  In other words, Abbas demands Israeli concessions before negotiations begin.  This is actually an effort to forestall any negotiations and shows the real intent of the Palestinians.

The Palestinians publically professed the willingness to accept a two state solution with the Israelis.  However this is but subterfuge and doubletalk.   When pushed on a key issue, they also publically stated that they will accept this solution only if Palestinians are granted the “Right of Return”, a backdoor way of eliminating Israel as a Jewish State, while at the same time demanding that the Palestinian state be Muslim.  This unwillingness to accept other religions as equals is ingrained within Muslim societies.

The Palestinian intransience on Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State began long before Barack Obama was elected president.  However, Obama’s waffling on Middle East policy emboldened the Palestinians and has made even the slight chance for peace in this region less likely.


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Iran’s Ahmadinejad Israeli Position Reflects that of Many Palestinians

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 23, 2011

While publically calling for a two-state solution, Israel and a Palestinian state, the real position of many Palestinians is not so benign.  Many Palestinians (and Arabs in general) do not believe Israel has a right to exist.  For example, they have never renounced their claim for the
Right of Return
whereby any Palestinian with family ties to Israeli land, even generations old, would have these rights.  This Right of Return is a backdoor way of guarantying the end of the Jewish State, as millions of Palestinians would demand ownership rights.

Unlike the Palestinians, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not hide behind words or false pretense.  This week at the United Nations he stated that even if there was a Palestinian state, Iran would not accept Israel’s right to exist stating: “Recognizing the legitimacy of a Palestinian government has nothing to do with the Zionist regime.  The regime is an excuse for the prevention of progress … in the region.”  Iran backs up Ahmadinejad’s call to “wiped Israel off the map” by supporting the terrorist groups including Hamas and Hezbollah.  Iran is not the only Muslim country with such views.

This week Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas requested recognition for Palestine as an independent state.  Should he be successful with the request, it would be the second time that the UN gave such recognition.  In 1947 the UN General Assembly addressed this issue and voted for a two-state solution, one for the Jews and the other for the Arabs that included the Palestinians and what is now Jordan.  The Jews accepted the decision, but not the Arabs.  Arab countries promised the Palestinians that they would drive the Jews out and the Palestinians waited for their deliverance.  But instead, the Palestinians became pawns of Pan-Arab nationalism and the dictators that have been or are being removed as a result of the Arab Spring.

Irrespective of past history, the Palestinians can and will ultimately have ther own state.  But without defeating the Israelis militarily, this will only come from compromise, something the Palestinians have still not come to grips with.  If the world, through the United Nations would make this reality clear to Palestinians, the chances for peace would be promoted.  The world’s equivocation on this issue and its unwillingness place some culpability for the Palestinians’ plight on themselves has only prolonged the misery of the Palestinian people.

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The Fallacy of Peace in the Middle East

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 16, 2010

All we are saying ….... is give peace a chance. John Lennon’s famous 1969 single became an anthem for America’s anti-war movement.  While noble, Lennon did answer the more difficult question as to what to do when that “chance” fails.

Lennon and his generation did not invent man’s desire for peace above all.  A generation earlier, Neville Chamberlain used this approach with the Nazis with disastrous results for 6 million Jews and about 50 million others.  While the world paid dearly for Chamberlain’s folly, it has not have not learned from it.

The “give peace a chance” cry is often used in the Middle East and especially as it refers to Israel and its supposed intransient positions towards the Palestinians. However, history has shown that peace is only attainable when both sides desire it, or one side imposes its will on the other.

While Israel is not without fault Read the rest of this entry »

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Obama Criticizes Palestinian Leadership

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 4, 2010

President Obama continues the failed Middle East strategy used by his predecessors.  That strategy stresses negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians as the focus for obtaining peace.  The logic is asunderstandable as it is simple: negotiation is typically better than the alternatives.  However, this strategy has been a failure for many years and is unlikely to succeed going forward for the simple fact that they only succeed when both parties are willing to compromise.  Depending on your view of what is a reasonable settlement between the parties, one or both sides have been and are unwilling to accept compromise.  Therefore, pushing negotiations becomes counterproductive as each side uses the process to further their aims instead of considering compromise.  Also, the continued call for negotiations that do not lead to progress builds angst among the citizens due to unfulfilled expectations.

In the current tension between the White House and PLO, Obama expressed his desire for the Israelis and Palestinians to immediately start direct negotiations.  Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas does not want the talks until the Israelis first agree to preconditions, an example of one side jockeying for position.  Adding more pressure on the Palestinians, last week the Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo endorsed the idea of direct negotiations.

Given the time that has passed since the Israelis and Palestinians starting talking in 1994 in Oslo without progress, it is not reasonable to expect progress using the same failed strategies.  Instead of beating around the bush, key issues including borders, Jerusalem and the “right of return” need to be discussed openly.  Expecting progress without direction in advance of negotiations is unrealistic.

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Obama Pays Off the Palestinians

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 10, 2010

The Hill posted a story yesterday that is pure Obama; great on theatrics, the wrong politics.  The President announced that the United States will provide an additional $400 in aid to the Palestinians. Let’s see, one week after radicals in Turkey created a confrontation with the Israeli’s at sea that resulted in the death of nine people, Obama rewards the Palestinians with $400 million that the United States doesn’t have and will barrow from the Chinese.  In addition to this bizarre politics, some of this money will go to Gaza controlled by Hamas who is considered a terrorist group by Obama’s own State Department.  Only a Progressive with no sense of a strategic vision would use such a disjointed approach.

Obama ended his White House payout meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas with typical Progressive dribble, a hallmark of this Presidency:

With respect to the broader issue of lifting the blockade, as I said before, I think the key here is making sure that Israel’s security needs are met but that the needs of people in Gaza are also met.” How meaningless coming from Obama.  Just how does he plan to insure that “Israel’s security needs” are met when Gaza is run by thugs who preach in their charter the destruction of Israel?

Then the President said: “But, let me make this final point: that in the long run, the only real way to solve this problem is to make sure that we’ve got a Palestinian state side-by-side with an Israel that is secure.”  Again meaningless since the Palestinians do not want a two-state solution; they want it all.  Proof is that the Palestinians have never renounced “the right of return” where they claim the right of any Palestinian with any connection to Israel proper the right to return to land that their families left decades ago.  This could only result in the end of Israel as a Jewish state, the real Palestinian goal.  It fits right in with fellow Progressive Helen Thomas just saying: “Tell them [the Jews] to get the hell out of Palestine.”  “They [Jews in Israel] should go home…. To Poland, Germany.”

While Obama is willing to condemn a few buildings put up in Jerusalem by the Israelis, he says nothing of the Palestinians demand for the right of return.  Like other issues Obama has faced since inauguration, he avoids any tough decisions.

Finally, why does the Palestinian Authority come to the “Great Satan”, the United States, for handouts?  If the plight of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are of such concern for Muslims worldwide, as they often claim, why aren’t the oil rich Arab nations in the Middle East or Turkey sending the funds?  The answer is self evident.  The last thing the Muslim world wants is a stable Middle East.  That would then focus the attention of their populations to their own countries’ failures.

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Joe Biden Lectures Israel

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 11, 2010

On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden blasted Israel for “prejudicing the outcome” of peace talks.  This unusually sharp rebuke is in keeping with President Obama’s strange policy of lecturing America’s allies while codling adversaries.

Let see, when Iran was killing protestors in its streets the President made statements like: “It is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran’s leaders will be,” and “that we respect Iranian sovereignty.”  But when Israel announces plans to build 1,600 homes in Jerusalem, now that’s a real problem.

Let’s put aside for a moment President Obama’s strange foreign policy approach and dig a into Loss-Lip Joe’s specific comments.  Israel’s actions are “prejudicing the outcome” of peace talks?  What perverted logic.  These two sides have been feuding for six decades and the announcement of a few more homes one side is the problem?  Such logic only matches that of the Palestinian Authority President Abbas who said: “We call on Israel to cancel these decisions.  I call on the Israeli government not to lose a chance to make peace.”  So Mr. Abbas, if the Israeli’s give up the 1,600 homes there will be peace after 60 years of fighting?  History demonstrates that the real issues are much deeper:

  • If there is a start date for the problem it is in 1948 when the United Nations partitioned what was called Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states.  Prior to then the land was under the rule of the British.
  • The Arabs rejected the UN patrician and in 1948 the armies of Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon attacked Israel.  The Arabs were unsuccessful and an Armistice was signed in 1949.
  • The Arab countries continued their belligerence toward Israel in a desire to win the war that was put on hold in 1949.  As an example, Egypt intercepted or destroyed Israeli cargo ships attempting to pass through the Suez Canal against a UN Security Council resolution.  This played a role the next Arab-Israeli war of 1956 that also involved the French and the British, which again resulted in an armistice.
  • In 1967, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser demanded the removal of the UN troops that had served as a buffer between Egypt and Israel since the 1956 war.  He amassed 1,000 tanks and nearly 100,000 soldiers on the Israeli border and closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.  This lead to Israel’s preemptive strike and the winning of the Six Day War in which they occupied the Sinai Desert, West bank and Golan Heights.
  • The third Arab-Israeli war was in 1973 when the Arab countries attacked Israel in what became known as the Yom Kipper War.  While the Arab armies had initial success in this war, they were ultimately routed and another armistice was made.
  • In 1979, a peace was made between Israel and Egypt with Egypt getting back all of its territory in the Sinai Desert captured by Israel in previous wars.  Since then there has been no fighting between these countries.
  • In 1994, peace was made between Israel and Jordan.  Jordan had captured the West Bank in the 1948 war and annexed it in 1950.  However, when it became clear that the people in the West Bank wanted the PLO to govern them, Jordan acceded and renounced claims to the West Bank.
  • On September 12, 2005, Israel made a total withdrawal from Gaza, turning over control over to the Palestinian Authority.  In June 2007, the terrorist group Hamas was elected to lead Gaza and forcibly kicked out the corrupt Palestinian AuthorityHamas the started sending rockets into Israel proper leading to another war with Israel.

The last real peace effort between the Israelis and Palestinians was at Camp David-II in 2000 under President Clinton.  According to the Clinton Administration, significant compromises were made to the Palestinian, but in the end Yasser Arafat rejected an agreement for two key reasons.  1) He wanted full control for the PLO over East Jerusalem, and 2) he wanted the “right of return” for Palestinians.  These are the two issues hindering an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, i.e. peace, not a few more Israeli houses being built in Jerusalem.

Given Hamas’s actions in Gaza since Israel unilaterally withdrew from there it is little wonder the Israelis would be uncomfortable giving up control of East Jerusalem to a corrupt government.  The right or return is an even greater divisive issue.  Under this claim, Palestinians and their decedents that left Israel proper since 1949 would have the right to return to the Jewish portions of Israel.  No Israeli government can or will agree to this demand as it would result in the end of Israel being a Jewish State.

The Israelis are not blameless in the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.  At the same time for the Obama Administration to focus on trivial issue like a few new buildings that can always be knocked down is naive.  The President should instead start by taking clear positions on the real issues that divide the parties.  But this would be the type of bold leadership missing from this Administration.  Sending a hack like Biden to talk nonsense will not result in any progress in the Middle East.

Posted in Israel, Palestinian Authority, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Who are the Palestinians?

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 11, 2009

Israel-Palestinians-flagToday I received an interesting article published in 2002 by Yashiko Sagamori in rebuttal to a paper that referred to the “Palestinian people”.  It raises interesting questions about the Middle East and the people who inhabit it.  arafatThese are not questions that will be discussed by diplomats who favor political correctness over real debate.  It will also not be raised by the Leftists Europeans who have come to fear the terrorism associated with the Palestinian “movement” and more recently radical Islam.  I’ll leave it for you readers to form your own conclusions as you answer the questions. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Israel, Palestinian Authority | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

European View of the Palestinian Authority

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 8, 2009

Mahmoud-AbbasThe Financial Times, a respected publication, typically takes the “European Intelligentsia’s” approach to international relations.  This approach places style over substance and often conflicts with common sense.  A recent Financial Times article titled; “A Man Humiliated“, referred to Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas.  The article stated:

“The decision by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, not to run for re-election next year looks like the act of a man who has reached the end of his political tether.  He is the principal Palestinian advocate of a negotiated two-state peace agreement with Israel.  If he stands by his threat to quit it could deal a devastating blow to that process, if not destroy it.

This view of the Palestinian president and the Palestinian Authority is delusional.  The so-called peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians has been ongoing since the 1993 Oslo Accords without progress.  How could a change in Palestinian leadership somehow hurt a non-existent process? Read the rest of this entry »

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