Tag Archives: Israel-Arab peace talks


From the beginning, this blog has predicted that the Israeli – Palestinian peace talks would go down the drain. That’s where the negotiations now appear to be.

While the story has not appeared to make much media news in the last month, the events have certainly been worthy of attention. On March 26, the Arab League announced full backing of the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This position reflects the Palestinian maneuvering to give them a back door to leave the conference table. Of course, recognition of their right to exist as been the fundamental number one requirement of Israel even before the talks began.

As the former Jewish diplomat Abba Eban once said, “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Stated in the blog for March 10, American Secretary of State John Kerry returned with a trade-off deal in which Israel would offer the Palestinians East Jerusalem as their capital in return for their recognition of Israel as a valid state. While painful for both sides, Kerry’s plan would have provided a breakthrough for final negotiations. Kerry met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas only hours before he addressed the Arab League, but his position was rejected out of hand by Abbas.

You have to give Secretary Kerry and A for effort, but and F for insight into where there negotiations would go before they even started. This blog regretfully perceived failure from the start. Following the Arab League statement Kerry told reporters that he intends to continue pushing forward and that it is too early to draw any conclusions or make any judgments on what has happened. What else can he say?

The Palestinian Authority announced it will begin attempts to join 15 international organizations because Israel has refused to release the fourth and final group of Palestinian prisoners that the PA calls heroes and Israel calls terrorists. This was a tit-for-tat response on the PA’s part. Because they can’t get started at the negotiating table, the PA has tried these end-around plays before. However, from the beginning, Israel made it clear that prisoner release depended on progress in the negotiations. When it came down to the final crunch, the Palestinians remained where they have always been.

The problem that much of the world refuses to recognize is that the Palestinians have one major objective. Israel must be pushed into the Sea. People may accuse Israel of this-or-that, but how can any nation ignore the refusal of an adversary to give up their hostile intentions? Peace in the Middle East remains at an impasse between the two bodies over this fundamental problem. The rest of the negotiations are window dressing compared to this singular issue.

Both sides will jockey for the best PR possible for why the talks drift toward the sunset. Finger-pointing will become pronounced and we will be back to where we were during the days of Hillary Clinton. The bottom line is that Israel continues to prosper; the PA doesn’t.  The population of Jerusalem has grown over Tel Aviv and both cities are prosperous. The PA struggles to pay their bills.  This problem can only increase.

Sorry. That’s where the situation appears to be.

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Filed under Arabs, Israel, middle east, Palestinians


            As in the American West, the Arab Spring has brought its own fire season. It seems Egypt is burning up and Syria is burning down while the Iraqi’s are setting fire to each other. The exception to these endless blazes appears to be Israel. Let’s take a second look at Jerusalem and see if we can see any smoke.

            There’s an old saying: two Jews– three opinions. With the many differences between Ashkenazis and Sephardic branches of Judaism, you could expect more than a few verbal disagreements. Religious opinions vary so widely that you find Jews who don’t believe in God but claim Israel citizenship standing next to Orthodox rabbis at a bus stop. The real worry might be a Palestinian terrorist waiting to blow everyone up when the bus comes. Surely, the Jews must be walking around terrified.

They are not.

On my last trip to Israel, I ate supper with an executive in the government’s department of tourism and we discussed the possibility of groups taking a four-day hike from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee, walking through the back country exactly where Jesus walked. Some of the stops would be in Arab villages. No one expressed concern or fear.

The biggest commotion inside the country is new laws that demand Israel’s ultra-Orthodox young men to serve in the army and be pulled away from their Torah studies. The hard-liners in the Haredim community are fighting back by ostracizing their young men who join the military. They denounce the young men as traitors and say they are a “pestilence.” The soldiers are not only verbally abused, but are spit at or have rocks thrown at them. For most Americans, it is hard to understand how devout religious people who disagree could us such degrading tactics, but that’s not the case in Israel. The commotion in Jerusalem is significant.

And the rest of the country?

Generally, no one talks about the Palestinian and Arab struggles on Israel’s border. The wide range of women’s dress run from miniskirts to the ultra-Orthodox ankle length dresses. Customs and opinions vary, but no one has much of anything to say about the Palestinians. Israelis recognize how complex the political situation is with the Arab world. Most have come to the conclusion that they can’t fix it, but they can manage it. So, ignore that tension the Palestinians create and go on down the road. For most Israelis, life has never been richer, safer, and more dynamic than it now is. Terrorism has been walled out and they go happily on their way regardless of Syria blowing apart.

The American Secretary of State John Kerry keeps popping up and Prime Minister Netanyahu continues his double talk about negotiating with the Palestinian Authority. The average citizen only half listens to Kerry’s urgings for formal discussions.

The possibility of Israel-Arab peace talks are out of sight and no one cares. In this so-called time of the Arab Spring, the promise of a relaxing and enjoyable summer seems to exist only inside the borders of Israel.

What can I say? The Israelis have moved on and find life to be good. End of story.

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Filed under Israel, Judism, middle east