Tag Archives: media blackout


I religiously track the news. Whether its on TV, in the newspapers, magazines, the where-evers, I attempt to stay in touch with the world. Lately I’ve noticed the strange absence of some of the most important stories reporting events in the Middle East. Egypt is still embroiled in the military repressing all opposition as Sisi runs for president. No sight of that story in the newspapers. The civil war in Syria gets a blip as multitudes continue to be killed but that’s about it. Sometime ago, I reported on the efforts of Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayp Erdogan’s attempts to recreate the Ottoman empire and cement relations with Iran. Ever hear about his recent struggles to pull off that coupe? Sorry. Not a peep.

One of the most underreported stories is the failure of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating progress. Months ago, I predicted this was where the road would lead. However, no media outlet is relating that it has happened, much less the details for the collapse. So, here’s the update you need to know.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party signed a unity pact in Gaza City with its previously militant rival Hamas. This action was taken  when the PLO knew full well Israel would not negotiate with any group supported by an Islamist terror organization. In other words, the PLO shut down the talks by going out the back door, knowing this tactic would force the Israelis to back away – then Israel could be blamed for the failure. Just another day’s work in the world of parliamentary maneuvering.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about this failure on Holocaust Remembrance Day noting that Abbas had formed an alliance with an Holocaust-denying terrorist organization that continues to attempt to kill Jews. He underlined the fact that the talks were doomed before they started because the Palestinians have one major objective: to destroy Israel. You can’t reason with a gun barrel.

Perhaps, the only person who really thought negotiations might go somewhere was US Secretary of State John Kerry. It is not clear why he thought so after a century of conflict, 20 years of failed negotiations, and the efforts of countless presidents before him. During the nine months of so-called talks, nothing changed except Kerry’s credibility with the Israeli public continued to drop. No one can say that Kerry’s 30 year history of having a pro-Israel record in the Senate is not genuine. However, he simply ignored the handwriting on the wall.

And what is it like on the PLO side? On April 21, six rockets were fired from Gaza. One missile landed in a street in the city of Sderot, but no one was hurt. The Israeli Air Force responded by attacking targets in Gaza. Will this exchange stop? Sorry. No!

The possibility of a negotiated settlement is nowhere on the horizon. The Arabs will not change their minds and Israeli won’t back off. To get an answer, you may have to wait until the next century comes rolling along.


Filed under Israel, middle east, Palestinians


            The good readers of my Middle East Blogs will remember my skepticism about whether the current negotiations between Israelis and the Palestinians will go anywhere. The fundamental reason is the Palestinians resolutely refuse to recognize the right of Israel to exist. Arafat’s killing of a possible treaty that ended up starting the second Intifada was based this on fact. Time has not changed the Palestinian position. Secondly, Israel will not negotiate their security. These two facts must change for any progress to be made. I’d be delighted to be proven wrong but –

            Almost nothing has appeared in the media to tell the world where the negotiations are going. The minuscule leaks have not been positive. The outsiders must struggle to get any sense of what is happening.

Let’s take another look at other dimensions that make an agreement difficult to achieve. One issue is that many Arabs have decided that no agreement is coming and have thrown in the towel by joining the Israeli state. They have recognized that attempts at settlement of old Palestinian property claims after the Arabs started the 1948 war aren’t going to happen. They have concluded a better life is possible only by starting where they are now and going forward.

Here’s another problem. The issue of the Jordan Valley farming area that borders Jordan and runs down to Jericho is seen by the local 60,000 Palestinians as the bread basket of their future country. The 8,600 acres of farm land is held at the mercy of the Israeli control of water that allows Arabs running water once every three days. The Palestinians must store every drop in bottles and cisterns. They fear the Israeli Likud Party’s position that maintains Israel should annex the land permanently.

The government of Benjamin Netanyahu believes the strip is vital to Israel’s security. If left without military oversight, the strip would be a natural corridor for the shipment of missiles and weapons into the hands of Israel’s enemies. Israeli’s also point to the mismanagement of the Palestinian Authority which the Arab residents of the area often complain about. The P.A. is known for being dysfunctional and in many cases corrupt and open to bribery.

Israeli settlers have now moved into the area and figured out how to make date palms a financially success crop. Some young Israelis have moved back because of cheap housing and community living. They are certainly opposed to the government negotiating their settlements.

How can these diametrically opposed positions be reconciled?  At this point, the Israeli’s have the upper hand because of their military strength. However, the Palestinians are fiercely resistant. The end result is a gigantic elephant sitting in the middle of the negotiating room.

Just another reason for why progress has not appeared on the horizon.

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Filed under Israel, Jordan, middle east, Palestinians