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DogPoundPup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:51 PM
Original message
Palestinians set out basis for talks with Israel
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian political leaders said on Wednesday any resumption of peace talks with Israel would require the Jewish state to commit to withdraw from land occupied in 1967 and freeze all settlement activity.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) issued a statement in the West Bank city of Ramallah after new U.S. President Barack Obama telephoned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in his first full day in office on Wednesday.

excerpt~
The PLO Executive Committee said it was demanding Israel commit to a comprehensive freezing of all settlement activity in and around Arab East Jerusalem and in the occupied West Bank and a commitment to give up its hold on all occupied land captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

"The Palestinian leadership are not ready to return to political negotiations with Israel unless there is a new basis for talks," the PLO said, without elaborating.

It said it wanted to conduct talks on the basis of the Arab peace initiative of 2002 which offers Israel peace and normal relations with all Arab countries in return for withdrawal from all territory captured in the 1967 war.

more ... http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/1/22/wo...
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delad Donating Member (235 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002
it's now 2009. Where are the Israeli firsters on this site gone?? Why don't you all come back here and tell us again why the API is not worth discussing?
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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. There is ONE excellent reason that the API isn't worth discussing right now.
If the PLO is demanding that Israel commit to making these huge concessions for the privilege of starting peace talks then that's a pretty good reason for Israel to reject discussing it.

Right now there are a few major obstacles to the API even becoming a serious consideration. From a practical standpoint, Hamas is a major stumbling block. The PLO can endorse it all they want but unless Hamas is willing to abide by it then it is a non-starter. The API asks Israel for a lot of stuff but doesn't make any similar demands of the Palestinians. There would have to be a provision in it to stop terrorism if Israel was to sign on. Which leads us to another issue; it is currently a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Any real treaty would have to be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel isn't going to commit to specific terms that are entirely dictated to it without getting any kind of settlement in return.

The reality is that the API isn't very different from the results of the peace negotiations in 2000/2001. Everyone knows what a peace between the two nations will essentially look like. The issues with the API are the same as the problems that derailed Camp David and Taba... Jerusalem, particularly the old city, right of return for Palestinian refugees, security guarantees for Israel, etc. None of those things matter at this stage of the game though. Considering the current situation I doubt that anyone is in the mood to begin final status peace negotiations.

IMO the PLO is bringing this up now, in this fashion, to gain some legitimacy in the Arab world in the wake of Hamas' refusal to be cowed by Israel. I doubt this statement has much to do with Israel at all actually and everything to do with internal Palestinian politics. The PLO doesn't actually believe that Israel would ever make these kinds of commitments just for the privilege of beginning peace talks. Nor is the PLO in any position to guarantee that Hamas would abide by any decision they arranged. Since no real peace talks even could occur at this point the PLO has nothing to lose by trying to make some political hay for itself. Believe me, if the atmosphere were more favorable for holding real talks the PLO wouldn't be giving Israel these kinds of ultimatums.
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Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 12:05 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Past leaders of Hamas have mentioned that the API would be agreeable
But, then Israel assassinated them. Some skeptics say one of the reasons for Sheik Yassin's murder was to derail peace talks, all while building more illegal settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank shortly thereafter with little diplomatic resistance.

After being on the receiving end of the Gaza operation just now, I don't know how amiable Hamas will be, but they have nothing to protest if the API gets initiated, except that they won't be allowed to retain power. It is a legitimate problem for them. They can't have elections again, because Hamas would win in a landslide, so what are Palestinians to do? Never have another election?
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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 12:15 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. I don't understand what you mean.
After being on the receiving end of the Gaza operation just now, I don't know how amiable Hamas will be, but they have nothing to protest if the API gets initiated, except that they won't be allowed to retain power. It is a legitimate problem for them. They can't have elections again, because Hamas would win in a landslide, so what are Palestinians to do? Never have another election?

If the API gets initiated then Hamas would have nothing to protest? And that is a legitimate problem for who... Hamas? And what exactly is the problem?

And who can't have elections again because Hamas would win in a landslide? Do you mean the PLO would want to block new PA elections?
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Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. If the API is agreed upon by both sides
Hamas wouldn't have anything left to say. They started as a liberation organization first and foremost, not as some Jew-hating Zionist death wishers. The problem of the Palestinians is that they need one body of government to oversee the possibly independent state. Fractured rule is not good for unity, diplomacy, or economic relations. So, they will need to hold national elections, but the problem is Hamas will most likely win handily if they happen in the near future, possibly even years down the line. Fatah and the PA have done nothing for the Palestinians, and many still regard Fatah and Abbas as being the inept, corrupt Western cronies they were, which obviously isn't good for them.
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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 01:20 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. I see what you mean.
I disagree with your assessment of Hamas in the event that the API was accepted.

Yes, they are a liberation organization and are primarily driven by that goal, (as opposed to anti-semitism or whatever.) But Hamas is an extremist group and their idea of "liberation" differs significantly from what many others mean by it. They've been very honest and straightforward as to what their goals are and how they see them being achieved, even in meetings with foreign press, (unlike Arafat who had several faces depending on his audience.) Hamas opposes any permanent peace treaty with Israel and view its existence as a crime. They've gone on record countless times to confirm that their opposition to Israel is non-negotiable. In their eyes it is all Palestinian land and neither the PLO, the PA nor themselves have the right to negotiate it away.

That's why they did everything they could to derail the Oslo Accords. Terrorism during those years was exponentially higher than in the preceding decades. Hamas has never abided by treaties negotiated by the PLO. The most they've agreed to (to my knowledge) was a long-term hudna in exchange for Israel making the basic API concessions. But they specifically said that it wouldn't last beyond 10 years.

You are right about the problems facing Palestine as per its fractured leadership. Basically, IMO no real process can move forward as long as the Palestinians are divided. They need strong, unified leadership if they hope to overcome their internal problems, let alone successfully negotiate a settlement with Israel and then build their own state. It's their biggest and most enduring problem. Without their own Thomas Jefferson, Ben-Gurion, Castro, Nehru or whoever they are probably doomed to failure.
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Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 01:38 AM
Response to Reply #15
20. This is the problem when you talk about Hamas
Not all members are AK47-waving extremists, nor are the majority of them militants. The social arm of Hamas would win elections year after year, the problem is detaching them from the radicals in the Qassam Brigades and Executive Forces. Hamas won elections in 2006 not on the "Kill Jews and get Gaza bombed" platform, but rather on their socialistic promises for government, hard-lines against corruption, and religious adherence. The Western way of life is, not surprisingly, unpopular in the Arab world, as usury is against Sharia law, which is one part of Islamic law that I wouldn't mind (damn bank execs and their excessive interest!).

Also, depending on who in the leadership from Hamas you are speaking of, they have stated willingness to a long-term hudna. Yassin specifically offered Israel a 10-year, 20-year, and some Mossad accounts say a 50-year peace while he was being held in jail in the 1990s. As late as 2004, Yassin spoke about an "enduring calmness" that could last 20 years or well beyond, shortly before Sharron had him assassinated. There is no set spokesmen for Hamas, so their message can change often, which is another problem all together. Since 1993, Hamas has offered Israel a decade+ long peace no fewer than 15 times, although Israel isn't willing to negotiate on the Golan Heights, newly built illegal settlements in the West Bank, or East Jerusalem, so the offer was always met with silence.

With the recent invasion, like I said, it will be hard to find a moderate Hamas leader, and the group has shot themselves in the foot quite often in the past when it comes to just about everything diplomatic. I do strongly agree that if the Palestinian people could find themselves a revolutionary figure, that has a strong will, keen intellect, and a good heart, they will solve many of their problems in one fell swoop.
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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 02:27 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. I know that Hamas isn't the one dimensional organization many here see it as.
Edited on Thu Jan-22-09 02:29 AM by Shaktimaan
And I realize that their electoral success had as much to do with the wanton corruption of Arafat and Fatah as it did with anything Hamas promised. I understand that they bring benefits that Fatah is unable to. (That many people attributed the Gaza withdrawal to their actions played a role in their election too, I'm sure.) But in terms of our discussing why they're an obstacle to peace with Israel it isn't particularly relevant to look at their social programs or any other reasons that the average Palestinian might like them.

This is one aspect of the conflict that I actually think is pretty straightforward. It doesn't matter how long the hudna that Hamas offers Israel might be, there is just no way that Israel would (or even should) make permanent concessions in return for a temporary peace. The problem isn't that Israel is unwilling to negotiate the Golan or settlements, in fact Israel and Syria very nearly managed to come to terms regarding the Golan just a few years ago. The problem is that a temporary peace agreement doesn't really bring any benefit to Israel in the long term. Trading land for a hudna would eventually leave Israel in the same hostile situation as now, but without either its security buffer or bargaining chip.

Didn't the Hamas offer also require Israel to grant right of return to Palestinian refugees too?

I mean, really... if you were Israel's PM would you accept an offer like that?
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Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 02:36 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. Some of the proposals demanded right-of-return
Which, of course no Israeli PM would accept it, lest be on their last leg in politics.

Like I said, Palestinians have shot themselves in the foot when it comes to diplomacy time and time again. They don't realize the give a little, get a little steps towards lasting peace, it seems.

No matter what Hamas offers, if it includes any land concessions (which all offers thus far have), it will be political suicide for a Prime Minister to accept. On top of that, it erodes military confidence, that the country bowed to militants armed with glorified rocks.

You make a good point, it isn't in Israel's best interest to accept an offer like those Hamas has extended, but that is the basis for negotiations right? No one ever comes away from the table getting everything they want, and nobody leaves without giving up something in the name of progress towards a bigger goal. That is what both sides don't understand. The price for Israel will always be higher, without a doubt, which is why you see Palestinians offering and Israeli's refusing. Nothing you can do about it, until Israel wants something the Palestinians can offer them.
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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 05:15 AM
Response to Reply #23
28. The Palestinians only have one thing that Israel really wants...
but Israel wants it very very badly. If Israel could actually come to a permanent peace treaty with Palestine then it would eventually mean universal (or close to it) recognition in the Arab world. After all, how long could Yemen hold a grudge if even the Palestinians have made their peace?

While I realize that neither side would be able to get everything they want, or feel they deserve, especially in this situation, some things are just non-negotiable. In the Israeli's case, attaining a legitimate peace between themselves and the Palestinians is the only reason to be negotiating in the first place. It is what the negotiations are actually FOR.

For Israel, having a long term but temporary peace with Hamas may not even be a desirable thing at all anyway. Right now Hamas has a very limited ability to wage war on Israel. But what will the situation be like after 10 or 20 years? It's an unknown, but the balance of power seems very unlikely to tip further in Israel's favor than it is now. If I were Israel, unless Hamas is willing to agree upon peace with me, even just as a mutual future goal (regardless of the terms) then I would want to try and neutralize them as much as possible... and I wouldn't want to stall either.
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Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #28
34. As this op has shown, it is easier said than done to neutralize them
And so far Israel has only offered up blockades and war as a way of getting Hamas out of the Strip. This hasn't worked in the past, and won't work in the future, so they obviously need a new course. I don't see a different chapter on I/P relations if Bibi gets back into office, and Livni damaged her credibility greatly by engaging in this political ploy. It is a blatant attempt at gaining seats for Kadima, which should it even gain her the PM spot, I don't see much progress towards future on the horizon. The API stated that all 22 countries would fully recognize Israel, normalize relations, and have lasting peace if Israel agreed to all conditions. I think you will be able to get them to settle for less than all conditions, as long as there are good will gestures on both sides.

The worst thing Israel can do is to demand the PA to be installed back into Gaza as the governing body, which they are trying to get done from my understanding. They have meddled in Palestinian politics in the past to split the region, and every time it has come back to bite them.

You are right, a temporary peace is not desirable in Israel's eyes, but it will certainly be easier to agree to a lasting peace if the hudna has lasted 10+ years. Again, baby steps must be taken to forge something greater.
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delad Donating Member (235 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 12:11 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. "Concessions"? strange context you're giving it
It almost sounds as though Israel is giving up 'rights' or something like that. Israel isn't, it would be surrendering lands acquired illegally (by war) and dealing with a problem (refugees) that Israel created and would be receiving something that it has claimed to truly desire, a normalisation relations with *all* arab states (including Palestine).
The API calls for *peace* along with a withdrawal to pre-67 'borders', the establishment of a Palestinian state, a 'just solution' for Palestinian refugees in line with UN resolutions passed on the matter and Arab states will normalise relations with Israel. Pretty much what the international community has been calling for for years.
What is wrong with what is outlined here? It's called *negotiation*, one negotiates the details. Obviously Hamas will be difficult to negotiate with, would you deny negotiating with them because it wouldn't be a walk in the park? You should have seen how Sinn Fein and the DUP (in Northern Ireland) wrangled over details endlessly. Sometimes walking out in the middle of talks. Sometimes claiming that the other side was making impractical demands. No negotiation is perfect, all sides would have to accept some movement, which is why a peace initiative based on international law and UN resolutions is an excellent place to start.
It is completely different from the offers at Camp David and Taba, if you can't see the difference then you obviously don't have a clue as to what was on offer at those earlier attempts at negotiation.

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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 12:56 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. You are misunderstanding.
I am not talking about the terms of the API. I am talking about the PLO's current statement. The PLO is asking for Israel to commit to specific terms of settlement as a precondition to beginning any negotiations.

Unless you just want to discuss the actual terms of the API itself and not the immediate PLO thing. I'm fine with discussing that.

But then, lots of Israelis also agree with the broad strokes of the API in principle. It doesn't deviate too hugely from the basic broad strokes set up under Oslo. But it also retains some of Oslo's fatal flaws, namely postponing or waffling on the most intractable aspects of the conflict, such as the refugee issue. All it says is for there to be a just solution to the refugee problem based on UN res. 194. Obviously this is an obvious code for right of return to any Arab reader of the document. But since it diplomatically omitted the actual phrase "right of return" an Israeli reader would assume that it specifically doesn't require that. (Especially since the original document did use that phrase.)

So just like Oslo the API avoids/delays the hardest issues specifically because they are the sticking points that always derail the process. So while the API is a great place to start the negotiations from one of the API's problems is that it doesn't really allow for negotiating. In my understanding, it's a take-it-or-leave-it deal.

The main obstacles to any peace deal are always the same. The process is a zero-sum game. For one side to get something it must be lost by the other side. No compromise is currently possible because the absolute minimum requirements for either side necessitates concessions that the other side deems too steep.
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 01:14 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. And Israel isn't asking for pre conditions?
oh wait a minute only Israel has that right but as far the Arab Peace Initiative

Emanating from the conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties, the council:

1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.

2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:

I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.

II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.

III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:

I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.

II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.


4. Assures the rejection of all forms of Palestinian patriation which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries.

5. Calls upon the government of Israel and all Israelis to accept this initiative in order to safeguard the prospects for peace and stop the further shedding of blood, enabling the Arab countries and Israel to live in peace and good neighbourliness and provide future generations with security, stability and prosperity.

6. Invites the international community and all countries and organisations to support this initiative.

7. Requests the chairman of the summit to form a special committee composed of some of its concerned member states and the secretary general of the League of Arab States to pursue the necessary contacts to gain support for this initiative at all levels, particularly from the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the Muslim states and the European Union.


http://www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/league/peace02.htm


Israel does get something but apparently Israel does not really want recognition from Arab states which would include the Palestinian state or normalization there is really nothing unreasonable here except it would end the status quo
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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 01:30 AM
Response to Reply #14
18. From the PLO? No, not to my knowledge it isn't.
Israel has even held peace negotiations with the PLO while the second intifada was raging; they didn't even demand a cease-fire as a precondition to Taba.

What pre-conditions are Israel demanding of the PLO before it will consider talking to them?
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 02:07 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. Why the
Edited on Thu Jan-22-09 02:34 AM by azurnoir
obsfication between the PA and PLO? What is the difference are there any? aren't Fatah and Hamas members member of both? This is still true despite the very recently edited wiki pages

http://www.mideastweb.org/palestianparties.htm

Israel is demanding preconditions before talking to Hamas is it not?

edited for clarity
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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 02:52 AM
Response to Reply #21
24. Hamas isn't really relevant here.
Sure Israel has a precondition to negotiating with Hamas. The same one it had with the PLO. But that doesn't really have anything to do with the discussion, the OP isn't about Hamas, it is about the PLO's preconditions to holding negotiations.

I'm not being coy by differentiating between the PA and the PLO, there's a big difference between them. Hamas isn't in the PLO. However it the only organization with the authority to speak for the Palestinian people internationally. The PA is just an interim government with extremely limited powers. Being elected gives Hamas some legitimacy, sure, but it doesn't suddenly give them the right to negotiate on behalf of Palestine.

None of this matters right now though because the PLO isn't going to negotiate with Israel. It's certainly their right to impose preconditions to continuing the talks. I'm not sure it is in their best interests though. Do you consider these conditions reasonable requirements for holding peace talks? I mean, do you think this is a good idea?
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 03:47 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. No you are not being coy you are being
disingenuous is it the PLO elections that are being held up or the PA elections? Why the sudden switch off in names? Could it be that the PLO has been listed as a terrorist organization?
your semantic slight of hand will not fly it is and has been the PA or PNA that Israel has been dealing with the term PLO has not been used in years and to suddenly now resurrect it seems questionable at best.

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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 04:53 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. That's simply not true.
The reason I'm talking about the PLO is because that's who the OP was about.
It wasn't the PA that made this statement, it was the PLO. They are not the same organization, you realize?

I'm honestly not sure what your point is here or how you think I'm being disingenuous.

I am still curious as to what you think about their demands for preconditions to peace talks.
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #27
32. They are virtually the same and have the same member parties
Edited on Thu Jan-22-09 09:28 AM by azurnoir
how ever it is the PA who Obama will be dealing with. As far as the "preconditions" nothing seems too unreasonable there especially freezing the settlements. The semantics involved between PLO and PA are like saying the DLC, DNC, and DFL are all different parties they are not and at the end of the day they represent the same group
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delad Donating Member (235 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 01:34 AM
Response to Reply #13
19. there is a very interesting book i'm trying to get
my hands on (can't remember the name of it now) that explores the issues of Israeli 'needs' versus Palestinian 'rights'. Basically the premise is that much of these 'concessions' (as I understand you are using the term) are defined under Israeli 'needs'(eg Israel needs so and so for security) but the fact of the matter is that many of these 'needs' come in the form of Palestinians surrendering their 'rights'. This, as a starting position, is untenable. I wouldn't necessarily agree that the process is a zero sum game but still, taking that as a given, it still does not give Israelis the right to usurp Palestinian rights on the basis of what they perceive as their 'wants' or 'needs'.

There really is no discussion necessary regarding the occupation and illegal settlement or the establishment of a Palestinian state, these are rights and no amount of Israeli 'need' that requires and abandonment of these rights abrogates these rights, they are enshrined in international law and, therefore, immutable. I understand that the devil is in the details (eg 'right of return') but the API attempts to put them on the table for discussion and negotiation and does not lay out too high expectations is a good thing.

I fail to see why a general peace agreement, a withhdrawal to pre-'67 borders (at a minimum) and the establishment of a Palestinian state (either with East Jerusalem as its capital or Jerusalem as an international city) cannot be done now, while a discussion on the details continues (within some kind of timeframe or sell-by-date, maybe the international community resolves the issue based on a vote in the general assembly)

I believe the PLO backed the API some time ago, similarly didn't Hamas also intimate that it found the API a reasonable starting point? I understand that the current political climate within the occupied territories does seem desperate and intractable, at least in the short term, but that is poor reason for suspending peace initiatives that may help the wider conflict. As it is Israel refuses to acknowledge Hamas, so why doesn't Israel instead carry forward the API with the Arab League? Wasn't it the Arab League who proposed it?
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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 04:34 AM
Response to Reply #19
26. The API's biggest problem as I see it
is that it wasn't offered within the framework of negotiation. It required Israel to agree to its terms in full, as preconditions to hashing out details during actual negotiations. It asks Israel to grant nearly all of its potential concessions in their entirety as a starting point. (And by "concession" all I mean is "something that Israel has which Palestine wants or vice versa." I'm not making any ethical implications by using the word.)

Regarding what you said about Israeli needs vs. Palestinian rights, the situation is far less clear cut than you describe it. Each side does its best to present their case in a way that benefits their interests. Issues like the Palestinian's "right" to a state or "right" of return aren't really guaranteed rights as we're discussing them here. Nothing in International Law guarantees them the right to their own state any more than it does for the Jews, Tibetans or Kurds. Even issues that can seem obvious, like the illegality of settlements for instance, are based on agreements, treaties and laws that are ultimately open to interpretation. Just as both sides of this conflict have legitimate grievances and arguments so do they also regarding the legal facets.

But honestly, that doesn't even matter much. Even if there were legal guarantees for the Palestinians in every respect it wouldn't necessarily affect the situation. Israel (or any state, really) is never going to willingly make concessions that it sees as harmful to its best interests without a very compelling reason. Just because the UN says that Israel should do something doesn't really mean much to Israel. And unless it is important enough to other nations for some reason they won't have much of a reason to try and impose a given decision. This doesn't just go for Israel, of course. It's everyone.

So even if the right of return were determined to be the right of every Palestinian refugee and their descendants it wouldn't have any effect. Since Israel sees a Palestinian right of return as a potential threat to its existence it just wouldn't implement it. Similarly it just wouldn't make sense for Israel to risk making concessions to Palestine unless it benefited them someway.

The Oslo Accords was the closest we've gotten so far towards implementing what you suggest. Israel slowly gave land and autonomy to the Palestinians in exchange for recognition and peace... in theory it is the right way to do it. The roadmap was another attempt at it, but that plan really didn't go much of anywhere.

As I see it there are a few things that really stand in the way of peace negotiations happening anytime soon. From the Palestinian perspective Israel took advantage of Oslo to expand west bank settlements as fast as possible, violating the whole point of their agreement. The settlers are violent extremists who take their land and attack them and the army won't protect them. (And they can't protect themselves.)

From the Israeli perspective many feel like every concession that they made for peace ended up increasing terrorism and violence. The mainstream leftist peace movement has essentially almost completely folded as a result. As long as Hamas opposes any permanent peace treaty with Israel then there's not much that Israel can do except try and defend itself.
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delad Donating Member (235 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 05:19 AM
Response to Reply #26
29. I would consider the settlements and occupation illegal
so does international law and international opinion. If the west bank and gaza strip were not occupied then 'the right to self-determination', as stated in the UN declaration of human rights would kick in (ie there is no state there in the absence of occupation). I hope this makes my point clearer, this is what i mean by what i said earlier. You may disagree but that's my opinion. If you want to dispute it, please do.

I understand that Israel will not comply with international law, it only ever does so when it suits. Might does not make Israel right. If i punched somebody and put my heel on that person's throat, would i be justified in keeping it there until that person promised not to retaliate?

Slowly, slowly is a joke, every attempt at a peace process has attempted that and it has failed miserably. Oslo achieved nothing. Israel is still illegally occupying the west bank and gaza. The conditions enforced on the non-quisling Hamas and Gaza strip are subhuman.

You talk of perceptions among the palestinians and the israelis. The reality is that Israel has just slaughtered hundreds of palestinians after deliberately provoking a fight that had been planned for months with Hamas. To add grevious injury to insult, this was done *after* Israel "put the palestinians on a diet" with a blockade that punished an entire 1.5m population for voting the wrong way.

The palestinians do have rights. And they have obligations. but to expect a people under a brutal military occupation to observe their obligations without any of the rights that come in tandem is a specious, tendentious argument.

As for the question I think you were trying to ask, how do we make Israel comply with international law and norms of behaviour? I honestly don't know but i don't buy Israeli goods if i come across them. It's a small step, but it is a start.
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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 07:08 AM
Response to Reply #29
31. There are various legal arguments to support either side.
At any rate there doesn't exist a court with the jurisdiction to make an official ruling on the question, so the point is academic. As you stated there isn't a state on that land, it does not officially belong to anyone at this point. That does not mean that the land automatically reverts solely to the Palestinians. Israel considers the land disputed, not necessarily occupied. There is no legal precedent to consider Palestinian Arabs the rightful owners at the exclusion of Jews.

It is not just Israel who only complies with International Law or UN decisions when it is in their interests. It is every state, without exception. Just as might does not indicate right, neither does the law, necessarily. Or the UN. "Right" is a very subjective term. My point is that if you focus exclusively on what the Palestinians want without taking Israel's position into consideration then you won't get very far at all. No nation would be excited to put themselves at risk out of concern for their enemy's needs. Unless the peace process also works for Israel then it will break down every time.

If i punched somebody and put my heel on that person's throat, would i be justified in keeping it there until that person promised not to retaliate?

Well, I would say that the answer would depend entirely on why you punched them in the first place. Just because you were able to punch them and immobilize them it does not necessarily mean that you are in the wrong.

You talk of perceptions among the palestinians and the israelis. The reality is that Israel has just slaughtered hundreds of palestinians after deliberately provoking a fight that had been planned for months with Hamas. To add grevious injury to insult, this was done *after* Israel "put the palestinians on a diet" with a blockade that punished an entire 1.5m population for voting the wrong way.

Does that make the Israeli perception in any way invalid. Consider the situation immediately following Israel's 2005 withdrawal, when the rocket fire began in earnest. All of the serious criticisms against Israeli policies towards Gaza are in reference to actions taken in response to the rocket fire. So Israeli concessions have always resulted in more terrorism and less security for Israel. Considering that, are you surprised that the peace process has continually broken down? The point I made before applies... if it hurts Israel more than it helps for them to make concessions to the Palestinians then what is their motivation for doing so supposed to be?

Israel did not take any actions because of how the Palestinians voted. The Palestinians of the WB voted in Hamas as well. It was Hamas' actions that caused the Israeli response. Not the election results.

Now why would you call the Gazans "non-quislings?" Does that mean that to refrain from terrorism or to try and work with the Israelis is somehow a betrayal of the Palestinian cause? Things have been improving in the West Bank... does that mean that the people there have sold out somehow?

The palestinians do have rights. And they have obligations. but to expect a people under a brutal military occupation to observe their obligations without any of the rights that come in tandem is a specious, tendentious argument.

Well, at what point do the Palestinians become responsible? The Palestinians have only one real obligation, which is to avoid attacking Israel. It is easy to provide excuses for why they have been unable to focus on building their state instead of fighting Israel but ultimately they won't do the Palestinians any good. Nothing Israel did in 2005 should have prevented Gaza from success. But Israel can not hand the Palestinians a successful state, all they can do is provide them with the opportunity for one. At any point, even now, they can stop focusing on trying to exact revenge upon Israel and instead focus on themselves. You can assume that Israel would prevent them in some way but there's not really any way to know for sure because they have yet to try it. Israel managed to build a very successful state under worse conditions and with far longer odds against them. Many other states have as well.

As for the question I think you were trying to ask, how do we make Israel comply with international law and norms of behaviour? I honestly don't know but i don't buy Israeli goods if i come across them. It's a small step, but it is a start.

That wasn't really my question. I don't think that Israel is acting outside of what's considered normal behavior. You seem to think that if Israel only took certain actions then the possibility for peace would present itself. Honestly, there isn't any nation that would just resolve itself to accept a problem like the terrorism that Israel has consistently been the target of. At what point does Israel have the right to take action, if ever, in your opinion? Surely you don't think that Hamas and IJ's actions are dependent on the occupation for a motive? Terrorism existed before the occupation... but then every action that Israel takes to defend itself becomes the newest excuse for terrorism. If all you have is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail, I suppose.
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delad Donating Member (235 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #31
33. there are not "various legal arguments to support either side"
there are 'some' tortured legal defenses supported by zionists and then there are legal arguments supported by the ICJ, the UN, human rights NGOs, etc. "Israel considers the land disputed, not necessarily occupied", this is merely a fringe zionist/Israeli opinion and isn't worth the paper it isn't written on (other than the fact that Israel ignores calls by the UN to stop occupying the land and imposes its own 'reality' on the ground).

To state that the land doesn't belong to anyone is probably one of the most ignorant things i've read on this site, and i've read a few. It reminds me of Golda Meir's "there is no such thing as Palestinians". The land belongs to the people living there. You could say that there is no Palestinian state, so therefore the land belongs to no 'state' but you cannot say that it doesn't belong to a people.

*There is no legal precedent to consider Palestinian Arabs the rightful owners at the exclusion of Jews* I've no idea where to start here. There is no need for precedent to claim that the palestinians own the land they live on. But then you tack on the addendum "to the exclusion of the Jews", seemingly in defiance of common sense. Jewish settlers are a violent bunch of squatters who moved into the west bank from Israel and receive the support of the Israeli state. It's not like they were living there side by side for years (obviously i'm not talking about any Jews who remain who have lived there for generations but i can't imagine there are many (any?) left).

Many states comply with international law, even when it contravenes their concerns. Many countries don't. Some do so more than others, some again are truly blind to international law. Some countries concoct exceptions, as the US and UK have done egregiously quite recently. Why do they concoct legal 'exceptions'? They do so in order to drape a veil of international legitimacy over their actions. You seem to be placing Israel amongst the likes of Zimbabwe, China, Burma, Iraq under Sadam, etc with regards to its observance of international law and UN resolutions. If that's the company you wish Israel to keep, i can't stop you.

Certain "rights" are enshrined into law by the UN (eg UN declaration of human rights, geneva conventions, etc).

But i do intellectually comprehend your position (i think). You would seem to be of the Kissingerian 'realist' school of thought in international relations. There is nothing that prevents a state from acting as it wishes other than its sense of self-preservation. Israel will do as it pleases becuase it retains the strength to defend itself and there is nothing that can threaten it as long as it doesn't act outside a certain boundaries. It can slaughter palestinians, steal their land and prevent aid and medicine reaching 1.5m people as long as it does so under plausible deniability and good PR, ie they attacked first and we are only defending ourselves.

Does Israel have the right to defend itself or not? of course it does, this is a natural right and is defended as such in law. as is the right to self-determination.

But again your argument ends up back at what Israel wants and how those wants have to be accommodated. yes, of course they do but not at the expense palestinian rights. Israel cannot be allowed to maintain an illegal military occupation that subjugates and kills innocent palestinians, period. No amount of sophistry can brush this under the carpet (as far as i'm concerned at least). What israel wants is security and it is *guaranteed* insecurity by maintaining an occupation and supporting the crazy, violent extremist settlers that are squating illegally in the west bank.

"Does that make the Israeli perception in any way invalid." No, it doesn't make the Israeli perception any less valid. And i'm not going to get into how the rockets started, etc (it's late here and i'm a little drunk but if you want to take it up again sometime, I'm your man :) ). The fact is that Israel has killed over a thousand people and injured thousands more in less then 3 weeks due to a fight that it planned, it wanted and it started. Israeli concessions have not *always* resulted in more terrorism. Israel has a nasty, documented history of provoking its opponents into violence. I'm certainly not saying that Hamas are a bunch of angels, I'm aware of their history of using suicide bombers, blowing up buses, hijacking aeroplanes, etc but one seriously cannot say that Israel has been innocent either. You can't have your cake and eat it (unless you're israel, seemingly).

Israel's actions began shortly after Hamas was elected and increased in intensity after the US-Israeli backed attempt at a coup failed. I'm referring to Abbas and Fatah as quislings and of course things in the west bank have been improving. Relative to Gaza, virtually anywhere else in the world is barring Zimbabwe and a handful of other failed states. In what ways has life in the west bank/jerusalem improved? more roadblocks, new 'jew-only' roads, more evictions, political repression, etc.

Hamas has, repeatedly, offered hudnas and/or truces/ceasefires (or whatever semantic slight-of-hand you want to call it). Israel has refused many and has deliberately restarted the conflict (see the most recent situation). "nothing Israel did in 2005 prevented Gaza from success" besides controlling entry and exit (hence economy) taxes (hence finances) and population registry, etc. So besides controlling Gazas economy, financial system and movement of poeple, Israel didn't prevent Gaza from success. that makes so much sense.

terrorism goes both ways in this conflict, the difference is the power equation. When do the palestinians have a right to fight against an occupation?
If all you see are nails...

I disagree with most of what you have to say but i should thank you for helping me to think some stuff out.
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 12:04 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. the PLO? Abbas?
whos no longer president?..the guy who doesnt even control gaza......doesnt control jenin, and other areas of the westbank....

i wont even mention how the concept of 100% concessions before negotiations even begin as a strange concept

its nothing more than the political posturing aimed at those wonderful "useful idiots" who have proven not just to be idiots but so damaging as well to the Palestinians.
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 01:22 AM
Response to Reply #7
16. The Arab Peace Initiative
Edited on Thu Jan-22-09 01:25 AM by azurnoir
contains concessions from both sides and isn't Israel the one demanding full recognition and renouncing all resistance or violence from the Palestinians before negotiations, more projection useful idiots? the only useful idiots here are the Americans who either support Israel no matter whatmostly because it requires little thought or those that just mumble "well them people over there been killin' each other for thousands of years just read the bible".......
Israel depends on both groups

As far as Abbas no longer being President and the stalled elections how long before Israel tries to use this to declare the PNA to be null and void?
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ohio2007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
2. Palestinians? But what is the position of the victorious Hamas ?
oh,
still have their charter in tact
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delad Donating Member (235 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. as does Likud still have their charter in place
but i never hear people talking about not talking to Likud.
Plus, wtf, so what? It's a charter written under military occupation, it's going to talk tough and bloody.
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Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 12:06 AM
Response to Reply #3
9. Not to mention the chartered hasn't been changed since it was written
In 1987, by Yassin, who as recently as 2004 said he would be open to negotiating with Israel based upon the API.
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Rage for Order Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:51 PM
Response to Original message
4. One doesn't get to make demands after one's ass just got kicked
Apparently these guys never went to the school of the real world.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:57 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. The PLO just got it's ass kicked? nt
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 11:02 PM by bemildred
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 01:26 AM
Response to Reply #5
17. LOL n/t
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 06:52 AM
Response to Original message
30. Awesome news! Nice to see the PLO come to its sense!
Maybe now we can get down to business!
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