American secretary of state, John Kerry, announced on Friday that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the president of Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, whose tenure as elected president of PA had expired in January 2009, have agreed to return to peace talks in the coming week.
The reaction to the announcement among the regional players was outright pessimistic. Several Israeli cabinet ministers rejected it while commentators predicted failure of the talks. Democratically elected Hamas rejected the talks – and Iran called the talks meant to give the Zionist entity more breathing space.
“Such talks were held 21 years ago. They failed utterly,” wrote Nahum Barnea, columnist for top selling daily Yediot Aharonot.
Netanyahu’s pro-settler governing partners have ridiculed the efforts and hinted that they may seek to scuttle the process. Transport Minister Yisrael Katz of Likud mocked Abbas, whose US-backed administration holds sway in the occupied West Bank.
“Just as no one would consider ceding any territory (Golan Heights) to Assad in the current situation, so certainly no one is thinking seriously of ceding territory to Abu Mazen at time when he doesn’t completely rule over most of the Palestinian population,” said Katz.
Israeli journalist, Larry Derfner, believes that Kerry’s latest dance (kabuki) is meant to hijack PA bid to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over occupation.
“So maybe Netanyahu really is blessed. Just when the strategy of punishing Israel for the occupation had finally begun to gain traction, just when the Israeli establishment was genuinely alarmed that the boycott movement had been given a decisive push forward by Stephen Hawking and the EU, and when the PA looked like it would be going to the UN and afterward to The Hague with the wind at its back, Kerry comes along and pulls this country’s nuts out of the fire,” says Derfner.
“Hamas rejects Kerry’s announcement of a return to talks and considers the Palestinian Authority’s return to negotiations with the occupation to be at odds with the national consensus,” a senior spokesman for the Palestinian political party Hamas told AFP on Friday.
“The West and certain reactionaries in the region have found an appropriate time for opportunism and giving the isolated and the hated Zionist regime more breathing room so that they can obtain new concessions for Israel through staging a charade,” Ali Larijani, Speaker of Parliament, said in a speech during an open session of the Majlis on Sunday.
Canadian war-correspondent and author, Eric Margolis, called John Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy as Road To Nowhere
. Following are some of his observations.
Israel holds all the cards, and knows it. Jewish settlements, roads, and security walls are roaring ahead, relentlessly gobbling up the occupied West Bank, Golan and their water resources. West Bank Palestinians are being crammed into future native Bantustans patterned after South Africa’s apartheid-era reservations for blacks.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vows there will be no Palestinian state, appears to have an impregnable hold on power. Israel’s economy is doing very well, thanks in part to billions in US economic and military aid, privileged access to the US market, and exports of arms and electronics.
The United States has eliminated any possible Arab military challenge to Israel’s absolute military domination of the Mideast by destroying Iraq as a functioning state and then fueling Syria’s civil war. Egypt, once Israel’s leading foe, has been bought off by American money.
Equally important, Israel, through its American supporters, effectively guides much of America’s Mideast policy. Almost 50% of Republican voters are now rural born-again Christian Zionist for whom Israel is an essential part of their Biblical prophecy of the return of the Messiah.
President Barack Obama’s feeble efforts to press Israel into real peace negotiations with the Palestinians were quickly squashed by the pro-Israel lobby and its partisans in Congress. Netanyahu probably exerts more influence over the US Congress than President Obama.
Moreover, Israel is “negotiating” with a PA that has become a sock of puppet
for the US and Israel after its former leader, Yasser Arafat, was very likely assassinated to make way for the compliant Mahmoud Abbas. The PLO is run and financed by the US and Israel, its security forces trained and directed by CIA, its intelligence agency an arm of Israel’s Mossad. Its elected rival, Hamas, remains jailed in Gaza.
Yet even this is not enough. Netanyahu now demands the Arabs recognized Israel as a “Jewish state,” knowing this is unacceptable. Twenty percent of Israel’s population is Christian and Muslim.
Why sacrifice all this for the sake of little Palestinian rump state that will anyway become an Israeli protectorate? Just keep talking about talks while the bulldozers roar ahead.