(Banner will apear here)

Beautiful Kabbalah Jewelry Judaicawebstore.com
Font Size:

Netanyahu & Abbas Vying For Obama's Support

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu:'Our Decision On Settlement Suspension For Ten Months & Then Start Rebuilding Still Stands - Only Direct Negotiations With Abbas Can Resolve Differences'

Al-Hayat Newspaper:'Palestinian President Abbas Has Presented New Peace Proposals To U.S. With Demand That Israel Accept Future Borders of Palestinian State As Condition for Direct Negotiations'

IsraCast: Israel's Prime Minister Keeps Cards Close To His Chest Before July 6th Summit With U.S. President Obama Amid White House Expectations To Hear Some New Israeli Ideas After Latest Palestinian Proposals

President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: Amit Shabi)

 Recently Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met President Barack Obama in the White House, on July 6th it will be the turn of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. According to the London based Al- Hayat newspaper, Abbas has now presented the U.S. with a series of proposals starting with Israeli acceptance of the future borders for a Palestinian state. However, Netanyahu has declared he would discuss Palestinian proposals only within the framework of direct negotiations not in the current 'proximity talks' being brokered by special U.S. envoy George Mitchell. IsraCast analyst David Essing says Abbas is seeking U.S. agreement on the final borders for a Palestinian state as a pre-condition for direct negotiations with Israel.

 Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is adamant- he will not discuss proposals by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the current proximity talks being conducted by U.S. special envoy George Mitchell. Interviewed on Channel One, Netanyahu declared the issues could only be discussed in face - to -face talks with the Palestinian leader. Netanyahu was ready to meet Abbas 'in Jerusalem or just ten minutes away in Ramallah'. Within twenty-four hours of the Netanyahu interview, the Palestinians leaked details of the Abbas proposals to the widely circulated Al-Hayat newspaper published in London. This is the first time, the West Bank Palestinian leadership has publicly revealed its position on a final peace agreement with Israel. No mention was apparently made to Gaza ruled by Hamas, the Abbas rivals who threaten to destroy the Jewish state.

Barack Obama | Benyamin Netanyahu

According to Al-Hayat, the Palestinians are prepared for a 2.3% land swap with Israel on the West Bank. In Jerusalem, Israel would continue controlling the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter while evacuating the Old City and other parts of eastern Jerusalem. Israel would also pull out of all the West Bank except for the Gush Etzion bloc, Givat Zeev, Mada'in Elite. The Palestinian state would be established on all of the West Bank, except for the 2.3% and a strip of land around Ben Gurion Airport. This would be in return for territory ceded by Israel south of Hebron. No mention was made of the two Israeli towns of Ariel and Maale Adumin on the West Bank. As for security arrangements, an international force from NATO countries would be stationed along the border and beyond. Both sides would refrain from any act of violence and a trilateral committee headed by the U.S. would serve as guarantor.

These Palestinian demands, that resemble some of the ideas Abbas discussed with Israel's former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, are a non-starter for Netanyahu's Right-wing coalition. As a matter of fact, even Labor has always insisted a peace agreement must be based on 'secure and recognized borders' as stipulated in UN Resolution 242. At the time of the Oslo agreement back in 1993, the late Yitzak Rabin insisted on an Israeli military presence along the Jordan River and in the Jordan Valley Basin. This was vital to prevent a future threat from the East. Recently, Prime Minister Netanyahu also stressed the security aspect. He described an 'exterior envelope' that would guarantee Israeli security after any Israeli withdrawal from parts of Judea & Samaria (West Bank). And he added that the Gaza experience must not be repeated (Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew all Israeli forces and settlements from Gaza, only to have extremist Hamas take it over for launching thousands of rockets and mortars into Israel). The 'exterior envelope' must guarantee that 'no rockets or terrorists' be permitted to enter a Palestinian state from the east to eventually threaten Israel. Netanyahu declared that such crucial issues could only be discussed between Israelis and Palestinians. Therefore, it stands to reason that this is what the Israeli Prime Minister will tell the U.S. President in the White House on July 6th.

By conveying Palestinian proposals to the U.S., Abbas is obviously seeking to draw Washington into the role of arbiter between the Palestinians and Israel. This could lend itself to the U.S. presenting her own ideas, as did Bill Clinton at Camp David 2000, when Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat failed to see eye to eye. If so, Netanyahu will under pressure to present some sort of counter-proposal to Obama. One idea could be a Netanyahu offer to extend the ten month settlement ' suspension' when it expires on September 26th. When asked about this on Channel One, the Prime Minister replied the government decision (on freezing for ten months and then restarting the building) 'still stands'. But will he soften his position if Abbas agrees to enter direct negotiations? The Settlers Council in Judea & Samaria apparently feels there is such a possibility. The Council has started putting ads in Israeli newspapers quoting Netanyahu, and other Likud cabinet ministers, as having stated unequivocally at the time of the freeze announcement, that the building would be resumed after the ten month 'suspension'.

Gilad Shalit

Cpl.Gilad Shalit: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has now drawn a red line from which he can no longer budge. He declared publicly before Israel, Hamas and the world, that he will agree to a German mediation proposal to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for IDF Corporal Gilad Shlait who was abducted in a Palestinian cross- border on June 25th,2006. But Netanyahu also insisted that cold-blooded killers will not be allowed to return to the West Bank, where they could instigate another wave of terrorism against Israeli civilians. Tens of thousands of Israelis who have been marching in solidarity with the Shalit family from their home in Galilee to the Prime minister's office in Jerusalem, disagree. Moreover, opinion polls show that a majority of Israelis are ready to take the risk in order to bring Gilad home, apparently from some underground hole where he has never been visited by a Red Cross official, in total violation of all humanitarian rights.

It is an agonizing dilemma and the Prime Minister has now taken a stand from which he cannot withdraw without a serious loss of face. From a tactical point of view, Netanyahu's pledge may persuade Hamas that the latest offer is the best they are ever going to get. Therefore, nothing will be gained by trying to squeeze the Israeli government for more. But on the other hand, the Israeli ethos is that Israel never gives up on trying to retrieve her missing soldiers. For the first time, Netanyahu seems to have relinquished this principle by saying now it's up to Hamas whether Gilad will return home. In presenting his position, the Prime Minister said he sympathized deeply with the Shalit family and not a day passes that he does not think of Gilad. However, the freeing of scores of dangerous killers into Judea & Samaria would mean that may innocent Israeli civilians would be murdered by them in the future.

This has been the result of similar prisoner exchanges in the past. Therefore, Netanyahu argued that it was his national responsibility not to agree that Palestinian killers be allowed to return to the West Bank. However, Haaretz newspaper now quotes Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrachi, IDF commander in Judea & Samaria, as having contradicted Netanyahu. A month and a half ago, General Mizrachi told the newspaper that he could cope with the influx of released terrorists in the West Bank. This was because both the IDF and the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas had severely weakened the Hamas infrastructure on the West Bank and the PA would keep a tight rein over the resurgence of its bitter rivals, Hamas. On the other hand, the Shabak Security Chief Yuval Diskin is said to be opposed to letting released killers back into the West Bank.

There may be another side to the story that affects Israeli society. It is the question of which citizens and their families bear the greatest burden when it comes to serving in combat units, where the danger of being taken prisoner (or being killed or wounded) is obviously much greater. The Israel Defense Forces is a people's army made up of eighteen year old young men and women who are recruited after high school. As a rule, most of them would prefer going on to university or learning a profession, as do their counter-parts elsewhere. While the majority serve because it is their national duty, not all choose to do so. Maj. Gen. Avi Zimor, the commander of the IDF's Manpower Branch warns that draft dodging is on the rise. His figures show that in the coming decade up to 40% of Jewish teenagers may be draft dodgers. (Generally speaking, ultra-orthodox heredeem do not serve at all in the IDF, although 1,000 now enlist annually.) Seventy-two per cent of teenage Jewish boys did enlist in 2008. (Of those, 17% were discharged during their first year of service, for one reason or another).

Gen. Zimor also noted that 20,000 combat soldiers are honorably discharged every year after an extremely grueling service. For every combat soldier there are some four other support personnel, who do not share the same risk of being killing or taken prisoner, as was Cpl. Gilad Shalit. It stands to reason that combat soldiers, and their families who worry at home, share the greatest danger in defending the state and its civilians. Now, if the Prime Minister Minister has said that Israeli civilians must not be endangered by the release of dangerous terrorists in order to retrieve a combat soldier, is this not placing an extra burden of those who already give the greatest service? It is argued correctly that it is the duty of the soldier to protect civilian and not the other way around. But in Israel's people's army shouldn't civilians also be willing at some point to stand up and say: 'Enough, Cpl. Gilad Shalit and his family have paid enough in protecting us, we must also be willing to take a risk as well!' Those Israeli civilians marching to Israel and hundreds of thousands more are willing to take that chance. They say that Gilad and his family have suffered enough.

David Essing

Back To The Top