Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Sunday, 26 August 2012

David Singer On Why The European Union Cannot Ignore Lieberman's Letter

Via the antipodean J-Wire service as usual comes this latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer. It's entitled "Palestine – Where To From Here?".

Writes David Singer:

'Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has written to Her Excellency Baroness Ashton, High Representative  of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, "to demonstrate Israel’s goodwill, desire to build trust and sincere desire to create a positive atmosphere vis-á-vis the PA, with the goal of bringing our neighbors back to the table of direct negotiations".

The PA has refused to resume direct negotiations until Israel agrees to impose a construction freeze in the West Bank for the duration of such resumed negotiations – which Israel refuses to do.

 Mr Lieberman has listed the following "significant gestures" made by Israel to attract the PA to drop its demand for a freeze and return to the negotiating table – which he claims are "not properly represented or reflected in the policy of the European Union or the Quartet on this subject".

Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Shteinitz and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad concluded (July 31) arrangements with respect to the transfer of goods between Israel and the PA and related tax procedures as recommended by the International Monetary Fund;
 In light of the PA‘s budget crisis, Israel transferred at the beginning of the month of Ramadan (July 27) an advance of NIS 180 million (approximately USD 45 million) of August tax remittances. The money was intended to help the PA pay salaries in time to celebrate the holiday;
 An agreement was concluded (July 14) to employ an additional 5,000 Palestinian construction workers in Israel;
The number of roadblocks was reduced to 10, most of which are normally open;
The remains of Palestinian terrorists were returned (May 31);
Israel agreed to develop the gas field off the Gaza shoreline;
 Israel is promoting infrastructure projects in Area C, including completion of a master plan. In 2011, 119 infrastructure projects were approved, 58 of them with international financing. Fifteen projects relating to the construction and renovation of infrastructures for schools and clinics have received "fast-track" approval.
Mr Lieberman complains that there has been no willingness or positive attitude on the part of the PA to reciprocate these moves – and has pointed to the following actions undertaken  in the diplomatic and legal arenas against Israel:
Attempts to accelerate illegal construction in Area C of the West Bank where sole  responsibility is vested in Israel (including dragging the EU into this problematic activity);
Encouraging an economic boycott on the Israeli economy in the West Bank;
Generating repeated negative statements against Israel;
 Blaming Israel for the [alleged] murder of Yassir Arafat;
 Ongoing institutionalized incitement in the Palestinian media, attacking Israel and the legitimacy of the State’s existence.
Mr Lieberman has also made a stinging attack on PA President Mahmoud Abbas, claiming:
Mr Abbas is apparently is uninterested or unable – due to his standing in the domestic Palestinian scene vis-á-vis Hamas, and in light of the regional geopolitical situation – to reach an agreement which would bring an end to the conflict, including addressing all the core issues;
Mr Abbas is creating a culture of blaming Israel for delaying the process, while attempting to achieve advantages without negotiation via blackmailing and ongoing attempts to internationalize the conflict – which he says can be confirmed by the Jordanians;
In a calculated manner, Mr. Abbas is focusing his dialogue with the international community on the subject of settlements. Unfortunately – Mr Lieberman further claims – the international community tends to accept this discourse lock, stock and barrel, without criticism or a nuanced approach. This is a damaging attitude, which according to Mr Liberman does not reflect the reality on the ground.
Mr Lieberman is at pains to further point out that:
The entire area of the settlements constitutes approximately one percent of the area of the West Bank;
The last settlement which Israel constructed was in 1991;
In the framework of the peace accord with Egypt (1979), Israel evacuated all the settlements and military bases in Sinai;
In 2005 Israel evacuated all of its settlements from the Gaza Strip, as well as four settlements in the northern West Bank  - and since such withdrawal 14,000 rockets and missiles have been  indiscriminately shot at towns and villages in southern Israel from Gaza.
Mr Lieberman makes the following further points in relation to the vexed issue of settlements:
Facts and history, as opposed to the simplistic stereotypes and political bias, contradict the idea that somehow the settlement enterprise is the main obstacle to renewing the negotiations;
This premise simply does not stand up to the test of reality or the historic precedent of the peace process between Israel and its neighbors. Both peace accords, with Egypt and Jordan, were signed when settlements existed;
The claim that settlements are the obstacle to peace is unfounded.
Mr Leiberman’s  prescription for restarting the stalled negotiations calls for fresh general elections for the PA to enable a new, legitimate, hopefully realistic Palestinian leadership to be elected.  Such elections were due to be held in 2010 and have since been postponed several times. No new date has been set for such elections.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak have since made it very clear that such a proposal does not represent Israel‘s official position. Clearly, the European Union could not in such circumstances be expected to endorse Mr Lieberman’s proposal as a possible circuit breaker to get negotiations started again.

However,  the European Union cannot keep walking the diplomatic tightrope and simply ignore Mr Lieberman‘s letter.

Surely the way forward now requires the European Union to indicate whether it considers that the PA should resume negotiations without preconditions in the light of the "significant gestures" made by Israel.

If the answer is in the affirmative, then  the European Union should indicate whether the PA’s  refusal to do so would result in the PA being isolated from total or partial diplomatic and financial support from the European Union until the PA resumes such negotiations.

If the answer is in the negative, then the European Union should spell out what it considers needs to be further done by Israel to get the parties around the negotiating table – and whether Israel’s refusal to do so would result in Israel being isolated from total or partial diplomatic and financial support from the European Union until Israel meets the European Union’s requirements

A one line throwaway response from the European Union will not suffice. Baroness Ashton needs to pen a detailed reply to Mr Lieberman without delay.

Mr Lieberman has put Israel’s cards on the table. Now it is time for the European Union to do likewise.'

Cross-posted from here

5 comments:

  1. The link is broken
    http://www.jwire.com.au/featured-articles/palestine-where-to-from-here/27599

    This is good too:
    Lieberman was right: With Abbas in charge there will be no peace
    With either Fatah or Hamas at the helm of the Palestinian people there is absolutely no possibility for long term peace in the region
    http://www.thecommentator.com/article/1559/lieberman_was_right_with_abbas_in_charge_there_will_be_no_peace

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    1. Thanks, Ian.
      Incidentally, I listened last night to that Byron Bay video of the Sabawi speech that you linked to in a comment on a previous thread - I noticed that Australians Fpr Palestine have shown their ignorance again, for in making a collage/slide for it labelled "Palestinian Refugees" the dolts have included a well-known photo of a Mizrachi refugee from an Arab land!

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  2. I am afraid the only way forward now is to match the militant unrepentant attitude of the arabs. Otherwise Israel will walk itself into the sea, backwards and bowing to these nazi genocidalists!! No more giving in and freeing terrorists!

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  3. The EU is not a fair partner nor an honest one. They will do what assuages the rage of their far left mouthpieces who wish for the destruction of Israel. End of story. You can write letters and you can tell them to be genuine but they're not they never have been and the never will.

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  4. Europe put their cards on the table with the Crusades; the Edict of Expulsion in 1292; the Inquisition; the Venetian ghetto; the Roman ghetto; the Pale of Settlement; the Kishinev program; the thousands of other programs across Eastern and Western Europe; the Shoah and with the full knowledge and complicity of all of Europe's eager and willing executioners who kremorselessly and quite happily condoned (and participated in) the annihilation of any and every Jew and Jewess living on that piece of shit continent among murderous, depraved animals.

    Is further clarification necessary?

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