I told you so, part one:
Demands that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state have become a major stumbling block in John Kerry’s search for a settlement to the Middle East’s most enduring conflict.
As the US secretary of state continued a frantic diplomatic quest on Sunday that some have dubbed “mission impossible”, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said Palestinians’ refusal to formally acknowledge the country’s Jewish character had become the key topic in his discussions with Mr Kerry.
Palestinian officials admitted that Mr Kerry has pressed the issue with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, who has so far refused to bend.
I told you so, part two:
“In that letter, the president made clear what he would not be able to accept as a Palestinian, as a people, as the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization). Firstly, we will not be able to accept Israel as a Jewish state,” Abbas wrote, according to Erekat.
“Secondly, we will not be able to accept a Palestinian state with 1967 borders without Jerusalem. Thirdly, we will not be able to accept any Israeli on Palestinian land, sea, air and border crossings following the completion of the gradual withdrawal.”
A fourth precondition reportedly set by Abbas was the instatement of the so-called “right of return” for potentially millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Israel.
“I will not be able to accept any solution that does not grant the refugees their right to the possibility to return and be compensated as per UN Resolution 194, as well as one that does not allow for the release of prisoners,” Abbas reportedly wrote.
To reiterate: The Palestinians absolutely refuse to agree to any of Israel’s major points and in fact, insist on what they’ve always insisted on: Absolute adherence to their demands and nothing less than full surrender by Israel. This has been the Palestinian negotiating position since Arafat died. Before he died, he pretended that he would someday sign an agreement, so the West sent him billions of dollars, much of which he stole instead of using it to help the Palestinians. Mahmoud Abbas continues in Arafat’s tradition of theft and enriches himself and his cronies at the expense of the West.
Of course they’re not going to sign a peace agreement, for several reasons. The money is only part of it. As long as the world ignores Palestinian corruption, incitement, and terrorism, it will blame Israel for the failures of the Palestinian Authority. Hamas runs the Gaza Strip, and any EU official can easily get documented evidence that, say the power failur of the last month was due to Hamas refusing to pay fuel taxes to the Palestinian Authority, which then held up the fuel from Gaza. But no, that doesn’t fit the narrative. So it doesn’t get wide play, and the anti-Israel crowd continues to press the lie that Gaza is in darkness because Israel refuses to send enough fuel. (I’m amazed the AP got that story out at all, but unsurprised at its brevity.)
And last, but not least, the Palestinians will not sign a peace agreement with Israel because they don’t want peace. They want Israel.
Kerry is knocking his giant head against a very solid brick wall. He’s not going to get the Nobel Peace Prize, because there’s not going to be an agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The narrative is already starting to blame Netanyahu–he’s been accused of pushing Israel’s recognition as a Jewish state to the forefront of negotiations as a ploy to make sure there is no agreement. That argument doesn’t wash when you look at the other items the Palestinians categorically reject. It does, however, conveniently place the burden for the talks breakdown on Israel. Never mind that the Palestinians refuse to negotiate on any point. Israel wants to be recognized as a Jewish state, therefore, it’s their fault the talks broke down.
Watch the narrative build over the next three months. Kerry demanded that there be a peace agreement by spring. Yeah, good luck with that, Johnny boy. Just like his boss, he’s going to learn that wishing doesn’t make it so. But don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll come up with some choice words on how Israel blew his chances for the Nobel.