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Bibi Accidentally Endorses Settlement Freeze

This is all getting a little bit silly

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(Kobi Gideon / GPO /Flash 90)

While former Israeli Foreign Minister (and perpetual utterer of undiplomatic statements) Avigdor Lieberman awaits the end of his corruption trial so that he may…return to the crucial post of foreign minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is balancing the multiple roles in the government. Right now, Bibi is prime minister, foreign minister, and a repentent traveler as he winged his way to Warsaw this week in an economy class seat after he infamously flew to London for Baroness Margaret Thatcher’s funeral earlier this summer in a $127,000 bed.

Alas, there’s no rest for the weary. Bibi arrived in Warsaw and immediately had to deal with controversy after an unvetted press release went out about the Israeli and Polish joint vision for Middle East peace. What horrible, Lieberman-like things did the document say?

The text denounces attempts to harm the legitimacy of Israel and the security of its citizens, and affirms the right of the Palestinians to their own country — both messages that Netanyahu has endorsed in the past. However, the document also says that “unilateral steps by either side are not helpful for achieving a sustainable peace,” a declaration that could be interpreted as an endorsement of a construction freeze in the settlements.

For real? That’s it? Not exactly, the rest of the statement was pretty moderate with yet more rhetorical flourishes about peace and Palestinian self-determination. Nevertheless, it hatched a few conspiracy theories.

The statement’s surprising wording aroused speculation that it was an attempt to repair the bad impression made by Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon’s statements last week. In an interview with the Times of Israel, Danon said that the Israeli government did not support the two-state solution and that its ministers would do everything possible to thwart any attempt to establish a Palestinian state.

So if the statement was neither a rebuke for one deputy minister’s narrow vision for the future nor an endorsement of a settlement freeze–the most potent of Israeli confidence-building measures–then the statement was…a mistake?

The Prime Minister’s Office explained that low level staff members of the National Security Council had worked on the statement and had obtained Poland’s agreement without Netanyahu or the council’s director, Yaakov Amidror, ever reading it.

From here, the ordeal devolved into a spat between the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which is reportedly angry about its portfolios being allocated to non-diplomats, and the Prime Minister’s office. What about all the goodwill?

Also, can anyone tell me if there’s a lousier diplomatic move than retracting a progressive statement about the peace process? I suppose we’ll just find out when Lieberman returns.

PM’s office sends out unvetted statement on peace process [ToI]
Netanyahu backtracks on joint statement with Poland on Israeli-Palestinian conflict [Haaretz]

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Beatrix17 says:

This would mean more if Netanyahu hadn’t agreed to a settlement freeze for 10 months, during which time the Palestinians wouldn’t sit down for 9 months, then when Abbas agreed to meet, all he would discuss were the details for planning a meeting.

Settlements weren’t even an issue until Obama made them an issue. Israel wanted to keep the two largest settlements contiguous to Israel with the Palestinians receiving an equal amount of Israeli land. The rest of the settlements would go to Palestine just as they had in Gaza,

Beatrix17 says:

My take on the Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects was based on the generous peace agreement negotiated by Tzipi Livni and Ahmed Qurei in 2008. When Olmert offered it to Abbas, he ignored it.

Now it’s 2013. Danny Dannon Likud’s Deputy Defense Minister says that he doesn’t believe in two states and says that no one in Likud does, and that includes Netanyahu. In fact, Netanyahu who had been careful to only build within the
settlements that Israel hoped to keep, has now approved 4 new settlements that were built outside those parameters.

The peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt aren’t going well, and the countries around Israel, especially Syria, are a threat to her stability. Gaza still views itself, at
least in propaganda, as occupied, and Israel is having 2nd thoughts about peace with the Palestinians, especially when a weak leader like Abbas is likely to be overthrown by Hamas who would then rule the West Bank. Abbas has never offered Israel friendship in the event of independence, and this may be the wrong time for Israel to accept another enemy on her border.

My take on the Israeli-Palestinian
peace prospects is based on the generous peace agreement negotiated
by Tzipi Livni and Ahmed Qurei in 2008. When Olmert offered it to
Abbas, he ignored it.

Now it’s 2013. Danny Dannon Likud’s
Deputy Defense Minister says that he doesn’t believe in two states,
and says that no one in Likud does, and that includes Netanyahu. In
fact, Netanyahu who had been careful to only build within the
settlements that Israel hoped to keep, has now approved 4 new
settlements that were built outside those parameters.

The peace treaties with Jordan and
Egypt aren’t going well, and the countries around Israel, especially
Syria, are a threat to her stability. Gaza still views itself, at
least in propaganda, as occupied, and Israel is having 2nd
thoughts about peace with the Palestinians, especially when a weak
leader like Abbas is likely to be overthrown by Hamas who would then
rule the West Bank. Abbas has never offered Israel friendship in the
event of independence, and this would be the wrong time for Israel to
accept another enemy on her border.

Jacques Y. says:

More often than not people immediately reject the idea of Israeli settlements in the West Bank as a precursor to negotiations for establishing a Palestinian state in said lands. However Israel’s interests in the area are clear and decided: to keep trade routes and land routes between the east and west boundaries clear. Here’s a great article with a comprehensive approach towards the issue of settlements that truly explain what exactly Israel’s interests are http://jcpa.org/article/understanding-israeli-interests-in-the-e1-area-contiguity-security-and-jerusalem/

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Bibi Accidentally Endorses Settlement Freeze

This is all getting a little bit silly

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