Friday, August 2, 2013

UPI's De Borghrave: "Netanyahu will be negotiating a "non-viable" state that Palestinians could never accept!"

(UPI) -- "You'd be surprised what people will accept once you insist two or three times running that they have seen what you tell them they have seen" -- So wrote Andrew Levkoff in "A Mixture of Madness."
That was the gullibility syndrome that allowed us to accept a punitive expedition into Afghanistan to punish al-Qaida and its Taliban hosts after 9/11 without questioning how the presidential mandate turned into the longest conflict in U.S. history.
Almost 75 percent of Americans have been against the war for several years but somehow they were talked into accepting extensions until the end of next year.
Sleight of hand is also handy in the Middle East. As Israelis built and steadily expanded new settlements in the West Bank, the wheels came off the peace chariot a few decades ago.
But now, with a new set of wheels courtesy of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, mission impossible has been declared possible for the next nine months.
As Financial Times correspondent David Gardner, who writes from Beirut, wrote, "The only process that has advanced is Israel's relentless colonization of occupied Palestinian land."
The Israelis must get rid of the notion that such a statement of fact is anti-Israeli or shows anti-Semitic bias. It is incontrovertible fact that Jewish settlers have moved pawns across the West Bank chessboard -- and checkmated the possibility of a "viable contiguous" Palestinian state that would also include Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's enlarged coalition government will be negotiating in good faith a "non-viable" state that Palestinians could never accept.
Israel's chief negotiator with the Palestinians is Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister and now justice minister, who is held in low esteem by Netanyahu. He doesn't trust her, nor she him.
Kerry's six round-trip shuttles to the Middle East in as many months persuaded Palestinians and Israelis to meet for the next nine months to hammer out the outlines of an independent Palestinian state. That was the easy part.
Ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank that began following Israel's total victory over adjoining Arab states in the 1967 Six Day War, is simply not conceivable in this age of strategic uncertainty.
Israel has peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt but both these countries are being tossed in a geopolitical maelstrom that has swept aside yesterday's conventional wisdom.
For the past 2 1/2 years, Syria, another neighbor, has been mired in a civil war that has taken more than 100,000 lives. And Israel occupies Syria's Golan Heights, captured in 1967 and annexed in 1981.
In 2002, Saudi Arabia put forward a proposal, endorsed by the entire Arab League, which would have extended full recognition of Israel in return for East Jerusalem (captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War), the West Bank and Gaza.
That has now lapsed into the fog of no-war-no-peace, ..., ...
The Arab Spring turned nightmare provides Israel with formidable arguments against major geopolitical concessions.
An independent Palestinian state in the West Bank in this age of uncertainty would most probably be rejected in a referendum.
So why did Kerry conclude his timing would be propitious?
Long-time Middle Eastern correspondent for ABC Barrie Dunsmore summed up near unanimous consensus among the news veterans of the region: "I have seen this movie many times and it always ends badly."
A slim chance of a small breakthrough is as far as any Mideast expert is willing to go.
Most Israelis seem unconcerned by the continued occupation of the West Bank...  Nothing has changed for years -- except Israeli settlements in the West Bank keep growing under the Western media's self-censored eyes and ears.
International opinion is riveted by the unfolding Egyptian drama...."

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