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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Palileaks: Jerusalem and far...

What we have learned:

  • Palestinian leadership wants to give away East Jerusalem and part of the West Bank and only allow 10,000-100,000 refugees out of millions back for nothing except the glimmer of hope that Israel will agree to a deal.
  • US has been twisting Palestinian arms more than anyone seemed to believe (in the US). Rice even told Palestinian leaders that there would be no deal unless they gave up the above items
  • Israel is proven uncompromising and demanding far beyond what anyone in the US would ever state publicly. It will probably still be considered anti-Semitic for stating this even though it is a proven fact (provided these leaks aren't fake documents). Rice was wrong on the above point-Israel wanted ALL of its demands, not just nearly all.

That is what I learned. All anyone seems to want to talk about is how not ready the Palestinian public is for what the leaders were going to propose. The upside, they believe, is that now Palestinians can get ready to give these things up for peace now that it's out in the open. ??? What about the arm twisting and neglect of international law and bias toward Israel?? What about how everyone in the US is under the impression that Israel has been bending over backwards for peace with no Palestinian partner for 10 years and that has been a big fat lie? I think what warrants some thought and/ or discussion.

What else can they give up?? There are supposed to be several more revelations.

I'm not Palestinian, but I feel a bit like I've had the rug pulled out from under me. Ripped off. I fully expected the US to be firmly in Israel's camp, fighting Palestinian independence and Israeli concessions tooth and nail. What I didn't expect was for Palestinian "leaders" to be giving away their peoples' rights and state. In the US, we expect leaders to stand up for our rights and act in our interest- not so in other countries.

We in the US speak rather figuratively about our leaders not doing what's best for us, I believe. Obama's a communist. I mean, really, who believes that honestly? There is a beef in there somewhere, but we all know he's not a communist. And we all talk doom and gloom about the opposing party becoming president, but we in this country know that there will be a peaceful transfer of power and whoever is president from whichever party won't change things very much, won't give away the ground from beneath our feet, we know we will be a democracy, our borders won't change, etc.

Leaders in this country tend to be more well off than the rest of us and run in elite circles, but we know there is less corruption than in other countries probably due to the fact that we are eager through the press and other means to seek it out and lay everything out in the open.

I say all this to explain how I can't fathom where the Palestinian "leadership" is coming from. They stay pretty insulated and isolated from the average person's struggle and will reap any small benefits a solution might offer. For instance, the 10,000 refugees allowed into Israel. You better believe those slots will be for any and all government officials, ex-PLO, and the like and not regular folks. I guess if you are one who will certainly get a slot, it is pretty easy to "negotiate" away everyone else's place.

Points of international law should not be up for negotiation. Israel must go back to pre-1967 borders. Evacuate settlements on Occupied Territory (or be under Palestinian rule). Get rid of the Wall. Allow right of return. That's the law. If Palestinians can't return, Jewish immigration must also be cut- that's negotiation. Jerusalem should be a shared or international city, as proposed in the UN.

As far as prospects for peace in the future... I hope Palestinians seek new leadership and avoid the US as a mediator. I think getting (or continuing to get) other countries to recognize them (so far in South America) has been a positive, encouraging thing. I also hope people see the US and Israel for what they are and have been- uncompromising, biased toward Israel, unsympathetic to Palestinians, indifferent to international law.

People are saying these revelations might slow things down for a bit and make life difficult for Palestinian leaders. Some say at least now Palestinians know what their leaders have been doing and they can now get the population ready for what they will have to give up for peace. I say Palestinians have given up quite enough and now they know what their leaders were doing behind their backs- time for a change. We have the UN resolutions about Jerusalem, refugees, borders. Israel has never complied. That is our problem.

When people have said Palestinians aren't ready for peace, perhaps this is what they were talking about. I had thought they were saying just that they thought Palestinians were terrorists or some ridiculous generalization like that. The leaders have been making deals, giving up land and rights while telling the public a tale of never giving up on refugees, Jerusalem, and the green line. That's what the public isn't ready for. We have heard various reports before about this Palestinian leader or that getting soft in a meeting. I refused to believe it. It didn't make sense. The Palestinians not being ready for peace meant that they weren't ready to give up even more land and rights than they have lost over the decades, more than they are required to give under the law. That's not peace. That's throwing out the law and might makes right. In a country that ostensibly values justice as we do, you'd think that we'd want to do right by Palestinians so that might doesn't have to make right.

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Instead of at least being appreciated by their own people as savvy negotiators constructively working toward the achievement of Palestinian political sovereignty and self-determination, Abbas, Saeb Erekat, Ahmed Qurei and others involved in 2008 talks with former foreign minister Tzipi Livni and former prime minister Ehud Olmert have been castigated by the Palestinian street as traitors..

Of course they are traitors. Savvy? Are you kidding me? Since when is giving away your land and rights guaranteed by international law savvy? And look where it got them! Livni said thanks, but no thanks- you didn't give us all of our demands, just giving us most of them won't cut it. At least we see Israel's true colors. Give and inch and they will take a mile. Haven't some of us been saying this for quite some time? Whatever. They should have stuck by international law. The same amount of progress would have been made, but at least they'd have their principles and dignity.

The story of Esau selling his birthright comes to mind... don't read too much into that...

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