US Envoy Hands Abbas Nine Demands to Restart Negotiations, Claims DEBKAfile ~ PALESTINE CHRONICLE, Mar 17 2017
Israeli intelligence website, DEBKAfile, claimed that it has access to what it called “the US basic preconditions presented to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by the US Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt during a meeting on Tuesday, March 14.”
“In an exclusive report, DEBKAfile first reveals here the substance of the tough terms presented to Mahmoud Abbas for the US to consent to broker negotiations for a resolution of the decades-long conflict,” the intelligence website wrote:
1. The Palestinians must return to the negotiating table without pre-conditions – an immovable sticking point until now.
2. Over and above US intervention in the peace process, the Palestinians must also accept a role for leading Arab governments – specifically, Egypt, Saudi, Arabia, Jordan and Arab oil emirates. This is a bitter pill for Abbas to swallow, since none of the four leaders can tolerate him.
On the same day as the Trump envoy’s visit to Ramallah, a conference of the Palestinian leader’s opponents took place in Paris. It was set up by Abu Mazen’s arch-foe, the exiled Fatah activist Muhammad Dahlan. Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah accused Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyran of putting up the one-million euros to pay for the event.
3. Abbas must forget about a moratorium on Jewish settlements on the West Bank – although a former Netanyahu government accepted a 10-month freeze. At most, Israel would hold back from establishing new communities in Judea and Samaria during the course of the negotiations.
4. The Trump administration will not be satisfied with verbal statements by Palestinian leaders condemning acts of terror, but insists on aggressive practical steps: Palestinian media must stop broadcasting anti-Israel materials, Palestinian school curricula must be purged of hate Israel propaganda, and the PA must give up naming streets and squares after dead terrorists, thereby treating them as martyrs to a holy cause.
5. The revolving door for captured terrorist suspects must be replaced with proper investigations. Suspects must be held and closely questioned to discover who gave them their orders, name their accomplices and reveal the source of their weapons and explosives, before going on trial.
6. The Palestinian authority must discontinue the custom of remittances to the families of terrorists who were killed or imprisoned, a practice that confers honor on their deeds.
7. Palestinian security forces must be radically overhauled, mainly to end the pervasive practice of moonlighting, whereby uniformed members hold down two jobs and draw two salaries.
8. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah must stop transferring funds to the Gaza Strip, which serve to bolster the regime of the extremist Hamas rulers. The sums transferred draw off 52 percent of the PA’s total budget.
9. The Trump administration supports a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
(DEBKAfile, PIC, PC, Social Media)
As per Jeff Halper:
Trump has said he wants to make “the “ultimate deal”: brokering a peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Towards that end, last week he dispatched his Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt to meet with Netanyahu and Abbas. Is there anything to this yet-again “peace initiative”? Any new ideas or direction?
Yesterday a self-described “Israeli intelligence website,” Debkafile, claims to have obtained a paper listing 9 demands the Americans made of the Palestinians, delivered to Abu Mazen in his meeting with Greenblatt on March 14. What do they tell us? Let’s look them over.
Demand # 1. The Palestinians must return to the negotiating table without pre-conditions. In order to negotiate what, exactly? Item #9 affirms that “The Trump administration supports a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” but that’s so broad as to be meaningless. The only preconditions set by the Palestinians have been an end to settlement construction — reasonable, since extending settlements eliminates a two-state solution — and that the negotiations not be open-ended and endless, but focus on the final status issues (sovereignty, borders, Jerusalem, refugees, water, etc.). Settlement construction will NOT end: Item #3 states that Abbas must forget about a moratorium on Jewish settlements on the West Bank. Israel might be asked to refrain from establishing new communities outside of the “settlement blocks,” but Israel is only interested in building within those blocs anyway, since they extend across the West Bank and ensure Israel control.
No commitment was given as to the focus and length of the negotiations and, indeed, the Trump administration accepted one of Israel’s key preconditions, an end to terrorism/resistance and Security First (for Israel). #4 is that the Trump administration will not be satisfied with verbal statements by Palestinian leaders condemning acts of terror, but insists on aggressive practical steps (including naming streets and squares after “dead terrorists” (as Israel does); #5 requires the Palestinians force suspects to reveal who gave them their orders, name their accomplices and reveal the source of their weapons and explosives. #6, the demand to discontinue the custom of remittances to the families of “terrorists” who were killed or imprisoned, was obviously dictated by Israel, as were the rest of these demands. It, again, conflates terrorism with resistance, and is just mean-spirited. How is this even remotely connected to negotiations or a peace process. These points indicate the US is completely taking Israel’s side.
Two problems with this: (1) it conflates terrorism with resistance, basically demanding the Palestinians end all armed resistance. If they do, Israel will have no incentive to negotiate (and in international law oppressed peoples have the right to resort to armed resistance, though not to the harming of civilians); indeed, Israel seeks “quiet” in order that the Palestinian issues will disappear; and (2) what about Israeli state terror? If anyone is threatened with violence, arrest, imprisonment, house demolitions, repression, it is the Palestinians.
And what about the Israeli preconditions, which are not mentioned? The ones we noted above, but also that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a JEWISH state, a new demand of Netanyahu accepted by both the Obama and trump administrations (but laughed off by Bush’s). The Palestinians recognized the state of Israel 30 years ago, in 1988. Recognizing it as a “Jewish” state would compromise the civil rights of non-Jewish citizens of Israel, some 28% of the population, including Palestinian citizens. What kind of state Israel wants to be is not a matter that should be mixed up in negotiations.
#2 demands that the Palestinians accept a role in negotiations of leading Arab governments, specifically, Egypt, Saudi, Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf States. On the surface, this seems fine, even good for the Palestinians. They all accept the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 which cals for an end to Occupation and a two-state solution. But in the context of Israel’s current support for these Sunni countries in their fight against the Shias (Iran in particular), and their susceptibility to US pressures, this seems to be a way of ganging up on the Palestinians, who would be pressured to make concessions for the “greater good.”
#8, The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah must stop transferring funds to the Gaza Strip, represents a flagrant violation of the Oslo Agreements (still the guidelines of negotiations), which view Gaza as an integral part of the West Bank.
Conclusions: Israel is dictating American policy so far. The Americans believe, following Israel, that the Palestinians can be forced to accept a bantustan locked in by massive settlement blocs, the fragmentation of Palestinian territory, the loss of East Jerusalem, no sovereign borders, no viable economy and no control over water or other valuable resources. A non-starter.