Monday, January 14, 2008

US Government Effectively Admits No Chance of Peace Deal

The full article may be viewed at / Comments are included in brackets.

US admits Mideast peace deal hangs on fate of Gaza

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) — A senior US official acknowledged on Saturday that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal would depend on the fate of Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas.

Hamas which evicted moderate Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah faction from Gaza in June after a week of bloodshed, meanwhile, dismissed US President George W. Bush's vision of a Palestinian state.

The US official, who declined to be named, said the fate of Bush's targeted peace deal by the end of this year depended on Abbas taking back control of the Gaza Strip.

"I don't think in the long term that an agreement is going to work if Hamas continues to control Gaza," he said.

"That's why we repeatedly said that the Palestinian Authority should resume its responsibility for the government in Gaza as well," he said. "Exactly how that is going to work I don't know, I can't predict the future."

[The Hamas coup in Gaza has effectively shown there is no single "Palestinian Arab" people and the chances of a unified Palestinian Arab entity in the near future is nil. This makes all negotiations a sham.]

The official also drew a distinction between any Israeli-Palestinian agreement and its actual implementation. "It seems that it will take some time," he cautioned.

[Time during which any agreement, in the unlikely event one was made, would become moot.]

"The parties will have to agree on how they want to structure the agreement, but I think that there have been general thoughts that there will be first a framework and later a comprehensive agreement.

[Oslo redux. We need to start learning from our mistakes.]

"This will all play out in quite a period of time."

[The Arab war against Israel has gone on for six decades; a century if one counts the period before the reestablishment of Israel.]

Dismissed Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya, meanwhile, rejected what he termed "Bush's vision of a rump state", in a speech to Palestinian pilgrims at a ceremony to mark their return from the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
Bush called in Israel on Thursday for an end to the four-decade-old Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and for the two sides to make the tough choices needed for a final peace deal.

[As provided for in United Nations Resolutions 242 and 338, the extent of Israeli withdrawal and the ultimate division of the disputed portions of the British Mandate over Palestine await a negotiated agreement among the parties involved.]

The US president also called for new mechanisms "including compensation" to resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees, one of the thorniest of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Haniya hit out at the president's suggestion that a peace agreement might exclude the refugees returning to the homes they fled in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

"We reject his denial of the right of return of refugees and his position on Jerusalem," Haniya said.

[There are perhaps a few thousand Arab refugees still alive, the youngest already sixty years old. I suspect Israel would be willing to accept their immigration provided they agreed to become loyal citizens of Israel.]

"We do not accept that 11,000 (Palestinian) prisoners stay in Israeli jails and that (Jewish) settlements remain in Palestinian territory," the Hamas official added.

[The way to keep Israel from arresting Arab terrorists is to stop murdering Israelis.

If the Palestinian Arabs ever agree to peace and establish another Palestinian state, they will have the right to establish whatever racist laws they want. At the present time, Jews have as much legal, moral and historical right to live in the disputed portions of their homeland as do the relatively recent arrivals who call themselves Palestinians.]

Haniya also called for an end to "security cooperation" between Israel and Abbas.

[Given the continued involvement of Abbas' Fatah in terrorist activities, there's not much cooperation to end.]

Another Hamas leader, Ahmad Bahar, accused Bush, Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of "conspiring against the Palestinian cause and the armed struggle."

[That's not a very peaceful statement.]

On Friday, Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said the movement would not be bound by any agreement that Abbas and Olmert reached, adding that the proposed deal fell far short of Palestinian aspirations.

[The terrorist group which won a landslide victory in the most recent election opposes any agreement. The obvious rhetorical question is: "What's the point of negotiating?"

As it has since long before the reestablishment of Israel in 1948, peace depends on the Arabs reconciling themselves to the existence of the liberal, Western-oriented democracy of Israel in the predominantly Arab and Muslim Middle East.]

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