Monday, August 10, 2009

Lieberman is Wrong: Fatah didn't just bury any chance of peace in the next few years

The Jerusalem Post had the following article on its web site. I agree with most of it, but must point out Avigdor Lieberman is wrong in asserting Fatah just buried any chance of peace in the coming years.

The Palestinian Arabs buried any chance of peace in the foreseeable future when they rejected peace in 2000 and launched their terror offensive. They buried it more deeply when the supposedly "moderate" Abu Mazen repeatedly insisted he would never adhere to his only real obligation under the "road map," the dismantling of the terror infrastructure built up by the Palestinian Authority during the period of the Oslo Experiment. The buried it even further when they launched thousands of mortars and rockets from Hamastan.

It already would have taken decades to undo the damage to the prospects for peace done by the Palestinian Arabs since the start of the Oslo Experiment. Fatah's extreme, bellicose, rejectionist positions taken at its convention have buried it still further, but in context they really didn't change much at all.

Lieberman: Fatah 'burying' any chance of peace in coming years

The political platform formulated at the Fatah General Assembly in Bethlehem, combined with unrest in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, "has buried any chance of coming to an agreement with the Palestinians in the next few years," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday.

Speaking to 29 Democratic congressmen in his Jerusalem office Monday, Lieberman said that "the Palestinians' uncompromising, extremist positions on Jerusalem, right of return, and settlements are making a gap between us that can't be bridged."

According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, he also stated that there was no body representing all Palestinians, though there is "Hamastan in Gaza and Fatahland in Judea and Samaria."

The foreign minister told the congressmen that Israeli policy regarding the Palestinians should include continuing dialogue, and improving both security arrangements and the economic situation in the West Bank.

He warned that trying to force an agreement would inevitably end in failure, calling the current government policy "realistic."

The Democrat delegations, led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and accompanied by spouses and one mother, arrived in Israel on Sunday night and met on Monday with President Shimon Peres.

In explaining to the congressmen some of the problems that impeded the advancement of the peace process and the reaching of a permanent settlement, Peres said, "We have to be careful not to repeat the mistakes of Gaza. We left, and Hamas came in and started shooting against us."

Peres also said that basically, Israel was in agreement with the US regarding settlements.

The present government of Israel has committed itself not to build or provide funding for new settlements and to dismantle illegal settlements, he said, adding that the only real point of contention was over natural growth in existing settlements.

He believed that with a little ingenuity, a solution could be found - and if not it was not a tragedy for Israel and America to disagree on one or two point. From his own perspective, Peres considered Obama's plan to be "positive, serious and sincere."

Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report.

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