Kerry, Palestinians discuss peace talks in Amman, progress unlikely

AMMAN Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:49am EDT

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks on the phone at Mafraq Air Base before boarding a helicopter to Amman, after visiting Zaatari refugee camp, July 18, 2013.REUTERS/Mandel Ngan/Pool

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks on the phone at Mafraq Air Base before boarding a helicopter to Amman, after visiting Zaatari refugee camp, July 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mandel Ngan/Pool

Related Topics

AMMAN (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met a Palestinian negotiator in Jordan to discuss resuming peace talks with Israel, officials said, with chances of an immediate breakthrough appearing slim before he leaves later on Friday.

The Palestinian leadership on Thursday did not accept Kerry's latest proposal to restart the talks that have been stalled since 2010, but signaled they were leaving the door open for him to continue his peace push.

Kerry, on his sixth peacemaking visit to the region since March, met Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat in Amman to discuss Palestinian terms for restarting the talks. Kerry was due to fly back to the United States later on Friday.

He has given no details on where he believes the two sides might give ground, although after talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan on Wednesday, he said the gaps had narrowed "very significantly".

Negotiations, which have ebbed and flowed over two decades, collapsed in late 2010 in a dispute over Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories it captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

The Palestinians want that land as part of an independent state and have demanded Israel halt all settlement construction and recognize the pre-1967 lines as the basis for negotiations over the future-state's borders before peace talks begin.

A senior Palestinian official speaking on condition of anonymity said Erekat was expected to tell Kerry that the Palestinians appreciate his efforts and "call upon the United States to ask the two sides to resume negotiations on the basis of the two-state solution, recognizing the 1967 borders".

Israel has balked at the Palestinians' demands and says talks should start with no preconditions.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin said to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders would be "suicidal".

"A negotiation in which you first say what you are willing to give up ... is not the kind of negotiation that leads to good results in the Middle East," Elkin told Israel Radio.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Writing by Maayan Lubell; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
VultureTX wrote:
SecState Ketchup is heading back his yacht having done nothing to change the situation in the middle east.

/his anticipation is a joke in itself.

Jul 18, 2013 8:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Reuters1945 wrote:
“There is a general tendency among PLO officials to reject resuming negotiations before Israel recognizes the 1967 borders as a base for the peace process…”

Poor Mr. John Kerry. He wants so very much to succeed where hundreds of others before him have failed so dismally for decade after decade.

Or are all his efforts just a way for the Obama White House to show the world that they are truly the world’s most persistent Peace makers who never give up- like the little boy in the school sand box who pounds away convinced that with sufficient patience and pounding, he will make that square peg fit into that round hole.

Poor Mr. Kerry, and likely his boss the POTUS also, just refuse to “get it”. Or more likely they actually do “get it” quite well but need something to deflect the attention of Americans away from all the many other White House follies and failures everywhere you look.

And then there are the so-called “Leaders” of the Palestinians of whom it is said: “There is a general tendency….to reject resuming negotiations before Israel recognizes the 1967 borders as a base for the peace process”.

My goodness- they also just do not “get it”. Or then again, perhaps they get it very well but just like to pretend that they do not “get it”.

Now why, after all, would the PLO do that ?

The answer is really quite simple. Israel once had troops in Gaza but at a certain point decided to pack up and get out of Gaza altogether and allow the Palestinians to run Gaza in any way they saw fit, and take charge of their own affairs.

Unfortunately, from the time Israel made a 100 % total exit from Gaza, Gaza has been used as a launching pad to fire tens of thousands of rockets and missiles into Israel.

How long would any modern nation tolerate such a state of affairs ?
I would venture to state- Not too many.

Now the PLO seriously, (or just pretends to seriously), expect Israel to sign a Peace Agreement based on the pre-1967 border lines so that Israel will in effect have to worry about the possibility of a second “Gaza type” situation on their doorstep- that is to say the possibility of facing tens of thousands on incoming rockets and missiles fired from the East of their comparatively small nation.

Meanwhile, whilst the PLO Leaders in the West Bank claim they are agreeable to a Peace with Israel based on the pre-1967 borders, something that is a veritable non-starter for Israel for the reasons already explained above, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, has called Kerry’s efforts “a waste of time”.

That is because Hamas has openly declared that they are Officially Sworn to never recognize Israel’s “right to exist” and Hamas is furthermore openly Sworn to Israel’s destruction.

In short, even if the State of Israel agreed to every last demand of the Palestinians in the West Bank and even if those Palestinians refrained from showering Israel with tens of thousands of missiles fired into the very heart of Israel, the citizens of Israel would still be facing the Palestinians of Hamas in Gaza who are openly Sworn to the destruction of the State of Israel.

Even a child or a blind man with a cane for that matter, can easily see why there is a better chance that pigs will suddenly sprout wings and learn to fly than there is any hope that any type of formal Peace Agreement is possible given the present Middle East positions of the various Palestinian factions who cannot even agree among themselves.

Although the world does not want to be reminded of the fact, especially the members of the so-called Arab League, in 1947 the entire membership of the United Nations unanimously voted on a “Partition Plan” to separate what was then referred to as “British Mandate Palestine” equally between the Arabs and the Jews.

The land was to be roughly broken up into two irregularly shaped land areas, of equal size, to be determined by the various population densities of Arabs and Jews in the various areas.

Thus the UN in 1947 voted and passed a Resolution that gave the Arabs of the Middle East, fully half of British Mandate Palestine on a Silver Platter, without the Arabs having to so much as fire a single shot.

Although the proposed map created by the 1947 UN “Partition Plan” essentially created an entity that was virtually indefensible for the Jews, they nonetheless immediately accepted the 1947 UN “Partition Plan” just to end all the discord and get on with the business of creating a State for themselves.

But the Arabs, in knee jerk fashion, instantly rejected the idea of sharing even one square inch of “British Mandate Palestine” with the Jews and attacked from all sides vowing “to push the Jews into the sea”.

Faced on all sides with the highly mechanized and well equipped armies of multiple invading Arab armies (many British trained), the world’s best military experts doubted the Jews could survive the horrendous onslaught for more than two weeks.

But the “experts” were wrong and the rest, as people say, is history.

In all the ensuing attempts to annihilate the State of Israel, decade after decade, the outcome was always the same.

L’histoire se répète.

The truth is that in 1947 the entire membership of the United Nations offered the Arabs fully half of what is now present day Israel.
The Arabs rejected that UN offer.

And poor Mr. Kerry and poor Mr. Obama either refuse to understand, or pretend to not understand that actions taken, and decisions made, by nations, have consequences.

Isn’t that one of President Obama’s favorite quotes which he never tires of pushing down people’s throats. Actions have consequences !

Let Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama stop pretending they do not fully understand the history of the Middle East and its many wars launched to annihilate the relatively tiny State of Israel.

Can I say it any plainer than the following.

The train left the station a very long time ago, Mr. Kerry.

The last boat has sailed, Mr. Obama. And neither is coming back.

Mr. Kerry might more usefully invest his time on those long airplane flights by catching up on ancient literature. In particular the poetry of the great Persian Mathematician and Philosopher, Omar Khayyam who so wisely observed:

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

― Omar Khayyám , circa 1048 – 1131

Jul 18, 2013 9:49pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
boonteetan wrote:
Top diplomat Kerry does not seem to be doing his job well. Since taking over the State Secretary job, he has been in very low key, not making any impressive or outstanding decision at the global scene. Perhaps leaders in Washington do not want to commit themselves unnecessarily on fluid foreign policies, and need to stay quiet for the moment. (ttm1943)

Jul 19, 2013 1:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures