It’s easy to expect that the current negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will stall. The previous two decades have seen round after round lead nowhere and Palestinian violence against Israel has continued – at times even increased.
And even this round has seen recent shooting attacks on Israeli soldiers – and the Hamas group in Gaza is open to even more violence. Despite that, this time the Israel-Palestinian talks are looking like they’ll reach a deal.
Israeli media has pointed out that one of the biggest reasons for believing that this could be serious is what’s not being said. The sides have been relatively quiet on what’s being negotiated. More importantly, Palestinian complaints about Israel supposedly not offering or doing enough – normally an issue from the loud and whiny Palestinians – have been fewer than usual. That indicates the talks may be serious enough to put both leaderships at some political risk.
In other words, if a deal is reached, both Israel’s and the Palestinian leaderships will come under fire for compromising. That’s a risk. And silence is an indicator those compromises may be happening, or at least the discussion is. No sense in publicly talking about possible compromise before one must, especially if even some small movement is occurring.
Another reason for suspecting the talks are making headway are the issues under discussion. For years, the Palestinians refused to talk at all. That they’re even talking is an indication the US is wielding a lot of influence.
Further proof is that all the major issues, including borders and the potential division of Jerusalem into a shared capital, are on the table according to US President Barack Obama. So think about that – the sides aren’t talking, but Obama is. Guess who is in charge of these negotiations.
Obama wants a deal, especially with his foreign policy legacy a very mixed bag with lots of scars (Libya, Egypt, Mexico, Russia etc.). This would make him look a lot better in his opinion.
To further emphasize that Jerusalem is on the table, a recent effort by an Israeli committee to require any negotiation of Israel’s capital to be first approved by two-thirds of the Israeli parliament drew fire from the Israeli negotiator.
Tzipi Livni, who heads the talks with the Palestinians, said she plans to appeal the proposed law, according to Ynet. Why would she make such a big deal of it? Quite possibly because she is already talking about giving half of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. And that’s the biggest issue for Israel. So if that’s really on the table, it’s serious.
Lastly, one of the biggest roadblocks to a deal between the sides is gone. Almost half the Palestinians are ruled by a terror group that rejects talks with Israel – Hamas. Now it appears that concern has been removed, according to Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently let it slip that they are pursuing peace with “half” the Palestinians. That means they are willing to reach a deal even while Hamas in Gaza continues to preach violence. That’s a big risk and a major policy change.
But it’s that very issue that indicates that a deal would be a very risky step. Israel-Palestinian talks have only increased violence as rejectionists have sought to derail the talks, and/or taken advantage of relaxed security as part of the talks, to launch terror attacks.
Just recently, two Israeli soldiers were killed. And that’s not in Gaza, that’s in the area led by the half of the Palestinians with whom Israel is trying to make a deal.
That’s bad, because it implies that a deal – which could pull the Israeli army fully out of Palestinian areas and grant unrestricted access to half of the capital in Jerusalem – would likely lead to more bloodshed, not less.
So a deal looks to be in the near future – but it could spell more violence instead of peace.
Netanyahu used to preach that peace had to be built from the ground up and that the Palestinian people had to want it for it to really succeed.
It appears he’s willing to drop that opinion for the sake of the powerful Americans. But it doesn’t make it any less true.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 21, 2013)