Israel, Palestinians Reportedly Closer to Deal

Isn’t amazing how secret talks between Israel and the Palestinians end up public? Of course, you have to believe the source of the rumors. But if they’re true, it appears that Israel is open to giving up a chunk of territory and the Palestinians are open to a military presence protecting Israel in the Jordan Valley.

Ynet reported that a senior Jordanian politician has claimed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is open to allowing a joint US-Israeli military force defend the strategic Jordan Valley region – a must have for Israel in any deal. Of course, Palestinian sources denied this to Ynet, which makes you wonder who to believe. That’s not all I’m wondering.

The Jordan Valley arrangement – which would run for three years if the reports are true – would help prevent the arms and terrorist smuggling present in Gaza from repeating itself in the West Bank. Israel is concerned that if they surrender control of the Jordan Valley, Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank will be able to set up a terror hub in the heart of Israel.

For Israel’s part, Ynet reported that the Jordanian official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to swap out land to a hypothetical Palestinian state with an Arab-dominated region in northern Israel. Land swaps are crucial to any deal, because hundreds of thousands of Israelis live on territory claimed by the Palestinians. Rather than trade out empty land to the Palestinians for Israeli towns, this would join Arab Israeli communities with their cultural “brothers” in a hypothetical Palestinian state.

These details, if true, indicate the Israel-Palestinian negotiations are progressing. The US is determined to hammer out a preliminary deal by this spring.

Yet while the talks are moving forward, peace has been going backwards. A Palestinian police officer was implicated in a recent terror attack on Israel and incitement against Israel in Palestinian media has continued.

Israeli Intelligence Affairs Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz was quoted by a press release as portraying the incitement message as dire: “We must not ignore the fact that the Palestinian educational system and media, under the patronage of [Abbas] and during the negotiations, are educating and inciting – on a daily basis – for the destruction of the State of Israel.”

So again, I’m wondering: Why pursue a “peace” deal when the Palestinian side isn’t interested in peace?

(By Joshua Spurlock,, January 6, 2014)

What do you think?