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U.S. envoy: Israel, Palestinians tackling tough issues up front

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The two leaders now holding their third meeting in two days; Israeli source says talks in Sharm yielded number of ideas for breakthrough in direct peace talks.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his official residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday, in what special U.S. envoy George Mitchell described as a sign that both leaders believe a peace deal can be achieved.

The meeting in Jerusalem was the third consecutive session between the leaders over the last two days, a continuation of the direct negotiations that began last month.Following the meeting, Mitchell said that Abbas and Netanyahu had discussed difficult issues "up front" and seemed to be making progress on the contentious issue of settlement construction in the West Bank. "They are tackling up front ... the issues that are at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Mitchell told reporters. "I will say that the two leaders are not leaving the tough issues to the end of their discussions ... We take this as a strong indicator of their belief that peace is possible."
U.S. envoy: Israel, Palestinians tackling tough issues up front - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News
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donsutherland1

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Although it is encouraging that the leaders are having a frank discussion on even the tough issues, what we don't know is how large the gaps between the sides are and how much flexibility they have with respect to trying to bridge those differences. From reading various news accounts, I suspect that the gaps remain wide. Moreover, some accounts have mentioned that the respective leaders (Israeli PM and Palestinian President) have been spending as much or even more time with the U.S. team than with one another. That could suggest that the parties are hoping for the U.S. to provide some ideas. If so, that reinforces the notion that the differences remain significant.

Finally, time remains a factor. Persistent failure for the ideas to yield meaningful progress could discourage the parties/drain the energy from the process. It could also provide a window for more extreme elements to trigger some event that could derail the process.

Hopefully, some significant progress will be made. Moreover, if such progress is made, it might be useful for the parties to lock in that progress in the form of an interim agreement. It would be a shame if meaningful progress were made, no interim agreement were reached to lock in that progress, and then some event takes place that causes the progress to vaporize.
 

justabubba

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let's assume the two parties are able to forge a peace agreement

what does that do for israelis if the Palestinians are unwilling to ratify the document, by refusing to adhere to its terms, recognizing abbas is not a legitimate representative of the Palestinian interests
 

donsutherland1

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let's assume the two parties are able to forge a peace agreement

what does that do for israelis if the Palestinians are unwilling to ratify the document, by refusing to adhere to its terms, recognizing abbas is not a legitimate representative of the Palestinian interests
I suspect that Egypt and Jordan would help President Abbas implement the agreement. Both countries see an expansion of peace as being in their interest. Extremist elements such as Hamas would likely find themselves increasingly isolated if they tried to block a historic opportunity for peace given that peace would be in the mutual interests of Israel, the Palestinians, and neighboring Jordan and Egypt.
 

justabubba

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I suspect that Egypt and Jordan would help President Abbas implement the agreement. Both countries see an expansion of peace as being in their interest. Extremist elements such as Hamas would likely find themselves increasingly isolated if they tried to block a historic opportunity for peace given that peace would be in the mutual interests of Israel, the Palestinians, and neighboring Jordan and Egypt.
i see it differently
certainly, the Palestinians would accept the concessions the israelis are willing to relinquish as the price to reach agreement with abbas
but i do not envision the Palestinians subscribing to any restrictions abbas has agreed to accept, where those restrictions are not in the Palestinian interests

those arab leaders who would elevate israeli interests above Palestinian expectations would alienate a substantial portion of their constituents against them. they would have to recognize their vulnerability by placing israeli objectives above Palestinian interests
 

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let's assume the two parties are able to forge a peace agreement

what does that do for israelis if the Palestinians are unwilling to ratify the document, by refusing to adhere to its terms, recognizing abbas is not a legitimate representative of the Palestinian interests
You are wrong. Abbas is legitimate. Hamas is not.
 

justabubba

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You are wrong. Abbas is legitimate. Hamas is not.
what causes abbas to be found legitimate? (other than he was hand picked by the USA and isreal to "represent" the Palestinians)
 

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i see it differently
certainly, the Palestinians would accept the concessions the israelis are willing to relinquish as the price to reach agreement with abbas
but i do not envision the Palestinians subscribing to any restrictions abbas has agreed to accept, where those restrictions are not in the Palestinian interests

those arab leaders who would elevate israeli interests above Palestinian expectations would alienate a substantial portion of their constituents against them. they would have to recognize their vulnerability by placing israeli objectives above Palestinian interests
If there is an agreement, and that is far from certain, I expect that the following would occur:

1. The Knesset would be asked to ratify it. If it fails there, the agreement would be dead.
2. The Palestinian people would be asked to vote on it in a referendum. There would probably be a brief campaign before the vote. If it is voted down, it would die or a revote could be called if the margin were small and significant improprieties were suspected.

There would be enormous pressure not to let the historic opportunity slip away. Hence, the Knesset would likely ratify the agreement (Kadima could well provide the critical votes to secure ratification) and an aggressive public effort would be made to secure the support of the Palestinian people. Egypt and Jordan would likely play a significant role in such a public effort. President Abbas would not be left to do so on his own.

Hamas would find it difficult to try to block a Palestinian vote without facing painful consequences. If Hamas were to try to do so in the Gaza Strip, Egypt would very likely dramatically tighten the proverbial screws on that area e.g., aggressively trying to suffocate cross-border smuggling of any kind, given that Egyptian interests would be undermined. Hamas officials found in Egypt and Jordan would likely be expelled or detained in an anti-Hamas drive.
 

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You are wrong. Abbas is legitimate. Hamas is not.

Hamas won a free and fair election. How is that not legitimate? They got rid of Fatah, preempting a Fatah coup, after they had already been in power for about a year.

Abbas hasn't had an election for half a decade, as far as I'm aware. And he had 90% of the airtime, or thereabouts, when he was running. He was, in reality, the only person running for a position the US and allies wanted filled with someone pro US. Basically the same US imperial strategy enforced all over the world. Hardly democratic.

These talks will go nowhere while Gaza is under siege, the colonisation project actively continues, and the Gazans have no voice, among other grievances. Abbas has no authority to speak or make decisions on behalf of the Palestinian people.
 
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donsutherland1

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Abbas hasn't had an election for half a decade, as far as I'm aware.
The election hasn't been held not because President Abbas has decided to avoid elections. No recent election has been held because Hamas has blocked elections. Just as Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip via force of arms not by rule of law, Hamas has shown no less respect for democratic governance in choosing to try to hang onto power by blocking elections. Most of the world community understands that Hamas, not President Abbas, has taken the non-democratic path. Hence, the world community continues to recognize President Abbas as the legitimate leader of the Palestinians.
 
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justabubba

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The election hasn't been held not because President Abbas has decided to avoid elections. No recent election has been held because Hamas has blocked elections. Just as Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip via force of arms not by rule of law, Hamas has shown no less respect for democratic governance in choosing to try to hang onto power by blocking elections. Most of the world community understands that Hamas, not President Abbas, has taken the non-democratic path. Hence, the world community continues to recognize President Abbas as the legitimate leader of the Palestinians.
[emphasis added by bubba]

ah, but what matters is who the PALESTINIANS view as their legitimate representative
abbas does not appear to be that person
 

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[emphasis added by bubba]

ah, but what matters is who the PALESTINIANS view as their legitimate representative
abbas does not appear to be that person
I don't suppose it would matter if the Palestinians viewed their legitimate leaders as a genocidal terrorist organization? We couldn't possibly "punish them for exercising democracy" just because they elected genocidal racist ideologues engaged in decades of terrorism, could we?

That would be ... what's the word ... treating them like ADULTS or without the colonial sense of supremacy that non-Europeans couldn't possibly be responsible for their own decisions and be responsible for the consequences.

This general infatuation with Hamas (I♥Hamas might as well be your sig) is, frankly, fairly appalling. There are way too many westerrn "leftists" who are not even remotely concerned with achieving any sort of actual peace. While supporting Hamas is fully consistent with this anti-peace world-view, the incoherence of it all is a remarkable thing to observe.

But sure, ask the Palestinians who they think should lead them. hold elections. Allow anyone to run. But put them on notice that they will be held responsible - if they elect a genocidal terrorist organization, then they get nothing. No money, no support, no state.

There are only so many times you can break your toy car before your parents stop buying you a new one.
 
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donsutherland1

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[emphasis added by bubba]

ah, but what matters is who the PALESTINIANS view as their legitimate representative
abbas does not appear to be that person
And neither does Hamas. From a March 2010 poll that covered the issue of legitimacy:

28% believe that Haniyeh’s government is the legitimate one and only 26% say that Abu Mazin’s and Fayyad’s government is the legitimate one, and 31% say both governments are illegitimate. Three months ago, 26% said Haniyeh’s government was the legitimate one and 30% said Fayyad’s government was the legitimate one. Moreover, 53% say PA president Abbas has lost his legitimacy when his term ended and 41% disagree with that. Similarly, 53% say the Palestinian Legislative Council has lost its legitimacy after its term ended and 39% disagree with that.

At the same time, Palestinians supported elections (something Abbas supported and Hamas opposed):

54% support and 41% oppose the holding of local elections in the West Bank next July even if reconciliation talks have not succeeded by then to unify the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Support for holding local elections is higher in the West Bank, reaching 60%, and lower in the Gaza Strip, standing at 46%.

Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (35), Publications, Palestinian Autonomous Territories, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung
 

justabubba

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And neither does Hamas. From a March 2010 poll that covered the issue of legitimacy:

28% believe that Haniyeh’s government is the legitimate one and only 26% say that Abu Mazin’s and Fayyad’s government is the legitimate one, and 31% say both governments are illegitimate. Three months ago, 26% said Haniyeh’s government was the legitimate one and 30% said Fayyad’s government was the legitimate one. Moreover, 53% say PA president Abbas has lost his legitimacy when his term ended and 41% disagree with that. Similarly, 53% say the Palestinian Legislative Council has lost its legitimacy after its term ended and 39% disagree with that.

At the same time, Palestinians supported elections (something Abbas supported and Hamas opposed):

54% support and 41% oppose the holding of local elections in the West Bank next July even if reconciliation talks have not succeeded by then to unify the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Support for holding local elections is higher in the West Bank, reaching 60%, and lower in the Gaza Strip, standing at 46%.

Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (35), Publications, Palestinian Autonomous Territories, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

then it appears you have come to agree with me: abbas is not the legitimate representative to negotiate Palestinian interests

which then causes us to ponder why the hell abbas is sitting at the negotiation table
 

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then it appears you have come to agree with me: abbas is not the legitimate representative to negotiate Palestinian interests

which then causes us to ponder why the hell abbas is sitting at the negotiation table
Particularly as he is not interested in any sort of actual compromise. Kind of exactly like Hamas, other than the optics thing.
 

justabubba

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I don't suppose it would matter if the Palestinians viewed their legitimate leaders as a genocidal terrorist organization? We couldn't possibly "punish them for exercising democracy" just because they elected genocidal racist ideologues engaged in decades of terrorism, could we?

That would be ... what's the word ... treating them like ADULTS or without the colonial sense of supremacy that non-Europeans couldn't possibly be responsible for their own decisions and be responsible for the consequences.

This general infatuation with Hamas (I♥Hamas might as well be your sig) is, frankly, fairly appalling.
then your sig would have to be "i hate democracy", as you are opposed to the outcome of democratic elections

There are way too many westerrn "leftists" who are not even remotely concerned with achieving any sort of actual peace.
about the only folks i know who are opposed to peace are those reich wingers who embrace any act of perpetual war; which only serves to fill the coffers of the military industrial complex while draining our nation's wealth, and most importantly, deprives our young soldiers of their lives
those reich wingers should be made to learn the reality that when you want something really BAD, that is usually how you get it

While supporting Hamas is fully consistent with this anti-peace world-view, the incoherence of it all is a remarkable thing to observe.
it appears that you have never entertained the prospect that some of us value democracy - and that we recognize democratic outcomes as the will of the people being governed

But sure, ask the Palestinians who they think should lead them. hold elections. Allow anyone to run. But put them on notice that they will be held responsible - if they elect a genocidal terrorist organization, then they get nothing. No money, no support, no state.
tell us why those who engage in democracy are not entitled to self determination
you would have us believe that the price of democracy is the loss of statehood
you have an array of very queer notions

There are only so many times you can break your toy car before your parents stop buying you a new one.
and who would be the parents to the Palestinian children with the broken toys?
again, you make no sense
 

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then your sig would have to be "i hate democracy", as you are opposed to the outcome of democratic elections
oh no, I am totally cool with the Palestinians' democratic choice and their ability to choose whoever they want to lead them.

What I am not cool with is the perverse notion that I am to be indifferent of who they choose to lead them, and should not alter my behaviour towards them or my attitudes regarding what their intentions are based on who they elect.

Cause I have a right, indeed a duty, to exercise my own judgment and my own free will in dealing with others. And it makes absolutely no sense to me to pretend that a genocidal terrorist organization is, in fact, a start-up company looking to produce rainbows and sunshine out of human tears and MSG, or to provide billions of dollars in funding to a government run by a genocidal terrorist organization (<ahem>, sorry, run by a rainbow/sunshine producing start-up), or, frankly, to back independence for a people who elected a genocidal terrorist organization to advance their interests and be their face to the world.

Not sure why that is so hard to understand.

about the only folks i know who are opposed to peace are those reich wingers who embrace any act of perpetual war; which only serves to fill the coffers of the military industrial complex while draining our nation's wealth, and most importantly, deprives our young soldiers of their lives
well that's not true. The genocidal terrorists who have gone on the record before exploding themselves as undertaking their actions to "liberate historic Palestine" were certainly not interested in advancing the interests of the US military-industrial complex. But I guess you've just never really paid attention?

it appears that you have never entertained the prospect that some of us value democracy - and that we recognize democratic outcomes as the will of the people being governed
like I said, I'm perfectly happy to recognize it. And to behave accoridngly. You want the former, but not the latter. But I guess you have never entertained the notion that some of us value not being symapthizers or lending support to terrorist monsters and those who choose terrorist monsters to be their democratically elected leaders.

tell us why those who engage in democracy are not entitled to self determination
you would have us believe that the price of democracy is the loss of statehood
you have an array of very queer notions
yuo just don't understand them. The Palestinians are entitled to self-determination. However, the Israelis are entitled to security and not to be the target of Palestinian destructionist activities. Like all rights, these competing rights must be balanced. And if the Palestinians are prepared to behave themselves, then I see no reason why they should be denied that self determination, in a portion of Palestine that they can negotiate for, having regard only to the need to have a viable sovereign territory and reaching a realistic diplomatic solutuion. However, to the extent that the Palestinians say "hey, let's elect a bunch of terrorists running on aplatform of "liberating" Tel Aviv from the Zionists and aligning with Iran to amas weapons targeting Israeli civilians", then it becomes clear that they intend to use their "rights" to do something patently illegal and harmful to others.

which makes me re-evaluate both their readiness for independence, the propbability that any independence will result in any real success for Palestinians, and whether, in all honesty, I really give a **** about them at all, rather than, say, the hundreds of millions of people who are far worse off them them, equally denied rights, and get a fraction of the money and none of the concern afforded to them by those trying to help the Palestinians.

The price of democracy is not the loss of statehood. The price of choosing as elected leaders a genocidal terrorist organization that teaches children that they should dream of dying "liberating" Tel Aviv, continually engages in war crimes and crimes against humanity by targeting Israeli civilians for murder and dismemberment, and which has no real respect for the rule of law, on the other hand, IS the loss of statehood.
Or at least postponement until the society recognizes that there are negative consequences to being complete pricks.
and who would be the parents to the Palestinian children with the broken toys?
again, you make no sense
Make perfect sense. The parents are theo oens who give them their allowance and keep offering them a state on a shiny platter, only to watch them spend all them money on explosives and melt down the platter to make knives.
 
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donsutherland1

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then it appears you have come to agree with me: abbas is not the legitimate representative to negotiate Palestinian interests

which then causes us to ponder why the hell abbas is sitting at the negotiation table
I wouldn't put it in such terms. I would term him a flawed representative (as his public mandate is limited), but would note the circumstance that Hamas has blocked elections that would have reaffirmed his legitimacy or led to a new Palestinian government that enjoyed a public mandate so to speak. Considering that President Abbas is the Palestinian President, he should be at the negotiating table, especially as he wasn't the one who blocked elections. It should be noted that whether or not a leader is elected is not necessarily the sole basis by which it is determined whether he or she should be a negotiating party. There is ample precedent under which unelected leaders--heads of non-democratic states, kingdoms, etc.--have been parties to negotiations.
 

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Possible, not probable. Always there awaits the radicals in the shadows to remind people why hating is far more delicious. As long as outside Arabs and Persians (in which Arabs sucked in), who have nothing to do with nothing, seek to orchestrate religious hell on earth, Palestnians and Israelis will be locked in an eternal blood feud that transcends single generation.
 
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