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Are You Confused about the Cause of the Breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations?

by Rabbi John Rosove

May 7, 2014 | 8:33 am

With each passing day experts are telling us why the negotiations for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict broke down.

Some blame the Palestinians for deception, that Palestinian President Abbas never really wanted an agreement in the first place, that his history shows that he talks the talk until pushed to the limit, and then he flees.

Others blame Israel, that PM Netanyahu never really wanted an agreement in the first place, and that holding onto his right-wing government was more important to him than getting a peace deal. His unwillingness to stop construction of settlements in the West Bank is proof.

Others claim that Secretary Kerry never understood the Israeli and Palestinian psyches, that both sides still believe that all the land belongs to them, that the Palestinians don’t deserve a nation-state of their own because they are a recent invention, that the Palestinians believe that Israel is a European colonial invention and Israelis are thieves who’ve stolen Palestinian land.

There are those who believe that Bibi and Abu Mazen are mirror images of each other, that each believes that their side by right owns all the land between the river and the sea, but each man is also practical and recognizes that neither side can have it all.

If all this weren’t complicated enough, the unification plans including Hamas has led Abu Mazen to acknowledge the historicity of the Holocaust for the first time on Yom Hashoah and that the new Palestinian government will indeed recognize Israel, agree to non-violence, and recognize all past agreements with Israel. Hamas says that it agreed to no such thing and that Abbas is speaking only for himself.

Critics of Israel say that a lack of massive demonstrations for peace in Israel proves that Israelis really don’t care about solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict because living behind the security fence has created an atmosphere in which the status-quo is good enough. However, those same critics don’t really understand Israelis. In truth, Israelis are deeply nervous about the collapse of the “Arab Spring” into an “Arab winter,” the massive violence in Egypt and Syria and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Those critics of Israel also do not appreciate that 70% of Israelis accept the land for peace formula, but they don’t trust Abbas, and they certainly don’t trust Hamas.

Secretary Kerry calls this new period a “pause.” However, nothing ever stands still in the Middle East. Secretary Kerry should publicize his plan for an agreement and ask both sides to specifically respond publicly to these proposals. PM Netanyahu would do well to stop the building of all settlements for a period of time, and Abbas ought to insist that Hamas sign onto what he has stated the Palestinian government stands for vis a vis negotiations with Israel and peace.

Before throwing up our hands and giving up, we who love Israel need to remind ourselves that there is no solution except a two-states for two peoples agreement that ends all claims, because that is the only way Israel can remain a democracy, Jewish and secure. We need to remember, as well, that time is working against Israel.

Below are a series of articles that presents different views of what has occurred and of current thinking about the future.

Peres: Netanyahu torpedoed peace deal 3 years ago - In Channel 2 interview, president says he reached a comprehensive agreement in 2011 with Abbas which PM rejected - By Times of Israel staff and AFP May 6, 2014, 9:50 pm - http://www.timesofisrael.com/peres-netanyahu-torpedoed-peace-deal-3-years-ago/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Israel to U.S. and EU: Palestinians deceived Kerry - In letter, Israel's national security adviser urges U.S., EU to blame Palestinians for the failure of peace talks. By Barak Ravid - http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.589256

Inside the talks' failure: US officials open up - In an exclusive interview, American officials directly connected to the talks reveal the real reason for the collapse of the negotiations. By Nahum Barnea - http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4515821,00.html

Recognizing Israel a 'Red Line' for Hamas Says Abu Marzouk – by Adnan Abu Amer
Al-Monitor-US News - http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/05/06/recognizing-israel-a-red-line-for-hamas-says-abu-marzouk

United, the Palestinians have endorsed 1967 borders for peace. Will Israel? Haaretz By Munib al Masri - http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.589343

Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation Move Highlights Necessity of US LeadershipJ Street Blog -April 23rd, 2014 -http://jstreet.org/blog/post/fatahhamas-reconciliation-move-highlights-necessity-of-us-leadership_1

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Rabbi John L. Rosove assumed his duties as Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood in November 1988. A native of Los Angeles, he earned a BA in Art History from UC Berkeley...

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