Tuesday, September 22, 2009
AAAUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHH. Here we go again.
The serious hype of the “tripartite” meeting headlines news reports this morning.
In spite of terrorist Abu Mazen’s (dolled up in his bespoke suit, he calls himself Mahmoud Abbas) much-repeated statement that he will not meet with Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu until there’s a total freeze in construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, he finally agreed to meet, so long as his lackey, the Community Organizer, was there to help.
The three – Bibi, Abu Mazen and the Community Organizer – met in Washington’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, accompanied by their various ‘seconds’: Missus Bubba, carrying the Community Organizer’s pistols. Bibi backed up by thank-goodness-for-loose-canons Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and by Israel’s own Pillsbury Dough Boy, Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Abu Mazen -- in addition to having the Community Organizer on his side -- was also accompanied by PA negotiator Saeb Erekat a man MK Benny Begin describes as a "wild beast of a man" – using the term from Genesis to describe Ishmael, the forerunner of the Arabs.
What a motley crew that was. I hope Bibi kept his back to the wall.
Israel’s leftist news media is proclaiming a sort-of victory for Bibi, based on the time he personally was able to bask in the presence of The One -- 40 minutes, for the tete-a-tete, from which Bibi emerged “acting like a scolded American clerk” said MK Michael Ben-Ari . Still, Bibi got 40 minutes of face time with The One, whereas the three-party meeting took only 15 minutes, hardly long enough for a grip and grin.
But now, listening to The Big Three tell us what took place in that meeting makes me wonder if they were in the same room.
Bibi reported, "There was general agreement, including on the part of the Palestinians, that the peace process has to be resumed as soon as possible with no preconditions."
The Community Organizer’s version was that both Bibi and Abu Mazen had “vowed” – get that! – “to move ahead with the diplomatic process” seeming to indicate, some dreamers believe, to be backing down from his previous calls for a total settlement freeze.
I doubt very much that Bibi “vowed” to do any such thing – we tend to take “vows” very seriously in these parts. But its Abu Mazen’s version that’s interesting.
In his statement released after the meeting, Abu Mazen said, "We also demanded that the Israeli side fulfill its commitments on settlements, including on natural growth.” Talks would only be renewed, he said, "based on our stated position" -- that is, the PA's insistence that Israel withdraw to the 1949 armistice line, also known as the Green Line, or the pre-1967 border.
So there you have it: three different versions. Talks will begin with no preconditions; everyone “vowed” to move ahead with the talks; and finally, that talks would only be renewed if Israel agreed to withdraw to the ‘Auschwitz borders’, the 1967 “green line” – which is a heck of a lot different, by the way, than just talking about halting construction in the “settlements”.
So once again, we leave it to thank-goodness-for-loose-canons Avigdor Lieberman to tell us what really happened:
Lieberman pointed out that what the Arabs say and what they do are two entirely different things. In fact, he said, "The other side is demanding all sorts of steps in Judea and Samaria." Israel "has been ready from day one to sit down and immediately talk with all the sides and all the neighbors, without preconditions."
Not so, the Arabs. They demand everything they want, upfront, as a precondition to negotiations.
Imagine going in to buy a new car and telling the dealer, “I’m open to negotiating the price of this car, but not until you agree to sell it to me for $30,000, provide a ten-year guarantee on all parts and service, throw in emergency road service, bi-monthly tune-ups, free tires every 60,000 miles, upgraded leather seats, CD and DVD player, and a new motorcycle for my kid.” See how far that gets you, in the real world.
It’s totally frustrating. Why do we bother with these silly meetings? It’s totally pointless.
And here’s the real kicker: for every one of these so-called agreements, or “accords”, or even “road maps”, what happens is that Israel, in good faith, agrees to this that and the other thing. But the Arabs refuse to agree to anything – sometimes they walk out, sometimes they appear to agree, but then just do what they want to do anyway.
But then, the world holds Israel responsible for doing everything the agreement required, anyway. The Arabs walked out, didn’t sign, refused to agree, did nothing, took none of the steps required of them, such as stopping terrorism and incitement. But still, Israel is held accountable by the world community for fully performing our side of the agreement.
We ought to just stay home. At one point, Bibi said something very profound: Until the Arabs agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, there’s no point in trying to negotiate anything.
That was absolutely correct. If they continue to refuse to recognize our legitimacy as a nation, what’s the point of talking?