Op-Ed: The Timetable for Negotiations is Critical
Since, as most predict, Arab-Israeli negotiations will fail, why try again now? Overlooked is the timetable: nine months, or more. This means stretching the process until mid-term elections in the US, in 2014, which set the stage for the presidential election in 2016.
The timing of negotiations, therefore, has nothing to do with achieving a durable peace, but pressuring Israel to freeze new building projects in Judea and Samaria, release more terrorists, and make more concessions. The illusion will work as long as the peace merry-go-round revolves. When it stops, Americans will be swamped by local and national politics.
Meanwhile, the Arab terrorists Israel releases will be back at their deadly work, their children and grandchildren will still be in training, and there will be more demands to continue talking.
The purpose of Arab-Israeli negotiations is to make it seem that progress is being made towards a resolution of the conflict. This illusion distracts from the real world in which every Arab Muslim country in the region is engaged in civil/religious wars.
The negotiations generate enormous media coverage, with President Obama photographed at the table and looking serious. “Only Obama (and the Dems) can bring peace” will be the new mantra and Israeli politicians like President Shimon Peres will give their blessing.
Israel can and will be blamed for lack of progress – e.g. not expelling Jews from Judea and Samaria, “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” “Occupied Jerusalem” and the “Occupied Golan Heights (Syria).”
The PA leadership will garner more support for their efforts to gain UN recognition and statehood. Israel will be forced to continue to give PA residents electricity and water without payment. Massive funding of PA projects by the US, UN and EU will continue, with Israeli support.
The elephant in the room is Iran’s race for nuclear weapons. As long as Arab-Israeli negotiations continue, the US and Israel can/will claim that bombing Iran will derail the “peace talks,” and, therefore, will do nothing to stop Iran.
When the Arabs walk away, they will claim abuse and humiliation at the hands of Jews, Israel and America. Kerry will wag his finger; Obama will display disappointment -- at Israel. Demonstrations will take place around the world demanding “Justice for the Palestinians” as the next stage in terrorism against Israel and the world ensues.
It takes nine months of gestation to create life; in this case, however, the opposite seems more likely.
The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist living in Jerusalem