White House Signals Indefinite Pause in Mideast Talks


"The White House signaled an indefinite pause in Middle East peace talks Friday, and President Barack Obama is reconsidering how much political capital he will continue to spend on the issue, given that the U.S. faces "a range of challenges" elsewhere, spokesman Josh Earnest said. Mr. Obama will discuss next steps in the process when Secretary of State John Kerry returns to Washington from a trip abroad during which he was forced to cancel a stop in the Middle East. "There's no doubt that we have reached a point where the Palestinian leaders and the Israeli leaders need to spend some time thinking about making some very difficult decisions," Mr. Earnest said."  WSJ


It has been obvious from the beginning of his effort in brokering peace in the Holy Land, that Kerry would fail.  He likes to deliver hortatory pep talks to his staff encouraging them to ignore the lack of potential in the course he has followed in the "process."  Now, he will reap a whirlwind of scorn for his naivete. 

He could not reach a compromise between the two paties because neither wants a compromise.  In spite of their prevarication and deceptiveness both sides see the Palestine/Israel dispute as a zero sum game in which there can be no win-win outcome.

One can only hope that Obama now sees the foolishness in allowing advocates for the "process" and the two sides to determine his policy.  pl  


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25 Responses to White House Signals Indefinite Pause in Mideast Talks

  1. Matthew says:

    Mr. President: You are always lecturing the Russians about international law. Let’s apply it to the I-P conflict.

  2. Mark Logan says:

    Looks like the “Pollard!” cry has become the standard way they tell US Presidents and whatnot to buzz off. Obvious non sequitur that gives the press something to talk about other than the settlements.

  3. Peter Brownlee says:

    There is (and has, I think, always been) no prospect of a “two state solution”. Israel will be a democracy or a Jewish state; it cannot be both.

  4. steve g says:

    Let us begin by reviewing Res 242
    on the latest Sixty Minutes segment.
    In my dreams?

  5. walrus says:

    …..and Pollard stays in jail where he belongs.

  6. Fred says:

    If the NED crew were sent to the occupied territories they could create just the kind of democracy the Zionists need in Palestine.

  7. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The thing is, Arabs did not respect the International Law either; Arabs wanted to throw the Jews into the Sea.
    It is just a mess.

  8. crf says:

    I’m going to make a report card for the indispensable nation:
    1) Israel-Palestine peace process not advanced.
    2) Egypt a mess.
    3) Libya a mess.
    4) Syria a mess.
    5) South Sudan a mess (shepherded into being by the US).
    6) Russia/US relations a massive mess: Heedlessly bringing up the risk of a nuclear/conventional war (not all Obama’s fault: it’s an all around tragedy).
    7) Europe is a political and economic mess, especially the south: much of it is Europe’s own doing, but the U.S. is showing no interest or leadership despite its importance for world peace.
    8) No progress on climate change: will become a massive problem.
    9) Little progress on Nuclear energy/renewable energy. No US leadership.
    10) Poor worldwide growth. No US leadership on world economy.
    11) Poor US economy. No growth. Inequality increasing. Extremism may grow out of poverty and frustration.
    12) Inequality all over the western world increasing.
    13) Extremist parties in many developed countries gaining political currency. Tribalism and racialism increasing.
    14) No multilateral talks led by the US on any substantive issue.
    15) Poor financing and too little technological or infrastructure investment for the developing world.
    16) Little help from the US for relatively stable countries to avoid falling. Example: South Africa, Mexico, Argentina.
    17) Malaysia and Burma doing ok.
    18) China doing ok. Taiwan issue not better or worse.
    19) Japan and Korea doing ok. Biggest bright spot in the world.
    20) Domestically, the US university and national lab systems is in stable to poor condition, not yet destroyed by the western budgetary lysenkoism. It still retains the knowledge to solve many of the world’s biggest technical problems should the US get serious about them.
    Were I to tally up a score, I’d give 2.5/20 .
    So, overall, the indispensable one has had a very rough time.
    This isn’t all Obama’s fault. No congressional help. No help from allies. No help from Europe. China is not yet taking leadership positions, but may be thrust into the spotlight before it’s comfortable.

  9. Imagine says:

    Israel, like the abomination that is Gitmo, is Someone Else’s Problem. The President, and State, are always too busy putting out urgent fires closer to home in order to resolve the long-term crisis having importance. Israel has no outside forces/reason to disturb the status quo, which is more and more settlements. The amoeba digests what’s left of its vacuoles (see map of West Bank). As long as Israel does not start a hot war, and does not actively threaten or blackmail Washington with its nukes, Washington has no concrete impetus to change the status quo. So the frog boils.
    What’s needed is a paradigm shift. On the emotional side, when there is enough screaming and enough drama, attention can shift in this direction and priorities can get re-evaluated. On the rational side, can someone in accounting please the heck do an analysis of how much it is costing America to pull nepotism, blatantly flaunt the rule of law, and spoil its 50-yr-old teenage scion rotten? Every year we put up with Gitmo, and with Israel, we lose the respect of the rest of the world. How many billions of dollars in forced spending, and opportunity costs, does this come to?

  10. Bandolero says:

    As you may be aware I’m no big fan of John Kerry. However, regarding this round of I/P peace talks, I’m off the opinion he did it quite well.
    I think the result off these peace talks will be that the two state solution will be officially declared dead. And the assigned blame this time will not fall simply on Palestinians or pro-Palestinaian mediators, but the Israeli government will get it’s share of blame.
    This result will be a new epoche and encourage the BDS, and the struggle for one land between the river and the sea, where all people have the same rights. I’m convinced, that, after a while, this struggle will be successful, like the struggle for equal rights in South Africa was successful.
    So, in my opinion, the failed negotiation will lead to a new epoche, and Kerry did a fine job carrying us into it.

  11. JohnH says:

    “President Barack Obama is reconsidering how much political capital he will continue to spend on the issue.”
    What a joke! How much political capital did he invest in the first place? My guess: not much. Cajoling and begging don’t count as investing political capital. And it’s obvious that BO never seriously considered applying pressure in a way that might make Bibi take him seriously.
    BO leads prides himself in leading from behind, which precludes standing tall and inconveniencing anyone with a modicum of power. Everybody knew this before this ridiculous charade ever started.

  12. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Honestly, why do we bother getting involved with any of these?
    Yes, I do realize that, theoretically, there is a big potential diplomatic benefit to be had in being a (credible) Middle Eastern peacemaker.
    The problem is that, for past 20 years at least, we have been publicly humiliating ourselves, looking like a wholly owned whore to Israel, destroying whatever credibility we had. The more we go on with this nonsense, the more credibility we are losing. The sooner we quit this charade for good, the better it will be for us.

  13. MartinJ says:

    Israel believes it does not need to compromise with the Palestinians. The wall has utterly separated their society from the “problem” that is Palestine. They are dominant over their neighbours in Jordan and Egypt and are busying themselves with regime change in Syria and Iran. They have peace because no one can make war against them. Why should they compromise then?
    Palestinians are despondent and know that armed struggle isn’t going to get them anywhere. The deal is lousy: Fatah gets to be Israel’s policeman in the West Bank and in return they get to suck on the teat of the international donor community. Meanwhile they lose more land everyday to settlements but can say nothing. It is not that their demands are impossible or they do not desire to reach an agreement with Israel it is simply that they have nothing to negotiate with. There is nothing more to give up that Israelis don’t take anyway.
    All that Mahmoud Abbas can do is ensure that he, as leader, doesn’t give away anything else in an enforced legal “peace” agreement that favours only the occupier. In two or three years he will be replaced or die. Obama and the Israelis have groomed Muhammad Dahlan for the role.

  14. jon says:

    This was round eleventy seven of the ‘peace process’. It was never going to go anywhere. But Obama had to make some effort at it, rather than none. This dance is done, for now.
    But Obama has also managed not to free Pollard, Bomb Iran, or to Bomb Syria. And he’s getting chemical weapons out of Syria. He could be doing a whole lot more, without a doubt. But he could also be doing a whole lot less, or a whole lot worse.
    It would be nice if all of this posturing and shuffling over the peace process was actually generating some tangible benefit for the Palestinians, and bringing forward the resolution of the conflict.

  15. Charles 1 says:

    well there’s intent and there’s capacity

  16. Charles 1 says:

    So its off to Iran next?

  17. crf says:

    What are the odds of Russia recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the near future?
    I’m guessing it is higher than one might suppose from its past positions. (But it is likely to not change its support for a two state solution.)

  18. Tunde says:

    “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process,” Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Haaretz.
    “And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”
    “The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,” he said. “It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.”
    Asked why the disengagement plan had been hatched, Weisglass replied: “Because in the fall of 2003 we understood that everything was stuck. And although by the way the Americans read the situation, the blame fell on the Palestinians, not on us, Arik [Sharon] grasped that this state of affairs could not last, that they wouldn’t leave us alone, wouldn’t get off our case. Time was not on our side. There was international erosion, internal erosion. Domestically, in the meantime, everything was collapsing. The economy was stagnant, and the Geneva Initiative had gained broad support. And then we were hit with the letters of officers and letters of pilots and letters of commandos [refusing to serve in the territories]. These were not weird kids with green ponytails and a ring in their nose with a strong odor of grass. These were people like Spector’s group [Yiftah Spector, a renowned Air Force pilot who signed the pilot’s letter]. Really our finest young people.”
    Weisglass does not deny that the main achievement of the Gaza plan is the freezing of the peace process in a “legitimate manner.”
    “That is exactly what happened,” he said. “You know, the term `peace process’ is a bundle of concepts and commitments. The peace process is the establishment of a Palestinian state with all the security risks that entails. The peace process is the evacuation of settlements, it’s the return of refugees, it’s the partition of Jerusalem. And all that has now been frozen…. what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns. That is the significance of what we did.”
    Dov Weisglass 2004. Perhaps US frustration with the exercise was the concurrent plan, effectively sealing the fate of the ‘peace process’ for as long as the US can maintain its global preeminence and accept to defend Israel at all costs.

  19. dan bradburd says:

    I agree completely with your assessment. What chance that Obama is playing a very deep game with the AIPAC etc, by providing them opportunities to expose themselves?

  20. different clue says:

    I can’t imagine Russia recognizing anything more than West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and not until Israel recognizes East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital. And maybe not even then. Putin (and any successor he would have any influence on) value stability and recognizing any part of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would be destabilizing under present conditions.

  21. jerseycityjoan says:

    So this is our assignment: The World?
    Here’s the thing. That’s how a lot of people look at the US. But that is giving us responsibility without authority and with insufficient resources.
    Is the real problem us or the assignment?

  22. jerseycityjoan says:

    Reading this made me wonder: Well if we weren’t wasting our time on this, what else would we be doing for Israel instead?
    Doesn’t Israel expect continuous engagement on something from us? Don’t many of Israel’s US supporters also expect the same?
    Think about it.
    What would the alternative activity(ies) be?

  23. Fred says:

    “And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem.”
    That’s rich, Palestine needs permission from Israel to exist. At least that gets the facts out in the open for the American public to understand just where rights of Palestinians come from.

  24. jon says:

    Simultaneously with Kerry’s pullback, the US announced that it will permit Boeing to sell repair parts to Iran. This may be the first publicly announced resupply since 1976. I think the last US sanctioned shipment was in that glorious moment when Reagan thought he’d found a soulmate in Khomenei If that isn’t a message to Israel, I don’t know what is.
    Obama’s public response to call for Pollard’s release, was that Pollard had the right to parole review, just like every other prisoner. He also mentioned the serious nature of the conviction. That is not a coded message to start planning the welcome home celebration.

  25. Medicine Man says:

    I wonder if this latest round of negotiations was simply all for show and Kerry was just used as a patsy?

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