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Entries in Ehud Olmert (4)


Today on EA (25 January 2010)

Iran: Rumours and intrigue continued overnight - the Regime's propaganda machine has been working overtime it seems - including an offensive racial slur against Obama. And Mehdi Karroubi's party issued a clear signal yesterday that the  fight goes on.

We have our morning report on the live weblog, which appeared initially to quote Karroubi's son Hossein endorsing Ahmadinejad as Iran's President ,and then our afternoon snap analysis reconsidering the manoeuvres. But all of this is superseded tonight by an EA special analysis: we think Karroubi has chosen to take on "Mr Khameini" and Ahmadinejad, "the head of the government of the regime".

USA: EA Correspondent John Matlin gives a tongue in cheek analysis, explaining US politics and Obama's downfall to   Marty the Martian.

Israel: Following yet more reports about Hezbullah's long-range missile plans in Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley, Israel's Yossi Peled has said another war with the terrorist group was inevitable.

On the Palestinian issue, Israel's Udi Dekel, who headed the negotiating team during the Ehud Olmert Government, has said he doesn't believe there is any possibility of an agreement with the Palestinians on all the issues: "especially on the problematic core issues".

However, on a much more positive note, speaking in Tel Aviv on Sunday morning, after meetings held between Israeli and American representatives on Saturday night, PM Netanyahu said “new and interesting ideas" were raised for the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians. However, he offered no details.


Israel-Palestine: Former Israeli Head of Negotiations "No Agreement in Foreseeable Future"

Udi Dekel, who headed Israel's negotiating team during the Ehud Olmert Government, has declared, "I do not believe that in the foreseeable future there is a possibility of an agreement with the Palestinians on all the issues, especially on the problematic core issues."

According to Dekel, the main mistake of the Olmert Government, which was in power from May 2006 to March 2009, was the inability to implement any point agreed upon during negotiations:
The biggest mistake was that everything was based on the premise that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. We thought at the time that this could provide the necessary flexibility in the negotiations, but in practice, every time someone showed flexibility, the other side tried to pin him down. Therefore, I suggest that the model be changed and that whatever is agreed is implemented.

UPDATED Israel-Palestine: George Mitchell’s “Fail, Fail, Fail” Middle East Tour?

Dekel added that because "the Palestinians understood that the Americans were closer to their position on the issues of Jerusalem, the borders and security, [they] opted to wait it out", and discussions were stalemated:

The Palestinian approach was in principle the demand of 100 percent of their rights from 1967. The practical aspect interested them less. They are not willing to discuss any further compromise. We tried to build scenarios, some of them were imaginary, about specific compromises, but we found the Palestinians taking an approach of 'all or nothing.

Dekel now proposes adoption of a plan, floated by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, under which the focus would be the swift establishment of a Palestinian state, with borders and security the first issues to be negotiated:
The rest (of the issues) would be discussed in parallel but the establishment of a state would not be conditional on an overall agreement. The two sides are not ready for this at the moment and we should not believe that there is a way to get the sides to understand that this is the only relevant solution in this time frame.

Israel-Palestine: Gideon Levy "The Time for Words is Over"

gideon-levyHaaretz's Gideon Levy has written another powerful article on the peace process between Israel and Palestine,  criticising the Israeli government for talking and talking but taking no action:

Well, here we are. A new year begins at midnight, and for the Middle East, 2010 will be a year of negotiations. Peace envoys are warming up at the starting line, document writers are polishing draft agreements for the envoys, advisers are coming up with their own phraseology, pundits are piling up verbiage, photographers are aiming their cameras, and diplomats are packing their bags and sharpening their tongues. George Mitchell will be here soon, Benjamin Netanyahu has already been to Cairo, Mahmoud Abbas is on his way. In the end there will be a summit. In Washington they'll be elated, in Europe they'll be exhilarated, the settlers will fulminate and the leftists will somnambulate. Yet another scene in the theater of the absurd, another act in the endless grotesque burlesque. Here we are again: The season of negotiations is upon us, negotiations that amount to nothing.

Already the archives are bursting at the seams with plans and initiatives, outlines and parameters, all already thick with dust. Never before has there been so dangerous and so protracted a conflict with so many wars and so many peace plans. From the first Rogers Plan [named after the US Secretary of State William Rogers] of December 1969 to the second and third Rogers plans and up to the present, it's been a horrifyingly dreary tale of sterile diplomacy, a 40-year journey to nowhere.

Everything has already been written and all the plans are amazingly similar, which isn't surprising. If you want peace, just go to one of the drawers and randomly pluck out any of the plans, it really doesn't matter which, and start implementing it. And if you want a "peace process," you're invited to join the coming festivities, including the killer hangover.

One could, for example, pull the original Rogers Plan out of the mothballs. William Rogers himself has been dead for years, but everything is right there in his plan: withdrawal to the 1967 borders, recognition, sovereignty, peace. It was Israel that rejected it. Forty years on, and we are wallowing in the exact same spot. You want to be a little more up-to-date? Take Bill Clinton's plan - everything's there too. So why start off yet again on another campaign of tortuous language? Why do all the Uzi Arads [National Security Advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu] and George Mitchells have to wear themselves out?

Benjamin Netanyahu has already undergone his "historic turnabout," he's reportedly ready to discuss, certainly discuss, the '67 borders, with territory swaps and security arrangements. Even the timetable has already been set - two years, of course it's two years, it's always two years, two years more. At the end, Israel's ultimate triumph will be declared: There's no partner. Again we'll hear that the Palestinian president is "a chicken with no feathers" or that the Palestinian leaders are "a gang of terrorists," and again we'll hear that there's no one to talk to.

There is no Palestinian partner, because there is no Israeli partner who is ready to take action. The day that Israel starts acting, together with the Palestinians, the partner will be there. Even Nelson Mandela wasn't the Mandela we know until he was freed from prison and South Africa was placed in his hands. He too refused to give up armed resistance for decades, but when he was given a true opportunity, he followed a path of peace. The key was in the hands of F.W. de Clerk, not those of Mandela. Israel, too, has that key. Now that it is no longer possible to halt everything because of terrorism, since there is almost none, Israel has lost one of its best weapons. When there is terrorism, one cannot act, and when there is no terrorism, there's no reason to act. But don't worry, it will be back, if nothing happens. The experience of the disengagement won't help either, because the continued imprisonment of the Gazans means that nothing has changed in their lives.

The last person to touch the dream was Ehud Olmert. Countless "excellent" meetings with Abbas, photo ops and bold speeches in abundance. Almost courage, nearly accord, a "shelf agreement" any minute now. Meanwhile, at the edge of the shelf are two lost wars and more settlement construction. All the fine words were rendered worthless by the action on the ground. Because this is the supreme test: It doesn't matter what the Israelis say, it matters what they do.

The time for words is over. Stop negotiating, start doing. Lifting the blockade on Gaza and declaring a perpetual freeze on building in the settlements would do more than a thousand formulations. Someone who wants two states doesn't build even one more balcony. This is the litmus test of Israel's true intentions. Without taking these steps, everything else is a waste of time, the time of the negotiators and of all of us. Does Netanyahu mean to take any of these steps? That is very doubtful, troublingly so.

Middle East Inside Line: Israel & US Spar Over Settlements

Nir_BarkatFollowing the Israeli Government's decision to build 700 more apartments in East Jerusalem, the White House press secretary Robert Gibbs expressed Washington's concern over the future of the peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel:
Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally pre-empt, or appear to pre-empt, negotiations. Rather, both parties should return to negotiations without preconditions as soon as possible.

We believe that through good faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem, and safeguards its status for people around the world.

Jerusalem Mayor and businessman Nir Barkat maintained, however, that criticism from the United States would not have any impact on construction in the city. He added that the demand, applied only to Jews, to halt construction in Jerusalem would not be legal anywhere in the world.

Palestine: Protesters Meet at Gaza’s Border