When I saw the headline of Palestinian propagandist Daoud Kuttab's latest work, Palestinians and Arabs will not budge on Jerusalem, I thought maybe for once he was trying to report the facts, that Jerusalem was one of the many issues the poor suffering Palestinians refuse to compromise on. That is somewhat true, but he also disguises the demands of the Palestinians to make them seem less intransigent than they actually are.
Kuttab starts off with a quick recap of US officials coming to Israel to negotiate peace and failing, and predicting Kerry will do the same. Why? In Kuttab's opinion: "The contentious issues appear to concern Jerusalem and convincing Palestinians to recognise Israel as a Jewish state." Those are contentious issues, but at this point the main one is the so called "right of return," which is illegal under Palestinian law for the Palestinians to compromise on and in its current form would destroy Israel. Funny how Kuttab doesn't mention that. Then he slides in a quick lie about the Palestinian position:
"He [Abbas] made a statement to the effect that Palestinians will not accept any deal short of having East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine. Abbas also reiterated the Palestinian refusal of any recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. This consistent position was interpreted by Israelis as a rejection of the Kerry initiative."But then Kuttab writes further down:
"Speaking to a group of representatives from East Jerusalem, Abbas said, referring to the US diplomat: "He will hear from the Arab ministers that without Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, there will be no agreement.""So which is it, Mr. Kuttab? Will the Palestinians not accept any deal short of east Jerusalem, or Jerusalem in general? It sounds like they want all of Jerusalem. So why did you say east Jerusalem above?
Let's get some original reporting on how the talks are going:
"Leaks coming out of the ongoing marathon talks between Kerry and Abbas focus on two obstacles: Israel's insistence that Palestinians recognise Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and the fact that the current round of talks aimed at reaching a framework does not include any mention of Jerusalem.The Palestinians' rejection of both these conditions, as evident in Abbas' statement, has left some to conclude that Kerry's mission is futile."Finally Kuttab admits the Palestinian side is the one holding up negotiations. I hope Palestinian supporters reading this will keep these rejections in mind the next time they want to scream about "genocide" and "apartheid."
So where do we go from here in terms of peace negotiations, Mr. Kuttab?
"While the April 2014 deadline for the talks to conclude is fast approaching, Kerry will certainly continue pushing for a framework agreement that would allow for an extension of the negotiations.The Palestinians, however, are determined to go to the International Court of Justice and other international agencies to address the decades old illegal Israeli occupation.When it comes to the sensitive issue of Jerusalem and recognising Israel as a Jewish state, Arab leaders have proved, over and over, that they will not budge under American pressure, and Abbas knows this well."Ah, you predict the Palestinians will once again walk away from negotiations and refuse to compromise. I agree with you! Isn't it nice when we agree on something?
By the way, good luck with the ICJ and making the occupation declared "illegal." Even if there was something in international law that could make an occupation "illegal," the ICJ has no jurisdiction over Israel. The Palestinians can go there, spend 3, 5, 10 years maybe possibly getting something done, and odds are good absolutely nothing will come of it. Wouldn't it just be better to compromise now and save us all some time, especially when your people are allegedly suffering so much?