Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Terror attack impacts the talks - Giving Netanyahu no room for compromises unless all security demands are met

(Gill hoffman -Jpost).....It is not the first time a terrorist attack took place while a prime minister was abroad, and it undoubtedly will not be the last. Former prime minister Ariel Sharon dealt with attacks almost every time he went abroad. When a suicide bomber blew himself up at Jerusalem's Cafe Hillel in September 2003, he cut short his trip to India and came home, but in other instances, he didn't.

The attackers intentions were to kill Jews and send a message to Abbas that he should not be negotiating with Israel. But they also tied Netanyahu's hands.

If Netanyahu was considering compromising regarding the construction moratorium in Judea and Samaria when it ends on September 26, now he has no choice but to restart building. Otherwise he would lose his security credentials in addition to his credibility, which are two essential assets for any politician.

Netanyahu's credibility was already being tested before the attack. The settlers ?we are building on your word? campaign was intended to emphasize that the prime minister's integrity was at stake.

Jewish week reports: “The terror attack is exactly what we feared most,” Peled told about 200 journalists in a conference call arranged by the Israel Project, a non-profit group devoted to educating the press about Israel. “In the absence of talks, all the extremist elements spare no effort to undermine efforts for reconciliation.”

Peled said the attack “impacts but shouldn’t derail the talks.”

“This terrible attack is a clear sign that it is imperative to make sure that unless Israel’s security is addressed, it is going to be difficult to have a [Palestinian] state” in the West Bank, he said.

“The timing of this [attack] is deliberate – to try to derail the Palestinians and all those who seek peace in the region from coming and making peace with Israel.”

Peled stressed that Israel was coming to the peace talks “with no preconditions” but that it needed agreement on three key issues. He said that just as Israel is prepared to recognize a Palestinian people and a Palestinian state, so must the Palestinians “recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish people.” It must, he said, “accept Israel as a fact on the ground and not something that should be addressed” in the future.

He said an agreement must also signal a “final end to the conflict – an end to all claims on Israel.”

And Peled said it must also resolve all issues of Israeli security and settlements.

“We need to be assured that the West Bank will not become a repetition of what happened in Lebanon and Gaza after Israel withdrew from those areas,” he said, alluding to their use as terrorist base camps.

“The greater we feel that our security is being addressed, the greater we can deal with borders and settlements,” Peled said. “This is a moment of opportunity and a reason for some kind of optimism. … [President Barack] Obama is committed to the peace process and the Israeli government is stable and strong. We believe this is conducive to reaching an agreement between the two sides. There is no reason why the two leaders cannot achieve it.”