Israel continues to bend over backwards for Palestinians by making concession after concession, and I've yet to see anything done by the Palestinians in return that could actually be construed as constructive and long lasting actions. The Israeli Cabinet approved PM Olmert's plan to release 441 more Palestinian thugs who belong to Fatah, with the usual caveat that they not have Israeli blood on their hands.
Olmert also said Israel would not build any new settlements in the West Bank, though he stopped short of promising a freeze on construction in existing settlements. The road map calls for a halt to all settlement activity.Of course, the Palestinians consider even this to be insufficient. Never mind that Fatah has not undertaken obligations under Oslo to eliminate inciteful statements in Palestinian textbooks and to work towards a two-state solution. Look at the maps that the Palestinians produce, and you'll see no sign of Israel - just a Palestinian state where Israel once existed.
A prison guard directs Palestinian prisoners before their identifications are checked prior to leaving Ketziot Prison in a previous prisoner release.
"Let's be straight, we committed ourselves in the road map not to build new settlements and we will not build any," Olmert was quoted as saying by his spokeswoman, Miri Eisin.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Olmert's gesture falls far short of Israel's commitments. He noted that a string of Israeli leaders have maintained that Israel should be allowed to build in existing settlements to account for "natural growth."
"He omitted from the Israeli obligation in the road map that the Israeli government must freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth," Erekat said. "Either it's a 100 percent settlement freeze or no settlement freeze. There is nothing in the middle."
Nothing has changed.
Not all in the Israeli government are happy with this turn of events, and the ongoing move to make concession after concession with nothing tangible in return. Yet, Olmert's government is moving forward along this tack:
During the cabinet meeting, Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer presented his diplomatic plan for the day after the Annapolis peace conference.For a change, someone is actually mentioning the Jewish refugees from throughout the Middle East who were expelled in retaliation for the establishment of the State of Israel.
Ben-Eliezer stated that "the border will be determined according to UN Resolutions 242 and 338 and (US President George W.) Bush's letter on border amendments and territory exchanges."
The minister stressed that "Jerusalem will be Israel's capital according to the principle of Jewish neighborhoods for the Jews and Arab neighborhoods to the Arabs. There will be no right of return for Palestinian refugees, but they will receive financial compensation through international efforts, as will Jews who left Arab countries. The safe crossing between the Judea and Samaria and Gaza will be under Israeli sovereignty."
Meanwhile, this is just sloppy reporting at the NY Times and/or Reuters. The headline reads that Israel is releasing 450 prisoners. Yet, the body of the report notes the same 441 prisoner release as Israeli papers state.
So, what kind of Palestinian state would the Palestinians create? Carl in Jerusalem gives some insight into the matter, and it's like peering into the heart of darkness. Palestinians have chosen guns over butter for so long that it is all that they have known and poverty is rampant despite the billions given to the Palestinians throughout the decades.
Once again, the Palestinians show their true intentions. Nine mortars fired at Israel's Erez Junction crossing area. They landed short and no injuries report. It's not for a lack of trying.
Labels: diplomacy, Fatah, Israel