Global, Israel, Politics

Now the REAL Annapolis news: Full negotiations are on!

Thanks for that, BZ. And now the real Annapolis news:
Negotiations are agreed! And, the greatest accomplishment of all: all topics will be covered, saving nothing for second-stage final status talks in an indefinite future (the real failing of Camp David, Oslo, etc.), including right of return, final borders, and a comprehensive settlement with other Arab countries like Syria. The deadline? The end of 2008 (read: the end of Bush’s presidency). From JTA:

In the joint statement, announced by Bush prior to the speeches by Olmert and Abbas, the two sides announced, “In furtherance of the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, we agree to immediately launch good-faith, bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues, without exception, as specified in previous agreements.”

But here’s the biggest, most unexpected news to emerge from the Israeli side:

“For dozens of years, many Palestinians have been living in camps, disconnected from the environment in which they grew, wallowing in poverty, neglect, alienation, bitterness, and a deep, unrelenting sense of deprivation,” [Israeli Prime Minister Olmert] said. “I know that this deprivation is one of the deepest foundations which fomented the ethos of hatred towards us. We are not indifferent to this suffering. We are not oblivious to the tragedies you have experienced.”

THANK YOU. We have been saying this for years, a truth that is dubious from afar surely but painfully obvious for anyone who has spent time in the territories. Fermentation of radical, violent ideals has pickled among Palestinians for 40 years — and more, but the pressure cooker has certainly been 40 years of occupation. It is a deep, deep reward to hear the words come from the Israeli Prime Minister, a concession that by it’s own right changes the very terms of debate between right and left and Israeli and Palestinian.
Palestine and Israel both agreed to fulfill their obligations to the Road Map (old news) but agreed that “the United States will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitment of both sides of the road map,” which is a significant escalation on the part of the United States. Is this to thanks from the constant progressive pro-peace pressure the past few months? Only some hindsight will tell, which I promise to report here, as the pro-Israel, pro-peace left assesses what we learned from our work recently.
What’s next? Lots more hard work in the States to ensure that the U.S. is an equal arbiter between the two, and political will in Israel and Palestine to actually make this happen. [Post-note: The first meeting of the negotiations steering committee will take place Dec 12th.] Do note that the punditry will now begin, with those who desire to stillborn any concessions by claiming that Annapolis is already a failure, that negotiations will fail later, or that the other side isn’t worthy of discussion. But the very simple act of agreeing to discuss after SEVEN YEARS of stagnation, is a huge, huge step forward out of the balagan.
Mazel tov, everyone. There is hope after all.

7 thoughts on “Now the REAL Annapolis news: Full negotiations are on!

  1. The Palestinian’s suffering is obvious, and it’s good to see Olmert speak to it. However, I blame the generations of failed, corrupt, and self-serving Palestinian leadership before I blame Israel. I’d also like to see the Arab world acknowledge their role in Palestinian suffering in the numerous camps outside of the territories. Israel is certainly not perfect, but I am sick and tired of the Arab world and slogan liberals screaming about a delusional view of reality in which the side without high tech weapons is automatically the victim.

  2. Regarding solutions, Israel can only do so much. The Palestinians and their fellow Arabs need to step up to the plate and create a viable infrastructure and social programs besides those of hamas and other terrorist groups.

  3. Lots of conciliatory language from Olmert which was definitely welcome. It would have been nice to hear some bridge-building language from the Palestinian side though…..

  4. “However, I blame the generations of failed, corrupt, and self-serving Palestinian leadership before I blame Israel.”
    My philosophy on conflict is that it takes two to tango. We cannot say that one side is worse than another because both sides have done wrong. In the true process of making lasting peace, the blame game is counter productive and risks shattering the fragile process.
    I am thankful that Israel and Palestine are taking the right step and I pray that rather than blame each other, they work together to create a better society.

  5. Am I pleased to see final negotiations announced? Absolutely. Do I believe that it will lead to a lasting peace? That remains to be seen.
    In the interim, I grow increasingly tired of the stale rhetoric and sheer condescenion of the left and ‘progressives’ and find that, whilst they seem to truly believe that they are being helpful, they are anything but.
    I fully recognise any Palestinian (indeed, any human being for that matter) as my brother (and/or sister if you prefer) but do we really think it is helpful to ‘thank’ Olmert for saying what ‘we have been saying for years’?
    Suffering is regrettably a universal human experience and not the sole domain of Israelis or Palestinians. I will rejoice and throw both hands in the air when Olmert, Abbas, Hamas, Hizbollah, et al all lament the suffering that they have caused one another specifically and mankind more generally.
    I will never be drawn into believing of a moral equivalence between terrorists branded freedom fighers by the ‘progressive’ left and Israelis defending themselves. Equally, however, I fully recognise that this defence often causes suffering and hardship to innocents.
    But please let’s grow up and be supportive of both sides and stop beating up the Israeli leadership for supposed failings.
    As they say where I come from, ‘it isn’t big and it isn’t clever’.

  6. “Am I pleased to see final negotiations announced? Absolutely. Do I believe that it will lead to a lasting peace? That remains to be seen.”
    If you maintain the focus of lasting peace with a full willingness to walk the road then it most certainly will lead to a lasting peace. As have Oslo and Camp David been steps along a path to where we are steps on the road to lasting peace. Can you see this lasting peace?
    “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” – Arundhati Roy
    “Suffering is regrettably a universal human experience and not the sole domain of Israelis or Palestinians. I will rejoice and throw both hands in the air when Olmert, Abbas, Hamas, Hizbollah, et al all lament the suffering that they have caused one another specifically and mankind more generally.” – Thank you for this image. It really captures lasting peace, for would not lasting peace be at hand if we all lament? Indeed much cause for rejoicing

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