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20 August 2010


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I think this whole "peace process" is becoming ever more farcical. Nothing has significantly changed over the last 19 months. If anything the situation is getting worse on the ground.
So I don't see why anyone should think that some kind of progress will come out of these talks.
Moreover, if these talks actually take place and the US is seen as not willing (or not able) to put serious pressure on the israelis, the pendulum will move towards the radicals.

Cloned Poster

Israeli's go through the motions so well.


Well you know Col, much better than I, the moment the word Hamas comes up serious public conversation must stop with the utterance, "terrorist group....terrorist group".

Of course you know....I am just expressing my disgust with the entire situation. Forgive me......the entire situation in this nation is becoming maddening.

Eric Dönges

Arabs generally think not. They tend to believe that negotiations are for the purpose of of arranging the details of outcomes that are understood in advance of the conference itself. For them, anything else is an attempt to win concessions through trickery.

So how do Arabs come to an understanding of what the outcome should be, if not through negotiation ?

Patrick Lang


It is interesting how often Israel's most feared opponents end up on the US "terrorist group" list. Fatah used to be on it but then it recognized Israel, and was "saved." pl


Gloomy Gus? Well, probably because you didn't drink the Kool-Aid.

Since we've seen no evidence of a change in US position--i.e., a forceful display of the USG articulating the endgame--it's fair to say that these talks will yield no results, except possibly the final discrediting of Abbas.

In two years, Colonel? An (ineffective) Israeli strike on Iran, failure on the I-P front, and more bad news from Afghanistan? It won't be our feelings that matter. We will be perceived--to use your phrase--as the news Byzantines. Large, ponderous, and ineffective. And my sister who's doctor at the VA will still be treating the casualties.

Patrick Lang


Glad you asked that. they conduct behind the scenes discussions usually through intermediaries until the outcome is tacitly understood by the parties. then they have a meeting and hug and kiss a lot. In really hostile situations, an expressed desire for negotiations is usually taken as an admissoin of inferior position and this leads to the aforesaid "moderated" discussion of terms before the meeting. pl

Roy G

In other news, the Republicans are having race relation talks, with African-Americans being represented by Michael Steele and Alan Keyes.


Does the Obama Administration really think that this 600 pound gorilla can be ignored?

They probably don't think it can be ignored, but they have to try and ignore it. Congress is very pro-Israeli and anti-Hamas, and involving them in the negotiations would likely be impossible.


I have to say I tend to agree with the Arab attitude towards negotiations.

Yesterday, I had to review in my mind my last decade's worth of experience with the information security piece of contracts between business entities. Writing up a job application.

And I must say that nearly all of the inter-company security train wrecks I've seen personally could have been prevented by careful pre-negotiation homework by the parties to the contract.

If the contracting parties don't know fairly clearly what the security piece should look like well before they actually sit down together, somebody hasn't been doing their job.

Patrick Lang


Good to see that you are paying attention. pl


Even given the Arab mindset towards negotiations, it seems entirely rational that after decades of worthless and contrived "peace process", Abbas would try to secure some definite endgame plan prior to re-engaging in the farce.

Perhaps, too, he was given some "assurances" by the US, most likely in terms of dollars, but possibly in terms of how far the US will push the Israelis.

Norbert M. Salamon


Possibly an acqaintance of yours,Colonel ( USA, ret.) Philip J. Dermer, has an interesting analysis:


He seems to think along lines you promoted, eg. Hamas, etc


the Col wrote: "It is interesting how often Israel's most feared opponents end up on the US "terrorist group" list.". Isn't it though? And once you are on that list coherent discussion ends. At least in public that is. Till, as you note, one is saved.

And it is equally interesting, well, it is to me, how once you make the Israeli list, you mind as well have flown the planes into the WTC. There is no separation, not even a "dime's worth", in ole GW's memorable phrase,between AQ and anyone on the list.

And despite all the bluster, and all the threats, and as hot as the situation may become, I still think, with a minor adjustment here or there, Iran could end up on the 'saved list'.


I'm confused about "no preconditions," because didn't "The Quartet" established preconditions for negotiations?

Also, why subject negotiations to a Hamas veto via an attack?

Looks like another brilliant decision by Foolbama and Co in their quest for perfection in the art of compromising into nothing.

What is interesting about the Middle East is that just when you think things can't get worse, they do.


Talk is cheap. Expect a very different approach on Wednesday 11/3.

"careful pre-negotiation homework"

Very true in all negotiations, but most people think of 'work' as a four letter word and too often take shortcuts they shouldn't. Just look at how people buy used cars.

William R. Cumming

What guarantees are given to Israel by the US that are in writing and explicit? What to Israel's neighbors?

Is the negotiation really between factions in the US polity? Can Israel and its neighbors really control any given outcome without the US?


If I were conspiracy minded I'd say that Israel was going to launch an attack on Iran in the middle of negotiations with the Palestinians. Besides making everyone involved look like jabbering fools for agreeing to negotiate, the inevitable response could be used to show that Iran has surrounded Israel with proxy armies of terrorists. I don't honestly think they're that committed to sticking their thumb in the eye of world opinion though.


Col. Lang:

"In really hostile situations, an expressed desire for negotiations is usually taken as an admission of inferior position and this leads to the aforesaid "moderated" discussion of terms before the meeting."

Is the Quartets "expressed desire for negotiations" then an admission of their inferior position vis a vis Netanyahu and the Israel Lobby?

All I can see, considering the big push on settlements and dispossession going on right now ahead of the talks is that Netanyahu intends to impose a peace on Abbas with the connivance of Obama.

Would the threat of the Israel lobby withholding Democrat campaign contributions for the November elections still be real, or would the money already have to be in Democrat bank accounts?


I bet Obama gives a speech about it.


And then, there is the "little" matter of the non-participation of Hamas. Does the Obama Administration really think that this 600 pound gorilla can be ignored?

Something Phil Weiss discovered may be interesting in this context:


Reut admits, Israel doesn’t want West Bank and Gaza unified

by Philip Weiss on August 11, 2010

That Reut Institute report on Israel's need to deal with the issue of Palestinian human rights in the wake of the Gaza flotilla disaster makes it clear that it is Israeli policy to divide the Palestinian people. Reut is close to the Israeli gov't; and it's no wonder that the West Bank and Gaza are turning into separate political entities, Israel has steered things that way. Reut pt. 16):

Operation Cast Lead (01/09) epitomized Israel's conundrum in Gaza: Israel has no wish to control Gaza and prefers the current Hamas government to chaos. In addition, it is more comfortable with the present split between the West Bank and Gaza than with a Hamas-Fatah national unity government.

Paul in NC

The only outcome in the Middle East that can be known in advance is more of the same.

TR Stone

Is there no one in the government, or in that matter in America, who does not appreciate the trauma that the people in Gaza experience daily?
I have posted before about the demographic trends. Those who wish to rule had better get a grip on those who they are ruling and more importantly, what they want, because if they don't, the French Revolution will seem like a walk in the park (I am supposing that the Cambodian travails are an exception, if not...).


Peace is no longer an option.

Israelis arrive to any round table with one goal in mind: what is mine is for keep, and what is yours is to negotiate.

A greed that seems unstoppable!

R Whitman

This is the last attempt at a 2 state solution. If it fails, as it probably will, look for a new Paletinian leader to announce an effort toward a one state solution based on "one person one vote", soon after the US 2012 election.

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