There are many definitions of the Yiddish word “chutzpah”: temerity, audacity, nerve, are chief among them.
Any of these definitions aptly fit the upcoming, and grandly-named, Paris Conference on Middle East Peace. Seventy countries will soon gather in the French capital to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and more likely than not, will propose—or perhaps will try to impose a solution to it.
Israel will not be in attendance, and for good reason.
French authorities, in introducing the idea for this conference seven months ago, said that they were “compelled to act” on the issue, which they presumptuously profess was necessary to bring the parties together. The conference spokesman says that discussions will center within three working groups, dealing with civil society, institution building and economic assistance.
This all may have been another exercise in “international conference futility,” as the Geneva peace conferences of decades past attest, had it not been for the passage of Resolution 2334 in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the speech of Secretary of State John Kerry outlining his “six principles” late last month.
Huge assemblages of diplomats from dozens of countries, some of which don’t even have relations with Israel, normally wind up letting off steam at these gatherings, and close with presumptuous declarations that either raise Palestinian expectations or frustrate Israel because they have never dealt with the rejectionism of the Palestinian camp.
But this time may be different.
Protestations coming out of Paris about not seeking to impose a settlement on the parties ring hollow. Armed with both the resolution and the Kerry declaration, the Palestinians, who will be attending the gathering, will seek to use the meeting to further isolate Israel. With friends like Sweden, which holds the presidency of the Security Council this month, mischief-making could very well be the order of the day.
The conventional wisdom is that the conference will endorse the Kerry principles, which placed the blame and onus on Israel for an absence of progress on a two-state solution, and send it on to the Swedish-chaired UNSC, for adoption. At that point, with the parameters not only enunciated by Kerry, but then backed by both the Paris Conference and the Security Council (how could the U.S. veto its own policy?), what would be left to negotiate?
It defies understanding how the French organizers, or any other parties, can still speak both of prejudging an outcome, as well as a serious return to direct negotiations.
Indeed, some Palestinian leaders rejected out of hand the Kerry parameters and called for negotiations within hours of the speech. Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Mustafa Barghouti dismissed three of Kerry’s points, saying that the refugee issue must still include the right of return, that the Palestinians would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state and that Kerry’s proposal for Jerusalem being the capitol of two states did not go far enough—presumably meaning that Israeli neighborhoods like Gilo and Har Homa would need to be evacuated in a final agreement.
In showing his hand, Barghouti underscores not just Palestinian rejectionism, but the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) incessant desire to wear down the international community and insist that it continue to attempt to marginalize and weaken Israel, both diplomatically and economically, until there is nothing left to talk about. Full diplomatic recognition of a Palestinian state could very well follow this conference. With that in hand, there would be no need for the PA to make any concessions. What next? A PA invitation for Iran to send Revolutionary Guards to set up an operation in Ramallah or Hebron?
So is it any wonder that Israel has decided not to appear before this latest version of an international kangaroo court?
Where have the 70 countries joining this gathering been over the past decades, failing to strongly insist that the PA enter negotiations with Israel following offers made by a succession of Israeli governments of concessions ranging from custodianship of Islamic religious sites in Jerusalem (2000), evacuating settlements in Gaza (2005), further concessions on settlements in Judea and Samaria (2008) and most recently, a 10 month settlement freeze (2014).
The responses to these opportunities are well known: intifadas, rockets, incitement and utilizing the United Nations agencies to circumvent the very idea of a negotiated peace, at the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and now, the Security Council.
The massive amounts of time and energy the international community has wasted on these gatherings cannot be regained. Castigating Israel—and by all accounts that will be the end result of the Paris conference, notwithstanding whatever diplomatic language is used—is a non-starter. This is especially so now, when on every one of Israel’s borders there is chaos and uncertainly, ascribable not to the Palestinian issue, but to intra-Arab and intra-Islamic rivalries, mistrust and shifting ideological and strategic currents.
Security Council resolution 2334, and the Kerry speech, have already set back the notion—adhered to by many who back a two-state solution to the conflict—of directly negotiating its end.
Already, some diplomatic scholars and Middle East experts are suggesting ways to, if not rescind the resolution, then to at least mitigate its fallout.
As that unfolds, on into the new Trump administration in Washington, the PA should understand that its zero-sum strategy is also a non-starter.
The Paris conference could send that message to the PA, but it won’t. Those countries participating in these deliberations should do no more harm to this process.
Dan Mariaschin Fox News Op-Ed: Gaza Rockets Hit Israel, EU 'Losing Patience' But Clueless About Hamas Attacks
The following op-ed appears on FoxNews.com, written by B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Dan Mariaschin, on the escalation of violence in Israel and the role of the European Union.
Read it in its entirety, below:
As Hamas rocket attacks on Israel intensify, the European Union seems to have a case of amnesia over who, exactly, is pushing the buttons. In a statement, the Europeans condemned the indiscriminate firing, but never once mentioned Hamas.
Who exactly does the EU think is firing rockets at Israel?
One thing is for sure: the Hamas rockets have nothing to do with Israel's settlement policy. Yet, the European Union, which looked the other way when the Palestinian Authority threw the Kerry peace initiative overboard by announcing a reconciliation with Hamas, has, for years, been fixated on settlements as being the one and only impediment to peace.
This, despite it being widely known exactly what territory would remain with Israel, and what would go to the Palestinians -- if there were ever to be an agreement between the two sides.
The EU's posturing on this issue actually helps Hamas by deflecting attention from its nihilistic campaign against Israel, but also aids and abets Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority by dismissing or marginalizing Palestinian incitement against Israel and Jews.
Hamas has now added social media, texts and video threats to its arsenal, telling Israelis to prepare for suicide bombings and other terror attacks. This psychological warfare coupled with the hundreds of rockets launched at Israel demonstrates, yet again, that Hamas simply seeks the destruction of Israel.
Even after the Palestinian Authority and Hamas joined forces and announced a new Palestinian “government,” and even as the news of the kidnapping of three Israeli teens was being reported, and as Israel charged Hamas with the kidnappings, the EU’s envoy in Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, was warning that Europe is “losing patience” with Israel over the settlement issue.
While all this was happening, EU member states such as Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom warned investors that doing business in Israeli enterprises beyond the Green Line would transgress international law. In others words, continuing their fixation on Israeli settlements—as if it were the only issue preventing peace from breaking out.
But it is Israel that should be showing frustration with the one-note narrative the Palestinians have laid out and that the Europeans seem to be accepting, without challenge. How presumptuous for those European countries to lecture Israel on “losing patience.”
When the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, the Palestinian side solemnly promised to end incitement. It has not. Hardly a day has passed over these past two decades without inflammatory articles in the official media, sermons by paid Palestinian Authority clerics, anti-Semitic lessons in schoolbooks and glorification and praise of terrorist acts saturating the population of both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Teach hatred of Israelis and Jews for more than 20-years, and you will raise a generation that sees no problem at all in taking the lives of three young men trying to get back home on that dreadful evening. More than that: you've made murder a badge of honor.
Since Oslo, the EU and most of its member states have marginalized this unending stream of hatred and have largely focused on settlements. The Palestinian spokesmen and their apologists zero in on settlements to further grind away at Israel’s international standing, and to minimize whatever concessions they must make if a deal is to be reached.
By looking past or dismissing the fomenting of hatred against Israel and Jews, the Europeans are setting back, not advancing, the cause of peace. As long as the Palestinian leadership sanctions the demonization of its erstwhile negotiating partner and its people, one can’t speak seriously about achieving an agreement, or one that can last.
Whatever one thinks of the settlement issue, it’s not as if there has been no discussion of it in hours of face-to-face meetings. The Palestinian side would prefer to sell, and the Europeans have clearly bought into, the notion that nothing has been discussed.
Without a clear rejection of the official hatred that emanates not only from Gaza, but from official circles in the West Bank itself, we’ll not likely get to the point where real coexistence can be achieved. The Europeans should know that.
Wouldn't it better that Faaborg-Andersen and the Europeans lose their patience with those on the Palestinian side who teach children to hate and who proffer garlands and bonuses to terrorists released from prison?
Europe is losing its patience? What about Israel's patience? For years Israel has been relentlessly and repeatedly excoriated at the United Nations Human Rights Council, and yet most anti-Israel resolutions have too often been met with rote abstentions from Europe, and in certain instances, votes against Israel.
The increased hyper-criticism pouring out from a number of governments in Europe seemingly removes any pretext of objectivity in helping settle the tough issues.
In issuing declarations on settlements only, by ignoring incitement, and by not harshly criticizing Hamas by name and not calling on the Palestinian Authority to end its strange joint governing arrangement with the Gaza terrorist organization, the European states as well as the EU itself, only serve to elevate Palestinian expectations, reinforcing their belief in a zero-sum outcome to this contentious conflict. After all, why do the tough work when the European silver platter of pressure on Israel is a constant?
With Syria still burning out of control, Iraq about to split into three parts, and Iran supplying arms to Hezbollah and Hamas, along with the murder of the teens, you'd think these European countries would be "losing patience" with those developments. Instead, they zero in on Israel, which is democracy's staunchest practitioner in the region.
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