Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Palestine - Kerry Risks Sacrificing Holy Land For Holy Dollar


[Published 20 March 2014]


“But now the holy dollar rules everybody’s lives - Gotta make a million doesn’t matter who dies” [Queensrÿche—Revolution Calling]


US Secretary of State John Kerry has increased the possibility of renewed conflict in the Holy Land with some very confusing remarks this week refuting his earlier demand that the PLO recognize Israel as the Jewish State.

On 3 March—Kerry told the AIPAC Conference:
“Any peace agreement must also guarantee Israel’s identity as a Jewish homeland.”

Yet 10 days later Kerry told members of the House Foreign Relations committee that:
1. international law has already declared Israel a Jewish state, and

2. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence on a public declaration of Israel’s Jewish character from the PLO was “a mistake” in the diplomatic process.
Kerry also told a Senate panel:
“‘Jewish state’ was resolved in 1947 in Resolution 181 where there are more than 40—30 mentions of ‘Jewish state’. In addition, chairman Arafat in 1988 and again in 2004 confirmed that he agreed it would be a Jewish state. And there are any other number of mentions.”

Accepting Kerry’s latest claims as being factually accurate—which they are not—Kerry needs to answer this question:
"How can any agreement ever be reached between Israel and the PLO if the PLO is not required to guarantee Israel’s identity as a Jewish homeland?"
Netanyahu has made it clear on many occasions that without the PLO making such a declaration—no negotiated “two-state solution” can ever be achieved.

Kerry’s contradictory statements appear to have cut the ground from under Netanyahu’s feet.

The PLO can now confidently expect that its rejection of this express Israeli demand would be supported by America as being:
1. reasonable and

2. allow the PLO to walk away from the negotiations because Israel unreasonably persisted with that demand.
Kerry’s comments fly in the face of President Bush’s written assurance to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in a letter dated 14 April 2004—overwhelmingly endorsed by the Congress on 23 June 2004.

What reasons could Kerry possibly have for abruptly abandoning Bush and the Congress’s specific commitments—supported by Kerry himself at AIPAC?

Kerry’s following remarks to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations on 13 March provide the possible answer:
“I also think we have to remember that foreign policy in 2014 is not all foreign. The fact is that we are, in the State Department, increasingly focused on economics, focused on building our strength here at home, on advancing American businesses, on creating job opportunities. Every time I speak to the Department of State, I talk about foreign policy as economic policy. And every Foreign Service officer today and every Civil Service officer now must also become an economic officer, and we have changed the training at the Foreign Service Institute in order to take all of our initial recruits and begin to structure ourselves differently than in the past.

Some people say there—some people express a skepticism about this. Well, let me just tell you: Our Embassy in Zambia recently helped create jobs in New Jersey. The patient advocacy of our diplomats helped an American construction company land an $85 million contract. They’re building 144 bridges, and they have the potential to do far more. There may be a follow-on, multi-hundred-million-dollar contract. Our consular staff in Kolkata—they helped bring Caterpillar together with a company in India to develop a $500 million power plant. When 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of our market, and when foreign governments are out there extremely aggressively chasing RFPs, requests for proposals, contracts, jobs, opportunities, and they’re backing their companies in a very significant way, we need to understand we’re living in a different world than we were in the Cold War when America was the single powerhouse economy of the world and everybody else was recovering from the war, World War II. Now, then you could make mistakes and still win; now, you can’t. It’s a different economic competitive—it’s a different marketplace.”

Maintaining commitments to long standing allies apparently now plays second fiddle to American business enterprises earning international dollars.

Lucrative contracts possibly falling into America’s lap to repair the damage and havoc wrought in Moslem countries such as Syria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq—much of it American induced—seems more important than incurring the wrath of the Council of the League of Arab States which had stated on 9 March that it absolutely rejected recognizing Israel as the Jewish State.

America brought to its knees economically by the global financial crisis and its disastrous forays into Iraq and Afghanistan is apparently—as a declared goal of American foreign policy - prepared to soften its support for Israel if this opens up new business opportunities for America in Islamic countries.

Kerry’s policy risks the Holy Land being turned again into an arena of violent conflict - as those who rejected the 1947 UN Partition Plan are emboldened by Kerry’s remarks to contemplate again attempting what six Arab armies unsuccessfully tried to do in 1948—eliminate the Jewish State.

Abandoning the Holy Land for the holy dollar is a recipe for another potential humanitarian disaster and an American foreign policy failure of massive proportions.

Will President Obama and the Congress allow this to happen?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Palestine - Kerry Can't Keep Kidding Himself


[Published 6 April 2014]


US Secretary of State John Kerry’s unshakable belief that he could succeed in facilitating what had eluded former American Secretaries of State for the last 20 years—the creation of a 22nd Arab State in the West Bank and Gaza for the first time ever in recorded history - has been shattered following Israel cancelling the release of 26 prisoners convicted of terrorist attacks prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Israel’s action followed the PLO lodging applications to join 15 UN international agencies in breach of its commitments not to do so whilst negotiations between Israel and the PLO were being conducted.

Kerry now needs to immediately focus his attention on Jordan - the last Arab State to have occupied the West Bank between 1948 -1967 and which—together with Israel—comprise the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine 1920-1948.

Redrawing Jordan’s international boundary with Israel to restore the status quo existing before the outbreak of the 1967 Six Day War - as far as is now possible given the changed circumstances on the ground—provides a realistically achievable alternative to the doomed Israel-PLO negotiations.

Lorenzo Kamel - a historian at Bologna University and a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies - has published an error-riddled article attempting to distance Jordan from becoming involved in any such negotiations—which Kerry should unequivocally reject.

Kamel’s following misleading claims have been corrected by my responses in bold:

1.“Whenever there is a concrete effort to push forward the peace process, talk about “a substitute homeland” for the Palestinians re-emerges. Most of those supporting this scheme claim that well before the partition suggested by the UN General Assembly in 1947, the Zionist movement suffered a mutilation of territory following the unilateral British decision in 1922 to separate Transjordan from the rest of the land subject to the Mandate for Palestine…
Transjordan remained subject to the Mandate for Palestine from 1920 until 1946.

It was only the provisions of the Mandate relating to the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Palestine that were “postponed or withheld” in Transjordan under article 25 of the Mandate—as this Note presented by the Secretary General to the League of Nations clearly stated:
“In the application of the Mandate to Transjordan, the action which, in Palestine, is taken by the Administration of the latter country will be taken by the Administration of Transjordan under the general supervision of the Mandatory.

His Majesty’s Government accept full responsibility as Mandatory for Transjordan, and undertake that such provision as may be made for the administration of that territory in accordance with Article 25 of the Mandate shall be in no way inconsistent with those provisions of the Mandate which are not by this resolution declared inapplicable.”

The seeds for an independent Jew-free Arab State in 78% of Palestine had thus been planted by Great Britain in 1922.

Transjordan achieved its eventual independence on May 25, 1946 - whilst the remaining 22% of Palestine continued to be subject to the Mandate until 1948.

2.“Transjordan, unlike Palestine, was never occupied by British troops and during the mandatory period there was no “overlapping”, either at a legal or practical level, between the two areas.”
The Arab Legion was formed in Transjordan in 1923 and financed by Britain and commanded by British officers under Captain Frederick Peake.

Transjordan was always included in the annual Report for the Mandate for Palestine presented to the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission.

3. “A citizen of Transjordan was required to ask for official permission before being admitted to Palestine.”
Immigration from Transjordan was not illegal, and was not recorded as immigration at all until 1938.

4. “The awareness that Palestine was distinct from Syria and Lebanon is said to have always been present in the Arab and Muslim consciousness.”
An early nineteenth-century Egyptian historian, ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Jabarti, referred to the inhabitants of El Arish in the Sinai Peninsula as Syrians. Palestine was called Southern Syria first in French, then in other languages, including Arabic. ...
...Indeed, from the moment Prince Faysal set up a government in Damascus in October 1918, he stressed that Palestine was a part of Syria. At the Paris Peace Conference, where the British, French and Americans sorted out their interests after the war, Faysal called Palestine his “right hand” and promised to work for it as he would for Syria and Iraq. “I assure you, according to the wishes of its people, Palestine will be a part of Syria.” Three months later, Faysal wrote General Edmund Allenby that Palestine “is an inseperable [sic] part of Syria.”

5. “Zionism certainly accelerated the general development of the region and the process of self-identification of the local majority, but never did the land beyond the Jordan have a religious, social or cultural value comparable to the land between the river and the Mediterranean Sea."
Kamel’s claim is refuted by article 2 of the PLO Charter which states that “Palestine with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate is an indivisible territorial unit.”

Negotiations between Jordan and Israel have now become the only answer to avoiding renewed conflict and violence between Jews and Arabs.

Kerry is kidding himself if he thinks otherwise.

Palestine - Kerry's Credibility Crashes As Abbas's Intransigence Increases


[Published 28 March 2014]


US Secretary of State John Kerry has seen his reputation and prestige shredded to tatters over the past few weeks.

On 13 March Kerry told members of the House Foreign Relations committee that:
1. international law has already declared Israel a Jewish state, and

2. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence on a public declaration of Israel’s Jewish character from the PLO was “a mistake” in the diplomatic process.
Kerry also told a Senate panel:
“‘Jewish state’ was resolved in 1947 in Resolution 181 where there are more than 40-30 mentions of ‘Jewish state’. In addition, chairman Arafat in 1988 and again in 2004 confirmed that he agreed it would be a Jewish state. And there are any other number of mentions.”

PLO Chairman and President of the State of Palestine—Mahmoud Abbas - was unimpressed with Kerry’s knowledge of international law.

On 16 March the New York Times reported:
“.. Mr. Abbas, speaking before a meeting in the Oval Office, made clear that he was no closer to uttering the words that are a litmus test for the Israelis: that he recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.

“Since 1988, we have recognized international legitimacy resolutions” on Israel, Mr. Abbas said as Mr. Obama looked on, a hand on his chin. “And in 1993, we recognized the State of Israel.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that the Palestinians go further and recognize Israel as a nation-state for the Jewish people in order to get a peace deal. Mr. Abbas has flatly refused, and his comments on Monday suggested he had gone as far as he would.”

On 19 March Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at The City University of New York - Peter Beinart - provided this advice to Abbas:
“I have a suggestion for Mahmoud Abbas. The next time Benjamin Netanyahu demands that you recognize Israel as a “Jewish state,” tell him that you’ll agree on one condition. The Israeli cabinet must first agree on what “Jewish state” means. That should get you off the hook for a good long while.

Israel has never been able to define the term “Jewish state.”

The good Professor was obviously unaware that the term “Jewish State” had been defined for the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in evidence given by David Ben-Gurion on 7 July 1947:
“What is the meaning of a Jewish State? As I told you before, a Jewish State does not mean one has to be a Jew. It means merely a State-where the Jews are in the majority, otherwise all the citizens have the same status. If the State were called by the name “Palestine,” - I said if - then all would be Palestinian citizens If the State would be given, another name - I think it would be given another name - because Palestine is neither a Jewish nor an Arab name. As far as the Arabs are concerned, and we have the evidence of the Arab historian, Hitti, that there was no such a thing as “Palestine” at all: Palestine is not an Arab name. Palestine is also not a Jewish name. When the Greeks were our enemies, in order not to annoy the Jews, they gave different names to the streets. So, maybe the name of Palestine will be changed. But whatever the name of the country, every citizen of the country will be a citizen. This is what we mean. This is what we have to mean. We cannot conceive that in a State where we are not in a minority, where we have the main responsibilities as the majority of the country, there should be the slightest discrimination between a Jew and a non-Jew.”

Abbas rejected Beinart’s unsolicited advice for one simple reason—any state that contained the word “Jewish” or any suggestion of being Jewish would never be acceptable to Abbas.

As Pinhas Inbari reported:
“On March 22, 2014, Abbas spoke before the Central Committee of the Fatah Movement. According to Nabil Abu Rodena, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority presidency, the Fatah body supported Abbas’ position of “non-recognition of Israel being a Jewish state.” The Palestinians did not release a complete text of Abbas’ Fatah speech.

At the Arab League summit in Kuwait on March 25, Abbas took this a step further. The official Arabic transcript of his speech before reveals how he has moved toward a more uncompromising diplomatic posture, opposing Israel’s stand that it be recognized as the nation-state of the Jewish people, just as it recognizes the Palestinian state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people:

“Israel has invented new conditions that it did not raise before, like recognizing it as a Jewish state. This we oppose as well as even holding a discussion on this matter.”

The Arab League was more than happy to oblige Abbas and rebuff Kerry - its final communiqué at the summit’s close stating:
“We express our absolute and decisive rejection to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.”

Kerry - left high and dry by this united show of Arab opposition to accepting what Kerry had trumpeted just 12 days earlier - was suddenly forced to fly to Amman on 26 March to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah in the afternoon and Abbas in the evening.

As Kerry’s credibility crashes - Abbas’s intransigence in refusing to recognize Israel as the Jewish State increases—a certain recipe for diplomatic disaster.

Palestine - A Stone's Throw Away From Syria


[Published 14 March 2014]


It boggles the imagination that Australia’s national broadcaster the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) could have been involved in a joint investigation between its premier Public Affairs show - “Four Corners” - and one of Australia’s leading newspapers – The Australian – in producing a 45 minute television documentary – “Stone Cold Justice” - examining the treatment of Palestinian children in Israel’s military court system.

ABC News announced that:
“Children are being intimidated and forced into false confessions by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, according to allegations to be broadcast tonight on the ABC’s Four Corners program.

A joint investigation between Four Corners and The Australian newspaper has examined the treatment of Palestinian children in Israel’s military court system. Four Corners looks at claims the Israeli army is arresting hundreds of Palestinian children during night raids for alleged crimes, such as throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and settlers.

Israel’s security services have also been accused by lawyers and youth workers of using Palestinian children to gather intelligence.”

The news item went on to reveal that:
“700 Palestinian children [are] detained each year by the Israeli army…”

Any allegations concerning the mistreatment or abuse of children should be vigorously questioned and exposed - but the allocation of substantial resources by the Australian taxpayer funded ABC to investigate allegations that relate to 700 children a year in the West Bank must be seriously questioned.

There are certainly far more serious abuses being suffered by children – most notably in Syria for the last three years – that deserve detailed investigation by national broadcasters like the ABC.

The impotency of the United Nations and its “humanitarian” agencies in allowing inhumane outcomes for children resulting from member states either backing the Assad regime or those seeking to overthrow it – has been starkly revealed in a report - “Under Siege -The devastating impact on children of three years of conflict in Syria” - issued by UNICEF this week.

The Report reveals that:
1. Since March 2013, the number of children affected by the crisis in Syria has more than doubled from 2.3 million to more than 5.5 million.

2. The number of children displaced inside Syria has more than tripled from 920,000 to almost 3 million.

3. The number of child refugees has more than quadrupled from 260,000 to more than 1.2 million. Of these children, 425,000 are under the age of five

4. One in 10 children – over 1.2 million – have fled the country to become refugees in neighbouring countries. And these numbers are rising every day. By the end of January 2014, 37,498 Syrian children had been born as refugees.

5.As of January 2014, more than 10,000 children have lost their lives to Syria’s violence reflecting a blatant disregard for civilian lives by all sides to the conflict. Most have reportedly died in the last 24 months - and there is evidence that children are being directly targeted.

6. Boys as young as 12 have been recruited to support the fighting, some in actual combat, others to work as informers, guards, or arms smugglers

7.According to a recent UN report, children as young as 11 are being detained with adults. In some cases, they are being subjected to torture and sexual abuse to humiliate them, force confessions, or pressure relatives to surrender

8. According to UN field estimates- one in ten refugee children is thought to be working – whether as cheap labour on farms, in cafes and car repair shops or as beggars on city streets.

9.Malnutrition and dangerous vitamin and mineral deficiencies – so-called “hidden hunger” - have been slowly undermining children’s ability to develop and thrive over the last three years.

10. Since the confirmation of a polio outbreak in the governorate of Deir Ezzour in October 2013, 25 cases of the disease have been confirmed in the north and east of the country. Despite a massive immunization programme since - polio remains a threat, especially to an estimated 323,000 children under the age of five in areas under siege or that are hard-to-reach
Australia currently occupies a seat on the United Nations Security Council –positioning it to take a lead role in demanding that an armed UN force be sent to Syria to implement an imposed cease fire to end this mayhem and slaughter – if the warring parties do not agree on a cease fire within a specified time frame.

If Australia’s national broadcaster has been moved to investigate the abuse of 700 children in the West Bank – surely it should be similarly motivated to produce a series of 45 minute documentaries interviewing UNICEF officials and those on the front line in Syria named in UNICEF’s report detailing the abuses being visited on 5.5 million children.

Indeed all national broadcasters – especially in those democratic countries forming part of the “The Friends of Syria Core Group of countries – the ‘London 11’” - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Turkey – should be actively demanding a cease fire to end the suffering of these innocent children.

The other members of the London 11 - Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates must be prepared to join such an international force to end this genocidal assault on Arab children.

Russia, Iran and Hezbollah need to accept such a cease fire immediately.

The world must intervene without further delay.

Syria is only a stone’s throw away from the West Bank – not on another planet.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Palestine - Obama Lacks Understanding And Vision


[Published 9 March 2014]


President Obama’s interview with Jeffrey Goldberg on 2 March exposed the President as a leader lacking in understanding and vision - bound to a 20 years old negotiating process that has proved an abject failure and will continue to do so until Obama finally declares it dead and buried.

The President still clings to the vain hope that the framework agreement for peace being drafted by Secretary of State Kerry will be accepted by Israel and the PLO – allowing the long drawn out negotiating processes established under the Oslo Accords, Bush Roadmap and Annapolis to continue until a peace agreement is executed between Israel and the PLO - matching those signed by Israel with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994

The interview exposed Obama’s flawed knowledge concerning the following crucial issues that are critical to properly understanding the conflict and positing its possible resolution:
1. The President claimed that the conflict had gone on “for decades” – rather than for the last 130 years –indicating the President is ignoring earlier international decisions made on Palestine including the San Remo Conference and the Treaty of Sevres in 1920, the League of Nations in 1922, the Treaty of Lausanne 1923, the Peel Commission in 1937, the British White Paper 1939, the United Nations in 1945 and 1947, and the unification of Judea and Samaria with Transjordan in 1950 following the invasion of Palestine by six Arab armies in 1948.

2. The President spoke of the “Palestinian territories” – rather than the “disputed territories” - where internationally recognized sovereignty has remain undetermined since 1948.

3. The President referred to an existing “Palestinian Authority” - which had ceased to exist on 3 January 2013.
The President agreed with this claim by Goldberg:
“It’s been the official position of the United States for decades that settlements are illegitimate”

Elliott Abrams – Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations -dismisses this urban myth:
“The U.S. position has fluctuated over time. In the Reagan years, the United States said the settlements were “not illegal.” The Clinton and George H.W. Bush administrations avoided the legal arguments but criticized the settlements frequently. President George W. Bush called the larger settlement blocs ”new realities on the ground” that would have to be reflected in peace negotiations.

More recently, the official U.S. attitude has been more critical. In 2011, the Obama administration vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling the settlements “illegal” but former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice then denounced “the folly and illegitimacy” of continued Israeli settlement activity. “The United States of America views all of the settlements as illegitimate,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in August 2013.”

Who is feeding the President with misleading and false information to justify these comments to Goldberg?

The President’s lack of vision became obviously apparent with his following comment:
“I have not yet heard, however, a persuasive vision of how Israel survives as a democracy and a Jewish state at peace with its neighbors in the absence of a peace deal with the Palestinians and a two-state solution. Nobody has presented me a credible scenario.”

Amazingly - with the State Department evidently unable to present Obama with any credible scenarios in the event of the collapse of the “two-state solution” - President Obama then challenged Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to come up with a plausible alternative:
“If he [Netanyahu] does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach. And as I said before, it’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible.”

Netanyahu had articulated an alternative approach at the United Nations on 11 December 1984 – one which apparently has gone missing from the State Department’s extensive archival records:
“Clearly, in Eastern and Western Palestine, there are only two peoples, the Arabs and the Jews. Just as clearly, there are only two states in that area, Jordan and Israel. The Arab State of Jordan, containing some three million Arabs, does not allow a single Jew to live there. It also contains 4/5 of the territory originally allocated by this body’s predecessor, the League of Nations, for the Jewish National Home. The other State, Israel, has a population of over four million, of which one sixth is Arab. It contains less than 1/5 of the territory originally allocated to the Jews under the Mandate…. It cannot be said, therefore, that the Arabs of Palestine are lacking a state of their own. The demand for a second Palestinian Arab State in Western Palestine, and a 22nd Arab State in the world, is merely the latest attempt to push Israel back into the hopelessly vulnerable armistice lines of 1949.”

Netanyahu’s recounting of history, geography and demography present at least two credible – and plausible – scenarios for President Obama to consider:
1. Reunifying the heavily populated Arab areas of the West Bank (Areas “A” and “B” designated under the Oslo Accords) with Jordan – as existed between 1950-1967
2. Direct negotiations between Israel and Jordan – the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine - to redraw the existing international boundary between their respective States.
Jordan’s King Abdullah needs to step up to the plate – and Obama must not let him refuse to do so.

President Obama – presently sinking in murky political quicksand – can still be saved by grabbing Netanyahu's 1984 lifeline with both hands.

Palestine - Jordan Gets Jittery Again


[Published 2 March 2014]


Jordan has become increasingly jittery after US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework agreement for peace missed meeting the second deadline for its release on 21 February - having initially been promised by the end of January.

Now US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro has let slip at a meeting of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors in Jerusalem on 24 February that the US hopes to present the framework agreement before the end of April.

The idea behind the framework agreement had been posited by a Senior State Department Official during a teleconference on 2 January:
“As you will have seen from the press, and indeed President Obama has spoken about the idea of establishing a framework for negotiations, that’s what we’re trying to achieve here – agreement on a framework that would serve as guidelines for the permanent status negotiations and that would address all of the core issues.

We are not coming in with an American plan that would be imposed on the parties, but rather we want to have a detailed consultation with them about these ideas that have been generated as a result of the negotiations between the parties themselves, and see whether they can serve as gap bridges which could lead to this agreement on the framework for permanent status negotiations.

I want to stress, as we always do but it never seems quite to convince doubters, particularly, I think, in the region, that this is not an effort to achieve an interim agreement. It is an effort to provide agreed guidelines for a permanent status agreement, that is to say a full and final peace treaty between the parties. And that purpose here is, in effect, if you like, to – for the Secretary to climb with the two leaders to the top of the hill and be able to share with them the view of what’s on the other side, what peace will look like in terms of all of the core issues that have to be resolved between them. And once they have a shared vision of what that will look like, then it will become easier to finalize the details, and there will be a lot of details in the actual permanent status agreement itself.”

Shapiro admitted Kerry had run into a lot of trouble climbing that hill whilst attempting to persuade Israel and the PLO to agree on the framework’s terms:
“It would involve both sides being willing to negotiate on the basis of a framework that contains things in it that are uncomfortable for them [and about which] they may have reservations,”

The framework, he said, “is very detailed.” At this point in the process, “everyone fights over every word as they should because the stakes are very high”

King Abdullah II of Jordan is nervous at the possible outcome and could now be positioning himself to take part in these negotiations - from which he had always previously sought to distance himself.

Former Jordanian Prime Minister - Marouf al-Bahit - told Al-Hayyat, a London based Arabic- language news source - on 3 January:
“Jordan needs to be present and involved in all future negotiations,”

Al- Bahit - currently the deputy head of the King’s Council - an advisory board closest to King Abdullah - continued:
“It is unthinkable that Jordan should sit on the side, as an observer. Jordan should join the negotiating table immediately - since it is bound to be the one paying the price of the Israeli and American positions.”

Al-Bahit’s position did not represent the prevailing opinion in Amman - according to the article. One senior official - who spoke on condition of anonymity - reportedly told Al-Hayyat:
“Jordan would welcome the decisions sealed by the negotiating process - “without any need whatsoever to sit at the negotiating table.” Amman did stress, however, that it would get involved if - and only if - the talks directly harmed their interests, specifically Jordan’s borders.”

Abdullah cannot ignore - just seven weeks later - that the further delay in releasing the framework agreement could possibly lead to the total breakdown in negotiations between Israel and the PLO - which could directly harm Jordan’s national interests.

Abdullah is now in the identical position he found himself on 11 October 2006 - when he told the Khaleej Times:
“I really think that by the first half of 2007 we might wake up to reality and realise that the two-state solution is no longer attainable. I think we are really running out of time . Physically on the ground and geographically, I think there is less and less of a West Bank and Jerusalem to talk about.”

Abdullah then warned:
“We want to go back to the 1967 borders. We are talking about that today. Are we going to talk about that tomorrow though? This is the danger.”

Abdullah recognised then that compromise would inevitably involve Israel retaining part of the West Bank - notwithstanding the PLO demanding it all.

With a negotiated two-state solution likely to fall by the wayside despite Kerry’s desperate efforts to keep it alive - Abdullah is clearly aware that with less of the West Bank to talk about in 2014 than in 2006 - the PLO might attempt to overthrow Abdullah - as it unsuccessfully tried to do in 1970 with Abdullah’s father - King Hussein .

Whilst Abdullah warned this week that “Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine” - the PLO Charter - and history - ominously state otherwise.

Jordan needs a seat at that negotiating table - immediately.

Palestine - Kerry Oblivious To Demise Of Palestinian Authority


[Published 23 February 2014]


US Secretary of State John Kerry and the US State Department continue to cling to the illusion that the Palestinian Authority still exists—despite PLO insistence that it does not following this Decree on 3 January 2013:
Decree No. 1 for the year 2013
On the use of the name of the State of Palestine and its emblem on letterheads, seals and related official documents
President of the State of Palestine
Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization
Based on the Statute of the Palestine Liberation Organization
And after reviewing the Fundamental Law of 2003, as amended
Based on the Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations No. GA 11317, deciding to upgrade the status of Palestine to the status of observer state in the United Nations Organization.
Based on the recommendations of the Palestinian Committee in charge of the steps to be taken in this regard, and based on the powers vested in us, and in conformity with the public interest,
We decided the following:

Article (1)

Official documents, seals, signs and letterheads of the Palestinian National Authority official and national institutions shall be amended by replacing the name ‘Palestinian National Authority’ whenever it appears by the name ‘State of Palestine’ and by adopting the emblem of the State of Palestine. The relevant authorities shall be in charge of monitoring the implementation of this Decree, taking into account the requirements of use.

Article (2)

Official documents, seals, signs and letterheads in the embassies of the State of Palestine and its missions abroad shall be amended by keeping the name ‘State of Palestine’ and emblem only and the name of ‘mission’ afterwards. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall be in charge of implementing these amendments. Dealing with States who do not recognize the State of Palestine shall also be taken into consideration.

Article (3)

No amendment shall be made to the name and emblem in official documents, seals, letterheads and signs of the institutions of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Article (4)

All competent authorities, each in their respective area, shall implement the provisions of this Decree starting from its date. This Decree shall be notified to those it may concern and shall be published in the Official Gazette.

Mahmoud Abbas
President of the State of Palestine
Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization
—Translated from Maan News.

Kerry and the State Department’s inability to appreciate this major change in PLO policy became very apparent following Kerry’s visit to Paris last week to meet “President of the State of Palestine” and “Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO” - Mahmoud Abbas.

The State Department web site described Kerry’s visit in these terms:
“In Paris, Secretary Kerry will meet with Palestinian Authority President Abbas to discuss the ongoing negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in Abu Dhabi - where Kerry was meeting United Arab Emirate officials:
“Secretary Kerry will meet with Palestinian Authority President Abbas in Paris, France on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis,”

Lebanon’s Daily Star—obviously embarrassed to report such Kerry and State Department nonsense - went so far as to deliberately hide Psaki’s reference to the Palestinian Authority:
“State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the meeting, saying they would “discuss the ongoing negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis”

Wily long time PLO negotiator - Saeb Erekat - was however prepared to let Kerry wander along his path of blissful ignorance with these amazing remarks reported in Xinhua:
“A Palestinian official warned on Monday that the failure of the current Palestinian-Israeli peace talks will lead to the collapse of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

“The failure of negotiations means that things will go back to zero point,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erikat told the official Voice of Palestine radio.

“This may lead Israel to reoccupy the Palestinian territories and thus the PNA will collapse,” he said, adding that the PNA will approach the international organizations including the International Criminal Court (ICC) to sue the state of Israel if the talks do not succeed.

It is the first time a Palestinian official warns of a possible collapse of the PNA if the US-backed negotiations fail.”

Marie Harf—Deputy State Department Spokesman—in her daily press briefing on 19 February—still thought Kerry was meeting with the Palestinian Authority Chairman—the party to negotiations with Israel under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap:
“Today, Secretary Kerry is in Paris, where he has had meetings with French Foreign Minister Fabius and Jordanian Foreign Minister Judeh. Later tonight, he’s scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority President Abbas.”

Kerry’s Public Schedule maintained the fiction for 20 February:
“2:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Kerry meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in Paris, France.”

Photographs on the State Department website - recording photo-ops with “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas”—clearly indicate that Kerry is unaware that:
1. The Palestinian Authority no longer exists

2. The State of Palestine exists on the soil of Palestine

3. The Palestinian Arabs are no longer stateless or homeless

4. Negotiations under Oslo and the Roadmap have become meaningless

Kerry and the State Department will have a lot of explaining to do if his framework agreement fails to take these crucial PLO changes into account.

“Kerry cops caning” would make an excellent headline.