The Debate About Two States is Between Arabs Themselves and Jews Themselves

The common refrain surrounding the Arab-Israeli Conflict is that the Israelis and Arabs need to find a compromise solution that will work for both parties. People on the left believe that Israel, as the entity which is much stronger than the Palestinian Authority, must make the majority of that compromise. For those on the right, Israel is the smaller party that has always been under attack by the surrounding Arab and Muslim world, and therefore will demand that Arabs must make significant concessions.

This viewpoint is valid in concept, but lacks any nuance to capture the situation as it exists today. In reality, it is the Palestinian Arabs themselves and the Israelis themselves who are torn on the path towards an enduring peace. Until each party can arrive at a consensus internally, the only bridge with consensus regarding a two state solution is found between the Palestinian Authority leadership and far left progressive Jews; a failed partnership, as the PA is despised by the Arab masses and fellow Jews in Israel and the diaspora consider the progressives a dangerous fringe group, as discussed below.

The Arabs

The Palestinian Arabs have three distinct viewpoints regarding the conflict, and a fourth approach among Israelis Arabs who share some commonality with Jews.

  1. Hamas. Hamas has no interest in a two-state solution as they believe that Israel has no right to exist. While it may make some short-term accommodations related to a cease-fire or an interim acceptance for a two-state solution, the concept of an enduring peace between two countries is abhorrent to Hamas and all of its supporters.
  2. The Palestinian Authority. The PA is a corrupt and inept kleptocracy which seeks a two-state solution to empower and enrich themselves. It has stated it will make the great “compromise” of not demanding the entirety of Israel as part of its state and “very reasonably” demand that its country be stripped of any Jews while refusing to accept Israel as a Jewish State. From such perch, the PA flies around the world with honor, pomp and circumstance while fattening their bellies as foreign nations pour money into the wallets of its leadership.
  3. The Palestinians. The Palestinian Arabs have no interest in a two-state solution according to their own polls, even if they get everything which the PA demands. They are fed up with everybody – the PA, Hamas, the Israelis and the Arab world which has forgotten about them. They view any and every deal with deep distrust.

This is not very promising. The only Palestinians who want the two-state solution today is a leadership which has no legitimacy as it is ten years past its stated term limit, and the majority of Palestinians want the acting leadership to resign.

A softer position in the Arab world which is closer to the Jewish positions on two states is held by Israeli Arabs.

Israeli Arabs. The Israeli Arabs are eager for a two state solution which looks very different than what the PA has proposed. They want NO RETURN of any Palestinian refugees into Israel. They want Israel to be recognized as the nation state of the Jewish people. They demand institutions that are transparent and devoid of any fraud – all desires which the PA will not accept.


Arabs in the Old City of Jerusalem
(photo: First.One.Through)

The wide range of opinions regarding a two state-solution is not limited to Arabs, as Jews also have their own spectrum of ideas.

The Jews

  1. The Far Right. Israel has a number of political parties including Yisrael Beiteinu, United Right (each with 5 seats in the new Knesset), Zehut and the New Right (which got zero seats in the 2019 election) who support annexing Judea and Samaria/ the area east of the Green Line (EGL) commonly called the “West Bank.” The extent of Palestinian “sovereignty” would be limited to Gaza which will be denied any standing army, and essential be an entity with autonomy but will likely need to be a territory of either Egypt, Jordan or Qatar. Israel would likely never permit it to be aligned with Turkey.
  2. The Right. Is represented by the majority Likud party and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is in favor of annexing blocs of the West Bank such as the Gush Etzion area and Maale Adumim, but would give the Palestinian Authority large sections of the West Bank where the majority of Palestinian Arabs live including Areas A and B and parts of Area C. There would be no admittance of any Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs). Good news is that the Israelis just held elections so there is clarity that this is the majority consensus view.
  3. The Left.The left is represented by the Blue and White party which came in second in the Israel elections. They would allow as many as 100,000 SAPs into Israel as part of a peace deal and give virtually the entirety of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem to the PA. A bit further to the left in Israel are the Labor and Meretz parties in Israel (6 and 4 seats, respectively) and in the diaspora in groups like J Street and the Israel Policy Forum who oppose the notion of Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish people.
  4. The Far Left. Believes that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish State. They advocate for folding all of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza into a bi-national state with no special rights or privileges for Jews. Essentially the Hamas platform, without the murder of Jews, but with all of the demonization. There is virtually no one in Israel with such views, but is in vocal extremist diaspora organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, the New Israel Fund and Code Pink.

Lining up the groups against each other reveals interesting bedfellows between Arabs and Jews:

  • Hamas <> JVP/ Code Pink
  • the PA <> Labor/ J Street
  • Israeli Arabs <> Likud/ Republican Jewish Coalition
  • some Israeli Arabs <> Yisrael Beiteinu/ the New Right
  • The Palestinians <> everyone who has given up hope for any solution

Hamas, JVP, Code Pink, Students for Justice in Palestine and similar groups have tried to gain legitimacy in the public sphere. Former US President Jimmy Carter blessed Hamas despite its vile antisemitic charter and the United Nations has sought to fold it into the Palestinian Authority. Groups like SJP are getting awards on college campuses like New York University. These are hate groups and should be condemned and boycotted by everyone who wants to see an enduring peace in the Middle East. They will never be accepted by any Israeli administration forging a peace settlement, and will only make Israelis move further rightward.

J Street and progressives around the world have been reaching out to the PA as the best chance for peace. However, the PA is despised and disrespected by Palestinians. Until there are legitimate Palestinian elections, reaching out to the PA is a fool’s errand. Most Jews and conservatives see through the chimera and think J Street’s moves to weaken Israel and go against the Israeli government by advancing condemnations at the United Nations and promoting a deeply flawed Iranian nuclear deal are dangerous and divisive. The liberal media mostly follows this narrative and will promote the PA as “moderate” which is counter-factual and J Street as “mainstream” which is liberal wishful thinking. However, if they can tack towards the center instead of continuing to lurch leftward, perhaps they can be part of forging an enduring solution instead of today’s alt-left miasma.

For their part, Israeli Arabs and Likud consider the past decade a tremendous success. While the neighboring region had wars killing nearly a million people in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other countries; with millions of war refugees scattered around the world; military coups taking over Egypt and almost Turkey; and heads of state chopped off in Libya, Israel was relatively calm. When the financial markets took the western world into an abyss, Israel emerged unscathed and its economy boomed. Riding the status quo has worked, and selectively extending that secret sauce with more global partnerships and annexing blocs of the West Bank are logical next steps.

However, the masses are unhappy. The lack of self-determination for the SAPs is not in anyone’s interest and everyone should want to see a resolution to their status. But with no consensus between the Arabs themselves and Israelis themselves, there is little hope for an enduring peace anytime soon.

It may therefore be time for some Israeli Arabs to assume a leadership role in the negotiations to help both the Arabs and Jews each reach a centrist consensus among themselves, and then ultimately with each other.


Israeli Arab women entering the Western Wall Plaza
(Photo: FirstOneThrough)


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The Only Precondition for MidEast Peace Talks

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What the Palestinians Were Thinking While Israelis Were Voting

While the Israelis went to the polls again to elect their government in a democratic process, the Palestinian Arabs could only watch with envy. They have not held an election since 2006, when they elected the terrorist group Hamas to 58% of Parliament. They last got to vote for a president in 2005 for what was supposed to be a four-year term. Mahmoud Abbas has opted to not hold elections for 10-plus years passed his expiry date and counting.

Political pundits will comment about what the new Israeli government will mean for the peace process, as if the tango just involved a single party. In fairness, the ineptitude and corruption of Palestinian Authority which cannot even broker a peace between the rival Fatah and Hamas parties make them easy to ignore as a counter-party for Israel. But if one wants to actually be able to achieve an enduring peace, it is important to understand what Palestinian Arabs think about their situation and the Jewish State next door.

The latest Palestinian poll results were released on April 9, 2019, on the same day as the Israeli elections, and reflect polling done March 13-16. Here is snapshot of some of the findings:

  • 60% of Palestinians want acting-President Mahmoud Abbas to resign, with 62% being dissatisfied with his job performance
  • Only 54% of Palestinians believe that the PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, a low-water mark
  • More Palestinians blame their own leaders for the conditions in Gaza than Israel
  • 50% of Palestinians oppose the two-state solution; more people in Gaza support two states than people in the West Bank
  • Even if the Peace Plan contained everything that Abbas currently claims to desire (East Jerusalem capital, 1967 borders, return of refugees) only 43% of Palestinians would vote in favor of it and 52% would reject it
  • 47% support a return to armed intifada
  • 71% want an armed battalion to exist outside of the control of the Palestinian Authority
  • 64% oppose the Palestinian Authority engaging with the Trump Administration
  • 60% fear for their safety if their criticize the Palestinian leadership
  • 95% of Palestinians consider themselves religious

Based on these results, there is no pathway towards an enduring peace anytime in the near-future regardless of who leads the State of Israel. The Palestinian Arabs have no faith in their own leadership and no interest in accepting the most generous two-state solution (which Israel wouldn’t offer anyway).

It is therefore ridiculous to look at the Israeli elections through the prism of a peace process. Instead, the orientation should be about shrinking the conflict with the Stateless Arabs (SAPs); dealing with Iran and Hezbollah; establishing more diplomatic and trading partners around the world; continuing to build the economy; developing a comprehensive housing strategy; and bringing the devout communities (Haredi and Arabs) into the workforce and out of poverty.

We wish the new Israeli government best of luck in tackling these issues.


The Menorah outside of the Knesset
(photo: FirstOneThrough)


Related First.One.Through article:

In Israel, the Winner is… Democracy

Welcoming the Unpopular Non-President (Abbas) of a Non-Country (Palestine)

Related video:

The Changed Israel Knesset (music by David Bowie)

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Abbas’ European Audience for His Rantings

On January 14, 2018, the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech that surpassed his previous rantings about the Jews in the Middle East:

  • He not only said that Israel was a European colonial project as he has done many times, but added now that Jews have zero connection to Israel: “it constitutes a colonialist enterprise that has nothing to do with Judaism.
  • He not only said that the early Zionists hated European Jews and conspired with the Nazis to force Jews to move to Israel as he has done many times, but added that the early Zionists also despised the Jews from Arab countries “I hate them. They look like Arabs,” and worked with the Arab countries to expel the Jews

So Abbas doubled down on his fake history. Does it matter? Did he think he could negotiate a better deal with Israel with such additional insults? Obviously not.

But Israel was not his audience.

The entire Abbas rant was for European consumption. It is there that Abbas hopes he can force a better outcome in the Middle East.


Acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas

Consider the points which Abbas made:

  • The United States will no longer be an accepted mediator. “We will not accept America as a mediator with Israel. After what they did to us… A believer does not get bitten by the same snake twice, and we have been bitten a hundred times already.” Hey EU, we need you to step in. And if you accept Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, we will reject your involvement in the peace process as well.
  • Abbas is the sole man of peace to be a negotiating partner; the rest of the Arab world will pursue violence. “We don’t want war. We will not call for a military war with Israel. Whoever has [weapons] – go ahead and do it. I say this out in the open. If you have weapons, go ahead. I’m with you, and I will help you. Anyone who has weapons can go ahead. I don’t have weapons. I want the peaceful political path to reach a settlement. I see that there are only a few supporters of peace here. All the others are into war. The Americans are always telling us that we must stop paying salaries to the families of the martyrs and the prisoners. We categorically reject this demand. Under no circumstances will we allow the families of the martyrs, the wounded, and the prisoners to be harmed. These are our children, our families. We are proud of them, and we will pay them before we pay the living.” Abbas positioned himself as the peaceful reasonable man to run point on negotiations, even while he warns that the terrorism from all Arab Muslims will continue.
  • This situation in Palestine is completely Europe’s fault. “We have tried to raise the issue of the 100-year-old Balfour Declaration. Some people have rebuked us for this: After 100 years you bring this up again? Yes. We brought it up after 100 years, and we still do. We will continue to talk about it until Great Britain apologizes, pays reparations, and recognizes the State of Palestine. But the issue goes back long before that, my brothers. The late Egyptian intellectual Abdel-Wahab El-Messiri was among the most important people who talked about the Zionist movement and Judaism. His encyclopedias and volumes are well known throughout the Arab world. He describes that entity as follows: ‘The functional nature of Israel means that it was evoked by colonialism in order to fulfill a specific function, and thus it constitutes a colonialist enterprise that has nothing to do with Judaism… This did not begin 100 years ago. It did not begin with the Balfour Declaration. According to my humble knowledge – and I may be wrong and it actually began way before that… It began in 1653, when Cromwell ruled Britain. Cromwell staged a coup against the king and became the head of a republic in 1653. This was 300 years prior to the Balfour Declaration. He came up with the idea of transferring the Jews from Europe to the Middle East, to this region, because they wanted this region to become an advanced post to protect the interests and the convoys coming from Europe to the East. This is a well-known story, and there’s no need to repeat it – the East India Company and all that… He asked Holland, which owned the largest fleet in the world, to transfer the Jews, but the project was unsuccessful. This was in 1653.” Abbas told the European powers that they are the culprits that stole the land from Arabs to both rid themselves of Jews and create a safe outpost in the region to protect European interests. Jews are but tools in the European colonial project.

Abbas’s speech was not directed at the US nor at Israel. He views them as completely unhelpful to his plan to seize control of land and power in the holy land.

Abbas addressed the European powers to rectify the wrong that he believes they perpetrated on the Palestinian Arabs. He feels that it is not only Europe’s moral responsibility, but if they want to stop the bloodshed in the Middle East through peaceful negotiations, then the only people that can make that happen are Abbas and the European leaders.

Will the Europeans care that the speech was an insane antisemitic conspiracy of fake history? Why should they? J Street, a group of alt-left Jews, took the bait immediately and called on Europe to aggressively insert itself into the situation. “Now, however, in the absence of responsible American leadership, the international community must do everything in its power to prevent further backsliding and destructive measures by all parties.

Abbas knows his audience. J Street and the alt-left in Europe will support his view that Israel must be cornered and compelled to accept the Palestinian vision. They will adopt the revisionist history that Palestinian Arabs have been passive victims for hundreds of years of European, Jewish and American aggression, and it’s time for all of them to pay compensation.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Israel’s Colonial Neighbors from Arabia

Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies

J Street is a Partisan Left-Wing Group, NOT an Alternative to AIPAC

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

Enduring Peace versus Peace Now

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

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The Recognition Catch Up

The United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017 in a move that President Donald Trump said was a “long-overdue step.” Many countries disagreed, and viewed the announcement as premature, claiming that such recognition should be done in conjunction with a broader peace process and mirror whatever the Israelis and Palestinian Authority themselves agree to.

If anything, Trump’s move was very late considering the recognition that had been afforded to the Palestinian Arabs over the previous decade.

Recognition of Palestine

In 1988, the Palestinian Liberation Organization declared its independence. Israel and the western world ignored the declaration of the noted terrorist organization, while fellow Arab and Muslim countries quickly recognized the State of Palestine.

Within a few years of the PLO declaration, the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs signed the Oslo Accords (in 1993 and 1995) which put in motion a peace process, including the creation of a Palestinian Authority (PA). As part of those agreements, both parties agreed that the PA would have limited powers regarding international relations (Article IX), including having no ability to obtain official recognition from other governmental bodies.

In accordance with the DOP, the Council will not have powers and
responsibilities in the sphere of foreign relations, which sphere includes the
establishment abroad of embassies, consulates or other types of foreign missions and posts or permitting their establishment in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, the
appointment of or admission of diplomatic and consular staff, and the exercise of
diplomatic functions.”

When the leader of the PA, Yasser Arafat (fungus be upon him) failed to deliver on peace and launched a second intifada in September 2000, the peace process ground to a halt. Any movement by world organizations and governments to provide additional recognition on key issues for the Israelis and PA was put on hold.

Yet the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas pushed forward with seeking global recognition, even as he lost control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Abbas began with Costa Rica (2008) and Venezuela (2009) before making significant headway with the major countries in South America.

In 2010, Abbas got Brazil and Argentina to recognize Palestine, despite commitments in the Oslo Accords that the PA would not take such steps. The Israeli foreign ministry released a statement that  “Recognition of a Palestinian state is a violation of the interim agreement signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 1995, which established that the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be discussed and solved through negotiations….  All attempts to bypass negotiations and to unilaterally determine issues in dispute will only harm the trust of the sides and their commitment to agreed upon frameworks for negotiations.

No matter.

In 2011, other South American countries recognized Palestine including Chile and Uruguay. UNESCO followed suit and admitted the “State of Palestine.” Shortly thereafter, Iceland became the first country in western Europe to recognize Palestine, with borders based on the 1949 Armistice Lines. By the following year, the United Nations began calling the entity the “State of Palestine” in all official documents.

Remarkably, at the end of the third Hamas war on Israel in 2014, Sweden became the second western European country to recognize Palestine.

Recognition of Jerusalem

While Abbas’s PA actively sought recognition of a state since 2008, Israel was fighting three wars from Gaza and a “stabbing intifada.” Israel was not busy lobbying the world to recognize Jerusalem as its capital, but focused on getting the world to stop the Islamic Republic of Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons while it declared its intention of destroying Israel.

While the Palestinian Authority was playing offense, Israel was playing defense.

At this point in time, with over 20 countries and United Nations entities recognizing Palestine over the past decade despite the explicit statements in the Oslo Accords, isn’t it well past time for countries of the world to recognize the capital of Israel?

Alternatively, if countries are truly concerned with the peace process, they can strip their recognition of Palestine, and leave the Israelis and PA to negotiate their peace, including matters related to borders, settlements and Jerusalem, and ultimately embrace the conclusion of the parties. Impartiality demands one or the other.


Jerusalem from the air, facing north


Related First.One.Through articles:

Both Israel and Jerusalem are Beyond Recognition to Muslim Nations

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

The US Recognizes Israel’s Reality

The UN’s #Alternative Facts about the 1967 Six Day War

Welcoming the Unpopular Non-President (Abbas) of a Non-Country (Palestine)

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

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Reviewing the Rhetoric of Palestinian Arabs and Israelis

On September 25, 2017, Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process submitted a report to the UN Security Council. In it, he gave his thoughts about how the Israelis and Palestinian Authority were performing in regards to upholding the UNSC Resolution 2334.

Nickolay Mladenov

Here was his statement reviewing the rhetoric of both sides:

Mr. President, Security Council resolution 2334 called upon both parties to refrain from acts of provocation, incitement, and inflammatory rhetoric, and to condemn all acts of terrorism.

At the height of the July crisis around the holy sites of Jerusalem, officials and representatives on all sides employed provocative rhetoric.

In the midst of what were largely peaceful protests, Hamas and senior Palestinian Authority officials called for an escalation and a “day of rage” across the occupied Palestinian territory. Hamas and others continued to openly glorify attacks, describing the murder of three Israelis at their home in Halamish as “heroic.”

Meanwhile, President Abbas explicitly condemned the 14 July attack, and, in an attempt to calm tensions at the holy sites, some Palestinian leaders and religious authorities on both sides called on protestors to avoid violence and provocation.

With regard to settlements, Israeli officials continued to use provocative rhetoric in support of expansion. On 3 August, the Israeli Prime Minister delivered an inaugural speech at the launch of construction for 1,000 new housing units in the Beitar Ilit settlement in which he praised the achievements of his Government in promoting settlement construction. On the 28th of August, he said that “there will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel (…) we will deepen our roots, build, strengthen and settle”. Other senior Israeli politicians also made repeated calls for annexation of the West Bank, with one Member of Knesset expressing his desire to “destroy” hopes for Palestinian statehood, and stated that “there is room to define and realize the national aspirations of one people only — the Jewish people.”

The statement is remarkable in several respects.

  1. Abbas Gets Congratulated Rather than Admonished. The lopsided anti-Israel UNSC resolution included few calls on both parties. One was for both Israelis and the PA to stop incitement and provocations to violence. The Mladenov report to the UNSC praised Palestinian leadership, and Mahmoud Abbas in particular. In doing so, it ignored Abbas’ incitement to violence – specifically his bounty payments to the families of terrorists that kill Israelis. The US Congress is about to vote to withhold aid to the PA in the Taylor Force Act because of such incitement. Abbas’s political party repeated its incitement the following day on September 26, as a Palestinian Arab killed three Israelis, Fatah party once again praised the work of the “martyr.”
  2. Netanyahu’s Call for Calm Ignored. Mladenov praised Abbas’ condemnation of the July 14 Palestinian terrorist attack which killed Israelis, and noted that some Palestinian leaders called for calm. But he made no mention of Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders that repeatedly called for calm after the murders.
  3. Palestinian Arab incitement to violence equated with Israelis calls for building homes. The Palestinian Arabs call for the murder of Israelis time and again, while the Israeli government builds homes for Israelis in disputed territory. How can the UN seriously equate the construction of homes and schools with the calls for murder?
  4. The UN Wants Hamas to be part of the Palestinian Authority Leadership. While Mladenov admitted that Hamas openly glorifies attacks on Israelis, the UN still continues to push forward the notion of including such terrorist organization in the Palestinian government. Why?

Somehow the United Nations believes that promoting those that call for murder while slandering those that call for coexistence is a recipe for a “peace process.” How? I don’t know.


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UN Secretary General Guterres is Losing the Confidence of Decent People

The United Nations’ Incitement to Violence

What’s “Outrageous” for the United Nations

The United Nations Once Again “Encourages” Hamas

The Only Religious Extremists for the United Nations are “Jewish Extremists”

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

The United Nations’ Ban Ki Moon Exposes Israeli Civilians

The Hollowness of the United Nations’ “All”

The United Nations’ Remorse for “Creating” Israel

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The UN’s #Alternative Facts about the 1967 Six Day War

On June 5, 2017, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres made a statement about the 1967 Six Day War. His opinion piece laid out a distinct narrative, or in common parlance, #AlternativeFacts. Below is a review of his actual remarks with a First.One.Through review of the same facts.


UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary General, UNSG:Today marks 50 years since the start of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which resulted in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians.”

First.One.Through, FOT:Today marks 50 years since a miracle thwarted Arab countries’ stated goal of annihilating the only Jewish State and millions of Jews.”

UNSG:This occupation has imposed a heavy humanitarian and development burden on the Palestinian people. Among them are generation after generation of Palestinians who have been compelled to grow-up and live in ever more crowded refugee camps, many in abject poverty, and with little or no prospect of a better life for their children.

FOT: Israel has built an amazing thriving democracy among its Jewish and non-Jewish populations since its brush with annihilation in 1967. Regrettably, the UN has continued to make the Arab population in Gaza and elsewhere its wards, pretending that descendants of internally displaced people have any rights as refugees. Worse, the SAPs continue to deny the basic history and rights of Jews to live in their holy land, offering little hope for living together in peace.

UNSG:The occupation has shaped the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis. It has fuelled recurring cycles of violence and retribution. Its perpetuation is sending an unmistakable message to generations of Palestinians that their dream of statehood is destined to remain just that, a dream; and to Israelis that their desire for peace, security and regional recognition remains unattainable.”

FOT: The denial of Jewish history, rights and dignity, and the Palestinian Authority leadership’s incitement to violence have continued a poisonous venom that has permeated the local Arab population since 1920. Until the Palestinian Arabs recognize the Jewish State’s rights in the land, the desire of both people for peace and security is just a dream. Recognition of the Jewish homeland is a means, not an ends to peace and security for all parties.”

UNSG:Ending the occupation that began in 1967 and achieving a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to lay the foundations for enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty. It is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”

FOT:The path of the Palestinian Arabs’ quest for legitimacy on the world stage is disappointing. Since Israel gave the local Arabs in Gaza the first taste of sovereignty by leaving the coastal strip in 2005, the local Arab population has squandered every opportunity. They elected a terrorist group, Hamas, to a majority of parliament. They spent most of their global aid building attack tunnels into Israel rather than developing their economy. They launched three wars against Israel, in 2008, 2012 and 2014. Their actions make this global body question the basic logic of statehood and sovereignty for the local Arabs, rather than having portions of the disputed land be incorporated into Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

UNSG:Now is not the time to give up on this goal. Continued settlement construction and expansion; violence and incitement; and the illicit arms build-up and militant activity in Gaza risk creating a one-state reality that is incompatible with realizing the legitimate national and historic aspirations of both peoples. Now is the time to return to direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, agreements and international law. Now is the time to end the conflict by establishing an independent Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel. 

FOT:Based on past actions, it is time to reconsider the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – which hasn’t held elections in years and cannot control its own people and territory – and to bring in Egypt and Jordan into the process now. Those two countries have made peace with Israel, and those two countries had administered the two areas in question.

UNSG: Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remove a driver of violent extremism and terrorism in the Middle East and open the doors to cooperation, security, prosperity and human rights for all.

FOT:The turmoil in the Middle East including in: Syria; Iraq; Yemen; Sudan; and Libya have finally put an end to the argument that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the driver of violent extremism. It proves conclusively that radical Islamic ideology and the goal for a pure Muslim caliphate drives terrorism. Combatting radical Islamic teachings will stop terrorism in Israel and the world, and help bring peace everywhere.”

UNSG:In 1947, on the basis of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, the world recognized the two-state solution and called for the emergence of “independent Arab and Jewish states”. On 14 May 1948, the State of Israel was born. 
Almost seven decades later, the world still awaits the birth of an independent Palestinian state. The Secretary-General reiterates his offer to work with all relevant stakeholders to support a genuine peace process.”

FOT:In 1947, the Arab world flatly rejected UNGA Resolution 181 and made clear that it rejected an independent Jewish State anywhere in the region. When Israel declared statehood, the Arab countries fought a war to destroy the Jewish State completely. In 1967, the Arabs again threatened to annihilate every Jew in the land. Even today, the Arabs state that they want a Jew-free state, have laws that call for the capital punishment for any Arab selling land to a Jew and refuse to recognize Israel as the Jewish State. The Secretary-General reiterates that human rights, decency and dignity demand that Arabs recognize the Jewish State and Jewish rights, and thereby put the region on a pathway to long-term peace and prosperity.”

Just saying.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

Considering a Failed Palestinian State

Nikki Haley Will Not Equivocate on the Ecosystem of Violence

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

Opinion: Remove the Causefire before a Ceasefire

Mutual Disagreement of Mediators and Judges in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

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Welcoming the Unpopular Non-President (Abbas) of a Non-Country (Palestine)

On May 3, 2017, the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, came to the United States to meet US President Donald Trump. Is this the pathway to the “ultimate deal” of peace between Israel and its neighbors?

Unlikely.


President Donald Trump shook hands with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office on May 3, 2017. ( Photo: EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Abbas has no Legitimacy

Abbas was elected to a four year-term as President in 2005. That term ran out in January 2009, and he has refused to hold new presidential elections as he and his Fatah party are weak.

Abbas has no Control

A year after Abbas took office, the Palestinian Arabs elected the rival political party, Hamas, which is viewed by much of the world as a terrorist entity, to 58% of the parliament of the Palestinian Authority. In 2007, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip and launched three wars against Israel (2008; 2012; and 2014). Abbas either supported those wars or he had no control over the region.

Abbas is Unpopular

The Palestinian Arabs poll themselves on a number of issues every three months. In September 2015, they began to ask people their thoughts of Abbas. In every poll since that time, between 61% and 65% of respondents wanted Abbas to resign.

The Palestinians Prefer War

While Abbas would have won several theoretical elections many years ago, his rival in Hamas has become the Palestinian favorite as a result of the wars against Israel. As evidence, in the September 2012 Palestinian poll, Abbas would have beaten rival Ismail Haniyeh by 11%, but he would have lost by 3% just three months later after the November 2012 Hamas war. Abbas’s popularity bounced back in the next quarter’s poll, but he has never been able to recover from his dramatic fall in popularity after the 2014 Hamas war: In the June 2014 poll Abbas would have beaten his Hamas rival by 12%; after the war, Abbas would have lost by 17%.

The Palestinians are done with Abbas and prefer to stake a future with terrorists.

Lack of Support for Two States

Since the 2014 Hamas war, Palestinians have become ambivalent about a two-state solution, with roughly even percentages supporting and opposing the plan. The notion reached the lowest point at the aggressive Palestinian push of the “stabbing intifada” in December 2015, when 54% of respondents stated they opposed two-states to 45% in favor.

Abbas has no Ability to Govern

In the last ten of the twelve years that Abbas has headed the Palestinian Authority, he has been unable to rule. He has not been able to control Gaza or reconcile with rival political parties. How can he possibly be expected to negotiate and deliver a peace deal with Israel?


Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas Continues to Attack Every Aspect of Zionism

Abbas has used every opportunity during his tenure to fight against the basic rights and beliefs of the Jewish State, laid out in international law (references to the 1922 Palestine Mandate below):

  • Citizenship: Abbas stated that no Israelis will be citizens of a Palestinian State, even while international law promoted Jewish citizenship. (Palestine Mandate Article 7: “facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews,” and Article 15: “No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.“)
  • History: Abbas routinely denies the 3000+ year history of Jews in their holy land and works with United Nations agencies to promote false narratives. (Palestine Mandate preamble: “recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine“)
  • Owning Land: Abbas has said that no Jews can own land in Palestinian areas, and PA law has a death sentence on any Arab that sells land to Jews. (Palestine Mandate Article 6: “shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.“)
  • Immigration: International law in 1920 and 1922 explicitly encouraged Jews to move to the holy land. Meanwhile, Abbas has sought an international apology for the declaration. (Palestine Mandate Article 6: “shall facilitate Jewish immigration“)
  • Reconstituting the Jewish Homeland was the stated goal of the San Remo conference and the Palestine Mandate. Abbas has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that Israel is a Jewish State. (Palestine Mandate preamble: “grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country“)
  • Freedom of Religion and Worship was both part of the international laws calling for reestablishing the Jewish homeland, and part of Israel’s basic laws. However, Abbas seeks to prohibit Jews from accessing and praying at their holiest location. (Palestine Mandate Article 13: “securing free access to the Holy Places” and Article 15: “complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship.“)

The Freedom CHOIR are fundamental building blocks of long established international law underpinning the Jewish State.  And the weak and unpopular Abbas tramples on every aspect of it.

In case the aforementioned list wasn’t enough, Abbas peddles vile Holocaust conspiracies, as a further affront to the Jewish people.

The Ugly Straw Man

So the inept straw man came to Washington, D.C. to meet with the president of the United States. Is he the man that can negotiate and deliver peace. No.

Abbas serves as a fig leaf for both Israeli and Palestinian leaders that they are actually moving forward with a peace process.

If people wanted to take constructive steps towards peace, there are two different paths to take: 1) treat Abbas like the unpopular straw man that he is, and force him to accept the peace proposal that is put in front of him; or 2) let the Palestinian Arabs hold new elections with someone that has the backing of the people and can deliver on the results of the negotiations. If the Arabs elect someone who has no interest in peace, then the Israelis have no need to compromise on its cherished goals.

The failure of past peace processes was that they were based on a failed dynamic. There is no point in dealing with a cut-out. It is time to either treat Abbas like the straw man that he is, or show him the door.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Abbas Knows Racism

The Disappointing 4+6 Abbas Anniversary

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

The Only Precondition for MidEast Peace Talks

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

“Mainstream” and Abbas’ Jihad

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

Mutual Disagreement of Mediators and Judges in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

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Abbas demands R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Aretha Franklin)

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Mutual Disagreement of Mediators and Judges in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Mediators serve an important role in conflicts. They attempt to bridge the gap between parties to arrive at a mutually-agreed upon compromise to conclude the disagreement. If the mediator cannot resolve the matter, it is most likely that a judge would be tasked at making – and imposing – a final ruling.

Take divorce as an example. A mediator may be brought in by the parties to resolve issues related to child custody. If the mediator cannot get the parties to agree to terms, the case would go to court to rule on the matter.

Obama and Trump as Mediators

In February 2017, US President Donald Trump seemed to take a new stance in trying to mediate the Israeli-Arab conflict. In response to a reporter’s question about how the US will approach its role as a mediator, Trump said:

“So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.  (Laughter.)  I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.  I can live with either one.  

I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two.  But honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians — if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”

The media went wild. They printed headlines that Trump abandoned the two-state solution.

In actuality, Trump said that he is happy if the parties themselves are happy. The role of the mediator was not to dictate the outcome but to resolve the conflict so that the parties themselves reach a consensus. The goal was peace between the parties, not necessarily a particular formula to get there.

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) laughs with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Consider the contrast in Obama’s approach to the negotiations and the response of the media. In May 2011 Obama said:

“I said that the United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine.  The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps — (applause) — so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.”

The media noted that Obama laid out a conclusion of what the final result of the compromise would look like: two states.

The Obama speech irked the Israeli government that was clear in its intention of not returning to the “Auschwitz” lines of 1967.  Obama countered that he had not laid out a conclusion that was not a matter of consensus, as he specifically included language that there would be “mutually agreed” land swaps.

From Mediator to Biased Mediator to Judge

If a mediator in a divorce announced that she was open to the father having custody or the woman having custody of the children, whichever conclusion could be worked out by the parties, her position would be considered open and balanced. However, if she stated that the mother would have custody and that the only matter to work out was whether the father would see the children on Tuesdays or Fridays, her position as mediator would be seen as clearly biased. The inclusion of a minor clause that the only point being considered was a matter of visitation, while the broad parameters were already concluded, would be seen as a jaundiced farce.

And so was the position of Obama.

He did not focus on a bringing peace agreed to by each party, but stated an outcome that he viewed as fair. Obama abandoned his position as a private unbiased mediator. Not surprisingly, the Israeli government not only questioned the content of Obama’s statement, but his role as both a mediator and important ally.

In November 2016, when Obama’s preferred presidential successor Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic election, Obama decided that ANY role for the United States as a mediator had concluded, as he did not believe that Donald Trump’s administration would be fair, competent or effective. It was therefore time to pass the Israeli-Arab Conflict to a judge: the United Nations.

In December 2016, Obama directed his UN ambassador Samantha Power to abstain from an important vote, thereby allowing United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 to pass which declared that Israelis living east of the Green Line was illegal. Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry then went on to berate Israel (still under the guise as a “mediator”):

“Provide for secure and recognized international borders between Israel and a viable and contiguous Palestine, negotiated based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed equivalent land swaps.”

Team Obama again left the “mutually agreed” clause at the edges – literally. And Kerry added a new dimension that the land swaps should be “equivalent,” echoing a phrase (“comparable”) introduced by the Arab League.

President Obama moved his team from an impartial mediator to a biased one, happy to hand the situation to a judge that shared his animus for Israel. As he left office, Obama chose to belittle and undermine both the Trump administration and Israel, by enabling the UN and world to begin boycotting and suing the Jewish State.

Obama was well aware that the UN was anti-Israel at its core as it moved to sideline a negotiated solution between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs. Samantha Power read a prepared statement right after UNSC 2334 passed:

“But in reality this vote for us was not straightforward, because of where it is taking place – at the United Nations. For the simple truth is that for as long as Israel has been a member of this institution, Israel has been treated differently from other nations at the United Nations. And not only in decades past – such as in the infamous resolution that the General Assembly adopted in 1975, with the support of the majority of Member States, officially determining that, “Zionism is a form of racism” – but also in 2016, this year. One need only look at the 18 resolutions against Israel adopted during the UN General Assembly in September; or the 12 Israel-specific resolutions adopted this year in the Human Rights Council – more than those focused on Syria, North Korea, Iran, and South Sudan put together – to see that in 2016 Israel continues to be treated differently from other Member States.”

In other words, Obama knew that the judge would eviscerate Israel, but if Team Obama could not bring peace, this was the best that could be hoped for.

Trump’s Two Fronts: A New Mediator and Sidelining the Judge

The Trump administration now has a two-pronged effort to resolve the century old conflict: as a new unbiased mediator, and as an active player in managing the judge.

As the UN officially declared (with Obama’s blessing) that Jews are illegally living in their homeland in a reversal of the League of Nations declarations of 1920 and 1922, the Trump administration is actively fighting back.

On March 18, 2017, after a UN agency released a report that Israel is an “apartheid state,” the US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley pressured the UN to withdraw the report. The diplomat that co-authored the report refused and resigned. Haley applauded the move, saying “When someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the U.N., it is appropriate that the person resign.

Earlier in the week, Trump’s new envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to re-launch the peace process that was crippled by the Obama administration. After the meeting with Abbas, the US Consulate General said that the two men “reaffirmed the commitment of both the Palestinian Authority and the United States to advance a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”


Obama concluded his tenure regarding the Israeli conflict as a disgrace. He proved to be a terrible and biased mediator. To add an exclamation to his failure, his hubris compelled him to undermine the Trump Administration’s role of mediator, and passed the conflict into the hands of anti-Semitic judges at the United Nations.

Obama made the odds of achieving peace in the Middle East more remote. But perhaps under the watch of Nikki Haley and Jason Greenblatt, the peace process will get another chance.


Related First.One.Through articles:

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

The Illogic of Land Swaps

Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

A “Viable” Palestinian State

John Kerry: The Declaration and Observations of a Failure

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John Kerry: The Declaration and Observations of a Failure

Over the past decades, the literary world has seen the introduction of a new specialized category of books enter the mainstream and become very popular: do-it-yourself books, or DIY for short.  Books like the “…For Dummies” have been written on a wide range of topics, ranging from auto repair, to football, to computer programming. People believed that they could understand – or at least become proficient at a subject – by reading a book by someone they never heard of or knew.

Yet people purchased the books without knowledge of the author for a few reasons: 1) they obviously wanted to learn the material, and wanted an easy to understand tutorial;  2) they knew the brand covered lot of topics and was widely popular; and 3) they may have heard good reviews from a friend. One would imagine that  if the people heard bad reviews or knew that the author was a failure, no one would touch the books.

Is this formulation true in politics? If people want to learn something from a former politician, would they care if the person was a failure? If no one they respect likes the politician’s opinion would they listen? Or would the brand of their position (their title) hold enough clout that they would pay any attention to what that person had to say?

kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry traveled the world for the last four years with a fantastic brand: the global diplomat for the most powerful country in the world and a leading democracy. His credentials opened doors in every part of the globe, as countries sought to trade with US, or to obtain US protection and aid.

But Kerry’s impact on the Middle East was terrible.  The eight years of the Obama administration watched the region spiral into killing fields and a race for nuclear weapons. One of the results for the failures in word and deed has been the worst refugee crisis in generations, with millions of Muslims and Arabs fleeing into the western world.

Americans noted the failed foreign policy (and domestic too), and voted out any continuation of Obama’s policies.

So as he was leaving office, Obama doubled down on his failure. He gave tacit approval to a UN Security Council resolution condemening Israelis living across an invisible line as “illegal,” and then his Secretary of Defense John Kerry condemned Israel in a long speech.  Presumably the speech was for Israelis and Palestinian Arab consumption, as well as their leadership. It was likely intended for in the incoming Trump administration as well.

The issue for all of these consumers is that the authors are confirmed failures.  The Obama administration could not get the Palestinian Authoity to even engage seriously with Israel. Instead, the PA sought unilateral action at the United Nations to become a state. It was rewarded by the Obama administration with another UN victory, but no movement towards peace.

With such a tarnished image, and a step from retirement, why would Israelis or their leadership pay heed to the actions and comments of Obama and Kerry?  Have any of their supporters “bought the book” and think there are pearls of wisdom to be found?

The Pro Israel Community Reaction

Virtually the entire pro-Israel community condemned Kerry’s remarks. AIPAC, the Zionist Organization of America, Bnai Brith, the Simon Weisenthal Center and the Anti Defamation League were all highly critical of Kerry’s thoughts about Israel.

Only the left-wing fringe group, J Street, that has long pushed the Obama administration to condemn Israel at the United Nations, applauded the UN resolution and Kerry’s speech. In language that masked the far flung liberal mindset of the group, it stated that such a move was “bipartisan” in the hope of swinging would-be “pro-Israel, pro-peace” consumers to ingest the bile.


John Kerry spoke to the world about the centrality of Israel’s security to any peace agreement, even after a history of the State Department giving only scant lip service to Israel’s need to fight terrorism, while the US enabled Iran to keep its entire nuclear weapons infrastructure. Kerry said that “friendships require mutual repect.” Is that why Obama snubbed Israel by turning down an invitation to speak to the Knesset and opted to address Israeli students – long before Netanyahu came to address Congress in 2015?

Neither the Israeli people nor Israeli leadership was listening to Kerry. The Trump administration made clear that they think the Obama/ Kerry policies were total failures. The major pro-Israel groups came out against the UN vote and Kerry’s speech, and went on to educate the broader pro-Israel community that the remarks were disgraceful, and the approach unacceptable.

Which leaves a person to wonder who Kerry was actually addressing.

The reality was that the speech was not meant as a call to action for Israel or the incoming Trump administration to move the region towards peace.  Kerry was addressing the Arab world and telling them they were right all along. Kerry followed a long list of Democrats seeking a lavish life in retirement, like Jimmy Carter, the Clinton Foundation and Al Gore.

Kerry used the western world as a vehicle to show his devotion to the Palestinian cause. He treated the Israelis as mere tools so that he can enjoy the splendors of the Arab world.

For those that seek actual peace in the Middle East, the declaration and observations of a failure should be treated in the manner it deserves.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The US State Department’s Selective Preference of “Status Quos”

The United States Joins the Silent Chorus

Select Support in Fighting Terrorism from the US State Department

US State Department Comments on Terrorism in Israel and the Territories

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Time for Obama to Address Palestinian Arabs Directly

The Palestinian Arabs conduct polls of themselves every few months. The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research  publish the polls for all to see.

It would appear that the United Nations and the Obama Administration refuse to read and internalize the clear print.

Consider the poll completed in September 2016.  The findings concluded:

“current level of support for an armed intifada remains high and a majority opposes the Russian invitation for a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu in Moscow. Moreover, the public remains highly pessimistic about the French Initiative’s chances of success. Finally, Hamas’ candidate for the presidency, Ismail Haniyeh remains more popular than Abbas.”

The Palestinian Arabs continue to “support an armed intifada,” meaning killing Israelis rather than speaking and negotiating with them.  The Arabs further support the terrorist group Hamas rather than the “more moderate” Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas.

But the US and the United Nations don’t acknowledge these persistent inconvenient facts.

On November 29, 2016, the US State Department had its daily press briefing were Spokesperson John Kirby stated:

” in order to get there [two state solution], you have to see tangible leadership on both sides to ratchet down the rhetoric and to reduce the violence and to show a willingness to sit down and have discussions about a two-state solution. That hasn’t been the case….
we need to see the leadership on both sides take the kinds of actions to realize a two-state solution; to commit to a willingness to sit down and have those kinds of discussions and to effect those kinds of negotiations. And his point was exactly and succinctly right: You can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. You have to – ultimately – and we’ve said this time and time again – you have to see leadership exuded and demonstrated there in the region. They have to be willing to get to this two-state solution or it’s not going to be sustainable. And I think if you go back and look at the transcript of his remarks, you’ll see that he expounded on that thought in exactly – almost exactly those words.

The US State Department seemed to recognize the failure of Palestinian leadership – but not the Palestinian people. It chose to equivocate in condemning Israeli settlements by also blaming the impasse of advancing peace talks on Palestinian leadership.  However, the State Department never is critical of the Palestinian Arabs who continue to favor violence and terrorism instead of coexistence and peace.

On that same November day, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon also blamed the leadership of the two parties. “Israeli and Palestinian leaders still voice their support for the two-State solution. However, without urgent steps to revive a political perspective, they risk entrenching a one-state reality.” According to the UN, the failures of leadership have in turn caused anger from the populations:

“All this has led to growing anger and frustration among Palestinians and profound disillusionment among Israelis. It has strengthened radicals and weakened moderates on both sides.”

The inversion of cause-and-effect never enters the mindset of Ban Ki-Moon, that Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas cannot take steps towards peace, because his own people demand more forceful actions.  The UN will state that Palestinian Arab civilians are simply “resorting to violence” and are “desperate” for a state, even though the entire fabric of the PA, Fatah and Hamas is about the destruction of the Jewish State.

A New Path

US President Obama declined to address the Israeli parliament when he visited Israel in March 2013, and instead addressed Israeli citizens.   In his opening remarks he said “what I’ve most looked forward to is the ability to speak directly to you, the Israeli people — especially so many young people who are here today — (applause) — to talk about the history that brought us here today, and the future that you will make in the years to come.”

Perhaps the final gesture to advancing peace between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, is for Obama to address the Palestinian Arabs directly to accept their Jewish neighbors and build a future together, rather than reward the intransigence of the Palestinian Authority as former US President Jimmy Carter suggested on that same November 29 day of willful blindness.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Cause and Effect: Making Gaza

It’s the Democracy, Stupid

Opinion: Remove the Causefire before a Ceasefire

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