Failing Negotiation 102: Europe

“Or What?”

While the United States clearly failed in Negotiation 101 by advancing a peace process that had no chance of success, it is Europe that is failing Negotiation 102.

A basic question in any negotiation is “or what?” If talks break down, where does one stand? Can a party achieve more by having negotiations fail? If so, there would be no motivation to negotiate earnestly.

Those are the questions that acting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is weighing now. Can he get more from the world than he can from negotiating directly with Israel? Based on his assessment of the United Nations and countries willing to prematurely recognize a Palestinian State, he believes that he will achieve greater concessions through a globally mandated solution.

Abbas has been developing this backup (primary?) campaign for several years. The two principal components are recognition (of Palestine) and marginalization (of Israel).   The recognition of Palestine as a state started with UNESCO in 2011. Abbas has continued to work other United Nations agencies and countries around the world to recognize the PA as a sovereign state. In the fall of 2014, Sweden and other European countries began to give Abbas what he desired.

The tool that Abbas hopes will be used to pressure Israel into accepting a globally imposed solution is the BDS (boycott, divest and sanction) movement. If Abbas can convince the world to cease doing business and trade with Israel, he feels that the world can dictate a solution upon Israel which is very reliant on exports for its economy.

As/if European countries move forward with recognizing a state of Palestine and penalizing Israel economically, they effectively will halt any chance for direct peace negotiations. Abbas will not return to the negotiating table while he believes that the world will award him a country with greater borders and controls than he could win in negotiations with Israel.

Even if Abbas doesn’t secure everything he desires from world bodies over the near-term, he would still continue down the unilateral course, as he believes it would position him better in negotiations with Israel at a future point in time, securing whatever advantages he can now. He would further bolsters his credibility with Palestinian Arabs by not giving any concessions while winning Israeli concessions from the world.

And what does Israel gain in a failed peace process? What is its “or what?”

The only “advantage” Israel gains in stalled talks is continuing to permit Jews to move to Judea and Samaria, which may solidify territories under Israeli control in a final settlement. But it loses significantly at the same time from the lack of peace. For eight years it has had Palestinians attacking its citizens from Gaza. It watches Hezbollah in Lebanon gather more weaponry and ready for war. Iran moves forward towards nuclear weapons while calling for Israel’s destruction. As such, the failure of reaching a peace agreement continues to threaten the country. What other country in the world has bomb shelters in every house and every hotel? What other country over the past twenty years has needed to distribute gas masks to its citizens? What other country in the world has countries that refuse to acknowledge its existence? To threaten the country with extermination?

 

Currently, European and the United Nations’ actions are actively encouraging the Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations with Israel. How far will they continue to move in this direction?


Sources:

UNESCO recognizes Palestine: http://world.time.com/2011/10/31/palestinian-statehood-gets-recognized-unesco-whats-next/

Sweden recognizing Palestine: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/03/sweden-recognise-state-palestine

Saeb Erekat calling for BDS: http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Erekat-Israel-preparing-major-settlement-expansion-annexation-355397

Related FirstOneThrough article:

Failing Negotiations 101: the United States https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/failing-negotiation-101-the-united-states/

 

abbas UN

 

 

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Silwan Circulars, Christmas 2014

A Sad and Sick Satire

Ahmed and Mohammed were very excited to open the newspaper one cold day in late 2014. The brothers knew that the paper was packed with colorful circulars for Christmas 2014. While they were devout Muslims, they appreciated toys as much as the next kid, and this year’s circular promised to be one of the best ever.

The boys ripped open the paper and let the various pages fall into the middle of the room. They grabbed handfuls of inserts that colored the hard floor. Each claimed a stack to himself and started to review the pictures and text.

The brothers learned quickly that each insert was sponsored by a different organization. The younger Mohammed yelled out “this one is from Hamas!” It had a giant picture of Khaled Mashaal pointing his finger in the air with a quote: “Who says you can no longer afford it?” Mohammed began to read off the promotions for the Hamas circular:

  • A model train set modeled after the Jerusalem light rail line, complete with switches to blow up the stations and rail cars
  • A kit called “Terror Tunnel for Tots,” complete with 160 small shovels named for each of the children who died digging in Gaza
  • Dera” T-shirts with targets on them, (dera means “shield” in Arabic)
  • A hand grip exerciser which claimed to strengthen hands and empower stone throwing
  • An assortment of emojis including ones with a green bandana, a keffiyeh, and black ski mask
  • An adaption of the Majesco Entertainment game “Zumba” called “Boomba” which gets suicide bombers into shape
  • An advertisement for summer camp where children as young as three can learn to shoot guns and sport suicide vests
  • The back page included a note that any order comes with a copy of the Hamas Charter, animated with pictures of Jews as apes and pigs killing prophets

The older brother Ahmed got the circular promotion from Fatah. The large picture at the top of the front page was of acting PA President Mahmoud Abbas speaking at the United Nations with the teaser “Free Palestine”. The circular included:

  • Two large pictures of a shirtless Abbas with the quote “Let us stand before them with chests bared”. The ad offered a waxing service and showed Abbas with a hairy chest and the other smooth as a baby’s bottom.
  • A new release of “Martyr Cards”, updated with the newest inductees including Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shaloudi (killed a three-month old with his car), and Mu’taz Ibrahim Khalil Hijazi (shooter of Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick)
  • A “Hanging Kit” including ropes of different sizes, “ideal for hanging land brokers who sell land to Jews”
  • A GoPro Car hood ornament, perfect for videoing running over Israelis
  • A map of the Jerusalem light rail with markings to show which ones have roadblocks
  • The back page had a picture of a scene with baby Jesus in a kheffiyeh with a sign that read “Bethlehem, Palestine”. Underneath the picture was a coupon for five “Apartheid Wall Paint” spray cans for graffiti, with any order of $200

The Islamic Jihad circular was relatively small:

  • A collection of small model cars with spikes on the front grill, some painted “Jew red” according to the outer box.
  • A couple of bumper stickers which read “We Don’t Break for Jews” and ”Islamic Jihad – Supplying Suicide Bombers for your Community”
  • Boxes of “Killing Candies” to be handed out to the community upon the murder of any American or Israeli

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine used the full page for a single ad on each side:

  • A knife collection in various sizes, ideal for Papa Terrorist, Mama Terrorist and Baby Terrorist. Buying two or more sets entitles the purchaser to the newly branded “Jerusalem Cleaver” like the one used to butcher four rabbis in November 2014
  • A vintage model airplane with various toy terrorists that can be placed inside to fly the plane to a destination of your choice

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine printed their circular in the format of a poster, only printing on one side:

  • The top of the page had pictures of ancient pottery. The website and phone number sat above a description for making “Ancient Pottery for Profit” for sale to tourists
  • The bottom of the page was full of skeleton keys, to represent homes of Palestinian Arabs lost in the 1948 “Nakba.” All items were labeled as being made locally in Syria.

The United States included a circular for the first time, likely as part of Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world. The advertisement included a big picture of Obama with a quote “A New Beginning” near his face. At the bottom of the page was a large picture of former US President Jimmy Carter holding up his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”. The Obama administration was offering a discount code and the ability to buy the book on the whitehouse.gov website.

The most exciting offers were high-end electronic gear from a joint marketing effort between New York University – the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and Brookstone. The offerings were beyond the boys expectations:

  • A rock pulling cart, complete with LED lights for night time stonings
  • A hand massager for relaxing the hands after a full day of rock throwing
  • A hand sized electric lighter, ideal for igniting Molotov cocktails on the go
  • Earplugs connected to mosque loudspeakers, in case 120 decibels wasn’t enough to wake you up for morning prayers

The boys thought that they were done going through all of the advertisements when the older Ahmed found a small ad printed on thick cardboard stock. This insert was sponsored by the Qatari government. They offered $1,000 for anyone who died killing a Jew.

“That stinks,” said Ahmed. “Saudi Arabia and Iraq used to give us a heck of a lot more!”

“Well,” answered Mohammed, “they gave that money after the fact, when they knew how much it would cost them. At this point, Qatar isn’t sure how many people will sign up.”

Ahmed laughed and patted his younger brother on the shoulder. “You make an excellent point!”  Mohammed beamed.

“So what do you think of this year’s offerings?” Ahmed continued.

“I like the model train set which you can blow up,” he replied. “But I think it’s too expensive for Abi (father).”

“Oh, no, he can afford it,” answered Ahmed. “He just won’t go to such an expense without actually killing any Jews.”

Mohammed let out a huge laugh as he thought, this is going to be the best season ever.

20141128_090554


Sources:

Khaled Meshaal affordability: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/12684-meshaal-blames-netanyahu-for-current-escalation

The dead children of Hamas terror tunnels: http://tabletmag.com/scroll/180400/hamas-killed-160-palestinian-children-to-build-terror-tunnels

Abbas bare: http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=12915

Abbas “martyr inductees: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/10/23/abbas-fatah-praises-slayer-of-israeli-infant-as-holy-martyr-as-new-attack-footage-emerges-video/

http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-says-glick-shooter-will-go-to-heaven-as-martyr/

http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=709&fld_id=709&doc_id=9297

Fatah on hanging people on poles: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/11/16/video-plo-official-wants-horrific-punishments-for-palestinians-who-sell-land-to-jews/

Fatah run over Jews: http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=12979

Palestinian Jesus: http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.564989

Islamic Jihad candies: http://www.israelnewsagency.com/bostonmarathonterrorattackpalestiniansdancingcandygazaobamahamasislamicjihadhezbollahiran48041513.html

Reducing noise levels of call to prayer: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/178063#.VHi9I5stCUk

Hamas Themes song for kids “Teach Your Children Well (CSNY)”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF2fcaSPB6M

“Mainstream” and Abbas’ Jihad

Abbas’ call to Jihad is to put Fatah into the mainstream.

According to the Webster dictionary, “mainstream” means “a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence”. Dictionary.com defines it as “belonging to or characteristic of a principal, dominant, or widely accepted group, movement, style”.

It is perhaps telling (or sad?) that mainstream media does not understand what “mainstream” actually means. Consider the New York Times usage regarding acting-Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party. Time and again it refers to Fatah as “mainstream”:

  • November 6, 2014: “…the attacks on Fatah, the mainstream Palestinian party led by President Mahmoud Abbas…”
  • August 18, 2014: “Hamas and its main rival, the mainstream Fatah faction..”
  • June 2, 2014: “…which is dominated by the mainstream Fatah faction, and its rival Hamas…”
  • May 29, 2014: “…which is dominated by the mainstream Fatah faction, and its rival, …”

However, polls show that both a majority of Palestinians support Hamas and the direction of support is increasing. Consider the quote from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research on October 10, 2014:

the public still favors Hamas’ “way” over negotiations, and Hamas and Haniyeh
are still more popular than Fatah and Mahmud Abbas”

Further, the trend of the polls shows Fatah continuing to lose support. In legislative elections, Fatah support declined from 43% (March) to 40% (June) to 36% (September). It is Hamas, not Fatah that represents the “current direction or influence” of the Palestinians.

September 25, 2014 poll:

  • Hamas and Haniyeh remain more popular than Fatah and Abbas”
  • “satisfaction with Abbas remains low”
  • “presidential elections if held today: Ismail Haniyeh would win a majority of 55% and Abbas 38%”
  • “If new legislative elections were held today with the participation of all factions… 39% say they would vote for Hamas and 36% say they would vote for Fatah, 5% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 21% are undecided.”

June 5, 2014 poll:

  • “If new presidential elections are held today and only two were nominated, Abbas would receive 53 % and Haniyeh 41%”
  • “If new legislative elections are held today, 32% say they would vote for Hamas and 40% say they would vote for Fatah, 9% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 19% are undecided”

March 20, 2014 poll:

  • “If presidential elections were between three: Mahmud Abbas, Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh, Barghouti would receive the largest percentage (36%) followed by Abbas (30%), and Haniyeh (29%)”
  • “If new legislative elections are held today…28% say they would vote for Hamas and 43% say they would vote for Fatah, 12% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 17% are undecided.”

The Palestinians still want a war against Israel. Post Operation Protective Edge, over 79% of Palestinians want rocket fire to continue from Gaza into Israeli cities. Over 25% of Palestinians – in every Palestinian poll taken throughout 2014 – want a complete destruction of Israel.

Abbas knows this, and has used his soapbox afforded by his phony presidential credentials to incite more anger and violence as the Palestinian masses desire. Abbas and Fatah may eventually find their way to the “mainstream” of the Arab public by waving the banner of Jihad, just as its rival Hamas proclaims in its charter.

Quotes of Abbas, October and November 2014:

  • “Keep the settlers and the extremists away from Al-Aqsa and our holy places. We will not allow our holy places to be contaminated. Keep them away from us and we will stay away from them, but if they enter Al-Aqsa, [we] will protect Al-Aqsa and the church and the entire country.”
  • Israel is “leading the region and the world to a destructive religious war,”
  • “It is not enough to say the settlers came, but they must be barred from entering the compound by any means. This is our Aqsa… and they have no right to enter it and desecrate it,”
  • “It is important for the Palestinians to be united in order to protect Jerusalem,”
  • “We have to prevent them, in any way whatsoever, from entering the Sanctuary. This is our Sanctuary, our Al-Aqsa and our Church [of the Holy Sepulchre]. They have no right to enter it. They have no right to defile it. We must prevent them. Let us stand before them with chests bared to protect our holy places.” “

Sources:

FirstOneThrough on Extreme becoming Mainstream: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/extreme-and-mainstream-germany-1933-west-bank-gaza-2014/

Palestinian Survey: http://www.pcpsr.org/

Pick your Jihad, Choose your infidel: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/pick-your-jihad-pick-your-infidel/

The banners of Jihad: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/the-banners-of-jihad/

Abbas’ new Jihad: http://rt.com/news/204583-palestine-abbas-al-aqsa-hamas/

http://news.yahoo.com/abbas-urges-palestinians-protect-al-aqsa-means-191742798.html

Fatah call to kill sellers of land to Jews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfVsLzfuVu0

http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=12915