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Abbas Intends Extending Sham Peace Talks

by Stephen Lendman Friday, Apr. 11, 2014 at 12:28 AM


Abbas Intends Extending Sham Peace Talks

by Stephen Lendman

That's the word from Cairo. He requested an emergency Arab League meeting. Regional foreign ministers attended. More on this below.

Extending sham talks contradicts Abbas' earlier position. In January, he categorically rejected doing so. Nine months agreed on is enough, he said.

"We have had a large number of negotiation sessions, during which we discussed major issues."

"There is not talk about an extension. We need to focus on the remaining time and not think about prolonging the talks."

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat expressed the same sentiment. After the agreed on April 29 cutoff date, Palestinians won't add "even...a one-day extension," he said.

That was then. This is now. Expect Abbas to agree to what he rejected earlier. He says one thing. He does another.

He's a longtime Israeli collaborator. Equitable conflict resolution is impossible on his watch. Why Palestinians put up with him, they'll have to explain. Replacing him should be top priority.

The League of Arab States calls itself "a voluntary association of independent countries whose people are mainly Arabic speaking, (its) purposes are to strengthen ties among the member states, coordinate their policies, and promote their common interests."

Pro-Western despots head most of its 22 member states. An earlier article explained League history.

In 1942, Britain hoped to unite Arabs against Nazi Germany. In 1944, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, North Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Transjordan (Jordan and Palestine) formed the League of Arab States.

In 1945, a formalized Arab League Pact inaugurated it. Its members expanded to 22. In 1976, the Palestine Liberation Organization was admitted.

In 1979, suspension followed Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. League's headquarters relocated from Cairo to Tunis.

In 1987, diplomatic ties with Egypt were restored. In 1989, Egypt was readmitted. League headquarters returned to Cairo. It remains there.

Observer states include Brazil, Eritrea, India and Venezuela. Effective November 16, 2011, Syria was suspended.

Most member states affirm Pan-Arabism. In practice, they ignore it. PLO de-Arabization was a US/Israeli Oslo prerequisite. Most Arab states went along.

In 1998, 12 PLO National Charter articles were deleted. Another 16 were amended without Arab League objection. Most dealt with Pan-Arabism.

Palestinians get rhetorical support only. Member states represent power and privilege. They didn't condemn Israel's 2008-09 Gaza or 2006 Lebanon aggression.

Nor was its lawlessness officially rebuked. Isolating Israel never happened.

Arab League states didn't stop its 1947/1948 Nakba. Or its 1967 West Bank/Gaza/East Jerusalem/Golan/Sinai occupation.

Its 1982 Lebanon war/southern area occupation wasn't condemned. Or its de facto Lebanon Shebaa Farms annexation.

League members support US imperialism. Washington's 1991 Operation Desert Storm wasn't denounced. Nor its 2003 Iraq war and occupation.

In March 2011, UN Resolution 1973 was backed. No-fly zone authority was pretext for war. League members supported ravaging and destroying Libya.

They're on board against Syria. They condone what demands denunciation. Credibility isn't their long suit. Nor integrity, honor, democratic values and affirmation of rule of law principles.

They comfortable about conquering, colonizing, occupying and plundering some of their own member states. They've done nothing to end Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine.

They're silent about Bahrain atrocities. Washington's drone war on Yemen and Somalia goes unmentioned. Balkanizing Sudan didn't matter.

League members represent the worst of rogue governance. They target their own people. They arrest, imprison and brutalize them. They do so for protesting political, economic and social injustice.

Abbas and League ministers discussed failed talks. They were dead on arrival. They have zero chance for success.

Ministers promised financial aid. They pledged 0 million monthly. They want talks continued. Reports said Abbas agreed. Why he'll have to explain. They're going nowhere.

Israel yields nothing. Palestinian rights don't matter. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett reflects majority hardline rule.

Israel controls over 60% of West Bank land. He wants it officially annexed. He wants more besides. He wants it incorporated into Greater Israel.

"It is clear that the diplomatic process has run its course and that we are entering a new era," he said.

"We have been hitting our heads against the wall of negotiations over and over again for years and we kept getting surprised when the wall did not break. The time has come for new thinking."

His Settlement Blocs First plan calls for annexing Ariel, Gush Etzion, Ma’aleh Adumim, Beit El-Ofra, other Jews only areas, and communities around Ben-Gurion Airport.

Ideally he wants them exclusively for Jews. Palestinian residents would become second class citizens. Perhaps ethnic cleansing would follow.

Conflict resolution isn't planned. Israel prioritizes violence and instability. It blames Palestinians for its crimes.

Business as usual remains official policy. Daily barbarism reflects it. Israeli soldiers use live fire against Palestinians. They gun them down in cold blood.

Tanks, bulldozers, and other heavy equipment conduct daily raids. They do so near border areas. They destroy Palestinian agricultural lands.

They attack farmers in their fields. They do so against Gazan fishermen. They shoot children for target practice. They call cold-blooded murder self-defense.

They turn a blind eye to settler vandalism and violence. They demolish Palestinian homes. They replace them with Jews only ones.

They kidnap, imprison and brutalize Palestinian civilians. Their crime is wanting to live free on their own land in their own country.

Thousands of political prisoners languish in Israel's gulag. It's merciless. It's one of the world's worst. World leaders turn a blind eye to what goes on. Israel gets away with murder and much more.

Peace is a convenient illusion. Conflict persists without end. Increasing amounts of Palestine keep getting colonized. Israel wants all it can grab.

Ata Hindi is a Birzeit University Institute of Law communications officer, human rights, and international humanitarian law secretariat researcher.

On April 10, he headlined "International treaties and the prospects for justice for Palestinians." He fears what reports say Abbas accepted.

Sham peace talks appear heading past April 29. They'll do so "while Israel continue(s) its ongoing violations against Palestine and the Palestinian people," said Hindi.

International laws and treaties don't matter. "Many have been frustrated with the PLO for the perceived continuing disregard for the pain and suffering of" of its own people.

It continues during sham talks. Joining world bodies won't matter. "(J)ustice and accountability for the Palestinian people (isn't a) priority," said Hindi.

PLO history reflects failure. Instruments for justice aren't used. Palestinian rights aren't supported.

Occupation harshness isn't condemned. Nothing is done to end it.

"How can (Palestinians) negotiate with" Israel and Washington when neither "recognize(s) the State of Palestine," Hindi asked?

"(L)aw and justice are there in front of" Abbas. He ignores it. He spurns his own people's rights.

It is our time to get" what he denied: real equitable "peace, justice, accountability and freedom."

Not with Abbas around. Palestinians are on their own to act. Hindi reminded them of Malcolm X's challenge, saying:

"Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it."

"We are a people asking for justice and accountability," said Hindi. "Let us take it."

Note: On Thursday, PLO executive committee member Wasel Abu-Youssel said Palestinian leadership will consider whether to extend talks.

They haven't decided. They'll set conditions to continue past April 29. No further details were provided.

An unnamed Israeli official said 26 more Palestinian prisoners will be released on condition Abbas "freezes the situation."

Israel demands he rescind world body applications. He rejected doing so. It remains to be seen if he again reverses course.

A Final Comment

Neocons infest Washington. Norman Podhoretz is one of many loathsome examples. He met privately with Bush during his presidency.

He urged waging war on Iran. He wants its peaceful nuclear facilities destroyed. He's mindless about mass civilian deaths. He lied telling Bush:

"You have an awesome responsibility to prevent another holocaust. You're the only one with the guts to do so."

Podhoretz reflects lunatic fringe fanaticism. Racist hate defines his worldview. He supports the worst of imperial lawlessness.

He endorses horrific Israeli crimes. He wants all its rivals eliminated. He's disdainful of Palestinian rights. Wall Street Journal editors gave him feature op-ed space.

He headlined "Pity the Palestinians? Count Me Out," saying:

"I wish to make a confession: I have no sympathy - none - for the Palestinians. Furthermore, I do not believe they deserve any."

"In my unenlightened opinion, this picture of the Palestinian plight is nothing short of grotesquely disproportionate."

Podhoretz ludicrously claims Israeli Arab citizens "enjoy the same political rights as Israeli Jews…"

At best, they're second class citizens. They're considered fifth column threats. They're denied fundamental rights.

They're persecuted for praying to the wrong God. Israel wants them gone. Palestinians are horrifically treated.

Gazans suffer most of all. Slow-motion genocide suffocates them. Don't expect Podhoretz to explain.

He lied claiming Palestinians "provoked" Israel's 1967 Six Day War.

In 1972, Israeli IDF chief General Haaim Barlev said:

"We were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the six-day war, and we had never thought of such a possibility."

In 1967, General Modechai Hod commanded Israel's air force. In 1978, he explained Israeli strategy, saying:

"Sixteen years of planning had gone into those initial eighty minutes. We lived with the plan. We slept on the plan. We ate the plan. Constantly we perfected it."

Other Israeli officials and generals admitted no threat whatever existed. Israel preemptively attacked. War of aggression followed.

At the time, claims otherwise were false. Israel chooses war over peace. It did then. It does now. It bears repeating. Don't expect Podhoretz to explain.

Palestinians justifiably want self-determination. They want it on illegally occupied land. Podhoretz outrageously accused them of "revanchism or irredentism."

He lied claiming occupation is their own fault. They refused good faith Israeli offers for their own state "on most of the territory taken by Israel in 1967 and with Jerusalem as its capital," he said.

False! Israel wants all valued Judea and Samaria areas. It wants Jerusalem as its exclusive capital.

It wants Palestinians confined to isolated bantustans on worthless scrubland. It wants them denied all rights.

In 1993, Palestinians renounced armed struggle. They recognized Israel's right to exist. Not according to Podhoretz.

"(T)hey want…a state of their own…that replaces Israel altogether," he said.

"(T)hey have never ceased declaring that their goal is to wipe (Israel) off the map."

Their official position is polar opposite. In 1948, Israel stole 78% of historic Palestine. In 1967, they took the rest.

Palestinians are willing to settle for 22% of their land. Compromise more than necessary defines their position. They deplore conflict. They prioritize peace.

They want it based on equity and justice. Israel denies them entirely. It's done so from inception.

Podhoretz calls legitimate Palestinian rights "evil intent." It keeps him "from having any sympathy for them…"

He represents the worst of reprehensible racist policy. Responsible editors wouldn't touch his rubbish. Journal editors featured it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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