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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rosner's FAQs on Sharm Talks

Tuesday Sep 14, 2010

Rosner's Domain: Sharm talks FAQ


1. Why wouldn't Netanyahu agree to continued freeze?

He should not - for two reasons.

One is political: opponents of freeze will make the life of the Netanyahu government much more difficult. True - Netanyahu is quite strong politically speaking. But he the PM needs to spend a lot of time and energy on preserving the coalition he will not have time and energy for other, more important things.

One is even more important: The Netanyahu government went out of its way and agreed to freeze construction for ten months. It was understood by all parties involved that in September construction will resume. Such understandings should be honored. Not because of pride or principle. They should be honored, because if they aren't no future understandings will have any credibility.

2. So why the Americans keep pushing for freeze?

Sadly, because they have little else they can do to. Secretary Clinton doesn't want the talks to blow-up before they even start - and since the Palestinians threaten to leave the table if construction resumes, the Americans have no choice but to push.

3. Will it blow up that soon?

 It might, but one needs to be careful: Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have long history, most of it history of moving from one "crisis" to another. Those wanting to see peace talks will have to stomach a lot of such make-or-break, do-or-die, take-it-or-I-will-leave moments. In other words: This isn't crisis, it is just another day of peace talks.

4. Do Israelis care about peace?

Time's cover story aside (It is just so pathetic that I couldn't even bring myself to explain why such story should not be published by respectable magazine. If you want something to read about it - try the American Jewish Committee's fine analysis of its content) - Israelis really don't care. Well, they do care about peace, but not about the talks. I've noticed this morning that radio-news editors had listed the Sharm talks as item number four on the agenda. That's pretty low for all the brouhaha and the dignitaries involved.

5. Why don't they care?

The answer is quite obvious.

6. Do Palestinians care?

As far as I can tell, the answer is no - for the same reason. By the way, Israeli-Palestinian talk is the classic case of something to which the media is paying more attention than the public (if you need proof, you can find it here).