"They'll supposedly be getting 100 freed Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails for decades. The Israel Broadcasting Authority says the prisoner release would happen in four stages and the first one would only happen during the second month of negotiations. A lot can happen in that time.
"And I'd say a guarantee of this happening is pretty thin. Further, the Palestinians seem willing to overlook that Israel, after past prisoner exchanges, promptly re-arrested whoever it still wants behind bars.
"Another issue the Palestinians would apparently give up is their efforts to win international recognition in bodies like the United Nations. That's giving up a whole lot in return for very little. The Guardian quotes a former PA official on the illusions that underpin the talks about starting talks:
"Ghassan Khatib, former director of communications for the Palestinian Authority. 'The thing that bothers me is that it seems that the resumption of negotiations is seen as an objective in itself. But the problem was never the lack of negotiations, direct or indirect. It is the huge gap between Israel's stated position and its practices, and the lack of willingness by the US to put pressure on them.'"
In these negotiation promises, there is not a single sign that oppression will be eased. Psalm 146:3 comes to mind: "Do not put your trust in princes" (NIV). It would be wrong to believe that this new round of talks brings with them the slightest hope of success, if our only hope rests with U.S. political leaders who have thus far forfeited their leadership to the Zionist Lobby.
Which is why the real effort on the part of progressives in and out of religious communities, must be to persuade the American public that our only hope for peace in the region is in our ability to put pressure on U.S. political decision makers, from the White House to the Congress and out to the media.
Which is why this could be the right moment to enlist retired military leaders in the cause of peace.
These are the front line leaders who are strongly in favor of negotiations that really succeed. The military generals who must work in the US Central Command are closer to the situation on the ground than diplomats visiting from outside.
This map of the different U.S. Central Commands shows the Central Command stretching from Afghanistan into north Africa.
Max Blumenthal reported on a recent Aspen Institute conference in which:
"Recently retired US Central Commander General James Mattis warned ... that if Secretary of State John Kerry's attempts to broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority failed, Israel would be exposed as an apartheid state. Mattis pointed at the settlement enterprise as the source of Israel's diplomatic crisis, declaring that "the protagonists" -- Israel and the Palestinian Authority -- might not be as interested in a deal as Kerry is."
Mattis' warning follows an earlier warning issued by Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni, who warned that Israel is in danger of a worldwide boycott if current negotiations fail.
General James Mattis spoke at the Aspen Institute's annual Security Forum, in Colorado. He was far more direct than political leaders dare to be...
"Mattis said that as a result of Israeli intransigence and the US special relationship with Israel, he and his troops have 'paid a military security price.' His comments echoed those of his predecessor, General David Petraeus, who told the Senate Armed Service Committee in 2010 that 'enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors... had damaged US interests in the region.' Petraeus was hammered by pro-Israel forces for his remarks -- Abe Foxman called him 'dangerous' -- and wound up walking them back."
Mattis, a 45-year military veteran, ended his assignment at CENTCOM on June 1. He appears to be speaking without much concern for domestic political pressure. The Abe Foxmans of U.S. domestic politics do not seem to trouble him.