511 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 9 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/14/13

Peace Talks Begin Despite Political Resistance

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   No comments

James Wall
Message James Wall
Become a Fan
  (19 fans)
Source: Wallwritings

(Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA

The first session of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks began Wednesday evening in Jerusalem's King David Hotel.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat are representing their respective sides.

U.S. envoy Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, is chairing the meeting. A second working session is planned for "later this month" in the West Bank city of Jericho.

In the hours leading up to Wednesday's opening session, signs were not good for a successful conclusion to the talks.

Possibly with encouragement from the U.S., Israel agreed to release a proposed 104 Palestinian prisoners currently held in its military prison. This action made it difficult for the Palestinian Authority to stay away from the talks.

The release of prisoners was resisted within the Israeli public, which is still chafing over the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in 2011 in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held for five years by Hamas.

To demonstrate that Israel was in no danger of giving away the store, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on the eve of the talks that the Israeli goverment would issue 2,000 housing permits for construction in existing Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

The first 26 Palestinian prisoners who were released Tuesday night were all arrested, charged and imprisoned by military courts at some point between 1985 and 2001

Palestinian released prisoners are well aware they will not be entirely free. They remain in constant danger of being returned to prison at the slightest provocation.

Mairav Zonszein, a Jewish journalist who moved from New York to Israel, is blunt in her assessment of the prisoner release:

"Releasing Palestinian prisoners is primarily symbolic -- considering that Israel remains the controlling power, choosing who and when it releases and re-arresting as it pleases, whenever it pleases."

At the same time it announced the names of the first prisoners to be released, Israel displayed a disdain for the talks by announcing new construction in a wide range of settlements.

Zonszein, who writes for the Israeli liberal 972 website, provides the sordid details:

"Something like 2,000 new units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem -- some in final approval stages before building begins and others at the start of the tender process -- have been announced in the last few weeks. The construction published today enumerates 400 new units in Gilo, 210 in Har Homa and 183 Pisgat Ze'ev -- all settlements beyond the Green Line in East Jerusalem. In the West Bank, it was made up of 117 units in Ariel, 149 in Efrat, 92 in Ma'aleh Adumim and 36 in Beitar Ilit."

With details like these, it should be obvious that plans for this new settlement building were developed over a long period of time. The government's formal announcement was timed to assuage the right-wing politicians who strongly oppose the release of Palestinian prisoners, an old political tactic of releasing good and bad news on the same day. 

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

James Wall Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Does Israel Interfere in US Elections?

New York Times Flacks for Jewish Groups Against 15 Major Christian Leaders

How Iran Could Be The Next Neocon Target

Ten Swing States Could Decide the 2012 Election; Obama Leads in Nine of Them

White Evangelicals Stifle Values For Trump

What Protestants Could Learn from Ron Paul

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend