BREAKING NEWS 17:15 EDT: Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who had sabotaged the peace talks by tendering construction for more than 700 illegal housing units for Jews in East Jerusalem, said his Bayit Yehudi [Jewish Home] party had predicted correctly that the talks would not lead anywhere.
“They ambushed us [by applying to international agencies after Israel reneged on the agreed prisoner release and Ariel himself approved more illegal housing construction] now they want a prize,” Ariel said. “We need to stop letting them spit on us in hopes that it will be rain. They broke the rules. They are no longer in the game.”
The nerve of these Far Right Israeli Settler Extremist’s is astounding. There is no doubt that they would not shrink back from sabotaging the final agreement; to cause the tribulation when the abominable pope arrives at the Holy Place.
US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with both Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the phone on Wednesday
American-brokered talks between Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas resumed Wednesday night.
It appears that after the present upset caused by the Far Right attack on the peace extension deal, the deal will probably now be quickly finalized for the release of 420 jailed Palestinians, including Israel Palestinian citizens, and a partial freeze on settlement construction.
The US will probably grant the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard an early release and he will arrive in Israel to great rejoicing. Still to be worked out is the timetable and order of events. That is why Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not uttered a word over the crisis, as he goes ahead with Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to complete the package together.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry strike ended this evening which will help in the peace process.
Just before 4PM last evening, the Israelis said a deal was about to be sealed with the Americans: Israel would release the 26 Palestinian prisoners it was supposed to release last Saturday, as well as an additional 400, and make a partial unofficial settler freeze in exchange for the release of the spy for Israel, Jonathan Pollard, (whose actions were ‘exceeded only by Snowden,‘ said an ex-US official) and for the Palestinians agreement to extend peace talks till the end of 2014.
US Secretary of State John Kerry was to return to Jerusalem and Ramallah today to close the deal. This was despite vows by right-wing MKs and ministers to vote against the prisoner release deal – even if it included Pollard, thereby possibly threatening the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition government.
**Meanwhile, Peace Now announced around 4PM that far right Israeli officials had issued 708 tenders for construction beyond the Green Line in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.
“The Ministry of Housing is trying to forcefully undermine the peace process … and (US Secretary of State) John Kerry’s efforts to promote it,” charged Peace Now’s Settlement Watch director Hagit Ofran.
Then just before 7PM, Ynet quoted a Maan report that Israel refused to include popular Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti as part of the release deal, as well as two other senior Palestinians the Palestinians had requested.
Then, at about 8PM, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave an address on live TV and took a vote of senior PLO members, who unanimously approved joining a dozen international institutions. Abbas signed the documents right before the cameras and said the leadership made its decision after Israel did not fulfill its commitment to release the fourth round of prisoners. However, he also said the leadership still seeks a solution to the conflict, through negotiations and through popular resistance, leaving the door open to Israel.
The 15 agencies the Palestinian Authority applied to are:
1. The Four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the First Additional Protocol
2. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
3. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
4. The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in armed conflict
5. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
6. The Hague Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations Concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land
7. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
8. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
9. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
10. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
11. The United Nations Convention against Corruption
12. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
13. The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
14. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
15. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Israeli officials said the move was intended to improve the Palestinian side of the deal, not stall it. Many Israeli commentators have acknowledged that the Palestinians were getting the short end of the stick.
Kerry subsequently delayed his trip here today [there was really no point, until the Israelis decide what they want to do – OH]. But Kerry also tried to play down what some see as the collapse of the talks, saying that “it is completely premature to draw any kind of judgment about today’s events and where things are.”
He said he spoke with Abbas who promised him that none of the documents were for membership in the UN and that Abbas would continue talks until their April deadline. Indeed, a Palestinian official said that the first document signed by Abbas was a petition to join the Geneva Convention, followed by institutions that have to do with human rights and civilian protection, but he did not sign one to join the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Israel is concerned the Palestinians could bring Israel to court at the Hague over settlement construction in the occupied territories. With the US-Israeli deal now in question, the White House has said it has not decided whether to release Pollard.
On the new settlement housing tenders: The Israeli Settler Movement Extremists want to sabotage Kerry’s [efforts] and thinks that the Palestinians are too weak to take a stand.”