Never Mind the Democrats’ Jerusalem Kerfuffle, Where’s the Peace Process?

There may be a bipartisan consensus on backing hawkish Israeli positions, but Washington has little to offer the Palestinians for sticking to the U.S. script

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ABBAS MOAMANI / AFP / Getty Images

A Palestinian man holds up a poster that reads in Arabic, 'No to negotiations' as police control the crowd in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on June 30, 2012, during a protest against a planned meeting between Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and Israel's vice prime minister Shaul Mofaz

The Democratic Party’s clumsy, eleventh-hour re-jigging of its election platform to proclaim Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a but morbid sideshow when viewed against the greater drama of the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Proclamations over the status of Jerusalem are a well-established, if hollow bipartisan ritual of the U.S. election season. They may be deemed necessary to assuage the concern of a relatively narrow segment of activist voters and donors for whom Israel is a priority issue, but the Israelis themselves don’t set much store by them. After all, the record shows that campaign promises on Jerusalem have little bearing on how candidates behave once in office: Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both vowed, when running for the White House, to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem — indeed, the Democratic Party platform on which President Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976 included the same promise.

President Obama, in 2008, vowed that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided”, at the same time as insisting that its status must be decided in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. But the embassy remains in Tel Aviv, and the U.S. has not formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Even the question of whether an American child born in the Holy City can be deemed to have been born in Israel at all remains at issue in the U.S. court system.

(PHOTOS: The Ultra-Holy City: Photographs by Oded Balilty)

Nor is keeping the embassy in Tel Aviv — an uncontested Israeli city — simply a case of benign neglect: President Clinton allowed to pass into law a congressional order requiring that the embassy be moved to Jerusalem, and requiring that the president sign a waiver every six months as long as the decision remains unimplemented. Clinton signed waivers for the remainder of his term. And then, despite having promised before his election that he would to move the embassy on his first day in the White House, President George. W. Bush signed the same waiver 16 times; if President Obama is reelected, it’s safe bet he’ll match that number. Governor Mitt Romney recently pledged to move the embassy — a promise curiously absent from this year’s GOP platform — but you’d probably get long odds on its implementation in any geopolitical betting shop.

“Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel,” goes the revised text in the Democrats’ platform, changed reportedly at the behest of President Obama. “The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter of final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” While Israelis and Palestinians did agree in  the Oslo Accords of 1993 that Jerusalem would be discussed among the “final status” issues for a peace agreement — along with borders, the fate of Palestinian refugees and of Israeli settlers, security and water rights — the two sides have been unable to agree for more than a decade now to hold such negotiations at all, much less to achieve consensus on the issues.

The last failed attempt to reach the final status agreement envisaged by Oslo came in January of 2001 at Taba, just weeks before Ariel Sharon was elected prime minister of Israel and declared the Oslo process null and void. Although the Bush Administration managed to conjure some talks between Sharon’s successor, Ehud Olmert, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, these were largely hypothetical. Their stated objective was not a final-status deal that would be implemented, but a “shelf agreement” — a term that pretty much speaks for itself. Even a hypothetical agreement remained beyond reach.

(MORE: Hillary Clinton in Jerusalem: Subtle Diplomacy, Subtler Electioneering)

President Obama came into office determined to finish the peace process within two years, and demanded that newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrate good faith by freezing all construction on occupied territory in order to bring the Palestinians back to the table. But Netanyahu had his own ideas. He had led the opposition to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s peace process in the 1990s, and had boasted of his knowledge of America and how to move its positions. He raised some hopes in Washington by publicly endorsing a two-state solution, but optimism was premature.

Likud’s own party platform, after all, “flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.” So, after Netanyahu’s public acceptance, in 2009, of the principle of Palestinian statehood west of the river, his father and ideological mentor deemed it necessary to reassure the Likud faithful that the Prime Minister was simply being cute. “He supports the kind of conditions [the Palestinians] would never in the world accept,” Benzion Netanyahu told Israel’s Channel 2 news, as his son sat beside him. “That’s what I heard from him. Not from me. He put forth the conditions. These conditions, they will never accept them — not even one of them.”

That view would be shared by the retired intelligence and security chiefs that have lately ripped Netanyahu’s talk of launching a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, a number of them accusing him of having no interest in seeking an agreement with the most pliant Palestinian leadership Israel is likely to encounter in a generation. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas concurred, and used Israel’s refusal to observe a complete settlement freeze as a reason to stay out of talks, hoping against hope that either the Israelis would elect a more dovish government, or that the Americans would somehow force Netanyahu into concessions.

MORE: Worried About Israel Bombing Iran Before November? You Can Relax

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pounds to pocket
pounds to pocket

it is the most hard time for the world.. where bring the peace is very tough..   

Scotty_A
Scotty_A

If Israel attacks Iran, I think there is a real possibility of a Palestinian uprising against the Israelis that may result in a wider war. For example, I would not be surprised in Assad becomes the first dictator to use chemical weapons against Israel to divert attention from the existing chaos in Syria. The Iranian government is rather stupid to act belligerent in the face of Western sanctions. I would think it serves their interests more to have Netanyahu be viewed as the belligerent. And I think the Iranian government has needlessly thrown itself into potential conflicts since 1979. It would have been smarter for them to gradually release the American embassy workers to establish some goodwill when Carter was President. Iran has managed to damage the Palestinian position by taking the spotlight off of the Palestinian statehood question in recent years with its nuclear program. It is rather sad that a peaceful way out of the Israeli Palestinian conflict has not been met, but events over the past decade have put it out of the spotlight. I am skeptical that the Israeli government will do anything other than end up governing a apartheid state. The dilemma is where do things end if a conflict does break out? Does Israel have the stomach to massacre thousands of Palestinians if they foolishly decide to fight and die? The malevolent Iranian government would like nothing better than to arm the Palestinians to do their dirty work.

Ahra Ah
Ahra Ah

there is no peace process ! peace does not make money for the corporates, its war and destruction that is highly profitable!

afi1982
afi1982

Our problems in the world? What about Syria? What about Yemen? What about Africa? Tired of your obsessive anti-Israel. You hate the Jews so the main problem.

afi1982
afi1982

Reporter Dear, you're talking out of hatred do not know the situation in Israel and Palestinian living in Judea and Samaria in a good way Palestinians can not make peace among themselves and as a result, Hamas is a terrorist organization controlling Gaza, Israel forfeited territories and as a result hundreds of thousands of Israelis are under threat of missiles why children do not sleep at night to run shelters What other country in the world would respond with restraint and patience

afi1982
afi1982

Reporter Dear, you're talking out of hatred do not know the situation in Israel and Palestinian living in Judea and Samaria in a good way Palestinians can not make peace among themselves and as a result, Hamas is a terrorist organization controlling Gaza, Israel forfeited territories and as a result hundreds of thousands of Israelis are under threat of missiles why children do not sleep at night to run shelters What other country in the world would respond with restraint and patience

Epa Minondas
Epa Minondas

There is NOTHING to discuss but temporary truces unless the Palestinians are prepared to do what has killed every attempt at peace (such as 2000)...give up the RIGHT OF RETURN. If the right of return is not given up, then the aim of the peace process is NO ISRAEL. Not even the most dovish of doves disagrees with this FACT OF LIFE.

But as every Palestinian leader knows, to do this is to commit suicide. Why is this so? Because the majority of the Palestinian people still want to insist on this even if it it means no peace will ever be possible, because the primary goal is NO ISRAEL..among the people. This is as obvious as the Muslim Brotherhood's INEVITABLE ascendance in Egypt no matter what the means. WHY? Because that is truly the want of the people. The people of Egypt wanted more Quran and more Sharia, the people of the West Bank and Gaza want no Israel.

That's beneath every single stupid plea from the west about why there is no peace.

Allen Z. Hertz
Allen Z. Hertz

The watchword of President Obama's policy in the Middle East is "withdraw! withdraw! withdraw!" As USA alliances there collapse and insecurity grows, Tony Karon rues the evaporation of the so-called "peace process." By what stretch of the imagination is it possible to expect an agreed, full-and-final settlement of all the questions pertaining to the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River at a time when the broader region waits to see what the USA will do about Iran's race for nuclear weapons! There was a time when the USA was hegemon in the Middle East. The "pax Americana" then meant something. However, today President Obama's lack of resolve with regard to Iran's race to nuclear weapons shows that the USA's Middle Eastern hour is rapidly coming to an end. This is principally the result of President Obama's decision to reach out to the Muslim world by lightening the USA footprint in the Islamic heartlands. This may or may not be a good policy for the USA. However, it is not a position that enhances the effectiveness of Washington's lectures to the Israel government about how to manage its destiny in the narrow confines from the Sea to the Jordan River. The USA can choose to leave the region, but Israel has to stay. Around the world today there is hardly a foreign government that trusts the USA any more. This is as true of the government of Saudi Arabia as of Israel. You can be sure that many USA allies and friends are now trying to imagine the shape of a world where the USA no longer leads. And that is why Egyptian President Morsi visited Beijing before Washington. The Karon article reeks of yesterday's language, ideology and expectations. As the USA signals its departure from the Middle East, there will likely be a "free for all" to fill the leadership void. And in this context, the Israel government would be well advised to prepare itself to be betrayed by the USA. And, this betrayal scenario is all the more likely if President Obama is re-elected.

JohnWV
JohnWV

Israel

defines itself as a Jewish state and will never accept a non

apartheid democracy with a Jewish minority. Continuing illegal

annexations and settlement expansion have also precluded any

negotiated two state solution. Justice may now be served only by

UN and NATO imposing resolution just as involuntary, disruptive and

humiliating to Israel as Israel has wreaked upon occupied Palestine

for generations. The Jewish State must be made to recognize an armed

Palestine with externally enforced autonomy, eviction of all

settlers, true contiguity encompassing Gaza, the West Bank and

Jerusalem together, neither pinched nor parceled, and pay punitive

reparations.

throwthediscus
throwthediscus

Why does the peaceful israeli government permit the destruction of

olivetrees, farms, watersources by the real believers a.k.a. colonists

but better described as neonazis who want israel all for themselves?

These colonists claim these lands based on the scriptures . In the 

past some called this "lebensraum". Sounds bad does it not?

drorbenami
drorbenami

VOTE FOR EILEEN FLEMING !!! She knows what's important:

Eileen does not worry about american unemployment...

Eileen does not care that 200,000 american minors are working as sex slaves...

Elieen  is not concerned that over 1 million americans are in jail....

Eileen couldn't be bothered that 70,000 women were raped while serving in the american armed forces....

Eileen is ONLY focused on one issue, the MOST crucial issue facing america today:

GET THE JEWS OUT OF WASHINGTON !!!

Epa Minondas
Epa Minondas

YOU, sir, have a real problem. All racism is the same.

drorbenami
drorbenami

 not for tony baloney and eileen.....for them the only form of racism that is a problem is israeli racism....

Tim Upham
Tim Upham

That is what I would like to know.  Where's the peace process?  Obama apologized for not doing anything about in his first term, and Romney stated that he will leave it up to the Israelis and Palestinians to work it out themselves.  What it is just too much hard work, so let us just say "tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow."  This is not a Broadway musical you know.

williambilek
williambilek

 That is what I would like to know. With 25,000 innocent civilians murdered in Syria in just the past year, why is the Arab-Israeli peace process a priority for the U.S,? How about pushing harder for some "hard work" there?

gorak
gorak

A little thing called the Second Intifada happened. Israel won, the terrorists lost. The whole point of the peace process was that it was the only way to stop the suicide bombers. After the military victory this is no longer the case and Israel can no longer be convinced to give huge concessions for "process". 

jeffmast
jeffmast

There will not be peace because the Muslims do not want peace

agarron
agarron

100 cement....................

 

Same reason there's not going to ever be a so called Palestinian state........

Same as Gd gave the promised land to the Jews...............

The rest is commentary, means nothing.

Ask a Democrat, they're quite clear on the matter.

The capital of Israel is Jerusalem..................until the final negotiations are held.

Trust me, the capital of Israel was, is and will always be - Jerusalem.

Great city- go visit - amazing place.

Amazing, they even allow Muslims to live there, open businesses, and even work as judges, policemen and clergy.

You won't find that happen with a single Jew in ANY ARAB COUNTRY!

JossefPerl
JossefPerl

Stop the silly questions on "Where is the Peace Process?"  The Dems deserve the criticism they are getting from all sides about removing their commitment to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  They are trying a cover up by claiming it was an inadvertent error, but no one will buy it until they come clean on why it was removed and who was responsible.

With regard to the peace process, the world needs to stop running to the US with the question of "where is the Peace Process?"  The reaction yesterday from an aid of Abbas to the Dem's adding the Jerusalem clause, was that as long as the Palestinians do not get part of Jerusalem as their capital there will be endless wars.  Anyone who knows the last 3000 years of Jewish history from the time Jerusalem first became Israel's capital, knows that Jews , regardless of their political views, will never agree to return any part of Jerusalem.  The Palestinians know that as well.  The Palestinians stick to their maximalistic demands regarding Jerusalem and the return of 3 million Palestinians to Israel, because right now they do not want a state and would rather have a cause.  They do not want a state because in spite of all their attempts they cannot reconcile between Hamas and the PA; if they get a state a civil war will break out immediately over the control of that state;  they do not want a state also because their experiment in running even an independent authority has failed due to corruption, which led even Saudi Arabia to withhold its pledged funds.  The Palestinians have shown themselves incapable of building an independent viable economy and ridding themselves of dependance on outside donnations.  For all these reasons, they need to stick to all their demands and make sure that their inability to run a country is never openly demonstrated.

JakeUSA
JakeUSA

The peace process is mortally flawed. Until Jordan (78% of "Palestine") is included in the equation, there can be no progress. There is simply no room for 2 viable states between the Jordan river amp; Mediterranean sea. 

JossefPerl
JossefPerl

 For that we need the Brits to admit that they gave Jordan as a gift to king Abdullah for his help against the Ottomans.  However, the Brits (the greatest hypocrites of all times) would never openly admit their follies; instead they try to make up for that by being the strongest champions of "an Independent Palestinian State" west of the Jordan river.

J Villain
J Villain

Any one that watched John Stewart last night got a master class in suppressing democracy. The Democratic party didn't have the votes to reverse their position last night. They had scripted the result before they took the vote. When they didn't get the result they wanted they ignored the result and imposed the answer the higher powers wanted.

Do Americans really believe that letting another country run your democratic processes is good for your own country? What a total sham. No wonder the US is such a laughing stock of a country these days.

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

Anyone who gets their politics from Jon Stewart has given up on thinking for himself.

Firozali A.Mulla
Firozali A.Mulla

I love the words re phrased when I read 

JOBS ARE JOBS BUT THE WAY USA produces the scenario is great read on U.S. jobs growth slowed more than expected in August, setting the stage for the Federal Reserve to pump additional money into the sluggish economy next week and dealing a blow to President Obama as he seeks reelection in November. Nonfarm payrolls increased only 96,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. While the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July, it was largely due to Americans giving up the search for work.The report's weak tenor was also underscored by revisions to June and July data to show 41,000 fewer jobs created than previously reported. The labor force participation rate. I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

akpat
akpat

Irael, controllers of the largest concentration camp since WW2

agarron
agarron

 Sure babe, when was the last time you were in Israel?

boazkhait
boazkhait

Strange. Either you have a very extreme definition of concentration camps or the luxury hotels and malls are severely out of place in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas run Palestinian territories under which 95% of Palestinians live.

Jacob Blues
Jacob Blues

Except that it doesn't. 

Try living in the real world for a little bit before spouting off such nonsense. 

drorbenami
drorbenami

well tony baloney,

this is certainly an important story.....over 100,000 refugees from syria;  death toll up to 500 a week; people being thrown from roofs of buildings and throats of children being cut...yet you are writing about the lack of peace in israel !!!

for the last few years in israel , including gaza and the west bank, less people have been killed than in brooklyn...

but tell me tony baloney: you're writing articles, karl is writing articles, now there is a palestine section for TIME and then there are stories about israel from TIME's staff....

all in all, why does one of the smallest countries in the world, get more coverage from TIME than the BRICS nations combined ??? (just in case eileen fleming does not know, the BRICS nations are: " brazil, russia, india china and south africa)

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

The peace process is laying asleep on the doorsteps of the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers, where it has always resided. Neither the Israelis or Palestinians want a peace imposed by America. When the Israelis and Palestinians want to talk peace, they will. America stands ready to help. 

eileen fleming
eileen fleming

Dear Dan,

America has never been an honest broker in a just peace and it all it began on 8 June 1967 when the crew aboard the USS LIBERTY were NOT SUPPORTED by the US Government.

If I am elected to US HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES, D. 5, Fl. my first act of

Congress will be to write a House Resolution to establish every June 8th

as USS LIBERTY REMEMBRANCE DAY.

And then issue an invitation to all the LIBERTY Vets to speak on the Congressional Record about what they saw on that day in infamy when Israel targeted and attacked America's premier spy ship as it navigated in international waters and killed 34 members of crew and wounded 174. And then, I will request a Naval Court of Inquiry with Congressional oversight to thoroughly investigate and determine the truth in honor of the dead and injured and for the 45 years of pain the survivors and their loved ones have endured.

And throughout my campaign I will be asking every candidate for Congress that I meet if they too will  REMEMBER THE LIBERTY:

http://wearewideawake.org/inde...

eileen fleming
eileen fleming

What we the people of this homeland need is an American Spring or Intifada [which means Rise Up and Cast Off] the Zionist occupation of the US Government.

I am Eileen Fleming for US HOUSE, D. 5. Fl and I approve of all of my messages and I offer this Comparison by The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:

GOP Platform vs. DNC Platform on Israel: The Difference is only in the Wording.

GOP Platform alternates with DNC Platform:

The U.S. and Israel "speak the same language of freedom and justice".

The U.S. and Israel "share common values".

“The security of Israel is in the vital national security interest of the United States”

“A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States”.

“Ensure that [Israel] maintains a qualitative edge in military technology”.

"Ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge”.

“We envision two democratic states”

"Seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians….producing two states for two peoples”.

“Palestinian people must support leaders who reject terror, embrace the

institutions and ethos of democracy, and respect the rule of law.”.

Palestinians must "recognize Israel's right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements”.

“We call on the new government in Egypt to fully uphold its peace treaty with Israel”.

"We will continue to support Israel's peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan".

“We call on Arab governments throughout the region to help advance [the] goal [of peace]”.

“President Obama will continue to press Arab states to reach out to Israel”.

“We support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders; and we envision two democratic states—Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine—living in peace and security”.

“Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel…The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths".

No reference to Israeli settlements.

No reference to Israeli settlements.

No reference to violence carried out by Israeli government or settlers.

No reference to violence carried out by Israeli government or settlers.

No hint of any Israeli wrongdoing.

No hint of any Israeli wrongdoing.

Tim Upham
Tim Upham

If you get elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, will you sign and support the Cohen-Yarmouth-Connolly Letter, which is calling on the executive branch of government to make a two-state solution top priority in U.S. foreign policy?

Jacob Blues
Jacob Blues

So who wants to elect an avowed racist into office in the United States. 

At least Eileen you're willing to be up front with your anti-Jewish bigotry.  Your "Zionist Occupied Government" is standard fare for groups like the KKK and Arayan Nation.  Wonderful political bedfellows you keep. 

drorbenami
drorbenami

nice picture eileen.....by the way, since you are such a conscientious person, you must have been quite pleased with jimmy carter's statement criticizing the israeli courts in the "tractor case".....

did you know that when Lt. Calley was sentenced to 5 years for the murder and rape of over 350 vietnamese women and children then governor carter was outraged, He announced a statewide "support our fighting men" day and asked the citizens of georgia to drive with their lights on for one week ....

could you explain to us why captain medina was acquitted? i know why, i just want to hear your version of the events....

eileen fleming
eileen fleming

THANKS and BTW, Mordechai Vanunu-Israel's Nuclear Whistle Blower shot that photo of me last time I saw him in east Jerusalem, in June 2009.

It is is Israel's WMD and US collusion and sustaining of Palestinian occupation are paramount that I am addressing in my run for US HOUSE and since 2005 I have been  begging THE MEDIA to report on Vanunu's FREEDOM OF SPEECH TRIAL and denial of his right to leave Israel.

Vanunu told me in 2009:

"They renewed the restrictions to not speak to foreigners unti November. I meet foreigners every day. I am talking with people every day. But I am not writing or announcing the appeal until after it happens. It was scheduled for January, then May 6th and June 18th. Now I am waiting for a new court date. 

"The Central Commander of the General Army testified in court that it is OK if I speak in public as long as I do not talk about nuclear weapons. "I think the court will realize even if they send me back for three months-what will they do after that? 

"It is all about freedom of speech and they cannot keep me here forever…They want revenge because I survived the system…The isolation in prison made me feel like I was loosing my mind. I felt like I was dyeing. 

"Jesus Christ's strong message to the Israelis of 2,000 years ago is that they were wrong in rejecting him. By going to church I am reminding Israel of JC. JC and I both did a good job for humanity. 

"Obama needs to wake up and talk and walk. But America has lost eight years. America needs to free itself from the Israeli state. Five million Jews should not dictate to America what they shall do. 

"The USA needs to wake up from 9/11. That was when America lost her way."

I am Eileen Fleming for US HOUSE and I approve of Vanunu's and all of my messages.

drorbenami
drorbenami

 that's very impressive eileen.....ask Vanunu: why was captain Medina acquitted ?