|The rapid developments that led to the peace agreement with Egypt and the Oslo Agreement that created the Palestinian Authority were surprises which were looked with skepticism. There is a good reason for the secrecy; early publication can damage sensitive negotiations. “Hey! Why did you publish that I will give Sinai back? Settlers are killing me. Now I give nothing!”||
Uri Orbakh (also transliterated as Orbach)
The Oslo Accords
In recent months, US Secretary of State Kerry is carrying an intensive effort to reach a permanent peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. Also now, there is a lot of skepticism. Also now, an agreement looks impossible. Is something serious being prepared?
Until yesterday, it looked that Netanyahu was playing a delay game. “Let’s keep talking until Israel splits the West Bank with settlements and Palestine becomes a non-viable State,” was the easiest explanation to Israel’s odd moves in recent years.
On February 9, two government ministers exchanged odd words on the issue while speaking publicly on an amendment to the State Education Law. Assuming it was a decoy, I stored the news item. I didn’t realize that Palestine will make an unrelated but supporting statement on the following day. Both events hinted at a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. Is this a bluff?
In for a surprise
The Oslo Accords
|On Sunday, the Ministers’ Legislation Committee* met to decide on an amendment to State Education Law requiring focus on Israel as Jewish state; the proposed line was : “Educating for the value of the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people.” The amendment was approved, though not without a fierce discussion. Two ministers, Justice Livni and Pensioners Affairs Orbakh exchanged fascinating words:|
Orbach: “For us, it is clear that Israel is the Jewish national state, which the Palestinians will never accept.”
Livni: “Wait, you’re in for a surprise. What if they would be willing to acknowledge us as the national state for the Jews, would you be willing to divide the land then?”
Orbakh: “Even without recognition I would be willing to do that.”
Livni had hinted that an agreement is on the way. Considering that she leads the negotiation team, her attitude is not surprising. Saying anything else would have equaled to her resigning the team.
Orbakh answer is cataclysmic. It was described as cynical by Hebrew media; I read the words with care, there was no cynisism there. This explanation was emphasized because his words didn’t follow the rules of Hebrew cynicism. Since it is a common way of phrasing things in Israel, it doesn’t need presentation. Somebody was trying to hide a careless whisper.
The minister had implied that there was an agreement with Palestine in which Israel is not recognized as a Jewish State. Yet, as a standalone statement, it was of little worth.
Jericho International Airport
|I had nothing to do with that piece of data. Instead, Alperon King of Israel earned his second article in the website. Next morning, I was surveying the Hebrew media, and an unusual item caught my eye. Palestinian Transportation Minister Nabil Dmaidi had announced new development plans.||
Planned airport in Jericho
The Oslo Accords
One of them was related to an agreement signed by Palestine with Egypt. The minister said that Egyptian experts will identify a location for a second airport in Area C of the West Bank. The first airport is scheduled to be planned and constructed by Egypt east of Jericho, subject to advances in the peace process.
Before the Jericho International Airport is built, or even planned, Palestine is rushing ahead. Do they know something we don’t?
The Palestinian minister added that there was a plan to reconnect the old railway connecting Gaza with Cairo; the Holy Land stretch of the same line is being expanded now by Israel. The old line recently reached the news with the final ruling in theChildren of Tehran Affair.
Indefatigable, he added details about a new international port to be constructed in Gaza.
This is even stranger considering the frozen relations between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
He didn’t impress me enough to cause me to forget a tiny detail. Palestine can’t achieve that without an agreement with Israel. Did he react to an unpublished agreement, in the same way that the Israeli ministers had?
Yasser Arafat International Airport
The report was important and followed a real event, not just ministerial talks. In 2013, Palestinian Airlines had restarted flights from El-Arish in Sinai to Amman in Jordan.
The operations had stopped after the bombing of the radar in the Yasser Arafat International Airport, popularly known as Dahaniya, in December 2001 by Israel during the Second Intifada. In the following month, the runway was destroyed by IDF bulldozers. This is important to the actual situation.
The airport had been located near the village of Dahaniya, next to the Kerem Shalom Border Crossing+ between Israel, Egypt and Gaza. In the large image, the destroyed runway can be seen at the top. Egypt is at the west, Israel at the southeast. Dahaniya is not there.
The village had been evacuated in 2005, during Israel’s Disengagement Plan from Gaza. The tiny village had been established in 1977 by Bedouins from Sinai who had been IDF collaborators and thus wouldn’t return to Egyptian control. Dahaniya was next to Kerem Shalom and thus enjoyed IDF protection at all times; Gazans considered them traitors.
After the eviction, they were relocated in a Bedouin region of the Negev Desert but they were considered traitors also by Israeli Bedouins. Fearing for their lives, they were relocated again in a Jewish area known as Hevel Shalom, south of the Gaza-Egypt-Israel border.
Thus, the two unrelated items show that Israeli and Palestinian ministers think that a permanent agreement between the two countries has been achieved.
This is not a result of the Israeli strategy in recent years that sought to create one Jewish state west of the Jordan River. The attempts to bisect the West Bank while violently pushing Palestinians out of Area C in the West Bank were a testimony of this.
Yet, international pressure is amounting on Israel. Its main commercial partner, the EU is causing problems to the economy; this is not acute yet, but data showing that the situation will worsen is published almost every day by Hebrew media.
Netanyahu has probably realized that achieving the One State solution before the economic sanctions and commercial boycotts on Israel become insuperable is almost impossible. Instead, he may have decided to force a peace agreement on Palestine while the latter is crumbling and ready to sign anything. If that is the situation, we may soon hear about the agreement.
The Palestinian Minister was as happy as Yasser Arafat was in 1995, when he signed the second Oslo Agreement that allowed the airport in Dahaniya. A few years later, he could step on the ground below the former tarmac. What causes Palestine’s current government think that Israel is more reliable now? Israel did not repent. Are we seeing the actions of collaborators with Israel inside the Palestinian government? Dahaniya knows!
- Please Help—Persecuted by Israel, Maimed by Bolivia
Bolivia denies me my documents and is torturing me. I am being slowly killed. Please help me make this public.
Abusing again an illegitimately held prisoner, on February 7, 2014, Bolivia raised the fee charged by my guesthouse-jail, where my rights are violated daily. In little more thanone year, they raised the price from 15 to 60 BOB (almost $10) per night; all other prices remained stable. Help me denounce Bolivian terror.
* The Ministers’ Legislation Committee (va’adat hasarim lehakika) is responsible for approving bills prepared by the government ministries before they are brought to the Knesset’s commitees and later to the General Assembly. Once the latter approves them, they become law. Private bills proposed by MK’s also are submitted to the committee’s review.
+ Like the Sheikh Hussein Bridge with Jordan, the Kerem Shalom Border Crossing is administered by Israel Airports Authority, see From Iraq to Turkey via Israel.