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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 9, 2014 With peace talks stalled, Israelis and Palestinians resort to old moves Palestinian Press Office via Getty Images Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets with journalists in Ramallah on April22, 2014, a day before his Fatah faction signed a reconciliation agreement with the militant group llamas. By Ben Sales JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Nine months of negotiations were supposed to propel Israelis and Palestinians into a future of peace. Instead, the collapse of talks is threatening to make the future look much like the past. Israel's decision last week to suspend negotiations -- a day after the signing of a rec- onciliation between the Fatah faction of Palestinian Author- ity President MahmoudAbbas and Hamas -- has prompted both sides to resort to their old ways. For the Palestinians, that means focusing on internal unity and a redoubled effort to win international recognition for statehood, particularly at the United Nations. For Israel, it's a return to shun- ning the Palestinian political leadership. "If the Palestinian Author- ity persists with efforts to reunite with Hamas, that is not only a game changer," Michael Oren, Israel's former ambassador to the United States, told JTA. "It is a game stopper." After weeks in which they teetered on the brink of failure, peace negotiations finally stalled April 23 when Fatah agreed to form a unified Palestinian government with Hamas, the ruling power in Gaza considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel and the Euro- pean Union. The two groups split after violent clashes in 2007. Three previous reconciliation deals -- in 2007, 2011 and 2012 -- have gone unimplemented. Israel responded to the reconciliation agreement as it had to earlier ones, declaring that it would not negotiate with Hamas and announcing economic sanc- tions against the Palestinian Authority. On April 24, Israel suspended the peace negoti- ations, five days before their initial nine-month term was set to expire. "Instead of choosing peace, Abu Mazen formed an alliance with a murderous terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, refer- ring to Abbas by his nora de guerre."Whoever chooses the terrorism of Hamas does not want peace." Israel and the United States have called on Hamas to recognize Israel, commit to nonviolence and abide by previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements, three conditions that have guided negotiations for a decade. But Hamas offi- cials vowed never to recognize Israel. Palestinian officials nev- ertheless moved to downplay the significance of the unity accord on the peace process, noting that an interim gov- ernment set to be formed in the coming weeks would be made up of technocrats, not political figures aligned with Fatah or Hamas. Munib al-Masri, a Palestinian indus- trialist who served as a Fatah delegate to the reconciliation talks, told JTA that Abbas would continue to manage ne- gotiations should they go on. "All parties will abide by President Abbas regarding the political agenda," al-Masri said. "The most important thing is to have one voice for the Palestinians." Despite such hopes, Is- rael remains deeply wary of Hamas' intentions. Naftali Bennett, chairman of the pro-settler Jewish Home party, said in a Facebook post that the P.A. has now become "the biggest terror group in the world" and vowed not to negotiate with murder- ers. Prior to the unity deal, Bennett had compared peace talks with Abbas to buying a car from someone who owns only half of it. With prospects for a peace accord receding, several Israeli politicians urged the government to respond by unilaterally settings its own borders. Bennett has encour- aged Netanyahu to annex all areas of the West Bank that contain Jewish settlements. Oren argued that Israel should withdraw to a frontier it sets, creating a de facto Palestin- ian state. "What are the borders that give us the maximum amount of security and embrace the maximum number of Israe- lis?" Oren told JTA. "There are people on all sides of the Israeli political spectrum that have considered the necessity of taking our destiny into our own hands." AI-Masri said that absent direct negotiations, Abbas will turn again to various U.N. bodies for recognition, as he did in 2012 when the General Assembly accepted Palestine as a non-member observer state. Israeli analysts said such diplomatic pressure will have little impact on the ground. "Their position in the U.N. doesn't mean anything," said Avraham Diskin, an emeritus professor of political science at Hebrew University. "Life is one thing and declarations are another." Given the failure of previous attempts at Palestinian unity, experts are doubtful that the latest pact will succeed, not least because Hamas likely will not agree to hand over its weaponry and soldiers to Fatah control. "They're talking about a technocracy so they won't have to split the pie between them," Mordechai Kedar, an expert on Islamist groups at Bar-Ilan University. "They can't agree on anything." Netanyahu thus far has not responded to calls for unilateral action, but the col- lapse of negotiations means his governing coalition will hold for the moment. Jewish Home had threatened to leave had Netanyahu agreed to withdraw from much of the West Bank. Meanwhile, analysts were not expecting another wave of violence. Palestinian security cooperation with Israel has helped curb Hamas' influ- ence in the West Bank, but it's unclear whether such coordination will continue if Palestinian reconciliation becomes a reality. Oren told JTAit was difficult to see how the Israel Defense Forces could continue to co- operate with the Palestinian Authority once the P.A. unites with Hamas. "The cooperation is about fighting Hamas," he said. "How can the IDF fight Hamas with Palestinian se- curity forces who serve under a government that includes Hamas?" . Obama pointing finger at 'both sides' for peace impasse By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A pox On both your houses, but when you want a cure, we're still here. That's the message the obama administration is sending Israel and the Pales- tinians amid the deepening crisis in peace efforts. "What we haven't seen is, frankly, the kind of political will,to actually make tough decisions. And that's been true on both sides," Obama said Friday from South Korea. The president's remarks followed Israel's suspension of talks last week in response to a governance deal between the Palestine Liberation Orga- nization and Hamas. Obama suggested that the PeaCe process may need a break. But he also vowed that the United States was still ready to help the parties move toward peace. "There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives," he said. A moment later, though, Obama suggested there was no alternative to returning eventually to the negotiating table. "Realistically, there's one door, and that is the two parties getting together and making some very difficult po- litical compromises in order to secure the future of both Israelis and Palestinians for future generations," he said. "Do I expect that they will walk through that door next week, next month, or even in the course of the next six months? No. Are we going to continue to try to offer constructive approaches that could lead them to go ahead and take those steps? Abso- lutely." State Department spokes- woman Jen Psaki told report- ers that the U.S. team manag- ing the peace talks remained on the ground and in touch with the parties. The crisis began March 29, when Israel did not make a scheduled release of 26 Palestinian prisoners it had pledged to free. Within days the Palestinians violated their pledge not to apply to join in- ternational agreementswhile talks were underway. The crisis deepened April 23 when Abbas' Fatah party reached a governance agree- ment with Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group by Israel, the United States ......................................................................................... Your+i. ......................................................................................................................................................... Orlando Real Estate!!!! +..Z Over 25+ years Residential Real Estate Sales experience i i Over $200 Milfion+ Lifetime Sales i i GALE MILGRIM, P., Realtor i Gale.Milgrim@FloridaMoves.com 407-443-9832 Visit www.OrlandoJewishRealtor.com To read my Glooing Client Testimonials and my BIO!!!!! Member Congregation Ohev Shalom Parent 02 Jewish Academy Alumni Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando Supporter and many other Western na- tions. The following day, Israel formally suspended the talks. Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu said the governance deal that Palestin- ian Authority President Mah- moud Abbas was pursuing with Hamas was incompatible with continued peace talks. "Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel?" Netanyahu asked. The Obama administra- tion criticized the Palestin- ian unity deal because of Hamas' refusal to embrace key principles underlying the peace process, including recognizing Israel, renounc- ing violence and agreeing to abide by past agreements. "We all understand it's hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist," Psaki said April 23. But Psaki shifted within 24 hours from putting the onus on the Palestinians to rhetoric more reflective of Obama's current posture, which blamed both sides for the collapse. "If we look back at the last several months, over the course of nine months even, there are unhelpful steps that have been taken by both par- ties," she said the next day. In a statement, the Pales- tine Liberation Organization office in Washington empha- sized that the agreement set up an interim government ahead of planned elections for the Palestinian presi- dency and parliament. It said the government's ministers would be politically inde- pendent of both Hamas and Fatah. "The PLO will continue negotiating a peace agree- ment with Israel, supporting nonviolence to end the occu- pation and upholding previ- ous agreements signed with Israel," it said. "The interim government will adhere to those commitments and the PLO's political agenda." Top lawmakers of both Obama on page 14A Rabbi stands up for himself after verbal assault By Joshua Levitt (ALGEMEINER) A rabbi extracted an apology from anti-Semites on bikes who verbally assaulted him as he was walking to shul in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Rabbi Michy Rav-Noywrote on Facebook that the lesson was, "Jews! Stand up for yourselves!" The "main point" of his story, the rabbi said, was "showing them we won't put up with it and having them apologize." At 9:15 a.m., the rabbi was walking to synagogue when two men on bicycles screamed, "There goes a Jew[ Look at that Jew!" Rabbi Rav-Noy said, "I yelled right back at them, 'Come here now and say it to my face!'" As they rode away, he yelled at them, "Don't ride away like sissies!" But, the rabbi said,"G-d put me at the right place at the right time. A police car drove by. I let out a loud whistle and yelled, 'I need the police!" A lady officer pulled over. I told her what happened and stressed 'NOT IN THE U.S.' - please go after them." Moments later, three blocks away, the two men were being held against a wall by two policemen, with their hands being held behind their backs. "The lady cop apologized to me and said, 'I can't do much more; they didn't officially commit a crime.., but (with a half smile on her face) the good news is that one of them has a warrant and is going to jail today." "I told her, 'You punished them by stopping them and making them stand like this. You gave them a message that they are accountable.'" "'They need to apologize,' I said. She agreed." "We both walked over and I told them to apologize. I told them, 'We suffered for 2,000 years; we shouldn't have to go through this in the U.S.' They apologized again." Rav-Noy directs the Los Angeles chapter of the Friend- ship Circle, a Jewish charity that runs programs for chil- dren with special needs.