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Today’s Top Stories
1. Haaretz obtained a copy of a letter (pdf format) suggesting hard proof that the Palestinians deliberately sabotaged peace efforts. The letter was written by Israeli national security adviser Joseph Cohen to a number of foreign diplomats:
Attached to the letter, a copy of which has been obtained by Haaretz, is a 65-page document that chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat submitted to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on March 9, three weeks before Israel was to release the final batch of Palestinian prisoners. In it, Erekat proposed a strategy for the PA during the final month of negotiations and after April 29, when the talks were originally scheduled to end before their premature collapse.
Erekat recommended applying to join various international conventions, informing the U.S. and Europe that the Palestinians wouldn’t extend the talks beyond April 29, demanding that Israel nevertheless release the final batch of prisoners, intensifying efforts to reconcile with Hamas to thwart what he termed an Israeli effort to sever the West Bank from Gaza politically, and various other diplomatic and public relations moves.
Over the past month, the PA has implemented most of Erekat’s recommendations. This, Cohen wrote in his letter, shows that even while the Palestinians were talking with Washington about the possibility of extending the peace talks, they were actually planning to blow them up, and had been planning to do so even before Abbas met with U.S. President Barack Obama on March 17.
More on this at the Times of Israel.
While Engel said Congress would shed no tears should a cut be necessary, he expressed skepticism that events would reach that point of tension.
3. Martin Indyk will likely resign his post as US envoy, and not just because of the collapse of the peace talks. Haaretz reports that the US envoy is widely believed to be the anonymous source in a Nahum Barnea column blaming settlements for the failure of the talks. Countering the US narrative, Israeli sources insist Bibi negotiated in good-faith, reports the Times of Israel.
4. A Slap to the BDS Bullies: A writer tells the BDS what he really thinks about boycotting Israel.
Israel and the Palestinians
A senior diplomatic source in Jerusalem said Israel would send the US a strong message over the report, even going so far as to argue that parts of it were “tainted with a whiff of anti-Semitism.”
• Worth reading: The EU may cut aid to the Palestinian Authority over corruption and the inclusion of Hamas in a unity government. Palestinian leaders are concerned, but the JTA adds that the threats may also be directed at Israel too.
• Hamas claims its reconciliation agreement includes ending the PA’s security cooperation with Israel.
• Israeli archaeologist Eli Shukron believes he discovered King David’s citadel, raising the usual host of questions about the reliability of biblical archaeology and what such finds mean for Israeli and Palestinian claims on the Holy Land. AP reporter Daniel Estrin filed a reasonable dispatch, but The Independent went over the top with a new headline. Compare the two:
• EU economic measures against Israeli settlements were put on hold during the peace talks. But now that negotiations have fallen apart, the Wall St. Journal (via Google News) reports that moves are picking up where they left off:
The EU had been working on a guideline that would prevent goods manufactured in settlements from carrying a “Made in Israel” label. The 28-member bloc also had been drafting a list of potential legal risks for European companies doing business in the territories—a list that might cause some to rethink their operations.
• For more commentary/analysis, see Emmanuel Navon (why Israel must legally define itself as a Jewish state), Jamie Weinstein (Kerry, what would a Palestinian state look like?), Bernard Avishai (Israel and peace), and Reuven Berko (PLO manipulations exposed).
- Iran’s foreign minister grilled over Holocaust views.
- The Simpsons, Arab Spring, and Egyptian conspiracy theories collide.
- What’s the parallel between botched Oklahoma execution and a Palestinian prisoner’s death?