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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Israeli-Palestinian Talks: Obama Seeks Another "Framework" Agreement

Query: What is a framework agreement?

We were never allowed to see the terms of the "historic" framework agreement between Obama and Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei, pursuant to which economic sanctions against Iran were dismantled in exchange for idle discussions concerning cessation of Iran's nuclear development program. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has already gone on record as saying that Iran will not dismantle a single centrifuge or anything else for that matter (see: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/22/politics/iran-us-nuclear/). But never mind that the talks are going nowhere, much to the delight of Tehran. Last Thursday, Iran and the P5+1 proudly announced that they had reached a new framework agreement for further discussions. As reported by CNN (http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/20/world/europe/iran-nuclear-talks/) (my emphasis in red):

"Six world powers and Iran have reached a deal on the framework for comprehensive negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Thursday.

'We have identified all of the issues we need to address in reaching a comprehensive and final agreement,' Ashton said, speaking alongside Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Vienna, Austria.

'There is a lot to do. It won't be easy, but we've made a good start' following 'three very productive days' of talks, Ashton added.

In addition to political discussions, the two sides have started technical work, Ashton said, and have set a timetable for meetings over the next four months, with a framework for further deliberations."

How wonderful! Her Hideousness Catherine Ashton has negotiated a comprehensive framework agreement with the tyrannical Khamenei regime! Now Cathy and friends know which matters will fail to be resolved over the coming 120 days!

Better yet, we are now learning of a yet another framework agreement in the works.

Upon becoming US secretary of state, John Kerry set out on a "historic" mission to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and he naively set a nine-month deadline for reaching such a deal by the end of April 2014. As known to all (except Kerry), this deadline was delusory, and a framework agreement for further talks is currently being sought. As reported today by The New York Times in an article entitled "Shrugging Off Past Setbacks, Obama Plans Personal Role in Middle East Peace Bid" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/world/middleeast/shrugging-off-past-setbacks-obama-plans-personal-role-in-middle-east-peace-bid.html?hp&_r=0) by Mark Landler (my emphasis in red):

"President Obama, after avoiding a hands-on role in Middle East peacemaking since the setbacks of his first term, plans to plunge back into the effort, his advisers said this week, starting with an urgent appeal to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

When he welcomes Mr. Netanyahu to the White House on Monday, these officials said, Mr. Obama will press him to agree to a framework for a conclusive round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations that is being drafted by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Later in March, Mr. Obama is likely to meet with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to make the same pitch. The goal, officials said, is to announce the framework, a kind of road map for further talks, by the end of April, the nine-month deadline that Mr. Kerry set last summer for a final peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

. . . .

Skeptics say Mr. Kerry’s decision to opt for a framework is itself a sort of concession — or at best, a way to buy time. Some worry that if Mr. Obama puts his prestige on the line to coax approval for an interim step, he will have less leverage to push through a final deal.

. . . .

Mr. Kerry has met with skepticism from Palestinians as well. While he was meeting with Mr. Abbas last week in Paris, another senior Palestinian official, Hanan Ashrawi, offered a bleak assessment of his efforts to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

A framework that allowed each side to voice reservations, she said, would be 'self-negating,' adding, 'It will be a nondocument.' Any document not based firmly on international law, she said, 'will become a box of chocolates: You can pick and choose what you want.'

Ms. Ashrawi did not say the Palestinian Authority would actually reject the framework, if it came to that. But she asked: 'Why have it? Is it just to maintain a semblance of progress? Is it meant to buy more time? Or is it not to admit we have failed?'"

And that's not all the references to a framework agreement in this article!

Will Obama's intercession in this mess and the signing of a framework agreement foster a breakthrough? The answer is obvious: Given the excellent relationship and enduring trust that Obama has created over the past five years with Netanyahu, we can of course be certain that the president's personal involvement in Kerry's folly will bring results . . . not.

But I stray from the question that I posed at the beginning of this blog entry.

What is a framework agreement?  An agreement to agree? No way! Rather, a framework agreement is an Obama-brokered agreement not to agree, but which delays acknowledgment of failure and profound embarrassment closer to culmination of the American president's second term of office.

Charming.


1 comment:

  1. Actually, the NYT had this headline "Obama will PRESS Israel to agree to a framework" just 10 minutes ago. When I returned for the exact quote it wasn't already there.
    OK, let me check if I understand reality well:
    - we have Assad slaughtering his nation
    - we have Islamists burning children alive in Africa
    - we have charmers as (what his name) in Venezuela
    - we have Putin in Moscow and his army near Kiev,
    BUT our President is "pressuring" .... Israel
    This is not normal, people.

    ReplyDelete