So, he must already have arrive.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem — the warmth of the invitation no doubt intended to melt resistance and encourage agreement, even as the Palestinian negotiators face the realization that the will have to stay the course, whatever happens to the settlement freeze…
Laura Rozen suggests here that there is logic to the idea that Netanyahu + Abu Mazen already be scheduled to meet (perhaps also with Clinton) in another week’s time in New York, in the “margins” of the UN General Assembly’s annual high-level session.
Abu Mazen’s predecessor, the late Yasser Arafat, never got officially invited to Jerusalem (though it is said he was allowed to pass through, in an extremely low-key way, while en route from Ramallah to Bethlehem one time…)
Why is Abu Mazen going through with this? For reasons that Hillary Clinton will not see, ever, while in Jerusalem or driving through the West Bank for her meeting with Abu Mazen and — of course — also with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad tomorrow…
Amira Hass wrote in Haaretz today that “A peace agreement is not a contract. It requires a change of values of a kind that does not exist within the vocabulary of the democratic Jewish state, which elevates the system of double standards to a level of virtuosity. The people of this state are incapable of imagining themselves departing from the privileges that this system confers. And who cares if the flip side of those privileges is dispossession, suppression of freedoms and the risk of regional conflagration? The day before yesterday, Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi ) was interviewed on Army Radio’s morning broadcast, and argued that it was impossible to continue the construction freeze in the West Bank settlements while the Palestinians went on building and building. One cannot expect an interviewer on Army Radio or Israel Radio to surprise and ask, for example: ‘Since the principle of equality is suddenly so important to the settlement lobby, why then residents of Nablus and East Jerusalem cannot have a housing project in Haifa or live in Ashkelon or in a panoramic neighborhood in the Galilee, while residents of Haifa and kibbutz Hazorea are allowed to build in Nablus Heights or in the East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan? But the interviewer didn’t even correct a distortion of the facts and didn’t tell the listeners that the Palestinians cannot build at will. In the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control, known as Area C, Israel has frozen Palestinian construction for the past four decades. It can be assumed that the interviewer, despite numerous reports, is unaware of the building freeze beyond the pale of settlement allocated to the Palestinians. Natural growth only applies to Jews. In Area C, schools, kindergartens and water are only for Jews. The Mekorot Water Company’s wells in the Jordan Valley supply quantities of water to the settlements and their orchards. The water flows from the Palestinians’ land, and the pipes are fenced off. And the land is parched, because the Palestinians are not allowed to draw their own water from those pipes, as Israel imposes on them a quota which is not set to human beings’ needs. In the democratic Jewish state, within its virtual borders, it’s as clear as the sun rising in the east. If the American partner had wanted to, it would have demanded to begin evacuating the settlements, not only to continue the construction freeze. But the territory robbed by the separation barrier – Ariel, Givat Ze’ev, Ma’aleh Adumim, Efrat in its Anglo-Saxon elegance and East Jerusalem – are all within the consensus. Whose consensus? The people of the democratic Jewish state and evangelical Christians, of course. No one thinks to ask about the consensus among the residents of Palestinian cities and villages on whose land the settlements have been built. The millions of Palestinians don’t count at all”… This ref=”Amira Hass article can be read in full here.
Two days ago, Amira Hass revealed that, upon reflection, she has now come to the conclusion that it is worse to be Palestinian in [East] Jerusalem than in Gaza. She wrote in Haaretz: “I have found myself wondering which Palestinians have it the worst under the Israeli rule. For many years, I thought there was nothing worse than life in Gaza. I even argued my point with a friend, who claimed the absolute worst is to be a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship because ‘we live in the midst of the Nakba [1948 catastrophe] sites and experience the daily racism masquerading as democracy’. But for more than a year now, I have been vacillating between Gaza and Jerusalem. That is to say, I have been trying to decide which is worse – the isolation and insulation that Israel has imposed on Gaza (which includes being cut off from water sources and from the cultural, social and family ties those residents have with their People ); or the cynicism with which the decision makers continue to turn the population of East Jerusalem into welfare clients and slum dwellers, and then pride themselves of the national insurance payments they grant them. A visit to the [East Jerusalem] neighborhood of Isawiyah decided the issue. Heaps of concrete, uncollected garbage, roads that are becoming narrower due to pirate additions to buildings – forced on residents thanks to construction prohibitions and the expropriation of vacant lots – all lies in sight of the Hebrew University campus and the city’s French Hill, which are so green, spacious and civilized. And now a report from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel has confirmed my determination. The report, titled “Unsafe space: The Israeli authorities’ failure to protect human rights amid settlements in East Jerusalem“, is based on testimonies, media reports and official documents. It highlights the loss of personal and collective security in Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods, in the heart of which hostile bodies have settled over the past 30 years – settlers supported by millionaires and religious and archeological associations … The authorities who prevent Palestinians from building and developing their lands allocate vacant plots to the Jews, not only outside of the populated areas but also in their very heart. These spaces are allocated for parking or entertainment, archeological digs or construction. As these neighbors are the authorities’ darlings, confrontations are unavoidable, so the Housing and Construction Ministry provides hundreds of armed guards for the Jews at the public’s expense (some NIS 54 million in 2010 ). When [East Jerusalem] Palestinians complain to [Israeli] police about harassment [this would never happen in the West Bank], they find themselves treated like suspects. When they call the police, they feel like the officers are in no hurry to get there. And when police investigate cases in which Jews are suspected of causing bodily harm, these cases are closed swiftly. In this way, the Palestinians are left at the mercy of the aggressive, belligerent and officially sanctioned invaders. The guards, who are employed by a private company, think their position permits them to hit people, to act abusively and even to shoot. The people in whose midst these fortified complexes are sprawling are afraid to get in and out; relatives and friends think twice before coming to visit them. These complexes are also characterized by a great deal of noise – digging at archeological sites that goes on until night, and dancing and religious celebrations accompanied by anti-Arab songs… Ariel Rosenberg, the [Housing and Construction] ministry’s spokesman, firmly denies any claims that guards harass Palestinians and praises their professionalism and the instructions they receive to show restraint and forbearance. ‘In the past year’, he writes, ‘the situation in the area under discussion has significantly worsened and the guards are witness to extremely hostile activity’ … I have been able to memorize only a few Arabic adages. One I learned from one of the many villagers who was handed an expropriation order for his land. Sitting at the entrance to his home, he looked like he was attending a funeral. ‘To whom can a grain of wheat complain when the cock is the judge?’ he said, in response to my dumb question about what he planned to do”… And this Amira Hass article is posted here.