Itongadol.- Two papers comment on the state of the peace process:
Yediot Aharonot believes that "Both sides are waiting to see who will blink first: Israel wants the Palestinians to withdraw their appeals to the UN and the Palestinians want to see Israel carry out the fourth phase of the prisoner release," and adds: "The sense among the Israeli political leadership is that the big deal, that which would include the release of Jonathan Pollard, will not take place." The author suggests: "Officially, the door has not yet been slammed shut. There are resuscitation attempts, and the meetings are continuing, but practically, this is the situation we were in nine months ago: With no diplomatic dialogue, but with an ongoing daily dialogue at the working security levels, mainly the ISA, IDF Central Command and the Coordinator of Activities in the Territories." The paper says that while the security forces are preparing for a major conflagration, they will also do their utmost to minimize potential friction.
Yisrael Hayom notes: "The negotiations that were led by John Kerry collapsed last week without surprising anyone other than Kerry himself," and adds: "No op-ed piece gave a chance to his pretentious move – a permanent agreement within nine months." The author asserts that "Kerry\’s great mistake was his feeling that he was mediating between Rabin and Arafat: On the one hand, an Israeli leader who was prepared to pay a significant price to end the conflict and effect a strategic change in the Middle East by creating a diplomatic and economic coalition between Israel and some of the Arab states, and on the other hand – a Palestinian leader who was capable of committing the vast majority of his people to moves that contradicted his slogans and speeches for decades." The paper calls on the Americans to push for a Palestinian state within temporary borders as a stopgap and to desist from their moves to achieve a permanent agreemen t so as "to avoid reaching another deadlock in less than a year."
Haaretz believes that allocation of public funds to an agency that is not subject to public review or freedom of information laws and whose purpose of which is to promote building in the West Bank is no less than “robbery under the protection of the law,” and asserts: “Public money is not private capital to be used by the settlement division or the legislation committee.” The editor calls on PM Netanyahu to “put an end to this under-the-table funding source,” and adds: “We must not let transparency, an essential, fundamental part of a functioning democracy, be trampled by politicians who place themselves above public review.”
The Jerusalem Post comments on reports emanating from Turkey that Turkish-Israeli relations “are about to get back on track,” and asks, in light of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent local elections victories, “What sort of a Turkey will Israel be getting chummier with?” With Turkey clearly on a path that is taking it “farther away from Western liberality and deeper yet into an intolerant orientation that contradicts Turkey’s fading European aspirations,” the editor believes Israel must be “exceptionally careful” in any dealings with Turkey, and cautions that despite “Israeli knee-jerk instincts” to lap up any remote indications of acceptance and a restoration of normalcy, “Wishful thinking is never an acceptable substitute for cool, hard assessment.”
[Alex Fishman and Yossi Beilin wrote today\’s articles in Yediot Aharonot and Yisrael Hayom, respectively. There was no print edition of Ma\’ariv today.]