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Jul 28, 2013

PM Netanyahu is a lousy negotiator

I don't get it.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu just announced that he will be releasing 104 terrorists from Israeli jails. These are terrorists with blood on their hands. He will be releasing them as a gesture to get the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

While I think this is a bad idea, that is not the point of my post. The newspapers and digital media are full of explanations as to why this is a bad idea, why it won't lead to peace, why it is paying such a heavy price with receiving nothing in return, etc.

My point is this - Last week Netanyahu let everybody know that he had made a demand from the United States. Netanyahu demanded/requested in exchange for releasing Palestinians in Israeli jails to jump-start negotiations, that they release Jonathan Pollard. The United States said no.

I said that I hoped Netanyahu then would have responded by saying so we won't release Palestinians. Obviously he did not.

Netanyahu is clearly not a very good negotiator. if he is going to give up the entire prize with getting nothing in return, what was the basis for his demand from the Americans to start with? What was he offering them in return for Pollard's release if he was going to free the Palestinians anyway, regardless of their answer to his demand? Was his demand just lip service? Did he bring it up only so he could then come back to show the upset Israelis that at least he tried? I don't even call that trying.

I hope when they all come back and sit around the table and start negotiating again that Netanyahu will do a bit better of a job making demands and responding to demands. If this is an indication of how he is going to negotiate, the results are already known - Israel will [offer to] give up a lot and demand nothing in return. Our only hope is that the Palestinians continue to refuse as they have consistently done in the past with only achieving a number of goodwill gestures along the way.

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  1. Part of the problem is that the Western style of negotiating sees an initial concession as a good gesture, but the Middle Eastern/Arab style of negotiating requires one walk out several times before the other side takes you seriously. And the Western US is pushing Israel to negotiate without understanding the Palestinian culture of negotiation.

  2. Indeed, I agree with you Rafi.
    Netanyahu should have demanded that the USA release Pollard in return for just allowing them to receive credit for "jump starting" the Israeli-Arab negotiations.

    Then, when the USA refused that, and, in the next stage of their plans to get the negotiations going, demanded that in a gesture of goodwill, Israel release terrorists, he should have said, "How can I release dangerous terrorists in a gesture which has a 99% chance of leading to nothing, if you are unwilling, as a gesture of goodwill to your ally Israel, to release a man who will cause you no harm and will simply come to Israel to live out the rest of his life?"

    I doubt that, even if Netanyahu had spoken that way, he would have stood firm and refused to release the terrorists until Jonathan Pollard was safely in Israel; but, at least, if had said something like that, it would look a little better.

    But, as my great-grandmother would say, "It's a strange world!"

  3. he didn't give in on the borders, he didn't give in on the building freeze. he gave in here.


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