Wednesday morning’s Hebrew papers feature dueling visions of diplomatic efforts for a settlement with the Palestinians, courtesy of archrivals Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and US Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as a stark rebuffing of UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who visited both Israel and the Gaza Strip Tuesday.
For Ya’alon, known affectionately as Bogie, Israel Hayom’s word-heavy front page really says it all, with a black and white quote that “there will not be a Palestinian state, only autonomy.”
The minister, no stranger to controversial views, lays out that if he has any say, Israel will maintain air control over any land the Palestinians get in the West Bank, and adds that he thinks Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has no intention of coming to a peace deal, but rather plans on just “managing the conflict.”
“The other side doesn’t think the ’67 lines are the end of the story, and they never said that it’s the end of the story. To them it’s just a stage,” he says in the wide-ranging interview with the paper. “What they are busy with is not creating a state but destroying ours and making sure it does not exist.”
Ya’alon may be best known in the US for once calling John Kerry an obsessed messianic over his peace push, creating a mini diplomatic crisis, but Haaretz now looks like it might be on board with that assessment.
Dubbing Kerry “The last man in the White House who still believes,” the paper reports that despite all the bad blood between the sides and nine months of futile peace talks, the secretary is still trying to get the Israelis and the Palestinians back to the table, as a way to stave off a Palestinian UN Security Council request that the US may be forced to veto.
According to Haaretz, Kerry recently approached Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about going back to negotiations based on the 1967 lines, a proposal Netanyahu did not dismiss, but wasn’t enthused about either.
Mixing some analysis with his reporting, Barak Ravid notes that Kerry’s push brings new meaning to the term long-shot. “Despite all Kerry’s efforts, his chances of success are slim to none. He may be the last person in the US administration who still believes it’s possible to restart the negotiations. His burning faith has led him to say things that are surprising and even embarrassing.”
Yedioth Ahronoth focuses on another bureaucrat accused of just not getting it: Ban Ki-moon. Ban met Tuesday with the grandparents of Daniel Tragerman, a 4-year-old killed by Gazan mortar fire, but they accuse him in Yedioth of “not understanding.”
“After our meeting we feel that he understands a bit more what are going through, but not enough,” write Paulina and Marcello Tragerman. “He doesn’t understand our running to a safe place during a rocket siren. He doesn’t know that at any moment a terrorist can pop out at us from a tunnel. He doesn’t know if we got rid of all of them. He can’t tell us how many more wars we will fight, how many of our soldiers will die.”
Israel Hayom’s Haim Schein lumps Ban in with Britain, it of the symbolic vote in favor of a Palestinian state, writing that both are “hypocrites.” Ban for the fact that the UN ignores everything bad in the world and focuses on Israel’s wrongdoings, and Britain because of the 1939 White Paper that limited Jewish immigration to Mandate Palestine. “I suggest they give Scotland independence and give up the Falkland Islands before they preach to us about a Palestinian state. England has already for hundreds of years been known as perfidious Albion, a term bolstered by Jewish leaders in the days of the British Mandate after the publication of the White Paper, denying the Balfour Declaration and closing the gates to refugees fleeing the sword of the Holocaust.”
Haaretz’s Anshel Pfeffer, though, thinks Balfour, who supported a Jewish state, is the more apt comparison to Monday’s vote, a symbolic gesture with a powerful message.
“The Balfour Declaration may have boosted the morale of the Zionist movement, but it hardly put the Jews on the path to statehood, which would take three more decades, a Holocaust and a War of Independence to achieve. And Britain had hardly given the Jews anything – it actually abstained in the partition vote at the United Nations in 1947,” he writes. “Similarly, Monday’s vote was of no more than symbolic significance for the cause of Palestinian statehood and will change nothing on the ground in the region.”
The paper also reports that while the vote was symbolic, Netanyahu was still walloped back home by a host of politicians for his string of international losses.
Among those, Yedioth reports, is a new push by the European Union to up pressure on Israel over the settlements, which may include a visa ban on settlers accused of violent crimes.
“Right now, we are not talking about imposing sanctions on Israel,” a European envoy in Israel tells the paper. “But there is a lot of worry, and we have many tools to clear away that worry.”