US planning peace talks while building Gaza’s ‘wall of steel’

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IT seems that the United States is preparing the ground to make the Palestinians an offer that they will not be able to refuse – the style of negotiations associated with the Cosa Nostra.

The Egyptian regime, which is almost as heavily financed by the US as is Israel, is allowing the US to construct a steel rampart that extends 40 feet down below the Gaza-Egypt border, destroying and flooding the tunnels that are currently Gaza’s lifeline, as the Israeli blockade continues.

At the same time, the Israeli premier Netanyahu has threatened another strike at Gaza, and Israeli regular troops are being withdrawn from the West Bank and are being replaced by reservists.

Complementing Netanyahu’s manoeuvre, the Israeli ultra-right foreign minister, Lieberman, is questioning the right of Abbas to rule the West Bank.

So while the Gaza prison camp for Palestinians is being completely secured, the legitimacy of the Abbas regime in the West Bank is being openly raised, and the regular Israeli army is being mobilised.

The scene is being set for the Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Supreme Commander of the US armed forces, President Obama to intervene and to explain to Abbas that in this threatening situation the only way forward is unconditional peace talks that will be able to establish at least the boundaries of a future Palestinian state.

In fact, the Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday, December 29 to discuss ‘Obama’s efforts’ to restart Israeli and Palestinian peace talks.

A few days earlier, Mubarak, who is completely sealing off Gaza, met with the Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, in Cairo.

He was told that ‘peace loving’ President Obama is drafting letters of guarantee for talks, that will be delivered to Israel and the Palestinians in the coming weeks.

Obama’s latest plan is for a final deal in two years, but that final status talks should be started immediately, without any freeze in settlement building, and without the lifting of the blockade from Gaza.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman are due to visit Washington on January 8th for talks with Obama, to outline what Abbas is prepared to do.

The Israeli media say that the talks will aim to negotiate the final boundaries of the Palestinian state within nine months. Subsequently, talks on Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees will be discussed, says the Israeli media.

US President Barack Obama has agreed to exert pressure on the Arab League to support these ‘peace talks’ and to support Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, the Israeli media added, is playing the ‘good cop’ as against Lieberman’s ‘bad cop’, and urging Abbas that for the good of all the talks must take place.

Egypt is also pressuring Hamas, at the same time as it is building the steel rampart, to agree to sign a reconciliation agreement with Abbas and the PA, that would bring the West Bank and the Gaza Strip under one administration and see Hamas’ security forces disbanded.

The Palestinian masses know that what the US and Israel are attempting to organise are surrender talks, not talks to establish a viable and free Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

There must be no talks until

• Israel ends the siege of Gaza.

• Egypt and the US give up constructing the ‘wall of steel’.

• Israel halts all settlement building and dismantles the settlements in East Jerusalem.

• Israel frees all Palestinian prisoners.

• Israel agrees that East Jerusalem will be the capital of Palestine.

Trade unions in the UK, the US and the EU must clamp a boycott on all Israeli goods until Israel agrees to the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.