Sunday, September 7, 2014

THE WAITER WITH THE CHECK



A LOOK AT THE LATEST FROM KHALED MESHAAL

Temecula, CA – With the continued seizure of Gaza Strip land from the Palestinians along with the brutal living conditions [compared to anywhere else in the world], and the predicted assassination of Netanyahu [The Bible Code], the Calendar takes a look at the guy who will be a person of interest, Khaled Meshaal, a leader of Hamas that Netanyahu once killed, almost, by poisoning, only to be talked out of the antidote by Slick Willy’s boys back in the days of cool Presidents. Though he may not pull the trigger during the upcoming Hunter’s Moon, the second blood moon's name in the current tetrad, this is a guy with a grudge and a finger on everything. Let's meet the man up close and personal in the following report by Elie Hanna.


This in-depth view presents a fascinating look into the political process that takes place between leaders of movements and leaders of countries in regard to the current world scenario. It is presented unedited so you, the Reader, can know what is being said transparently and form your own opinion. This is a Sunday evening political read, so’s you know.

‘On September 5, Al-Akhbar published the secret minutes of the meeting for negotiations held during the most recent assault on Gaza, at the court of the emir of Qatar, between a delegation from the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas and a delegation from Hamas led by Khaled Meshaal. Al-Akhbar publishes the second minutes of the meeting today for the session that brought together the same parties held before the Palestinian Authority delegation travelled to Cairo.

Both Abbas and Meshaal seem to have laid their cards on the “Emiri” table during the meeting, which resumed where the previous one had left off. Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad moderated the meeting. He did not intervene much. Meanwhile, and as usual, Abu Mazen (Abbas) and Abu Walid (Meshaal) were on two completely different pages, even as Gaza was coming under brutal bombardment, with their debate centering on a face-saving formula for a ceasefire.

Meshaal was preoccupied with the details and made many queries, whether in relation to arrangements for a ceasefire and the day after, or the proposal for a solution that Abu Mazen had brought with him to Doha. The president of the Palestinian Authority was carrying a package of proposals beginning with mechanisms for a ceasefire and post-ceasefire arrangements in Gaza, and not ending with an American-backed vision for a comprehensive settlement that puts an end to the Palestinian cause: A state within the borders that existed before the war in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in parallel with a timeframe for implementation under threat of dissolving the Palestinian Authority in the event of failure.

The idea was not new to Meshaal, who declared without equivocation his consent to a state within pre-1967 borders. However, his reactions were intriguing during the meeting: As Resistance units were achieving victories on the field – even by Israel’s and the world’s recognition – Meshaal was negotiating over an end to the Palestinian cause. In other words, as Palestinians were busy defending their weapons and their land, and fighting battles behind enemy lines, Abu Walid was busy asking about shares in the political pie and money. 

“His Highness welcomes everyone and asks His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs to begin the discussion and brief the audience on the points they had discussed and agreed upon at the session yesterday evening, Thursday, which brought together His Excellency and Dr. Saeb (the Palestinian Authority) and Brother Mohamed Nasr (Hamas). 

Khalid al-Attiyah: The session centered on three main points. 

The first: Moving toward demanding an end to the occupation and obtaining an international resolution recognizing the state of Palestine within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and seek a specific timeframe to achieve this. This of course requires the approval of all sides, none of which must impede it. It is not required of Hamas to sign anything, but only an internal agreement is needed. All sides must support efforts by Dr. Saeb and Majed Faraj in seeking a decision from the Quartet and then a resolution from the Security Council setting a date to end the occupation. 

The second: Considering everything in the past as history, opening a new page on the basis of the Doha and Cairo documents, and agreeing on the decisions regarding war and peace. 

Third: We want a decision now regarding the truce that will last until the end of the negotiations within the Quartet and the Security Council, perhaps for a month, two, or three – a humanitarian truce that lasts as long as humanitarian support continues.

Emir Tamim: What is the opinion of Abu Mazen? 

Mahmoud Abbas: The political settlement process faces a final juncture.

First: in case there is American approval of what we have said, we sit down and put a timeline for the demarcation of the border, and then we look into the rest of the issues later, if we agree that this would be good in front of America. 

Second: We return to previous agreements between us, and it is important that the decision for war and peace is not in the hands of any one party by itself

Third: a cease-fire now; we must end the bloodshed, and then humanitarian issues can follow and we can negotiate. If this is what I understood from the results of the meeting then I agree [to it]. 

Khaled Meshaal: Brother Mohammed Nasr briefed me on what was discussed. 

First, in regard to the political subject, there is nothing new. There is a general principle that has been agreed upon. We already agreed in the document of National Agreement in 2006, on a joint project, based on the establishment of a state within the 1967 borders, which has different mechanisms. But any move must be well defined, and we must be briefed on the details and nature thereof, and on any new developments so we can define our position accordingly; Hamas will not be part of the problem but part of the solution.

Second: the reconciliation: we are committed to all what we have signed, including reconciliation matters, the reconciliation government, the program, and the time-specific agenda. I say to Abu Mazen we are committed to it, but we implement it and all its parts on the basis of partnership. 

Here we want to agree on the mechanism. For example, as regards Gaza, there must be a joint committee that follows up the issue of the crossings, and also a committee for security policies not just in Gaza, but also in the West Bank, in the spirit of partnership, in order to resolve all obstacles and snags. [In addition, there is the issue of] civil servants, handovers, overlaps, and so on, so we need to sit and agree on this. After that, the government and brother [Prime Minister] Rami Hamadallah can come and exercise their role in Gaza. All the requirements of the reconciliation must be executed, as well as elections, [and issues related to] the PLO; the Legislative Council must then be convened within months. 

Third: the war on Gaza was imposed on us, and we are keen to stop it as soon as possible. We have no objection to any Egyptian or international role, be it from any state, as long as this leads to stopping the aggression, and meeting our demands, then we welcome it. However: [regarding] the call for a ceasefire first before we consider demands. Our brothers in Gaza are telling us this will not work, because they tried the negotiations option before, when the Israeli delegation walked out while they were still negotiating. Israel has shown intransigence, and was preparing to assassinate Mohammed Deif. This is a battle with a treacherous enemy.

Our brothers in Gaza do not want a truce, but a comprehensive deal. We want ceasefire, an end to the blockade, opening the crossings, and rebuilding Gaza [...]. President Abu Mazen can make efforts with Europe. You and the brothers in Egypt too, but if we agree to ceasefire, how much time do you give for us to negotiate [for other demands]? We must understand that this path is fraught with danger. 

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (L), Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani (C), Hamas' Meshaal (R)

Bring in Europe, the United Nations, America, and whomever you want. Let them fulfill these basic demands, which are not difficult. But [asking for] a ceasefire without anything else and then negotiate? And then what? If that doesn’t work we go back to war? The mood of our brothers in Gaza was in favor of de-escalation, but after the killing of the three [Resistance] leaders in Rafah, this has changed. 

al-Attiyah: The resolution [prepared by] France and Germany (at the Security Council): It seems that Al-Jazeera was able to obtain a part of it showing it to be putting pressure on Israel. But in reality, this decision is 100 percent in favor of Israel. The German delegate told me there was a lot of pressure on him and that he wanted to get rid of this pressure.

Emir Tamim: Dr. Saeb, go ahead.

Erekat: We have followed up the German [draft] resolution, and we have an Arab draft resolution submitted by Jordan. It won’t work out, but we told ourselves let’s submit it to thwart the German resolution.
The first issue: Going to the Americans to get a timetable for the establishment of the Palestinian state means we could enter negotiations that last two years, with American and international commitment. We must give this a chance; from now on, we will understand each other, though I doubt the endeavor will succeed with the Americans.

The part that the president did not say in his speech is this: If America refuses to specify a time table, then we will call Israel to shoulder its responsibilities as an occupation force, in accordance with international resolutions. We would be a state under occupation. As for the project for international management of Gaza alone, we said this is a red line, and that there will be no separation between Gaza and the West Bank.
We would stop security coordination and call on the occupation authorities to assume its responsibilities. We would return to a new equation. What should we do at the PLO?

The second issue: the consensus government should not have a parallel government. The consensus government must be the main title, because it withdraws pretexts from Israel and everyone has recognized it.
The third issue: the truce: any decision-maker will be in front of two issues, a discourse that people approve and like, and another that people do not like but must hear. From day one, I said Israel has a provocative negotiating attitude, and they want us to launch rockets to prevent relief and reconstruction. What is required is some balance to put Netanyahu in a corner.

Meshaal: There were 12 days of ceasefire for aid to come in, so why has aid entered in insufficient quantities? And what is the time limit for negotiations, Mr. Saeb?

Erekat: Dr. Attiyah and we are in touch with John Kerry. Our goal is to push the United States to launch an international aid campaign. The president is required to declare this in a formal speech calling for humanitarian ceasefire. The delegation to Cairo must return to Cairo to achieve our demands, and this is the best Dr. Khalid and I could get from John Kerry.

Israel is going to war, but the resolution of the war will have to be political. They do not want a government of national reconciliation, and their war on Abu Mazen is stronger than the war on you, because he isolated Netanyahu and put him in a corner.

The equation here involves a package deal, either a Palestinian state or let Netanyahu shoulder his responsibilities. The question here is how much does America agree to this? But at any rate, we must take advantage of the developments in the region and ISIS and so on. Read between the lines.

Emir Tamim: What is between the lines?

Erekat: America said ISIS is the most dangerous phenomenon, and frankly, they said this because of its threat to their ally, Saudi Arabia.

Meshaal: ISIS cannot be eliminated without settling [the war] in Syria, and isolating ISIS from the Sunnis.

Erekat: I mean that America is preoccupied away from us, and John Kerry will come to the region and sit with President Abu Mazen. We want to tell him everything that Dr. Khaled al-Attiyah said.

Meshaal: These are all broad titles. On these, we have the same position. But we want partnership. Offer us in the political subject something specific. We agree to a state in the borders of 1967, but there is a Palestinian leadership where we are not represented. Since we have agreed to reconciliation, then let us implement it to the letter. The slogans must be translated into working mechanisms, but when we deal with each other, we want partnership, not broad titles. We when we say yes we commit, we would be in favor in principle, but we must discuss the details with you.

Erekat: What is required?

Mashaal: You are going to talk with everyone. Abu Mazen is our president, and speaks on behalf of everyone. The government is unified, but these efforts of yours have been cooked by you alone. Bring us in.

Erekat: In December last year, at your home, I briefed you on this.

Meshaal: Not like this. This is not partnership.

Azzam al-Ahmed: After the consensus government, Abu Mazen sent us to Egypt and we went to the Egyptians to discuss holding a meeting for the leadership framework, but Abu Mazen did not approve of the Egyptian response, nor did you approve. But this was because of the dispute between you and the Egyptians. We must agree on a mechanism for coordination on this issue and partnership with one another.

Meshaal: If you want partnership, we must sit with one another and discuss the details, because any effort has detailed requirements. Visits do not mean we have taken part in a project with all its details.

Lets assume the president says we don’t want a military operation for a certain period. Then we need to discuss this on the basis of partnership. I cannot give you an OK to broad titles, and details need to be discussed and need partnership.

Erekat: If the Americans do not want to give us a timetable, we have an alternative. We are discussing a general principle, and we did not yet get to the stage of discussing details. This in our opinions is what we need to agree on today.

Meshaal: Suppose the Americans came up with a decision in a specific format, which you see as satisfactory but I don’t, because we did not write the details, that is, [what about] if you agree but I don’t [?]

Abbas: There are no details. There are two words to relay to America: Either agree to a state along the borders of 67 and demarcate the borders; or don’t. If they say yes, then let it be; if they no, we have an alternative plan. This is what we will say within days to John Kerry. He either gives an answer or he doesn’t.

Meshaal: He will give you a very broad answer that they agree to [a state in the borders of] 67.

Abbas: We will ask literally for a state in the borders of 1967 and for the demarcation of the border within a specific timetable: Agree or don’t agree, there are no details.

Emir Tamim: Abu Mazen is saying something specific: Either this or that. If they say they agree, some of the details require consensus.

Abbas: Yes, the issues are specific. One month to demarcate the border if they agree. They either want a solution or they don’t. Accordingly, we will do the following: [Stop] security coordination and [end] relations.

Meshaal: These are broad titles. Give me specific issues, and I can return to my brothers [for consultation]. Tomorrow, I will give you an answer. What exactly will you propose to the United States?

Erekat: The national project is based on establishing a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and resolving all final status issues in accordance with relevant international resolutions. The United States must set a time limit to end the occupation. In the event of American and Israeli approval, negotiations begin to demarcate the borders of the two states […].

Meshaal: What timeframe do you expect?

Abbas: Three years for full completion, in the presence of a third party – like NATO or the UN – until it is completed.

Erekat: If they refuse I will notify Kerry of the following:
* Israel must shoulder its responsibilities as an occupying power.
* Our legal status becomes: a state under occupation, which means that we say to the Americans we want to join all the treaties.
* Stop all forms of coordination and cooperation with Israel.
* The State of Palestine retains its membership in United Nations organizations.
* The PLO continues to be the representative of all the Palestinian people.

Meshaal: What does it mean to lay the responsibility on Israel?

Abbas: Israel would assume its responsibilities as an occupying power. This authority is empty talk, so then I would ask the United Nations to remove the occupation and provide international protection.

Erekat: Kerry told me “Ok…Go ahead.”

Meshaal: Does this mean that all this talk has been arranged with Kerry and also the subject of a truce?

Abbas: No, not the truce issue.

Mashaal: This brings us back to the situation in Gaza now. Today there is a single government and a single authority, and just like you are asking an American commitment to the end of occupation, why do we not say that we need a ceasefire and we want a commitment to end the siege on Gaza? We want a UN and Arab decision to lift the blockade.

al-Attiyah: This is contingent upon the condition of opening the crossings. If the crossings are not opened, the ceasefire collapses. We are the ones who linked the ceasefire to the opening of the crossings. If this is not fulfilled, they [the Israelis] would be the ones who failed, and the collapse would be the result of the Israeli position.

Azzam al-Ahmed: Another point in the negotiations was, [while] the crossings were agreed on, the ceasefire was agreed on, as well as letting in aid, and expanding the fishing zone, in the agenda for the month that comes after, the issue of military capabilities was set against the port and airport.

Abu Marzouk: The item concerning the blockade was partitioned. Ending the blockade means [opening] the airport, the seaport, as well as the crossings. They said the seaport and airport is an issue that cannot [be agreed on], which means there is no real end to the blockade because of this partition.

Erekat: When I say to Israel I want a seaport and an airport, it is as though I am saying you are responsible. I want to take this pretext away from [the Israelis]. I hope my Brother Majed can explain the security situation. Please explain how Cohen threatened us.

Majed Faraj: Talking about the issue of the coup in yesterday’s meeting went to an unintended direction. In truth, Yoram Cohen came to us with a letter saying that the president had crossed [a red line] […] and Israel would have to take serious and harsh measures:

First: The president gave political cover to Gaza by defending Hamas in the aggression. This is the first time the president formed a delegation where everyone is represented, and [the Israelis] considered this as crossing the red lines.

Second: The President took the signatures of all the factions to go to international organizations and the International Criminal Court.

Third: This war requires [i.e. for the Israelis] Abu Mazen to dissolve the national consensus government.
The president said this is my people and I will defend it. What started in the West Bank and then in Gaza is a war of extermination against the Palestinian people, and we will go to the International Criminal Court.
Yoram said as you put us on trial we will put you on trial…the president said: I am prepared to be the first one.

Yoram then asked: What about the reconciliation and the unity government?

The president said: This is a Palestinian interest and I will defend and protect it.

At this point the conversation moved to another angle, that of the 93 [Hamas members arrested by Israel] and the issue of the coup [the 93 allegedly were preparing].

The real wording used by Yoram was that they [the Israelis] had arrested men from Hamas who were planning to carry out attacks against Israel, which would prompt the latter to respond in a way as to end the Palestinian Authority.

Yoram did not say they were preparing for a coup per se, and this is the real account.

Mr. President yesterday was talking reproachfully […] because when they tried to say Hamas is a terrorist organization, he made national unity with you. And when the aggression began, he formed a unified delegation and made a political framework for it, and despite all this, the president is not a partner when it comes to the decision of war or the decision of peace.

When the statement was published by the WAFA agency, the president spoke with me and said the statement was false. He asked me to notify the official spokesman of the security services of this. Damiri then came out and said that the reports were fabricated with a view to undermine national unity.

Even in regards to the operation in Hebron [the kidnapping of three settlers], the president had intelligence saying that Hamas was behind it, but he insisted it in front of the Americans and Israelis that it was not Hamas behind it.

What matters now is that we have three main points: In the political issue, partnership in strategy; a consensus government with the means to work on the ground; and the issue of ending the assault on Gaza.

The discussions remain stuck at the issue of removing references to the seaport and airport in return for removing references to the military capabilities [i.e. disarming the resistance], and certainly, they [the Israelis] will come back with more demands. As regards the other issues, there has been some breakthrough.

Emir: Dr. Saeb and Khaled, what measures do you have in mind?

Meshaal: Let us settle matters…

First: the political issue: My brothers and I will study the formula put forward by Saeb, and we will give you an answer tomorrow […].

Second: the government of national unity and handover: Brother Khalil, you are based in Gaza, tell the brothers about the situation.

Khalil al-Hayya: We are in agreement over the government and realize where we are going. We are ready to cooperate to hand over the reins of government, which we will help and assist.

Meshaal: In the sense that there will be no parallel government, no disruption, and no monopoly as before, but we coordinate on the basis of partnership. There is no objection for Rami Hamadallah and you Abu Mazen to come.

The third point is, who will follow up matters after the war? The government? If so, then Gaza is part of the Palestinian Authority and you are responsible for it. We want a clear resolution. Obtain one by any means: a clear decision to cease fire, end the blockade, and begin reconstruction. You, Abu Mazen, are able to secure an international and Egyptian position, and Gaza and the West Bank are one. This is what we want.

Erekat: We see that Netanyahu’s negotiating behavior has prolonged the situation and the fighting…in days, we will meet with John Kerry. The president will deliver a speech in agreement with America, Egypt, and Europe, and say, “I call for a humanitarian ceasefire at a specific date, and ask all sides to abide by it, and give a chance to negotiations in Cairo to achieve our demands.”

Meshaal: This is an inappropriate position by President Abu Mazen. He is not a third party between two parties. He is the president of the Palestinian people. He [should] demand being recognized as the president of Palestine and for his government to follow up the issue.

Erekat: What if he said these words? Will he find acceptance from the Palestinians?

Mashaal: Yes, we will comply, if there is an international position and call for ceasefire and reconstruction. He commands the people’s loyalty.

Erekat: I don’t want the president to say something, only for someone to come and say he does not represent anyone.

Meshaal: If we agree, we will compel all our brothers to abide by it.
al-Attiyah: For this reason the formulation is important. There should be discussion about the formulation. The president cannot declare something of whose formulation other parties are not apprised. There should be an agreement in advance regarding the wording.

Azzam al-Ahmed: Abu Mazen is not a mediator. He demands. But the important issue is to end the occupation. There will be a discussion soon with Kerry, so this requires you to give us an answer.

The issue of reconciliation: We are in agreement in Cairo. We sit and discuss. You said you are committed. 

As for the negotiations in Cairo, we went as a unified delegation. Israel withdrew but we did not. We told the Egyptians, and our demands remain the same. We have come a long way, and we will not implement what we agreed on until all issues are agreed. The issue of reconstruction is a done deed.

There was an agenda that we disagreed upon. They had put the issue of the seaport in it as something related to morale. They did not acknowledge this, but we decided that every side can put the demands it wants. 
Thus they [The Israelis] put the issue of military capabilities with the goal of thwarting negotiations. We left Cairo and told them we are going back for consultations. We are waiting for the mediator to ask us to return, so that things remain in the Israeli court.

Emir: Khaled is following it up with you.

al-Attiyah: Saeb and I are following up the issue of the truce.

Meshaal: We are in favor of the government handover. The government can come tomorrow to take over. But before this, we want a decree from you Abu Mazen regarding the civil servants.

Abbas: This is an issue that is difficult to place on the agenda.

Meshaal: But this issue requires a measure from you.

Abbas: This issue needs a decision and needs financial means.

Meshaal: Does that mean that people should remain without salaries?

Abu Mazen: Am I a beggar?

Meshaal: You must solve this issue quickly. Relieve the people, brother.

Abu Mazen: I do not have the means.

Azzam al-Ahmed: When the problem of the salaries emerged, I proposed to Ismail Haniyeh to call His Highness the Emir. I told him contact Emir Tamim, and I will talk to Abu Mazen. His Highness has responded.

al-Attiyah: We have transferred the money but the Arab Bank refused to accept the transfer.

Emir: All problems must be resolved. What matters is to continue contacts and discuss these issues. Abu Mazen has to travel to Cairo, and we have no time now.

■ Assessment and observations:

-It was agreed that brother Meshaal would discuss the political issue with his colleagues, and answer tomorrow or in the coming days.

-It was agreed to continue communications and discuss the work of the consensus government in Gaza in the spirit of partnership.

-No solutions were reached to retain the civil servants in Gaza and secure their salaries. As we understood, the work of the government in Gaza will depend on this issue.

-President Abbas wanted to get Hamas’s approval of his political efforts during the meeting, and not a few days after. Through what Dr. Erekat and brother al-Ahmad said, it seems that this move has been arranged in advance with Mr. Kerry, who is waiting for Hamas’s answer.

-Brother Meshaal insisted on ending the crisis of the salaries of the Gaza civil servants permanently and formally.

-His Highness was forced to intervene to end the meeting to prevent a return to the atmosphere of tension and anger, and also because of Abu Mazen’s prior commitments in Cairo.’

Click here to read the document (Arabic).

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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