Netanyahu offered more than what's been publicized, Abu Mazen still said noModerate' 'Palestinian' President
After hearing Kerry’s new ideas and proposals for resuming the peace talks, Abbas returned to Ramallah to seek the approval of members of the PLO Executive Committee and the Fatah Central Committee for returning to the negotiating table with Israel.
On Wednesday, Abbas won the backing of the Arab League foreign ministers for resuming peace talks with Israel.
Palestinian officials described Thursday’s discussions in Ramallah as “stormy,” saying several PLO and Fatah officials voiced opposition to the resumption of the peace talks on the basis of Kerry’s ideas, which have yet to be made public.
At the end of the discussions, the Palestinian leaders announced that they have formed a special committee that would be entrusted with reviewing Kerry’s proposals.
Amin Maqboul, a Fatah official, said that the Palestinians were seeking a written and public declaration from Kerry about the understandings he reached with Abbas.
Maqboul told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency that Abbas and Kerry agreed that the talks with Israel would be based on the pre-1967 lines and that the Israeli government would release Palestinian prisoners and halt construction in settlements.
Maqbould said that a denial issued by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office regarding the pre-1967 lines and possible land swaps “blew up Kerry’s efforts.”So now Kerry is 'negotiating' for Israel and telling Abu Bluff he can 'deliver' us? What a moron....
He and other Palestinian officials claimed that Israel has agreed to release some 250 Palestinian prisoners, in addition to another 100 inmates imprisoned before the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Palestinian sources told Ma’an that most Fatah and PLO officials who participated in Thursday’s discussions do not trust the US Administration.
PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef said after the meeting said that Kerry and Abbas have reached understandings that the borders of a Palestinian state should be on the pre-1967 lines.
Abu Yusef said that the Israeli government was still refusing to accept the Palestinian demand to stop settlement construction.
A source close to Abbas said that Kerry’s proposals call for ceasing construction outside settlement blocs in the West Bank and boosting the Palestinian economy.
Despite the note of pessimism, some Palestinian officials said that it was “premature” to talk about the failure of Kerry’s efforts.
One official said that Abbas seemed inclined to return to the negotiations, even if all his demands are not fulfilled.
“Kerry promised us some very good things, but the problem is that he won’t put this in writing,” the official explained. “In light of our past experiences with the Americans, many leaders here remain skeptical and don’t trust the US Administration.”And to think that in 2009, Abu Bluff trusted Obama to be his savior. Recall that Abu Mazen confidently predicted in a May 2009 interview with Jackson Diehl that he needed to do nothing other than sit back and wait for Obama to deliver the Israelis.
Yet on Wednesday afternoon, as he prepared for the White House meeting in a suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City, Abbas insisted that his only role was to wait. He will wait for Hamas to capitulate to his demand that any Palestinian unity government recognize Israel and swear off violence. And he will wait for the Obama administration to force a recalcitrant Netanyahu to freeze Israeli settlement construction and publicly accept the two-state formula.And what made Abu Mazen think that 'strategy' was acceptable? Diehl explained.
Until Israel meets his demands, the Palestinian president says, he will refuse to begin negotiations. He won't even agree to help Obama's envoy, George J. Mitchell, persuade Arab states to take small confidence-building measures. "We can't talk to the Arabs until Israel agrees to freeze settlements and recognize the two-state solution," he insisted in an interview. "Until then we can't talk to anyone."
What's interesting about Abbas's hardline position, however, is what it says about the message that Obama's first Middle East steps have sent to Palestinians and Arab governments. From its first days the Bush administration made it clear that the onus for change in the Middle East was on the Palestinians: Until they put an end to terrorism, established a democratic government and accepted the basic parameters for a settlement, the United States was not going to expect major concessions from Israel.His strategy hasn't changed a whole lot, has it? It's just that what has to be delivered keeps increasing, with the encouragement of the Europeans.
Obama, in contrast, has repeatedly and publicly stressed the need for a West Bank settlement freeze, with no exceptions. In so doing he has shifted the focus to Israel. He has revived a long-dormant Palestinian fantasy: that the United States will simply force Israel to make critical concessions, whether or not its democratic government agrees, while Arabs passively watch and applaud. "The Americans are the leaders of the world," Abbas told me and Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt. "They can use their weight with anyone around the world. Two years ago they used their weight on us. Now they should tell the Israelis, 'You have to comply with the conditions.'"
What could go wrong?