Sorry Herb, it's not the Arab League's lack of clout (but you knew that)Moderate' 'Palestinian' President
On Wednesday, the Arab League representatives gave full-throated backing to Kerry’s efforts.
“The Arab delegates believe Kerry’s ideas proposed to the committee today constitute a good ground and suitable environment for restarting the negotiations, especially the new and important political, economic and security elements,” they said in a statement from Amman.
With this green light, many assumed, the road was paved for Abbas to give a resounding yes. But those who assumed that the Palestinians would jump on Kerry’s offer once the Arab League gave its blessing misread the mood on the Palestinian street.
There, where the Arab League has disappointed time and time again, not a whole lot of stock is placed in what the foreign ministers of countries that have not delivered for them really think.
The PLO’s failure to grasp the Kerry offer is the Palestinian leadership responding to its grassroots, and the message filtering up from the grassroots is that time is on their side, more can be extracted from Israel and why enter into negotiations with a man they genuinely dislike and do not trust: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Kerry thought that the Arab League backing would impress the Palestinians. But this backing from countries on the ropes like Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen impressed no one. It simply does not matter.
The Palestinians will do what they want, and what they want is to continue their struggle because of a sense that time and world opinion – as evidenced by the current brouhaha over the new EU settlement guidelines – is on their side and will eventually wear Israel down until it gives them what they want.If Abu Mazen were a real leader with real clout, perhaps he could open talks and could lead his 'people' in the direction of peace. But Abu Mazen is all about preserving Abu Mazen in power, and he has as little interest in peace as his putative 'people.' Unfortunately, there is no 'Palestinian leader' on the horizon who would be more willing than Abu Mazen to live in peace with Israel.
Actually, my impression is that a large percentage of the 'Palestinian people' - certainly those who live in 'east' Jerusalem and those who hold jobs in Jewish establishments in Judea and Samaria - actually like the current situation. They get all the economic positives from Israel while holding out hope for an eventual 'Palestinian state' that they would probably try to escape anyway.
What could go wrong?