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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Crunch time for Livni

With the 'peace talks' on the verge of collapse, Tom Wilson reports that Tzipi Livni is trying to save her career by placing the blame where it belongs for a change: On 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen. This is from the first link.
For someone like Livni to have gone public on what are supposed to be closed-door negotiations, we can assume that her back must really be against the wall this time. With just three months to go before the current round of negotiations are due to expire, it seems that everyone, even the talks’ most enthusiastic supporters, are now preparing for the fallout from negotiations collapsing. And clearly Livni, too, is looking for a position from which to weather the storm.
Speaking over the weekend, Livni openly condemned what she referred to as Abbas’s “unacceptable positions” in the negotiations. We are told that Abbas is demanding all of east Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital, including the Old City and its holy sites, that he has refused to recognize the Jewish state, and in contradiction to what many believed to be his position in the past, Abbas is insisting that the millions of descendants of the Palestinian refugees return, not to a future Palestinian state, but to the very Jewish state that he refuses to recognize.
None of these demands are that surprising; Abbas knows full well that these are things that Israel will never be able to concede. But then Abbas also knows that his own political survival depends on not reaching an agreement with Israel, just as Livni’s political survival always depended on these talks yielding some modicum of success.
Clearly Livni is now facing up to seeing what most people saw long ago. Indeed, a recent poll showed that 87 percent of Israelis do not expect these negotiations to go anywhere. Even President Obama has said that he now believes these talks have a less than 50 percent chance of success, a remarkable statement at this late stage given the way his administration has spent the past five years strong-arming the two sides into talks that clearly neither felt particularly enthusiastic about.
Livni has staked her political career on the two-state proposal and a negotiated settlement. She was a protégée of Ariel Sharon and has sought to pickup where prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak left off. Yet, like the two Ehud’s she now finds herself trading incriminations with the Palestinians as they appear set to walk away from yet another Israeli offer. This is what always ends up happening. Now that we’re back to this stage in the cycle once again it would be so easy, and indeed politically tempting, for her to attempt to lay the blame on her old rival, Prime Minister Netanyahu, by making the claim that he set her up with a negotiating position bound to fail. Instead, Livni has placed the blame where it’s due, with Abbas.
Wilson implies that Livni has an option of blaming Netanyahu. She does not. There are two reasons for that. One is that most Israelis are much closer to Netanyahu's position in these 'negotiations' than they are to Livni's. That was true at the outset, and it's even more true today.

More importantly, Livni cannot claim that Netanyahu set her up, because she clearly set herself up to be involved in these 'negotiations.' Livni ran to join Netanyahu's government before any other party, because she did not want to languish in opposition. And she insisted on being in charge of 'negotiations' out of an arrogant belief that she and only she could carry them to a 'successful' conclusion. Despite repeated protests from other coalition MK's, particularly from the camp of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (who did not become Foreign Minister again until his legal situation was resolved), Livni has remained in charge of the 'negotiations' from the get-go despite being out of tune with the coalition and with most of the rest of the country. If the 'negotiations' had 'worked,' Livni's downfall might have been trying to impose her beliefs on the 87% of Israelis who disagree with them. But since they didn't work, her downfall will be steeper and more inevitable.
Mahmoud Abbas is now entering his tenth year of a four-year presidential term. He is all but devoid of legitimacy and has a proven track record of doing everything in his power to avoid negotiations with Israel, and to avoid agreeing to anything in the event that he is forced to take part in them. But if Secretary of State John Kerry should have seen this coming–and he really should have–then all the more so for Livni.
Yes, they should have. But these negotiations are the raison d'etre of both Livni and Kerry. Without them, Livni has no role to play in Israel's foreign policy establishment, and Kerry has no accomplishments on which to base a future Presidential run and/or a place in history.

The other one who should have seen this coming is Barack Hussein Obama. But his blind support for the 'Palestinians' and his selfish desire to have some accomplishment in the Middle East to which he can point blinded him to reality.

In the best case scenario, these 'negotiations' will end in April, and the IDF will be able to quash any reaction from the 'Palestinian street.' In any event, the last thing we should be doing is making more unilateral concessions to prolong the agony. 

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