Kerry prevented meeting between Netanyahu and Abu Mazen... because he wants Herzog in the government
'Palestinian' sources claim that US Secretary of State John Kerry recently prevented a meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and 'moderate
Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen
from taking place. While the US State Department is calling the 'Palestinian' version of events 'inaccurate,' the reason that the meeting was apparently blocked is that Kerry is trying to force Netanyahu to form a 'unity government
' with Labor party leader Yitzchak Herzog.
On Monday, Abbas met in Paris with four retired Israeli ambassadors. There he said he had expressed a willingness in recent weeks to meet with Netanyahu but that “a third party who is not Israeli” had blocked the meeting. Senior Palestinians and Israelis said Abbas was alluding to an incident that took place this month.
Netanyahu has been conveying to Abbas for weeks now, both publicly and through official and unofficial channels, that he wants to meet to discuss the possibility of reviving the peace process. Netanyahu is doing this amid concerns about initiatives by international players, and amid the escalating violence in the territories and Abbas’ threat to tell the UN General Assembly he will reassess or suspend clauses in the Oslo Accords.
In the framework of the messages between Netanyahu and Abbas, an official who is not American tried to initiate a meeting between the two leaders. Abbas responded positively but said he had to consult with Kerry on the matter.
Palestinian and Israeli officials said Kerry asked Abbas not to hold the meeting and to wait a few weeks until the two met at the UN General Assembly in New York.
A meeting between Abbas and Kerry took place on Saturday night.
It is not entirely clear why Kerry made this unusual request of Abbas. Kerry has been the key international player in recent years trying to promote the peace process. Palestinian officials said Kerry did not want a meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas to take place without American involvement and his personal mediation.
One official interested in the peace process with whom Kerry has met is opposition leader Isaac Herzog. The two held a two-hour private meeting 10 days ago in London that dealt almost exclusively with the peace process.
Israeli sources who were informed about the details of the discussion said Kerry did not come with a set plan but told Herzog he wanted to make another effort to push the process forward. Israeli political issues also came up during the meeting; for example, Kerry asked about the government’s stability and Netanyahu’s maneuver room with his current coalition.
According to one Israeli source familiar with details of the meeting, Herzog and Kerry also discussed the scenario of an Israeli unity government. But Herzog told Haaretz that this issue did not come up at all.
A senior U.S. official did not completely deny the matter.
“Kerry was in listening mode during the meeting in London,” he said. “He specifically stated that he and the administration were not in the business of advising on internal Israeli politics. It is entirely up to Israel’s leaders and the Israeli people to make all the choices about the shape of their government.”
Even if Kerry does not admit it publicly, the establishment of a unity government with Herzog’s Zionist Union could buoy the renewed peace initiative Kerry wants to lead.
Because, after all, Obama-Kerry's last foray into Israeli politics
was just so successful.
Labels: Abu Mazen, Barack Hussein Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, John Kerry, Middle East peace process, Yitzchak Herzog