Why Obama-Kerry are preventing a Netanyahu-Abu Mazen meeting even though Netanyahu already conceded almost everythingpreventing a meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President
While American sources claimed Abbas’ statement was “inaccurate,” senior Palestinian and Israeli officials alike confirmed that the Americans were not enthusiastic about such a meeting taking place. They believe it would be explosive and cause the situation to deteriorate even further. The Americans have learned from experience. They bear the battle scars of countless disappointments. They would therefore prefer to spend time preparing for such a meeting, honing positions, coordinating expectations and going for a sure thing.
For the past few months, the Americans have been very concerned that they could lose Abbas. The Palestinian president’s status among his own people is getting weaker by the day, and demonstrations against him are turning violent. A quiet uprising of sorts against him is already underway in the refugee camps, and it erupts every so often. In some instances, there has even been an exchange of fire between insurgent Palestinians and security forces. The last thing Kerry wants to see is Abbas resign or be deposed and have the West Bank slip into administrative and military chaos. He’s already had enough problems like that.
The real drama is taking place behind the scenes on various fronts. Kerry met recently with the leader of the Israeli opposition, Knesset member and Zionist Camp head Isaac Herzog. While both sides deny they discussed the political situation, it is quite safe to assume that they did not skip over the topic.
Herzog is in the middle of advanced negotiations to join the current government.
Netanyahu made him a very tempting offer in which Herzog’s party would receive the Foreign, Defense and Justice ministries. Herzog does want to join the government. He knows that the position of defense minister (offered for just half a term, in another year and a half) could help him overcome his image as a weakling and give him that special something he needs to become prime minister. Before he can join, however, he will have to convince his own party’s Central Committee to extend his term as chairman until late 2017. That is what Netanyahu wants in exchange for the deal. The prime minister is not willing to forego all these strategic assets only to see Herzog deposed a few months later and replaced with a new party chair who will lead the Zionist Camp out of the coalition. If that happened, Netanyahu would be exposed in every direction.
Labels: 1949 armistice lines, Abu Mazen, agreed land swaps, Barack Hussein Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, John Kerry, Palestinian refugees, right of return, Yitzchak Herzog