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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A high-stakes game of poker for a photo-op

The 'summit' between President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Abu Mazen will take place at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Tuesday at 11:00 am. It's not really a summit - just a photo-op.

Haaretz has a lengthy blow-by-blow of the process that led to this photo-op taking place. Here's the last entry:
Saturday, 10 P.M. - Mitchell calls Abbas.

Following the talks' failure, Mitchell held discussions by telephone with senior administration officials. At this stage the Americans were mostly irked with the Palestinians, and Abbas' refusal to meet at the UN. The Americans continued to press Abbas, especially through other Arab leaders.

At the end a decision fell in Washington ¬ this would not be the inauguration of a new round of peace talks, but a tripartite meeting would be held so that the boycott Abbas imposed on Netanyahu would break. Mitchell called Abbas and invited him to New York, and in parallel an invitation went out to Netanyahu.

Senior U.S. officials assumed that once an official invitation went out from President Obama, neither side would dare turn it down, which is what happened. The White House issued an official announcement early Sunday morning that the meeting would take place.

Mitchell said that this was an example of the sort of personal commitment that President Obama had in the peace process. At 2 A.M., Sunday, the PM's bureau sent a message to the press: "The PM has accepted the invitation of President Obama and will depart Monday for New York."
This seems like an awfully high stakes poker game for a photo-op. What would have happened if Obama had sent out invitations and one side had said no, as the 'Palestinians' had threatened to do? That Obama was willing to put his prestige on the line like this and risk being turned down doesn't - as Special Envoy Mitchell claimed - show his commitment to the 'peace process.' Rather, it shows President Obama's desperation for a foreign policy success to flash at the United Nations next week. And that desperation is quite intense indeed.

What could go wrong?


At 3:53 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

They may all get together in the same room but the smiles from all three men conceal their very real differences that will keep the talks from getting restarted. Unless the Palestinians show flexibility in all likelihood this will be their first - and last meeting with Netanyahu.

At 8:45 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

A good article just posted from Daniel Pipes explaining why Israeli initiatives have failed to secure peace with the Palestinians:

Peace Process Or War Process

Pipes argues that political means are bound to fail because up to now Israel has refused to pursue victory over the Palestinians and to break their will to seek to destroy Israel.

There's more. Read it all


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