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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Israel and the 'Palestinian Authority' agree to talk without preconditions

In what's being portrayed by Israel's mainstream media as a victory for both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama, Israel and the 'Palestinian Authority' agreed on Tuesday to enter into negotiations 'without preconditions' (via Memeorandum).
"There was general agreement, including on the part of the Palestinians, that the peace process has to be resumed as soon as possible with no preconditions," the premier told reporters in New York City.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama expressed a similar sentiment, emerging from bilateral meetings with both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas vowing to move ahead with the diplomatic process, while seeming to step back from his call for a total settlement freeze, saying that Israel now is discussing "restraining settlement activities."

Prior to a tripartite meeting with the Mideast leaders, the US president said that Special Mideast envoy George Mitchell will continue holding negotiations with both sides, and Israel and the Palestinians will send delegations to Washington next week for the talks. He gave mid-October as a deadline for reviewing the status of the situation.

"Permanent status negotiations must begin and begin soon. And more importantly, we must give those negotiations the opportunity to succeed," Obama said.

"It is past time to talk about starting negotiations; it is time to move forward. It is time to show flexibility and common sense and sense of compromise that is necessary to achieve our goals," he continued, adding that leaders in the Middle East could not continue "the same patterns, taking tentative steps forward, then taking steps back."
On Israel Television this evening, correspondent Ayala Chasson reported that Obama's handshake with Netanyahu seemed warmer than his handshake with Abu Mazen, and that people were surprised about the difference. She also said that Obama's body language was unusual and lacking his typical swagger.

I find it astounding that with all of the problems the Obama administration is facing, it is still spending so much time on a 'peace process' between Israel and the 'Palestinians.' It should be obvious to anyone with a passing awareness of the history of the last 16 years that Netanyahu is highly unlikely to offer Abu Mazen any more than Olmert offered Abu Mazen or than Ehud Barak offered Arafat.

Chasson questioned Netanyahu's sincerity in entering into these negotiations. Well, it's kind of hard to be sincere about negotiating with a snake. Especially when, if by some miracle the parties actually reach an agreement, Abu Mazen has absolutely zero capability to deliver.

Ben Smith (via Memeorandum) and Laura Rozen (via Memeorandum) both note that President Obama is 'losing patience.'

Let's go to the videotape.

He does seem a bit less confident than usual in that video, doesn't he?

I don't think he stands a shot in hell of bringing 'peace' - the 'Palestinians' have already turned down much more than they are likely to be offered again. If Obama was a bit more experienced at foreign policy, he would find a way to quietly drop the whole thing. The Arabs have been trying to expel us for at least the last 80 years and they're not going to stop because there's a young, charismatic dude in the White House.

Finally, Power Line posts analysis from Paul Rahe regarding the meaning of President Obama's gestures. Guys, if you can get Professor Rahe to look at the video I posted above, I'd love to hear his analysis.


At 2:21 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - there may or may not be talks but the two sides are so far apart there is not going to be any agreement on "final status" issues. And even if the Palestinians somehow do compromise, Abbas is not in a position to deliver on an agreement. He can sign one to be sure but it is doubtful he can bring his own people never mind Fatah along with him to deliver on his end of any deal with Israel.

The photo-op tells us everything we need to know. Peace is still far away no matter what happens tomorrow.


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