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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Talks between Israel and 'Palestinians' unlikely

The Washington Post reports that the Middle East 'peace process' has regressed since President Obumbler took office nine months ago, particularly in the last three weeks, and that it is unlikely that talks will resume anytime soon.
When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mitchell report to the White House next week on the administration's goal of restarting the peace talks, they will be describing a situation that has arguably regressed, particularly in the three weeks since a high-level session in New York involving President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.


"The peace process, by all indications, appears to be at an impasse," Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Wednesday during a two-hour news conference in which he acknowledged that Abbas had been put in a position of "major weakness" because of decisions made in consultation with the United States.

That erosion in domestic support has left the Palestinian Authority's leadership struggling to regroup. Instead of exclusively placing their hopes for statehood on talks under U.S. auspices, Palestinian leaders say they will also focus on taking a tougher line with Israel before the United Nations and other international bodies.


Absent a set of terms and a time frame for the creation of a viable state -- rather than the "Mickey Mouse" state that he accused Netanyahu of envisioning for the Palestinians -- Fayyad said the discussions will not resume.

"The approach of getting the two sides to sit and talk without preconditions, without terms of reference, is a killer to our side politically, and this was made clear" to Mitchell, said Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian academic and spokesman for the government.

Netanyahu has said he wants to reopen the talks without preconditions.


The Israeli government has taken notice of Abbas's difficulties. Two weeks ago, as the war crimes report was heading to apparent endorsement by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Israeli officials issued blistering statements accusing Abbas and the Palestinians of incitement against them and demanding that the report be withdrawn.

But after Abbas supported the delay in the council's consideration of the report, orders went down through the Israeli Foreign Ministry and elsewhere to halt criticism of the Palestinian leader. "It was very dramatic, substantial and quick," said an Israeli government official, who spoke about the issue on the condition of anonymity. "It took a perverse turn."
Read the whole thing.

As in many other areas of foreign policy, Obama's handling of our region has been a disaster since Day One (the immediate call to Abu Mazen, Mitchell's appointment and the appearance on al-Arabiya all gave the impression that Obama was playing to the 'Palestinians' as if they had elected him and caused Israelis to mistrust him).

He should find a graceful way to put this on the back burner and stop sending Mitchell here. But don't expect that to happen.


At 1:27 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Obama has too much prestige invested to just walk away. My guess is he'll go through the motions and it will disappear quietly from the headlines.


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