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Saturday, December 12, 2009

US scaling back Middle East diplomacy

Disappointed with the lack of 'Palestinian' response to Prime Minister Netanyahu's 'settlement freeze,' the Obama administration has been scaling back its diplomatic efforts in our region, at least temporarily.
Following Netanyahu's declaration of a housing moratorium some two weeks ago, Mitchell was expected to come to the region the following week to see how he could move the process forward. That visit never transpired, and both Israeli and American officials said Thursday they had no indication of when he was planning to return.

In the meantime, however, he has met with Israeli negotiators Yitzhak Molcho and Michael Herzog in the US, as well as with the Palestinian negotiators.

Jerusalem does not believe that the US has "thrown up its hands in defeat," but rather that it wants to make sure its public diplomatic moves are having some kind of effect.

One source well apprised of the diplomatic moves said that while the US was frustrated with Israel, from the decision to build new units in Gilo to the fact that the settlement moratorium was far less than what the US had hoped for, it was also frustrated with the Palestinians and had delivered messages to the PA saying it should not count on outlasting Netanyahu, and that President Barack Obama would "not be around forever."

The source said that despite this frustration, the US would not stop its work in the area, but "just bring it down a couple of notches." He said there was also a sense that Washington was waiting to see where the chips would fall on a number of issues - including whether PA President Mahmoud Abbas would indeed step down as president, and what would happen if there were indeed a deal for kidnapped soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit.

A key date on the diplomatic calendar is December 15, when the PLO is scheduled to have a central committee meeting at which Abbas is expected to make some kind of announcement on his political future.
The only effect US pressure has had is on Israel. The 'Palestinians' and the Arab states have not budged one iota since Obama took office. In fact, the 'Palestinians' just dug in deeper. US diplomacy has been totally ineffective. Perhaps that's because the 'Palestinians' still believe that the US can and will deliver Israel on a silver platter. The 'settlement freeze' encourages that 'Palestinian' belief.

By the way, the same JPost article linked above reports that the US pressured Sweden behind the scenes to tone down the European Union resolution on Jerusalem that Sweden's foreign minister had presented. A modified version of the resolution that did not recognize 'east' Jerusalem as the capital of 'Palestine' was eventually passed.


At 2:34 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The US is realizing that in the absence of a solution to Iran, nothing is going to moderate Palestinian rejectionism. They always choose to be on the wrong side of history. Its time to stop rewarding them for it.


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