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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Behind the fluff: Where Netanyahu and Obama differ on the 'Palestinians'

This seems like a pretty fair assessment of where the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government differ on the 'Palestinians.'
Washington recognizes that Netanyahu’s easing of movement for Palestinians in the West Bank has contributed to the dramatic improvement of the economy there. The administration knows that he has honored his settlement moratorium, with no housing starts recorded at West Bank settlements in the first months of this year, and very little new being built, for that matter, even in Jewish areas of east Jerusalem. It has heeded his stated readiness for a flexible approach to long-term security arrangements in the Jordan Valley and his declared willingness, too, to place the issue of Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem on the negotiating table.

Moreover, it fully shares his oft-stated desire to move from the unproductive, indirect “proximity” framework and into direct talks.

But the two leaderships have always disagreed, and still do, in assessing the peacemaking credentials of the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Put simply, the Obama administration believes Abbas is for real, and the Netanyahu prime ministership does not.

Doubtless with US encouragement, Abbas has made conciliatory comments about Israel on several recent occasions, including during his US visit when meeting with Jewish leaders and in interviews with the Hebrew media. Notably, he asserted last month that “Nobody denies the Jewish history in the Middle East... Nobody from our side at least denies that the Jews were in Palestine.”

That’s a far cry from his predecessor Yasser Arafat’s derisive dismissal of Jewish historical legitimacy here, and his notorious assertions that “there was no Jewish temple in Jerusalem.”

But it’s also a far cry, as some in the Netanyahu circle point out, from repeatedly delivering that same Israel-legitimizing message in Arabic, repeatedly, to the Palestinians themselves – to a public, indeed, that is still being fed regular PA TV broadcasts asserting Palestinian rights to all of Israel.
And it's probably fair to say that the 'Palestinians' have pretty close to the same assessment of Netanyahu that the Israelis have of the 'Palestinians.'

In fact, were it not for President Obama's obsession with creating a 'Palestinian state,' the 'Palestinians' could get busy creating the jobs their people want.



At 6:58 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Administration only wants talks to look good and long as it looks good, its happy. Don't hold your breath waiting for direct negotiations resume with the Palestinians this year, next year, the rest of the decade or in our own lifetime.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger Hatfield said...

Do you think Netanyahu has raised these specific points with Obama? That the PA says one thing in English and another in Arabic? That the PA continues to incite on TV, etc. Do you think these points are raised at all? Or that Abbas's term of office ran out a long time ago, so what is the basis of his legitimacy? It's one thing for you and other bloggers to mention this (and a good thing, of course), quite another to actually raise it officially.


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