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Monday, July 19, 2010

Mubarak trying to replace Mitchell?

Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday in what may be a bid to prevent the 'proximity talks' from collapsing completely.
U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell returned to the region late last week to set the stage for a resumption of the discussions and was promptly rebuffed by Abbas, who kept his word that he would not agree to meet Israeli leaders without an extension of the building freeze against Jews in Judea and Samaria.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Mubarak was postponed twice last week, once reportedly due to the Egyptian president’s trip to Germany for a medical check.

No one is suggesting that there will be a three-way summit, but the convergence of both leaders in Cairo on the same day may not be a coincidence. Egypt has billed itself as the representative of the Arab world that can guide—if not actually order—Abbas what to do.

With virtually all political observers warning from the outset that Mitchell’s efforts were doomed to failure. Mubarak has the chance to steal the show. Neither Abbas nor Netanyahu can afford to backtrack without losing their respective political bases, but the threat of renewed violence may force their hands, according to Bar-Ilan University political science Professor Gerald Steinberg.

If the date passes without any diplomatic progress, the Arab street, which has been full of expectations, may erupt.
There's a lesson for Obama here somewhere. Unfortunately, he's not likely to learn it.


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