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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Why direct talks?

Noah Pollak sets out several points that you may have missed in all the hoopla over Tuesday's White House meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama.

Here are a couple that I believe are key.
1. It was noteworthy that Obama explicitly affirmed in his opening remarks that Israel and the United States share “national security interests [and] our strategic interests.” One of the worst aspects of the recent drama was the inference by administration officials that Israeli and U.S. strategic interests were diverging or even in conflict. It wasn’t very long ago that President Obama was saying that the Israeli-Arab conflict is costing American “blood and treasure.” For now, at least, the administration is avoiding such rhetoric and instead emphasizing the traditional features of the U.S.-Israel alliance.

3. Regarding the peace process: for starters, Obama endorsed Netanyahu as a partner for peace (yes, the president has set a very low standard): “I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu wants peace, I think he’s willing to take risks for peace. … I think that Prime Minister Netanyahu is prepared to do so.” More important, he endorsed the commencement of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks before the settlement freeze expires in September. This is not a small issue. The Israelis want to move beyond proximity talks for several reasons, primarily because proximity talks prevent the Palestinians’ bluff from being called. So long as the administration plays the role of mediator, the peace process remains focused on settlements and Israel rather than Palestinian intransigence, incitement, etc.

There is no expectation that the Palestinians are prepared to make the big moves that would allow something like a two-state solution to happen; in fact, the Palestinians aren’t even prepared to make the small ones. Over the weekend, it was leaked to an Israeli paper that Mahmoud Abbas had agreed that Israel should maintain control over the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The next day, Saeb Erekat announced that nothing of the sort had been offered. To anyone who follows the “peace process,” this is a familiar Palestinian dance.

And it is a dance that the proximity talks keep hidden. Move to direct talks, and the Palestinian position — rejectionism, inflexibility, political fractiousness, and paralysis — will come into stark relief. The fact that Obama endorsed moving to direct talks this summer should make Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad very nervous.
Read the whole thing.


At 8:16 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

That won't happen any time soon. And the Palestinians are not prepared to make peace with Israel or to end the conflict. Every one in Israel also knows Abu Bluff and Fayyad are not going to be able to deliver on their side of a deal.

The reason indirect talks are happening at all is to keep the Obama Administration looking good. Here the form is actually more important than the substance. Again, don't look for Palestinian rejectionism and intransigence to change in the future.

At 11:47 PM, Blogger nomatter said...

Carl. Why direct talks???
The only road to "two state solution."

Sarah Palin and Leberman both propose it. My point, words are BS! There should be no Palestinian talks because the Palestinians wish to wipe Israel off the map like their cohort, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. But since the freaking train already left the station the only way to come to that two state solution is through direct talks. Sorry.

In the mean time Abbas, the Holocaust denier is a "man of peace" who wishes to "live side by side in peace with Israel." This is why there will be direct talks, Carl.

The powers that be knew different from the get go but as long as the oldest hatred in the world can continue, there will be a Palestinian state.

Abbas proudly stands beneath his sanctioned poster which shows all of Israel, Palestinian because he can.

(and if our 'friend' Sarah Palin had one drop of courage she would not have made such a hideous comment as the two state solution.) At that debate she would have riped Bush for pushing so hard for a Palestinian state and spoken the truth about this whole mess.

At 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which rhetoric Obama acts in accordance with is what matters. And given how he keeps changing his tune, he clearly can't be trusted. I think the "older" rhetoric more accurately captures his position, and the current nice talk is a product of his concern about the November elections and his own fading prospects for reelection. Gotta ram through some kind of agreement so he'll have a legacy, dontcha know.


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