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Monday, November 22, 2010

Laughing at Abu Bluff

As many of you have probably heard by now, 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen announced on Sunday that he will not rejoin negotiations with Israel unless a full 'settlement freeze' - including 'east' Jerusalem - is in place. Some of you may be wondering why I haven't commented on this seemingly important story (NormanF has tried to bait me with it at least twice in the comments in the last 24 hours). It's really quite simple. You see, the story is being ignored here. The reason it's being ignored is that no one can envision a situation where Israel says yes and the 'Palestinians' refuse to come to the table - eventually. That's what happened in September and that's what everyone believes will happen again if Prime Minister Netanyahu can get it through his cabinet.

Here's the original story from Maan (which has been updated).
"If it does not encompass Jerusalem, in other words if there is not a complete freeze on settlement in all the Palestinian territories including Jerusalem, we will not accept it," Abbas told reporters after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

"If Israel wants to return to its settlement activities, then we can't go on. A settlement freeze must include all of the Palestinian territories and above all Jerusalem," Abbas added.


"So far nothing official has come out of the US administration, either to us or to the Israelis, that we can comment on," he said.
JPost adds:
Abbas was quoted by the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper as saying that there should be no linkage between freezing settlement construction and supplying Israel with weapons. He also complained that the US Administration still hasn’t come up with new ideas to revive the peace process.

The paper quoted a senior PA official as saying that US envoy David Hale, who met with Abbas in Ramallah last week, informed the Palestinian leadership that the US Administration and Israel have yet to agree on a formula for freezing settlement construction.

“We understand from Hale that all what has been published so far [about an agreement between Israel and the US] is nothing but Israeli leaks,” the official said. “President Abbas made it clear that the Palestinians can’t accept any agreement that excludes Jerusalem.”
Arutz Sheva adds:
The comment came in response to a question about an alleged promise by the U.S. to supply Israel with 20 F-35 fighter jets in return for a controversial 90-day moratorium on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, during which time Israel is expected to reach an agreeement on borders..

“We have nothing to do with all that,” Abbas said in an interview published Friday in the London-based Arabic-language newspaper, A-Sharq al-Awsat.

“The United States is an ally of Israel, and we cannot prevent that. But let their aid be carried out far removed from the… peace negotiations and not be used as a pretext for giving more weaponry to Israel,” he added.
If Israel agrees to this 'settlement freeze' extension (and the only way I would agree to it would be in a straight-up trade for Jonathan Pollard - no changes in the agenda, no promises about the Security Council with an expiration date, and I'm even willing to forego the 20 extra F-35's), then that three months has to start the day Israel signs on. Otherwise, there are no consequences for Abu Mazen if he takes another two months to come to the table.

But come he will eventually. He doesn't have a choice.

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At 2:59 PM, Blogger Y.K. said...

I beg to differ. Just what would Obama do if Abu Mazen refuses to come to the talks? Pound the table? Stop funding the PA? Criticize it? It's highly unlikely any of these would happen. Abu Mazen may change his position, but it won't be due to the Obama admin.

After all, Obama can hardly reprimand the PA for adopting his previous position, and we saw what happened to the PA during the nine months they refused to come to the talks (read: nothing).

Ironically, if the PA had come to the talks then their position would have been much better. Obama would have pressured Israel massively and if that didn't work, the PA could have had a chance to get a favourable American peace plan. Instead, they seem to be pushing the unilateral route (or maybe the status quo route?), which is a likely dead end for them.

At 5:12 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I didn't bait you - I just pointed out its not just EAST Jerusalem Abu Bluff demands be frozen. Its ALL of Jerusalem, including, yes West Jerusalem, too. The Palestinians are trying to get Israel to agree to impossible terms.

Its not because they never negotiated before while construction went on in Jerusalem. Its Obama who is demanded a freeze be extended to the eastern half of the city and that is why Abu Bluff has to be even more intransigent on the subject than Obama. The entire reason for the impasse, is you guessed it - Obama!

Ironically, enough if a freeze doesn't happen, is that's he has made it impossible for it to be extended again. In that respect, Abu Bluff is a sideshow. All the negotiation on a freeze extension is occurring between Israel and the US.

No wonder the Palestinians feel left out but its their choice not to negotiate with Israel and Israel should do them no favors. No freeze, nothing, period.

At 5:18 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I agree with Yair - the longer the Palestinians stay away, the worse their position becomes. And I also agree with Carl - irrespective of whether or not a freeze happens they will come back to the table because they have no choice and only the Obama Administration can help them get what they want.

For now, no one is paying them any attention and that should continue. Let them live with the consequences of their choice not to make peace with Israel.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I didn't mean that in a nasty way - I thought you were trying to get me to comment on it.

I didn't realize you thought Abu Mazen was also talking about a freeze in 'west' Jerusalem. If that's correct, it hasn't been picked up at all in the media here, but obviously there's no chance that will happen.

At 7:14 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Thanks, Carl - appreciate it.

Unfortunately as we both know, the Palestinians view ALL of Jerusalem, including the Jewish half of the city as their capital so when they mean a freeze in Jerusalem, they mean in all of it.

There's no chance a freeze will ever happen if they stick to that position but when they're against building in Jewish parts of the city that will clearly be part of Israel in any final peace agreement, we know they're far from being reconciled to the reality they're not going to get everything they want.

No Jew is going to concede on Jerusalem being Israel's capital even if some on the Left are prepared to share it with the Palestinians. So that's where we are today - there is no peace partner on the other side.

At 3:21 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Why are you hung up by Pollard.
He is important-but separate from these negotiations.
Israel's ultimate security is more important.

At 3:24 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Carl- Pollard is important.
But his release should not be connected to our security situation.

At 4:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno, for now, they refer to the 67 borders, with key emphasis on delegitimating historical signposts of Jewish national continuity (kotel) and Jewish national life in East Jerusalem across the Green line--I don't think that they are specifically demanding a halt to the West half of the city.The State Department of the United States of America does not yet recognize Western Jerusalem as Israel's capital as it was originally intended to be an international city but the Jews survived the Arab siege and things came out different.

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


You must be new, because I have made this argument before.

Go here:



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