Powered by WebAds

Monday, January 23, 2012

Diplomacy that's anything but diplomatic

Jonathan Schanzer looks at the 'Palestinian Authority's undiplomatic diplomacy.
As it turns out, Abbas has been regrouping. On January 1, several countries that would have voted against the Palestinian bid rotated off the Security Council, making way for Guatemala, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Morocco and Togo. Notwithstanding the looming threat of a U.S. veto, these states afford the Palestinians new opportunities in the diplomatic battles that are likely to unfold this year. And Palestinians have been vague about the General Assembly option, which is still a viable one.

The Palestinians may have other strategies in store, too.

Senior Fatah official Nabil Sha’ath recently said on Palestinian radio that 2012 “will be the start of an unprecedented diplomatic campaign on the part of the Palestinian leadership, and it will be a year of pressure on Israel that will put it under a real international siege. The campaign will be similar to the one waged against apartheid in South Africa.”

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which has been the official negotiating partner for the Israelis since the late 1990s, is already bringing pressure to bear.

Specifically, Abbas is threatening to form a political union with rival faction Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip. Palestinians view unity as a necessary step toward independence, so his rhetoric has been very popular on the “Palestinian street.” But the likelihood of a merger is unlikely. Rather, the PLO is using the prospect of a government partially constituted by unrepentant terrorists to pressure Israel into making concessions.

The message is simple: If the Israelis don’t give the PLO what it wants, it could join hands with Hamas, which repeatedly refuses to renounce “armed resistance,” making it virtually impossible for Israel to achieve the peace that it craves.

And while the recent outreach to Hamas may be a bluff rather than an earnest attempt to foster a strategic partnership, it is increasingly clear that Abbas and company are less inclined to fight the terrorist group that disrupted the peace process of the 1990s with suicide bombings. Rather, they are happy to use Hamas as leverage for their demands.

With all of these moving parts, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture: Palestinian leaders seem to have no interest in talking to Israel this year. Instead, they may be gearing up for a full-scale diplomatic campaign to delegitimize it.
It's worse than that. After the elections in November, the Obama administration won't use that veto in Israel's favor in the Security Council anymore.

What could go wrong?

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home