Thursday, February 02, 2012

Talks off

After five meetings in Amman, the talks between Israel and the Palestine Authority have been discontinued. The Palestinians have criticized Israel for, according to their view, causing the breakdown in talks because Israel is unwilling to accept their minimal pre-requirements, namely a full freeze on building in the West Bank (including Jerusalem) and a return to the pre-1967 war ceasefire lines. Israeli spokesmen, including PM Netanyahu, have said that they are ready to discuss these issues in the meetings but will not accept them as pre-conditions to negotiations.

Pres. Obama, PM Cameron, EU Foreign Secretary Ashton and UN Sectry Gen. Ban ki-Moon have all called for Israel to make "gestures" to the Palestinians to keep the talks going. But, what's the point of talking when the house is collapsing around you. The situation of Fatah is deteriorating daily, just as forces in the Arab world have turned to a more fundamentalist Islamist position. The Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party has been elected in Egypt together with the Al-Noor Salafist Party. Similar parties have been elected in Tunisia, Libya and Morocco. In Syria, where the Assad regime is under assault, the MB leads the opposition. Hamas is gaining in strength and the Head of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, now ensconced in Qatar, visited Jordan yesterday for the first time in some ten years. Everywhere the Arab dictators are in retreat and the Islamists are in the ascendency. If this conflict extends to the Palestinians then it is likely that Hamas will overwhelm Fatah, and the PA will come under Hamas control.

Under these circumstances, that Obama and the rest of the West seem determined to ignore, what is the point of Israel making any agreement with the current PA Government, even if it could. Neither side want to actually make an agreement now. If Pres Abbas does he will instantly be labelled a traitor by Hamas and the Egyptians and there will be further internal strife. Israel can so some things to affect this situation, like arresting Hamas leaders in the West Bank, including two who were hiding in the Intl. Red Cross Bldg. in Jerusalem, but Israel can't determine what the Palestinians as a whole will do. So what is the point of Israel making any deal with Fatah over the two-state solution if they will be blown away tomorrow and the whole situation will be completely altered. Best to wait for the winds of change in the Arab world to blow over and some kind of stability to return.

What happens in Syria and Iran can and will unalterably affect the current tenuous situation. If Assad is overthrown or if Israel is forced to attack Iran over its development of nuclear weapons, then the whole international situation will be altered irretrievably. So let's sit back and wait for the denouement to slowly unfurl. As I have often said, Iran first, then Palestine. There is certainly no point in Israel making gestures to a weak and failing Palestinian entity being propped up by Western money and self-deluded fantasy.


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