Thursday, April 03, 2014

End of the road

Because it was clear that Pres Abbas of the PA had no interest in continuing negotiations and in any case showed no intention to compromise, PM Netanyahu decided to delay the release of the last batch of prisoners in the agreed exchange. Abbas then held a meeting of the PLO/Fatah Central Committee and announced that the PA would be applying to 15 UN and international agencies  for unilateral recognition of Palestine as a State.  This response was so fast, within two days of the delay in the release being announced, that it obviously had been planned beforehand.  Even US Secty of State Kerry was not told in advance and flew all the way from Europe to Israel to meet with Abbas, but then realized that this move by Abbas had wrecked any possibility of continuing the peace process that he had so assiduously pursued and so he cancelled his trip to Ramallah and after meeting with PM Netanyahu flew back to Europe. 
 In effect, this is the end of the road for Kerry's /Obama's particular attempt to bring the two sides to some kind of compromise. It was opimistic, even arrogant, to think that he could do this within 9 months, but to end without even the "Framework Agreement" that he promised is particularly devastating.  But, no-one here on the ground expected anything different.  This peremptory unilateral move by the Palestinians also prevented a deal in which Pollard would be freed by the US for more Palestinian prisoners, no doubt Abbas did not want to see celebrations in Israel as they have had for their prisoners in the West Bank.  It is clear that Abbas agreed to sit down to talks only because he got one of his prior concessions agreed to by Israel (with US pressure), namely the release of hundreds of convicted Palestinian terrorist murderers.  So Israel released them and what was the outcome, it was a complete and dangerous fiasco.
Nothing has been gained by these extended talks, there was no trust on either side and certainly no intention by Abbas to compromise one iota from the standard Palestinian/Arab position, namely that Israel must make all the concessions that will weaken it and then they will attempt to destroy it.  Failing that they will try to undermine, delegitimize and demonize Israel in all international fora.  They intended to do this before the talks started and their actions were merely delayed. Of course, Israel is too strong, economically and militarily, to be weakened in this way, so the Palestinian strategy is futile, but they have no alternative except make peace, and they apparently have no intention of doing that.  The unanimous adoption by the Arab League meeting in Kuwait last week of the Palestinian position that they will "never" recognize Israel as the Jewish State only serves to prove the point.  It should not surprise anyone that in response to this Palestinian strategy Israel will itself take unilateral action, for example the IDF could re-occupy the West Bank cities (Area A under the Oslo Accords) that make up the PA, which will spell the end of the PA as an entity.   


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