While Obama pushes progressivism on the Middle East, the Arab League and Mahmoud Abbas position themselves to blame Israel when the talks inevitably fail.
03 August '10
Byzantine politics have nothing on negotiation strategies in the Middle East between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Headlines July 29 initially announced that the Arab League — meeting in Cairo and under heavy pressure from the Obama administration — had approved Abbas’ return to direct negotiations with Israel. Comments from Jerusalem, including from Netanyahu, hailed this welcome gesture as a chance to get back on track towards a two-state solution.
All sounds good: the Obama administration applying pressure on the Arab side, the Arabs respond and move forward; Israelis welcome the move.
But to those familiar with the nature of these negotiations, none of this made any sense.
For one thing, Abbas, like his predecessor Yasser Arafat, has no interest in direct negotiations — and neither does the Arab League. For another, Netanyahu knows only too well that the Palestinians are not ready to undertake real state-building, and that the negotiations are essentially an American (and European) fantasy about a “solution” in two years that must be appeased without either fulfilling it, or getting blamed for its failure.
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