Palestine's unelected dictator Mahmoud Abbas has defiantly refused to accept U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's frame work for a peace agreement with Israel.
Kerry, realizing that the two Israel and Abbas and the Palestinian Authority were still far apart decided to put together a non-binding framework dealing with a broad look at solutions on the main issues and an extension of the talks past the April 29th deadline.
Abbas came to Washington last week to meet with President Obama, and the president's idea obviously was that he was going to be able to convince Abbas to at least agree to an extension and accept the guideline. As usual, Barack Obama was convinced the the very awesomeness of his persona was going to work miracles.
Unlike the reception Netanyahu got, there were no bombs dropped or thinly veiled threats in the press while Abbas was en route, and no frosty reception when Abbas arrived. Instead, the president greeted Abbas warmly, praised him effusively and in a reversal of reality so profound as to worthy of 'bizarre-o-world' in the old Superman comics, praised him as "somebody who has consistently renounced violence."
As I wrote previously, the one thing President Obama could have done to get Abbas on board would have been to do something the president has never done with Abbas and the Palestinians...let Abbas know that this time, a refusal was going to entail serious consequences.
Of course we all knew the president wasn't ever going to do that, and as a consequence Abbas and the Palestinians said no to both the framework and the extension of negotiations.
What was in the framework? It's supposedly secret, but enough has slipped out that I've been able to confirm with my own sources that I can give you a pretty good idea of the main points:
Needless to say, there are a number of problems with the above from Israel's standpoint, but since this is a non-binding agreement about an agreement that isn't an agreement yet ( this seems to be a Kerry specialty) the Israelis had signaled that they were at least open to proceeding provided the talks were extended to the end of December 2014.
Abbas flatly turned President Obama down on all counts. He's not willing to commit to an end to the conflict, or to forgo the idea that thousands of hostile 'refugees' have a right to resettle in Israel. He wants all of East Jerusalem as a capitol, including sovereignty over the Jewish Holy sites. He wants an immediate withdrawal of the IDF from the strategic Jordan Valley. He insists that all Jews living within Palestine's new borders be removed. And he outright refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
That last is a very big deal. Israel insists on this because it's the sole real basis for an agreement. It would signify a final end to the conflict, terminate the Palestinian fiction that Jews are just 'colonists' who have no connection or rights to the land of Israel and end the idea of Palestinian 'refugees' somehow having a right to resettle in Israel. Without it, all the Israelis are getting is a worthless deal with Arafat II that Hamas won't accept, creates thousands of Jewish refugees and simply gives the Arabs whom identify themselves as Palestinians a closer platform to shoot at Israel.
President Obama's reaction? To move America closer to Abbas' position. Kerry, to his credit actually tried to put in the framework some realistic points that would actually signify a final end to the conflict. But that apparently didn't sit well with the Palestinians and their lawyer and community organizer in the White House.
President Obama has obviously decided it's no longer necessary to lie and refer to Israel as a Jewish State or to insist as he did in his speech in March of 2013 in Jerusalem that "Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state".
Now,the president has Kerry saying that it's "a mistake for some people to be, you know, raising it [recognition of Israel as a Jewish State] again and again as the critical decider of their attitude towards the possibility of a state and peace, and we've obviously made that clear."
After this 180 degree turn, what's actually clear is two things. First, that the Israelis have just been reminded that any commitments they receive or agreements they make with the Obama White House are worthless. And second, that the president has decided to return to his previously more hostile stance against Israel in order to pin the blame on Israel when the peace process goes in the toilet again, as it was always going to anyway.
Does anyone have to be reminded that Abbas already refused an offer giving him everything he claims to want now at the hands of the craven Ehud Olmert?
In this entire charade, it has always been a one way street. It was Israel who was arm twisted into releasing 100 terrorist murderers simply to get Abbas back to the table, Israel who has been pressured by Obama and the EU, Israel that has made concessions. Abbas and the Palestinians have never been asked to do anything.
Instead of pressuring Abbas, the president has given him permission to continuing his rejectionist stance. And by doing this, President Obama is setting the stage to blame Netanyahu for the collapse of the peace process, so that when the violence and diplomatic isolation the president threatened Israel with becomes a reality, President Obama can have the U.S. join in wholeheartedly...just as this president has wanted all along, ever since he first took office.