Monday, March 24, 2014
Rattle Snake Shake - Abbas Now Says He'll Consider Extending Peace Talks For Additional Israeli Concessions
Palestine's unelected dictator Mahmoud Abbas has an offer he thinks Israel can't refuse, especially with president Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry backing him up.
In his meeting with President Obama, Abbas pretty much urinated all over Kerry's framework agreement that was supposed to keep the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority going past the April 29th deadline.
Mahmoud Abbas refused to settle for anything less than the re-division of Jerusalem with the Jewish Holy Sites under PA control, refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, and would not commit to a peace agreement being an end to the conflict or to forgo the idea that thousands of hostile 'refugees' have a right to resettle in Israel. In other words, as Abbas said when he returned to Ramallah, he "refused to surrender" or to make any concessions at all that a reasonable person would expect the Israelis to accept.
The Israelis originally were arm twisted into committing to release 100 terrorist killers convicted in Israeli civil courts as the price to get Abbas back to the negotiating table. Seeing that Abbas is committed to a rejectionist stance that no Israeli government could conceivably accept, the Israelis are concerned that Abbas will simply accept the last shipment of terrorist killers free of charge and then simply bow out of the talks entirely.So the Israeli government has quite reasonably signaled that
since the talks are collapsing anyway and Abbas shows no signs of being willing to negotiate any of his demands, they will probably hang on to the last batch of killers and leave it at that.
According to Ma'an, the Palestinian news site, a PA official says that Abbas might be willing to extend the talks, but he has new demands, just for the privilege of hearing him say no over and over again for the next few months. Not only does he want the current shipment of terrorist killers kicked loose,but he wants a commitment from Israel to free an additional 100 prisoners between now and December. And he wants a number of high level terrorists freed, including Marwan Barghouti, who was convicted in Israeli courts of planning and carrying out the murder of a number of Israelis and sentenced to five life terms.
But wait, there's more. He also wants Israel to commit to a building freeze in all of Judea and Samaria as well as East Jerusalem, even in areas like the Gush Etzion bloc that are going to remain part of Israel in any peace agreement anyway.A building freeze was never part of the original agreement that restarted the talks, but Abbas is insisting on it as something new, just to get him back to the table.
Kerry and his negotiations teammate Martin Indyk have been working on the Israelis to swallow this, but so far without success. And no wonder. There's really no benefit to Israel to do this.
My source inside the PA confirmed to me that the whole strategy here is to get whatever they can get from Israel and then blow the talks up and go to the UN anyway. The PA has no fear of any U.S. pressure or opposition because of their lawyer and community organizer in the White House.
As for the Israelis, the recent interview President Obama gave where he essentially threatened Israel unless they complied with Abbas' demands, the reception Israeli PM Netanyahu got in Washington, the 180 degree switcharoo by the U.S on insisting that Abbas recognize Israel as a Jewish State and Abbas' failure to accept the framework or even make any reasonable attempt at compromise have pretty much solidified Israeli public opinion except among the diehards and true believers. There's no reason for them to trust anything Kerry or President Obama commit to, let alone Abbas, and the climate for releasing more convicted terrorists is decidedly frosty.
That aside, rest assured that when the talks blow up, President Obama will publicly work on shifting the blame on Israel and Netanyahu and use it as an excuse to do with what he always wanted to do anyway - create that 'daylight ' he wanted between the U.S. and Israel and help establish 'Palestine' on the '67 lines in the UN...even if it's just on paper.