Even I can't believe that a U.S. Secretary of State would put up with this from 'Palestine' without telling them exactly where they could go and what they could do when they got there:
The Palestinians on Monday gave US Secretary of State John Kerry 24 hours to resolve a dispute with Israel over prisoners after which they will resume moves to seek international recognition.
"If we don’t get an answer from John Kerry on the prisoners tonight, we’ll begin to ask for membership in all UN agencies tomorrow,” Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti told AFP following a top-level leadership meeting in Ramallah which took place as Kerry arrived in Israel.
What Barghouti is talking about, of course, is the release of 28 convicted murderers from Israeli jails that the Israelis decided to hold off in since there's been no progress whatsoever on the talks and Abbas and the PLO not only are insisting on all their demands being met with with no concessions whatsoever. Not only won't they agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state or commit to a peace agreement as the end to the conflict, they won't even agree to discuss Kerry's framework or to extend the talks past the April 29th deadline whether the Israelis release the prisoners or not. In fact, the PLO has confirmed that there's no link between the release of the killers and extending the talks. They just want whet they want for free.
As I reported before, to extend the talks Abbas wants a commitment to release even more of these murderers as well as a building freeze in all of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem by the Israelis while the Palestinians keep on building. According to some reports, they're even insisting on more of Area C where the majority of Israelis live to be turned over to PLO control.
It's obvious to almost all Israelis at this point that Abbas and the Palestinians have no interest in actually negotiating a real peace agreement. It should be obvious to Kerry as well, but he works for President Obama.
The question is how the Obama Administration is going to react to an ultimatum from the likes of a representative of a violent, corrupt little kleptocracy that would collapse in a heartbeat without U.S. funding and the IDF keeping Hamas from taking over. The Obama team's normal reaction has been simply to twist Israel's arm for further concessions, but as I pointed out before, Israel is at the point where they've been pressured about as far as they can be short of simply caving in to all of Abbas' demands. When even Tzipi Livni opposes any further release of these killers without at least some indication from Abbas that he's willing to commit to some concessions and to the extension of the talks, it's a clear indication that the Israelis are finally saying that enough is enough.
The proper way for Kerry to handle this, of course, would be simply to tell Barghouti, Abbas and the rest of the PLO to go ahead and run to the UN and watch what happens.
Contrary to what some members of the U.S. State Department has been saying, the U.S. has the ability to prevent 'Palestine' from becoming a state or from joining any of the UN's organizations. A look at the UN charter shows that any of the permanent members of the UN Security Council - Russia, France, China, Great Britain and of course, the United States - have the ability to veto any applications for membership of the UN itself or to any of its associated organizations if they want to. That's why Kosovo isn't a member. The Russians say they will continue to veto Kosovo until hell freezes over, and they have. The U.S. could do the same on 'Palestine' if the PLO continues to act this way and follows through on their threat.
Calling Abbas' bluff might just actually convince the PLO that they had better get serious about peace negotiations if they plan on having a state. It would also be a much needed show of strength for other countries in the region.
Will President Obama take the opportunity the PLO just threw in his lap to actually lay the groundwork for real peace? or will he simply blame the collapse of the talks on Israel and allow the UN to abrogate the Road Map, a treaty the U.S. is a signatory to?
I have my own guess on this, but we'll see.
UPDATE: Abbas has canceled a scheduled meeting with Kerry and is headed to the UN:
"The Palestinian leadership has unanimously approved a decision to seek membership of 15 UN agencies and international treaties, beginning with the Fourth Geneva Convention," Abbas said during the televised meeting in Ramallah.
In response to a great deal of arm twisting, the Israelis had apparently made a proposal to continue the talks that involved a partial building freeze and the release of the fourth batch of prisoners plus a commitment to release more.
Abbas and the Palestinians didn't even bother to reply. According to some reports. the Israelis refused to include Marwan Barghouti, currently serving 5 life sentences for murder on the list of terrorists they were willing to cut loose.
As far as I'm concerned, this corrupt bargain was ridiculous and it is a good thing it failed, especially since Abbas and the Palestinians were always going to do this anyway. Why free these murderers just to listen Abbas say no for another 8 months?
It is disgusting on every level that Kerry and Obama were willing to even push Israel this far.
Now let's see what Kerry and Obama do in return for this blatant slap in the face by Abbas.