Dance of the Undead

I almost never pay attention to whatever constitutes the current permutations in the decades-long farce of the Mideast “peace” negotiations that has been facilitated by one brain-dead, never-say-die U.S. administration after another. But once in a while it’s instructive to look into what these “negotiations” consist of. As Paul tells at Powerline, the Palestinians currently refuse to engage in talks with the Israelis (talks directed toward what end that is achievable on this planet? don’t ask), so long as the Israelis refuse to stop building houses in a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem. So the administration apparently sought to get the Palestinians to engage in “indirect” talks with the Israelis, also known as “proximity” talks, which would presumably be a “confidence-building” measure toward direct talks. U.S. envoy George Mitchell arrived in Israel last week with high hopes that a “breakthrough” to “proximity” talks was imminent, but was disappointed by Palestinian leader Abbas’s complete refusal to engage in such talks so long as Israel is producing permits for houses to be built in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. But though the glorious breakthrough to indirect talks which would then lead to direct talks (which would then lead to what result that is achievable on this planet?) did not occur, the administration did not give up. It persuaded the Israelis to offer the Palestinians “inducements” to get them to consent to “indirect” talks:

Under pressure from Obama, Israel reportedly was prepared to offer Abbas several inducements to participate in proximity talks. The inducements apparently included releasing Palestinian security prisoners, removing IDF road blocks in the West Bank, and, according to some accounts, withdrawing to where the IDF was deployed in the West Bank before the outbreak of the second intifada in late 2000. In addition, it has been reported that Netanyahu even offered Abbas a state with temporary borders on anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of the West Bank.

But Abbas has rejected these proferred inducements. Why are the Palestinians (to coin a phrase) so intransigent? The answer, says Paul, cannot be the building of houses in Jewish areas of Jerusalem:

The real explanation likely can be found in Abbas’ appeal to Obama to impose a peace deal. Reminding Obama of his claim that a Middle East peace deal is vital to U.S. security, Abbas stated:

Since you, Mr. President, and you, the members of the American administration, believe in this, it is your duty to call for the steps in order to reach the solution and impose the solution—impose it. But don’t tell me it’s a vital national strategic American interest … and then not do anything.

Abbas has a point, though mainly a rhetorical one. The more basic point is that, by emerging as a champion of the Palestinians who is hell bent on making certain they have a state, Obama has removed any incentive the PA might have to negotiate in good faith with Israel. Far better to sit back and wait for Obama to “impose—impose” a solution.

Lately I’ve seen news stories saying that the administration is giving up on its confrontational stand toward Israel, a step that already seems to be implied in the administration’s getting the Israelis to offer inducements to the Palestinians other than a cessation of home building. Which is good news, of course. Unfortunately, however, so long as American leaders go on believing in something that cannot exist on this planet, namely that two mortally opposed nations can exist in peace on the same territory the size of New Jersey, all that this change of direction will lead to is yet further permutations in the Dance of the Undead.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 28, 2010 12:01 PM | Send

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