Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mahmoud Abbas’s formula for war

Wash Post

M iddle East diplomacy is settling into a familiar pattern. Desperate to jump-start an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the Obama administration and its European allies are piling pressure on Israel's Binyamin Netanyahu, demanding that he offer a plan, concessions — something — that will provide the basis for starting negotiations with Palestinians.

As he has before, Netanyahu has responded, but cautiously and with obvious reluctance. On Monday he gave a speech suggesting that he was prepared to cede most of the West Bank to a Palestinian state — a step forward from his earlier refusal to spell out territorial terms.

Now, as Netanyahu heads to Washington, Israelis and Americans are debating, among themselves and with each other, whether Netanyahu has gone far enough (probably not) and whether President Obama should respond by putting his own plan on the table (probably he won't).

Meanwhile, short shrift is given, as usual, to Netanyahu's putative partner. Yet the leader of the Palestinian "moderate" branch, Mahmoud Abbas, is not only refusing to make any concessions of his own but is also turning his back on American diplomacy — and methodically setting the stage for another Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[...]

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