I was reading a rather mundane Haaretz diplomatic report about the results of the last Obama-Netanyahu meeting. One of the foci of the article was the confidence building measures Obama expects of Israel in order to persuade Mahmoud Abbas to enter into direct negotiations. Even these were rather prosaic and unimpressive. But what caught my attention was this:
In talks with the Americans, Israel demanded that the PA must also carry out confidence-building measures ahead of direct talks. Obama accepted Israel’s argument partially, and would like to see an end of the anti-Israeli campaign on the diplomatic front that the PA is conducting at the UN and the International Court in the Hague.
So the price for the PA to enter into direct talks with Bibi is ending Israel’s accountability for its possible war crimes in Gaza; an end to support for the Goldstone Report; an end to support for a UN investigation into the Gaza flotilla episode, etc. I haven’t even noticed that the PA is especially eager to enter into direct talks with the latest lying con-man (as far as Palestinians are concerned) to occupy the prime minister’s office. So why would they have any motivation to let Israel off scot-free for its misdeeds against the Palestinian people in return for yet another smoke and mirrors diplomatic foray by the Obama administration? The Palestinians have seen scores of these initiatives. They come and go speaking of Michelangelo to quote Eliot. But they end up amounting to nothing, just as this one probably will.
You gotta hand it to the Israelis though–they do have moxie. It takes guts to make an absolute fool out of yourself by making such a demand. It reminds me a bit of the extortion they attempted when the PA was supporting the campaign before the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of the Goldstone Report. Then Bibi threatened to cancel a $700-million telecom deal if Abbas didn’t drop his support of the Report. Abbas caved and faced a firestorm of controversy both from Palestinians and human rights groups world-wide. The PA “president” then regained his lost mojo and resumed his support for the Report. I never did hear what happened to the telecom deal.