Roger Cohen to Obama: ‘Break Some Bones’ to Get Extended Settlement Freeze
Roger Cohen is usually an elegant, dispassionate writer. But in his column today which describes a dinner for Mahmoud Abbas hosted by American Jewish leaders, he’s talking tougher than I’ve ever heard. First, he says that the Israel-Palestine peace negotiations are poised to go over a cliff. Listening to his dinner companions, the U.S. diplomat and Palestinian leader seated next to him:
…Was like listening to a rousing peace overture as an ominous leitmotif of disaster keeps returning with ever greater insistence.
While Abbas referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as his “partner in peace”…the American diplomat and Yasir Abed Rabbo of the P.L.O. kept whispering in my ear that the mother of all train wrecks was looming…
I came away from the dinner convinced the United States is on the brink of a diplomatic fiasco. Less than a month after President Obama put the imprimatur of a White House ceremony on renewed Israeli-Palestinian talks, the negotiations are close to breakdown.
Here’s the money quote:
Obama must now break some bones to get his way…
He’s in effect telling Obama to break Bibi’s bones to get an extended freeze. Astonishing to read him saying such words about a measly three month extension. If Israel is as unable to respond positively on a seemingly small point like this one, how does anyone expect they will be able to compromise on any substantive issue later on? I would give the odds as 1,000 to 1 against success.
It is interesting that Abe Foxman and all the fatcat Jewish leaders in attendance at the same dinner heard Abbas to be saying something entirely different than Cohen did. They heard Abbas say, according to them, a freeze isn’t critical. I won’t sweat the small stuff. But that wasn’t at all what Abbas said. He was being overly polite to a crowd that didn’t deserve it. He should’ve lit into them and told them the truth, which is that without an extension there is no way the Palestinian street would let him continue. I concede that Abbas is such a wimp that he would on his own return to the talks without a freeze. But I don’t think the Palestinian people would allow it.
7 thoughts on “Roger Cohen to Obama: ‘Break Some Bones’ to Get Extended Settlement Freeze – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
I wouldn’t call Abbas a wimp for doing that. I’d call him desperate. And I don’t see anything wrong with that. The man is just tired of all the nonsense and wants a peace agreement, even if it means he has to put up with something as ridiculous as this.
I think he just wants to keep the talks going if it means there’s the slightest chance for actual results. I actually appreciate him a lot for that. Maybe the attitude will save us from ourselves… and then again, maybe not.
As for what the Palestinian people would allow or not… honestly, if Bibi followed what the people from the street wanted, there would be no negotiations at all, let alone talks about an extended freeze. So maybe disregarding popular opinion, and willing to go through some sort of self-sacrifice (Bibi would lose almost all support) is the only way things can work out.
Abbas is not so much a wimp as a tool. I’m getting reports from the refugee camps that the PA is conducting more night raids than the Israelis. These negotiations are bound to run off the cliff; more importantly they are a sham because with Abbas at the table the Palestinian people are represented poorly or not at all.
Couldn’t agree with you more on every point. The PA is the latter-day Middle Eastern equivalent of the Vichy government, and then some.
This is really nothing new, though. It was the same when Arafat was alive. The “government” of the occupied and colonized people is made responsible for the security of the occupier and colonizer, and for keeping the people quiet and docile in the face of outrageous and brutal daily injustice.
I wouldn’t be surprised that Bibi would announce atleast partial freeze on sunday. He is between rock and a hard place. He has to continue the talks for the sake of his credibility. on the other hand his coalition might crumble if he continues the freeze. Bibi has a card in his sleeve: kadima might then join the coalition.
Some Likud members are planning to present a new law to Knesset that would force the coalition to accept the peace deal signed by the PM.
[comment deleted for violation of comment rules]
when are we going to see it for what it is? Abbas is NOT a wimp. He’s just a MossadMole acting as a MossadMole should act. AbuMazen the MossadMole is very much like Aldrich Ames … remember him? he was russia’s mole at the heart of one of our US intelligence agencies … google him and see what he did …
I’d prefer you support any such claim you make with evidence. If you don’t have any then don’t speculate & don’t grandstand either. I don’t much like it when either side of the political debate does that.