Monday, April 07, 2014
Why are we surprised?
David M. Weinberg
It is increasingly obvious that the two-state solution is close to obsolete, although it is still not politically correct to say so in polite diplomatic company. The two-state solution has little chance of coming into being, because the Palestinians do not want the constricted West Bank state that Israel can give them. And they are just not ready to close the book on all claims against Israel in exchange for a small West Bank and Gaza state.
And so, PA President Mahmoud Abbas seized the first opportunity he could find to flee the negotiating room while blaming Israel. After all, Abbas never really wanted to join these talks in the first place. He certainly did not want, and still is not ready, to make any concrete concessions to bring about an end to the conflict with Israel.
We need to remember that Abbas joined the talks only under extreme American pressure and only after Israel bought Abbas' participation by promising to release from jail Palestinian terrorists over a nine-month period.
It should have come as no surprise at all to Washington and Jerusalem that Abbas would bolt the scene once the initial period of talks was about to expire, and the terrorist releases had come to an end. This is exactly what Abbas did in 2008 too, when he fled the negotiating table to avoid having to say no to Ehud Olmert's overwhelmingly magnanimous peace offer.
It actually astonishes me to learn that some people, such as Israel's chief negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, apparently were caught off guard by Abbas' decision to relaunch his diplomatic war against Israel by unilateral application to 15 different U.N. agencies and international treaties.
Why on earth would they be surprised? Wasn't it clear to them that from the beginning that this was Abbas' preferred route, his "Plan A" and certainly his "Plan B"? Did they really believe that Abbas was going to negotiate a peaceful two-state solution with Israel? How could they not know that the Palestinian strategy was and remained the browbeating of Israel through isolation, demonization and criminalization? Where was the vaunted American and Israeli intelligence?
Only the self-conceit of Livni and Kerry, to the effect that their presence in the room would make all the difference, could have blinded them to the realities of Palestinian obduracy and ill will.