Friday, November 13, 2009
PA: Israel to focus on Syria
Source says Palestinians believe Israel deciding to focus efforts on renewing talks with Damascus, are concerned that Netanyahu may use talks to blame PA for failed negotiations, threaten to unilaterally declare Palestinian state
Despite Israel's denial that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a secret message of reconciliation to Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Palestinian Authority is convinced that something has changed in the Israeli approach, and that Jerusalem is now planning to focus its efforts on renewing talks with Damascus. A PA source told Ynet that the Palestinians received guarantees from two Arab states, and information from European sources that Israel has reached understandings with the American government according to which efforts will be focused on reviving the Israeli-Syrian track in the near future.
The source said this does seem like another Israeli attempt to maneuver between the various channels, but more like a strategic decision on Israel's part to focus on Syria.
"We understand that this time the Israelis are determined to make the most of talks in the Syrian track, after they noticed that the Palestinian leadership is not willing to discuss any options of a temporary Palestinian state," the source said.
According to the source, at least on the outside, it seems the PA is not troubled by Israeli contact with its northern neighbor: "It's not the talks that are troubling, but the fact that Netanyahu will sell them to the International community, and wave it in the face of those who demand he renew talks with us."
A Fatah source told Ynet that Israel's turn in the direction of Syria, if it turns out to be significant, and the fact that the Americans are failing to pressure Israel into a settlement freeze, "will lead us to reconsider the entire perception of the political process and the character of the PA and its essence. At this point, as nice as it may sound, there will be no steering of the masses towards a popular uprising, but there will be progress in the construction of an international relations that do not depend on the peace process, and which will be aimed at garnering maximum support of our moves, such as the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state."