Sunday, April 25, 2010

Abbas Lectures Obama On His 'Duty' To Palestinian Arabs

It seems that Abbas only heard half of what UN Ambassador Susan Rice said at the Arab American Institute's Kahlil Gibran Awards ceremony last week:
First, let there be no doubt: President Obama and all of us in his Administration are determined to reach a comprehensive peace in the Middle East—central to which is a two-state solution. President Obama has defined this goal as a vital U.S. interest. Now, none of us need to be reminded that this is very tough work. But we believe that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree to an outcome that ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and Israel’s goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israel’s security requirements.[emphasis added]
Abbas has now jumped on the part that he wanted to hear:

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called on President Barack Obama on Saturday to impose a Mideast peace deal, reflecting growing frustration with what Palestinians see as Washington's failure to wrangle concessions out of Israel's hardline government.

In an unusually blunt appeal, Abbas said that if Obama believes Palestinian statehood is a vital U.S. interest, then the American leader must take forceful steps to bring it about.

"Since you, Mr. President and you, the members of the American administration, believe in this, it is your duty to call for the steps in order to reach the solution and impose the solution - impose it," Abbas said in a speech to leaders of his Fatah movement.

"But don't tell me it's a vital national strategic American interest ... and then not do anything," he added
There are just 3 things that Abbas forgot:
  • Ambassador explicitly said that good faith negotiations are necessary--that regardless of how important the Obama administration may think creating a second Palestinian state may be, Israel's needs must also be taken into account.
  • Abbas makes no mention--and in fact has never made any mention--of anything that the Palestinian Arabs need to do in order to make this happen.
  • Rice referred to "an independent and viable state"
And therein lies the problem:
o Abbas makes no mention of negotiations because he has no interest in them--and never has. Negotiations require concessions, which are something that he is neither interested in nor capable of doing.

Aside from concessions, is there anything at all that Palestinian Arabs will do on their own behalf? Not according to Abbas. He already made clear last year:
Until Israel meets his demands, the Palestinian president says, he will refuse to begin negotiations. He won’t even agree to help Obama’s envoy, George J. Mitchell, persuade Arab states to take small confidence-building measures. …

Abbas and his team fully expect that Netanyahu will never agree to the full settlement freeze — if he did, his center-right coalition would almost certainly collapse. So they plan to sit back and watch while U.S. pressure slowly squeezes the Israeli prime minister from office. “It will take a couple of years,” one official breezily predicted. Abbas rejects the notion that he should make any comparable concession — such as recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, which would imply renunciation of any large-scale resettlement of refugees.

Instead, he says, he will remain passive. “I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements,” he said. the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.
Independent viable state? Abbas has no problem with the 12 billion dollars that have already been wasted on Abbas and the Palestinian authority, and will have no problem with asking for more. He will blame Israel, the US, the West--anyone except the Palestinian Arabs themselves, who have never had their own state and in fact never existed as a separate people.
Ed Morrissey underscores the politics behind Abbas's demand for an imposition of a second Palestinian state:
Aha! Let’s test this theory. Let’s state that we will impose the deal Yasser Arafat rejected at Camp David at the end of the Clinton administration’s efforts to bring peace to southwest Asia, which Israel was prepared to accept. Palestinians don’t get any more of Jerusalem than they already have, they have to deal with some of the larger settlements remaining, and accept an end to their demand for a “right of return.” That deal still gave the Palestinians about 95% of their territorial claims and an independent state.

Will they accept it? Absolutely not. Abbas and his regime would get overthrown and another civil war would erupt, this time in the West Bank. Abbas knows this better than anyone. So why does he demand that the US “impose” a solution? He wants to leverage Obama’s hostility towards Israel to get a deal that the Israelis will refuse, and thus split the US and Israel even farther than Obama’s managed to accomplish so far.
How pathetic to see Abbas lecturing Obama about 'duty' when his corruption and incompetence has so visibly failed his own people.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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