Those around Abbas are fighting the idea of direct talks with Israel tooth and nail: talk face to face:
A senior U.S. envoy warned the Palestinian president that he must move quickly to direct talks with Israel if he wants President Barack Obama's help in setting up a Palestinian state, according to an internal Palestinian document obtained by The Associated Press on Monday.On the other hand, Obama seems to finally be applying pressure to talk directly with Netanyahu and stop relying on the US to do all of the work for him:
The 36-page memo, sent to senior Palestinian officials, advised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to resist growing U.S. pressure, warning that rescinding his conditions for face-to-face negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be political suicide.
In a July 17 meeting, Mitchell told Abbas that direct talks must begin soon in order to keep Obama engaged, according to the Palestinian memo, which summarized recent diplomatic efforts and was e-mailed to leaders of Abbas' Fatah movement.The memo concludes that Abbas has to keep insisting on continued concessions from Israel before agreeing to sitting down at the same table:
Mitchell told Abbas that in the event of direct talks, the U.S. administration can push forcefully for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, according to the document. If Abbas refuses to negotiate, Obama may not be able to be of much help, get the settlement curb extended or prevent the demolition of Arab homes in east Jerusalem, the document said.
The envoy told Abbas he should seize the fleeting opportunity and not waste time, the memo said. He cautioned Abbas not to count on Netanyahu being replaced by another Israeli leader anytime soon, the document said.
In Washington, State Department officials would not confirm that the memo reflected Mitchell's exact words or talking points, but said that this indeed illustrates where we are. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the negotiations.
The memo ends with recommendations to Abbas. There should be steadfastness in the Palestinian position regarding direct talks, the document says. Going to direct talks while the Israeli government refuses to stop settlement activities and refuses to continue talks where they left off in December 2008 would be like political suicide.Apparently it is for Abbas to make the conditions and for Netanyahu to make the concessions.
No wonder the Arabs are so flustered to hear Obama tell them they have to actually negotiate and enter a give-and-take with Israel.
Technorati Tag: Abbas and Obama and Proximity Talks.