Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Is Kerry's $4 Billion Plan for Peace Between Israel and the Palestinians Already Dead in the Water?

Just this month, Secretary of State Kerry assured us he had made a breakthrough in Israel-Palestinian peace talks. Kerry claimed he had got the Arabs to agree to land swaps with Israel:
Although there is still a long way to go, Kerry said Tuesday, “I don’t think you can underestimate the significance of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Arab Emirates, the Egyptians, the Jordanians and others coming to the table and saying, ‘We are prepared to make peace now in 2013.’ ”
As it turned out, not only had he failed to get the Palestinian Arabs to support the revised Saudi Plan, but as it turned out, even among the other Arab countries there was no solid support for land swaps in conjunction with using the 1967 armistice lines as borders for a Palestinian state.

So when Kerry appeared Sunday at the World Economic Forum with a new plan, giving the Palestinian Arabs $4 billion for saving their economy in the interests of peaceful co-existence with Israel -- one would have thought that this time, Kerry would have made sure the Abbas regime was on board.

Kerry, Peres and Abbas
Kerry, Peres and Abbas -- was Abbas on board with Kerry's $4 billion plan
 before it was announced? Credit: State Department

Apparently, he didn't.

Instead, according to an Abbas adviser, the political climate is not ready for Kerry's proposal:
The current political climate is not appropriate for US Secretary of State John Kerry's plans to revive the Palestinian economy, a senior economic adviser to President Abbas said Tuesday.

While Palestinians welcome the initiative by Kerry to boost Palestine's ailing economy, Mohammad Mustafa says the political climate won't allow such an initiative.
In addition, the Palestinian Arabs ruled out the idea of making any concession in return for economic aid:
The presidency said Monday that it would not make "political concessions in exchange for economic benefits" announced the day before by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

"The Palestinian leadership will not offer political concessions in exchange for economic benefits," read a statement from Mohammad Mustafa, president of the Palestine Investment Fund and economic adviser to president Mahmoud Abbas.
Considering how far Abbas has managed to get without agreeing to US proposals -- including getting upgraded membership status at the UN -- why would anyone think that Abbas would agree to anything that would force him to make any kind of concessions?

Abbas, who is in the 9th year of his 4 year term has found he can get along very nicely without having to give up a thing.

If Kerry is serious about reviving peace talks, he will have to stop playing games if he is going to get Abbas to come to the peace table where Netanyahu has been waiting for him for years.

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