President Barack Obama will call off his imminent visit to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not managed to form a new governing coalition by March 16, an Israeli television report claimed on Thursday night.While one can certainty understand that Obama would want to meet and do business with the newly established official government of the country he is going to visit -- such concerns do not seem arise when Obama meets with "Palestinian" President Abbas.
Obama is due to arrive in Israel on March 20 for a working visit, his first as president. March 16 is the legal deadline for Netanyahu to successfully complete coalition negotiations, or inform Israel’s state president, Shimon Peres, that he has failed to do so.
A footnote to the Wikipedia entry on Abbas notes:
Abbas's term as President expired 15 January 2009, since then Aziz Duwaik has been recognised as President by the Haniyeh government in the Gaza Strip, while Abbas is recognised as President by the Fayyad government in the West Bank and all the states that recognise the independance of Palestine, as well as the UN. [emphasis added]While the West may think that their recognition magically makes Abbas into a president, the fact remains, as Steven Rosen points out in "The Palestinians' Imaginary State", Mahmoud Abbas is no longer the president of "Palestine":
Mahmoud Abbas is presenting himself as the president of the Palestine that is pressing the claim in the U.N. General Assembly, but he is not considered to be the president anymore by Hamas, the largest political party in the putative state. And Hamas has Palestine's own laws on its side in this dispute. Abbas was elected in 2005 to serve until January 2009, so his term has expired. In 2009, he unilaterally extended his term for another year until January 2010 (an extension that also has expired), but that extension did not adhere to Article 65 of the Palestinian constitution, the Basic Law. Hamas, which controls a majority in the now defunct Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), opposed the extension. According to Article 65 of the Basic Law, the legally empowered president of Palestine, since January 2009, has been PLC Speaker Abdel Aziz Dweik, a deputy representing Hamas. Palestine's ruling party, Hamas, considers Dweik, not Abbas, to be the legal president of Palestine, and it has a strong case.Even The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and International Foundation for Electoral Systems agree Abbas's term ended in January 2009.
And claiming that the fact that the "Fayyad government" recognizes Abbas is irrelevant, especially considering the fact that in accordance with the Palestinian constitution, Fayyad himself does not -- and never did -- hold the office of Prime Minister either:
Hamas denies that Abbas has the authority to appoint Salam Fayyad as prime minister, because Abbas is not legally the president of Palestine under Article 65 and because Fayyad has not been empowered as prime minister by the Palestinian Legislative Council as required by Article 66 of the Basic Law. Neither his first appointment, on June 15, 2007, nor his reappointment on May 19, 2009, was confirmed by the PLC as required. Hamas, which controls the majority in the PLC, considers the legal prime minister of the Palestinian Authority to continue to be Ismail Haniyeh, a senior political leader of Hamas. Haniyeh was empowered by the PLC to be prime minister of Palestine in February 2006. Abbas dismissed Haniyeh from the office on June 14, 2007, after the Gaza coup, but Haniyeh counters that this decree violated articles 45, 78, and 83 and that he continues to exercise prime ministerial authority under Article 83. The PLC also continues to recognize Haniyeh's authority as prime minister. Here again, Hamas has the law on its side.So despite the fact that Abbas is not the legitimate Palestinian leader, Obama has had no problem pushing Israel to make peace with someone who not only has shown no inclination towards peace -- but also does not have either the power or the authority to make such a deal or enforce it.
But such inconsistencies of policy coming out of the Obama administration are par for the course. After all, we regularly see that while according to Obama, Israelis expanding their homes is a threat to peace, the US sees Abbas allying himself with Hamas terrorists as an "internal matter":
MS. NULAND: ...But as we’ve said many times, questions of Palestinian reconciliation are an internal matter for Palestinians. What matters to us are the principles that guide a Palestinian government going forward, in order for them to be able to play a constructive role for peace and building an independent state.For the Obama administration to see the consistent attempts of a unified government joining the Abbas regime with Hamas terrorists dedicated to destroying Israel as an "internal matter" is more than absurd, especially considering Obama's alleged concern for Israel's security.
But for Obama to make a point of not visiting Israel because of its coalition issues, while continuing to support and do business with a man whose term in office ended over 4 years ago, is just one more indication of the lengths gone to make exceptions for the Palestinian Arabs.
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