Apparently Abbas has been making a gesture all along--it's just that Obama refuses to notice it.
by Daled Amos
It seems that President Barack "I am stunned at how cordial and constructive the talks were" Obama is finding the talks to be less constructive than he is saying. That is not exactly surprising, given that Mahmoud "I can’t allow myself to make even one concession" Abbas had to be dragged yelling and screaming to the talks to begin with.
But the Obama's logic is impeccable:
President Obama called Friday for Israel to extend its moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank as a good-will gesture to move peace talks with the Palestinians forward.
During a wide-ranging news conference at the White House, Mr. Obama said that while the politics of extending the moratorium would be difficult for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, given his conservative government coalition, he had nonetheless asked Mr. Netanyahu to extend it when they met recently in Washington.
“What I’ve said to Prime Minister Netanyahu is that given, so far, the talks are moving forward in a constructive way, it makes sense to extend that moratorium,” Mr. Obama said, in remarks that took some administration officials by surprise.[emphasis added]
It's not clear whether the surprise was the request itself, or the excuse for pressuring Netanyahu to make another unilateral, one-sided concession.
True, Obama is making the same demand from Abbas--um, sort of:
Mr. Obama said he had also told Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, that he, too, had to make gestures to Israel to keep the peace talks going. The negotiations began last week in Washington.
“You’ve got to show the Israeli public that you are serious and constructive in these talks so that the politics for Prime Minister Netanyahu, if he were to extend the settlements moratorium, would be a little bit easier,” Mr. Obama said he had told Mr. Abbas.
True, there is no public demand and no mention of a specific concession--but that is standard for Obama's idea of Mideast negotiations.
Jennifer Rubin writes Bullies Still Turning the Screws on Israel:
A Democratic, pro-Israel activist is blunt with me: “So much for having figured it out and ‘letting the parties sort it out.’ Now you can be sure the Palestinians are walking out and the administration is laying ground to blame Israel.” Indeed, why else would Obama in the midst of delicate negotiations bring this up at a press conference? It surely isn’t to make the Palestinians feel pressure to remain in the talks. He’s not calling for a moratorium on killing Jews, nor is he publicly advising Mahmoud Abbas that he’d be throwing away a golden opportunity for peace if he runs from the talks. The most he is telling Abbas is to accept the Israelis’ concessions, if they knuckle under to Obama. (He said to Abbas: ”You’ve got to show the Israeli public that you are serious and constructive in these talks so that the politics for Prime Minister Netanyahu, if he were to extend the settlements moratorium, would be a little bit easier.”)
Does anyone seriously think that Abbas will make any meaningful gesture--like maybe finally keeping his word about putting an end to the incitement of hatred against Israel?
Instead, Obama is again putting the pressure for continued talks on Netanyahu--which takes the pressure for failed talks off of both Abbas and Obama.
Obama says he would like Abbas to make a gesture.
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