Tuesday, 5 October 2010

"Abbas & Co'. only leverage is the ability to 'walk away'...


"..... the negotiations that will determine the outcome of the latest minicrisis will be those that both parties conduct with the U.S.
The Obama Administration appears to have assumed that having the two sides at the table in direct talks would somehow create self-sustaining momentum toward a peace agreement. The President has reportedly offered Netanyahu a raft of unprecedented measures of U.S. political backing for Israel's negotiating positions and direct military support, .... The underlying assumption of that offer appears to be that the two sides will agree within two months on where to draw the border between Israel and a future Palestinian state, which would allow Israel to continue building in those settlements it would keep and permanently freeze construction in those on the wrong side of that future border. That's a wildly optimistic assumption, according to many veteran observers of the Middle East peace process....... Abbas was "alarmed" to hear that Netanyahu envisaged any "framework agreement" reached in the current process as being implemented over a 20-year period. 
A key element of the offer Obama reportedly made to Netanyahu in order to coax just 60 more days of moratorium out of him was U.S. support for Israel's long-standing demand to keep its own troops in control of the border of a future Palestinian state for a long-term "transitional period." The fact that Netanyahu has inclined to turn it (and the host of additional security guarantees and new weapons sales) down suggests that the Israeli leader believes he is in a strong position vis-á-vis his American negotiating partner. To be sure, Obama will be aware that a difficult midterm election is not an auspicious moment to be tussling with the Israelis.
The Palestinian camp rejects the principle of Israeli troops remaining in a future state, although they're open to the presence of a third-party security force. Still, it's unlikely that any U.S. offer to Netanyahu on that issue was cleared with the Palestinians, who bring no leverage to the table except their ability to walk away .....Abbas will, no doubt, be dangling that threat in the hope of extracting new concessions of his own from the Americans...
The Administration appears to have overestimated what can be achieved by having the two sides in the same room, given the obvious gulf between their expectations and bottom lines. The Palestinians had to be strong-armed into showing up at all, believing that Netanyahu's refusal to implement the complete settlement freeze demanded last year by the Obama Administration simply confirmed their suspicion that he has no intention of concluding a credible peace deal. Netanyahu is happy to talk, but on his own terms, and is under no domestic political pressure to cut a deal with the Palestinians. Rather than generating momentum toward a self-sustaining process, the current talks appear to see both sides going through the motions in order to strengthen their case in their own negotiations with Washington. And over the past decade, that's a negotiation in which the Israelis have fared far better than the Palestinians...."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 11:54 AM
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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