5:34 PM, Mar 17, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Jackson Diehl, writing in the Washington Post:
Two weeks ago President Obama took time off from the crisis in Ukraine to pursue the foreign policy cause that, together with nuclear disarmament, has been closest to his heart: Israeli-Palestinian peace. Having invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House, Obama welcomed him by publicly declaring to Bloomberg View’s Jeffrey Goldberg that Israel “could face a bleak future — one of international isolation and demographic disaster — if [Netanyahu] refuses to endorse a U.S. drafted framework agreement for peace,” as Goldberg summed it up.
Fair enough, you might say: An April 29 deadline for obtaining agreement to the framework is getting close, so it’s time for a little presidential arm-twisting. It follows that when Mahmoud Abbas troops into the Oval Office for his meeting on Monday, he should be met with equally dire predictions of Palestinian doom if he fails to accept the framework.
So far, there’s no sign of it: no presidential interviews, no statements by Secretary of State John Kerry, no leaks of potential U.S. punitive measures if Abbas — repeating a long personal and Palestinian history — says no. Therein lies the fallacy that has hamstrung Obama’s Middle East diplomacy for the past five years.
Obama, as he made clear in the Goldberg interview, perceives Abbas as the golden key to Mideast peace — “the most politically moderate leader the Palestinians may ever have,” as Goldberg paraphrased it — and Netanyahu as the potential spoiler. “I believe that President Abbas is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist,” the president said. “You’ve got a partner on the other side who is prepared to negotiate seriously . . . for us not to seize this moment I think would be a great mistake.”
But is Obama right about Abbas? Netanyahu, like most Israelis, doesn’t think so — and with some reason.
Whole thing here.
Does Obama Care?10:53 AM, Mar 3, 2014 • By ARYEH TEPPER
In President Obama's blindside of an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, finely timed for Prime Minister Netanyahu's arrival in Washington and the opening of the AIPAC conference, Obama made the following, revealing remark, "I believe that President Abbas is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist."
7:28 AM, Jul 30, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Palestinians and Israelis are meeting in Washington to talk about a peace plan with Secretary of State John Kerry. But the Palestinians leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is in Egypt where he's revealed his thinking on the issue.
8:44 AM, Jul 20, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
John Kerry tried to get the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to buck-up and smile. But he wasn't successful as he tries to broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Apparently, the Palestinians believe Kerry is giving too much favor to the Israelis. As the Los Angeles Times reports:
9:33 AM, Mar 21, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
At a press conference today in Ramallah, President Barack Obama addressed the assembled journalists while standing under a Yasser Arafat banner:
Photo Credit: Newscom
12:20 PM, Sep 28, 2012 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
On September 27, the chairman of the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas (who is also president of the Palestinian Authority and chairman of the Fatah Party) spoke to the U.N. General Assembly.
8:03 AM, May 24, 2012 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
The belief that an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is inches away or perhaps only one long negotiating session away never dies. Not even 64 years after the birth of the state of Israel and 45 years after Israel’s conquest of Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem in 1967.
1:33 PM, Apr 23, 2012 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
The situation of the Palestinian Authority is grim. Its diplomatic offensive against Israel in the United Nations did not win it statehood, there are no serious negotiations with Israel because the PA refuses them, Hamas controls Gaza, and Palestinian elections keep getting postponed despite the “Arab Spring” and the wave of elections in Arab countries. Internally, relations between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad were recently so poor that for several days Abbas apparently refused even to speak to Fayyad.
12:00 AM, Apr 16, 2012 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
The chairman of the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas (who is also president of the Palestinian Authority), has drafted a letter to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for delivery this week. What is apparently the current state of the draft is published by Times of Israel, a terrific new web site about the Middle East.
3:20 PM, Jan 26, 2012 • By JONATHAN SCHANZER
Mohammed Dahlan, the former security official for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the Gaza Strip, is in a lot of trouble.
Oct 3, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 03 • By LEE SMITH
Some have praised President Obama’s September 20 speech at the U.N. as his most rousing defense of Israel to date. Perhaps so—though that’s not saying much. It rather seems to us that the president merits some credit—but only some—for a growing self-awareness, both of his own limits and of the finer points of American Middle East policy.
8:01 AM, Sep 9, 2011 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
London—Several days of Middle East discussions in London have not contributed to any sense of optimism about the near, or for that matter medium-range, future on the Israeli-Palestinian front. It did not appear to the officials with whom I spoke that PA president Mahmoud Abbas can be persuaded to drop his foolish U.N. gambit. The only good news was that the UK will, this fall, adopt laws protecting Israeli officials from the politicized prosecutions that have kept them out of Britain.
The Arab Spring and Palestinian democracy.11:00 AM, Aug 24, 2011 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
With the advent of the Arab Spring, several former Arab tyrannies (Egypt, Tunisia, now Libya, perhaps Syria next) have thrown off dictators and are, or will be, moving toward elections. And in Jordan and Morocco, the kings have announced new constitutional arrangements that move powers to elected officials.