A Bad Start to the Talks

Many, including myself, have expected the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations to go pretty much nowhere.  (Whether or not the Obama Administration will use this as an excuse to jam an otherwise unacceptable solution down Israel’s throat is another matter.)  I had based these expectations on a couple of pre-meeting signals from the Palestinians.  While the administration had touted loud and long their claim that these were negotiations “without preconditions,” in fact, the Palestinians just before the talks insisted that they’d walk away from the table unless Israel agreed to continue its building freeze in its own capital.  Anyone who’s observed Palestinian non-negotiating tactics for more than about minutes should have seen this coming: timing the talks to start before the end of the freeze, and then pocketing the de facto concession as a condition for continuing talks.

Palestinian President Abbas’s comments this morning only made matters worse:

And we call on the Israeli government to move forward with its commitment to end all settlement activity and completely lift the embargo over the Gaza Strip and end all form of incitement.

It’s probably too much to expect the Palestinians to come to the table in good faith, but this statement doesn’t even state the current state of affairs correctly.  Israel has, of course, made no such commitments as stated here.  They are pure invention on the part of the Palestinians, and attempt to gain further concessions by rewriting Israeli statements.  And of course, it’s the Palestinian government, not the Israelis, who have been guilty of incitement, most recently by naming streets and schools after murderous thugs.

Abbas then goes on to defend his government’s response to the murder of four Jews a couple of days ago:

Also, with respect to security, you do know, ladies and gentlemen, that we have security apparatuses that are still being built, that are still young, but that are doing everything that is expected from them. Yesterday we condemned the operations that were carried. We did not only condemn them, but we also followed the perpetrators, and we were able to find the car that was used and to arrest those who sold and bought the car.  And we will continue all our efforts to take security measures in order to find the perpetrators.

Probably to see if they could get a fleet rate.  Much of the purpose of putting Palestinians in charge of their internal security is that a well-intentioned Arab government would have a more effective intelligence network inside hostile circles than the Israelis would.  Perhaps this is true, but the Palestinian record has been one of catch-and-release, rather than actual enforcement.

No sane Israeli can believe that the Palestinians would either negotiate in good faith, or carry out any agreements that were reached.

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