Follow by Email

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Obama Middle East Peace Initiative: Destined to Fail

There were some glorious photo ops in Washington last week with Obama, Netanyahu, Abbas, Mubarak and King Abdullah II striding down long carpeted corridors wearing serious faces. Hillary, seated between Netanyahu and Abbas, smiled like the Cheshire cat. Tony Blair, flown into town as the representative of the Quartet, added his imprimatur to the festivities. But the necessary groundwork had not been laid by the bungling Obama administration, and all, unfortunately, is destined to come to naught.

The Palestinian Authority, i.e. Fatah, does not want an agreement, at least not now, and until they are ready, it simply isn't going to happen, no matter what goodies Washington offers them. Why? Because if you want peace in the Middle East, you need to be willing to die for peace. Anwar Sadat died for peace. King Hussein of Jordan proclaimed his readiness to die as a martyr for peace. Abbas, on the other hand, is planning to die peacefully in his bed, many years hence.

Examine the contradictory confused responses coming from Fatah in the aftermath of the Washington hafla (Arabic for party or celebration). Already being branded a traitor, Abbas is searching under the carpet for an excuse to abandon the talks. On Monday, Palestinian newspaper Al Quds reported that Abbas has now stated that if pressured on borders and refugees, he "will take his bags and leave," and Netanyahu was forced to call Abbas to coax him back to the negotiating table (

Meanwhile, Abbas's cronies also can't decide on which side of the fence they should be standing:

"Following last week’s ceremony in Washington, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, gave a series of interviews to various media outlets.

In one interview, he was quoted as saying that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was not serious about reaching peace with the Palestinians and that his only goal was to waste time. Erekat later issued a denial, saying his words had been taken out of context.

* * * *

Making statements and denying them, often within hours, has become almost a daily event in the politics of the PA. The latest example was that of Fatah’s Muhammad Dahlan, who, in an interview with an Arab newspaper on Sunday, denounced Netanyahu as a 'swindler.'

After his remarks were published in Israel, the former security commander rushed to issue a denial, claiming that his words had been taken out of context."

Iran and Syria, via their proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, will be fighting tooth and nail against any potential peace arrangement, and it is no accident that a Qassam rocket fell on the southern Israeli town of Sderot this morning.

Syria has historically opposed any Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement, which comes, in their belief, at the expense of a Syrian-Israeli arrangement, which, again in their belief, takes precedence.

But the bigger picture involves Iranian, i.e. Shiite, nuclear aspirations and the opposition of the Sunni Arab bloc to any attempt by Tehran to achieve hegemony in the region. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan are all callous to Palestinian interests, and Abbas for them is no more than an expendable pawn.

Obama specializes in photo ops, and wonderful photographs were taken of the American president pretending to play diplomat extraordinaire. However, expectations on the Palestinian street have now been created, and when the talks ultimately fail, we will be hearing in the suks of Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus, "I told you so."

Will we then see a resurgence of Hamas? A new intifada? I hope not.


  1. Obama as most of liberals idealizes Muslims, feels contempt for Jews. Acting from this distorted world view brings nothing but alienation in the US and rejection everywhere else. The concept of Muslims moral superiority or even moral equivalence can lead only to internal contradiction, inconsistency, failure. But rejecting this view would mean an admission that the "victim" may need liberation from his own sins first. It may be too much to demand from the pupil of Rev. Wright.

    has my favorite photo - of the WH dinner table on Sept. 2.