- Globetrotting to enlist UN membership support, Abbas
told Time magazine in Columbia on October 11 that he'll resume talks if
Israel accepts the Quartet's proposal.
- In September, Quartet members established a timeline
for "realistic and serious" negotiations with no preconditions
to begin in a month. They hope for comprehensive proposals within three
months, substantial progress in six, and a firm deal by end of 2012.
- Notably, the proposal excludes key issues, including
settlements, 1967 borders, East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital, Gaza's
siege, diaspora Palestinians right of return, and their legitimate elected
Hamas government, among others.
- As a result, it offered nothing new, is offensive and
demeaning, and excludes PA demands for halting settlement construction
as a precondition. Yet Abbas accepted it despite refusing earlier unless
- Quartet members want both sides to negotiate "without
preconditions." Netanyahu agreed "with reservations." They
include no freeze in settlement construction, recognizing Israel as a Jewish
state, and a suggested negotiation timetable.
- The Quartet wants preliminary talks begun on October
23. Neither side yet agreed.
- Time reported Abbas saying:
- "If the Israelis accept the statement of the Quartet,
I will accept. I will return back to the negotiating table," despite
decades of failure because Israel won't tolerate peace.
- Abbas knows it, but he'll pretend that perhaps this time
is different despite dealing with an Israeli leader who abhors peace and
one or more times said so publicly.
- There's more, however, said Time. "We are in the
realm of talks about talks, very soupy terrain, and it happens that"
Palestinians have their own reservations.
- "Abbas says he still must insist that Israel cease
building housing for its citizens on Palestinian territory....Every government
in the world except Israel's regards settlement construction as illegal,
as well as a huge physical obstacle to peace."
- George Bush's Road Map, in fact, obligated Israel to
halt it. However, once begun over four decades ago, it never stopped and
won't now. Netanyahu flatly refuses.
- Abbas appears to be dancing around an issue he's been
adamant about in public statements, saying talks hinge on halting construction.
Notably, however, he said nothing during Israel's announced 10-month 2010
moratorium during which building proceeded apace. It didn't even slow.
Time neglected to explain it.
- Instead it quoted Abbas saying halting construction is
a "Road Map obligation. It's not a precondition."
- "Semantics," asked Time? "It has that
ring, but from the Palestinian perspective the Israelis have continued
to build on - or 'colonize' - Palestinian land (for decades), and (past)
negotiations dragged on without producing an agreement that returned"
occupied territory to Palestinian control.
- "This is the story of the negotiations," admits
Abbas, but he's willing to resume them anyway. Notably, he was chief Palestinian
negotiator in Oslo, ending in acceding to all Israeli demands. Palestinians
only won the right to enforce their own occupation.
- Nothing in the past 18 years changed. Negotiating with
an unwilling partner assures failure. That aside, Abbas also said petitioning
for UN membership remains on track separate from peace talks whether or
not they resume or what's discussed.
- On October 11, an unnamed senior PA official told Haaretz
he didn't expect talks to resume soon because of Netanyahu's recalcitrance
on settlement construction.
- Commenting also on Palestine's UN bid he said:
- "This position is not new. As far as we are concerned,
renewed negotiations do not cancel (it) at the (UN) General Assembly and
Security Council, since they are two separate processes. (We) expect any
negotiations to result in a state within the 1967 borders....(T)he two
processes are not in conflict with one another."
- On October 11, Ma'an News quoted PA official Nabil Shaath
- "(N)ine (Security Council member) states....have
confirmed" they'll support Palestine's UN bid. They include China,
Russia, Brazil, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa, Gabon and Bosnia.
- Nine are needed to force a US veto. Six confirmed publicly,
including China, Russia, Brazil, India, Lebanon, and South Africa.
- "We should not doubt our allies and we should help
these countries in facing US and Israeli pressure to reinforce the stance
of these states through constant meetings and to get assistance from the
Arab countries who could support these states," added Shaath.
- On September 23, Abbas formally petitioned the Security
Council. Normally it reviews applications for a maximum 35 days. Whether
or not America vetos Palestine's bid is irrelevant. It solely recommends.
Only the General Assembly admits new members.
- Abbas can petition it through the 1950 Uniting for Peace
Resolution 377 for an up or down two-thirds member vote to override a potential
Security Council rejection.
- Whether or not he'll request it is doubtful even though
doing so assures Palestine becoming the UN's 194 nation with rights equal
to all others.
- It's that simple, and could happen in days if a responsible
leader backed up his words with commitment for long overdue justice.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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