That’s what we’re hearing: that the pressure on the PA has been such that it’s likely that Abbas will agree in the next few days to come to the table. I’m not going to speculate about this unduly, preferring to wait to see what evolves.
I think Sarah Honig, writing in the JPost magazine on Friday, assessed the situation very well: “[If] Obama and crew did indeed twist Abbas’s arms, we ought to be outraged. The very notion of dragging an unwilling interlocutor to the negotiating table should be unthinkable.
“…The bottom line result will be the same whether Abbas is coerced into a talkathon or whether he is allowed to avoid the ordeal. No peace will emerge in any case…You can pull Abbas to a conference room somewhere but you can’t make him sign on the dotted line, and more so, you can’t make him deliver.”
Part and parcel of the expectation that Abbas will agree to negotiate is a plan that the Quartet (the US, the EU, the UN, and Russia) is slated to release shortly. Our government believes that this plan is an attempt to provide him with the cover that will allow him to agree to direct talks. It is anticipated that three things are likely to be mentioned by the Quartet: the need for an extension of the building freeze, acknowledgement of the ’67 line as the border of a PA state, and a time limit for negotiations.
Our inner cabinet (septet) met for three hours today in order to discuss this situation. The decision, according to several news sources, is that we will not to accept any preconditions. Please G-d let this hold! This is of more than a little significance.
According to at least one source, there is expectation that the US will subsequently be releasing a plan that does not set out preconditions.
I would like to recommend another opinion piece from the JPost, this one by Shalom Helman, who is director of Hadar-Israel: “Reclaiming Israel’s Narrative of Freedom.”
“Israel has lost the plot. To be precise, we have lost our plot. We are like tragic characters trying to find the story line in an absurd existentialist play. We have forgotten our narrative. Whether from self-imposed amnesia or a wistful yearning for “normality,” we are no longer able to articulate our remarkable story to ourselves or to the world.
“…Public diplomacy will not succeed until we can unabashedly declare the story of who we are and why we are here.”
In closing today, I provide the juxtaposition of two different video-recorded statements on the mosque at Ground Zero.
First a dignified and straight-talking Muslim, Raheel Raza, an author (“Their Jihad…Not My Jihad”) and board member of the Muslim Canadian Congress. How, she asks does building a mosque on the site where Muslims killed so many Americans show sensitivity. It’s a slap in the face of all Americans. Mayor Bloomberg and other “bleeding heart white liberals” make it harder for moderate Muslims, she says.
(Thanks Stephanie W.)
And then, the president of the United States defending the building of that Ground Zero mosque, because it reflects American values.
He later qualified his position, saying that he was defending the right of Muslims to build, but this didn’t mean that he was advocating it. He does a lot of qualifying. But his statement here is vintage Obama, replete with the history of how Muslims have always participated in America.