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Abbas Bets on Kerry’s Desperation

(Photo: U.S. State Dept.)

(Photo: U.S. State Dept.)

Seth Mandel, writing at Commentary, notes that the not-dead-yet negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians refuse to die because P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, who walked away from the table and unilaterally applied to membership in a dozen or so U.N. agencies, still thinks he can extract some concessions from Israel via U.S. pressure:

What’s the argument in favor of a round of concessions as preconditions in addition to releasing the terrorists? Abbas is playing Kerry. He assumes that Kerry is sufficiently desperate for negotiations that he’ll lean on Netanyahu to give Abbas whatever he wants.

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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 at 8:44 AM  | Stand For Israel

Abbas Fled Talks the First Chance He Got

(Photo: wikicommons/ Peter Fedynsky)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Peter Fedynsky)

It may sound like a broken record, but since Israel’s enemies will keep blaming the Jewish state for the imminent failure of the latest round of peace talks, we feel the need to keep sharing with you early postmortems that call it like it is. Today, Jonathan Tobin of Commentary takes a different angle on Abbas’ refusal to make any concessions:

Abbas had no room to maneuver to make peace even if he were truly willing to do so. Negotiating an agreement, even one that would give the Palestinians pretty much everything they want in terms of statehood in the West Bank and a share of Jerusalem, isn’t in his interest because signing such an agreement is far more dangerous than being blamed for scuttling the peace talks. The safer thing for Abbas is to seize any pretext to flee the talks and claim he’s seeking Palestinian independence via the U.N., a futile gesture that will do nothing for his people.

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Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 at 8:15 AM  | Stand For Israel

Arafat-Style, Abbas Is Playing with Fire

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

Yesterday, in violation of previous agreements and in something of a temper tantrum, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed documents applying for membership in 15 U.N. organizations for “Palestine.” Avi Issacharoff, writing at The Times of Israel, explains what’s really going on:

But look deeper, and you’ll see Abbas announced that he was immediately signing up for 15 international organizations, but not the big-ticket United Nations organizations. Look deeper still, and you’ll note that the applications were not actually filed.

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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 at 8:23 AM  | Stand For Israel

Obama Must Be Blunt with Abbas, Too

(Photo: White House)

(Photo: White House)

Jeffrey Goldberg, writing at Bloomberg, admits that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is probably unable or unwilling to make the kind of concessions necessary for a peace agreement with Israel. But he concludes that President Obama still needs to put pressure on Abbas to make those concessions:

Now Obama needs to explain to Abbas why he should publicly reiterate Arafat’s position on Israel’s Jewish character and move on to the core issues separating the two sides. Obama should also make it clear to Abbas, as he has to Netanyahu, that there will be consequences if Abbas cannot bring himself to offer Kerry at least a provisional, tentative yes.

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Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 at 8:34 AM  | Stand For Israel

Lying About Abbas Won’t Bring Peace

Israel_Palestine_FlagJonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary Magazine, points out the desperate need among some Western leaders and, sadly, some Israelis, to paint Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as something decidedly other than what he actually is in order to force the round peg of the peace process into the square hole of reality:

Peace process advocates believe the only way to plow ahead to an agreement is to keep the pressure up on Netanyahu to give the maximum while treating Abbas with kid gloves, all the while fearing to offend him or to give his enemies within Fatah, not to mention Hamas and Islamic Jihad rivals, any ammunition with which to attack him as soft on the Israelis. Anything else, they tell us, risks blowing up the process leaving no hope for peace.

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Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 at 9:07 AM  | Stand For Israel

Mahmoud Abbas and the Jewish State

(Photo: White House/ Pete Souza)

(Photo: White House/ Pete Souza)

Why is it such a big deal for Israel that the Palestinians recognize it as the Jewish state? And why is it such a big deal for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to just do it? Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy answers those questions about as well as we’ve ever seen:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deeper — it is existential. While many Palestinians suspect that Israel will forever deny them independence, deep in the minds of many Israelis is the idea that Palestinians have a long-term plan to destroy Israel. Formal recognition of Israel as the rightful national home of the Jewish people, which would exist side by side with the rightful national home of the Palestinian people, would go far toward calming such fears. The fact that Abbas still refuses to offer this recognition only deepens those fears.

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Monday, March 17th, 2014 at 8:25 AM  | Stand For Israel

Abbas Cannot Make Concessions on Any Core Issues

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

Khaled Abu Toameh, a Palestinian journalist who works in Israel, writes at the Gatestone Institute that, no matter what pressure both sides may be under from the American administration, Palestinian leadership does not have the political backing or authority to make the kind of concessions necessary for peace:

Palestinian officials in Ramallah say that the talks with Israel have already failed, but Obama and Kerry continue to live in denial. There are no direct talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Rather, each side is conducting separate negotiations with Obama and Kerry.

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Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 at 8:15 AM  | Stand For Israel

Do Palestinians Really Want a State of Their Own?

(Photo: flickr/ Joi Ito)

(Photo: flickr/ Joi Ito)

Writing at Foreign Policy, Oren Kessler writes what we’ve said here many times — current evidence suggests that the Palestinian leadership is unprepared to help create among its own people the conditions in which peace could take root and, given that reality, the Palestinians want status quo violence more than they want their own country:

Viewers of the Palestinian Authority’s official television station are unceasingly reminded that the Arab-Israeli conflict is an existential, zero-sum dispute. The channel assures its audience that cities in Israel will ultimately return to Arab rule, that the murder of Israeli civilians is a heroic deed, and that Jews are “barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs” — or in the words of putatively peace-minded Palestinian Authority official Jibril Rajoub, “Satans” and “Zionist sons of bitches.” And that’s not to speak of the fire-eyed theocrats of Hamas, who run the show in the Gaza Strip.

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Friday, March 7th, 2014 at 8:26 AM  | Stand For Israel

Moving the Goalposts

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

In 2009, Prime Minister Netanyahu unilaterally imposed a 10-month settlement freeze in order to lure Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table. It took nine months for Abbas to agree to talks and, when he finally did, it was only to demand another freeze.

In 2013, Israel agreed to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners — not political prisoners, but actual terrorists — again to lure the Palestinians to the negotiating table. If you’re noticing a trend, that’s because there is one: Israel makes concessions for the privilege of the Palestinians’ company.

Now, with talks on the verge of collapse because Palestinian leaders are willing to do exactly nothing to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict, Mahmoud Abbas is, once again, demanding that Israel give something just to keep the dialogue open. Two days ago, Abbas demanded another settlement freeze. Yesterday, as we reported in this morning’s Stand for Israel Daily Dispatch, he demanded more prisoner releases.

And this is the problem when only one side wants a resolution and only one side is negotiating in good faith. If you’re the Palestinians, and you can keep getting the Israelis endlessly to release murderers (which, for some reason, is something you want) and freeze construction in neighborhoods around Jerusalem, what’s your incentive to ever give anything in return? If it keeps working, Israel will eventually empty their jails and permanently cease building across the green line and it will have cost you absolutely nothing.

When we hear Israeli leaders say that Mahmoud Abbas is either unable or unwilling to make peace, this is why; not because he’s an anti-Semite or a Holocaust denier or a terrorist sympathizer (though he is also those things). It is well past time someone — we’re looking at you, Secretary Kerry — called the Palestinians on this tired game.

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Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 at 8:29 AM  | Stand For Israel

Don’t Expect Abbas to Sign Anything

(Photo: White House)

(Photo: White House)

Shlomo Avineri, a columnist at Haaretz and professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, lays out a few of the reasons why it is pure fantasy to suspect that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ever sign a deal with Israel. Avineri, who is a famous denizen of the Israeli peace camp, is nonetheless able to see that Abbas is the problem:

The Palestinians have never outlined their overall vision of an agreement, except, of course, in regard to the territorial issue. But on matters of crucial importance to Israel – forgoing the right of return, some form of recognition of Israel as the Jewish nation-state – the Palestinian leadership has clearly rejected the Israeli position. Though Abbas has stated that he personally has no desire to return to Safed, he has also declared that the Palestinians cannot give up the right of return, saying it is an “individual right.” And both Abbas and Saeb Erekat, his chief negotiator, have outright rejected all calls to accept Israel as the Jewish nation-state, citing the basic Palestinian position that the Jews are a religious community, not a nation.

Comments (15) »

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 at 8:22 AM  | Stand For Israel
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State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
God Is Present This Holy Season

Even as efforts for peace seem to be at an impasse all around the world, the Passover story can give us hope and affirmation that God is always present in our lives, and even when situations seem impossible, He is working in ways we cannot imagine.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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