There’s a meeting going on in Jordan right about now between the Quartet, Israel and the Palestinian Authority to satisfy a request issued by the Quartet last fall directly after Palestine took its bid for statehood to the UN. Each side was supposed to come up with territorial and security proposals by late January. On November 14th Abbas turned over Palestine’s proposals, Israel has produced nothing.
The meeting is merely an unconvincing formality. Everybody says expectations are low, (“does not expect the talks to deliver any major breakthroughs”) and nothing will come of it. The US won’t be there, here’s why, per the Christian Science Monitor:
• The advent of a tough election year means Mr. Obama is unlikely to jump into any peace initiative or to pressure Israel – something a Republican opponent could use against him.
…while few experts expect anything significant to happen by the Jan. 26 deadline, most observers say both the Israelis and Palestinians have reasons for agreeing to the Amman talks.
Israel wants to be seen as ready and willing to negotiate a peace deal with the Palestinians, given that its international image has deteriorated since the beginning of the Arab Spring. Israel’s image abroad has been harmed by its leaders’ response to the protests – largely to favor a regional status quo.
The Palestinians may have their eyes set ultimately on the UN and efforts they launched there last fall to win global recognition.
One scenario, Mideast experts say, is that the Palestinian leadership could use the expected failure of the talks to revive its push for official UN recognition of a state of Palestine. The Palestinians could point to both the presumed failure of the Quartet’s initiative and to what they argue is Israel’s refusal to take serious steps toward peace.
Meanwhile over on Hasbara Boulevard, the Jerusalem Post dishes up an enthusiastic Israeli-PA talks already have a winner – Jordan’s Abdullah.
In the past, meetings such as these often took place in Sharm e-Sheikh, under the auspices of now deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Because of Egypt’s position in the region, and its peace treaty with Israel, Cairo was often the “go-to” address on Palestinian-Israeli issues.
Since Mubarak’s fall, however, a void was created, one Abdullah is more than happy to fill.
Alrighty then– go Abdullah! Steppin’ in for Mubarak, a winning move no doubt.
In another article from the Jerusalem Post, Israeli government officials are given the microphone:
“We sincerely hope that the meeting in Amman heralds the beginning of direct ongoing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to achieve peace,” ……Israel was ready to “move ahead on the path articulated by the Quartet, and we hope the Palestinians are willing to do so as well,” he continued…………….“Israel is ready for mutual, reciprocal confidence- building measures,”
Uh huh. So believing that–not. I’m a soldier in the war on poverty, and this has got poverty written all over it.
Within three months, the Quartet statement read, the sides were to come forward with comprehensive proposals on territory and security. The Palestinians interpreted that to mean that each side was to present these proposals to the Quartet, which the Palestinians have done, while Israel’s interpretation was that they would be presented by the sides to each other during the three months of intensive negotiations.
The difference, one Israeli official said, was that the Palestinians wanted to get the Quartet more actively involved in arbitrating between the two sides, while Israel wanted to deal directly with the Palestinians without outside interference.
Hamas, meanwhile, called on the PA to boycott the Amman meeting, arguing the talks would only benefit Israel and help it improve its image in the international arena.
Israel’s got nothing, you gotta have something…..