A pie in Obama's face...
A good analysis by Barry Rubin...
Should the Palestinian Authority (PA) be the main advocate pushing acceptance of the bizarre Goldstone report in order to demonize Israel at the UN or might it just stand aside and let a couple of dozen Arab and Muslim-majority states take the lead?
This is—or should be—a minor issue but it has blown up to once again push the main reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict into everyone’s face.
When the U.S. government asked the PA not to be the main sponsors of demanding UN sanctions against Israel, the Palestinian leadership agreed for a few hours. But then, unable to resist flaunting its radicalism and obstructionism, it then double-crossed the United States. This step further sabotages President Barack Obama's efforts to advance the peace process, which often seems to be his number-one international priority.
On the surface, the Palestinian leadership—PLO, Fatah, and Palestinian Authority (PA), which are all the same thing—is once again shooting itself in the foot. It is throwing away a real opportunity for a state; it is sabotaging its relationship with Western patrons.
How to explain this apparent perverseness, which Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban once called, “Never missing a chance to miss an opportunity”?
The answer is simple: When it comes down to a choice between continuing the conflict and trying to win a total victory that wipes Israel off the map or making peace and getting a state, the Palestinian leadership always chooses the former.
And when it comes to choosing between being a bit more moderate and gaining Western support or being demagogically radical and appealing to the most radical forces, the Palestinian leadership chooses the latter. The Fatah-dominated PA doesn’t want peace with Israel; it prefers peace with Hamas, its rival that not only murders and tortures Fatah people but—one more irony—is the main beneficiary of the Goldstone report.
Wishful thinkers beware! Reality is once again battering down your door.
Briefly, the Obama Administration is trying to make peace and wants the PA’s cooperation. If the UN goes ballistic and now bashes Israel as an evil, illegitimate, war criminal—on the basis of Hamas propaganda no less which is all the Goldstone Commission really purveys—this will not help the cause of peace and will wreck U.S. policy.
So the Obama Administration basically said to the PA: Look, we’re getting you lots of money and diplomatic help on the basis of the idea that you want peace. No president in history has ever been more sympathetic and supportive of you. So stand aside on this issue for a few days. Do us this little favor.
But this is too much for the PA, which now faces protests and criticism at home. (Fun fact: If the PA cannot even refrain from sponsoring Goldstone, can anyone expect it to compromise on territory, security measures, an end to the conflict, and the settlement of all Palestinian refugees in Palestine? Think about that one for five minutes please.)
This is at least the fourth time in its short nine-month history where the Palestinians and Arab states did this to Obama:
--PA leader Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Washington for his first trip and said he had no intention of compromising on anything but would just wait until the United States delivered an Israel which had to give up everything.
--Abbas refused to negotiate with Israel unless he had a total freeze of construction on all settlements with no exceptions despite Obama’s desperate efforts to get talks going.
--Arab states asked to make small confidence-building steps toward Israel to help the president said “No!”
So much for Obama’s apologies, his Cairo and UN speeches, strong words of support for the Palestinians (the people supposedly in an intolerable situation and desperate for a state), and his panegyrics for Islam. Flattery, Mr. President, will get you nowhere.