Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did it again — sabotaging Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. This time it was President Obama’s effort earlier this year. Israel’s chief negotiator, Tzipi Livni, details how Abbas pocket-vetoed the proposed US framework for peace.
The last paragraph of this report gives the context–Abbas turned down Israel’s offer of a viable state in 2008. That’s the peace offer I discovered in early 2009, but AP banned me from writing about it. Abbas pocket-vetoed that, too, not formally rejecting it — just refusing to sign the map of the state he was offered and leaving the room, never to meet Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert again. The fact that he did not stand on top of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and publicly reject it — though his chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, did that very thing on Al-Jazeera TV — gave AP the excuse to say it wasn’t a real proposal, it wasn’t rejected…all total bullshit, of course. That peace offer was not reported with any detail for years because of the AP ban. I believe if it had been, it might have guided the perception of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts away from demanding that only Israel make “concessions,” and toward the concept that there are two sides to the conflict.
Now Abbas is getting away with it again. Livni talked to the New York Times, which, as usual, couched its article in terms of “both sides are to blame,” and starting with several paragraphs of well-known and boring election campaigning about how Livni is more moderate than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — but if they read all the way down, even New York Times subscribers will see the real story, brought up to the top, where it belongs, in the first story I linked for you above.
There are many lessons here: Palestinian attitudes, Israeli attitudes, media attitudes. I will bring all these elements together next month when I do a lecture tour across North America.