Ab­bas will hold out for more

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News -

Septem­ber com­ing a long time ago?

I have never been one of Mr Ne­tanyahu’s great­est sup­port­ers, but to blame him alone for the fail­ure of the peace process is too much. Oth­ers must share the blame. First of all, Pres­i­dent Obama, with his naivety and in­ex­pe­ri­ence, in­tro­duced the freez­ing of set­tle­ment build­ing as pre­con­di­tion to talks. I op­pose the set­tle­ments but I op­pose more the tricks that give the Pales­tini­ans ex­cuses to avoid talk­ing.

Which brings me to the Pales­tini­ans.

When I served as the spokesman of the Rabin gov­ern­ment, I went with him to Cairo for the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Oslo Ac­cords. Af­ter a long night of hag­gling with Yasser Arafat, all was agreed. Yet at the cer­e­mony the fol­low­ing day, in front of the world’s me­dia, Arafat re­fused to sign all the pages of the agree­ment, claim­ing that cer­tain is­sues were left for later dis­cus­sions.

The fum­ing Rabin, his face red­der than ever, threat­ened to leave and, only af­ter a lot of beg­ging, Arafat yielded.

It seems to me that this Pales­tinian pat­tern is at play again: al­ways try­ing to get a bet­ter deal. Why en­ter any talks with Is­rael now, when Septem­ber will push Is­rael to the cor­ner and en­able more con­ces­sions?

Be­ing a sworn op­ti­mist, by the way, I refuse to let all this get me into a grim mood. Let the UN de­clare a Pales­tinian state. There will be cel­e­bra­tions, in­sta­bil­ity, maybe trou­bles. When the dusts set­tles, though, the Pales­tini­ans will have to sit down and talk.

This is what Mr Ne­tanyahu has just of­fered them, isn’t it? Uri Dromi is a colum­nist based in Jerusalem

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