Larry Derfner writes:
Whatever the Obama administration may say, it is through with Middle East peacemaking, at least for this term. It has zero leverage over Israel’s right-wing government because the roaring Republicans love this government and especially its prime minister. The Republicans love the settlements, love Israeli rule over the West Bank, love the blockade of Gaza and, no less important, hate Palestinians and the rest of the Muslim world.
These are the political forces that have Obama in check. Well before the Tea Party surfaced, the GOP had lurched to the right on Israel/Palestine, lining up squarely with Likud and the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, and now these people are in the catbird’s seat in Washington.
If you were a Palestinian, would you trust that the US could even soften the Netanyahu government in negotiations now, much less “deliver” it? No, you wouldn’t, and neither would I, so I don’t see why the Palestinians should be expected to go on playing with Israel when America is the dealer. If the game wasn’t rigged against them before, it obviously is after Tuesday.
And since Israel isn’t going to budge and America can’t force it to, that means the ball is in the Palestinians’ court.
What are they going to do, now that Pax Americana is not an option for them, not for at least two years and maybe a lot longer? Hopefully, they’re not going to return to violence. Hopefully, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will not resign, nor be overthrown by Hamas in the West Bank like they were in the Gaza Strip.
The best-case scenario is that the PA will make good on its threat to seek UN recognition for statehood, knowing that even if the US vetoes such a resolution, it would be a show of strength. It would create a sense of urgency. Challenging the occupation in the UN might shake the moderate West into acting as a counterweight to Tea Party America in the conflict.
Hopefully, the PA will also keep pressing its claim on Arab east Jerusalem nonviolently, as Fayyad sought to do this week, with some success. And hopefully, the moderate West will show its support, as British Foreign Secretary William Hague did yesterday by meeting Palestinian activists on the city’s Arab side.
British Foreign Minister William Hague on Wednesday met with the Palestinian prime minister and Israeli foreign minister, but his visit with Palestinian activists made the most headlines.
Hague met with three senior Palestinian activists spearheading the popular struggle against Jewish settlements and the West Bank security fence, and expressed his support in their non-violent struggle.
“Hague told us that he supports the non-violent popular struggle, similarly to the official statement made by the European Union,” Mahmud Zuhari, one of the activists, told Ynet.
The meeting was held in the West Bank town of Bitunia, just south of Ramallah, in an area overlooking the security fence and Ofer Prison, where many activists are jailed.