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April 20, 2012

Jackson Diehl on Abbas's Responsibility

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The Washington Post's Jackson Diehl addresses those who refuse to see Palestinian leaders as actors with some responsibility for the consequences of their actions:

Abbas’s defenders will claim that Netanyahu’s right-wing government, and the Obama administration’s inability to influence it, left him with few options. That’s a canard. In fact, Abbas has never seriously tested the Israeli leader. He could have done that by fully committing to the negotiations the Obama administration tried to organize or to those sponsored by Jordan’s King Abdullah this year. That would have forced Netanyahu to reveal his terms for Palestinian statehood — and brought real pressure to bear on him if they were unreasonable.

Instead, Abbas has repeatedly backed away from serious diplomacy, citing as an excuse Israeli settlement construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank — something that did not stop him from participating in negotiations with previous Israeli governments. He embarked on his unity-U.N.-intifada strategy on the premise that it would bring about Palestinian statehood without the need for negotiations with Netanyahu.

And, not for the first time, Mahmoud Abbas succeeded only in delaying Palestinian statehood — and weakening his own cause.

Posted by GI at April 20, 2012 11:52 AM

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