From The Jewish Press, Jul 15 2009, by P. David Hornik:
... this week ...Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas told reporters in Ramallah that talks with the Netanyahu government are no-go until Israel ...freezes all construction in West Bank settlements.
...Abbas's insistence on a total construction freeze ...seems strange, since he held intensive talks with the previous government of Ehud Olmert, even as construction was continuing in larger settlements.
...Abbas is counting on the Obama administration to "deliver" Israel ...and sees no point in resuming negotiations ....
... the fact remains: the Israeli prime minister has called for negotiations, and the Palestinian president has responded with a flat-out no.
If it were the reverse - "Netanyahu Refuses to Meet with Palestinians" - it would mean big news, a crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations. But portraying Netanyahu as conciliatory and Abbas as intransigent - even if this is what has actually happened - goes so against the media grain and the dominant political conceptions, that the contrast gets downplayed and generally ignored.
...Israel recently gave increased security control to Palestinian battalions in four West Bank cities. The battalions are trained in Jordan under U.S. Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, and three more are currently under training there, with a total of ten supposed to be deployed in the West Bank by 2012.
This at a time when Palestinian Authority TV recently boasted, as part of a "competition" with Hamas, about the lynch murder of two off-duty Israeli soldiers in Ramallah in 2000, and a mainstream activist from Abbas's Fatah told PA TV that "It has been said that we are negotiating for peace, but our goal has never been peace. Peace is a means; the goal is Palestine."
Meanwhile, the Fatah flag still shows all of Israel under rifles; children in the PA are routinely taught that Israeli cities within the 1967 borders are "Palestinian cities"; and the PA recently named a computer center after Dalal Mughrabi, a female terrorist who led a 1978 bus hijacking in Israel that killed 37 civilians including 12 children.
But with the term "Palestinian intransigence" still not having been invented, it doesn't even merit a blip.
Recently it was reported that Israel's haredi population faces a major housing crunch, with "thousands of young couples living in converted storage rooms, garages, parking lots and even garbage bin rooms because they have no other choice." The reason: construction in two large haredi West Bank settlements, Modi'in Illit and Betar Illit, has already been frozen and they have nowhere to go. The reason for that: Israel is demanded to hold West Bank land in perpetuity for the Palestinians no matter how they behave - no matter how much terrorism, hate education, glorification of terrorism, incitement.
Prime Minister Netanyahu appears to have adopted an approach of playing along with the game while trying to avoid being perceived as an obstacle to peace.
Under a positive scenario, he would succeed in holding both the Palestinians and the Obama administration at bay while achieving reasonable harmony with the latter.
Under a negative scenario, by 2012 the murderously hostile - as ever - Palestinian Authority would be bristling with ten armed battalions after another rash Israeli retreat.