Tuesday, July 27, 2010

PLO Mission to US upgraded to Embassy

From JPost, 26 July 2010:

... Late last week the [Obama] administration decided – apropos of nothing – to upgrade the diplomatic status of the PLO mission in Washington. ...the PLO will be allowed to fly its flag like a regular embassy. Its representatives will enjoy diplomatic immunity just like diplomats from states.

Indeed the PLO delegate in Washington Maen Areikat claimed that the administration’s move equates the PLO’s diplomatic status in the US to that of Canada and states in Western Europe.

..this step does not constitute US recognition of a Palestinian state in the absence of a peace treaty between the Palestinians and Israel, [but] it certainly sends a clear signal that this is the direction the US is heading. As such, it represents a dangerous step that will encourage continued Arab hostility.

...White House spokesman Thomas Vietor said, “This decision reflects our confidence that through direct negotiations, we can help achieve a two-state solution with an independent and viable Palestine living side by side with Israel. We should begin preparing for that outcome now, as we continue to work with the Palestinian people on behalf of a better future.”

Like the decision itself, Vietor’s explanation signals that the Obama administration has not embraced pragmatism over ideology. Vietor could never have made his statement if it had.

Any pragmatic analysis of the situation leads to the clear conclusion that there is little chance of the Palestinians agreeing to a settlement anytime soon. Just this past week Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas escalated still further his already unacceptable preconditions for direct negotiations.

Now in addition to his absurd demand that Israel agree ahead of time to withdraw to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, Abbas is demanding that it also agree to withdraw all of its forces to those lines and accept the deployment of foreign forces along its borders with the Palestinian state.

These are demands that no government in its right mind would accept in direct negotiations, let alone as a precondition for them.

And any pragmatic US administration upon hearing these demands would recognize that there is no chance that the Palestinians will agree to any reasonable offer of a peace treaty in the foreseeable future.

...The move makes sense only if the US is secretly preparing to help the Palestinians avoid negotiations and obtain a state that is not established in the framework of a peace treaty.

...This is the case because there is no Palestinian leader – not the US favorites Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad and not their competitors in Hamas – who accepts the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

...any state formed outside the framework of a peace treaty will be in a de facto state of war with Israel. Indeed, its legitimacy with the Palestinian people and other Arabs will be defined by its commitment to the eventual destruction of the Jewish state.  ...by upgrading the PLO’s mission, the Obama administration is actively encouraging just such an outcome...
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