Sitting In The Catbird’s Seat. The Palestinians’ Brilliant Tactic of Non-Negotiation


One never quite knows what to believe from the Israeli media. Yediot reported yesterday that Netanyahu is preparing an “Israeli peace initiative” that will be announced in May–perhaps at his appearance in Washington at the AIPAC conference. The initiative, according to ‘informed sources’, will include recognition of ’East’ Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. The same sources say that Netanyahu was astonished by the recent actions in the U.N.–particularly by the support Europeans gave to the proposed Palestinian resolution declaring settlements ‘illegal.’

Assuming for the moment that the report about an Israeli initiative including East Jerusalem is true, what would be the domestic implications for Netanyahu?  His coalition government would immediately break apart as the religious parties and Israel Beteinu (Lieberman) depart. New elections would be called.  To remain in power, Netanyahu would have no choice but to ask Kadima (Livni) to form a new government (it should be remembered that this has been a goal of the Obama Administration since it took office). Israel’s security would be daily diminished as Livni would embark on a series of endless concessions to the Palestinians.

Even if the reports are not true, what do the Palestinians have to gain from negotiations? Nothing. The longer they refuse to negotiate, the more countries in the world rally to their side. Whatever else can be said about Abu Mazen’s strategy–the tactic of non-negotiation has been brilliant and has put him and the Palestinians in the catbird’s seat.

One final thought for Netanyahu: no concessions from Israel will appease the Palestinians or the world. We have reached a point where the majority of nations will not be satisfied until Israel no longer exists–which is of course the ultimate goal of the Palestinians.

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