Monday, April 25, 2011

NY Times on the "Peace Process"

Getting to this editorial in today's NY Times belatedly. . . .  Bless their hearts for encouraging Mr. Obama to get his peace plan on the table asap before Bibi "pre-empts the debate with what is certain to be an inferior proposal when he addresses a joint meeting of Congress next month" - and before the UN General Assembly votes to approve a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders.

But they miss the point, seems to me.  This Congress - especially the House's tag-team of Boehner (who made the invitation to Bibi) and Cantor (who assured Bibi months ago that the GOP-led Congress has his back) - has made it plain that on this issue, it's Netanyahu's voice that they want to hear and are eager to respond to.  Bibi will use his address to throw Abbas and the Palestinians a bone and call it filet mignon; Congress will hail him as a peacemaker and visionary.  If Obama chooses to make his pitch before Bibi's, Congress will hold its applause until they hear what Bibi has to say.

By now, the Palestinians have to recognize that their next step has to be the UN General Assembly, where an overwhelmingly positive vote will put pressure on Israel to either respond or risk further isolation and delegitimizing - and this at a time when a Pew poll indicates that a majority of Egyptians want to annul the 1979 treaty with Israel and also support the Muslim Brotherhood's (Hamas' godfather) participation in politics, when the Asad regime in Syria (a non-enemy enemy as far as Israel is concerned) is under fire, and when Turkey, formerly a cooperative neighbor, turns a cold shoulder.

For the first time in recent memory, the ducks are lining up to the Palestinians' advantage.  Returning to the negotiating table - especially without a promise from Bibi to stop completely any further West Bank construction or dispossession of Palestinians in East Jerusalem - would be a sucker's bet, no matter what pressures Team Obama brings to bear.

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