The Palestinian Authority is itching to get out the talks. The settlement freeze is the excuse, while the reason is its inability to make and enforce a peace deal. This report tells us that the PA is pre-empting a potential compromise:
The agreement beginning to take shape on the settlement construction freeze is based on an “unspoken understanding” that security authorities will not sign new building permits, but the government will not issue a formal resolution extending the freeze. Furthermore, a review found that the building moratorium is due to expire on September 30, not September 26, as previously thought.
A source close to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Haaretz on Tuesday that from the PA’s perspective, what mattered was not Israel’s declarations but the moratorium’s implementation on the ground.
In sum, nothing other than the impossible — a formal extension of the freeze — will do. So presto, the PA “gets out” of the direct peace talks they avoided for so long. But just in case, they have a new impossible position: “The same source told Haaretz that the PA intends to make clear in the direct negotiations with Israel that it will not agree to complete demilitarization of the territories, as this was a condition no sovereign state could accept.” As you can see, the “moment of opportunity” Obama waxed lyrically about is simply another in the unending tales of Palestinian rejectionism.
That the Obami invested so much time and credibility in this fruitless effort is a sign of both hubris (their predecessors weren’t “smart” enough diplomats, you see) and naivete. As with so much else in this administration, it is the conjunction of bad ideas and inept execution. In this context, the “peace process” has already claimed five lives. All so Obama would not have what is left of his credibility pulverized. In the end, one fears, more innocents will be hurt or killed, and the blow to Obama’s ego will have only been delayed.