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The Non-Direct, Non-Peace Talks

This report is emblematic of the double-talk that now passes for the “peace process”:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that he was holding Israel responsible for the impasse in direct negotiations, but vowed to continue to search for solutions that could yield to progress in the recently renewed peace process.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II, Abbas said “there is an impasse, because we cannot carry on with the negotiations, and we have to follow up this impasse with the Arab side.”

“Of course, we are not going to sever ties with the Americans, and we will continue to have contacts with them to search for solutions, but the settlement building should stop and then we will return to the negotiating table,” Abbas said.

So Abbas will go back to talking to Mitchell but not to the Israelis? No, no, both sides really want to keep talking to each other, Mitchell assures us:

In Cairo earlier on Sunday, Mitchell said both Israel and the Palestinians wanted to continue direct peace negotiations, despite an ongoing dispute over Israel’s refusal to renew its moratorium on construction in West Bank settlements.

But Abbas said he didn’t want to keep talking to the Israelis. So is Mitchell, you know, dissembling? Meanwhile, we learn that the “Palestinian Liberation Organization announced it would halt direct talks with Israel as long as settlement construction continues. The decision was announced by the general secretary of the PLO, Yasser Abed Rabbo.” So no direct talks, right? Mitchell tries out this gibberish:

“Both the governments of Israel and the Palestinian Authority have asked us to continue these discussions in an effort to establish the conditions under which they can continue direct negotiations,” Mitchell wrote in a statement posted on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo’s website. “They do not want to stop the talks.”

But didn’t the Palestinians say that … oh never mind. We are now into the phase of the charade when Mitchell and the rest of the Obami try to pretend the direct talks haven’t broken off. But they have. Do they think we won’t notice? In this regard, the Palestinians are helping with the subterfuge: “Despite the PLO’s declaration, the Palestinian leadership and Arab countries appear in no hurry to actually make the decision final. In all probability the Americans have requested time from the Arab states to reach a compromise on the settlement issue.” Because it would look really bad if all that the Obama team could accomplish in two years was less than a month of “direct” negotiations.



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