By Schmoel Yitzhak
The ominous Haaretz headline read: NETANYAHU PLEADS TO SAVE TALKS AS PALESTINIANS THREATEN WALKOUT
Since I disbelieve about ninety-percent of what I read in that Quisling-Israeli "newspaper," I wondered just how intense the "pleading" was or if the Prime Minister had actually "pleaded" at all.
But just for the sake of argument, let's assume that Bibi did plead with the Arabs not to quit the peace talks.
My response is simply this: why plead?
What's this pleading all about? Why is it necessary to beseech Mahmoud Abbas and his band of brigands to return to negotiations if they are so set on aborting the mistakenly-conceived Obama-fueled talks in the first place?
For starters, it is important to note that Israel's leader has nothing for which to apologize.
He has scrupulously followed the rules laid down by Uncle Sam's choreographer-in-chief to a T.
These negotiations were to be held without conditions. Yet, the Arabs continually have reiterated condition after condition with the accent on a settlement freeze.
Talks were to be face-to-face -- led by Abbas -- but the Palestinian invariably turns to the Arab League for direction uncertain which way to go other than the unconditional route.
By being steadfast about his no-halt-to-settlement-building stance Bibi made a forceful decision in the face of Obama's dismay not to mention the anger betrayed by Palestine Liberation Organization official Yasser Abed Rabbo and, of course, Abbas.
This set Abbas-Rabbo, Inc. back on their collective heels, put the ball back into their court and, for the moment at least, asserted that capitulation to their demands was not a priority in the Israeli negotiating playbook.
However -- and this is what worries me -- Netanyahu added that he believed a "creative" solution could still resolve the impasse and keep the flickering flame of talks from being snuffed out.
If this "creative" solution entails any form of backing down from Netanyahu's stated end to the settlement freeze it only will indicate that American (Obama) pressure has reached white heat proportions which Bibi just might find irresistible and force Israel into foolish concessions.
Any Israeli capitulation at this point would be an egregious mistake; and for these reasons.
* BLAME ABBAS: If the Arabs follow through on their threatened walkout, they must face the blame. Such a quitting of the talks would be rooted in a pre-condition based on another settlement freeze. And it long has been stated that there should be no pre-conditions. Period!
* DISTRACTED OBAMA: The American chief of state is distracted by one of the worst approval ratings of any such chief executive in the States. With elections approaching, Obama cannot further infuriate Jewish voters by more bullying of Bibi. The president has little leverage now, no matter how strong a position Israel takes in opposition to Obama's position.
* PRECEDENT: As Netanyahu points out, for 17 years the Palestinians conducted a direct dialogue with Israeli governments WHILE BUILDING IN JUDEA AND SAMARIA CONTINUED. So, why can't talks resume now as construction in the West Bank has resumed?
A serious game of Who Flinches First? is being waged and, so far, Israel is winning.
By backing off his pro-settlement building stance -- as Abbas demands -- Bibi would be committing an major error that would terribly weaken his and his country's negotiating position.
After all, the only thing he'd get in return would be Abbas returning to the negotiating table while providing no concessions at all the to Israel.
And in Obama kind of language -- that ain't right!
BOTTOM LINE: Bibi should avoid pleading and let Abbas walk if that's his game!