Obama joins EU in loading the dice against Israel to start peace talks

Leo Rennert
In the last 24 hours, Secretary of State Clinton has telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and brought up some issues that need to be resolved to start direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, according to the State Department.

The European Union at the same time announced that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas would be ready to abandon his year-long refusal to engage in such talks, based on three conditions:

--A permanent suspension by Israel of settlement construction.

--An agreement by Israel that creation of a Palestinian state would be based on the 1967 borders.

--An Israeli commitment that a peace deal would be achieved within two years.

Connect the dots:  This two-pronged pressure campaign to get Netanyahu to abandon his insistence on direct talks without any pre-conditions simply means that the so-called Quartet (the U.S., the EU, Russia and the UN) are set on enticing Abbas to come to the negotiating table on the basis of the Palestinian leader's own pre-conditions and against Israeli insistence that there be no pre-conditions.

The EU's announcement, in a letter obtained by Reuters, is based on a month-old Quartet "road map" toward negotiations which Obama and Clinton co-sponsored.  Now, it's being trotted out to reward Abbas for his stubborn refusal to come to the table for more than a year.

Abbas would prove once more that, with Obama and Clinton, he doesn't have to negotiate seriously with Israel -- just wait for Washington to do the negotiating for him.

With the chips now down, will Netanyahu bow to this pressure campaign by Washington and Brussels?

Stay tuned.
In the last 24 hours, Secretary of State Clinton has telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and brought up some issues that need to be resolved to start direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, according to the State Department.

The European Union at the same time announced that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas would be ready to abandon his year-long refusal to engage in such talks, based on three conditions:

--A permanent suspension by Israel of settlement construction.

--An agreement by Israel that creation of a Palestinian state would be based on the 1967 borders.

--An Israeli commitment that a peace deal would be achieved within two years.

Connect the dots:  This two-pronged pressure campaign to get Netanyahu to abandon his insistence on direct talks without any pre-conditions simply means that the so-called Quartet (the U.S., the EU, Russia and the UN) are set on enticing Abbas to come to the negotiating table on the basis of the Palestinian leader's own pre-conditions and against Israeli insistence that there be no pre-conditions.

The EU's announcement, in a letter obtained by Reuters, is based on a month-old Quartet "road map" toward negotiations which Obama and Clinton co-sponsored.  Now, it's being trotted out to reward Abbas for his stubborn refusal to come to the table for more than a year.

Abbas would prove once more that, with Obama and Clinton, he doesn't have to negotiate seriously with Israel -- just wait for Washington to do the negotiating for him.

With the chips now down, will Netanyahu bow to this pressure campaign by Washington and Brussels?

Stay tuned.