Abbas demands Tony Blair's resignation as Quartet envoy

Palestinian leaders have dug themselves into  a deep hole by insisting on major Israeli concessions as pre-conditions for resumption of peace negotiations.  They demand a freeze on Jewish construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, plus Israeli agreement to return to the 1967 lines, as their price for restarting peace talks.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, in turn, has insisted all along on going back to negotiations without any pre-conditions.  His position now has been effectively endorsed by the Quartet of international mediators -- the U.S., the EU, Russia and the UN -- who also are calling for early talks without pre-conditions.
 
Tony Blair, who has bent over backwards to get the Palestinians ready for statehood, is the Quartet's Mideast envoy.  So, feeling isolated and looking for a way to lash out at the Quartet for siding with Israel on negotiating terms, the Palestinians have launched an all-out campaign to delegitimize Tony Blair.  In demanding his resignation, the Palestine Liberation Organization -- the Palestinians' highest authority -- declared Blair "persona non grata" and for good measure, described him as "Netanyahu's mouthpiece."
 
It's a crass attempt by Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, to shift blame for the current impasse from himself to the Quartet -- the leading players on the international scene.  So far,Quartet leaders show no signs of obliging him.
 
This, in turn, leaves Israel in the warm embrace of the Quartet and the Palestinian leadership out in the cold.  President Obama initially sided with Abbas in squeezing Israel for major concessions as pre-conditions for talks, but since has dropped these demands and lined up with interantional partners to use their influence to get talks restarted as soon as possible without any demands for prior concessions.
 
Abbas first attacked Obama for leaving him out on a limb.  Now, having already blamed Obama, Abbas is venting his displeasure on Blair.
 
Instead of looking for excuses and scapegoats, Abbas and his people would be better off if he looked in the mirror and recognized his own responsibility for putting Palestinians on paths to nowhere.  His bid for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood is making less progress than he anticipated and merely invites a U.S. veto.  The door to direct negotiations with Israel has been open for a long time, but negotiations, which inevitably require compromises on both sides, are not Abbas's cup of tea.
 
Still, don't expect a mea culpa from Abbas, who hasn't go the clout or courage to level with his own people.
 
LEO RENNERT
Palestinian leaders have dug themselves into  a deep hole by insisting on major Israeli concessions as pre-conditions for resumption of peace negotiations.  They demand a freeze on Jewish construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, plus Israeli agreement to return to the 1967 lines, as their price for restarting peace talks.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, in turn, has insisted all along on going back to negotiations without any pre-conditions.  His position now has been effectively endorsed by the Quartet of international mediators -- the U.S., the EU, Russia and the UN -- who also are calling for early talks without pre-conditions.
 
Tony Blair, who has bent over backwards to get the Palestinians ready for statehood, is the Quartet's Mideast envoy.  So, feeling isolated and looking for a way to lash out at the Quartet for siding with Israel on negotiating terms, the Palestinians have launched an all-out campaign to delegitimize Tony Blair.  In demanding his resignation, the Palestine Liberation Organization -- the Palestinians' highest authority -- declared Blair "persona non grata" and for good measure, described him as "Netanyahu's mouthpiece."
 
It's a crass attempt by Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, to shift blame for the current impasse from himself to the Quartet -- the leading players on the international scene.  So far,Quartet leaders show no signs of obliging him.
 
This, in turn, leaves Israel in the warm embrace of the Quartet and the Palestinian leadership out in the cold.  President Obama initially sided with Abbas in squeezing Israel for major concessions as pre-conditions for talks, but since has dropped these demands and lined up with interantional partners to use their influence to get talks restarted as soon as possible without any demands for prior concessions.
 
Abbas first attacked Obama for leaving him out on a limb.  Now, having already blamed Obama, Abbas is venting his displeasure on Blair.
 
Instead of looking for excuses and scapegoats, Abbas and his people would be better off if he looked in the mirror and recognized his own responsibility for putting Palestinians on paths to nowhere.  His bid for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood is making less progress than he anticipated and merely invites a U.S. veto.  The door to direct negotiations with Israel has been open for a long time, but negotiations, which inevitably require compromises on both sides, are not Abbas's cup of tea.
 
Still, don't expect a mea culpa from Abbas, who hasn't go the clout or courage to level with his own people.
 
LEO RENNERT

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