By going to the United Nations Security Council with a resolution this week to force terms of peace deal on Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is “insisting on failure” an unsigned editorial in The Washington Post observed today. The editorial observed that Abbas, having refused to accept an American sponsored framework agreement that Israel had agreed to in March, is now “pushing yet another quixotic attempt to have the U.N. Security Council impose Palestinian terms for a settlement on Israel.”
Instead, having refused to respond to Mr. Obama. Mr. Abbas is now pushing yet another quixotic attempt to have the U.N. Security Council impose Palestinian terms for a settlement on Israel. On Monday, Arab diplomats said they were reluctantly going along with a Palestinian demand to introduce a resolution to the Security Council — though Arab opposition may force a postponement of the Tuesday vote Mr. Abbas wants. The draft would set a one-year deadline for the conclusion of negotiations and mandate the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank by the end of 2017. Over the weekend, its language was toughened so that a reference to Jerusalem as the “shared capital” of the two states was changed so that Jersualem is mentioned only as the Palestinian capital.
Not only does this text have no chance of being approved — notwithstanding the tensions between the Obama administration and the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the United States would exercise its veto, if necessary — but the Palestinians’ support on the Security Council is weaker this week than it probably will be next month after a membership rotation. Yet Mr. Abbas appears ready to insist on failing, just a few months after turning aside a U.S. initiative that had at least some chance of delivering the state he says he wants.
The editorial also blasts Abbas for “seeking Palestinian membership in the International Criminal Court,” as it “wouldn’t bring Palestinians any closer to statehood,” and could open up Hamas to prosecutions for war crimes and lead to a cutoff of American aid “that now sustains the Palestinian Authority.”
The editorial position of The Washington Post, has, for a while been critical of Abbas’ efforts to evade negotiations and seek to impose a settlement on Israel. In September an editorial blasted Abbas for his “bridge-burning speech” at the United Nations General Assembly and criticized the Palestinian leader further for “oscillat[ing] between half-hearted participation in peace talks and attempts to advance the Palestinian cause through unilateral action at the United Nations.” The earier editorial noted too that the latter have “no chance of substantive success and risk being self-defeating.”
Deputy Editorial Page Editor Jackson Diehl wrote in 2009 that Abbas, upon the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency, had decided not to negotiate with Israel, but rather to “wait for the Obama administration to force a recalcitrant Netanyahu to freeze Israeli settlement construction and publicly accept the two-state formula.” Consistent with that refusal to negotiate, is the observation in today’s editorial that Abbas “refused to accept a U.S.-brokered “framework” for the creation of a Palestinian state” in March. Last week, in an interview with Roger Cohen of The New York Times, former Israel peace negotiator, Tzipi Livni identified that refusal as one of the actions taken by Abbas that scuttled the American-sponsored peace process earlier this year.
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