Yossi Beilin, Israel’s former foreign minister and the architect of the 1993 Oslo Accords, blasted President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for mishandling the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by failing to adequately engage with Palestinian leaders, The Times of Israel reported . He made his remarks at a briefing for foreign reporters in Jerusalem.
Beilin slammed Obama for pressuring Israel into freezing settlements in 2009 without having coordinated the step with the Palestinians and without any indication that such a step would yield any progress toward a peace deal.
“Nothing happened [during the freeze] and as a result of it he deferred the beginning of any kind of negotiations for years,” Beilin said of Obama. …
Beilin also criticized Kerry for his effort to reach a final-status deal two years ago. No one who understands anything of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict believed that Kerry’s efforts could succeed, Beilin argued, wondering why the secretary of state went ahead nonetheless.
Beilin added that Kerry’s efforts lacked focus. “The feeling of Kerry that he can come for few hours, meet with the different stakeholders and solve the problem and go to another place – and I really appreciate his dynamism – but the feeling that you can just pop in do something there, and go on and believe that you can solve the problem, is totally wrong,” he said.
Beilin’s view that the Obama administration failed to adequately work with the Palestinians to move the peace process forward after the settlement freeze is similar to an analysis written by David Hazony, editor of The Tower, in March 2014. Citing Jackson Diehl, deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Post, Hazony observed :
President Obama isn’t making his job any easier by letting Abbas off the hook. When looking for American pressure on the Palestinian side to parallel the arctic blast he gave Netanyahu, Diehl notes that there doesn’t seem to be any:
So far, there’s no sign of it: no presidential interviews, no statements by Secretary of State John Kerry, no leaks of potential U.S. punitive measures if Abbas — repeating a long personal and Palestinian history — says no. Therein lies the fallacy that has hamstrung Obama’s Middle East diplomacy for the past five years.
Unsurprisingly, the Administration’s lack of pressure has coincided with a lack of flexibility on Abbas’ part.
And while some commentators have suggested that Abbas is simply incapable of delivering on any compromises because of internal political considerations, Diehl cites other analysts to argue that the Administration’s tactics are a big part of the problem. “Why does Abbas dare to publicly campaign against the U.S. and Israeli position even before arriving in Washington? Simple: … Abbas expects to sit back if the talks fail, submit petitions to the United Nations and watch the anti-Israel boycotts mushroom, while paying no price of his own,” Diehl concludes.
[Photo: Amir Levy / FLASh90  ]