Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the weekend acknowledged what many already know - whatever land-for-peace agreement is eventually signed, it will be hammered out between the Palestinians and Washington, with Israel being dragged along for the ride.
In his latest meeting with US envoy George Mitchell, Abbas said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not a real peace partner. That assessment was an attempt to reverse Israel's old charge that former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat could not be viewed as a true peace partner due to his continued involvement in terrorism.
Abbas went on to inform Mitchell that "the Palestinian Authority is negotiating with Washington, not with [Israel]," effectively killing US and Israeli hopes that the current proximity talks would lead to direct bilateral negotiations in the near future.
Abbas remarks to Mitchell were relayed to the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi by his one of his top advisors, senior Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki.