The Obama Administration is reportedly growing anxious as it tries to find creative ways to keep Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations rolling, even if nearly nine months around the table has failed to produce any positive results.
The problem is that the timetable for this round of talks is nearing its end, and the Palestinian leadership has indicated quite clearly that it intends to walk away after receiving its last concessional release of Palestinian prisoners from Israel.
As such, Israel is not keen to fulfill that final concession if doing so is anyway not going to advance the cause of peace (in fact, it will likely result in the opposite as dozens more killers are released into the wild).
Washington knows that if the Palestinians walk away, there is no hope of extending or holding new talks in the near future. And to keep the Palestinians from walking, they need to be appeased. And to appease the Palestinians, Israel must be convinced to carry out more pointless concessions.
So, how to convince Israel to remain in this perpetual and fruitless cycle?
According to some sources, the Americans might be ready to make some pretty dramatic concessions of their own to keep alive the dream of securing a positive foreign policy legacy for President Barack Obama.
US government officials speaking to Israel Radio on condition of anonymity this week said Obama had not ruled out Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal that he release long-suffering Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. Such a gesture would be more than sufficient incentive for Netanyahu’s government to continue making its own unreciprocated concessions a little longer.
Meanwhile, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas last week again forcefully stated for an international community determined not to listen that the peace process is anyway nothing more than a charade. The Palestinians, Abbas was adamant, would never make peace on Israel’s terms.
In particular, Abbas rejected Israel’s demand to be recognized as the nation-state of the Jewish people, refused to drop his demand that millions of so-called Palestinians “refugees” be given the right to flood Israel-proper, and would not promise that a final status peace agreement would mean an end to all Arab claims against Israel.