The Palestinian leadership this week signaled it is still interested in what it can get out of the land-for-peace process, but won’t actually negotiate the particulars with the Israeli government.
This fresh intransigence was highlighted when French Prime Minister Manuel Valls visited the region for three days of shuttle diplomacy starting on Sunday.
Valls presented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a new French peace initiative, but was turned down by the Israeli leader.
Netanyahu said he was concerned by the preconditions and firm deadlines in the plan, which would once again enable the Palestinians to avoid any meaningful negotiations and concessions, while still gaining from the process.
Instead, Netanyahu announced that he is ready for immediate, unconditional bilateral negotiations with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Paris under French auspices.
“I’m ready to clear my schedule and fly to Paris tomorrow,” Netanyahu said.
But the Palestinian leadership wasn’t interested in actually talking.
“Direct negotiations with Mr. Netanyahu in the past have proven to be fruitless; why repeat the same mistakes?” said Jamal Dajani, the director of communications for Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, with whom Valls met on Tuesday.
Hamdallah welcomed the French proposal for a peace summit in Paris, so long as it recognizes a “State of Palestine”, apparently without having to actually negotiate that outcome.
Israel’s media reported this week that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi is also working to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together for a joint summit in Cairo in the “near future.”
Some feel the Egyptians might have greater success mediating the process since they are closer to the Palestinians, but share many of the same security concerns as Israel.