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Abbas visits the Emperor

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    Abbas visits the Emperor 06/01/2005 Ami Isseroff In the old days it was simple. If there was a regional squabble, the Soviets took the side of one state, and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2005
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      Abbas visits the Emperor
      06/01/2005

      Ami Isseroff

      In the old days it was simple. If there was a regional squabble, the Soviets
      took the side of one state, and the US took the side of the other state.
      Leaders of the client states went to their respective patrons to receive their
      blessing. Today however, the USA is the only game in town, so both Israeli PM
      Sharon in April, and Palestinian President Abbas in May, came on pilgrimage to
      Texas and Washington respectively to be blessed by Bush. Both of these visits
      were largely ceremonial. If Bush had hard words for Sharon about settlements
      or for Abbas about terror, these were kept very private. Each visit was
      crowned by effusive media events and statements that made the other side
      nervous.

      This round of visits was mostly about Abbas receiving his crown from the
      American Emperor, as is the duty of every loyal vassal. The purpose was to
      demonstrate US backing for Abbas, to bolster his political position inside
      Palestine vis-a-vis Hamas and other extremists. We may be skeptical that the
      blessing of the US is quite what an Arab politician needs to win over people
      who are considering voting for Islamists, but Abbas has to show his people
      that his way is winning US support and will eventually get results in terms of
      Israeli concessions. Israel did its part by announcing the release of an
      additional 400 prisoners, a move that the PNA gratefully acknowledged as
      "politically meaningless." Sharon's visit in April was intended to balance the
      effects of Abbas's visit and bolster his disengagement plan, and at the time
      he also got some nice words and a few economic goodies. Not surprisingly,
      Sharon is dissatisfied with Bush's (public) treatment of Abbas, just as
      Palestinians were disappointed with Bush's (public) treatment of Sharon.

      In April of 2004 it was Sharon's turn . He came to Rome - excuse me -
      Washington and got the blessings and promises of Divi Augustus - excuse me -
      Bush for the disengagement plan. These promises were touted by Sharon far and
      wide as benefits of his wise policy. The father of nations had promised, it
      seems, that Israel would be able to keep any place that it settled according
      to "demographic realities."

      Now Bush seemingly erased his commitment to Sharon for the benefit of his
      honored guest. In fact, he went beyond the Arab interpretation of UN Security
      Council Resolution 242, by insisting that negotiations would have to be based
      on the 1949 armistice line. This generated a great flurry of press commentary,
      which US spinmeisters attempted to manage by promptly issuing a statement that
      "The United States commitments to Israel remain unchanged." That is strictly
      true, but also meaningless. What it means is that both what Bush said for the
      benefit of Abbas, and what what he wrote in his carefully crafted letter to
      Sharon in 2004 are meaningless. The US never committed to anything and the
      non-commitment remains unchanged. This is what Bush wrote in 2004:


      *** QUOTE***
      As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized
      borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in
      accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the
      ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is
      unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be
      a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous
      efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It
      is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved
      on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.
      *** UNQUOTE***


      "It is unrealistic to expect" is an observation on what is realistic and what
      is not realistc. It is not a policy commitment of any kind.

      This is what Bush said for the benefit of Abbas:


      *** QUOTE***

      any final status agreement must be reached between the two parties, and
      changes to the 1949 armistice lines must be mutually agreed to."


      *** UNQUOTE***
      Much more at
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