Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Palestinian Politics Is About to Make a Transition For the Worse; Bad Time to Push for Peacemaking

This article is published in PajamasMedia.

By Barry Rubin

Palestinian Authority "president" Mahmoud Abbas is retiring and has called on Fatah to choose a replacement. Wonder who they'll pick? Watch this space. I think I know and he makes Amr Moussa look like Megan McCain.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has suffered a heart attack. The Fatah leadership wants to get rid of him and is only held back by concern over the donors giving money. His days, too, are numbered.

President Obama's argument is that Israel should make peace as fast as possible. But of course since the two "moderate" leaders aren't going to be around very long, why make concessions to be pocketed by their successors who won't implement these commitments and will definitely add even more demands.

Obama's argument is that Israel is becoming delegitimized because there isn't a peace agreement. But delegitimization by some is better than a very dangerous strategic situation. Moreover, it isn't clear that more Israeli concessions and risks will reverse delegitimization. Experience has shown the opposite.

Obama's second argument is that the strategic situation will get worse if Israel doesn't make concessions, etc. In fact, precisely because the situation is getting worse means Israel doesn't want to face a hostile Egyptian and Lebanese government, a stronger Iran, a less reliable America, etc., from a worse strategic situation. And that's what will happen if Israel does what Obama wants.

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