Friday, January 25, 2013

Abbas's Chance to Talk to New Centrist Knesset Members

Nadene Goldfoot
The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is now interested in speaking with the young member of the Knesset  who just won 19 seats in the latest election in Israel, Yair Lapid, leader of the moderate Yesh Atid (there is a future) party.  He also wants to talk with the other newly elected centrists to lay out his idea of peace.  Dov Lipman from Maryland, USA is also one of the new members of Yesh Atid.  He's been in Israel for 8 years, now and is a young Haredi activist from Beit Shemesh.  He's been teaching English.

Yair has let it be known, as Netanyahu always has, that he too is interested in peace.  I think Abbas feels he will be far easier to cope with then Netanyahu, being newer at the "shuk"*  and shorter on arguments.  In fact, he may be more inclined to go along with anything, so Abbas may be thinking.

It was only a few days ago that Abbas, whose organization has run out of money completely, was ready to hand over Judea and Samaria to Israel to deal with as he couldn't pay anyone their monthly checks.  He has been looking forward to Israel's elections, I'm sure.

Israel's results show that the right and religious parties won  61 seats while the center-left and Arab parties won 59 seats.   Netanyahu will put together a broad majority for stability.  Israel does have domestic issues, just like the USA does, so needs to get people in that can deal with those as well.  We in the USA have a lot of domestic issues, such as finances, medical care, etc, and don't have to spend that much time on protecting our country from bombs like Israel does, but these issues do arise.

The main problem for Abbas other than money is that he will not negotiate while Israel is building homes on land he wants for his state of Palestine.  He expects a freeze on construction.  I hope Yair remembers that only a few years ago Netanyahu did just that, had a freeze on construction and even continued it longer than originally planned for and nothing changed with the Palestinians.  They were just as contrary as before.  They had their chance and blew it.  That's why Netanyahu doesn't intend to do it again.

My feeling is that if Abbas doesn't want to see sections ABC or 1,2,3 covered with lovely homes for Israeli citizens, he'd better come to the table and recognize Israel first and promise to stop all this bombing and killing of Israelis.  Even at that, what about Gaza?  He has no control over that place.  His hot and cold partnership with them must be running cold right now.

Abbas cannot control Israel through one man.  Yair will eventually be able to report back and decide with the 120 seated Knesset as to how to proceed.  Peace has always been foremost in everyone's minds.

*Shuk: an outdoor market where you can argue the price down.  The seller starts off high, you go low, and meet somewhere in the middle before a deal is made.  

Resource: Oregonian newspaper page A8, Palestinian leader seeks meeting with Israeli centrists by Mohammed Daraghmeh and Karin Laub,  AP 

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