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      Wash. Post: Intransigent Abbas Unwilling to Make Peace

      Washington Post editorial says the recent US veto might have one positive effect: A reevaluation of “weak and intransigent” Mahmoud Abbas.
      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 2/21/2011, 12:57 PM / Last Update: 2/21/2011, 1:20 PM

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      In its editorial on Friday, the Washington Post says the recent U.S. veto in the United Nations might have one positive effect: The prompting of a reevaluation of “weak and intransigent” PA chief Mahmoud Abbas.

      Entitled, “Abbas proves he prefers posturing to a peace process,” the editorial takes Abbas to task for his refusal to cooperate with the U.S. in its peace efforts – and the U.S. to task for supporting him.

      Abbas “claims to be interested in negotiating a two-state peace settlement with Israel,” the paper writes. “For two years he has enjoyed the support of a U.S. president more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than most, if not all, of his predecessors. Yet Mr. Abbas has mostly refused to participate in the direct peace talks that Barack Obama made one of his top foreign policy priorities - and now he has shown himself to be bent on embarrassing and antagonizing the U.S. administration.”

      Specifically, the paper explains, Abbas rejected direct appeals from both Obama and Secretary of State Clinton not to push through the UN Security Council resolution calling on Israel to cease settlement construction in Judea,  Samaria and Jerusalem. He did this, despite knowing that the U.S. would have to veto it - even though it has supported it in the past - in order not to push a one-sided anti-Israel resolution down Israel’s throat.

      “The only effect of the Palestinian initiative,” the Post opines, “will be to embarrass the Obama administration at a delicate moment, when popular uprisings around the Middle East already are challenging pro-American leaders. It will have no impact on Israeli settlement construction, and it will deal a further blow to the prospects for peace talks... Conceivably, it could cause Arab protests now focused on autocratic rule to take an ugly anti-American turn.”

      Abbas even refused a generous Obama compromise, in the form of a Security Council statement criticizing Israeli settlements and rockets from Gaza against Israel.

      Bottom Line: Abbas Not Interested in Peace
      “Mr. Abbas's stubbornness might seem spectacularly self-defeating,” the paper states, “but only if one assumes that he is genuinely interested in a peace deal… The Obama administration has all along insisted that Mr. Abbas is willing and able to make peace with Israel - despite considerable evidence to the contrary. If the UN resolution veto has one good effect, perhaps it will be to prompt a reevaluation of a leader who has repeatedly proved both weak and intransigent.”