Daily Israel Report

Fayyad May Be Abbas’ Pawn in Diplomatic Chess Game

Barak says arguments over tax money for the PA may cancel the hyped meeting between Netanyahu and Fayyad, who may be Abbas’ pawn.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 4/17/2012, 6:32 PM

Fayyad with picture of Arafat
Fayyad with picture of Arafat
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio Tuesday that arguments over tax money collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority may force a cancellation of the hyped meeting scheduled Tuesday night between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Fayyad has not been happy about PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ telling him to meet with the Prime Minister, a meeting that appears to be part of Abbas’ diplomatic chess game to try to put the blame on Israel for not agreeing to his territorial and political demands for a state. Virtually no one expects substantial results from the meeting, if it takes place.

The high-level discussion would be the first time in nearly two years that Prime Minister Netanyahu has met with either Fayyad or Abbas, who continues to demand that Israel release all Palestinian Authority terrorists and prisoners, stop all development for Jews in Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem - where it claims sovereignty,- and accept the 1949 temporary Armistice Lines as the borders of Israel and a Palestinian Authority country.

Abbas has written a letter, already released to media, making the demands and telling Netanyahu this is his “last chance” before resuming attempts to win recognition from the United Nations, a bid that failed last November.

Abbas’ letter contains a hint of desperation. He blamed Israel for a situation in which "the Palestinian National Authority no longer has any authority, and no meaningful jurisdiction in the political, economic, social, territorial and security spheres."

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro said Monday that the United States would exercise its right to veto a United Nations Security Council motion for a Palestinian Authority state if Abbas succeeds in winning the needed two-thirds majority for the motion to go to the General Assembly, where he is guaranteed approval. The Council last fall never voted on the motion because it was clear that Abbas was one vote short of a two-thirds majority.