Friday, September 12, 2008

Playing 'make believe'

The US is pushing Abbas into another dead end

By Khaled Amayreh in the West Bank
Al-Ahram Weekly

"Despite official denial, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel are formulating a "shelf agreement" which both sides will consider the basis of further negotiations to be resumed in 2009.

According to well-informed sources at the Muqataa, the headquarters of PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, Israel and the PA have come to the conclusion that a real breakthrough in the current negotiations is highly unlikely this year. Hence, efforts will be concentrated on reaching an interim agreement or a "shelf agreement" that would keep the process going and enable both sides to claim that the peace talks didn't fail.

Coincidentally, this is what the Bush administration is demanding, at least privately, in order to save the process from the danger of complete collapse......

"I am worried that he will surprise us one evening and tell us that we have to be realistic and forget about the right of return and large areas of East Jerusalem, and that we have two choices, either we accept what we can extract from Israeli hands, or remain in a state of repression and pain for the rest of our lives," said a prominent Fatah leader in the Hebron region.

Al-Masri thinks that this scenario is not far fetched. "For this leadership, the peace process has become a way of life, the talks are not a means to achieve an end; they are becoming an end in themselves. The peace process justifies the continued existence of the PA," said Al-Masri. He added that the continued process was serving the financial and other interests of certain individuals and strata who are spreading the word that there is no other alternative available, either to the leadership or to the Palestinian people at large. "For those influential people, negotiations are a way of life, and the word 'struggle' was dropped irreversibly from their lexicon."......"

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