Palestinian sources confirmed that Jordan's King Abdullah II, who visited Ramallah Monday conveyed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a European proposal to resume negotiations with Israel.Al Quds al Arabi has the same story.
The Palestinian sources were quoted as saying that "the European initiative calls for the resumption of negotiations on the basis of the Quartet statement issued last September, without the Palestinian insistence on the freeze of settlement. This is in exchange for a promise by the European Union, including France and Britain, to support the application for U.N. membership of the State of Palestine within the 1967 territories in September 2012 if negotiations with Israel fail over the next year. "
If this is a real EU offer, it will not help peace at all. On the contrary.
If there is anything we know about Palestinian Arab leadership it is that they are patient and willing to wait until circumstances are more favorable to them. Certainly they feel no pressure to act quickly. The idea that Israeli settlements are constantly gobbling up new land in the territories is a myth - if it was true then Palestinian Arabs would feel the need to make an agreement sooner rather than later before they lose their entire potential country.
But they don't act the way that people act when time is not on their side. Instead, we hear words like this from Abbas:
I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements. Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.Given all this, a deal like that would give carte blanche for Abbas to pretend to negotiate, stonewall at every meeting for a year, and then tell the UK and France that he held up his end of the bargain - time for them to push for a state of "Palestine" at the UN that would include all the territory he demands without having to negotiate.
If the EU wants to provide incentives to get negotiations started again, there are other ways to do it. This one is a disaster waiting to happen.
The funny thing is that Abbas very well might reject this anyway, because his fake Arab "honor" would not allow him even this symbolic backing down.
That Arab sense of honor does not stop him from outright lies, though:
For his part, Abbas said after the meeting "if Israel stops settlement activity and recognizes international authorities, we are ready to return to negotiations. These are not preconditions, but commitments and agreements between us and the Israelis."Of course, Israel has never agreed to stop building within existing settlements nor to base negotiations on the 1949 armistice lines (which is what he means by "international authorities.")
Not that this is Abbas's first lie. He lied here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here, for starters. He habitually lies without anyone calling him on it, and therefore has no incentive to act like a responsible human being.