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Thursday, November 17, 2011

The PA offers a deal that is no deal (updated)

From Ha'aretz:

The Palestinian Authority has offered the United States a deal, saying it would freeze all moves to achieve full membership for "Palestine" in various UN agencies until the end of January, a European diplomat said, while the United States and Israel would resume transferring it funds.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's special envoy Isaac Molho met secretly in London on Tuesday with U.S. administration representatives David Hale and Dennis Ross to discuss the suggestion.

According to a European diplomat whom the PA had updated about the proposal, the PA plans to complete the process of trying to get full UN membership for Palestine recognized by the Security Council. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to ask for a vote by the end of December, although the move is doomed to defeat. Even if the Palestinians muster enough votes, the United States will veto it.

Other than that, however, the Palestinians are prepared to suspend their efforts to achieve full membership in such agencies as the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization, the diplomat said. Nor will they ask the General Assembly to upgrade their observer status to non-member observer state.

Though the Palestinians offered to temporarily suspend these UN efforts, if a deal is struck that restores the PA's cash flow, it is thought such moves will be stopped for the foreseeable future.

Israeli sources confirmed that Molho had met with the U.S. officials in London, while a British source said Molcho also met with a senior Arab figure.

While the Americans view the PA proposal positively, it isn't clear whether Israel will agree to it. Israel is still refusing to transfer the approximately $100 million in taxes it collected for the PA in October.
This offer is a great example of how the PA does everything nowadays:

It is a stunt.

Every UN agency like WHO sees very well what happened to UNESCO after the US stopped funding it. They are not nearly as eager to accept the PLO as a member if it means that they lose tens of millions of dollars. I haven't seen any oil-rich Gulf nations step up to offer to make up the shortfall. And since the UNESCO vote, they have been forced to add a big yellow DONATE NOW button on their home page that wasn't there before.

The PLO knows this very well and they know that forcing other UN agencies to choose between their support for the cause that has obsessed the UN for decades and losing the US money that they so desperately need to continue their giant bureaucracy will end up alienating the PLO.

Beyond that, look at the timing being offered - to wait until January before starting a new UN push for membership.

In January, five members of the security council rotate out, and it is possible that the PLO's next attempt to push for full membership would get them the 9 votes they need for a symbolic victory, forcing a US veto. They have already said they would keep trying until they get it.

So they are offering literally nothing in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars. They are not offering to return to negotiations. They are not offering compromises.

The response should properly be that they get zero support until they are ready to act like grownups and stop relying on publicity stunts and political games to avoid making the decisions necessary for peace.

We have heard Israeli leaders from the right and the left all admit that they are willing to make "painful compromises" in order to achieve true peace with the Arabs. We have not heard the Palestinian Arab leaders ever say that phrase. Asking their people to give anything up for peace is utterly foreign to them, so instead we will keep seeing stunts - stunts that prove that the Palestinian Arabs have never been serious about a peace agreement and that today's leadership is just as intransigent as Arafat was.

(h/t CHA)

UPDATE: The PLO is now denying the story.