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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Abbas’s Scenario?

When the White House announced some weeks ago that President Obama would be visiting the Middle East with the goal of burnishing U.S.-Israel relations rather than offering any new proposals for restarting the moribund negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, we assumed it would only be a matter of time before a new intifada broke out.

After all, Palestinian leaders really have no interest in sitting down at the peace table unless the U.S. presses Israel to accept the Palestinian agenda. And what better way to force the issue than by upping the violence to get the president’s attention?

So we were encouraged by a statement Tuesday from Secretary of State John Kerry that no, President Obama would not bring a peace plan to Israel and the Palestinians next month: “We’re not going to go and sort of plunk down and tell everybody what they have to do. I want to consult and the president wants to listen.”

In what may have been meant as a message to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that violence won’t work, Mr. Kerry added that “We really hope everybody will step back a little and try to find a way to proceed calmly and very thoughtfully in these next days [and] leave the opportunities for peaceful resolution open.”

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