He’s ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-c-c-c-k . . . . Well, sort of.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Thursday in London. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed the meeting at a briefing Monday on Capitol Hill.
“While the door remains open to a peace process, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss our ongoing relationship with the Palestinians,” she said in a curt statement. “As he has throughout the process, Secretary Kerry will reiterate a call he has made to both sides to maintain restraint and refrain from steps that would be unhelpful.”
Last week American special envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk took care to blame both sides for the failed nine-month talks. He was especially careful to equate municipal and home maintenance with a unilateral attempt to establish sovereignty in the international arena.
For Israel’s portion, Indyk pointed to ‘settlement building’ – the endless international euphemism for basic repairs and general construction by private Israeli citizens and also by Israeli local authorities within the municipal bounds of towns or neighborhoods in areas won during the 1967 Six Day War.
The Palestinian Authority, he said, should not have signed on to membership in 15 international conventions and agencies – a direct violation of the agreement with which the failed talks began in the first place.
Abbas backed out of the talks when Israel refused to free the last of four groups of terrorist prisoners on schedule, after 78 had already been released. Israel’s government balked over the composition of the group, which included at least 20 Israeli Arabs, rather than PA Arabs. Since no progress at all had been made in the prior eight months of talks, and Abbas had not bothered to show up in person to the table for months, Israel chose to wait and see whether the final month would bring any change – or see if the PA would at least extend the talks in exchange for freeing the last group and possibly releasing more prisoners as well.
But Abbas refused. Instead, a day later he signed a flurry of international conventions that had obviously already been prepared and ready to go. It was clear the strategy had been planned – the PA was simply waiting until the last group of terrorists were freed.
Israel formally ended the talks on April 24 when Abbas signed a unity pact with the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza. Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and is committed to its destruction, a core principle in its founding charter. The group is backed, armed and generously funded by Iran.
The current agreement calls for the deployment of 3,000 PA government paramilitary police in Gaza, under the command of Hamas. Those forces were trained, armed and equipped by the United States armed forces — ostensibly to “fight terrorism” in Judea and Samaria in preparation for the establishment of a peaceful “two state solution” with Israel.
Last year, the Ramallah-based PA government received approximately $440 million in U.S. foreign aid, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013. The figure was taken from a Congressional Research Service report quoted by Reuters.
Under American law, no U.S. funds may reach Hamas, nor “any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.”
But the Ramallah government in Samaria has for years been sending money to Gaza. Allegedly it was sent to cover the salaries of PA civil service workers. The same government still pays generous monthly stipends to Arab terrorists serving prison terms in Israeli jails.