Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu picked up the phone on Sunday to personally call Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and say, “I called to greet you on the occasion of Ramadan.”
That was the first time the Prime Minister has called Abbas since the new government took office this year.
Cynics might say that Netanyahu simply was being a political opportunist, calling days before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pays his sixth visit to the region this to re-invent the “peace process.”
“I hope that we will have an opportunity to speak to each other and not just on holidays, and that we begin negotiations,” the Prime Minister added. “This is important. I hope that American Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts have results.”
That certainly should satisfy the cynics.
Unfortunately, the Office of the Prime Minister, which made sure the media knew about the phone call, did not mention what Abbas said in response, if anything. Government spokesman Mark Regev told the Jewish Press, “I cannot go beyond the statement.”
Presumably, Abbas said, “Thank you.”
That would be a good start.
The United States has been acting as middle man for Israel and the Palestinian Authority for more than 20 years, orchestrating the moves of the leaders, whether they be Arafat, Abbas, Netanyahu, Loment or Sharon.
The Obama administration, which simply is carrying the flameless torch of the Bush administration, has put each side into a tight comer with no room to wriggle except to turn around and quit the game of charades.
If the international community, whatever that means today, would let Israel and the Palestinian Authority figure this out for themselves, maybe the locals actually know what is best.
Netanyahu got the ball rolling.
Who knows? Maybe Abbas will call him today and wish a “good fast” for Tisha B’Av?
Tisha B’Av marks the date that the First and Second Holy Temples were destroyed.
A cynic would say, “Wait a minute. The Palestinian Authority is trying to convince the world that the Jews never had any connection with the Temple Mount and that the Bible is simply Zionist propaganda.”
In that case, Abbas would not make any reference to Tisha B’Av.
Oh well, there always is Rosh HaShanah.