Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ lack of support for back-channel takes between the Israeli and PA negotiators ditched the progress they were making towards an agreement, according to the New Republic.
The existence of secret talks after the collapse of published discussions has been reported several times. Abbas declared last year that there were no such talks.
The secret talks began in 2010 between Yitzchak Molcho, an attorney and confidante of Netanyahu, and a confidante of Abbas whom the magazine said it did not name for fear for his safety. The talks also were shepherded by Dennis Ross, then-special foreign policy adviser to President Obama.
The secret plan reportedly agreed on borders for a new Palestinian state and recognized Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people while clarifying that it would not harm the rights of Arab citizens of Israel. The secret negotiators also discussed the so-called Palestinian refugee issue and reached creative wording acceptable to both sides, but they could not reach an understanding on Jerusalem.
“Perhaps what the Israelis considered a serious back channel, the Palestinians — including their man in the room — saw as merely an unofficial exchange of ideas,” the New Republic article said. “Only two people can really solve the mystery, Yitzhak Molcho and his negotiating counterpart. Both of them refused to comment.”
Why didn’t Abbas back the talks?
No one knows, but it is not difficult to come up with one answer – Abbas prefers to stay alive.
The Arab world might be able to forgive him on conceding that there is not enthusiastic support from the international community to allow several million Arabs to immigrate to Israel from foreign countries, based on the United Nations’’ uniquely warped definition of Arab refugees who, unlike others, retain that status from generation to generation.
But that does mean that Arab leaders would be willing to admit failure and agree to call Israel a “Jewish State, thereby dooming any possibility in the future for flooding Israel with millions of Muslims.
If the negotiators were to each an agreement on final borders and refugees, than international pressure might shift on Abbas to compromise, both on the Jewish State designation and on the Jerusalem.
The status of Jerusalem from the very beginning of the “Peace Process” was destined to be the final nail in the diplomatic coffin.
Any compromise by Abbas would suicide.
JTA contributed to this report.