U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has cancelled his scheduled visit to Ramallah Wednesday after the Palestinian Authority decided to break a promise made at the beginning of the resumption of peace talks and formally request to join more than dozen U.N. agencies.
“We are no longer traveling tomorrow,” said an American official, who added that Kerry is ” in close touch with team on ground.”
The statement, without any elaboration, followed by less than two hours Abbas’ announcement the evening before Kerry was to storm into Israel and finalize the extension of peace talks, a move that would preclude the PA request to the United Nations.
“The Palestinian leadership has unanimously approved a decision to seek membership of 15 UN agencies and international treaties, beginning with the Fourth Geneva Convention,” Abbas said on television on Tuesday. “The demands [for membership] will be sent immediately” to the relevant agencies, he said.
“This is not a move against America, or any other party – it is our right, and we agreed to suspend it for nine months,” said Abbas.
He is almost right. More accurately, he is lying – again. Kerry and President Barack Obama forced the resumption of talks towards the end of July, meaning that only eight months have expired.
He also lied when he said that the requests to join the U.N. agencies “will be sent immediately.”
“Immediately” means “now.” But it turns out he was holding the letters up his sleeve until Wednesday, when he thought the Secretary of Trouble would fly in and makes another mess out of traffic on the beaten path from Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem.
Abbas’ announcement set off firecrackers in the media establishment, which reported that the request to join U.N. agencies would put an end to Kerry’s proposed deal for the Obama administration to free Jonathan Pollard while Israel releases terrorists and agrees to some sort of limited and temporary building freeze.
If Abbas really was serious, he publicly placed dunce caps on Kerry and Obama. Torpedoing the proposed deal that the Americans have worked so hard to forge would be stupid.
If he was playing footsie with Kerry, it backfired.
Abbas in effect announced to Kerry that if Israel does not agree to every one of his demands, the blame will fall on Israel if the talks do not continue. Kerry threw back the challenge at Abbas by cancelling his trip and leaving Abbas up a tree.
Maybe Abbas is serious and is telling Kerry to get lost. And maybe Kerry really is fed up with him.
But if both of them are acting, they should sell tickets to their performances. They make great tragic-comedy.
If both of them are serious, Pollard is condemned to jail for the rest of his life, the same fate that hopefully awaits the Arab terrorists who were supposed to be released.
Stay tuned because it’s not over until it’s over.