Home > Diplomacy > Maariv’s Caspit: Israel is the party sabotaging negotiations

Maariv’s Caspit: Israel is the party sabotaging negotiations

In a column examining the Netanyahu-Obama meeting farce, Ben Caspit, a senior political-diplomatic commentator in Maariv, Israel’s second largest circulation daily, asserts that, contrary to the prevailing wisdom, Israel is the one holding up negotiations with the PA.

Netanyahu can take comfort in the fact that Abu Mazen’s situation is much worse than his own.  At least at the present stage.  The Palestinian version that Netanyahu is playing a double game and actually wishes to eliminate Abu Mazen is taking hold in Washington as well.  Saeb Erekat has said in the past few days on more than one occasion, that since the grotesque three-way summit in New York he tried at least three times to arrange a meeting with Uzi Arad, and was turned down time after time.  The rejection on Arad’s part was not personal, it was system-wide.  Apparently, Netanyahu’s people are simply not interested.  Publicly, they call to start negotiations without preconditions, but discreetly, they thwart any attempt to hold such negotiations.  As of now, they are succeeding.

You can read a full translation of the relevant part of the column after the jump.

Bibi does not answer

Excerpt from column, Ben Caspit, Maariv [page 5]

Netanyahu’s bureau has learned nothing.  Apparently, there is no one there who can learn.  If this is the way the meeting between the prime minister and the US president looks, it would be better for it not to be held.  After all, they are not going to finalize the details of the peace agreement, or of war.  This is a meeting purely for protocol, barely a photo-op, so that it will not be said that Bibi was in the US and didn’t see Obama.  That is why the fiasco is so great.  A chronicle of a disgrace foretold.

On Saturday night, close to midnight, a few hours before takeoff, officials in Jerusalem still didn’t know whether or not there would be a meeting.  This is something that has never happened to us before.  Even after they landed in Washington, on Sunday, they still didn’t know clearly what would or would not take place.  When exactly, how, with whom, what and why.

For the sake of comparison: Meetings between the US president and Israel’s prime minister are an event that is planned in advance in great detail, with painstaking care down to the level of the photography angles, the prepositions in the joint statement and the number of questions for each side.  This time, nada.  Netanyahu’s aides, as always, overstepped all rules of courtesy, diplomacy and reason that could be overstepped.  First of all they scheduled and publicly announced a trip to the US, and then demanded a meeting.  Usually it should be the opposite, but not with Bibi.  That’s how it is when there is no one in charge and everyone can do as they please.

It could also have been done differently: If there is no time for advance notice, it could simply have been announced that the purpose of the trip was the annual gathering of the Jewish organizations, and that there was no way to set up a meeting with the president on such short notice, and no need for such a meeting, and everything is fine.  This way, the White House would have been spared embarrassment, and trust would have been established.  At this stage, the White House itself would have initiated such a meeting, and everyone would have gained.  Instead, everyone ends up being annoyed.

Netanyahu can take comfort in the fact that Abu Mazen’s situation is much worse than his own.  At least at the present stage.  The Palestinian version that Netanyahu is playing a double game and actually wishes to eliminate Abu Mazen is taking hold in Washington as well.  Saeb Erekat has said in the past few days on more than one occasion, that since the grotesque three-way summit in New York he tried at least three times to arrange a meeting with Uzi Arad, and was turned down time after time.  The rejection on Arad’s part was not personal, it was system-wide.  Apparently, Netanyahu’s people are simply not interested.  Publicly, they call to start negotiations without preconditions, but discreetly, they thwart any attempt to hold such negotiations.  As of now, they are succeeding.

[…]

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Categories: Diplomacy

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