Serious diplomacy and internal tensions, as well as political posturing and posing, characterized efforts over the past week to get Israeli-Palestinian negotiations restarted this summer. Motivating these increased efforts is the desire by many of the stakeholders in the peace process to put off a confrontation in September over a United Nations resolution on a Palestinian state.
The Palestinian leadership is divided. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has indicated that he opposes efforts to seek UN membership prior to negotiating an agreement for peace with Israel. He no doubt fears a cessation of U.S. and other assistance that would undermine his efforts to build Palestinian capacity for self-government.
Press reports indicated that President Abbas believes giving up on the UN bid now -- at the United States’ behest -- without offsetting gains would both reduce the motivation for Israel to negotiate and be suicidal for him politically at a time when Palestinian elections with likely participation by Hamas may well take place in the coming year. This division could be a good sign for Israeli efforts to thwart a UN confrontation, but bad news for the prospect of a return to negotiations.
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