While the Mideast peace process is in a state of suspended animation, one would think that those interested in moving forward would do almost anything to achieve that goal. If you thought that, you would be wrong.
It’s no big secret many European nations are getting frustrated with U.S.-led efforts and it’s also no secret that Israel wants only one country to mediate- the United States- for reasons that should be obvious, ie. we are anything but an honest broker, preferring instead to act as Israel’s Lawyer.
French news is reporting that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has rejected outright any attempt to get negotiations restarted under the auspice of French-led negotiations:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held separate meetings with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators on Monday as the United States seeks to find a way to revive moribund peace talks.
Clinton also met visiting French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe — who launched a separate bid to start talks — but said it was too early to consider a proposed Paris conference because neither side appeared willing to talk despite a looming September showdown over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.
“We strongly support a return to negotiations, but we do not think that it would be productive for there to be a conference about returning to negotiations,” Clinton told reporters.
“There has to be a return to negotiations, which will take a lot of persuasion and preliminary work in order to set up a productive meeting between the parties,” she said, adding that Washington was in a “wait-and-see” attitude.
Wait-and-see attitude? Oh, ok. So Israel gets to continue to illegally expand their territory with settlement activity and the Palestinians get what, exactly?
I guess what the U.S. thinks about the French proposal is more important than what the actual parties think about it.
But wait for it, here’s the real reason the U.S. has rejected the plan:
The faltering effort has been further strained by a recent Palestinian political unity deal between President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement and the rival Islamist Hamas, which controls Gaza and remains sworn to Israel’s destruction.
While the Palestinians say the planned unity government will be technocratic with no direct role for Hamas, both Israeli and U.S. leaders have said peace talks are not possible unless Hamas explicitly recognizes Israel’s right to exist and renounces violence.
Clinton said on Tuesday those concerns remained.
“It is not enough for us that it would be called technocratic,” she said. “If Hamas is involved we think that undermines the whole purpose of negotiations because we would have a party that rejects Israel’s right to exist.”
First, reports have said that the Palestinians responded very favorably to the French offer, while Israel did not- no surprise there. As far as the U.S. is considered, that’s probably reason enough to nix the talks. But second, it’s clear the U.S. doesn’t want to have to deal with the whole Hamas issue because of our domestic politics prior to the 2012 elections [read: Israel Lobby]. Congress is doing everything in its power to prevent any negotiations from taking place if Hamas is a party to said negotiations.