In advance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to the United States, President Obama gave an interview in which he viciously attacked Israel, suggesting that Israel was the cause of the peace process failure, that the United States could no longer protect Israel if the peace process failed and that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was a man of peace.
Led by Secretary of State John Kerry and managed by veteran diplomat Martin Indyk, Washington has labored to restart the peace process. And while the administration has placed significant pressure on Israel to make concessions on borders, Jerusalem and settlements, one of the major demands on the Palestinians has been to halt the international bid for recognition.
Skeptical of the entire process after decades of fruitless negotiations, the Palestinians have nevertheless abided by this demand. But they have also made it clear that they continue to study steps to join UN treaties and bodies. . . . Abbas himself has threatened, “If we don’t obtain our rights through negotiations, we have the right to go to international institutions.” Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi also warned that the Palestinian leadership was ready to join sixteen agencies beginning in April 2014. “Everything is in place and will be set in motion,” Ashrawi claimed. By late December, Saeb Erekat told Maan News Agency that there were no less than sixty-three member agencies of the UN that the PLO sought to join.
While Schanzer concludes that “it is clear that the Palestinians have a ready-made policy to pursue should the current talks break down. Unlike in 2000, when the collapse in diplomacy prompted a violent intifada, this failure will yield a diplomatic intifada,whereby the Palestinians pressure Israel using their leverage with the international community. It’s nonviolent, but its war by other means.” And it is equally clear that the administration will be a willing partner in assigning blame to Israel. The president is setting Israel up, and Israel and its friends should be prepared to vigorously and publicly reveal the president’s mendacity.