This morning, I read an article on the Jerusalem Post website, quoting Nabil Shaat (frequently spelled Shaath) of the PA.  You can read the article ( PM told Abbas Israel demands to hold 40% of W. Bank) at the following link:  http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=210798

Frankly, I find this claim a bit hard to swallow. 

While I have no trouble at all believing that Netanyahu insists on some level of control, especially militarily, I don’t believe that it’s a “pre-condition” for him to sit down or to talk to Abbas.

It’s simply a negotiating tactic. 

With all the public pronouncements by Netanyahu that he will sit down anytime, anyplace, and with no pre-conditions, it would be political suicide for him to insist on these items as pre-conditions to sitting down to negotiate with the PA.

In negotiations, anything and everything should be on the table, both the things Israel wants and the things the PA wants. That’s why it’s called “negotiating”.

What many people miss is that all the posturing about pre-conditions is in reality a negotiating tactic. It’s PART of the negotiations.  At the present time, the Palestinians are winning (unfortunately) because of their superior position in the eyes of the rest of the world.  They have very capably succeeded in isolating Israel and casting it as the recalcitrant partner for “peace”.

That doesn’t mean it’s true – I think that any serious analysis of the breakdown of talks and WHY talks have not taken place will show that the PA simply refuses to sit down unless their pre-condition about “settlement activity” (which became an issue only after Obama made it one!) is met.  At some point, either their tactic will be overcome somehow and they will sit down, or an Israeli government will accede to this demand.  Of course, if that happens, the PA will be on the hook to sit down.  That didn’t bring them to the table last year in the first 9 months of the building freeze Israel implemented, but no one seems to care about that besides the Israelis and their friends, which are few and far between.

Israel has very consistently insisted, very publicly and for longer than I’ve been alive, that they will sit down with anyone, anytime, any place.

Frankly, I don’t believe a word that Shath (or Shaat) says. It’s just a bit more propaganda intended to isolate and blame Israel for the failure to have negotiations with any chance of success.

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