Wait. Why should that be surprising?
This past Monday, ten "Jewish leaders" met with Mahmoud Abbas in New York and tried to give away the store. The original Ha'aretz story is now locked behind its pay wall but is well summarized in this article at The Times of Israel (among other places).
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly demonstrated a willingness to restart talks with Israel, telling Jewish leaders that his UN speech on Thursday would include a greater display of sensitivity to Jewish claims to Israel.And yet, shockingly, it did not.
So who are these ten "leaders?" Who do they speak for? Why did they find it appropriate to snub the Israeli Prime Minister's admonition and undercut his government's declared policies and what, exactly, is the "Dershowitz formula?" Are they embarrassed to have been so badly pwned (internet slang: to be taken in, played, hoodwinked, bamboozled)?
Meeting Monday evening with about 10 Jewish leaders, Abbas endorsed Alan Dershowitz's formula for returning to talks with Israel, participants said.
The meeting was held under the auspices of the Center for Middle East Peace. Top Jewish organizational leaders declined attendance, reportedly at the request of the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has discouraged Jewish meetings with Abbas until the Palestinians leader gives up demanding a settlement freeze as a precondition for returning to talks.
The Times reports:
Among those in attendance were Dershowitz, the Harvard legal scholar and a leading defender of Israel; Robert Wexler, the CMEP director and a top Jewish surrogate for President Obama; and Peter Joseph, who heads the Israel Policy Forum.So that gives us a hint as to who they speak for and why they chose to attend the meeting. But the kicker is that the formula this group proposed requires a settlement freeze, not exactly as a "precondition," but as a necessary quid pro quo for returning to talks (a distinction without a significant difference).
Here's a summary of the "Dershowitz formula," according to the Ha'aretz article,
[t]he formula states that "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should now offer a conditional freeze: Israel will stop all settlement building in the West Bank as soon as the Palestinian Authority sits down at the bargaining table, and the freeze will continue as long as the talks continue in good faith."The details are spelled out in this earlier Ha'aretz article (still publicly available at this time). In a nutshell, though, it proposes that Israel should offer Abbas an indefinite freeze on Jewish construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as long as he can keep up the pretense of talking. Having reportedly won Abbas over, Dershowitz allegedly (again according to Ha'aretz) said he would try to sell the idea to Bibi this week. Bibi has already made his position crystal clear on settlement freezes and preconditions, in whatever guise, so good luck with that.
Meanwhile, so far no response by the ten fools to Abbas's betrayal. You can bet he'll be laughing all the way back to Ramallah.