After the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry refused to attend a meeting, Wednesday, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, thus stalling the so-called ‘peace negotiations’ that began last year, Kerry called the Palestinian President in an attempt to continue the talks by phone.
Kerry’s decision to cancel his meeting with Abbas followed the announcement, Tuesday, by Abbas, that he would pursue Palestinian membership in 15 UN bodies.
At the beginning of the peace talks, Secretary of State Kerry had proclaimed that they would be successfully completed by April 2014 – a claim that long-term followers of the past negotiations scoffed at. Now that the deadline has arrived, many political analysts say that the ‘peace negotiations’ are essentially dead.
After Kerry’s rebuke of the Palestinian President, a number of U.S. media outlets followed suit, including the New York Times, which posted the headline ‘Abbas Takes Defiant Step, and Mideast Talks Falter.’
Abbas decided to go to the United Nations after Israel failed to deliver on its promise of releasing the last of four groups of political prisoners, as agreed upon during the negotiations. President Abbas had repeatedly told Israel that he would pursue statehood at the United Nations if they failed to deliver on the promised release of prisoners, so his announcement on Tuesday was not unexpected.
In addition to failing to release the prisoners, Israel repeatedly violated the previous signed agreements while the peace talks were underway.
Mike Coogan of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation told Common Dreams news service, ‘Since this so-called peace process started, Israel has increased construction of settlements — which are illegal under international law — continued destruction of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Israel itself; confiscated Palestinian land; and responded to weekly protests against these things with violent measures.’
He added, ‘It’s disingenuous for the U.S. to place blame on Palestinians when, according to its own former negotiators, the U.S. is acting like Israel’s lawyer and providing Israel with $3.1 billion in weapons that are being used against Palestinians.’
The Palestinian negotiating team told Palestinian news agencies on Wednesday that they would meet with US special envoy Martin Indyk, along with Israeli negotiators, on Wednesday night, in a last ditch effort to stop the talks from collapsing.