Netanyahu gets the credit and Abbas gets the “dead cat”

Politico has a good article here discussing the manouvering regading the direct talks, to see who is left holding the “dead cat”, and the blame for the failure of the peace talks. 

As Ben Smith writes in the Politico piece “Even those who are committed to the prospect of peace and publicly optimistic about it are cautious enough to keep an eye on the possibility of failure, ready with a pointed finger if talks collapse so that the other side is left with what former Secretary of State James Baker once referred to as the “dead cat” of prospective blame. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “managed to leave the dead cat at the doorstep of both the Obama Administration and [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas,” said Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. peace negotiator who is a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Last summer, Israel owned the dead cat. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made plain their view that Netanyahu’s failure to stop all settlement construction on the West Bank was the obstacle to resumed talks, and after an ill-timed construction announcement, Clinton’s office released details of the unusual 43-minute tongue-lashing she delivered to the Israeli.  Obama then brought Netanyahu and Abbas to the White House early this month with the exhortation to begin direct talks. Looming over the celebratory announcement that they would was the impending expiration of Israel’s moratorium on new settlement construction. Now that the moratorium has expired, the Obama administration has completed a subtle tilt toward Israel’s point of view. The problem is no longer Israel’s actions: It’s the Palestinian insistence that one issue – settlements – be resolved before talks can begin.”

Michael Oren uses an apt analogy as he explains that  the Palestinians had imperiled the talks with a tactical error.   “They’re like a football team that lets the clock run down to one second and then demands overtime,” he said. “They thought they would win some big diplomatic victory by running down the clock.”   But he said Israel had already made its sacrifices. Netanyahu “paid a very heavy price for the moratorium, and it would nice if he had something to show for it,” Oren said.
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Netanyahu deserves credit firstly for enforcing the 10 month moratorium, and secondly, for holding to this timeframe, and not selling out his supporters and losing respect by buckling under deceptive wheedlings to extend the moratorium.
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The outcome of this Netanyahu-Abbas interaction is a reminder of the Taj Mahal tune “She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride” with a good version here, if you excuse the credit lines.  (while on Taj Mahal, let’s slip in Corrina, also from his wonderful Natch’l Blues Album)
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One thought on “Netanyahu gets the credit and Abbas gets the “dead cat”

  1. Not surprising that Obama is pressuring Netanyahu – just 2 months more, just 2 months more – and then he and Abbas will ram through something prejudicial to Israel’s interests. Hopefully, you are correct and Netanyahu will not be fooled.