Israel and the Palestinians agreed to begin indirect, American-brokered talks, the U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell announced Monday March 8, 2010.
George Mitchell's Statement
I'm pleased that the Israeli and Palestinian leadership have accepted indirect talks. We've begun to discuss the structure and scope of these talks and I will return to the region next week to continue our discussions. As we've said many times, we hope that these will lead to direct negotiations as soon as possible. We also again encourage the parties, and all concerned, to refrain from any statements or actions which may inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks.
What Mr. Mitchell didn't say was that in an attempt to convince the Palestinians to go along with the plan, the U.S. Government had handed them a document responding to their inquires regarding the U.S. initiative to launch indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
In the document, the U.S. Government emphasized that their main concern is establishing a Palestinian state. The document reads (among other things)…
– "Our [the U.S. Government's] core remains a viable, independent and sovereign Palestinian State with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967."
No mention of the need to end terror attacks and other violence.
No mention of the need to acknowledge, recognize and respect Israel as a Jewish state.
No mention of the need to achieve peace and security.
No mention of the need to stop incitement in the Palestinian media and educational system.
The document also promised to scold the party America deems to be the 'one to blame', reading: "We expect both parties to act seriously and in good faith. If one side, in our judgment, is not living up to our expectations, we will make our concerns clear and we will act accordingly to overcome that obstacle."
These commitments by the U.S. were a determining factor in the Palestinians' and the Arab League's decision to agree to the U.S. proposal on indirect talks. The Palestinians are especially satisfied by the U.S. commitment to put the blame on the side responsible if the talks fail.
Given the history of the continuous public scolding of Israel, is the Obama administration setting the stage for yet another public and humiliating rebuke of Israel?