Today's blog will center around the recent comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who stated that, he believed that the indirect negotiations with the Palestinians that I mentioned on yesterdays Harvest Show broadcast would begin within two weeks.
I really find this whole thing fascinating because it seems to some over here that Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas was recently trying to recruit support, inter alia, among his political allies within the Arab League.
Some are saying that Mr. Abbas must have received some type of guarantees of some nature to enable or encourage him to back down on his word not to speak with the Israeli Government until they ceased all construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
This whole thing gives the Palestinian opposition to Mr. Abbas a lot of firepower… Is he the Palestinian leader capable of bringing an end of the 60+ years of conflict?
Is Mr. Abbas the one to draw up permanent borders for the future Palestinian State? Can he sign off on solutions to the refugee issue – especially given the perception that he is a puppet of the West. What about Jerusalem?
You see, Mr. Abbas is really stuck – it is not known if he is truly the populace's voted leader. Does he even represent all of them? Hamas in the Gaza Strip would argue that he definitely does not. And they, and others argue that according to the Palestinian Constitution he is not… yet he is kept in power by the wishes of the International community.
So the basic and fundamental question is, does he have the power and authority to make these huge decisions in the name of the Palestinian people?
Remember, from the point of view of the countries in the Middle East and the International community, without their confidence in an elected leader – one can expect the 'greater Palestinian struggle' to continue. People cannot expect the local populace to get behind the agreements that will bind them.
Ideally, this whole process will bring an end to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Without a clear leader, and a determined government, just how's that going to happen?
Thanks for checking in!
Middle East Correspondent