MAHMOUD ABBAS – PEACE POSEUR
President Bush recently provided an unvarnished example of this approach in his 20 September meeting with Abbas, whom he described as a "man of peace who believes in a two-state solution" and declared that "there must be leaders willing to speak out and act on behalf of people who yearn for peace, and you are such a leader, Mr. President."
However, a revealing disclosure from Abbas himself pours cold water on these sanguine assumptions. In an October 3 interview on Al-Arabiya and Palestinian Authority television, Abbas stated:
"Hamas is not required to recognize Israel… It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel, all right? The PLO, in 1993, recognized Israel … Every person has the right to say 'I do not recognize,' okay? It's your right. It is the right of every organization. But the government which will be formed, and which will function opposite the Israelis on a daily basis … every hour and perhaps every second, there will be contact between Palestinian ministers and Israeli ministers … [Abbas then gives an example of 500 million dollars in taxes intended for the Palestinians, but put on hold by Israelis. The Palestinian finance minister has to come to an agreement with the Israeli finance minister regarding the transfer of that money.] So how can he make an agreement with him if he does not recognize him? So I do not demand of Hamas nor any other [organizations] to recognize Israel. But from the government that works with Israelis in day to day life, yes."
I conclude that the Bush Administration is being duped, or is willing to appear to be duped, perhaps for unavowable reasons, by a poseur.
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