President Mahmoud Abbas not only postponed elections, but used the anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat to send a message to the United States and Israel that Palestinians were tired of being pushed around and compelled to accept demands before they attend any peace conference. He was never enthralled by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be praised for agreeing to exercise “restraint” on building more settlements in the West Bank. Abbas was reacting to the hypocritical comments of Netanyahu who demanded no preconditions from Abbas at a peace meeting even as he insisted Israel would not allow discussion of the return of refugees nor of the future of east Jerusalem.
At this point in time, the israel government is completely responsible for the current impasse. It can not on one hand insist on no preconditions while on the other hand demand that Palestinians are not allowed to discuss the refugee issue, the issue of east Jerusalem, and promise to accept that Israel is a “Jewish state” even though about 20% of the population is Muslim. That would bee equivalent to requiring nations of the world to agree the United States was a “Christian nation.”