The deadline on the freezing of settlements ends on the 26th September 2010. President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to pull out of the peace negotiations with Israel if the freezing of settlements in the occupied territories is not extended after that date.
It is unlikely that PM Netanyahu will extend the moratorium on settlement expansion after that date as he risks major coalition crises if he does. One must remember that the present Israeli Government is composed of right wing to extreme right wing parties who are opposed to settlement freezes.
On the Palestinian front, Abbas will heave a sigh of relief and the excuse that he has been seeking to pull out of the peace talks will occur. If he pulls out of the peace talks because building in the occupied territories will commence, his skin will be saved and so will his standing amongst the Hamas supporters in Palestinian street. Abbas has his hands tied by Palestinian extremists who do not want peace. If he would sign any form of agreement with Israel his life would be placed in jeopardy. If the moratorium on settlement expansion continues, it would put Abbas in an embarrassing situation and he would soon find another excuse to pull out of the talks. No amount of US arm twisting will prevent that eventuality in the end.
The greatest losers will be the Obama Administration in the US who has failed to understand the dynamics of the Israeli - Palestinian Conflict. In their naivety towards the region, they (the US) will once again prove their amateurishness in their approach to the conflict. As it is, both sides were brought together screaming by the US Administration for peace talks that neither side believes or wants. Both Abbas and Netanyahu do not really have a mandate from their people to make the concessions and bold decisions needed to achieve peace and put an end to this tragic conflict - the festering cancerous sore in the Middle East - that defies a solution because of extremists on both sides that really hold the balance of power.
Hamas and their extremist Islamic allies are waiting in the shadows in the hope that the peace talks will fail. Netanyahu will supply the reason by the continuation of settlement expansion in order to make a Palestinian state unattainable. The "we told you so" reaction will be quick in coming from Islamist Palestinian terror groups and the pressure on Abbas to pull out of the talks will be enormous.
One cannot avoid asking the question - why were peace talks not started at the beginning of the settlement freeze? It is doubtful if both sides have an answer apart from a myriad of excuses each blaming the other for tardiness, and the US on the side embroiled in its own domestic and economic problems.
As I mentioned in my last article, both Netanyahu and Abbas do not have what it takes to end the conflict finally and so it will continue for a long time to come. Hamas is not interested in recognizing Israel's right to exist and there seems to be a fatwa declared on Israel's total destruction whether there are settlements in the occupied territories or not. As far as they are concerned Israel's existence since 1948 is occupied territory and Israel ("the Zionist entity" as they call it) must be destroyed. The words of the evil President Mahmud Ahmadinajad of Iran have expressed similar sentiments which are a page from the Hamas book of hate.
When one views these doomed peace talks within that context, we can see that without Hamas being involved in the talks, they are bound to fail. It will always be the powerful Hamas mindset in the shadows whose strength in Gaza is absolute, and in the West Bank their influence is stronger than most moderates would like to admit. They are a potential danger to Abbas and the Palestinian Authority and a civil war between the Fatah faction and Hamas cannot be ruled out. Any signing of a peace agreement with Israel could be a catalyst for Hamas taking over power in the West Bank and this could result in a blood bath. This would pose a great security threat to Israel as Qassam rockets could be smuggled into the West Bank and there would be risks of further suicide terrorists infiltrating into Israel from there. The current mindset of Hamas is such that it would never negotiate a peace settlement with Israel. All that remains is the devil and the deep blue sea.
The continuation of "peace" flotillas towards Gaza will continue as naïve peace-seekers on these vessels under the guise of "humanitarian assistance" to the besieged Palestinians will continue to play into the hands of the evil Hamas rulers of Gaza who are masters of deception. They are corrupt, evil and abusers of human rights of the Palestinian people over whom they rule.
The future of the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians seems to be an exercise in futility. The US patronage is bound to fail as it has in the past. Failure to come to terms with the harsh realities on the side of the US must also be held to account for the upcoming failure. It will also dent President Obama's decreasing popularity rating even further. His chance of being a one term president of the US will be further increased.