Obama, Abbas Meeting Does Little to Advance Peace
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Monday's White House visit between U.S. President Barack Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did little to advance hopes for peace.
Speaking with reporters, Abbas echoed earlier warnings by Obama in his interview with Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, which aired while Netanyahu was en route to Washington two weeks ago.
Secretary of State John Kerry has also repeatedly warned that time is running out for reaching an agreement.
"Time is not on our side, especially given the very difficult situation that the Middle East is experiencing and the entire region is facing," the P.A. leader told reporters in Washington.
Repeating Kerry's statements last Friday to the House Foreign Relations Committee, Abbas said the Palestinians had recognized Israel between 1988 under former PLO chairman Yasser Arafat on through the 1993 Oslo Accords, when "we recognized the State of Israel."
Yet despite his statements during Monday's meeting, Abbas has long held to the belief that a future Palestinian state "from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea," and all points in between, would one day replace Israel.
From P.A. school curriculum to its official stationery, that concept is endorsed.
Meanwhile, Obama repeated his "tough political decisions and risks" that will move the "peace process" forward mantra, calling for "territorial compromise" based on the pre-1967 armistice lines. Former Israeli U.N. Ambassador Abba Eban referred to those as the "Auschwitz lines" for their indefensibility.
Abbas also said the last stage of a four-part prisoner release, scheduled for March 29, "will give a very solid impression about the seriousness of the Israelis on the peace process."
The P.A. leader has made it a point to honor the released convicts -- all serving time for murder and terror-related crimes against Israelis -- as heroes and heroines of the "Palestinian resistance."