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At a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on May 8, Martin Indyk blamed Israel for humiliating Abbas by claiming that he had agreed to increased settlement activity. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius makes a similar claim in his May 15 Op-Ed, when he stated that Israeli building in a Jerusalem suburb “humiliated” Abbas.
If diplomatic humiliation is a sufficient reason to end the talks, however, then by all rights, Israel should have walked away long ago. Was Prime Minister Netanyahu not humiliated when he was forced to release 26 murderers of Jews from Israeli prisons in July of last year just to start the talks? Was he not further humiliated by the heroes’ welcome they received from Abbas? Were Israel and its Prime Minister not humiliated when these events repeated themselves two more times in October and December of 2013, with each prisoner being rewarded by the Palestinian Authority with cash payments?
A whole new source of humiliation came from the US itself, when US President Obama effectively threatened Netanyahu in an interview with Jeff Goldberg, telling him that the US would stop defending Israel from the onslaught of OIC-inspired condemnations at the UN.
Each of these events was its own diplomatic humiliation, of course. Netanyahu responded to these humiliations, however, with relative indifference. He even stated in December, after the third prisoner release, that “leadership is tested by making the difficult decisions. We were not elected to lead Israel by making the easy decisions.” He continued to move forward until it became clear that no progress was being made.
Israel’s supposed humiliations of Abbas, therefore, are simply no excuse for Abbas’s behavior.