While Obama and Abbas talk, Israeli politicians and analysts are weighing in.
Nabil Sha’ath, the former PA foreign minister and negotiator, is speaking of this as “a decisive year” for the Palestinians, Channel 2 says.
“They’ve been saying that since Sadat in the 1970s,” says Ehud Ya’ari, the Arab affairs analyst. “But there’s some truth in this, nonetheless,” he says. Fact is, the Palestinians “are running away from statehood,” he adds. There’s no great enthusiasm for setting borders with Israel, he says.
Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) recalls that Abbas left the last attempt at peace talks, in September 2010, “after minutes.”
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) says the rocket fire from Gaza this morning was a message to Obama and Abbas from Hamas: “You can talk… but we don’t want peace.”
Danon also says the real substance of this visit will come after Obama leaves, when the Kerry-led diplomatic effort gets into gear.
Akunis: I’d like to hear condemnation from Abbas of the rocket fire.
Hilik Bar (Labor) says we should stop blaming Obama and Abbas for the lack of diplomatic progress. “When was the last time we looked in the mirror… The Americans have despaired of us.” They look at this new rightist government, with Ze’ev Elkin, deputy minister at the Foreign Ministry, and Uri Ariel, at the Housing Ministry, and they see no hope of progress, he says.