Michael Totten

Peace Process Theater

My colleague Jonathan Tobin at Commentary compares the theatrical peace talks between Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu to a game of chicken. “Like the daredevil teenagers in Rebel Without a Cause,” he writes, “the two leaders are competing to see which one of them will jump out of their cars first before their vehicles fly off the cliff.”

I find it frankly bizarre that anyone thinks anything has changed on the Palestinian side since the last time they refused to take “yes” for an answer, but some people apparently do.

“The peculiar thing about this game of chicken,” Tobin adds, “is that each leader’s domestic opposition is acting as if the official optimism about the possibility of peace emanating from the two camps is proof that a deal is about to be signed. Yet the majority of Palestinians and Israelis seem to be taking all this in their stride, and their indifference demonstrates that they understand that what is going on is an elaborate farce being staged for the benefit of Obama and Hillary Clinton rather constituting a genuine chance for peace. But both Hamas and Israeli right-wingers, who are respectively fulminating against Abbas and Netanyahu, as if the two were on the verge of a pact, are, along with the White House, the State Department, and most of the mainstream media, the only ones who don’t get it.”