Cotler has kept in contact with Abbas since first meeting him in 1977. Abbas has previously met with Jewish leaders in the United States and France and, when Cotler was in the Middle East earlier this winter, he told Abbas that he wanted him to meet with Canadian Jewish leaders. That meeting, which lasted three hours, also saw Cotler meeting with PA Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Malki in Ramallah.A meeting that bore ripe, lucious fruit, and which should in no way be perceived as a slap in the face of the prime minister who has been Israel's most steadfast friend. No matter. As we can see by the following, Cotler's old pal Abbas is an eminently
Cotler said he also spoke with Abbas and al-Malki about the potential to have a Canadian serve as referee in a revived Israeli-Palestinian group monitoring incidences of “incitement,” which are present in PA textbooks, media and mosques. Both men were open to that idea, Cotler said. While Abbas didn’t deny that incitement against Israel takes place, according to Cotler, Abbas also said, “I’m not going to play the blame game. There’s also incitement on the Israeli side.”Righto. Even-Steven. Fault on both sides, old bean. Jews as responsible for "incitement" as the Arabs who want to see the Zionist creation become a thing of the past. And the only thing more bollixed up than that is this:
Meeting with Netanyahu a week later, Cotler said the Israeli prime minister was also receptive to the idea of reviving an incitement-monitoring group and to adding a Canadian presence. Netanyahu also indicated to Cotler his willingness to go to the PA to speak with groups of Palestinians, as Abbas previously has done with Israelis in Israel.Actually, I think I was being a bit too hasty. This is the most bollixed up thing ever:
According to Cotler, Abbas reacted favorably to the idea of designating “one or two” Palestinians to be part of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, as well. He said Abbas expressed regret that he couldn’t attend the coalition’s conference last November in Ottawa, although he did send a statement. Similarly, Cotler related that Netanyahu was pleased by the adoption of the Ottawa Protocol at the conference and indicated his desire to attend the next meeting.Appoint the Holocaust denier's minions to an anti-Antisemitism body? Sheer genius! But only if they're there as, you know, the house Antisemites. Meanwhile, according to eternal optimist Cotler, things are looking up:
Meanwhile, things are “proceeding apace” in efforts by Canada to help reform the PA’s justice sector, Cotler said, adding that he’s pleased to see this continuing under the Tory government. He said he would like to revive the idea of holding a “justice summit” for justice ministers from interested nations, a project he began after becoming justice minister in 2003 but which never saw the light of day when the Liberals were defeated in 2006.Finally, we cut to the chase: this battiness is about Cotler's unslakable desire to reprise his past glory--to shine in the spotlight once more. Even so, maybe he's on to something:
Cotler said he emphasized to both Abbas and Netanyahu the importance of direct negotiations without preconditions on the overriding issues of security and borders when he broached the subject of the peace process. “I said [former Egyptian president Anwar] Sadat and [former Israeli prime minister Menachem] Begin made peace because of direct and sustained negotiations. There were no Europeans, no international community, no Americans.”Nope, he's on to nada. And, fortunately, that argument is bound to be a much tougher sell now that that deal is pretty much defunct and the entire Arab world is roiling in intense turmoil. But do continue, Mr. C.:
A deal was achieved then and is possible now, Cotler believes, because each leader has the capacity to “carry the country” with a deal in hand and is “looking for his place in history.”Well, someone is sure looking for his place in history.