Several hours after Mahmoud Abbas appeared on television to announce he was breaking off negotiations with Israel and the United States, John Kerry took to the microphones in Brussels to solemnly declare no such thing ever happened.
“Let me make it absolutely clear:” said a seemingly oblivious Kerry, “None of the agencies that President Abbas signed tonight involve the UN. None of them!” Of the 15 treaties and conventions publicly signed by Abbas on Tuesday evening, all 15 involved the United Nations.
After Abbas had already broken his word to Kerry, the US Secretary of State added that “President Abbas has given me his word to me that he will keep his agreement and that he intends to negotiate through the end of the month of April.”
As if he hadn’t been embarrassed enough, first by Abbas, then by his own farcical proclamations, Kerry appeared to debase himself still further Wednesday morning, when according to both Israeli and US media accounts, the Secretary of State phoned Abbas to beg him to “keep the doors of negotiations open.”
In another desperate move to keep the talks alive, he dispatched the hardy perennial of eternal Middle East peace efforts, Martin Indyk to immediately arrange emergency meetings for Wednesday with both Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.
Meanwhile, more than 24 hours after Abbas appeared on television to break off negotiations by signing the UN applications, Kerry’s spokeswoman Marie Harf was still refusing to confirm that Abbas had in fact, done what he did. She would not respond to questions about whether the State Department knew of Abbas’s intentions before he went on live television.
While not comfortable exposing Abbas or the Palestinians, Harf appeared perfectly comfortable reverting to type by issuing a statement that apportioned blamed for Palestinian efforts to join UN conventions equally between Israel and the PA. “Over the last 24 hours,” said Harf, “there have been unhelpful actions taken on both sides.”
When pressed, Harf was unable to identify any “unhelpful” Israeli actions that had damaged the talks in the past 24 hours.