In the Arena

Abbas Out?

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Maybe he’s not bluffing this time. The eminently reliable Ethan Bronner seems to think Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, may well make good on his threat to quit. If he’s gone, the Palestinians are going to scuffle to find a new leader. Odds are, in such a fraught circumstance, they choose a tough guy, a hard-liner–to match the Israel’s intransigent Netanyahu.

If Abbas is serious, this is horrible news. And, clearly, the Obama Middle East initiative has come a cropper. I’m hearing, from several sources, that there’s serious White House displeasure with special envoy George Mitchell. That’s probably unfair…but there is a serious need for an Administration rethink of this crucial policy area.