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Middle East - Uri Avnery interview

Obama trilateral meeting a summit for nothing, says peace activist

Article published on the 2009-09-20 Latest update 2009-09-20 12:55 TU

Uri Avnery(Photo: Released by the subject)

Uri Avnery
(Photo: Released by the subject)

The trilateral meeting on the Middle East called by Barack Obama for Tuesday is doomed to failure, says veteran Israeli peace activist, Uri Avnery. The former MP and co-founder of Peace Now, who was the first Israeli to publicly meet former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, believes that the move is a sign of weakness by the US President and a victory for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

There is "no chance at all that anything real will come out of it", according to Avnery. He believes that the announcement constitutes "a huge victory for Benjamin Netanyahu and a huge defeat for Barack Obama".

Comment: Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery

20/09/2009 by Judith Prescott

"For weeks it was an adamant demand of President Obama that Netanyahu freeze all settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem," Avnery told RFI. "Nothing of this has remained. Everything that the Americans demanded has been withdrawn."

 Abbas's decision to attend betrays the weakness of his position, Avnery believes.

"His only hope is Obama and if Obama gives in to Netanyahu, there's nothing Abou Mazen - Mahmoud Abbas - can do about it. He has been exposed in all his weakness by this act. He is losing prestige, he is losing respect within the Palestinian community and within the Arab world at large."

Meanwhile, Abbas's Palestinian rivals, Hamas, emerge strengthened, according to Avnery.

"Hamas said that by giving in to Israel Abbas would achieve nothing at all and this little chapter seems to show that they were right," he says.