Mahmoud Abbas, alas, is no Anwar Sadat, despite the pale imitation of a warrior he offered after his speech to the U.N. "I'm ready to meet any Israeli official at any time he wants," he told Fox News. "But to me only for a meeting I think is useless." Abbas revealed himself to be only a puffed-up poser.
President Obama, with his history of "tough love" for the Israelis and pandering to the Palestinians, wanted to dissuade Abbas from making a spectacle at the U.N. but was unable to summon the courage to do what was necessary to do it.
Afterward, the president, aware of his offense to the Jews and other friends of Israel, gave a strong speech to the General Assembly, saying the usual nice things about peace. But the United States wants most of all to be spared having to use its veto in the Security Council. The Europeans are so cowed in the face of big talk from the Arabs that such "world powers" as Nigeria, Gabon and Bosnia have the balance of power in the Security Council. In the spirit of the times, Abbas returned home to a hero's welcome, promising a "Palestinian Spring."
Benjamin Netanyahu got it right when the Israeli prime minister called the spectacle at the U.N. a performance at the "theater of the absurd." With Lebanon, controlled by Hezbollah, presiding over the U.N. Security Council, we're treated to the pretense of terrorists presiding over the world's security.
President Obama reaffirmed his administration's commitment to Israel, such as it may be, in a video message wishing the Israelis a happy new year: "As Jewish tradition teaches us, we may not complete the work, but that must never keep us from trying. "
The sentiment deserves several blasts of the ram's horn and a little reflection over what might have been if the Palestinians had taken the offered gift of statehood more than a half century ago. We can only dream of what the world might have been spared.