Chief Palestinian negotiator Sa’eb Erekat travelled to Tel Aviv Sunday night to plead with an audience of Israeli policy analysts and journalists to give the new American-led peace talks a chance.
“Many believe peace can’t be done now — it’s the elitist and sophisticated way of thinking today”, Erekat told his audience at the Israeli Institute of National Security Studies, adjacent to Tel Aviv University. “I beg to differ — but I’m not trying to export either fear or hope”.
Erekat said that “the Number One priority is a two state solution”.
Proximity talks began last week, Erekat indicated, adding that “hopefully this week we’ll have the second round”. In these talks, he said, “I’m going to demonstrate that for the Palestinian leadership, President Abbas is ready for the end game”.
Contradicting claims published in recent Israeli press reports, Erekat said that during the Annapolis direct negotiations, the Palestinian President had, indeed, responded to an offer made by Israel’s then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Leonard Cohen, who celebrated his 75th birthday earlier this week, gave his scheduled concert at Tel Aviv’s Ramat Gan stadium last night without any adverse incident — bringing enormous pleasure to the mostly but not entirely Israeli audience.
It is a pity that he will not be playing in Ramallah this weekend, as he had proposed when the Palestinian boycott committee objected to his performing in Tel Aviv. That suggestion was not acceptable to some — it seems, in fact, to a very few only — but the whole matter therefore became too much, too controversial, and too exhausting for others, who simply chose not to deal with the issues raised.
For the boycott committee, the sole issue was that Leonard Cohen should have totally avoided Israel, and played only in Ramallah.
We reported on this controversy earlier here, as well as here, and also here.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Cohen told the audience of over 50,000 people on Thursday night that: “I don’t know if we will pass this way again” … so, he promised “to give it everything tonight.” The JPost also said that the concert transported the audience to “a vibrant spiritual high”.
A Youtube video shows Leonard Cohen performing “Hallelujah” in the Ramat Gan stadium on Thursday night:
“I did my best, it wasn’t much”, Cohen sang in this song, “I told the truth, I did not come to Tel Aviv to lie”… and the audience roared in response.