The “Wild West” is back to Palestine

The “process of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace” seems already a success for the undertaking of illegal Israeli settlements and U.S. imperialism. Among Palestinians, trust and hope in negotiations mediated by the U.S. long ago evaporated. While the street is torn between anger, cynicism and indifference to the negotiations, the PLO adopted the proposal to Abu Mazen to resign demand a settlement freeze as a precondition for negotiations. The article is of Jamal Juma and Maren Mantovani.

Jamal Juma and Maren Mantovani (*)

Any collective activity in which all involved are aware that the targets will not be met is a planned bankruptcy. Except in the case that the true goals are different from those openly declared. In this sense, the “process of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace” seems already a success for the undertaking of illegal Israeli settlements and U.S. imperialism.

The process of negotiations, which began in 1991 with the Madrid Conference and led to the Oslo Accords, should have ensured the creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and an agreement on other “final status issues”, including the right to return of Palestinian refugees, before 2000. Negotiations had commenced under the leadership of the U.S. in a moment that his diplomatic position with respect to the Middle East had reached dizzying heights, driven, among others, generally applauded by military victory over Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Washington had won multilateral support for its leadership role in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and the Bush regime father had even found the courage to block ten billion dollars in loan guarantees to Israel because of concerns that the previous assurances had been used to finance the expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Twenty years after the signing of the Oslo Accords, the process is regarded by Palestinians and international observers as a failure. The Palestinian statehood and self-determination of the Palestinian people has been collapsed by the Israeli construction of the Wall and illegal settlements and the implementation of its policies of apartheid. Oslo failed to prevent Israeli massacres like the one that destroyed Gaza in 2008-09, much less help achieve justice for Palestinians.

The White House began this round of negotiations under completely different conditions. For decades, the U.S. has not been so weak in the Middle East. The lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the economic crisis frame an image of symptoms of imperial overextension U.S.. The instability in the Arab world complicates the scenario. Still, Secretary of State John Kerry wanted to act alone and his own way: kept the UN, its member states and even the European Union out of the new process of negotiations. The Arab countries are only marginally consulted. Worse yet, the Obama administration named as an intermediary in negotiations Martin Indyk, an agent longtime powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC and a man who had been accused by the FBI of involvement in the theft of trade secrets in the U.S. to Israel, and the some estimates have caused damage worth up to one hundred billion dollars.

Another big difference this time is that the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu seems more concerned about keeping his coalition government than happy with the pressure from the U.S. or the Arab world.

Among Palestinians, trust and hope in negotiations mediated by the U.S. long ago evaporated. While the street is torn between anger, cynicism and indifference to the negotiations, the PLO adopted the proposal to Abu Mazen to resign demand a settlement freeze as a precondition for negotiations, although it has the support of only a minority.

Very few within the PLO seem willing to speak openly in support of the negotiations. Even al Fatah is divided. Journalists complain that Palestinian officials answer your questions about why the decision to return to negotiations evasively or aggressive.

So it is not surprising that it is unlikely that the new round of negotiations can achieve a lasting solution, let alone a just peace in which they can be obtained rights of all Palestinians, including refugees. It seems almost impossible to believe seriously that Washington really expect to create a solution of final status within nine months. So what are the real goals of the U.S. and Israel?

The resumption of negotiations have reached a fundamental goal: the weakening of the fundamental achievements of the initiative for recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN. While UN recognition not make tangible changes if not accompanied with international pressure on Israel to end its system of occupation, apartheid and colonialism, the initiative for Palestinian state led to a major political breakthrough for the Palestinians at the strategic level. Thus, won the support of an international alliance driven by the global south, took up the question of Palestine from the hands of the U.S. and Security Council and brought it back to the UN General Assembly, an area in which Palestine can count on overwhelming support. Finally, it introduced the issue of international law and the right to self again as a pillar for the solution of the Palestinian question.

Given the growing perception that they are losing their role as a major protagonist and arbiter, the White House was forced to file a counter-initiative in the Middle East. In Syria, Russia is blocking a solution dominated by the U.S. and Egypt, Iran and the Middle East in general, the Obama administration has shown a lack of vision or ability to go beyond the erratic reaction to events. Therefore, the leaders of the U.S. foreign policy probably chose the option of retreat: Palestine to restore its dominance in the Middle East.

For Israel, the new negotiations constitute a major victory for its settlement enterprise. Not only the U.S. lobbied successfully Palestinian negotiators to abandon the precondition of a settlement freeze, as these show an acceleration of Israeli settlement almost unprecedented: from the 1st of August, Israel announced plans to build about 3,000 new settlement units and made clear its intention to continue the ethnic cleansing of 50,000 Palestinians in the Naqab desert / Negev and the forced displacement of 1,300 Palestinians in the West Bank to make room for a military training camp. Besides all this, Israel refuses to discuss a two-state solution based on 1967 borders. Cabinet members, including Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Economy, stated clearly that the Palestinians “can forget about” a state.

The irony of Israel begin negotiations for a two-state solution, denying and undermining the possibility of a Palestinian state seems to be lost on U.S. diplomacy. Instead of having to face a class action lawsuit against the initiatives of colonization in the West Bank and its policies of ethnic cleansing, Israel has been rewarded by the United States with the creation of a special committee formed by U.S. and Israeli military argue that “security needs of Israel. ” This is shorthand for an effort that undermines Palestinian rights to effective sovereignty and includes discussions on “land swaps”, border control, control over airspace and territorial, non-interference and more.

While the U.S. and Israel may consider these results as a victory today, as talks collapse again, likely long-term consequences that can make these short-term gains seem expensive.

First of all, the need of the U.S. to lead the initiative on their own means that they can hardly get rid of the blame for the collapse of negotiations predictable. When closing the political space in the short term, this implicitly invites the making of the stage by other actors, which have fewer prejudices and new ideas.

Secondly, Israel seems to convince the U.S. to ignore the continued expansion of the settlements, but the European Union has just following the condemnation of settlements with concrete actions, including the introduction of new rules that prohibit public funds from the EU in the settlements. The eventual failure of the negotiations will likely push some EU governments to go further, perhaps even prohibit trade with Israeli settlements illegal.

Finally, this round of negotiations already severely deepened the crisis of legitimacy faced by the Palestinian Authority. Expand the division and growing instability is (still) more harmful to the interests of Israel and the U.S. than for the Palestinian people. It is certainly difficult to imagine that any structure post-PA can be as malleable as the current Palestinian political structure.

To conclude, although the “Wild West” American is back in Palestine at the moment, he seems unable to create any lasting change. What is really needed is the creation of a political environment that is based on global support for Palestinian rights of self-determination in international law and human rights, able to build effective means to pressure Israel to implement them. To Palestine, enter into a multilateral negotiation process on how to forge these alliances and tools are the most urgent talks to be held at this stage.

(*) Jamal Juma is the general coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign. Maren Mantovani is international relations from Stop the Wall.

(Facebook / 19.08.2013)

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