Resuming Peace Process Hypocrisy to Subvert Palestinian Statehood – by Stephen Lendman
On September 20, London Guardian writer Chris McGreal headlined, “Palestinian statehood: plan emerges to avoid UN showdown,” saying:
Washington-led “(i)nternational efforts to forestall a showdown in the UN Security Council over the declaration of a Palestinian state are solidifying around a plan for (Abbas) to submit a request for recognition but (agree to) put (a vote) on hold while a new round of peace talks is launched.”
The plan also calls for establishing a timeline for creating a Palestinian state. In addition, it’ll let Abbas go home saying he got something even with nothing to show for it.
“However, diplomats warned that a number of issues remain unresolved, including a Palestinian demand that” any deal includes halting settlement construction.
On September 22, Netanyahu again refused, saying:
“I did something that no previous Israeli government did. I actually froze any construction for ten months, waited nine months and one week; then Palestinians came and said, well keep on freezing.”
In fact, construction never stopped. Israel’s land grab continued. In many West Bank settlements, building proceeded apace. Dozens of construction sites remained active.
Moreover, Netanyahu declared a moratorium, not a freeze. Peace Now.org (PN) assessed what went on eight months into it. It found construction ongoing for 600 or more housing units in 60 settlements, and at least 492 others announced in direct violation of Netanyahu’s pledge.
Near its end, PN explained that about 2,000 units were being built, saying “almost no freeze” existed, not “even a visible slowdown.” It showed Israel wasn’t enforcing the moratorium despite its rhetoric to the contrary.
On September 21, Obama met one-on-one with Abbas, telling him what everyone knows – that he’ll veto a Security Council resolution if enough opposition votes aren’t gotten to avoid one.
Netanyahu appealed for resuming peace talks with no preconditions. An unnamed diplomat said Abbas is amenable, but needs something to bring home to show he didn’t come back empty-handed.
Palestinian spokesman Husam Zomlot said he remains committed to petitioning the Security Council Friday, but also wants peace talks resumed.
“There is absolutely no contradiction whatsoever between our quest for (UN) full membership and any possible negotiations,” he said. “In fact, we see them as complementary. We are seeking this to provide any future bilateral process with sufficient multilateral cover where we don’t waste another 20 years.”
Abbas appears willing to sacrifice what he came for as long as he has something to show on return, even if it’s only restarting peace talks that never worked before and won’t now.
In fact, they’ve been stillborn for decades. Washington and Israel reject an equitable, sustainable peace. Instead they opt for conflict.
With its veto, America blocked past General Assembly efforts for conflict resolution and Palestinian self-determination by overwhelming margins, including:
• GA Resolution 3236 (1974) recognizing Palestinian self-determination; and
• most recently on December 2, 2009 passing six resolutions to promote inalienable Palestinian rights for statehood, as well as ending Israel’s illegal actions in Jerusalem and Golan.
The votes passed by margins of 109 – 8, 112 – 9, 162 – 8, 164 – 7, 163 – 7, and 116 – 7. Those against, in one or more resolutions, included America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Panama, Ivory Coast, a few tiny Pacific islands, and, of course, Israel.
Since the mid-1970s, the “peace process” was little more than a slogan for what’s been stillborn for over 35 years.
Pressured by the Israeli Lobby, Washington values Israel as an important ally in this strategically important part of the world.
It’s vital to America’s plan to control Eurasia with 75% of the world’s population, most of its resources and physical wealth, and three-fourths of its energy reserves. They comprise the grandest of grand prizes, too valuable to let slip away, and one not to let peace obstruct.
After the 1967 Six Day War, the “Allon Plan,” named after Defense Minister (later Prime Minister) Yigal Allon, was an early rejectionist measure, proposing:
• “maximum land with minimum Arabs;”
• annexing the choicest 40% of the West Bank and Gaza, including the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea’s western shore;
• expropriating a substantial area around Greater Jerusalem, including the Latrun salient; other portions would be seized later to secure full control of a united city, never again to be divided;
• dispossessing Palestinians from areas Israel wants solely for Jews;
• building permanent settlements and army bases; and
• making remaining parts of the West Bank an autonomous region economically linked to Israel.
Since 1948, these strategic concepts have been part of Israel’s military doctrine. They’ve influenced Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to this day. The terms “territorial compromise” and “land for peace” refer to Allon’s rejection of Palestinian self-determination. They still do now.
Israel makes genuine negotiations impossible by demanding one-sided advantages. Everything for Israel! Nothing for Palestinians with rhetoric formulated to disguise it, mainly by planning later final status talks that never come.
It’s been that way since the first April 1949 Lausanne, Switzerland peace conference, proposing a three-tier agreement, including:
• diaspora Palestinians’ unconditional right of return;
• Jerusalem as an international city; and
• a two-state solution, on equal portions of land.
Israel rejected it. It kept 78% of historic Palestine and granted Jordan the right to annex the West Bank and part of Jerusalem.
Egypt controlled Gaza. Peace efforts were suspended, and weren’t resumed until the 1967 Six Day War left the West Bank and Gaza occupied. As a result, an unfavorable negotiating environment was created.
Today’s situation is intolerable with over 500,000 settlers controlling over 40% of what Palestinians want for their state. Moreover, they’re hamstrung by expanding settlements, Israel’s Separation Wall, military bases, no-go areas, nature reserves, Jews-only roads, hundreds of checkpoints and barriers, as well as other impediments to real peace.
Combined, they’ve restricted Palestinians to shrinking cantonized communities surrounded by growing numbers of hostile Jews. They, in turn, want Judea and Samaria for themselves as well as all Jerusalem as their capital.
Peace in our time never came. Another incarnation won’t produce it because Palestinians have no willing partner. Abbas knows it. He negotiated the sham Oslo Accords.
Yet apparently he’ll accept another charade to put off for later or maybe never what Palestinians want and deserve now – statehood and full de jure UN membership within 1967 borders (22% of historic Palestine).
A Final Comment
Gideon Levy calls Palestinians the new Jews, comparing Arafat to Ben-Gurion. Abbas, Salam Fayyad and Saeb Erekat resemble former Israeli officials.
“They (exhibit the) same moderation, the same nondescript personality, the same pragmatism, the same political wisdom and even” a similar sense of humor. Their game is “take what is attainable….give up big dreams,” and come away with too little to matter.
He calls it amazing that Israelis think Palestinian rights threaten their own. Why can’t they understand that “almost the entire world is with the Palestinians….”
At birth, Israel “was considered a model society,” despite the toll on displaced Palestinians to achieve it. Today the situation is “beyond recognition….With quite a number of corrupt Israeli politicians in prison or on the way there,” with neoliberal harshness benefitting the few only, and a harsh occupation turning an earlier success story into a “missed opportunity.”
For 63 years, Palestinians suffered for rejecting the 1947 partition plan. Israelis reject a 2011 one. Will they ahead pay dearly “for their stubborn and surprising opposition” to compromise for peace in our time.
It’s on the table, but it would be out of character for Israel or Washington to grab it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.