Reasons for Palestinian/Israeli Futile Talks
by Dr. Elias Akleh*
One more time Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams play the charade of peace talks under the auspices of the biased pro-Israel American broker. Everybody knows, even the politically naïve average man of the street, and especially the three involved parties that this round of talks, like the many previous talks throughout the last 20 years, will not reveal any tangible success. So why negotiate again?
John Kerry stated that this round of talks will be a comprehensive final status talks based on the two-states-solution. Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Sa’eb Erakat, expressed his delight that all final status issues, without exception, are on the table, hoping that this time Palestinians would have their own independent sovereign state. Tsibi Livni, Erakat’s Israeli counterpart, claimed that this talk is a new opportunity that they could not afford to waste in order to achieve comprehensive peace between the two people.
Who are they trying to fool; themselves or the whole world?
It is a well known fact that the two-state-solution was a stale born dream since inception. The Zionist imperialist project is to build a Jewish only state that extends from the river Nile to Euphrates. There is no room for any Palestinian state, or any Arab state for that matter, within this Jewish only state.
The ineffective Palestinian negotiating team was dragged again into this talk charade. They have dropped their condition for Israel to stop colonization (settlement) expansion before returning to talks. The Palestinian negotiators are a totally helpless and exposed team. Their tactics, their skills, their weaknesses, their political positions and their personalities are very well known to the Israelis. On the other side the Israeli negotiating team keeps on changing every few years forcing the Palestinian team to start from the very beginning.
Since Oslo Accords in 1993 and for the next 20 years this same Palestinian negotiating team had never gained anything through negotiations, rather they gifted the Israelis one major concession after the other. This team does not really represent the Palestinians and was imposed on them by President Arafat, who bypassed the original authentic Palestinian negotiating team in late 1992 to make his own peace warped agreement with the Israelis leading to the ill-fated Oslo Accords.
In fact the whole present Palestinian Authority does not represent the Palestinians either. After the assassination of President Arafat, Mahmud Abbas won the presidency in 2005 through a dodgy contest dubbed as election, in which Israel had greatly interfered to obstruct all other candidates. Despite this fact, Abbas and his administration, whose term had expired in 2009, had forcefully, and with the help of Israel and the US, extended their term until today; 2013. Abbas had become a Palestinian dictator, who, since his appointment, has been greatly cooperating with the Israelis in security measures to suppress his own people and to secure safety to Israeli occupiers (settlers) rather than defending his own people. Abbas and his administration had never represented the Palestinians and had never worked to secure their basic human rights.
Palestinians demonstrated into the streets of the West Bank, especially Ramallah; the political center for the PA, and in Gaza Strip denouncing and rejecting the return to these futile peace talks, which usually end up with more concessions to the Israelis. The Palestinian security forces in Ramallah attacked the demonstrators with sticks and tear gas.
So, why would the PA and its negotiating team oppose the will of their people, drop all their conditions, and engage into futile negotiations knowing very well that they will end up giving Israel more concessions?
To understand this we have to go back into history to 1990 when Iraq’s Saddam Hussein invaded and annexed Kuwait. Yasser Arafat, then the Chairman of the PLO, made his fatal mistake of supporting Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait hoping to get large financial support from Saddam Hussein. Unfortunately for Arafat and for his PLO Iraqi army was rebelled from Kuwait and all the Gulf States, who used to finance Arafat, had stopped its financial support leaving the organization to dry out. Close to bankruptcy many PLO officials started to leave the organization. This was a major factor in pushing Arafat into peace negotiations with Israel and into signing the Oslo Accords.
One condition of the Accords was for Israel to collect taxes from the Palestinians and to transfer it to the PA by the end of year. Also there were the Western donor countries, who pledged to finance the PA as long as it adheres to the Accords. Thus the PA’s budget and the Palestinian economy were put under the control of Israel and donor countries, who in many times withheld money to exert pressure on the PA.
To secure their political positions, their economical monopolies, and to buy the loyalty of the security forces President Abbas and his PA administration including the negotiating team need to go back to futile negotiations to get paid by the Americans and to get their tax money from Israel. Without any negotiating cards, and without any backing from Arab countries, who are busy with their internal problems, the PA is forced to give more concessions to Israel while accepting whatever crumbs Israel and the US would throw at them.
The Israelis are not interested in any peaceful solution at all. For them the two-state-solution is a stumbling block to their colonial expansion. The one-state-solution, some are calling for, on the other hand, threatens their existence as a Jewish-only state since Palestinians compromise more than 50% of the population, and as citizens of the so-called democratic state they would have equal rights to vote and to be elected in the government.
Israel’s primary goal is expansion and building more colonies (settlements) on Palestinian land. Pursuing their expansionist policies the Israelis have accelerated their ethnic cleansing policies by demolishing Palestinian homes in strategic areas, confiscating Palestinian land, and expanding and building more colonies to settle aggressive extremist ultraorthodox Zionist Jews. On each arrival of the Secretary of State John Kerry to Israel in order to jump-start peace negotiations, the Israelis slap him on the face with the announcement of approving the building of more colonies in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. The colonies had extended to surround even Ramallah; the major Palestinian city.
The Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians has recently reached its zenith when the Israeli parliament had passed the first hearing last June 24th of what is known as the Prawer-Begin Plan, whose goal is demolishing 40 Bedouin villages in the Naqab desert, expelling more than 40,000 Palestinian Bedouins, and confiscating more than 800,000 dunums of their land (one dunum equals 1,000 square meters). This is an intensification of an ongoing ethnic cleansing of Bedouins that started in 2005 with 30,000 demolition orders sent to home owners, and the demolishing of over 1,000 homes during 2011. Such plan would cause a third Palestinian Nakbah (catastrophe).
Thanks to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which brought the Brawer-Begin Plan to the attention of the European Union, who has recently decided to exclude any Israeli entity with activity in occupied Palestinian territory from participating in the EU financial instruments such as loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB). Among those excluded will be major Israeli banks such as Bank Hapoalim, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank and Bank Leumi since they all operate illegally in the occupied Palestinian territory. Other Israeli companies such as Mekorot; the national Israeli water company, and the Israeli electric car company Better Place, who both have received €120m and €40m loans respectively from EIB in 2011 and 2012 would also be affected. According to the Guardian many Israeli officials and commentators have termed the EU’s move an “earthquake”.
To improve its reputation and to counter act the EU’s decision the Israelis decided to re-enter into peace talks with the Palestinians, yet Netanyahu rejected Kerry’s request for temporary freeze of settlements, and on the eve of PA’s decision to join peace talks the Israelis announced their plans to build 1500 more housing units in the West Bank and 3600 units in East Jerusalem.
The Zionist-occupied American administration is interested into assuring Israel’s hegemony in the region and in dividing the Middle East into smaller weaker states plagued with sectarian conflicts. In the Palestinian/Israeli peace talks, the US is a pro-Israeli biased broker. To tip the balance towards Israel the American administration has sent John Kerry, who few years ago had discovered his Jewish roots, to threaten the PA of cutting off financial aid if they don’t return to the futile talks. To add pressure on the Palestinians Kerry had appointed Martin Indyk, former American ambassador to Israel and another pro-Israel Zionist Jew, to oversee and to facilitate (manipulate) talks with Palestinians. Kerry said that Indyk has a deep appreciation (prejudice) of the Middle East conflict and the art of American diplomacy (conniving) in the region, and would now serve as the American envoy (manipulator) during the talks.
With such scenario one can easily predict the outcome of these talks.
*Dr. Elias Akleh is an Arab writer from a Palestinian descent, born in the town of Beit-Jala. His family was first evicted from Haifa after the “Nakba” of 1948 war during the first Zionist occupation of part of Palestine, then from Beitj-Jala after the “Nakseh” of 1967 war when Zionist Israeli military expansion occupied the rest of all Palestine. He is living now in exile in the US and publishes articles on the web.