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The Most Hopeless Middle East Peace Talks Ever

by shergald Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 at 11:50:58 AM EST

.....'hopeless' was Huffington Post's rendering of the New York Times coverage of the recently announced resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which spoke of 'scant hopes from the beginning.'

Who cannot agree?

Last week, Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, speaking in Dundee, Scotland on a tour sponsored by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, talked about Israel's abandonment of the pretense of diplomacy in favor of a policy of provocation and raw military power, with the ultimate aim of denying Palestinians any chance of forming their own independent state.

And a week before that, Chris Hedges, speaking at a fund raiser for the US Boat to Gaza campaign, called the "peace process (a) cynical, one-way route to the crushing of the Palestinians as a people."

Levy is really talking about the racist Likud agenda of the present government, which will screw Palestinians by offering them a group of Bantustans inside of what will become Greater Israel, the ultimate Likud goal.

Is it any wonder why Moumoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader at this time, has little faith in the peace process which is being encouraged by Mitchell, Clinton, and Obama, and even Netanyahu, who refuses preconditions, but then dictates conditions that can only lead the Palestinians into an unacceptable Apartheid existence? Obama, in one year or so, has turned himself from the savior of Middle East peace (per his Cairo speech) into Netanyahu's poodle (a phrase coined by Booman), which well describes Obama's latest obsequious pandering of the Israel Lobby.

The New York Times article is long, but here are a few paragraphs.

JERUSALEM -- The American invitation on Friday to the Israelis and Palestinians to start direct peace talks in two weeks in Washington was immediately accepted by both governments. But just below the surface there was an almost audible shrug. There is little confidence -- close to none -- on either side that the Obama administration's goal of reaching a comprehensive deal in one year can be met.

Instead, there is a resigned fatalism in the air. Most analysts view the talks as pairing the unwilling with the unable -- a strong right-wing Israeli coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with no desire to reach an agreement against a relatively moderate Palestinian leadership that is too weak and divided to do so. "These direct negotiations are the option of the crippled and the helpless," remarked Zakaria al-Qaq, vice president of Al Quds University and a Palestinian moderate, when asked his view of the development. "It is an act of self-deception that will lead nowhere."


"Abbas is naked before his whole community," observed Mahdi Abdul Hadi, chairman of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, an independent research institute in East Jerusalem. "Everyone knows that this Israeli government is not going to deliver anything."

Most Palestinians -- and many on the Israeli left -- argue that there are now too many Israeli settlements in the West Bank for a viable, contiguous Palestinian state to arise there. Settlement growth has continued despite a construction moratorium announced by Mr. Netanyahu. Moreover, support for many of the settlements remains relatively strong in Israel. In other words, if this view holds, the Israelis have closed out any serious option of a two-state solution. So the talks are useless.

(Link to the rest of the article above.)

And yes, it contains mention of all of the "generous offers" Israel made to the Palestinians in the past, and it does so without blinking, without reference to the Oslo Hoax, which allowed the settlement of the Palestinian territories to double under the Clinton administration, Barak's so-called "generous offer" at Camp David 2000, which he later confessed he was not able to deliver, or Olmert's alleged secret offer, which was leaked a year later after negotiations stopped.

None of these Israeli efforts were bona fide.  Except for a few months during the Rabin administration, the colonization of Palestinian lands never ceased, it continues today, and will continue during these so-called peace talks. Is there more to know about where the talks will lead?

Netanyahu's tact here, after the ploys of past Israeli PMs Shamir and Sharon, is to continue talking while establishing more facts on the ground. But today, it is Obama who is leading the Palestinians into this old trap.

Just an attachment, this message from Viva Palestina, George Galloway's British organization to stop the siege of Gaza, for Euros interested in human rights:

With only a month to go before the Viva Palestina Global Lifeline To Gaza sets off from London, individuals and teams from across the world are busy fundraising and preparing for their journey to the besieged region of Gaza.

They will depart London on September 18th and travel through Europe and the Middle East, arriving in Gaza in early October.

They will meet up with 2 other convoys that will depart from Doha and from Morocco, and together, will form the largest convoy to date to enter Gaza with aid.

Last Saturday night in Tipperary, Ireland, legendary singer Shane McGowan from the world famous group "The Pogues" turned up at a fundraiser and treated the packed audience to 8 songs. Shane had the crowd dancing non stop as he sang a few Pogues classics and a few Thin Lizzy covers. Shane was supporting the galant efforts of the "Tipp2Gaza" team who are joining the convoy. Speaking on the night, Shane said: "It is an honour to support not only Joe and Jim who are taking part, but to support the Palestinians at this critical time."

In New Zealand, a major fundraising effort is under way by the amazing "Kia Ora Gaza" group. Led by team captain Roger Fowler, a group of 6 people will travel to London and drive 3 vehicles loaded with aid to Gaza. Speaking to the press, Roger outlined their objectivies for taking part. "Kia Ora Gaza is on a peaceful humanitarian mission. We are fund-raising to deliver aid to people in Gaza. They are suffering under an Israeli siege which has been condemned by the United Nations, International Red Cross and most other world bodies."

As part of their fundraising efforts, KLARC, one of New Zealand's best graphic artists, who also sketched Kia Ora Gaza's famous truck logo, has signed his original print and has donated it to the team for auction. Already there has been considerable interest and bidding, and will no doubt reach a high price before the auction closes. For more information, check out their web site at www.kiaoragaza.net

Across the UK, there are many teams busy fundraising and collecting medical, educational, building and farming supplies. Many of these items are banned from entering Gaza, and it is vital that these get through to the stricken region. Travelling on his 3rd convoy to Gaza, Tom Baker, the team leader from the "Slough To Gaza" group said, "Having travelled on 2 previous Viva Palestina convoys, I have seen 1st hand the conditions that the Palestinians in Gaza have to live through on a daily basis. To me it is way beyond belief that the world has allowed the population in Gaza to remain locked up for nearly 4 years now. The time has now come to say enough is enough, and by going back to Gaza once more, I hope to play my part in not only breaking the siege, but ending the siege once and for all."

Viva Palestina is a registered charity founded by George Galloway following the attacks on Gaza 18 months ago. George has led 3 convoys of aid into Gaza, the most recent one in January of this year. To date, over 1,000  people in 450 vehicles loaded with aid have successfully broken the siege on Gaza, and delivered millions of pounds worth of aid.

There are still many ways in which people can help out on this convoy, by fundraising for aid, donating aid, contacting local and national media, distributing flyers, or helping out local volunteers from your area. For futher information, please visit our web site at www.vivapalestina.org or telephone 0044 7751 006 256.

Thanks for your continued support,

Viva Palestina

by shergald on Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 at 12:21:58 PM EST
Reflections from Mondoweiss:

NYT' finally lets its readers know that 2SS is all but over
Philip Weiss (with permissions)
August 21, 2010

In a story about the resumption of direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis today, the Times' Ethan Bronner glumly concedes that the two-state solution is likely DOA:

Most Palestinians -- and many on the Israeli left -- argue that there are now too many Israeli settlements in the West Bank for a viable, contiguous Palestinian state to arise there. Settlement growth has continued despite a construction moratorium announced by Mr. Netanyahu.

Moreover, support for many of the settlements remains relatively strong in Israel. In other words, if this view holds, the Israelis have closed out any serious option of a two-state solution. So the talks are useless.

This is a significant development.

Anyone who has visited the West Bank and East Jerusalem can see that the idea of two states is all but utopian given the reality of Jewish colonization; but the ideal/fiction of two states must be endorsed in Washington and New York if you are going to be taken seriously, because saying otherwise means that you think the Jewish state is finished. I have known people to privately concede that the idea of a two state solution is crazy but publicly say that they believe in it--in order to be taken seriously. Yesterday on the beach here in Cape Cod, with my mom, I heard a leftwing friend explain to a rightwing friend that she is "for the two-state solution"-- a good reminder of the fact that believing in two states is still an avant-garde position, in Jewish life, in complete defiance of the reality, that there is one state there, administered effectively by one side. Bronner's statement opens the real hope that the Times will begin to inform its readers about the actual state of affairs in Palestine and allow them to start thinking of more creative ways to end the oppression and statelessness of Palestinians. As Noam Sheizaf does in the post above.

On a related note: Bronner quickly blames the end of the two state solution on the Palestinians, saying that they have repeatedly rejected Israel offers of Partition. I have some sympathy for this view--if I were Palestinian, I would think, if we hold out long enough, we will get a majority Palestinian state--but then wouldn't you do the same thing in the same dispossessed situation?

Also Bronner quotes two Palestinians in the piece but, emphasizing the "Israeli perspective," far more Israelis. I count four Israelis, including neocon Dore Gold-- who despite working for Israeli governments makes $96,000 a year as a scholar of the American Enterprise Institute. The Times says that the piece includes reporting from Ramallah by Khaled Abu-Akr. Naturally I wonder if one or both Palestinian quotes were provided by him; and if Bronner interviews Palestinians; or if the fact that his son is now serving in the IDF makes it hard for him to get Palestinians on the phone? Just making trouble.

No wonder no one listens to Bronner.

by shergald on Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 at 01:03:16 PM EST
For those not uptodate: 2SS means "two state solution."

by shergald on Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 at 01:04:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The settlements (i.e., cities, towns, and villages) Israel has built in the West Bank, which it proposed to enlarge while peace negotiations continue. The ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley has not stopped either.


Another version: The Palestinian Gulag showing the areas appropriated. These include the border regions and the Jordan Valley to the right.


by shergald on Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 at 04:02:00 PM EST
There's so much stuff out there on these phony negotiations that there is not enough room for all of it. Here's your one-state.

Chris Hedges: Formalizing Israel's Land Grab

Time is running out for Israel. And the Israeli government knows it. The Jewish Diaspora, especially the young, has a waning emotional and ideological investment in Israel. The demographic boom means that Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories will soon outnumber Jews. And Israel's increasing status as a pariah nation means that informal and eventually formal state sanctions against the country are probably inevitable.

Desperate Israeli politicians, watching opposition to their apartheid state mount, have proposed a perverted form of what they term "the one-state solution." It is the latest tool to thwart a Palestinian state and allow Israel to retain its huge settlement complexes and land seizures in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The idea of a single state was backed by Moshe Arens, a former defense minister and foreign minister from the Likud Party, in a column he wrote last month in the newspaper Haaretz asking "Is There Another Option?" Arens has been joined by several other Israeli politicians including Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.

The Israeli vision, however, does not include a state with equal rights for Jewish and Palestinians citizens. The call for a single state appears to include pushing Gaza into the unwilling arms of Egypt and incorporating the West Bank and East Jerusalem into Israel. Palestinians within Israeli-controlled territory, however, will remain burdened with crippling travel, work and security restrictions already in place. Palestinians in the occupied territories, for example, cannot reclaim lost property or acquire Israeli citizenship, yet watch as Jews born outside of Israel and with no prior tie to the country become Israeli citizens and receive government-subsidized housing. Palestinians in the West Bank live in a series of roughly eight squalid, ringed ghettos and are governed by military courts. Jews living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, like all full Israeli citizens, are subject to Israeli civilian law and constitutional protection.

Chris Hedges

by shergald on Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 at 04:18:07 PM EST
Richard Silverstein (Tukan Olam) weighs in with more pessimism, so long as Obama and the Quartet fail to use pressure:

Why U.S.-Brokered Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks Will Fail

The ink isn't even dry on the press release announcing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks beginning under U.S. auspices on September 2nd, before just about everyone except Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is sighing with abject resignation and conviction that they will be a failure.  Why?  First, because the U.S. president has not publicly told the sides what the consequences of failure will be.  There must be a downside for the parties that will keep them in line when the going gets tough (as it assuredly will).  With no downside, Bibi will play Obama like a tin fiddle.  Second, Bibi doesn't want the talks to succeed and will do absolutely nothing to make them work.  Why should he?  Where's the benefit to him?  His coalition is filled with far-right yahoos who will scream bloody murder at the first sign of weakness from their leader.  Does he need such headaches?  Does he relish the idea of retiring to a plush office at the Shalem Center so he can gaze fondly at a portrait of his sugar daddy, Shelly Adelson, on the wall?  Not likely.

Frankly, I can't see anything in this for Mahmoud Abbas either, and have no clue why he agreed to participate.  Did he enjoy having endless coffees with Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem and Ramallah so much that he wants to resume the pleasure, except his time in Washington?  What will he get from this?  Another upgrade of his D.C. digs from third world backwater semi-official would-be embassy to almost embassy of a soon to be nation in waiting?

If this is all the Obama administration has up its sleeve it has a losing hand.  But if it has a backup plan in the certain event of failure, then it might still wrest victory from the jaws of defeat.  If it is prepared and possibly even expects failure and has a Plan B which would call for an internationally imposed settlement on both sides, then he might be onto something.  In the end, the only thing that can save the parties from mutually assured destruction is external intervention.

http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2010/08/21/why-u-s-brokered-israeli-palestinian-peace-t alks-will-fail/

by shergald on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 09:37:09 PM EST
[ET Moderation Technology™]

Two comments consisting of excessively long pasted quotes have been toggled in this thread.

shergald, if you will not understand that there are rules here, understand this: your refusal to follow posting guidelines implies that your abusively long quotes will be hidden.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 26th, 2010 at 01:56:51 AM EST

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