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Sunday, March 22, 2009

The West is lying about the 'peace process'

YNet publishes the first of a two-part op-ed by Moshe Elad, an IDF Reserve Colonel who headed the security coordination mechanism with the 'Palestinian Authority' during Oslo's heyday. Elad lists three ways in which the West is lying about the 'peace process,' and argues that keeping the 'process' going has become an end in and of itself for which only Israel is paying the price.

The three lies are that everyone other than Israel is enjoying the 'process' too much because it takes pressure off them, that Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen represents the 'Palestinian people,' and this third lie that should make it clear that there will never (at least as far anyone can foresee) be a negotiated peace between Israel and the 'Palestinians.'
The third statement borders on a failure to tell the truth: "The sides are discussing the issue of the right of return." Come on. The Palestinians never compromised on their major demand to bring back the refugees to the Land of Israel, including the areas within the "Green Line."

By doing so, they have neutralized any possibility of a genuine peace process and prevented any chance of ending the conflict and reaching a historic compromise.

Any attempt to elicit a message of compromise or flexibility from the Palestinians on the subject is always undertaken on Israel's initiative, and the Palestinian side always denies it quickly.

Those deeply familiar with the status of and part played by the "right of return" within the Palestinian heritage realizes that no Palestinian human being would dare make any concessions on the matter, so why be deceptive and make false statements?

Therefore, the West, which fears that the "process" will end right at its outset, guided both sides to postpone discussions on the issue of the "right of return" to the end, and meanwhile both sides can amuse themselves in dealing with easier matters such as Jerusalem, the future of the settlements, and the borders…however, on those issues too, no substantive agreement has been reached thus far.
I would have stated the third point differently. First, the idea of postponing the hard issue of 'refugees' to the end of the 'process' - after Israel has presumably conceded all the 'easier' points - is one whose genesis is not in the West but in the original Oslo Declaration of Principles negotiated by Shimon Peres' poodles (Yossi Beilin, Uri Savir and Ron Pundak) with the 'Palestinians' in Oslo in 1993. So we cannot really blame the West for that. Second, while I agree with Elad that 'refugees' are the thing on which the 'Palestinians' are least likely to compromise, I haven't seen them compromise on anything else either.

The problem with this 'process' is not its continued existence but that in the 'Palestinians' eyes it's not a negotiation - but rather a 'process' of making Israel accede to all of their demands. Unfortunately, much of our foreign ministry has adopted the 'Palestinian' narrative of the 'process' (which has kept it employed for the last fifteen years) and therefore has provided no counter-balance that might cause the West to think otherwise.

Will the Netanyahu government provide a different notion of what the process ought to be? Not if Tzipi Livni ends up being foreign minister.


At 9:32 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - its political Kabuki theater. Its just going through the motions and it will go nowhere. That's why its called the "peace process" for a reason. Its form over substance. The specifics don't matter as much as the Palestinians and Israelis talking for no reason at all. That's the whole point to it.

Caroline Glick called it "Hamas Free Lunch" in her article Friday.
As she points out, it really should be called as you just observed a mode of surrender to Palestinian demands on Israel's part, an "appeasement process," which is its true nature. What the West wants is the appearance as opposed to the actual moderation of Palestinian behavior. All the other side has to say is the magic words and all will be forgiven.

Read it all.

At 3:43 PM, Blogger R-MEW Editors said...

I think officials involved in the "peace process" fall into one of four camps. There are those who genuinely believe -- despite all evidence to the contrary -- that with enough time and finesse, the nut can be cracked and a durable settlement can be achieved. We might refer to this group as the "Rubik's Cube" adherents. George Mitchell probably falls into this camp.

The second group consists of those realists who recognize that the process is not going anywhere but that year in, year out, we must go through the motions to cater to the Saudis, project American power in the Middle East, and appease both the Arab street and influential Arabists in the West. I would place George Bush (post-intifada) in this camp.

The next group consists of those career diplomats who may or may not believe a settlement is possible but personally benefit from the process in all kinds of pecuniary ways including lucrative consulting contracts, book deals, and world travel. I’m thinking Dennis Ross here.

Those in the fourth group actively but covertly seek the destruction of the state of Israel and, not unlike the first group, believe that if they only twist and turn enough (mostly the arms of Israeli politicians), they will eventually succeed in matching up the greens, reds, and yellows. Javier Solana and most of Obama’s foreign policy and national security team line up here.

At 10:09 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

FinanceDoc, its probably more a mixture of those four motives for everyone. For a few its a genuine idealism about peace, for most its about protecting their interests and monetary payoffs from wealthy Arab benefactors can best be seduced by bludgeoning a compliant Israel into continuing to make concessions since its the one party most amenable to outside pressure and on the other extreme, there are a few who don't care if it destroys Israel since they believe Israel IS the obstacle to peace in the region and around the world. For all of the above reasons, the world still has a vested interest in the appeasement process even though for most Israelis, its now a dead-end.

Its a very hard four perhaps eight years ahead for the Jewish State.


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