Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Doomed resumption

The resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after three years has received little fanfare or enthusiasm in either camp. In fact both camps are split over the appropriateness of this resumption. You could attribute the resumption to the sheer effort of will of US Secty. of State Kerry, who has made 6 trips to the region in the past 6 months. He has effectively squeezed both sides to meet to discuss the path ahead.

While the Palestinians have agreed to talk without all the ridiculous preconditions that Pres. Abbas set for the resumption, it must be stated that only Israel has made a concrete concession. Of all the four preconditions, that included acceptance by Israel of the pre-1967 lines as the border of a putative Palestinian State, the acceptance by Israel of the right of return of Palestinian "refugees," and a freeze on all Israeli construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem, PM Netanyahu chose perhaps the line of least resistance when he agreed to release 104 Palestinian prisoners who have served at least 20 years in jail since the Oslo Accords of 1993. Although this has been described as a "wrenching" decision, it was probably the only one that he could have persuaded enough of his Cabinet colleagues to support. Even members of the Cabinet from the same party voted on opposite sides on this issue. But, the release will not be before the talks start, therefore not a precondition, but groups of prisoners will be released as the talks progress.

On the Palestinian side there is not only the split between Fatah and Hamas, which totally opposes any talks with the "Israeli enemy," but also there is a split within Fatah between those who see the talks as being a dangerous venture at this time, when the outcome of the uprisings in the Arab world and of the chaos in Syria and Egypt are unknown. But, also there are many in the PA who do not want to sit down and negotiate with Israel, thinking that time is on their side, since according to their deeply held beliefs, Israel is doomed to fail. However, they are not dealing with reality, if one looks at the military strength, the economic power and the degree of modern organization of Israel compared to any Arab country, one cannot but help but be impressed by their short-sightedness.

It is the Palestinians who are poorly organized, who have no military strength to speak of, who are utterly dependent on handouts and are economically a basket case. Yet PM Netanyahu can depend on the Palestinians to act on the basis of their firmly held belief in the so-called rightness of their cause, that the Jews have no rightful claims on the area. Given the extent of this self-deception and the support that they receive from such organizations as the EU, one can predict that these talks will again flounder without the commitment of one side to any true vision of peace.


Post a Comment

<< Home