Wednesday, January 04, 2017

The Pretense of the Peace Process

From The American Interest, 28 Dec 2016:
...conditions are simply not right now for a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and that it is delusional to argue otherwise. ... neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama had a real chance to negotiate an agreement. And ...the UN resolution on settlements isn’t worth the trouble of reading. 
...the peace process has been more of a diplomatic fig leaf than an actual movement towards any kind of possible agreement for many years now. That’s unfortunate for both Israelis and Palestinians, but it’s a reality.
...politicians refer to the peace process and do what they can to keep the idea of a two state solution alive. Israelis, Palestinians, Arab leaders and the United States all have something to gain from at least paying lip service to the idea. But the problem comes when somebody like John Kerry makes the mistake of thinking that he has the talent and the wisdom to achieve what others have failed at in the past. The amount of time and energy that American diplomacy wasted on futile and doomed efforts to get a peace that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians really want right now is mind-blowing—especially when one thinks of all the other world problems that got worse in the last four years.
...The pretense that the peace process has survived from the hopeful years of the early 90s is a form of self-delusion. In fact, the Palestinians rejected the possibility of peace in the 1990s just as they rejected much more favorable plans in the late 1940s and the 1930s. Over and over again the solution that one generation contemptuously rejects becomes the utopia that its children long for. Those who say that the possibility for the two-state solution is fading are not all wrong; Israel is getting stronger and the Palestinians keep getting weaker, and as that happens their bargaining position grows worse.
For security reasons, nationalistic reasons, and religious reasons, many Israelis want the settlement process to continue. The Palestinians are powerless to stop it, and it gets harder every year for the Palestinians and their allies to slow it down. Facts on the ground are being created day by day, and those facts will inevitably play a role in future negotiations. What the Palestinians desperately need is to reach the best agreement they still can, and the terms will be worse ten years from now than they are today.
The odds are that the Palestinians will be unable to pull themselves together in this crisis just as they have so often failed in the past. For more than 100 years [we've seen the] political incompetence of Palestinian leadership and the unorganized, fractured state of Palestinian society ... That remains the case today.
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