The Futility of the “Peace Process”

Via Stephen Walt, Akiva Eldar’s piece in Haaretz on long-time Middle East adviser Dennis Ross lays out pretty forcefully the futility of the “peace process” as directed by U.S.-Israel. Futile for the prospects of a Palestinian state, that is. And now Dennis Ross is attempting to suck the Palestinians back into the self-defeating peace process:

If they give up on the UN vote, Ross argues, then Netanyahu will be so kind as to negotiate a final-status agreement with them. Has anyone heard anything recently about a construction freeze in the settlements?

Ross is trying to peddle the illusion that the most right-wing government Israel has ever seen will abandon the strategy of eradicating the Oslo approach in favor of fulfilling the hated agreement. In an effort to save his latest boss from choosing between recognizing a Palestinian state at the risk of clashing with the Jewish community and voting against recognition at the risk of damaging U.S. standing in the Arab world, Ross is trying to drag the Palestinians back into the “peace process” trap.

The route the Palestinians plan to take for U.N. recognition in September has been belittled by some, but it seems like it may be a real threat to the Israelis, threatening to dissolve much of their political leverage. Indeed, as Eldar points out, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman “had previously threatened that if the United Nations recognizes a Palestinian state, Israel will annul the Oslo Accords.” That means abandoning the longtime basis for negotiations on the 67 borders, it means reoccupying Gaza with the IDF as well as settlements, it means cracking down harshly on the West Bank.

But the notion that the drawn-out peace process is just a cover for slow and gradual Israeli incursions deeper into Palestine coupled with slow and gradual weakening of legitimacy for the Palestinians is well founded. Before the hoopla in May over Obama’s daring reiteration of the long-time basis of negotiations and then Netanyahu’s resentful backlash to it, Obama’s first step was (ostensibly) to request (pretty please with a cherry on top?) a settlement freeze. And the immediate proceedings exemplify Israeli obstinacy and Palestinian marginalization. From the Palestine Papers:

Netanyahu rejected the US president’s request for a complete settlement freeze, agreeing only to suspend new construction in the West Bank (thousands of new tenders were issued in East Jerusalem during the freeze period). But the White House accepted the offer, and Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, would later praise Israel for its “unprecedented” concession”.

Dennis Ross, the State Department’s unabashedly pro-Israel envoy, tried to put a positive spin on Netanyahu’s offer during that September 2009 meeting in Jericho attended by Hale and Erekat.

[…] And in an October 1, 2009 meeting, Mitchell downplayed the importance of Jerusalem, telling Erekat to take comfort in Israel’s offer of “restraint”. “With negotiations, we will have more leverage, and there will be less settlement activity [in East Jerusalem],” Mitchell said, according to an NSU summary of the meeting.

The facts on the ground, however, show that Mitchell’s confidence was misplaced: During the 10-month West Bank freeze, the Jerusalem municipality approved, among other projects, 1,600 housing tenders in Ramat Shlomo; 377 in Neve Yaakov; 230 in Pisgat Ze’ev; 117 in Har Homa; and 20 in Sheikh Jarrah.

(Settlers in the West Bank quickly made up for lost time, too: They started 1,629 new houses in six weeks after the freeze ended, nearly as many as they started in all of 2009, according to the Israeli group Peace Now.)

And soon we will again be in the phase of “restarting talks” in the context of the upcoming U.N. vote. If history’s any guide, that phase will again be met with smiles and handshakes in front of the camera and then further Israeli dereliction, with full U.S. support.

 

  • Fivish

    Oslo led to war. The Gaza evacuation led to war. Whenever the Arabs are given land it leads to war, not peace. When the Arabs are appeased they see it as weakness and attack. Negotiation is for them weakness. They will never negotiate. They only respect strength. Israel has to make them understand that all the land west of the Jordan river is Jewish land as determined at San Remo and enshrined in the Mandate and the Anglo-American Treaty. No ammount of appeasement will ever bring peace. The Arabs west of the Jordan river must be encouraged to go to their homeland in Jordan. They already have 78% of the Jewish national Home as envisiaged by Balfour in 1917; enough!

    • Brad_Smith2

      Do you live in the US of A? If so and you are not a Native American then you had better go back to were your ancestors came from. At least according to your ideas.

    • walshtrhee

      If all these Arabs are so bad how can the Iranians be any worse?

  • skulz fontaine

    "Peace process." Oh yeah, that's a laugher. Not really so much comedy funny as it is humanitarianly tragic. Ethnic cleansing, apartheid, Zionist racist hatred, religious hypocrisy, and corrupt politicians in open seditious treason to these United States of America.
    Come on Congress, do that standing ovation thing for Bibs 'slaughterhouse' Netanyahu again. That schtick might have been funny had it not been so utterly galling.

  • Brad_Smith2

    Funny how he believes that the president has open access to money for war. Sorry dude that is the job of congress, they decide what can be spent on war NOT the President.

    If congress does their job then we wouldn't be in these wars. Yes the President should be impeached for this, but congress wont do that either. You know why? Because they don't want to set a precident because they know that thier party will someday do the same thing.

    • liberranter

      Congress is merely a cesspool full of self-serving criminals, each of whom craves the unlimited dictatorial and imperial powers of the presidency. "Service" in the castrated "legislature" is just a stepping stone for most of these creatures.

  • Brad_Smith2

    Sorry but this guy voted every time to increase the war budget.

  • june8642

    There are strictly facts submitted in my previous comments. Check your history and dates. There is absolutely no need for an administrator to "approve" what is recorded history! What is happening at AntiWar.com? Has free speech disappeared from this site?

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