Jeff Halper, author of the “Matrix of Control” (of the West Bank, by Israel), and of the more recent essay, “Warehousing the Palestinians”, has just written:
“Struggling as I have for the past decades to grasp the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and find ways to get out of this interminable and absolutely superfluous conflict, I have been two-thirds successful. After many years of activism and analysis, I think I have put my finger on the first third of the equation: What is the problem? My answer, which has withstood the test of time and today is so evident that it elicits the response…’duh’…is that all Israeli governments are unwaveringly determined to maintain complete control of Palestine/Israel from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, frustrating any just and workable solution based on Palestinian claims to self-determination. There will be no negotiated settlement, period. The second part of the equation – how can the conflict be resolved? – is also easily answerable. I don’t mean entering into the one state/two state conundrum and deciding which option best. Under certain circumstances both could work, and I can think of at least 3-4 other viable options as well … That leaves the third and most intractable part of the equation: how to we get there? Employing the linear analysis we have used over the years, you can’t. In those terms we are at a dead-end of a dead ‘process’. Israel will never end its Occupation voluntarily; the best it may agree to is apartheid, but the permanent warehousing of the Palestinians is more what it has in mind. Given the massive ‘facts on the ground’ Israel has imposed on the Occupied Territories, the international community will not exert enough pressure on Israel to realize even a two-state solution (which leaves Israel on 78% of historic Palestine, with no right of refugee return); given the veto power over any political process enjoyed by the American Congress, locked into an unshakable bi-partisan “pro-Israel” position, the international community cannot exert that required pressure. And the Palestinians, fragmented and with weak leadership, have no clout. Indeed, they’re not even in the game. In terms of any sort of rational, linear, government-led ‘peace process’, we have arrived at the end of the road”.
Still, Halper writes, he sees two possibilities ahead — one (the second one) far more difficult than the other:
Continue reading Jeff Halper: The peace process is over…
Jonathan Cook has written about his talk with Haifa University Professor of Political Science, Asad Ghanem, who describes the divide-and-rule strategy that has been used so successfully against the Palestinians.
Professor Ghanem tells Cook that “the original goal of Israel’s founders was to use a sophisticated version of divide-and-rule to weaken an emerging Palestinian national movement that opposed Zionism. The war of 1948 that created Israel led to the first and most significant division: between the minority of Palestinians who remained inside the new territory of Israel and the refugees forced outside its borders, who today are numbered in millions. Since 1967, Israel has fostered many further splits: between the cities and rural areas; between the West Bank and Gaza; between East Jerusalem and the West Bank; between the main rival political movements, Fatah and Hamas; and between the PA leadership and the diaspora. Israel’s guiding principle has been to engender discord between Palestinians by putting the interests of each group into conflict, said Dr Ghanem. ‘A feuding Palestinian nation was never likely to be in a position to run its own affairs’. He is dismissive of plans by Mr Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, to try to revive the Oslo process by bypassing Israel and seeking the international community’s blessing for the establishment of a Palestinian state next summer. Palestinian leaders who have pursued statehood, Dr Ghanem added, have done so on terms dictated by Israel. First the rights of the refugees to be considered part of the Palestinian nation were sacrificed, then those of the Palestinians inside Israel. Next parts of East Jerusalem and all of Gaza were excluded. And now finally, he said, even significant parts of the West Bank were almost certain to be counted outside a future Palestinian state. ‘The core of the negotiations for Abbas is about ending the occupation, but he has progressively conceded to Israel its very narrow definition of what constitutes occupied land. The rights of the refugees and other Palestinians to be included in the Palestinian nation now exist chiefly at the level of rhetoric’.”
Continue reading Jonathan Cook talks with Haifa U. Professor Asad Ghanem about divide-and-rule
The U.S. State Department’s Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told journalists in Washington on Friday that America would “discourage frankly” anything that might affect resumption of “direct” Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Here are some excerpts from Toner’s exchange with journalists:
“QUESTION: Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator was quoted yesterday that the U.S. asked the Palestinians to give them two more weeks to try to convince Israel to freeze settlements. And the Arab League gave the U.S. a one-month period which will end on Monday. [n.b. – as we reported yesterday, the Arab League appears to have already extended this period for another month…]
MR. TONER: Well —
QUESTION: And can you comment on this?
MR. TONER: I really can’t. As we’ve said time and time again from this podium as well as Senator Mitchell and Secretary Clinton, we’re not going to talk about the details. They did meet yesterday. He did meet with Senator Mitchell. But I’m not going into what they discussed. But obviously, we remain hard at work and our priority remains getting the two sides back in direct negotiations.
QUESTION: Mind if I have a follow-up?
MR. TONER: Yeah, Michelle.
QUESTION: He also talked about one option that the Palestinians are weighing seriously is going to the United Nations and asking for a UN to declare a Palestinian state.
MR. TONER: And again, we —
QUESTION: What’s your position on that?
MR. TONER: Well, we talked about this yesterday. Our goal remains getting both sides back into direct negotiations. It is ultimately the only that all of these outstanding issues are going to be resolved. And so anything that might affect getting those – getting both parties back into direct negotiations, we would discourage frankly…
Continue reading U.S.: Middle East peace is still a priority, still working on "direct" negotiations
This is the second renewal of a deadline.
Arab League Ministers have just extended for another month a deadline set on 8 October — after a unilateral settlement “moratorium” declared by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu expired on 26 September without renewal — to give American officials one more month to try to get things going again.
Arab League officials have (1) threatened to remove the Arab Peace Initiative from the table — it basically offers full recognition of, and normalization with, Israel, in exchange for an Israeli agreement to withdraw to the 1967 borders — and (2) hinted that they might withdraw backing for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under American auspices, if Israel does not cease its settlement activities.
Netanyahu is going to the U.S. next week, and Israeli officials have hinted that important moves may be made during Netanyahu’s meeings in Washington. So far, he is only scheduled to see American Vice President Joe Biden — whose visit to Israel last March was marred by Israeli announcements of movement in settlement construction in Ramat Shlomo on West Bank land adjacent to East Jerusalem.
U.S. State Department officials have indicated that efforts are underway to find a time for Netanyahu to meet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Former New York Times man Bernard Gwertzman, now a Consulting Editor with the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, has just published an interview with Sari Nusseibeh, President, Al-Quds University in Jerusalem — and a former Palestinian representative in Jerusalem — in which Nusseibeh has repeated again his support, and preference, for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Nusseibeh told Gwertzman: “I believe a two-state solution, if it’s realizable, is probably the best kind of option. It would involve compromises from both sides. The alternative is not really doable through negotiations. For example, if you think about a one-state solution, it’s not going to happen through negotiations because the majority of Israelis would probably be against it. And if you think of any other scenarios, again, you’ll find that most people will probably be against it. So we have a situation where if we are left without a two-state solution, then we’re going to be in for a long haul. I don’t want to overdramatize it, but it’s not going to be beautiful, or a good situation for either side”…
What does he mean by “in for a long haul”? Hasn’t it already been a long haul?
It seems what he means is, there needs to be a better occupation until the two populations can be separated…
Continue reading Sari Nusseibeh – again, on the two-state vs one-state solution