Amira Hass: the negotiations are only virtual

Haaretz’ veteran correspondent Amira Hass wrote on Thursday that “The negotiations over the future of our land, from the sea to the river, and the two peoples living in it, are proceeding along two parallel channels. It has been that way since the Madrid and Oslo talks for 17 years now. One channel is between the Palestinians and Israelis – such as Tuesday’s meeting in Jerusalem between chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. The other is being conducted between the Israelis and themselves … The Palestinians have declared that they are not retreating from the international resolutions regarding a solution (for example the June 4, 1967 borders), and are demanding an immediate end to construction in the settlements. The Israelis are demanding that the Palestinians fight terror. The talk is the same as it was nine and 12 years ago, which makes the current negotiations virtual only. The real progress is in the intra-Israeli channel. In these negotiations, the future of more than 10 percent of the West Bank has already been decided: the area west of the separation fence/wall … It seems that in the intra-Israeli negotiations the size of the enclaves of the prospective Palestinian state overlap more and more with the land registered as privately owned with the Civil Administration. In the intra-Israeli negotiations, the boundaries of the concessions over Jerusalem have also been drawn: After Israel took most of the available, unoccupied land of the Palestinian villages and neighborhoods to prevent them from expanding and to create its own settlements – called neighborhoods – Israel agreed to relinquish the residents. The land to us, the people to the Palestinian Authority. And the world will glorify Israel for its willingness to compromise and tear from its heart holy parts such as Anata and Kafr A’qab. Despite domestic opposition, the eternal representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization and PA – Mahmoud Abbas, Ahmed Qureia and Saeb Erekat – continue to take part in these virtual negotiations. On Tuesday, following a meeting with Abbas, the Fatah Central Committee warned that continued settlement construction is likely to wreck the negotiations. The warning may have been for internal consumption only, but similar alarms were sounded in 1996 and 2000. Israelis dismissed them in the belief that the participation by senior Palestinian officials in the virtual negotiations is what counted. To the Palestinian public, the warnings did not sound hollow. It is impossible to predict how the Palestinian people will interpret the warnings this time around, and whether they will see them as a signal that they have the right to explode in anger once again over their continuing dispossession from their lands and future”. Amira Hass’ commentary on the negotiations is published here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *