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Posts Tagged ‘peace process

The peace process industry keeps the Israeli-Palestinian conflict running

Ben White. Monday 19 June 2017 #Occupation

Rather than admit their methods haven’t worked, pundits and scholars – often participants in unsuccessful peace talks themselves – push tired approaches that only keep Palestinians occupied

At an April conference in Washington DC held by the Middle East Policy Council, University of Pennsylvania-based political scientist Professor Ian Lustick had some strong criticism for what he described as “the continuous merry-go-round of American-orchestrated negotiations”.

After analysing the interests and roles played by the Israeli government, the US government, and the Palestinian Authority, Lustick turned his attention to a “fourth player” – what he called “the peace process industry“.

This industry, according to Lustick, is made up of “legions of pundits, scholars, commentators, funders and conference organisers”, whose “speculations, warnings, maps and advice fill the newspapers, blogging sites and airwaves”.

In particular, Lustick highlighted the role of this industry’s “two-state solution proponents”, who, “given the choice between a vanishingly small chance of success and having to develop and adapt an entirely new framework for pursuing values of justice, peace and equality and democracy in this domain, they prefer continuing the fight”.

He added: “It is far easier to raise funds, preserve institutions and promote careers by describing a closing window of opportunity for two states than to ever admit that in fact a window is closed.”

The result is that “both protagonists and observers [are discouraged] from thinking beyond the outworn categories of two states to imagine other possibilities”. (I tend to disagree: first a 2 State settlement and then opening new windows to the process)

Sample study

This peace process industry hides in plain sight. Its members maintain a high-profile public presence, but one whose role and influence is framed as independent and technocratic.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

In five pieces published over three weeks in May by The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Politico, CNN and Reuters, 16 regional analysts were cited on 22 occasions.

Dennis Ross and David Makovsky were both cited in three of the five articles – the pair are colleagues at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).

Career diplomat Aaron David Miller and former US envoy to Israel Dan Shapiro were quoted in two of the five pieces.

Together, Ross, Makovsky, Miller and Shapiro constituted almost half of the total 22 expert contributions.

Other analysts cited include Ronald Reagan and George W Bush-era official Elliott Abrams, veteran US diplomat and expert Martin Indyk, and former Israeli military and diplomatic figures like Gilead Sher and Amnon Reshef.

Of the 22 times that an expert was quoted, only three were Palestinian: Jibril Rajoub, Hanan Ashrawi (the sole woman of the 22), and Hani al-Masri.

Taking these five articles as a whole, written in the context of President Donald Trump’s Middle East tour, we notice the following:

First, Palestinian voices are marginalised, or sometimes absent entirely;

second, readers are not informed of the analysts’ own personal views; and

third, many are commenting on a “peace process” in which they themselves have been (unsuccessful) participants.

Makovsky (a US-Israeli dual national), for example, worked as senior advisor to the special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under secretary of state John Kerry.

That special envoy was Martin Indyk, who took a break from Brookings to take up the role, before returning in 2014.

Ross, too, is a former US negotiator (albeit one who believeswe need to be advocates for Israel”).

‘The most spectacular deception’

This revolving door between think-tanks and government is a key element in sustaining the tired approaches and bankrupt frameworks that have helped keep the Palestinians occupied, colonised and dispossessed – at no significant cost to Israel with respect to consequences or sanctions.

The structure of the peace process imposes “mutual obligations” of “both sides” – Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) – despite the fact that the former is a powerful, occupying state, and the latter is an interim, autonomous entity for the occupied population.

The peace process industry experts play a key role in talking up or echoing the latest demands of the PA fashioned by Israel the US or others, whether it’s “reform” of security services or financial institutions, or ending “incitement” in the media and the education system.

In turn, Israel is urged to adopt tokenistic gestures such as economic “confidence-building measures”, issue more work permits to enter the pre-1967 lines, or lift some of the restrictions on Palestinians’ usage of territory in “Area C” of the West Bank.

Writing a decade ago in the London Review of Books, Henry Siegman described “the Middle East peace process” as possibly “the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history.”

Last month, writing in The New York Times, former Palestinian negotiator excoriated a peace process that has produced “no progress” after “more than two decades.” She continued:

I spent several years involved on the Palestinian side of the negotiations and can attest to their futility…When we spoke of international law and the illegality of settlements, Israeli negotiators laughed in our faces. Power is everything, they would say, and you have none.”

During a recent seminar at Queen Mary University London, Palestinian author and academic Ghada Karmi told attendees: “We must stop talking about Palestine, and do something about Israel.”

( The western societies that were pressured to hide their racist and apartheid penchants publicly, vent their rage by openly supporting Israel policies without any limitation in “”free expression” rights)

Such a course of action is unlikely, however, so long as the “peace process” merry-go-round continues, ably assisted by its industry of experts, providing Israel cover for permanently-temporary occupation.

– Ben White is the author of  Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide and Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy. He is a writer for Middle East Monitor and his articles have been published by Al Jazeera, al-Araby, Huffington Post, The Electronic Intifada, The Guardian’s Comment is Free and more.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Senator George Mitchell dispatched with pre-conditions

 

The European envoys and leaders are talking with Palestinian Hamas and resistance factions though not publicly.  George Mitchell is ordered not to meet with Hamas.  If Obama and Hillary refuses to negotiate with Hamas who represents 65% of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank then with whom Mitchell is to dialogue for a settlement of the Palestinian/Israeli crisis?

We, in the Middle East would like to assume that Mitchel trip is to present recommendations for opening direct negotiation with the Palestinian resistance movements. The Obama administration might need a fresh and current document to discuss the new phase after the gaza horrors before negotiating with Hamas; that is what we want to believe, otherwise Mitchel is set up for failure and he should know it. 

     

I cannot help but to re-publish a previous article that is as current as it can be “A Walk in the Park for Barak Obama: Gaza (January 10, 2009)”

Within two weeks and single handedly, Bush Junior and Cheney have shredded the mask of Zionism.  For a century, the Western establishments have tried restlessly to design a human mask for the Zionist movement because Zionist ideology suited their interests in the Middle East to perfection.  The Western intelligence communities have studied and analyzed completely the characteristics of the Zionist movement and it was no mystery to them at all.  Zionism was the ideal candidate to destabilize a region rich in oil and strategically located to hamper colonial commerce and exploitation of the India and the Far East if the Middle East region united to preserve their natural resources and behave as an independent and self autonomous people.

 

 

            It has taken the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and the murder of 600 babies and the injury of 2,000 babies and the traumatizing of 600,000 babies to finally removing the tattered mask of Zionism and exposing the true ugly face of reality.  The World Community and populations needed this crazy couple of Bush-Cheney to steadfastly believe that crime against humanity is good if it suit their goals; that blessing war crimes against human dignity is their prophetic calling.  Yes, the New-Conservative, New-Born Baptist “Christians” finally succeeded to take revenge on the Jews who crucified their brand of “Jesus”; they must be feeling wonderfully good for this rebirth on the third millennia and at the expense of the “homeless” Palestinians.

            Now that the little people all over the world know the fundamental barbarity and apartheid ideology of Zionism then it should be a walk in the park for President elect Obama to resolve the Palestinian/Israeli problems, if he wills it.  If Obama refuses to resolve the Near East problems, then he might as well give the green light to his mercenary State of Israel to design a vast park of 300 square kilometers in Gaza so that Obama might enjoy a warmer location than Camp David.  Either way, it all depends on what kind of a park Obama wishes to have in Gaza.  The first drastic decision should be to open direct lines of negotiation with Hamas and the Palestinian resistance movements who represent over 65% of the votes.

 

Note:  The true deservers of the Nobel Peace Prize have proclaimed their shame that Shimon Peres (Israel’ President) was also awarded this noble prize.  Simon Peres declared that Israel can defend its babies from the Palestinian babies in Gaza.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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