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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/7/13

Kerry's Success Worse than His Failure

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By Nicola Nasser*

 

The critical issue of the ever expanding illegal Israeli colonial settlements on the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in the West Bank (WB), which are peace killing in eastern Jerusalem in particular, will make or break the newly resumed Palestinian -- Israeli negotiations.

 

On July 29, 2013, those negotiations were resumed in Washington, D.C.; they are scheduled to begin in earnest in mid-August. President Barak Obama hailed them as a "promising step forward." However, in view of more than twenty years of failed U.S. -- sponsored peace making, the new talks "promise" nothing more than being a new round of failure and "conflict management," in spite of Obama's belief that "peace is both possible and necessary."

 

According to Albert Einstein, "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" is "insanity," but that is exactly what John Kerry seems to have achieved after six tours of shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East since he was sworn in as the U.S. Secretary of State.

 

Unless the issue of settlements is addressed in accordance with international and humanitarian law as well as in compliance with the resolutions of the United Nations, Kerry will be shooting himself in the legs and his success in his peace mission would be worse than his failure. The EU's recent anti-settlement move highlighted this fact.

 

However, Kerry seems and sounds determined to pursue his mission on the basis of contradictory terms of reference, laid down by the official letter sent by the former U.S. president George W. Bush to former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon in April 2004, whereby the United States pledged to annex the major Jewish settlements to Israel, to redraw its borders accordingly and to exclude the right of return of Palestinian refugees from any agreement in the future on solving the Arab -- Israeli conflict in Palestine peacefully.

 

Top on the agenda of the resumed negotiations are borders and security; Israel has never defined its borders nor respected the borders set by the United Nations resolution No. 181 of 1947; in the name of security, it demands borders that compromise the viability of any independent Palestinian state on the WB.

 

From U.S. and Israeli perspectives, "the resumption of negotiations is seen as an objective in itself," in the words of Ghassan al-Khatib, the former spokesman of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

 

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*Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist in Kuwait, Jordan, UAE and Palestine. He is based in Ramallah, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
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