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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/1/10

What are the Chances for a Peace Agreement Between The Palestinians and Israel?

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Just what are the chances for a peace agreement between the Palestinian's and Israel?

Based on the past, the prospects (from here) run from not good to not a chance.

So one may ask, why the extreme pessimism? Well the reasons lie with two entities, Israel and the U.S.

As to Israel, if it really wanted peace with the Palestinian's it would have happened long ago. It wouldn't have kept expanding the building of settlements in the West Bank (since its success in the 1967 war). It wouldn't have built a 22' high security wall around the West Bank with roads built exclusively for use by Israeli settlers to and from Israel proper. It wouldn't have allowed the mostly Orthodox Jewish settlers to continue to confiscate Palestinian owned lands in the West Bank. It would have attempted to negotiate with Hamas when the latter was legitimately elected by the Palestinian people in 2006, instead of instituting a blockade of Gaza and laying siege to the Strip in December of 2008 and into early 2009. It wouldn't continue with a blockade of Gaza and certainly would not have attacked the peace flotilla that was heading for Gaza on the open seas last May. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is placating the desires of President Obama to negotiate with the Palestinians. Netanyahu's government is headed by Likud; the extreme right wing party in Israel along with some smaller settler dominated party's who are all uniformly opposed to peace with the Palestinians. Lastly if Israel really wanted peace, it would have engaged with the Syrians and returned the Golan Heights which it seized in the1967 war. It would have worked with the Egyptians, Jordan and the Lebanese as well as the leaders of Hamas for a negotiated settlement of a separate Palestinian state. These latest negotiations have been with Mamoud Abbas, the leader of the PLO who was defeated in the election of 2006 by Hamas. The latter physically removed the PLO presence from Gaza in that year.

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The PLO and Abbas retain offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Exactly who do they officially represent? Abbas was chosen as a negotiating partner to the present talks with Netanyahu because Abbas has been a compliant figurehead of the Palestinians, not because of his legitimacy as the legally elected President of the Palestinians. He was chosen by default, since Israel and the U.S. refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Hamas. The absurdity of negotiations with a failed representative of the Palestinians seems lost in the "atmospherics". Hamas, like them or not, is the legitimately elected entity of the Palestinians but they are not at the negotiating table, excluded and demonized by the Israeli's and the U.S. as a terrorist organization.

As to the U.S., it is the primary ally of Israel and knee jerk supporter of Israeli policy. The U.S. is the primary foreign aid provider and defense supplier to Israel. The U. S., if it was serious about wanting a negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians, would have pressured Israel long ago to reach an accord or threaten to withhold and withdraw all financial support of Israel. That of course did not happen.

Politically, that is impossible in the U.S. as most American members of Congress are beholden to the likes of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) the hard right Jewish American organization that funds (indirectly through its private donors) the majority of the American House and Senate members' reelection campaigns. Any American office holder who criticizes Israel (or AIPAC) is condemned and branded as anti Semitic. So there is no discussion and debate in Congress about Israel and its policies. That is all but precluded by the very real threat of retaliation by the hard right Jewish lobby.

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One may notice there is little if any mention of the Palestinians in this piece and their legitimate concerns i.e. Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank, the plight of Gaza, the ultimate status of Jerusalem, the ancestral home of Muslims and Christians as well as the Jews, the "right of return" (of those Palestinians that were initially displaced when Israel was created in 1948) as well as the final border configuration of Israel and a new Palestinian state. The Palestinians are the legitimately aggrieved victims of the Israeli occupation. They retain the moral high ground but certainly not the military firepower to compel Israel to negotiate in good faith, end the occupation and agree to a separate Palestinian state.

The reality is, only the U.S. has the power and influence to compel the Israeli's to end the conflict. Since the U.S. will not exercise its power and influence on Israel, just where lies the basis for believing a negotiated settlement and peace with the Palestinians is going to happen?


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