False Basis for Negotiation and Repression
By Bilal Hassan, in Al Quds - Palestine
The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee announced that they agree with Palestinians refusing to go to a new round of negotiations with Israelis, unless they receive a serious American offer aiming to end the Arab-Israeli conflict in accordance with peace references.|
This formula means that the Palestinians will not negotiate with the Israelis now, but rather with the Americans. The proposal carried by David Mitchell to President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah calls for a return to conversation with the Israelis; it proposes to conduct parallel conversations (not negotiations) with the Israelis, for six weeks, starting by examining security issues, then moving in light of that to examining the border issue. The purpose of these talks, according to Mitchell, is to shape the U.S administration's perception before starting direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis at the suitable time.
In confirmation of this U.S.-proposed formula for conversation, the U.S. administration sent head adviser Dennis Ross to Israel to study — according to Israeli sources — what Israeli security needs are and then determine what the red lines are for that security, and then discuss long-term security arrangements. For Dennis Ross to accomplish this task, he will meet with the Israeli Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Yuval Diskin, head of the Israeli internal security, and with senior officers working in Israeli intelligence.
As for issues that follow, meaning fundamental issues needing final solutions, the U.S. administration provided Palestinians with a headlined (non-official) paper before the arrival of Mitchell, carrying six points addressing these fundamental issues, but from the standpoint of Israel. It provides further evidence of the U.S. government’s stand in talks with the Palestinians, which is an Israeli-biased perspective from the first moment. The basis of this perspective is the abandonment of international laws dealing with the issues of occupation, which Israel always insists on. Some of these six points are as follows:
First: a negotiated solution for Jerusalem. The international legitimacy laws state that Jerusalem is occupied territory, just like any area in the West Bank, and this means that a full withdrawal from Jerusalem is necessary, and not to be negotiated.
Second: the future of Israeli settlements. These settlements are considered illegal under international law because it’s illegal for the occupant to make any geographic or demographic change in the occupied areas.
Third: search for a fair and realistic solution to the refugee issue. This point ignores the most important resolution of the international legitimacy law, Resolution 194, which provides for the return of refugees to their homes. There is no mention of a “fair solution” or a “realistic solution.”
Fourth: deciding of the water shares. This point also contradicts international law which states that the occupant has no right to share the waters of the region it occupies, which inherently includes all its wealth and its inhabitants. Israel is currently taking 80 percent of the West Bank’s waters, and built a big part of its settlements on land where the underground water wells are located.
Hence it is clear and unequivocal that the United States calls on the Palestinians to participate in talks with them while adopting the Israeli agenda of demands in full. Therefore, the Palestinians consider the U.S. offer not serious; it was described by a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO (Hanna Amira) as an invitation to chat and not to negotiate, especially when it adopts the Israeli position in full, and avoids taking any clear position on the issue of negotiations reference and on the issue of settlements.
In spite of this absolute Israeli bias to the American point of view, it may be difficult for President Mahmoud Abbas to reject the U.S. call to negotiations. It seems that Arab officials also share such an approach. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit announced on the eve of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee meeting that “no party has an interest to thwart U.S. efforts; on the contrary, we want a strong effective American role.”
Aboul Gheit also added Egypt’s “intentions” to this position when he said, “There is a need for more international support, particularly by the international quartet, to strengthen this U.S. role,” then added other “intentions” related to the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem, which must be Palestinian, but these are all “intentions” not associated with any Arab pressure on the U.S. administration.
The only Arab pressure which was referred to was that, in the absence of success in U.S.-Palestinian talks, they will turn to the Security Council even if the United States will veto any decision issued by the Council, in order to achieve recognition of Palestine within the 1967 borders and Jerusalem as its capital, according to Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar. Sheikh Hamad was asked at the press conference that followed the follow-up committee, “Is this all you have?” He answered, “What can we do?” We respond to the diplomatic move by another diplomatic move.
Now, what are the theoretical and logical possibilities in facing this type of path?
The first possibility: The Palestinians go to talks with the Americans to formulate proposals emanating from the negotiating approach which Israel wants; therefore, they achieve the interests of Israel. This will result ultimately in some kind of Palestinian entity that is temporary, and subject to the dominance of Israel in terms of security, strategy and economics. This is because the so-called Israeli security includes Israeli military presence in Jordan Valley 15 kilometers deep, as announced by Netanyahu himself.
It also includes two military bases for early warning, of course under Israeli control, as well as roads leading to them. All of this eliminates the theory of Israeli withdrawal from the territory of 1967.
The second possibility: The Palestinians reject the formula of understanding proposed by the U.S. administration, and go with the Arabs to the Security Council, demanding the recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. Here, the United States will use its veto against a decision of this kind, just as expected by the Arabs, and end the effectiveness of such a move.
The two possibilities are doomed to fail, or to subservience and subordination to the Israeli occupation under the auspices of America.
All this because Arabs are not thinking about using their cards to compel the United States to push toward taking positions into Arabs’ interests, and the reservation of Jerusalem’s status in the Islamic world, ultimately turning the Arab failure into a political theory protected by the Arab Monitoring Committee’s decisions.
If the Arabs continue to adhere to this failure, their logic will work for some time, but will emerge in the face of this necessity as the approach they fear and flee from. The approach of resisting the occupation and facing it will become the prevailing political theory.