Moshe Elad

Time to face the truth

Failure of Israeli-Palestinian talks due in large part to Western dishonesty

Part 1 of analysis


As a new government prepares to take office in Israel, and on the verge of a new Western campaign for realizing the notion of a "two-state solution," it would be proper to look into the adoption of new negotiations patterns that may be able to end the dead-end.


In their current format, the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been fully exhausted, mostly as result of the absence of frankness and openness, as well as the unsuccessful attempts to circumvent the truth behind the difficulties. For example, there are several misguided terms that must be removed from the peace process lexicon.


Enjoying the 'process' too much

The first one is the statement that "the most important thing is that we're talking." For years, the United States and international Quartet have viewed the "peace process" as an achievement in and of itself while pressing to continue with it.


There are quite a few people on both sides who truly fell in love with this futile "process." No doubt, it serves to neutralize pressures on the West on the part of Arab states while curbing pressures within "moderate" Arab states on the part of pro-Islamic elements.


Meanwhile, the Palestinians enjoy their attachment to the "process" in the form of monetary rewards, prisoner releases, and the various concessions offered on occasion. Israel is forced into a futile and pointless "process" in its current format, and it mostly finds itself on the side that gives and pays.


Israel should enter into negotiations with the Palestinians, but only after several pre-conditions are met, one of them being that the "process" is not the essence.


No negotiation without representation

The second statement that raises question marks over the honesty and frankness of the negotiators is that "Mahmoud Abbas represents the Palestinian people."


Indeed, he represents the Palestinians just as much as the Persian Shah represented the Iranians in the wake of the Khomeini revolution. The Shah was indeed convenient for the West, but the Iranian people held different views.


Again, the West is looking for the convenient option, while we, as its submissive slaves, accept the "moderate suit-wearing leader" as the ultimate dialogue partner.


Why does the West believe that Israel can trust a Palestinian leader who does not at all control his own people and who does not at all represent them? After all, signing an agreement with him would be problematic to begin with. Why not put Abbas' level of control to the test, and only after that view him as a legitimate dialogue partner?


Being honest about issues

The third statement borders on a failure to tell the truth: "The sides are discussing the issue of the right of return." Come on. The Palestinians never compromised on their major demand to bring back the refugees to the Land of Israel, including the areas within the "Green Line."


By doing so, they have neutralized any possibility of a genuine peace process and prevented any chance of ending the conflict and reaching a historic compromise.


Any attempt to elicit a message of compromise or flexibility from the Palestinians on the subject is always undertaken on Israel's initiative, and the Palestinian side always denies it quickly.


Those deeply familiar with the status of and part played by the "right of return" within the Palestinian heritage realizes that no Palestinian human being would dare make any concessions on the matter, so why be deceptive and make false statements?


Therefore, the West, which fears that the "process" will end right at its outset, guided both sides to postpone discussions on the issue of the "right of return" to the end, and meanwhile both sides can amuse themselves in dealing with easier matters such as Jerusalem, the future of the settlements, and the borders…however, on those issues too, no substantive agreement has been reached thus far.


Part 2 of analysis to be published Sunday


Colonel (res.) Moshe Elad served as the head of the security coordination mechanism with the Palestinian Authority in the Oslo Accord period. Today he is a lecturer at the Western Galilee Academic College


פרסום ראשון: 03.21.09, 16:24
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