Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Selling False Hope

Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) officials in the government of Mohamed Abbas often complain they spend more time negotiating with American rather than Israeli governments. This has been particularly true of late. Since Israel’s all-out assault on Gaza nearly a year and half ago, Palestinian officials have discontinued all direct talks with the Israelis and have been talking to the Americans. US presidential envoy George Mitchell has been closely engaged in the region since May 2010, but his efforts have not proved fruitful.

The Palestinians have had no more luck with the Americans than with the Israelis. They have been consistently asked to accept US-Israeli peace terms that spell disaster and capitulation. Apart from exhausting the Palestinians, and making them edge closer to further concessions, nothing of substance has emerged from talks with either the Americans or the Israelis.

The Americans have sold the Palestinians false hopes, giving Israel the time it needed to grab land and change the demographics of their state-to-be. Now, even the fig leaf of good intentions has fallen.

In a meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last Tuesday, the mercy bullet was finally fired, dealing a deadly blow to fantasies of American help.

Palestinian negotiators keep telling us that they have no other option but to negotiate with the Americans. This is not true. The Palestinian people don’t want them to do so, and their fighting spirit is alive and well. When all other options run out, the people will come up with options of their own. It is what people living under foreign occupation have always done, and the Palestinians are no exception.

President Abbas used to tell us that the ball is in Israel’s court. Now Obama has kicked it back into the Palestinian court. Once again, the White House has made it clear that the ball, the court, the referee, and the players should all perform according to American dictates.

The peace process has been at best a US- Israeli PR exercise, at worst a political ruse designed to help the Zionists and undermine the Arabs. The whole aim of the peace process has been to create a fifth column in our midst. At heart, the peace process had no bearing on peace. Fairness was never part of the equation.

It is time the Arabs, especially Palestinian Arabs, called it a day. It is time the admission was made that the peace process has done nothing at all for the peace, security, and development of this region.

Obama was pleased to see Netanyahu, just as George Bush was once thrilled to confer with Ariel Sharon. The words the two presidents used in describing the Israeli dignitaries were almost identical. Sharon was called a “man of peace”. Now Netanyahu seems to be inheriting the title, no matter that a few days earlier he ordered the massacre of peace activists on the Gaza-bound flotilla, no matter that on the same day Obama welcomed him, the Israeli group B’Tselem issued a damning report on the expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

Obama had nothing but praise for the Israeli prime minister. There are no differences between Israel and the US, Obama declared, describing his talks with Netanyahu as “excellent” and his country’s ties with Israel as “extraordinary”. Washington is as committed to Israel’s security as it always was, and the “special ties” as binding as ever, he told US reporters.

For his part, Netanyahu said reports about a schism in US-Israeli relations were just rumours.

To reward Netanyahu for what he described as “progress” toward peace, Obama accepted an invitation to visit Israel.

Does any of this surprise President Mahmoud Abbas?

The only harsh words the American president used were in reference to the Palestinians, whom he advised to stop provoking and embarrassing the Israelis. The Palestinians should stop thinking of “excuses” to tarry on peace and start talking to the Israelis. Any conditions Obama once made on direct talks seem to have been forgotten. The current US position is that the Palestinians should start talks without preconditions.

This is not what President Abbas was hoping to hear. Instead of encouragement, the Palestinians have been admonished and told to behave.

A close associate of President Abbas told Al-Quds Al-Arabi that “all signs suggest that the US administration would press the Palestinian Authority to hold direct talks” without guarantees or preconditions. This is basically what Mitchell has been trying to do throughout his earlier visits to the region.

Now Abbas has to choose. Either he gives way to the Americans, which is what he’s done since Annapolis in 2007, or he gives up on the Americans. In the first case, he would lose any remaining credibility. In the second, he will have to step down. He has gambled everything on negotiations, and now any hope of fruitful talks has evaporated.

The only option left to the Palestinians is resistance and more resistance. It is a course that is not only long and hard, but calls for national unity. The PLO made it into government as a result of resistance and national unity. Now the lack of unity and resistance threaten to banish the PLO into the wilderness, or turn it into a lackey of the occupation authorities.

NICOLA NASSER is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli – occupied Palestinian territories.

 

WORDS THAT STICK

?

 

More articles by:

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories (nassernicola@ymail.com).     

Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Wim Laven
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
David Yearsley
Shock-and-Awe Inside Oracle Arena
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail