FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Middle East Peace Process: A Cruel Joke

Three brief reports on January 25 concerning Israel-Palestine-US relations sum up the new situation created by Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there in the near future. First is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s absurd claim that there is “no substitute for the United States as honest broker.” His notion that “there is no one else” who can deliver peace is disproven by years of fruitless, one-sided US diplomacy that have amply demonstrated Washington’s incapacity to broker a just peace.

Netanyahu followed up his comment with a predictable endorsement of Trump’s “peace” team led by Jared Kushner. “The thing people don’t realize is these people have made their mark in markets in real-estate,” he said. Shouldn’t that background be a liability? Not to Netanyahu, who managed to rationalize Kushner’s phantom peace plan by saying in one breath that while peacemaking “is not a real estate deal,” boundary questions comprise “real estate elements and they’re [the Kushner team]—I have to say—very creative. I wait to see what they put down, but I don’t rule it out,” he added.

Well, Mr. Prime Minister, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t like a real estate transaction. It’s a conflict over two equally legitimate historic claims to sacred land—claims that Israel, however, has backed by force and repressive social and economic policies in occupied territory. The Kushner business-first team’s experiences are totally irrelevant to those matters. But in thinking otherwise, the prime minister is perfectly in line with the Trump administration, which preaches peace but, far from promoting a search for common ground, overwhelmingly favors the Israeli right wing, arms the Israeli military to the teeth, and, like Netanyahu, opposes pressing for a two-state solution.

When John Kerry was about to leave his post as President Obama’s secretary of state, he made a searing speech highly critical of the Netanyahu administration, which he called “the most right-wing in Israeli history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.” A belated indictment, to be sure; but contrast Kerry’s words with the resumption of unqualified US praise for Israel, such as Mike Pence displayed on his recent visit to Israel. Christian groups as well as Palestinian officials boycotted the visit in protest of the Jerusalem decision and the notion that only one side really wants peace. Listen to Ambassador Nikki Haley saying that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lacks “courage and will to seek real peace,” and that the US “will not chase after” the Palestinians.

Such a chastisement of Israel will never pass the lips of a Trump official. Far from it, the administration will keep rewarding Israel for its intransigence while punishing the Palestinians for rejecting US pressure. At the just-concluded Davos conclave, for instance, Trump threatened that “money’s not going to them [the Palestinians] unless they sit down and negotiate peace.” What peace? Abbas’ spokesman declared to CNN: “If Jerusalem is off the table, then America is off the table as well.”

As of now, there is no honest broker and there is no peace process—facts that prolong the Israeli Occupation and further undermine Palestinian hopes for internationally recognized statehood and a better life.

More articles by:

Mel Gurtov is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Perspective, an international affairs quarterly and blogs at In the Human Interest.

November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: a Giant Criminal Conspiracy…
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
Patrick Howlett-Martin
A Note on the Paris Peace Forum
Joseph G. Ramsey
Does America Have a “Gun Problem”…Or a White Supremacy Capitalist Empire Problem?
Weekend Edition
November 09, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Louis Proyect
Why Democrats Are So Okay With Losing
Andrew Levine
What Now?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Chuck and Nancy’s House of Cards
Brian Cloughley
The Malevolent Hypocrisy of Selective Sanctions
Marc Levy
Welcome, Class of ‘70
David Archuleta Jr.
Facebook Allows Governments to Decide What to Censor
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Zika Scare: a Political and Commercial Maneuver of the Chemical Poisons Industry
Nick Pemberton
When It Comes To Stone Throwing, Democrats Live In A Glass House
Ron Jacobs
Impeach!
Lawrence Davidson
A Tale of Two Massacres
José Tirado
A World Off Balance
Jonah Raskin
Something Has Gone Very Wrong: An Interview With Ecuadoran Author Gabriela Alemán
J.P. Linstroth
Myths on Race and Invasion of the ‘Caravan Horde’
Dean Baker
Good News, the Stock Market is Plunging: Thoughts on Wealth
David Rosen
It’s Time to Decriminalize Sex Work
Dan Glazebrook
US Calls for a Yemen Ceasefire is a Cynical Piece of Political Theatre
Jérôme Duval
Forced Marriage Between Argentina and the IMF Turns into a Fiasco
Jill Richardson
Getting Past Gingrich
Dave Lindorff
Not a Blue Wave, But Perhaps a Foreshock
Martha Rosenberg
Dangerous, Expensive Drugs Aggressively Pushed? You Have These Medical Conflicts of Interest to Thank
Will Solomon
Not Much of a Wave
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Yemeni War Deaths are Five Times Higher Than You’ve Been Led to Believe
Jim Goodman
We call BS! Now, Will You Please Get Over This Partisanship?
Josh Hoxie
How Aristocracies are Born
Faisal Khan
The Weaponization of Social Media
James Munson
The Left Has Better Things to Do Than Watch Liberals Scratch Their Heads
Kenneth Culton
The Political Is Personal
Graham Peebles
Fracking in the UK
Alycee Lane
The Colonial Logic of Geoengineering’s “Last Resort”
Kevin Basl
How Veterans Changed the Military and Rebuilt the Middle Class
Thomas Knapp
Election 2018: The More Things Don’t Change, the More They Stay the Same
Gary Leupp
Europe and Secondary Iran Sanctions: Where Do We Go Now?
Saurav Sarkar
An Honest Look at Poverty in the Heartland
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail