When Washington pronounced that “making progress in the peace process and the establishment of two states for two the peoples” is a paramount American interest, most of Europe and the world echoed the words, as if the world does not realize its own interests until the US national interests are decided.
Once the Obama administration made “settlement freeze” a requirement for the peace process and resumption of negotiations, the term even entered “the lexicon political stock market.” Various capitals started to denounce Israel settlements expansion. It is as if they suddenly discovered that they are contrary to international law and constitute a threat to the peace process, therefore, they should be removed.
Suddenly, when the “American giant” accepted a “generous offer” has been put forward by Benjamin Netanyahu, and the representative of American diplomacy considered the prime minister’s generosity as unprecedented, and it is sufficient to resume negotiations, the world began to blame the Palestinian Authority and accused the Palestinians of being stubborn and described the Israeli stance as the most generous.
This week the world witnessed yet another example of dependency and subservience to America in international politics when Washington announced it’s opposition to the building a new settlement in Gilo in East Jerusalem a number of countries echoed this position, with almost the same tone, from Brussels, London and Moscow. Ironically, if Washington had not adopted that stance no one would have bothered to react and we would not have seen that multinational anger and condemnation, as if we are witnessing an emergence of new world, inspired in its political conduct by a “single call to prayer.”
When the Palestinian Authority revealed that it would resort to the Security Council in a bid to win their support to declare a Palestinian state, Washington objected to the plan regarding it as a unilateral act. On Contrary, Washington urged the PA to resume negotiations based on “Netanyahu’s generous offer” and not on the terms of the negotiations that took place between Abbas and Olmert. All of a sudden the world rejected the unilateral plan and expressed their preference for reciprocal solutions, negotiations and consensus. Even Javier Solana, the man who led European diplomacy for years and was noticeably enthusiastic for the idea of going to the Security Council to declare the state, was unable to curb the “abrupt rationality” which descended on Brussels.
Perhaps for this very reason, Hamas will find it difficult to market itself internationally, despite all the indications that the “movement” is adopting new postures and showing signs of willingness to participate in the ongoing political process. It seems Washington has not yet discovered the depth of transformation that has taken place within Hamas; instead it chooses to pursue its old approach and Quartet’s conditions. When it changes this perception, the whole world would realize all at once the enormity and authenticity of the reforms undertaken by Hamas.
Of course this does not mean that the international system has become a totalitarian order. Our observations do not contradict the view that the US is losing its grip on international politics. There will always be instances when different countries, large and small, will act independently in pursuit of their interests. There are always conflicts and inconsistencies in attitudes. And more importantly there would always be room for political and diplomatic manoeuvrings by intermediaries aimed at Washington. Nevertheless, the unmistakable fact that can’t be ignored is that we still live in the American age and controlled by American rules. We feel the pinch of what awaits us in the coming years; especially after Washington has lost one of the most important rounds of “finger-biting” to Netanyahu, and after the Arabs showed repeatedly their diminishing ability to influence regional and international affairs.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.