By Awni Farsakh
The Arab Committee charged by the Arab League to follow-up on peace proposals has given Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the cover to hold “proximity” talks with the Israelis, for four months. The basis of this cover is that Abbas received “guarantees” from the Americans. At the same time, Damascus has received the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, in an effort to revive Turkish mediation in the indirect talks between Syria and Israel.
According to media sources, Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League, said, “Israel is not ready for genuine negotiations that could lead to peace; there are legitimate questions about the effectiveness of the role of the United States”. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, during his meeting with Davutoglu said, “There is no Israeli party that wants to achieve peace.”
Both of these statements cast serious doubts on the decision to issue the statement of support that gives Mahmoud Abbas cover for the talks to resume with a state that continues its racist policies against the Palestinians and the “Judaisation” of Jerusalem. Israel has refused consistently to implement previous “agreements” and the dispossession of Palestinians continues apace, to growing condemnation around the world. There is nothing in Israel’s actions that suggests a willingness to work on the Arab initiative which has been on the table for the past eight years. This alone explains why Arab political analysts believe that the Arab League’s decision has been made in order to aid the flow of millions of dollars from donor countries backing the talks. Arab countries will also benefit from admission to the decision-making process as stakeholders, along with the Zionist state.
An objective reading of Zionist ideology and policies shows clearly that what the Palestinians and, by extension, the Arab states, are facing is not a simple dispute between states about land, but a conflict between existence and extermination.
Israel’s is a colonialist, racist occupation, a copy of what happened in North America and Australia after their colonisation by Europeans, with ethnic cleansing and the near-total eradication of the native inhabitants. Ever since the decision by the World Zionist Movement in 1906 to adopt the principle that “the land is Hebrew”, the existing Arab inhabitants of Palestine and their rights have been marginalised and excluded from all solutions. This is evident today with the settlement policy and aggression of Jewish colonist-settlers which, quite simply, does not sit well with any concept of peaceful co-existence with the Palestinians.
Since the 1920s, the Zionists have sought to establish “facts on the ground”; no Israeli leader has ever sought to compromise on Zionist ideals which suggests that peace with a Zionist Israel is an impossible dream.
The dilemma faced by the imperialist-Zionist alliance is that it does not face in Palestine what the Europeans faced in North America and Australia; they face in Palestine a people with a long history of repelling invaders. It is notable that when Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann went to Palestine for the first time in 1920 he had meetings with the British Governor in Jerusalem, his representative in Jaffa and a few Arab dignitaries, Muslim and Christian, from the two cities. He then realised that Zionist perceptions of Arab “backwardness” were wrong. Returning to London, he told the British minister Winston Churchill of the Zionists’ need to use Britain’s friends in the Arab capitals to influence the Palestinian national movement because the latter threatened the success of the Zionist project. That tactic has been in use constantly ever since.
Despite the strategic imbalance in favour of the Zionist settlement bloc concerning material resources, scientific and technological capabilities and international political and military support – on both sides of the Atlantic – Palestinian resistance has still not been overcome. The resistance against Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip, despite the blockade, and the young people of Jerusalem confronting Israel’s efforts to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque demonstrate that the Palestinian will is not going to be broken. The people will not be alienated from the original objectives of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation for a free Palestine. And that is the second impossible issue in this conflict.
With such a situation, how can “proximity” talks hope to reconcile an expansionist ideology and an unbreakable Palestinian spirit? This is gesture politics on a grand scale and, as was shown by the announcement of yet more settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the face of the US Vice-President, for Israel “talks” – proximity or otherwise – mean nothing; for them it’s business as usual.
Farsakh, A Palestinian Writer
London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.