After Sadat convinced us that 99 per cent of the solution cards are in the hands of the US, the latter became the sole decider of war and peace in everything related to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the various conflicts in the region. War has become an American trademark, as it sends death and destruction to Arab and Palestinian capitals and cities through its F-16s and Apaches, as well as its cruise and Tomahawk missiles. Peace is also an American trademark that cannot be achieved with the US’ “honest” mediation. Agreements are signed on the White House lawn and are only achieved until the American president intervenes and a picture is taken of him, with the Israeli prime minister on the right and an interchangeable Arab leader on the left.
With regards to Palestine, this picture was taken hastily, as President Clinton did not want to miss out on the opportunity to be immortalised in a scene similar to the one Carter appeared in, when he stood between Begin and Sadat. However, Clinton lost out on appearing in the final picture that was lost due to the failure of the Camp David II negotiations between Arafat and Barak. Therefore, the Palestinians did not experience American peace other than the “historic pictures” and a third of a Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to Arafat, Rabin and Peres. Meanwhile, the US war industry continues to produce missiles and bombs, launched by its F-16’s onto the Gaza Strip.
In an article published by Haaretz newspaper, Israeli journalist, Raviv Drucker noted that the history of the Palestinian/Arab-Israeli negotiations has not witnessed a neutral mediator in the true sense of the word. He cited some of the instances when the Israelis and Americans appear as one party against another (the Palestinians or Arabs). He refers to how in 1998, the Americans presented a draft agreement to the Israelis at the Wye Plantation in order to hear their comments on it and amend it before presenting it to the Palestinians. He also noted how the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, Ehud Barak, imposed the Camp David Summit in July 2000 on President Clinton, despite the fact that the senior officials in the American administration, along with the president himself, thought neither side was ready. The Clinton administration was forced to agree and forced Arafat to attend. Drucker also mentioned how the Americans presented a flexible draft agreement to the Israelis alone, and how this agreement included Israeli ideas previously communicated to the Americans behind the backs of the Palestinians. This flexible draft was rejected by Barak, who insisted on new unfair proposals and asked that they be presented to the Palestinians as a US proposal, which was, in turn, rejected by Arafat.
Drucker says that this continued throughout the successive US administrations, pointing out the direct involvement of Israelis in John Kerry’s 2014 initiative.
In terms of practical application, the successive American administrations were keen on assigning the Israeli-Palestinian issue and Middle East issues in general, to Jewish and non-Jewish Zionist figures, including envoys, advisors and secretaries of state. This is the case with Trump’s advisors, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, as well as the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. The same can be said about their predecessors, such as Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk and secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, etc.
In this context, Drucker refers to Dennis Ross’ memoirs, where he wrote about Netanyahu asking him several times to send clarifications to the media and to his coalition partners. When asked why he didn’t do so, he replied, “because they do not believe me”. Drucker mockingly says that the US administration has used “good-will” actors, who are committed to the cause and Jews, including those who worked in Jewish organisations before and after their jobs in administration.
I agree with Drucker regarding America’s lack of integrity and complete bias in favour of Israel, but I disagree with him about America deceiving us. This is because I must tell the truth and say that America did not deceive us. It was clear and frank about its public and constant bias in favour of Israel. We are the ones who fooled ourselves and deluded ourselves into believing in America’s integrity and neutrality, after having convinced ourselves that the solution is in the hands of the US alone, as it possesses the keys to the solution and peace in the region, and we allowed it to be the opponent and the referee.
In the hope that Trump’s declaration would flip this equation and that Abu Mazen’s statement regarding ending the US sponsorship of the mediation process will not be gone with the wind after the storm calms down, we are awaiting neutral sponsors of a genuine peace process that leads to recognition of the rights of our people to return and to have an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Arab48 on 21 December 2017.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.