Peace Process Pretense
by Stephen Lendman
Peace process initiatives were stillborn from inception. Decades of futility define them. Palestinians genuinely want peace. They deserve it and much more.
Israeli leaders pretend they care. Doing so conceals their dark agenda. They deplore peaceful conflict resolution. They prioritize violence and instability.
They want all valued parts of Judea and Samaria exclusively for Jews. They want Palestinians occupied, exploited, abused and denied. They don't negotiate. They demand.
On February 1, Hillary Clinton stepped down as Secretary of State. John Kerry replaced her. He's made four Middle East trips so far. He's up to no good.
Key is assuring support for Washington's imperial agenda. He wants peace process hypocrisy restarted. He and Netanyahu plot privately. Abbas is pressured to go along.
He's a longtime Israeli collaborator. He sold out long ago. He provides enforcer services. He's well compensated for doing so. He pretends concern for his own people. He never did before. He doesn't now.
Whether he'll accede to Kerry's demands remains to be seen. He usually complies with Washington. Sometimes it's after pretending otherwise.
On Sunday, he and Shimon Peres met in Amman. They did so on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa.
"The time for peace is now," said Peres. Throughout decades of government service, he prioritized conflicts, violence, instability and persecution.
With other top officials, he's responsible for decades of pernicious colonialism, apartheid, occupation, and regional wars of aggression.
In 1985 as prime minister, he criminalized contact with PLO representatives. At issue was spurning peace and reconciliation.
His criminal record is notorious. It includes crimes of war, against humanity, and genocide. He helped institutionalize militarism, state terror, fascism, colonialism, apartheid, occupation harshness, targeted assassinations, and racist persecution.
He wants Israel exclusively for Jews. He wants Palestinians systematically denied. Saying it's "time for peace" conceals duplicitous hypocrisy.
"I believe this is an important opportunity to (engage), not to waste time, return to negotiations and complete the negotiations with the Palestinians," he added.
Peace must be "based on a two state solution: an Israeli state, a Palestinian state living as good neighbors cooperating economically and bringing a message to the young generation."
Years earlier two states were possible. No longer. Israel controls over half the West Bank and much of East Jerusalem. More is added daily.
On May 27, Haaretz said "West Bank settlements grew by twice the size of New York's Central Park in 2012."
Another 7,372 dunams were stolen. Roughly four dunams = one acre. Palestinian land theft continues daily.
Peace based on land theft assures none whatever. Peres didn't explain. Nor did Abbas or Kerry.
Kerry told Netanyahu and Abbas he wants answers in one to two weeks. He wants peace process pretense resumed. He wants it with no preconditions.
In other words, daily Palestinian land theft can continue unbated. Palestinians have no say. What Washington and Israel say goes. Kerry doublespeak explains this way:
Israeli and Palestinian demands will be integrated. Doing so will be "along the 1967 lines with swaps and recognizing changes that have taken place on the ground."
Indeed so. Around 120 settlements and dozens of outposts exist. They're illegal. They're expanding. Doing so requires stealing more Palestinian land.
More is stolen for military areas, no-go zones, nature reserves, commercial areas, by-pass roads, tourist sites, checkpoints, other barriers, Israel's apartheid wall, and whatever else Israel wishes.
Around 600,000 Jews occupy stolen Palestinian land. Stealing more of it is prioritized. Kerry wants this reality excluded from so-called peace talks.
He wants border negotiations excluded "because if you (do so), and if you negotiate security and get to a final settlement, you have resolved the issue of settlements themselves."
Kerry/Netanyahu resolution is none whatever. "The way to resolve the issue," he added, "is by deciding what is in the Palestinian state and what are the rules there, and what is Israel and what are the rules there."
He wants Israel to show willingness to move forward. He's making it easy. He's acceding to all Netanyahu demands. He's offering Palestinians nothing in return.
They're willing to sacrifice 78% of historic Palestine. In return, they want a contiguous state within pre-1967 borders + Gaza. They want East Jerusalem as their capital.
They want diaspora Palestinians able to return home. They want fixed borders. They want control of them and their air space. They want what all nations deserve. Israel and Washington spurn these and other legitimate demands.
Doing so assures another round of peace process pretense. It does so if one occurs. It assures talk without resolution. It assures Israel getting whatever it wants. It assures betrayal one more time.
Most often, Abbas willingly complies. On Saturday, he addressed the Amman World Economic Forum. He was more upbeat than earlier. He said nothing about halting settlement construction as a precondition for more talks.
He claimed Kerry's efforts "brought hope, and it is hoped they will achieve results." He knows Palestinians once again will be denied. He's a willing co-conspirator. Why Palestinians put up with him they'll have to explain.
According to an unnamed senior Israeli official:
"Netanyahu appreciates Kerry's efforts to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. We welcome his comments calling for the renewal of direct talks between the two sides."
"Israel has already reached that decision. We are prepared to launch direct negotiations with the Palestinians immediately."
Kerry's other initiative is economic. In Amman, he discussed a $4 billion plan to increase Palestine's economy up to 50% in three years.
He claimed doing so will create jobs and average wages. He said proceeding depends on peace talks. He offered few details. He acknowledged that some people might say he's proposing fantasy, not reality.
"We know it can be done," he claimed. "This is a plan for the Palestinian economy that is bigger, bolder and more ambitious than anything proposed" before.
Palestinian agriculture production could double or triple, he said. Tourism could triple. Around 100,000 new homes could be built.
Kerry's scheme depends on attracting private investment. Palestine already is a neoliberal disaster. Exploitation defines it. Kerry wants more of the same.
Under Oslo's Paris Protocol, neoliberal policies began. Israel took full advantage. So did Western investors.
The initiative was one-way. It pretended Israel and Palestine were equal partners. Palestine's totally subordinated and exploited. Ordinary Palestinians suffer hugely.
They pay much higher prices for essential products and services. They're dependent on imports. Around 80% come from Israel. Palestinians lucky to have jobs get poverty or sub-poverty wages.
Inequality is force-fed. It's institutionalized. The Palestinian Authority is a willing co-conspirator. Kerry wants more of the same. He wants greater exploitation than already.
According to the World Bank, draconian Israeli policies severely paralyze Palestine's economy. They include movement restrictions, deteriorating infrastructure, poor transport, insufficient water and trade constraints.
Kerry's so-called peace agenda is unconditional surrender. Perhaps he has Oslo 2.0 in mind. Israel got everything it wanted. Arafat agreed to provide enforcer services.
Palestinians got nothing for renouncing armed struggle, recognizing Israel's right to exist, and agreeing to leave major unresolved issues for later final status talks. They're still waiting.
Talks never happened. Major issues include internationally recognized Palestinian sovereignty free from occupation, the right of return, settlements, borders, water rights, other resources, and East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory and future capital.
Israel rejects all of the above. Washington provides support. Palestinian rights don't matter. Nothing in prospect suggests change.
Kerry's initiatives reflect business as usual. Whatever Israel wants it gets. Palestinians have no say. Occupation, colonization and apartheid reflect policy.
They're crimes against humanity. They breach fundamental international law. Ordinary Palestinians are on their own to change things. Liberation remains a distant hope.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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