Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Middle East peace that wreaks havoc

With the odds stacked so strongly in Israel's favour, Palestinians rightly view the US talks with dread

Ghada Karmi
The Guardian, Wednesday 1 September 2010

"What an irony that the Palestinians' arch-enemy, Israel, should also be their saviour. There is a real danger that the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks due to starton September 2 in Washington could yield a botched deal that falls far short of the needs of international law or elemental justice, and sets back the cause of Palestine for decades, if not for ever. Fortunately this will not happen as long as Israel's obduracy can be relied on to save the Palestinians from such an outcome.

Time and again, when Israel was thrown a lifeline by Arab neighbours that could have ensured its legitimacy and security, its folly and greed lost it those opportunities. But, since they came at great cost to Palestinian rights, Israel's obduracy had the perverse effect of safeguarding those rights....

How could that be achieved, within the constraints of an Israel that cannot be pressured and a weak, unrepresentative Palestinian leadership that excludes Gaza and Hamas? And since Israel's position rejects all the main Palestinian requirements – land, Jerusalem, refugees – progress, if any, can only be made by demanding more concessions from the weaker side. This will mean less land available for the putative Palestinian state, reducing its viability. Hence Jordan's and Egypt's presence at the talks to work out a deal that provides an extension for the West Bank into Jordan, and Gaza into Egypt. No other permutation is possible. Israel will lose very little, but even this may be too much for its "greater Israel" proponents....."

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