Abbas: Israel has Abrogated the Peace Process

Palestinians declined to take the bait of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday. Netanyahu offered an extension of the 10-month freeze on new Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank in return for a PA acknowledgment of Israel as a “Jewish State.” Obviously, the phrase has some covert significance for the Israeli Right, and perhaps it is intended to bestow on Israel a right to denaturalize and expel Palestinian-Israelis. The phrase may also be intended to forestall any return to Israel of the Palestinians ethnically cleansed from that territory in 1948.

Fatah official Saeb Erekat said he could not understand what Israel’s self-definition had to do with negotiations over the shape of a Palestinian state, and pointed out that the PLO had exchanged letters in 1993 recognizing the state of Israel. (The Palestinians do not understand how the Israelis can negotiate over the West Bank in good faith if they are de facto annexing large swathes of it even as the talks proceed.)

Israeli foreign minister and far-right social engineer Avigdor Lieberman lost his temper Sunday in a meeting with the Spanish and French foreign ministers. He told them to go solve Europe’s own disputes before coming to the Mideast and instructing Israel how to resolve its. Lieberman is then accused in some quarters of having leaked his comments to the press, embarrassing Spain and France. He is said to have pointed to France’s ban on the niqab or full Muslim face veil, and to Switzerland’s ban on minarets as signs of European difficulty in dealing with Muslims.

(Lieberman does not appear to understand the difference between banning the niqab, which is worn by almost no one in Europe, and keeping over 4 million human beings for decades in a condition of statelessness wherein they have no real human or civil rights.)

Lieberman, already angling for title of most corrupt politician in elective office in the world, now appears to be trying for the additional title of Worst Foreign Minister in the history of foreign ministers.

Spain and France, undeterred, continued their fact-finding mission in the region. France’s Bernard Kouchner even admitted that it may be necessary to go to the United Nations for a declaration on a Palestinian state.

From another side, Mahmoud Abbas told the Arab League summit this weekend at Sirte, Libya, that Israel has unilaterally abrogated the Oslo accords and other understandings it had reached with the Palestine Authority. It has stripped the Authority of much of its power, and makes daily incursions into PA territory.

Abbas raises the possibility that if the negotiations with Netanyahu continue to be frozen, he would go to the UN General Assembly with a plan for a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, to be blessed by the UNO.

The problem is that although the UN could give Palestine a seat as a nation, unless the Israeli army were induced to withdraw from the West Bank and to cease blockading Gaza (which is being economically strangled by an illegal and inhumane Israeli ban on civilian exports), the resulting “state” would remain a fantasy.

If NATO would agree to reassign the troops now beginning to withdraw from Afghanistan to Palestine, and would face down any Israeli intransigence, now that would be a plan.

But nothing so dramatic is likely to ensue. Fanatics like Lieberman have taken over Israel and they have no future in a Muslim Middle East that is now growing faster than Israel economically and which is likely to become more and more militarily and scientifically sophisticated. As Obama’s initiative for a two-state solution is thwarted by the Liebermans and Netanyahus, their actions guarantee that Israel’s future in coming decades is bleak. Unfortunately, the attendant trouble generated by that bleakness is likely to fall on the heads of all our children.

11 Responses

  1. Dear Professor Cole

    “If NATO would agree to reassign the troops now beginning to withdraw from Afghanistan to Palestine, and would face down any Israeli intransigence, now that would be a plan.”

    NATO command of such troops would be a problem. A US general commanding would be open to interference from the Tea Partiers and congressmen who have been bought by AIPAC.

    EU command or UN command perhaps but probably not NATO

    The mission statement would be a problem as would the problem of what to do with the the squatters who fight back.

    Throwing them into temporary cages would be something of a PR disaster, particularly if it were German tropops just returned from Afghanistan running the cages.

    A first step might be to stop selling offensive weapons to the Israelis. Selling them submaries is making a rod for our own backs, as they would attack the supply ships for a landing force and could theoretically threaten London or Paris or Barcelona with a nuclear tipped cruise missile.

    The repsonse to a real attack would be to turn Tel Aviv into a glass lined crater.

    Continuing to sell them submarines that we would later be obliged to sink is folly.

    • If the implication is that the US is selling submarines to Israel, that is false. All Israeli submarines are designed and built in Germany:
      link to
      link to
      I don’t believe the US has ever sold submarines to Israel. Israel may have had some second- or third-hand American surface ships in the past but none now, and have decided not to buy any in the immediate future.
      Interesting to know, however, that EuroFrank would consider nuking Israel in response to non-nuclear incidents.

      • Phud

        I do not advocate either the use or further exisitence of such weapons.

        However if a threat against a European city were carried out then retaliation should be automatic, inevitable and proportional.

        Removal of the delivery platform, whoever it is supplied by, is part of the process of disarmament and stabilisation of the region.

  2. Your lead is a bit….misleading. Bibi did NOT offer to extend the settlement freeze if the Palestianians acknowledge Israel as a Jewish State, but simply said that if they did so, he would go back to his cabinet and ASK them to extend it, with no guarantees that it would happen.

    This ally has become so exhausting and arrogant that it will only end when the US exits its role as enabler, but the problem with that is that if that were to take place, Israel really would be facing and existential crisis from its neighbors.

    Israel holds US leaders hostage to this reality: “sure you can cut us off, but then impending destruction of Israel will be on your conscience.” No US leader has been willing to run that gamut and Bibi knows this, that is why he made the comment several years ago about the US being “easy to move”

    I would like to see Israel prosper peacefully in the future (along with Palestine) but we are coming very close to our own “Road to Damascus” moment and frankly with Lieberman having so much power, I think the US public will disengage from Israel not out of frustration, but out of simple apathy

  3. So if we had wise leaders who wanted to avoid placing such a burden on our children, the US would cut off military donations to Israel to leverage more humane treatment of the Palestinians. No sense in cutting off sales of military hardware, they would just buy from someone else. But stop the military grants and gifts. (I don’t understand why we’re doing that anyway.)

    • “(I don’t understand why we’re doing that anyway.)”
      The US paid Israel and Egypt to make peace in 1979. We have been sending billions of dollars annually to both countries ever since.

  4. Israel’s actions are explicitly guaranteed by the United States. Until the U.S. administration revise its policy away from the current one, namely Israel as our military’s unsinkable battleship in the Middle East and military surrogate in other parts of the world – a real peace based on a just solution is not likely. Israel sports it own villains like Lieberman and Netanyahu, but the big boss resides in Washington.

  5. One of the biggest problems: Israel is nuclear armed, thanks to the not-so-discrete acquiescence (if not outright complicity) of the U.S. With nuclear weapons in the hands of such a strikingly belligerent nation, the future of the world, let alone of the Middle East, presents a dark and foreboding picture.

  6. The West has made this bed and must now lay in it. By giving Israel “The Bomb” we have just painted ourselves into a corner, particularly in relation to the “Sampson Option” as described by Seymor Hersh. Nuclear blackmail works very well, that may be why Israel will pull out all stops to prevent any potential regional competitor from leveling the playing field, so to speak. As Mr. Cohen said “I have seen the future baby, and it’s murder”.

  7. So where are we now? Are we to play Tsarist Russia to Israel’s Serbia? Is that the net effect of the isolation and intransigence our “ally” draws us all into?

    • That is an outstanding analogy. I think it needs to be explained to people across the political spectrum, from people like Chomsky on the left who assume that America must be the master villain because it’s the bigger capitalist power, to people on the right who see Jewish conspiracies everywhere. Being dragged around by your own satellite is not unusual. In 1973 the USSR and USA were almost dragged by their Mideast allies into a war they didn’t dare allow. In 1968 candidate Nixon connived with South Vietnamese dictator Thieu to sabotage LBJ’s peace talks and keep the war going, which is treason by the way. The relationship between great powers and satellites is complicated, unless the former’s corporations have penetrated the latter and completely dominate it. Solution: no permanent alliances or interests.

Comments are closed.