Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Placing the peace process and Palestinian statehood in "formaldehyde."

On August 16, the London Review of Books published a thoughtful article by Henry Siegman, who is the director of the US/Middle East Project, having served as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations from 1994 to 2006, and as head of the American Jewish Congress from 1978 to 1994.

The article, "The Great Middle East Peace Process Scam," is well worth reading. Siegman briefly discusses previous peace initiatives and dismisses the likelihood of their success because, “…all previous peace initiatives have got nowhere for a reason that neither Bush nor the EU has had the political courage to acknowledge. That reason is the consensus reached long ago by Israel’s decision-making elites that Israel will never allow the emergence of a Palestinian state which denies it [Israel] effective military and economic control of the West Bank.”

According to Siegman, in Bush’s view, “…all previous peace initiatives have failed largely, if not exclusively, because Palestinians were not ready for a state of their own.” At the meeting scheduled for this fall, the focus will be on “Palestinian institution-building and reform, under the tutelage of Tony Blair, the Quartet's newly appointed envoy."

In Siegman’s opinion, “The Middle East peace process may well be the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history. Since the failed Camp David summit of 2000, and actually well before it, Israel’s interest in a peace process – other than for the purpose of obtaining Palestinian and international acceptance of the status quo – has been a fiction that has served primarily to provide cover for its systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and an occupation whose goal, according to the former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon, is ‘to sear deep into the consciousness of Palestinians that they are a defeated people’….

“Israel’s disingenuous commitment to a peace process and a two-state solution is precisely what has made possible its open-ended occupation and dismemberment of Palestinian territory. And the Quartet – with the EU, the UN secretary general and Russia obediently following Washington’s lead – has collaborated with and provided cover for this deception by accepting Israel’s claim that it has been unable to find a deserving Palestinian peace partner….

“In an interview in Ha'aretz in 2004, Dov Weissglas, chef de cabinet to the then prime minister, Ariel Sharon, described the strategic goal of Sharon’s diplomacy as being to secure the support of the White House and Congress for Israeli measures that would place the peace process and Palestinian statehood in ‘formaldehyde’. It is a fiendishly appropriate metaphor: formaldehyde uniquely prevents the deterioration of dead bodies, and sometimes creates the illusion that they are still alive… "[bolding mine]

Siegman proceeds with his suggestions for a breakthrough. It will be well worth your time to read the entire article.

(photo of a Palestinian boy crying in the rubble of his family home after Israeli army bulldozers demolished it in the West Bank village of Deir Razeh - mpjc.org)


Anonymous said...

Recommended reading that is not dry history but concerns real-life people: THE LEMON TREE by Sandy Tolan.

In his book, Tolan tells the stories of the birth of Israel and its cost to Palestine through two individuals: an Israeli woman whose family was assigned the family home of a Palestinian family now refugees). The story is told with a lot of compassion and insight for both parties.

Along the way the reader learns the history as it relates to the two individuals and their families. This is real history, not made-up propaganda.

A wonderful and worthwhile read.


Alex said...

And what do you think of Obadiah Shoher's arguments against the peace process ( samsonblinded.org/blog/we-need-a-respite-from-peace.htm )?

Alex said...

And what do you think of Obadiah Shoher's arguments against the peace process ( samsonblinded.org/blog/we-need-a-respite-from-peace.htm )?