Sunday, January 23, 2011

Middle East: Is the Two-State Solution Dead?

Robert Grenier writing in AlJazeera suggests it is.  You can see all his credentials (and they are impressive) when you click on to the article I'm referring to.  Here's his thinking.

The process of peace in the Middle East is all about "taking risks" and "trusting".  Most parties would agree that the greatest amount of "risk" to be taken rests with the Palestinians.  After all, this is the land of Israel we're talking about and the Israelis already have a recognized "state".   The P.A. also needs an agreement.  Israel, as long as it is not over-bombed, can live without one.  Its risk is limited to how long things can go on without a negotiated deal before the P.A. or their allies start a massive attack on Israel.

To make matters harder, the Israelis (and others) are demanding that the Palestinians could maintain a peaceful state that would not keep on bombing Israel if they were to be recognized.  And for some time now, as a result, the concept of "land for peace" (given all the concessions made by Israel in the last 28 years) really started being "land for Israeli security".   Well, I believe, there's very little land left to give and Israel is saying, "no more".   But that's all that the U.S. knows how to push for.

After 9/11, to get American support for a peace deal in the Middle East, Arafat agreed to "try and control his radicals" who used terrorism to get their way.  But that didn't go too well and Arafat also died.  Not satisfied that the leadership after Arafat has done or is doing a better job at that goal, Israel (backed by the U.S.) is saying, "no deal".  The problem is that the longer a deal is in the making, a new risk arises -- that of some of the P.A.'s friends coming to the end of their patience, join the conflict, and a major war ensues.  In fact there is a possibility that their own people may start seeing the P.A. negotiators as collaborators with the other side in not reaching a settlement.  In Grenier's opinion, the Palestine Papers (a ten-year record of negotiations) shows this not be the case -- claiming the papers show that the P.A. has made every effort to get an honorable settlement.  Grenier goes on to say he is ashamed of his country's (the U.S.) weakness in not getting a settlement, preferring instead to not upset the Israelis at home and in Israel.

Here's Grenier's bottom line: "The overwhelming conclusion one draws from this record is that the process for a two-state solution is essentially over, that the history of the peace process is one of abject failure for all concerned. The Palestinian participants, having lost the most, will likely suffer most. But I can only come away with the passionately-held belief that these people deserved better."

You decide.   Better still give us your thoughts if you think it will still work and how?
 

"Risks for peace" - The Palestine Papers - Al Jazeera English



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