Friday, March 31, 2006

The Danger of Unilateralism

Now the dust has started to settle over the Israeli elections, it's time try and make some sense of what all this will mean for the sputtering Israeli/Palestinian peace process.

One Israeli political commentator summarised the election results as "the right have lost but the left haven't won". Likud's crash-landing, juxtaposed with Kadima's less overwhelming than expected victory makes this a fair comment.

I'll assume for now Kadima will find a political partner(s) to allow them to implement their "unilateral disengagement" plan. Basically this plan implies that if a negotiated settlement cannot be found by 2010, Israel will define its borders unilaterally.

The unilateral solution is of course the most undesirable outcome possible, at least to those who wish a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Not only will non-negotiated borders inevitably mean that the Israeli Government will have to accommodate at least some of the demands of the right, and the settlers in particular, invariably leading to borders that will be unacceptable to the Palestinians. And a non-negotiated definition of borders will always be thorn in the Palestinian side and block the way for future negotiations.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks remains Hamas' reluctance to recognise Israel. On the face of it the Israeli demand for recognition of its right to exist is reasonable and logical: how can they be expected to negotiate with a partner that doesn't recognise their existence?

The main reason, in my opinion, why Hamas isn't willing to recognise Israel, at least not without some concessions from Israel in return, is that they feel recognising Israel also means recognising the Occupation, thereby legitimising it.

The West, as usual, remains squarely behind their Middle East ally but it's easy to forget that this "reasonable demand" on the part of the US and Europe is in fact rather two-faced.

To date, Egypt and Jordan are the only members of the Arab League to recognize Israel as a state. The state-run press in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran still refer to Israel as the Zionist entity.

Some of the West's most loyal Muslim allies like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia do not recognise the State of Israel either.

This refusal to recognise Israel on the part of so many Muslim countries must be seen as a protest against the Occupation. It may be politically expedient to single Hamas out but they are clearly not alone in their position.

Then there is the rhetorical call for "the destruction of Israel". Rhetorical it is because an empty threat that cannot be carried out is not a real threat. Palestinians simply don't have the means to "destroy" Israel. Suicide bombers and Kassam missiles can cause considerable human misery, suffering and terror but they cannot capture any terrain. Nonetheless, the Palestinians should completely renounce armed struggle, for tactical reasons: this "war" cannot be won by military means. It's important to note that a unilaterally declared Palestinian cease-fire has been largely, albeit not completely, observed for about a year now.

It's to be hoped that Ehud Olmert's four years of grace will be used to find a way out of the quagmire by means of small, tentative steps from both sides, in order to avoid the spectre of a "unilateral solution". They'll make awkward dance partners, Olmert and Hamas. The former an experienced political tactician, more or less devoid of ideology, the latter brimming with ideology but inexperienced in the minefield of politics...

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At 6:35 PM, Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

Hello. I just drop by.
The palestinians never recognized Israel, neither in words or deeds.
Imagine yu have an home.., and your neighbour does tell you :
I will recognize your right to have an home..., provided you share it with my sons.


In other words : What they are telling you is that they do not recognize your right to have your own home.

This is exactly what the palestinians have been telling the israelis.
We recognize Israel Israel.., but we do insist in the right of return.., but we want israel to open the doors more than a million of palestinian refugees.

In other words : They insist that israel will get overrun.

Back in 2003 there was an agreement called the nusseibeh Yalon agreement.

The palestinian authority rejected that agreement.


Overview, by Doni Remba, President, Chicago Peace Now

Following is the text of the Nusseibeh-Ayalon agreement, a historic statement of basic principles for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict written by Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, the senior Palestinian representative in Jerusalem, and Ami Ayalon, former chief of Israel’s Shin Bet security service. It involves several major Palestinian concessions, including these key points:

* An unequivocal recognition of Israel as the Jewish state,
* A complete relinquishment of the right of refugee return for Palestinians to Israel,
* Demilitarization for the Palestinian state;
* The agreement is made between the Palestinian people and the Jewish people, and each recognizes the other's historic rights to the same land, while accepting the need for a historic compromise, resulting in two states for two peoples. ".

So this recognition issue is not as theorical as one might think.
It does have very practical implications and has been an obstacle to an agreement.
you can take a look at my board

Click here to visit my board

At 7:19 PM, Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

When it comes to unilateralism.., I think it is exactly the opposite.
The real danger is the diplomatic road, the negotiations.

If you look back..., in september 1996 palestinians and israelis were preparing for negotiations.

Headline CNN August 29 , 1996.

Israel Palestinians get back to the table.

Headline September 25 1996

Six dead in Israel palestinian Clashes.

The clashes that september 96 would kill many palestinians and Israelis.
Israelis Palestinians get back to table

Click here to see israelis palestinians clash
Second example :
September 2000.
The final status agreement was aproaching.

Palestinian and Israeli delegation leave for washington.

Sharon visit temple mount.
Bingo again.
More dead people.

Both in 1996 and in 2000 when negotiations were about to take place shooting started.

The violence is political.

The aim of the violence was to influence the diplomatic process.

Between 2001 and 2004 no negotiations..., and the violence subsised and almost stop.

This was true during Arafat years.

The aim of the violence was to influence the diplomatic process one way or another.

If the violence does get no diplomatic reward.., it does subside.

The thousands of pages of agreements..., did not prevent the 1996 clashes and the intifada al Aqsa.

When the first intifada started no agreements, no peace process.

After 10 years of peace process..., what were the results ? The intifada al Aqsa.

Besides everyone knows what are the disagreements.
Everything has been negotiated for years.

There is the Yaalon Plan, the Geneva innitiative.., the Moratinos document with the positions of the palestinians and Israelis in 2001.., there is the clinton proposal....;

Everyone knows want the right of the return of the refugees to Israel recognized.

And they want the Al Aqsa Mosque and East Jerusalem ( Not just the mosque ).

Clinton did propose a bridge that would connect Abu Dis a palestinian village in the outskirst of Jerusalem to the Al Aqsa Mosque.

The palestinians refused.
They want east Jerusalem and israel does not agree because the most sacred place of the judaism is in east jerusalem.

The palestinians do not want Israeli unilateralism because their bigest asset is their diplomatic muscle.

Behing them they have the Arab League ( With egypt, Saudi Arabia..., Morroco.., Jordan..,etc etc ).

That is why they want negotiations.

They want to orce Israel to accept their conditions to peace.

But why do I have to support the palestinian ambitions ?

I dont.

I think the diplomatic process sucks since it has not brought neither peace , nor economic development for the palestinians.

Today they are worse off than they were 10 years ago.

When it comes to economy diplomacy has brought them nothing,either.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

Do negotiations and agreements ensure, mean , peace ?

German British Declaration.

We, the German Fuhrer and Chancellor, and the British Prime Minister, have had a further meeting today and are agreed in recognizing that the question of Anglo-German relations is of the first importance for our two countries and for Europe.

We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.

We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries, and we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference, and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe.

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is "peace for our time." Go home and get a nice quiet sleep ." ( END OF QUOTE).

One year later the second world war would start.

Arafat Guarantees.

September 9, 1993

Yitzhak Rabin

Prime Minister of Israel

Mr. Prime Minister,

The signing of the Declaration of Principles marks a new era in the history of the Middle East. In firm conviction thereof, I would like to confirm the following PLO commitments:

The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.

The PLO accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.

The PLO considers that the signing of the Declaration of Principles constitutes a historic event, inaugurating a new epoch of peaceful coexistence, free from violence and all other acts which endanger peace and stability. Accordingly, the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators.

In view of the promise of a new era and the signing of the Declaration of Principles and based on Palestinian acceptance of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel's right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.


yasser Arafat

Seven years later the second intifada would start and fatah would create the Al Aqsa brigades.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Gert said...


Over at my post "Breaking the silence", depite my opening gambit of:

"I know that some of my more myopic readers are convinced I'm "anti-Israel", "pro-Palestinian" and even, heaven forbid, anti-Semitic but nothing could be further removed from the truth. "

you decided immediately to lay into me with:

"You are pro palestinian and therefore anti Israel.
This is clear.

The proof ?
You adopt the palestinian narrative. The violence exists because of the ocupation. ( Of 1967).
This is the palestinian narrative.
The pro israeli narrative says the root of the violence os because the Arabs never accepted Israel."

Solitario, your world is one of "good and evil", "pro v. anti", "left v. right", "up v. down", "Palestinian narrative v. Israeli narrative" etc etc etc, ad nauseam, ad infinitum, as if the world is made up of nothing but extremes. Clearly you leave me no choice but to assume that you are indeed chronically myopic. It's clear that trying to discuss your points here is futile; you'll only brush my comments aside as "pro-Palestinian propaganda".

You're simply too two-dimensional to see that the world is nothing but endless shades of grey, rather than the shrilly black and white tones you've chosen for your narrative. In regard to the Israel/Palestine conflict, your main goal is to lay blame at the Palestinian side, ignoring the fact that the Israelis aren't exactly blameless either.

But in this conflict no-one is innocent and all are victims too and we would do well to remember that. Sadly, many who merely stand at the sidelines also shout the loudest...

I'm a member of several peace organisations, some Israeli, some Palestinian, some mixed (they do exist, perhaps that's hard for you to understand) and find that more rewarding than to constantly try and justify all actions of one "side" and condemn all actions of the "other side".

Here's the collection of posts related to the conflict on my blog:



Thanks for your comments.


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