No Help from Washington

Category: World Affairs Topics: Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Policy, Occupation, Palestine Channel: Opinion Views: 3428

Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) officials in the government of Mohamed Abbas often complain they spend more time negotiating with American rather than Israeli governments. This has been particularly true of late. Since Israel's all-out assault on Gaza nearly a year and half ago, Palestinian officials have discontinued all direct talks with the Israelis and have been talking to the Americans. US presidential envoy George Mitchell has been closely engaged in the region since May 2010, but his efforts have not proved fruitful.

The Palestinians have had no more luck with the Americans than with the Israelis. They have been consistently asked to accept US-Israeli peace terms that spell disaster and capitulation. Apart from exhausting the Palestinians, and making them edge closer to further concessions, nothing of substance has emerged from talks with either the Americans or the Israelis.

The Americans have sold the Palestinians false hopes, giving Israel the time it needed to grab land and change the demographics of their state-to-be. Now, even the fig leaf of good intentions has fallen.

In a meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last Tuesday, the mercy bullet was finally fired, dealing a deadly blow to fantasies of American help.

Palestinian negotiators keep telling us that they have no other option but to negotiate with the Americans. This is not true. The Palestinian people don't want them to do so, and their fighting spirit is alive and well. When all other options run out, the people will come up with options of their own. It is what people living under foreign occupation have always done, and the Palestinians are no exception.

President Abbas used to tell us that the ball is in Israel's court. Now Obama has kicked it back into the Palestinian court. Once again, the White House has made it clear that the ball, the court, the referee, and the players should all perform according to American dictates.

The peace process has been at best a US- Israeli PR exercise, at worst a political ruse designed to help the Zionists and undermine the Arabs. The whole aim of the peace process has been to create a fifth column in our midst. At heart, the peace process had no bearing on peace. Fairness was never part of the equation.

It is time the Arabs, especially Palestinian Arabs, called it a day. It is time the admission was made that the peace process has done nothing at all for the peace, security, and development of this region.

Obama was pleased to see Netanyahu, just as George Bush was once thrilled to confer with Ariel Sharon. The words the two presidents used in describing the Israeli dignitaries were almost identical. Sharon was called a "man of peace". Now Netanyahu seems to be inheriting the title, no matter that a few days earlier he ordered the massacre of peace activists on the Gaza-bound flotilla, no matter that on the same day Obama welcomed him, the Israeli group B'Tselem issued a damning report on the expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

Obama had nothing but praise for the Israeli prime minister. There are no differences between Israel and the US, Obama declared, describing his talks with Netanyahu as "excellent" and his country's ties with Israel as "extraordinary". Washington is as committed to Israel's security as it always was, and the "special ties" as binding as ever, he told US reporters.

For his part, Netanyahu said reports about a schism in US-Israeli relations were just rumours.

To reward Netanyahu for what he described as "progress" toward peace, Obama accepted an invitation to visit Israel.

Does any of this surprise President Mahmoud Abbas?

The only harsh words the American president used were in reference to the Palestinians, whom he advised to stop provoking and embarrassing the Israelis. The Palestinians should stop thinking of "excuses" to tarry on peace and start talking to the Israelis. Any conditions Obama once made on direct talks seem to have been forgotten. The current US position is that the Palestinians should start talks without preconditions.

This is not what President Abbas was hoping to hear. Instead of encouragement, the Palestinians have been admonished and told to behave.

A close associate of President Abbas told Al-Quds Al-Arabi that "all signs suggest that the US administration would press the Palestinian Authority to hold direct talks" without guarantees or preconditions. This is basically what Mitchell has been trying to do throughout his earlier visits to the region.

Now Abbas has to choose. Either he gives way to the Americans, which is what he's done since Annapolis in 2007, or he gives up on the Americans. In the first case, he would lose any remaining credibility. In the second, he will have to step down. He has gambled everything on negotiations, and now any hope of fruitful talks has evaporated.

The only option left to the Palestinians is resistance and more resistance. It is a course that is not only long and hard, but calls for national unity. The PLO made it into government as a result of resistance and national unity. Now the lack of unity and resistance threaten to banish the PLO into the wilderness, or turn it into a lackey of the occupation authorities.


Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli - occupied Palestinian territories. This article was translated from Arabic then published by Al-Ahram Weekly on July 15, 2010.

  Category: World Affairs
  Topics: Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Policy, Occupation, Palestine  Channel: Opinion
Views: 3428

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Older Comments:

I was searching on internet and came across this article. Very interesting and written in 1947.

While the simplicity of the article/leader is apparent, it is quite sad (and I mean this in the true sense of the word) to read an Arab leader begging for sympathy/understanding from an American audience.

Fast forward now almost 60+ yrs later and we see that nothing has changed. History is continually distorted and the occupied are blamed !!

In any event, one day insha'Allah the situation of Muslims in Palestine and in the world will change for better.

We all (at least the rational humans) agree that when there is no justice peace will be impossible to attain. When you ask the Israelis to go back to the 1967 borders, they say no since we got that by means of war. Fine, what I see as a way out is that the Palestenians agree with the proposition and accept whatever remaining land there is, resettle its people and work assiduously towards development of their people not shying away at the same time from the fact that one day they will reclaim what was once rightfully theirs. After all 'he who fights and run away will live to fight another day. Allah's willing.

The other option the writer is suggestin of resistance and more resistance will only lead to suicide, which even Allah abhors and Has commanded the believers not to do.

The Americans and Israelis will always be on the same page, whether or not they say so in public. The Palestinians will not find the sort of peace they are looking for by trusting the Americans or Israelis. The peace process is basically a lost cause.

It is very unfortunate the people involved in the peace process were either not serious or not sincere.Those who came out sincerely to work for peace were frustrated at one point or disappointed from both sides the Palestinians and the Israeli sides.
Yasser Arafat tried his best but in the end passed away frustrated without achieving his objective.Similarly on the side of the Israeli people like the Late Prime Minister Yizhak Rabin was killed simply because he was determined to achieve the peace but the war mongers were determined to ensure the status quo maintained.
Every one has good expectation about Obamas Administration so it is left to him to show to the World that really he is serious and can achieve something with determination which was never achieved in more than sixty years since the Creation of the Israeli State by the UN.
Unfortunately yet the World Body is not as determined or serious as it should be to create the same Palestinian State which it promised to create. They say if there is a will there is always a way.
The Only person who can do justice and will not be afraid of anybody in the World is only one person in the name of Nelson Mandela who I may suggest to be appointed to oversee the Peace Process as a neutral Person with determined zeal.In Sha Allahu I think he will work wonder and work harmoniously to bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians without taking any sides as we have seen in the past.
So let us all give him chance to see what he can do as an elderly Statesman who brought peace to South Africa and is respected by every one all over the world.

With the United Nations Secretary General currently calling for an end to the Israeli blockade, and with the UN Security Council investigating the murder of 9 unarmed humanitarian aide volunteers on May 31, 2010, it seems now is the appropriate time for the United Nations to take action.
The US-Israeli partnership or peacetalks will never lead to a FREE PALESTINE - it only brings pro-Israeli media attention and increases the islamophobia in the US.
Western Mainstream Media celebrates the anniversary of the end of apartheid in South Africa but tightly shuts its eyes to the apartheid rule over Palestine by Israel.
Let's get United Nations Peace Talks started.

KAM FROM - said:

Why blame Americans and 'satanize' them ? Afterall where are all these Islamic brethren of Pan-Islamic countries who look the otherway? There is enough wealth and power in oil producing Middle East and Iran. Palestinians after all it is palestinians who elected Hamas rulers and what are they doing?

For decades, Arab countries tried to wipe out Israel but failed. Tragedies of Palestinians did not enter the picture.

Remember history. Jews have a longer history of sorrow, expulsion, pogroms, suffering and holocaust in the recent memory -more in the land of Chritians thanIslam-except of course living as 2nd class citizens most of the time. Jews were never allowed to arm themselves in milleniums. Now they know how to defend it is perhaps a lesson for all to learn in the Middle East not to wipe out Israel.

The solution lies in making peace with honour with Israel and try to live in peace. Until then even Allah won't help. Don't blame USA for the folly of Arabs.

Wa Salaam

Israeli Jews should embrace Biblical Christianity for their defense if no one want's to defend Israel.

Hey peaceseeker, you need to come to reality. Hamas failed just like the rest of them. Hamas has offered no solution to anything. They solved nothing and did nothing. What the Palestinians need is a miracle which is unlikely to ever happen.

Yes Mr. Asif is very right. Hi, all Arabs look at what the Quran had said about all these problem. Wake up!

It is hard to swallow lesson for the PA. They had been making the same mistake for a greatwhile and has ot learn anything from the mistake. Now, they have to swallow their pride and admit Hamas is the legitimate elected government that they have to deal with to build a unity government for the Palestinian people in its stuggle to regain what theirs from the ilegal occupier.

Unity is the only option left for the PA to save its reputation in the eye of the Palestinian.


If there are any wars, Israeli Jews will be urged to take up and spread Biblical Christianity.

The problem is that Palestinians and Arabs want to be rewarded for their defeats. You cannot win something at the negotiating table which you lost at the battlefield. It is that simple.

Don't blame Washington. US is not Arabia. Blame your Arab brothers who lost all those wars and now have signed peace treaties with the Zionists.

Palestine was never an independent territory / country. It was always part of Syria, and that was true even during Ottoman days. Other times it was ruled by Egypt.

The only viable solution now is that Gaza becomes part of Egypt and west Bank become part of Jordan. Unfortunately, neither Egypt nor Jordan want to do anything with Palestinians. So, don't blame US, blame your Arab brothers. And Zionists don't want West Bank to be part of Israel either (that is why it is an occupied territory).

Dear Mr. Nasser:

I have not read your article in its entirety, but I can get the general sense what you are alluding to. Expecting Washington to help aliviate the suffering of Palestinian people is similar to barking at the wron tree. If you are this naive, then God help you. Don't you know that UK,USA and other Western powers created State of Israel forcefully in 1948 by grabing Palestinian land and systematically forcing the poputaltion to leave to countries like UK, and USA so that Jews can be brought from other countries to be setteld. Why whould Washington help Palestinian while countries names Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and 57 other countries of OIC can not. America is part of creating the problem why would they resolve it. You are asking a rober to be a security guard of a treasure, would it work? Think about it and be more estute in your analysis of Palestinian problem

And the surprising part is Muslims still turn to America for resolution of the Palestinian Occupation. A new president comes and Muslims think he will do something new. Rubbish...America will always support Israel. If Obama's actions have not illustrated it, then what will !!

Remember Allah has said in Qur'an ... "do not take Jews and Christians as your protectorates" (paraphrasing). Look in history what happened to Muslims... from the time of Moguls (look at Jahangir's reign and his dealing with East India Company), to making Palestine a British Protectorate and modern-day Egypt/Saudi etc... We know what a joke the modern-day Arabs are !!

Can one in the right mind deny Allah's verse. When we take Christians/Jews to be our Protectorate, we have always lost and will always lose. The sooner we take this verse to heart, the better it will be for Muslims.