Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
No Help from Washington to Palestinians, Only
By Nicola Nasser
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July 20, 2010
The Americans have sold the Palestinians false hopes, giving Israel
the time it needed to grab land and change the demographics of their
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.
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
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
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.
Netanyahu for what he described as "progress" toward peace, Obama accepted
an invitation to visit Israel.
Does any of this surprise President
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
This is not what President Abbas was hoping to hear.
Instead of encouragement, the Palestinians have been admonished and told to
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.
Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of
the Israeli – occupied Palestinian territories. This article was translated