Why Are Israeli-Palestinian Talks Heading Nowhere?

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

The negotiations between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel have consumed, up till now, too much time without producing any positive results. The reasons for this apparently utter failure are due to Israel’s absolute insistence to discuss first the “security issues”, a demand that in effect appears to be torpedoing all possibilities to reach a final settlement. Israel which owns nuclear bombs and has the 5th strongest army in the world, is demanding complete control of the Palestinian Aghwar, the low areas between Palestine and Jordan; control over all borders’ gates of entry and keeping its army on strategic points in the West Bank without specification. Moreover, Israel demands outright recognition of all its major colonial settlements which it considers as part of its national security!!! And last, but not least, Israel absolutely demands the recognition of “the Jewishness of the Zionist State” which in effect makes non-Jews (Muslim and Christian Palestinians) as temporary residents, without any civil rights in addition to negating the historical rights of Palestinians as the original natives of Palestine.

Along these lines, Israel’s negotiating tactics are based on assumptions that  seek to gain more and more concessions from the Palestinians without offering  anything worthy in return, while  gaining more time to complete its colonial expansions. The audacity of the Israeli measures on the ground to create accomplished facts include building more than 4500 new colonial structures in the West Bank of which 1000 would be in East Jerusalem, besides demanding part of the area of the Noble Sanctuary to build a Jewish synagogue in the very heart of  the Moslem prayer area. Haaretz Newspaper commented that “Israel, as usual, never changes its habits in its behavior which depends upon its military power and the full support of the United States of America and keeps ignoring its isolation and the limit of its power. Israel believes it can endure forever by the power of its weapons and blames its isolation on others not herself and sees as the only way for survival is by more and more weapons, thus Israel see no need to exert any effort to attain peace”.

Moreover, a recent report by al-Zaytouna Center for Studies and Consultations stated that there is a small chance to none for both sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians to reach a real peaceful settlement. The report noted that “the balance is tipping towards the Israeli side, the most powerful with all the cards, which is determined to create more and more accomplished facts on the ground while the Palestinians are negotiating in the midst of disunity and impotent international environment which make Israel feel invincible”. The Zionist occupiers are steadily increasing and expanding the colonial settlements without any hindrances, the report said, with “Israeli statistics reporting that Israeli settlers in the West Bank have increased 2.19% within half of the year 2013 with plans to build new 2500 colonial structures in occupied Jerusalem”. Indeed, Israel is taking complete advantage of the chaos pervading the Arab countries to impose upon the Palestinians its own defined political settlement which will never exceed “the Lahed mini-state” which Israel created in the past in Southern Lebanon. General Shlomo Ghazit, the head of the Israeli Military Intelligence during the Rabin government once put it: “Arafat has two choices, either to be like Lahed or a super Lahed”!!!

The Palestinian Authority agreed to join the negotiations despite Israel’s refusal to acknowledge the Authority’s insistence on a complete halt of the expansions of the colonial settlements first. The Authority was put under huge pressure from the USA, despite opposition of the majority of the Palestinians to the negotiations, where PLO representatives entered almost without any cards in hand to resist the egotistical and humiliating demands coming from the Israeli side during the ongoing sessions heading nowhere. Because Israel is the strongest and the Palestinian Authority is the weakest and defenseless, Israel now negotiates while expanding the colonial settlements, definitely to make the ‘two-state solution’ totally unfeasible. The Israeli daily aggression is not limited to stealing more Palestinian lands, but its real intention is to strip Palestinians of their dignity as well to make them migrate out of their ancestral homeland.

The Palestinian negotiating side desperately needs support in two ways. A popular peaceful civil resistance economically backed by rich Arab States to maintain the steadfastness of the Palestinian people under occupation is most vital. Secondly, the Palestinians should keep “the armed struggle” on the table in case the negotiations fail. The diplomatic support has to be Arab and international within in the responsibilities of the United Nations which itself created the state of Israel, but with conditions spelled out in various resolutions which Israel has yet to fulfill after more than 65 years!!! These UN resolutions recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people within the framework of “international legality”. This clarifies the true meaning of “the Palestinian question” which is a case of liberating the occupied people of Palestine, the original inhabitants, from the Zionist Jewish European migrants who descended on Palestine after World War II and became a majority by forcing the Palestinians to flee their homes with nothing, but their clothes on their backs.