Harsh Criticism of Israeli/Palestinian Peace Talks
by Stephen Lendman
A Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council  (PHROC) position paper offered straight talk on what's ongoing. It did so responsibly.
PHROC's a 12 Palestinian human rights organization coalition. It's polar opposite US/Israeli policy.
It supports peaceful conflict resolution. It wants it based in international legal standards. They include:
- obliging parties to adhere to UN Charter provisions, resolutions, customary international humanitarian and other human rights law, as well as International Court of Justice (ICJ) rulings;
- assuring universal recognition of Palestinian political and economic self-determination; ensuring their other inalienable rights;
- guaranteeing diaspora Palestinians their lawful right of return;
- giving them control of their own borders, air and water rights, as well as other resources;
- holding Israel responsible for crimes of war and against humanity; holding its officials accountable;
- "Confirming the right of Palestinians to retrieve the cultural and historical monuments and resources that have been stolen or confiscated by the Occupying Power;" and
"Refusing to recognize and formalize any benefits, revenues or privileges gained by the Occupying Power in violation of international law."
Since 1991 Madrid Peace Conference negotiations and Oslo, Palestinian human rights groups were wary. They warned about Israel spurning its international law obligations.
Israel manipulated Oslo advantageously. Tripling its settler population followed. In 20 years, it grew from 200,000 to 600,000. Numbers increase daily. Dispossessed Palestinians have no say.
Their land is stolen. They’re ethnically cleansed. They're denied all rights. They have none now. They have no credible peace partner. They're on their own.
Land theft continues daily. Israel's Separation Wall plans annexing around 12% of West Bank/East Jerusalem territory. It'll do so when completed. Building it has nothing to do with security. Israel lies claiming otherwise.
It expropriates a sizable share of PA tax revenues. It does so without fulfilling agreed on obligations. It controls about 60% of West Bank territory.
It does so through expanding settlements, outposts, closed military zones, tourist sites, commercial areas, no-go ones, increasing East Jerusalem encroachment, Israel's apartheid wall, Jews only roads, and numerous checkpoints and barriers.
Palestinians are increasingly isolated. They're ghettoized. They're in separated cantons. They're on least valued land. Israel maintains control. Militarized occupation harshness does so.
It bears repeating. Palestinians have no credible peace partner. Talks are worthless. They remain so as long as occupation continues. It does it while settlements expand, collective punishment is policy, and Palestinians are denied all rights.
PHROC's committed to peaceful conflict resolution. It wants it equitably. It's disturbed by ongoing talks. They're proceeding without firm Israeli commitment to address all fundamental Palestinian demands responsibly.
No guidelines were established to assure Israel respects and abides by fundamental international law principles and standards.
"PHROC calls upon the Palestinian leadership to learn from the failures of previous negotiation processes with Israel and to avoid repetition of mistakes that have facilitated the current situation in the OPT."
It believes PA leaders must respect and adhere to the following principles:
- Israel's feet must be held to the fire; talks can't become fig leaf cover for continued occupation harshness; they're turning out that way so far;
- PA leaders should insist "on the dismantlement of all settlements;" they must refuse all land swaps; Israeli negotiating terms assure no peace; they undermine Palestinian self-determination; they assure no viable state can be established;
- legitimate Palestinian leadership must exist; divisions can't be tolerated; credible internationally monitored elections must be held; all Palestinians globally must be enfranchised to participate; creative solutions can overcome obstacles;
- Palestinian reconciliation is vital; it's fundamental for unity; it's key for responsible governance; it's impossible without it;
- negotiations may end without resolution; if anything's agreed, all Palestinians must have final say; doing so requires a national referendum; nothing less is acceptable; and
- Palestinians must be permitted to use international conventions, institutions and agencies. Nothing should deny them. Rights they afford are too important to lose. They're a "legitimate source of power."
Charles Freeman's a former US ambassador. He was a former Defense Department official. He accompanied Nixon as interpreter on his 1972 visit.
He believes US/Israeli relations have been "running on fumes for some time." He's part of a group involved in "analyzing the role of the United States as an imperial power and the consequences associated with empire in general."
Its manifesto warns of dangers associated with seeking empire. It's "a work in progress," he says. Its goal is clear. It's about educating Americans about what's at stake. It says:
"The American Revolution was a nationalist revolt against the British Empire."
"Our country was born as a defiant rejection of the legitimacy of imperialism." The "inevitable cost of empire" is too much to bear.
"Domestic liberty is the first casualty of adventurist foreign policy."
"To justify the high cost of maintaining rule over foreign territories and peoples, leaders are left with no choice but to deceive the people."
Freeman 's very wary about Israeli/Palestinian peace talks. He says they "overlook and violate a basic maxim of diplomacy."
"An agreement that excludes and fails to address the interests of those with the capacity to wreck it is no agreement at all."
Palestine's divided in four parts. It's further sliced and diced. Territory Palestinians control is shrinking. It's restricted to isolated cantons. It constitutes no viable state.
Arab Israeli citizens are denied equal rights. They're "forgotten by the international community."
West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and diaspora Palestinians are "driven from their homes into residence in refugee camps and foreign countries."
PA officials are irresponsible. They lack legitimacy. They support Israel above their own people. They represent them in impossible to achieve conflict resolution.
They lack a popular mandate. They're dependent on foreign subsidies. Israel steals part of their tax revenue. It controls Palestine's borders, air, water and other resources.
PA officials rely on Washington for concessions not forthcoming. They collaborate with America and Israel. They do so against the rights of their own people.
They don't represent Palestinians in Gaza. They don't represent them abroad.
"Neither Hamas nor Gazan Palestinians are represented in the so-called" peace talks. "Neither will have a stake in making anything that might emerge from it work."
Around seven million diaspora Palestinians haven't been represented since Oslo. Revanchism won't "be cured by a deal between Israel and the PA."
"I don't see how the 'peace process' Kerry has contrived is a path to peace even for the fifth or so of the (West BanK) Palestinians whose future it purports to address."
"Peace exclud(ing) about four-fifths of Palestinians is a fatally flawed diplomatic fraud - not, of course, the first one in this arena."
Sam Bahour 's an American-born entrepreneur. His parents have Palestinian/Lebanese roots. Following Oslo, he moved to the West Bank.
He's involved in developing its economy. He's doing so for a future Palestinian state.
He discussed Abbas-extracted concessions he said John Kerry obtained prior to resuming talks.
Abbas is a longstanding Israeli collaborator. He sold out his people at Oslo. He did so in subsequent agreements.
He's doing it again now. He lacks credibility. He lacks legitimacy. He can't be trusted.
Kerry "set a a maximum period of time ranging from 6 to 9 months to be dedicated to bilateral Palestinian-Israeli negotiations without any preconditions."
Other terms agreed on include having Israel's Separation Wall serve as security borders for its state. It'll be temporary for Palestine. "Both parties will acknowledge and announce this," said Bahour.
Land swaps will be agreed. They'll range from 8 - 10% of West Bank territory.
Settlement and outpost numbers will be frozen. Current communities are free to expand.
Permitting them lets Israel steal all valued Judea and Samaria areas it wants. It establishes Jerusalem as its exclusive capital.
"Residents in frozen settlement communities will have the right to choose between Israeli citizenship or Palestinian citizenship, or both, at the conclusion of negotiations."
"(T)alks will culminate with a historic agreement along the lines of the Oslo Agreement, during which both parties will announce the end of the historic conflict between their peoples, as well as full normalization with all Arab states, at a celebratory meeting attended by the Arab League and representatives of all Arab countries."
They'll "announc(e) their approval of Israel's establishment of a Palestinian state within the limits set out above, according to agreements."
Abbas will recognize Israel as "the state of the Jewish people."
Some Palestinian families will get to reunite. Most will lose out entirely. East Jerusalem will fall under international Israeli/Jordanian/Palestinian control. It'll do so for 10 years.
It buys time for Israel to gain full control. Land exchanges will favor Israel. They'll do so at the expense of core Palestinian rights.
Israel will release Palestinian prisoners incarcerated 20 years or longer. Those posing no security threat will be chosen. Israel alone will decide.
New Palestinian elections will be held. Israel manipulates them its way. Jordan will conspire against Palestinian interests.
It'll provide security. It'll marginalize Palestinians. It'll deny them core rights. They'll be shut out entirely in the process.
Might is right remains policy. According to Bahour, "a new generation of Palestinians" will end up no better than previous ones.
Israel will keep control. It'll get everything it wants. Palestinians will be marginalized and denied. They'll be betrayed like before.
Edward Said once said "equality or nothing." Washington, Israel, and Jordan intend little at most. Unconditional surrender appears likely.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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