Friday, June 03, 2016

Covenant with Many

AP - Nations struggle to craft new Mideast peace strategy
The AP reports: "Nations struggled Friday to craft a viable new strategy for Mideast peace, failing to agree on a French proposal for an international conference that would bring together Israel and the Palestinians. Diplomats nevertheless vowed to reinvigorate a peace process that has been all but dead for two years. The gathering in Paris of top diplomats from the United States and more than two dozen Western and Arab countries ended with a call for 'fully ending the Israeli occupation,' a rhetorical shift from what Washington has previously endorsed. [...] Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed France's efforts, having long grown frustrated with Washington's two-decade domination over peace efforts. Palestinians see the U.S. heavily favoring Israel and want an effort with more world powers involved, like last year's Iran nuclear diplomacy."

Comment: It is not surprising that  many nations could be persuaded to become indignant that Israel continues to occupy Israel but as this report makes clear, this meeting was more a representation of Palestinian grievances than a serious attempt to make peace. After all, the Palestinians have the means of making peace within their control. All they have to do is stop attacking (with knives, rockets, etc.) and actually negotiate. They could, for example, agree to any of the past three or four peace agreements brokered by the U.S. that they foolishly rejected. If they'd wanted, they could have had peace years ago. It's difficult to see anything in their recent behavior to suggest that they've suddenly had a change of heart and now sincerely desire peace. Perhaps the international community, represented by France, could ask the Palestinians for a concrete gesture of peace?  Something solid, like when Israel gave them control over Gaza in 2005, actually relinquishing territory for the sake of peace. How did the Palestinians react to this grand gesture? They could have used Gaza as a showpiece, really fix it up, build schools  and hospitals and green spaces and generally show the world that they were capable of governing in a modern and competent manner. Instead, they turned Gaza into a launching pad for rocket attacks on Israel. A nice piece of territory given by Israel to the Palestinians was turned into a weapon, small wonder Israelis are skeptical of further territorial concessions. What does self-government look like for Palestinians? Gaza. It looks like Gaza.

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