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December 31, 2010

Treadmill Peace Negotiation and the Bang of Hypocrisy

As the year changes after 365 days, for the Palestinians 2010 was another year of the same: Israeli occupation, oppression and international hypocrisy. Ever since the so called Oslo peace process, the Palestinians watch helplessly as Israel brings in illegal settlers to occupy the very land, the international community and the Oslo understanding, envisioned for the new Palestinian State.

The bang of hypocrisy rings from Palestine, South of Sudan to the Ivory Coast as the international community prompts the Sudanese Government to allow the South to vote on its self determination and threatens to use force in the Ivory Coast to install the elected president.

Five years ago the Government of Sudan and rebels in the South reached an interim agreement whereby the South was to vote in five years on whether to remain within the historical Sudan or establish their own independent state in the south. For the last several months the US administration and Europe has been pressuring the government of Sudan to fulfill its obligations under the interim agreement. In the coming 10 days, the South will vote and Sudan will likely become a bifurcated nation.

Meanwhile, Israel which uses diplomacy as a dilatory negotiation tactics - or the negotiation “treadmill” still has not made any progress since 1993 Oslo accords. The Oslo understanding clearly called for the two parties to enter final status negotiation within five years.  But It never happened. The international community never bothered to enforce it either.

Then in June 2002 president Bush came with a three phase called Road Map for peace. Phases I and II spelled out the obligation on the: Palestinians: “end of violence”,  Palestinian political reform and election. The last phase called for reaching permanent status agreement and end of conflict; agreement on final borders, clarification of the highly controversial question of the fate of Jerusalem, refugees and settlements.

Like with every non reciprocal agreement with Israel, Palestinians had to deliver their obligation before Israel starts complying with the agreements. The Palestinians carried out their commitments, but Israel did not.

As before, the US throws another safety robe to pull Israel from its hole by starting new treadmill negotiation process. The Bush administration called in Nov 2007 to the Annapolis Conference which for the first time, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister attended the talks. Again, Israel received the recognition but evaded to deliver as they have done since 1993.

Then Obama came with his famous speech in Cairo which called on Israel to stop building illegal settlements in the Wes Bank and Jerusalem, the first time since the Carter administration. Yet his commitment started to fade under the pressure from the Israeli lobby and now his administration threatens to use the veto against a proposed Palestinian resolution at the UN Security Council on the legality of the Israeli settlements in land occupied since 1967.

The US can’t force Israel to comply with its previous obligations under the many phases of the peace process, yet it doesn’t want the Palestinians to bring this violation before the Security Council. It is the Same Council which is used by the US and Europe to force the government of Sudan to comply with its obligation with the South; the same Council which threatens the Ivory Coast with force to install an elected President. Hitherto, the same Council refuses to apply the same international standards against Israel.

Ending the year, 2010 with a hug bang of hypocrisy.