The 2010 Palestine Peace Talks

A Sylvester Stallone Remake?

A new round of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis has just begun in the United States. The summer was one of kite-flying, on the one hand in the form of indirect contacts between the two sides so as not to further provoke Palestinians sick of the Israeli Occupation and the incompetence of the Palestinian Authority. On the other hand threats came from Mahmud Abbas saying he would not participate without a halt to settlement building and from Benjamin Netanyahu saying he would only participate if no preconditions were set.

So interest in this latest of the interminable round of talks resembles the likely interest in a film of Rocky 6. The directors and leading actors of Rocky knew they were offering entertainment barely suitable for an infantile public and for grown-ups desperate for escape. But they still managed to fool film goers around the world their production was, at the very least, the film of the decade.

To convince public opinion, the US government, the leading promoter of earlier talks and the ones under way, have presented them as the round that is going to “resolve all final-status issues … within one year” in the words of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. One can still recall, if one leaves aside the 1991 Madrid preview, the 1993 billboard announcing the first film in this saga The Washington Conversations. Also since then we have seen remakes like the Declaration of Principles and the Oslo Process.

More than a film it is an endless series whose episodes – variations on the same screenplay – get the subtitle of the city in which they were staged. Annapolis, Sharm-el Sheik, Taba, Wye River, Paris, Cairo, Camp David and so on. Today, the film show rolls on in Washington. This time, the director is the wife of ex-President Clinton, organizer of the 1993 talks in the same city.

The locations are seductive and the special effects continue to work well, especially on the so called Palestinian Authority, the official designation under the Declaration of Principles. The PA, an apparently proto-government body, lost all legitimacy for Palestinians once it turned into a tool subsidized and managed by the owners of the political entertainment industry. These are the Quartet, the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia.

In 1993, all smiles, Bill Clinton, Yasser Arafat and Yitzak Rabin embraced in the White House rose garden while an ecstatic world applauded the scene thanks to another visual effect popularized by CNN. “Take part directly in historic events! Be part of history!” The appearances and the special effects substituted for peace, because, without justice, peace is out of reach. On the other hand, if justice were done the appearances and special effects would be redundant.

The process is completed with endless conversations between political leaders , bulky studies by analysts and experts and a plethora of NGO-run projects. All this is paid for by the same people who organize the rest of the show. Nobody remembers the players who refused to participate in the Oslo Process and criticized the change of course in the Palestinian cause.

Abdel Shafi and Edward Said among others. They were lucky. Others who dared criticize the PA shortly after its establishment in Palestine got to know personally the prisons built with money from the Quartet in order to oppress the Palestinian population suffering under the Israeli Occupation. Intellectuals, activists and resisters in general have suffered repression and punishment for opposing the Peace Process.

While it is true they have been marginalized by the international news media, they can consider themselves fortunate, since members of Hamas or of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and other resistance organizations are either dead or else in Israeli jails by the thousand. They think the conversations are a childish diversion and so continue to
struggle against the Israeli Occupation.

The public in 2010 behaves the same as in previous years. Despite being somewhat jaded after almost two decades of Peace Process, they will pay again to see the show for the umpteenth time. The media are trumpeting a dazzling presentation “A Palestinian State within the year!” “Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama set on Peace to show regional policy success!” “Moratinos optimistic, confident talks will work out, rebuilding hopes for Peace!”

While the world watches this newsreel of the conversations unwind, in Palestine the deaths pile up, the number of refugees grows and the State of Palestine promised in 1947 shrinks all the time. In any case it has been occupied by Israel from the start.

  • Translated by toni solo, an activist living and working in Nicaragua.
  • Agustín Velloso is Professor of Education Sciences at the National Univeristy of Education in Madrid. His English version of this article was revised by toni solo. Read other articles by Agustín.

    7 comments on this article so far ...

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    1. bozh said on September 5th, 2010 at 9:06am #

      After oslo ’93 the us-euro-isr {UEI} evil soyuz stopped negotiating even with arafat. One of the reasons for not talking to arafat was the fact [reported as such] that sharon could no stand arafat.

      Be it as it may, arafat in 2000 did not give away a inch of the 22% of palestina. And neither will alibaba abbas sign away anything.
      For one thing, he acts as puppet; thus, does not leagally or morally represent pal’ns.

      In addition, no negotiation can take place with one side, the UEI, being thousands times stronger econo-military-diplomaticly.
      Locus classicus for even lesser inequilibrium was the ‘negotiation’ between france and germany in ’19.
      At that time germans had to accept a harsh diktat that later acted as one cause for WW2.

      I recall that in ’93 i wrote letters to editors about my shock of what would happen in oslo. No letter had been published. I did tho fortell disaster for palestina on the basis of the fact that no negotiation can ever take place as long as such enormous inequilibrium exists between the two sides: UEI and friendless, tankless, countryless pal’ns. tnx

    2. JoeJ said on September 5th, 2010 at 1:19pm #

      Palestinian Peace Talks – What a sham – Abbas is a Israel/US tool — and Netanyahu is now “a man of peace” – what a sick farce this all is!

      These talks are going on only for the political benefit of Obama – they will drag on until the 2012 election.

    3. 3bancan said on September 5th, 2010 at 2:13pm #

      //Rubi Rivlin, Chairman of the KNESSET, yesterday viciously attacked Israeli artists, players, and writers, who imposed a cultural boycott on the town of ARIEL, due to its location beyond the “Green Line” [in territories conquered in 1967]
      “I say to those who want to boycott – Deer Balkum [“beware” in Arabic] Those who expelled Arabs from En-Karem, from Jaffa, and from Katamon [in 1948..] lost the moral right to boycott Ariel” said Rivlin to “Ma’ariv” yesterday.
      Rivlin described the artists’ call for a boycott as “lacking intellectual honesty” adding that those who settled in Ariel and other places in Judea and Samaria [the official Israeli name for the occupied West Bank] did so “due to the orders of society, and some may say – due to the orders of Zionism.”//
      http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m69460&hd=&size=1&l=e

      Is Rubi Rivlin some close relation of Noam Chomsky? They speak practically the same speak…

    4. teafoe2 said on September 5th, 2010 at 2:34pm #

      Compliments to the author: Prof. Velloso restates the obvious reality with enough literary flair to make it interesting reading.

      Gracias also to 3bancan: Rivkin and Chomsky sound so alike they could be Izzy and Harriet:) Incredible mastery of the Art of Doublethink, “how to state two mutually exclusive propositions in the same sentence without Amy Goodman openly tittering on camera”.

    5. Ismail Zayid said on September 6th, 2010 at 11:23am #

      As Professor Velloso says this interminable round of talks has gone on for decades with no results achieved. The essential element of this is that the Zioinist programme has no intention of withdrawing from the illegally-occupied Palestinian territory. The Oslo Accord, in 1993, was a charade leaving the major issues including the illegal colonies [settlements] built on occupied land, the right of return for the refugees, Jerusalem, amongst others, left as negotiable. This is a mechanism of evasion and continuing occupation.

      If there is to be peace in this land, the international community must act forcefully to impliment international law and UN resolutions and bring about a complete termination of this illegal occupation and allow the dispossessed Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, in compliance with the UN Charter and international law. This is the only way to ensure peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians in this tortured land.

    6. 3bancan said on September 7th, 2010 at 11:49pm #

      http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/monzer-zimmo-palestinian-recognition-of-israel-a-jewish-stat.html

    7. mary said on September 8th, 2010 at 12:25am #

      That is a good strong statement 3bancan. I see the author is Monzer Zimmo of Alcaaanite who writes from Ottawa.

      About Alcanaanite
      Monzer Zimmo, a Palestinian-Canadian living and working in Ottawa, Canada. Monzer is an advocate of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the peaceful creation of a bi-national-democratic state on all the territory of historic Palestine, where Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others live together as equal citizens; be and feel safe, secure, and at home

      http://alcanaanite.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/palestinian-recognition-of-israel-a-jewish-state-why/