Richard Falk in his blog article, Reviving the Israel-Palestine Negotiations: The Indyk Appointment notes one of many absurdities in this current round of “peace negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, brokered by the U.S., is the US appointment of the chief negotiator, Martin Indyk. Martin Indyk, Falk notes, is a “former ambassador to Israel (1995-97; 2000-01), onetime AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) employee, British born, Australian educated American diplomat, with a long list of pro-Israeli credentials.” Hardly what might be described as an independent arbiter
As www.jadaliyya.com display in their simple but effective poster on the displacement of the Palestinian peoples since 1948 by Israeli soldiers and gunmen, by 2008, more than 5.3 million Palestinians were living in enforced exile, often in extreme conditions of hardship. Those who remain in the ghettos of the West Bank and Gaza, imprisoned behind ever higher Israeli concrete walls and for Gazans, facing increasing limitations to their access to food, medicine and the basic necessities of life, by the illegal Israeli blockade. In addition, thousands of Palestinian political prisoners are imprisoned in Israel for their rightful attempts to break a savage illegal occupation, or like the hundreds of young children imprisoned and often tortured, maybe threw a stone or two against an Israeli soldier or settler.
This is no round of equal party negotiations; this is negotiations between one all powerful (and totally supported in every way by the “independent arbiter” the U.S.) and the Palestinian agency which has no democratic legitimacy with its own people (Hamas does) and which has absolutely no negotiating leverage.
Falk also notes that “John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, whose show this is, dutifully indicated when announcing the Indyk appointment, that success in the negotiations will depend on the willingness of the two sides to make ‘reasonable compromises.’” One might ask what further compromises the Palestinians may be asked to make; having lost almost all their land, hundreds of thousands of lives, the loss of a state entity and thousands of their “citizens’ in Israeli prisons. All the while, Israel continues to expand with more settler housing into the occupied territories, destroying more Palestinian homes and orchards and creating more Palestinian refugees.
Peace in Palestine, if it can be obtained, must surely require the just settlement of past wrongs and the creation of a stable, sustainable and just society for the inhabitants of that region. In my view, some elements of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission model, along with the reconciliations (and compensations) achieved via New Zealand’s Waitangi Tribunal for indigenous Maori, will achieve that goal.
This model translates, in the land of Palestine, to compensation for lands misappropriated by Israeli Jews, compensation for the deaths and torture of Palestinians and Israelis since the Nakba , and equal status for all citizens, whether Jewish, Muslim or any other religious or ethnic identity who currently inhabit those lands – in other words – a single state solution. A peace settlement requires a just settlement.
In every way, these current negotiations, as all the previous peace negotiations have been, are both a farce and tragedy.
Two-state IIlusion-New York Times Opinion by Ian Lustick