Monday, October 15, 2007

Call it What it Is!

Colonization And A Mediator's Bias
Remain The Death Knells Of Peace

Daily Star (Lebanon)
October 15, 2007

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in the Middle East over the weekend to try and prod the parties into attending the planned Arab-Israeli gathering in Annapolis next month.

Her arrival coincided with the 13th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to the late Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, and to Shimon Peres. The Oslo Accords that Arafat, Rabin and Peres signed in 1993 were a breakthrough in their day; but they never achieved their promise. The process they unleashed ultimately collapsed in bitter fighting and the construction of the separation wall that Israel has erected, largely on Palestinian land.

It is worth recalling why the peace process that has comprised so many attempts since Madrid in 1991 has failed, and warfare has resumed its status as the constant condition of Arab-Israeli interaction. Many will argue over the main reasons for this sad fact. One element that cannot be ignored, and might be the number one reason for war's triumph over peace, is the continued Israeli insistence on expropriating and colonizing Palestinian land that was occupied in 1967.

The incompatibility of peace-making with colonization should be abundantly clear by now.That is why Rice should recognize - or some honest person in Washington should tell her - that her statement Sunday about Israel's latest land grab of Palestinian territory east of Occupied Jerusalem was glaringly at odds with her stated mission of promoting peace.

Asked about Israel's latest confiscation of Palestinian land, she replied: "The point that I will be making is that we have to be very careful as we are trying to move toward the establishment of a Palestinian state about actions and statements that erode confidence in the parties' commitment to a two-state solutionactions and statements that erode confidence in the parties' commitment to a two-state solution."

Say what, Condi? We have to be careful about statements that "erode confidence?" Is this all the US secretary of state can say about the most persistent and conspicuous colonial endeavor in the world? Does she really expect anyone to take her seriously as an impartial mediator when she shows herself and her country to be so blatantly sympathetic to Israel? She should come out and say flatly that expropriating occupied lands is explicitly against UN resolutions that are the basis for peacemaking attempts. If she cannot say that because it will upset the Israelis, or their friends in Washington, she should consider dropping her entire charade, because it will end like the Oslo and many other failed peace-making meetings.

If the mediator has no self-respect anchored in genuine impartiality, he or she will not be taken seriously, which is precisely what is happening today. Nobel prizes awarded many years ago remind us of the courage needed to make peace, but also of the dishonesty and partiality that destroys otherwise noble peacemaking endeavors.

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