Abunimah on the Palestine Papers: ‘If the US is unable to change its utterly failed policies, it might as well get out of the way’

Israel/Palestine
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Ali Abunimah reviews the Palestine Papers in the Christian Science Monitor and says they are evidence of a failed US foreign policy across the Middle East:

Some might say that the revelations about the peace process are hardly surprising. After all, its credibility was already threadbare. I disagree. What kept it on life support until now was the opacity and mystique that came from Mitchell’s tight-lipped shuttle diplomacy, from the hopes that Mr. Obama was somehow really different, and that at the end of all this the United States would show its hand and pressure Israel to do the things it doesn’t want to do but that are needed for peace.

The Palestine Papers show us once and for all that this is all a bluff. Mitchell has no cards up his sleeve, and the other players are no longer even at the table. The Palestine Papers have probably struck a regime-ending blow to the Abbas leadership. True, Abbas may remain in Ramallah for some time to come, thanks to massive external support. But his clique does not speak for, and cannot make a deal on behalf of the Palestinian people. As for Israel’s leadership, the supposedly “moderate” government of Ehud Olmert consistently rejected Palestinian concessions on every key issue – concessions that, when revealed in The Palestine Papers, have shocked the Palestinian public. It’s impossible to imagine Mitchell returning to the same old game.

It is possible, however, to imagine a dynamic new US approach: ending unconditional aid and diplomatic support for Israel, allowing Palestinians to democratically choose a consensus leadership – even if the US doesn’t like it – and supporting their global, grassroots struggle that takes as inspiration the same values as those of the US Civil Rights movement and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. The US would also insist that any peace process has as its goal the fulfilling of international law and universal human rights. More broadly, the US would end its backing for reviled dictatorships across the region so that people can reshape their futures as they see fit, with all the hopes, opportunities, and risks such dramatic change would entail.

Of course, that is a distant dream. I expect the US will carry on as it has since the last time a US president, Eisenhower, challenged Israeli territorial aggrandizement head-on back in the 1950s. But the message from the reaction to The Palestine Papers and the protests for democracy and economic justice in countries across the region is that if the United States is unable to change its utterly failed policies, it might as well get out of the way and let the people act to secure their rights and dignity.

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