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Moe Diab on peace talks ‘That’s either insanity or it’s intentional failure’

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If covering oft-ignored salient points counts as a home run, human rights activist Moe Diab knocked one out of the ballpark in his interview with host Jaisal Noor on today’s episode of the RealNews.

From Matt Lee’s grilling of State Dept spokesperson Jen Psaki on Martin Indyk’s history of failure to the new adjustment to the original 2002 Arab Peace Initiative as well as Noura Erakat’s suggestion of internationalizing the process to everything in between, Diab doesn’t let up. 

The RealNews Network:

NOOR: So, Moe, we want to get your response to this latest news of Israel approving 1,200 new settlement units. And they’re particularly sensitive, because most of the units are located in isolated settlements that Israel is unlikely to retain if and when a Palestinian state is created. Can you talk about the impact this new announcement by Israel will have on these latest round of talks that Secretary Kerry is so optimistic about?

DIAB: Well, I think it comes as no surprise. They don’t comply with international law. The goals of this peace process don’t include ending the problems that are causing the conflict, just ending the claims and ending the conflict. So the fact that this was announced is really no surprise. They continued the building of the settlements in the last peace process. And at this point, they even openly announced that they are going to be building settlements in the proposed Palestinian state for this peace process, which is based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. So it comes as no surprise. And this process is bound to fail for that reason. So I don’t think anybody at all is surprised for this.

NOOR: And I think the Western media, the mainstream media often, you know, misses that key fact that it’s actually been during the years of the so-called peace process that Israel has had some of the largest settlement expansions in Palestinian territory.

DIAB: Yes, absolutely. I mean, the facts on the ground are largely ignored and they’re distorted and they’re presented in Western media to portray the situation as a complete opposite of what it is. It’s not portrayed as an occupation of Palestinian territory. It’s not portrayed as a military against an occupied people. It’s really portrayed as two sovereign nations involved in a conflict.

NOOR: Yet Secretary John Kerry insists that this round of peace talks will be different. Can you talk about his goals and what the actual outline of what’s being proposed looks like?

DIAB: Well, I think that’s a really good question a lot of people have been asking. And I think the best way to answer this for everyone is to look at the actual main source for this. About two weeks ago, on July 29, at the State Department’s official press briefing, spokesperson Jen Psaki was unable to answer Associated Press journalist Matt Lee’s simple and fundamental question asking what’s different this time, what’s changed. Considering Martin Indyk’s long record of failure–and the whole team’s record of failure, for that matter–and if the official spokesperson is unable to answer the most fundamental question, it’s clear that no changes have been made to increase the chances of reaching a sustainable resolution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The appointment of Martin Indyk, who is the former ambassador to Israel, as the U.S. envoy for these talks is another clear indication that no changes in the framework have been made from the last 22 years of failed U.S. diplomacy. And now we’re trying the same thing again and again for 22 years, and we’re not seeing a different result. That’s either insanity or it’s intentional failure.

In this case, as we have seen in the past whenever these peace talks resurface, the timing of the process is usually followed by an eruption of crises in the Middle East. And in this case, the inability of the U.S. to respond strategically to these challenges is enough motive to use the peace talks as a way to distract from the the U.S. failures in the Middle East and as a way to reassure Israel’s backers and as reassertion of the U.S. as an existing power.

And if you want to mention the goals of this process, now, the goals were simply stated as ending the conflict, ending the claims. But it was also said that it was based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, and everybody thinks that this is going to be a great start. And theoretically it would be a great start. However, what Kerry failed to mention was the slight U.S. and Israeli adjustment to the original 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which has deprived it of any potential it may have had. Originally in the plan, the Arab states were offered normalization with Israel only after full withdrawal from the 1967 territories and after recognizing the Palestinian right of return based on UN Resolution 194. So what we’re seeing is his goals are ignoring the facts on the ground and don’t address the problems which are causing the conflict. How can you simply end the conflict without changing anything?

NOOR: So, Moe, what are the facts on the ground in occupied Palestine right now?

DIAB: I think the facts on the ground are plain to see. Israel continues to annex Palestinian territory. Israel persists in demolishing Palestinian homes and populating Palestine with Israeli civilians. They routinely detain Palestinians without charges under the policy of administrative detention, and they maintain the policy of collectively punishing 1.57 million Palestinians through its imposition of the blockade on the Gaza Strip. And Israel prosecutes its occupation with impunity, refusing to accept the world’s calls to respect international law. Neither Israel nor its proxies can justify the facts on the ground in occupied Palestine, so they distract, distort, and defame to allow the violations to go on.

NOOR: And can you talk a little bit more about Martin Indyk? You know, he is appointed as the U.S. envoy to these talks, yet it would be hard to call him an impartial figure. You know, he was the deputy–he was the former deputy research director of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

DIAB: Absolutely. And he was also the former ambassador to Israel. So choosing him to be the U.S. envoy for these peace talks for obvious reasons leads to the assumption that there is no good-faith intention in this peace talk. The mediator should coordinate with both sides a balanced and unbiased perspective. And what we’re seeing and what we have seen in the past is the simple U.S. siding with Israeli power and the deprivation of Palestinian representation and rights.

So if–something that also is very important is to recognize the fact that Israel, who is supported by the United States, has one of the most stable economies in the world, the fourth most powerful military in the world, and the U.S. is trying to mediate talks with the Palestinians, who are stateless and disempowered, who are living under constant occupation, who are living in apartheid conditions, who don’t have a military and don’t even have control of their own airspace. So for these reasons, until the negotiations are not based on support for Israeli power but based on international law, human rights, and equality for all, the peace process will unquestionably continue to fail.

NOOR: And so we spent the first seven minutes attacking these talks essentially, or at least to drawing out the criticisms of them. Do you have a proposal that you think would be a just solution to this, the Palestinian-Israel conflict?

DIAB: I think a good point to reference this would be from last March on MSNBC’s news program Up with Chris Hayes. He had guest speaker Rashid Khalidi on the show, and he made the really clear point that negotiations were designed to prevent Palestinian statehood and sovereignty. And the U.S. is–like I mentioned before, the U.S. is not playing the necessary balanced role as the mediator, and with heavily biased and corrupt mediators the logical thing to do, the first step thing to do would be to remove the obstacles, in this case the U.S. being the mediator and arbitrator for these talks, ’cause they are preventing a good-faith peace process. And to involve new players is obviously very crucial in order to see an actual change in this process.

Also, human rights lawyer and Georgetown University associate adjunct professor Noura Erakat has suggested internationalization of the issue several times as a place to start. And she uses this term to reference letting go of America’s role as the arbitrator and aid donor and employing the United Nations General Assembly in the process. So while Israel and its proxies may wish to ignore the world’s efforts to induce compliance with international law, it’s contrary to the aims and purposes of the United Nations to distract attention or to distort the facts on the ground. So internationalization also refers to utilizing the resources that are made available by the United Nations, such as utilizing the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice. Obviously, this alone is not going to completely solve the peace process and the conflict, but it definitely is more promising than following the last 22 years of failed U.S.-brokered attempts to resolve this issue.

NOOR: Moe Diab, thank you so much for joining us. Moe is a Palestinian-American human rights activist, blogs at

DIAB: Thank you for having me.

NOOR: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

Great job Moe.

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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35 Responses

  1. just on August 13, 2013, 5:49 pm

    Moe Diab is spot on with the entire situation!

    Goodness gracious, if only one of our elected leaders could tell the truth, for once. Anytime now would be much appreciated…

    Thanks for this, Annie.

    • just on August 13, 2013, 6:09 pm

      Such an articulate, intelligent, honest gentleman.

      (um– he’s also quite striking! ;) I finally got the video to play.

      Thanks also to Jaisal Noor and RealNews.

      • bilal a on August 14, 2013, 1:09 am

        MO is s nickname short for ?


  2. Bumblebye on August 13, 2013, 8:18 pm
  3. Walid on August 14, 2013, 12:26 am

    “Originally in the plan, the Arab states were offered normalization with Israel only after full withdrawal from the 1967 territories and after recognizing the Palestinian right of return based on UN Resolution 194. ” (Moe Diab)

    First, it was not the Arab states that were offered normalization; the offer was made TO Israel in 2002 and 2007 and Israel twice rejected the offer based on a pretext t0 stall and permit the continued expansion of the settlements.

    Second, In spite of Israel’s rejection of the Initiave in 2002 and 2007, this did not prevent the start of partial normalization by Arab states since many of them already have ongoing business and military dealings with the rogue state and some have even allowed Israel to have commercial offices established in them. This is evidently taking away any incentive to have Israel seriously reconsider the Initiative. If Arab states are not taking this matter seriously, why should the US?

    • Citizen on August 14, 2013, 3:29 pm

      @ Walid
      Because the Arab oil states do not represent their own people, and everybody knows it except Dick and Jane. But, what the hey, in the USA Dick & Jane don’t know what’s really going on either.

  4. Nevada Ned on August 14, 2013, 12:49 am

    Moe Diab makes a reference to Up with Chris (Hayes) that ran on MSNBC last March. Rashid Khalidi was a guest. The transcript can be found here.
    You have to scroll down a LONG LONG way to reach the part of the transcript that features Rashid Khalidi.

  5. bilal a on August 14, 2013, 1:23 am

    Meanwhile Israel is fretting about the Sinai all over al jazeera, with AJ , after a new Qatari government, is echoing their claims of sinai militant ties to the MB.

    And the Liberal secularists are finally awake to the realization of Martial Law , Military rule in preparation for a civil war against the terrorists:

    • MHughes976 on August 14, 2013, 7:08 am

      12 noon in the UK – terrifying reports of what sounds like a bloody massacre in Cairo. That such things can happen in our time! Moe Diab says that Palestine peace talks are a harbinger of crisis elsewhere in the ME. Some prophecies get fulfilled too quickly.

      • Shingo on August 14, 2013, 9:05 am

        12 noon in the UK – terrifying reports of what sounds like a bloody massacre in Cairo.

        Yes, notice how the army treated the pro coup mod with kid gloves and yet unleash a massacre on Morsi supporters.

        From the article:

        “A Reuters correspondent saw dozens of people lying in the street with bullet and birdshot wounds. Pools of blood were everywhere.”

        It’s enough to make an Egyptian revolutionary’s heart sing.

        No doubt Taxi will assure us they were all terrorists and deserved to die. She’ll also reassure us that these are birth pangs of democracy – you can;t make an omelette without breaking eggs and all that – and that this is all part of the long term plan for peace and freedom for Egyptians.

      • just on August 14, 2013, 9:05 am

        From your link, Annie:
        “There was no official confirmation of the death toll at Rabaa al-Adawiya, in northeast Cairo, where thousands of Mursi supporters have staged a six-week sit-in that caused the army acute embarrassment since it ousted the elected leader.

        A second camp near Cairo University was swiftly cleared in the early morning.

        The operation, which suggested that the powerful military had lost patience with persistent protests that were crippling parts of the capital and slowing the political process, began just after dawn with helicopters hovering over the camps.”

        ‘acute embarrassment’? ‘lost patience’?

        It’s a continued massacre by the military. It’s still a coup. Ugh. RIP to the dead.

      • Shingo on August 14, 2013, 9:30 am

        It’s a continued massacre by the military.

        And yet we were told the Tahrir’s called on the military avoid bloodshed. Apparently, they were only referring to the own blood.

      • just on August 14, 2013, 10:51 am

        “U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is condemning “in the strongest terms” the violence used by Egyptian security forces to clear demonstrators supporting ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

        It was a rare rebuke from Ban of a U.N. member state.”

      • MHughes976 on August 14, 2013, 11:41 am

        Spreading to the rest of Egypt, apparently, and with a current official death toll of 95 according to Reuters. I suspect we can triple or quadruple that. Reuters, which brings us the full story, also reports a drop in the Egyptian stock market of near 2%.

      • Shingo on August 14, 2013, 7:58 pm

        Reports say as many as 1000 killed by the fascist dictatorship

        No doubt, they are simoky acting on the will of the Egyptian people. Egypt is racing towards pariah status, thanks to this lovely new democratic model.

        With brave revolutionaries like these who needs genocide?

      • MHughes976 on August 15, 2013, 6:49 am

        I see that Kerry has produced the rather bathotic comment that these deplorable events stand in the way of reconciliation. Cameron has called for compromise all round. Is the word ‘coup’ now going to be used? Cameron’s tone suggests to me that this is unlikely.
        Looking around, I came upon a comment from the Washington Post, presumably from those we think of as AIPAC All Stars, this time speaking the truth. ‘Democracy is being made to seem like a card trick, now you see it now you don’t’. Whatever we think of the contestants in Egypt it is surely true that the position of the Western governments in this matter is calamitous for our reputation – weak, hesitant and double-talking at very best. And if that’s the best way of looking at us, what would the worst be like?
        BBC news broadcasts, over pictures of Cairo streets full of flames, the views of a Cairo university professor full of the utmost hatred and scorn for the MB and angry about attacks on churches. I’m sure she represents the feelings of the middle class, professional women especially. How can a country exist with such bitter divisions? How can democracy be much more than a card trick with all the aces held up a foreign sleeve?

  6. ziusudra on August 14, 2013, 2:27 am

    Greetings Annie,
    Thanking you & your Peers for doing very good work in judging the issues legally & objectively from a Judaic based perspective media outlet.
    PS I’m here in Germany. Is Mondoweiss viewed in the US?

    • annie on August 14, 2013, 12:59 pm

      yes ziusudra, most of out readers are from the US. but many are not and come from all over the globe.

      • Citizen on August 14, 2013, 3:39 pm

        @ Annie Robbins
        You need to tell ziusdra that MW is viewed in the US, but most Americans, nearly all, don’t read it, don’t even know about it–it’s like a minor samizdat mag in the old USSR. Just so the picture is clear of the present state of affairs. I wish it were different, but it’s not.

  7. Mike_Konrad on August 14, 2013, 4:39 am

    Do any of you believe Israel will evacuate 1/2 Million settlers?
    Of course not!

    Think outside the box.

    Israel has no intention of leaving the area (it never had).

    Start with that premise and then work out what is best for the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria with that in mind.

    • Shingo on August 14, 2013, 7:28 am

      Do any of you believe Israel will evacuate 1/2 Million settlers?
      Of course not!

      No one believes Israel wants peace at all.

      Think outside the box.

      Yes, get the UN to handle it and tell the US to get out of the way.

      • annie on August 14, 2013, 8:45 am

        shingo, mike’s idea of thinking ‘outside the box’ is shipping palestinians off to south america!!! lol. of course, he’s not willing to place the settlers outside the box of those illegal settlements! his outside the box thinking is limited to palestinians.

      • Shingo on August 14, 2013, 8:59 am

        Yeah, thinking outside the box is actually more of the same, but withouth hiding behind the niceties or wanting peace and goodwill.

    • talknic on August 14, 2013, 7:36 am

      Mike_Konrad “Do any of you believe Israel will evacuate 1/2 Million settlers?”

      No. Those who choose to stay could become Palestinian citizens. Never the less, tell me why it should not evacuate 1/2 Million ILLEGAL settlers who have absolutely no legal right to be there. In 1948 Israel dispossessed far more non-Jews who DID have a right to be there.

      “Think outside the box”

      = let Israel get away with its crimes

      “Israel has no intention of leaving the area (it never had)”

      No one is asking Israel to leave the area. Just get out of Palestine. Israel has its own territory

      “Start with that premise”

      Why? No doubt Hitler thought he was gonna keep Poland. By your premise if someone thinks they can get away with a crime, they should be allowed.

      “..and then work out what is best for the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria with that in mind”

      It’s OFFICIALLY called the West Bank and Israel has no legal right to it. Israel’s only legal way out of the mess it has created is to plea bargain with the Palestinians who have the law on their side. The US veto only allows the frog to stay in the pot.

    • Ecru on August 14, 2013, 8:46 am

      Think outside the box? OK Israel obviously has no intention of stopping either its larcenous or murderous behaviour in Palestine so one state solution is the only way out.

      The only problem there then is the exodus of Zionists who cannot abide the idea of Palestinians being equal citizens (i.e the majority of Israelis). Where can they go? Because nowhere on the planet wants a bunch of ethnosupremist scum on their doorstep who’s idea of settling down is to just steal somebody else’s stuff and then when people complain wail and moan “antisemites” all the live long day.

      • john h on August 14, 2013, 8:33 pm

        “Where can they go”?

        That’s their problem. They made their own bed, let them sleep on it.

        Welcome to living outside the box.

      • Ecru on August 16, 2013, 1:40 pm

        @ john h

        I’m coming round to the idea of Israel actually. History’s largest ever ghetto. All we do is build a wall around it (modified 1948 borders – no doors – maybe a minefield) dump ALL the Zionists into it (and I do mean ALL) and then just leave them to it. And the best thing is – a ghetto is exactly what Zionists want anyway.

      • john h on August 17, 2013, 10:46 pm

        That could be it, outside the box, inside their box.

        In case you haven’t heard it, here is what an 8 year old Palestinian girl once had to say about the wall.

        It’s on this video, starting at 5:25.

    • Woody Tanaka on August 14, 2013, 1:18 pm

      “Start with that premise and then work out what is best for the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria with that in mind.”

      Yeah, because we know that someone who uses racist code-words like “Judea and Samaria” is interested in the welfare of the Palestinans.

    • Citizen on August 14, 2013, 3:44 pm

      @ Mike_Konrad
      True. What’s best for the Palestinians there is UN troops, and UN as a more honest broker. It’s even best for the US and Israel. Too bad it won’t happen due to the wealth of the Zionist 5th Column in the USA.

  8. Qualtrough on August 14, 2013, 10:50 am

    Why do we let ourselves get bogged down in these games? At the heart of this issue is the fact that a group of people believe they have a covenant from God to live on this piece of land. Everything else is a diversion. No logical arguments, concessions, or trades are going to change their minds because they believe the land is theirs from God. Time is wasted on peace efforts with people who don’t want peace, while meanwhile Palestinian territory disappears every day. The only way this might possibly end somewhat peacefully is if the US and others stop bankrolling Israel and the US stops running interference for them at the UN and other world bodies, combined with increased boycott efforts.

    • Citizen on August 14, 2013, 3:55 pm

      @ Qualtrough
      Yes. Unfortunately, the USA is the only superpower, and it is also a plutocracy, and any special interest group with tons of money and a single agenda, in this case, Israel First, is top dog in its arena.

    • john h on August 14, 2013, 8:38 pm

      Yep. That’s always been the way to reach the “heart” of Zionist Israel.

      If is about the hardest word to make actual history.

  9. john h on August 14, 2013, 8:43 pm

    “Everyone deals falsely. They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush”.

    Jeremiah 6:13-15.

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