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The alleged peace process reaches farcical lows

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Last week David Friedman, the US Ambassador to Israel, gave an interview to the Jerusalem Post saying that Palestinian violence has stymied the peace process. Israeli settlements are no obstacle to peace, he said; and there’s an “alleged occupation.”

At the same time, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu went to the West Bank to say that Israel would be there “forever.” And he released a video lecture, blaming the Palestinians for not extolling “champions of peace,” but honoring terrorists.

Netanyahu was also able to recruit the UN’s Secretary General in the Palestinian incitement talk. When Antonio Guterres met Netanyahu last week, the prime minister launched into the U.N. for having an “absurd obsession” with Israel; and Guterres, on his back foot, echoed the Prime Minister:

I’ve been expressing my opposition for instance to the settlement activity but clearly the combination of terrorism, violence and incitement and the understanding of the difficulties created by the separation between the West Bank and Gaza.

The press is going along with this farce, talking up the latest possibilities of the peace process.

Haaretz reports that Donald Trump will meet with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the UN General Assembly meetings in two weeks to push his “planned peace initiative.” But make no mistake, nothing will happen:

Though [Trump envoys Jared] Kushner and [Jason] Greenblatt didn’t give Abbas a clear timetable for unveiling the peace initiative, they said it might happen before the end of the year, the officials added.

“The Americans said they need more time to draft something and asked Abu Mazen not to make international moves like joining additional UN agencies or launching proceedings at the International Criminal Court in The Hague,” one said, referring to Abbas by his nickname. “Abu Mazen acceded to this request in the hope that during the coming months, the administration really will present a plan or a position that could constitute a real basis for restarting the diplomatic process.”

The New York Times article on the talks is headlined, “For US Mideast Peace Negotiators, Keeping the Palestinians Involved Is a Victory,” but reporter Mark Landler is compelled to admit that there’s really nothing doing:

Mr. Greenblatt declined to say whether he had presented a plan or whether he had given the Palestinians any comfort on the two-state solution, which Mr. Trump threw into doubt last February when he said, “I’m looking at two-state and one-state” formulations.

Other officials made it clear the United States did not deviate from Mr. Trump’s statement, which has frustrated Palestinian officials, who say that unless the White House reaffirms the goal of a Palestinian state, he will not be a credible peacemaker.

Landler notes that the delegation to Israel and Palestine last week included deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, one of whose qualifications is that she is not Jewish. The imbalance of the American side is so pronounced, even the Times is counting Jews:

An Egyptian-born Coptic Christian who speaks some Arabic, Ms. Powell could help mitigate the perception that the Trump team is stocked with staunchly pro-Israel figures like Mr. Kushner, Mr. Greenblatt, and David M. Friedman, the ambassador to Israel – all of whom are orthodox Jews.

Former negotiator Aaron David Miller– whose family hosted David Ben-Gurion when he was a boy, a qualification for his long service in the peace process– writes in USA Today that the U.S. won’t achieve anything by being so responsive to Israel:

Only three Americans — two secretaries of State (James Baker and Henry Kissinger) and one president (Jimmy Carter) — achieved breakthroughs in this conflict, and all had run-ins with both Arabs and Israelis…. The Trump team has a very high sensitivity toward Israel and its concerns. But the U.S. can only be an effective broker or facilitator if it is considered independent and credible….

The Trump administration ought to borrow Baker’s tactic of blaming and shaming any party that doesn’t cooperate with the U.S. This game won’t get you to the ultimate deal but it will allow its pursuit to continue.

Blaming and shaming is not all that distant from Amira Hass’s plea in Haaretz for European governments to sanction Israel, for destroying its Palestinian projects in the West Bank. Israeli society will be lost without such measures.

You must take real actions. Yes, open and declared sanctions that have a path to becoming more severe. Painful sanctions. This may be the last chance to remove the average Israeli, including business people, tourists, judges, scholars, farmers and foreign soccer consumers from their indifference and criminal complacency.

Stop being afraid of Israeli emotional blackmail. Israel trades in the memory of our families murdered in Europe in order to speed up the expulsion of the Palestinians from the bulk of West Bank territory to the enclaves of the Palestinian Authority.

Hass is a great writer, in the very difficult position of standing up for Palestinian human rights in Israel. It is dangerous for an Israeli to call out to the world for not only Sanctions, but Boycott and Divestment, too. Sanctions are the actions of governments; but who can depend on governments to do anything right now? As the David Friedman and Guterres follies show, activists must take measures of their own to support Palestinians. That’s why BDS has burgeoned.

Thanks to Allison Deger. 

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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18 Responses

  1. Ossinev on September 6, 2017, 1:59 pm

    “You must take real actions. Yes, open and declared sanctions that have a path to becoming more severe”

    Hass is right but he should be aiming this comment directly towards the pathetic Vichy PA regime puppets who have known for a very long time that the so called”peace negotiation leading to a 2SS ” are blatant Israeli stalling actions to try and mask the rampant growth in the settler expansion in the West Bank. Even when the Bennett chasing Yahoo spells it out clearly for all to hear and see they are the ones who are propping up the farce and as long as they go along with it the Europeans have a get out of jail card in terms of taking any direct responsibility and any meaningful action.

  2. Kay24 on September 6, 2017, 5:57 pm

    Again, It is unbelievable that the zionists have been successful in convincing the world, that it is THEY who are the victims, despite being the occupier, have a deadly military, and the newest of weapons made by themselves and the world’s top arms manufacturer, the US. The rationale is crazy, but it seem it is the unarmed victims of the occupation are the aggressors, who keep resisting this bloody occupation, while their lands are being stolen, and kids are being killed.
    Ah those poor zionists, how much more must be endure, and how much more will America pretend to believe the BS?

    • Lillian Rosengarten on September 7, 2017, 11:03 am

      There is nothing “poor ” about the Zionists, a nationalistic, racist genocidal regime .

      • Kay24 on September 8, 2017, 6:33 am

        I was being sarcastic of course. :))

  3. TRG-42 on September 7, 2017, 10:32 am

    There has been no real peace process by the Israelis, just fake show (Potemkin peace process, as Poopy Netanyahu called it) maintained just in order to allow for them to gain time to complete the genocide they want, while blaming the Palestinians for notwanting peace.

  4. rhkroell on September 7, 2017, 10:59 am

    “Why do Palestinians consistently choose to honor mass-murderers”? — [quotation from the video posted above by Phil of Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahoo in which he criticizes Palestinians for “honoring terrorists.”]

    The late British classicist, numismatist and author of more than 25 books on ancient Greek, Roman and Israelite history, Michael Grant, CBE, Litt.D., Cambridge University (b.1914- d.2004), paraphrases Manetho, an Egyptian priest who lived during the Ptolemaic era in the early 3rd century BCE, as follows:

    “Manetho “censured the Hebrews for cruelty, hatred of other people’s customs, and deliberate segregation.” Manetho is a source from ancient history, Grant suggests, who — along with a host of other writers of that period — characterized the ancient Israelites in this manner. “Nowhere else in the world,” he continues, “as far as we know, were there such virulent manifestations of racial prejudice at this period” (THE HISTORY OF ANCIENT ISRAEL, New York, Scribner’s, 1984, p. 203).

    “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”

    • MHughes976 on September 7, 2017, 12:40 pm

      See K. Berthelot’s 2008 article ‘Hecataeus and Jewish Misanthropy’ and Jan Assmann’s 1997 book ‘Moses the Egyptian’. We have to be careful about ancient texts of possibly anti-Semitic character but I think that the Ptolemaic world from which Hecataeus and Manetho came thought of the Jews as latter day Spartans – with much Jewish encouragement. They seemed to be militaristic and suspicious of outsiders in the way that the garrisons of military camps are. Modern Zionists have been both praised and disparaged for Spartanism. I seem to be blowing my own trumpet somewhat today, so I’ll mention my article here of January 29, 1914 on Spartan Israel.
      It may be asked why the figure of Joshua, an unsparing conqueror, remains so much admired in some Jewish and Christian circles.

      • rhkroell on September 7, 2017, 3:40 pm

        I agree. A good example of the latter: JOSHUA: MIGHTY WARRIOR and MAN of FAITH, Keller, W. Phillip, (1992); a.k.a. JOSHUA, MAN of FEARLESS FAITH (1983).

      • rhkroell on September 7, 2017, 3:50 pm

        An English translation of Berthelot’s article is available online at OpenEdition Books:

      • gamal on September 7, 2017, 6:12 pm

        with all due respect gents, i think you may be missing a good deal, Manetho was state propagandist for the new “Greek” kings, if i may

        i reckon that the “semites” appear in history on the margins of Empire, disrupting resisting any centralised authority….

        A far better comparison would be to Amr ibni Kulthum their close relative, rather than the Spartans

        Amr his story in brief

        So an old bint met this Arab and he asked her could he be put under the protection of her tribe

        No problem says she, well then some dudes from Bakr killed one of his camels and ate it, he went and told his paramour bint of the Taghlib (its from memory, Chinese whispers)

        and so 40 years later after a bloody war even the Arabs were saying “shit this is ridiculous” Bakr and Taghlib slaughter each other over some girls boyfriends camel, so they said to the “King” of HIra “shit man you got to sort this, Rum is laughing at us..”

        so what it is is that each party comes forward they apologise and say they will abide by the kings ruling, then they make their case, apologise for the trouble and sit down,

        so what happened was Amr was to speak first (how could it be otherwise) it was so good they hung it off the Ka’aba

        Abu HInd don’t rush up on us
        We will tell you whats what
        the white shroud is our flag
        we stain it red on the field
        Our fame is we rebel against all authority
        Everyone knows we go where we please
        If we like a place we take it
        We eat when we can
        We destroy challengers
        We prevent when we please
        We come and go as we please
        We retire in solitude with our rage
        Striking with joy

        (as an example of prosody its incomparable, learn Arabic just to read it)

        So Bakr kept it within the bounds of convention…..

        So when the “King” of Hira got home his advisors asked him it all sorted out, it being expected that each guy grovelled and a compromise was reached,

        “I found against “Amr’

        ” oh, oh no, i think we can salvage things”

        so they invited ‘Amr and his mother to a state dinner, oh God they pulled out all the stops,

        so the semites attended with their Byzantine Arab (Rum) host,

        During dinner the “King” of Hiras’ mother asked Amrs’ mother to pass her a dish,

        “The fuck you say” exclaimed Mrs Amr

        Amr, who had been disarmed seized the “Kings” sword and beheaded him with the tart observation

        “Who told you we came here to be your servants”

        thats not Spartan, thats bad, Ghetto bad, where Semites thrive, the free ones anyway.

      • RoHa on September 7, 2017, 6:27 pm

        “my article here of January 29, 1914 ”

        I thought you were just a couple of years older than me, but it seems you were writing articles before my mother was born!

      • MHughes976 on September 8, 2017, 3:55 am

        My mum is still with us at 104 and experiences some time shifts in her consciousness these days. I seem to be getting to that point at a rather earlier stage.

  5. Lillian Rosengarten on September 7, 2017, 11:02 am

    What a ludicrous group of Zionists wasting time . Their ignorance and complicit support of genocidal Zionism is truly theatre for the Absurd. Marat Sade in action and the US posturing pretense at resolution is a true disgrace. Free Palestine without US interference!

  6. Misterioso on September 7, 2017, 1:02 pm


    “Israel’s Geopolitical Gut Check”
    A once favorable balance of power has shifted, clipping Tel Aviv’s wings.
    By SHARMINE NARWANI • September 6, 2017

    “Tel Aviv has had a bad few weeks. A once favorable regional balance of power has suddenly shifted in a direction that clips Israel’s wings—all while adversaries on its borders are making swift strategic gains.”

    TEHRAN (Tasnim) – “A peace activist and journalist based in Virginia said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s panic about recent advances of Iran and its allied forces against terrorists in Syria signals that the Tel Aviv regime is ‘losing its stranglehold’ over Washington.
    “’Netanyahu’s panic and his incessant warnings regarding ‘Iranian expansion’ may be the most hopeful sign that Tel Aviv is losing its stranglehold over Washington,’ Janice Kortkamp from Leesburg, Virginia, said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.”
    UNESCO Expands List of World Heritage Sites for 2017
    “…Hebron, an ancient city in the West Bank, currently occupied by Israel, was also put on the list as a Palestinian World Heritage Site, though Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called the decision ‘delusional.’”

    • MHughes976 on September 7, 2017, 5:26 pm

      I read that American Conservative article in full on your recommendation, Mist, last night – I thought it was a mixture of perceptiveness and rather wishful thinking. I woke this morning to find that Israel had bombed a chemical installation in Syria, just like in the old days, an indication that there has been no massive shift in the power balance as yet. It must be true that Israel needs to take Russian interests and intentions into account rather more than in the old days but also true that Russia is not a very vocal or committed supporter of the Palestinian cause. From its record at the UN it looks like just another – yet another – member of the intercontinental, sometimes it feels like intergalactic, liberal Zionist chorus. I also noted Neyanyahu boasting today of improving relations with the Arab countries.

  7. James Canning on September 7, 2017, 1:53 pm

    Has Jared Kushner indicated his thoughts as to what the borders of Palestine should be?

  8. rosross on September 7, 2017, 6:38 pm

    The Peace Process has always been a farce because this issue is not about peace, it is about justice. It has always been about justice,or rather, the lack of justice for the Palestinians who have had their land stolen by European colonists.

    First Justice, then Peace is possible.

  9. Kay24 on September 8, 2017, 6:41 am

    It is highly unlikely that an inexperienced, clueless man, can achieve what leaders with years of experience, and knowledge of the conflict has failed to do. Perhaps this naive man thinks the support his family has given towards the illegal settlements, entitles him to play peacemaker, and makes him knowledgeable about the 50 plus years of occupation. Knowing how cozy he is with the Nut in Chief, he will only offer the Palestinians slim pickings, that cunning Nut will offer, and at the end the Palestinians will once again be blamed for refusing such a “generous” offer.
    Jared is the dishonest broker who will fail miserably.

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