The Paris Peace Gambit: Everyone Gains Except the Palestinians

In their defense, the Israelis seem to have figured out the whole thing and
opted out. But the hapless Palestinian leadership, along with their Arab League
partners, joined by the French, EU and UN representatives, and even US Secretary
of State, John Kerry, decided to play along.

However, the French peace initiative-turned-conference in Paris on June 3 is
nothing but a charade, and they all know it, Palestinians included.

So, why the colossal waste of time?

If you have been following the Middle East “peace process” business in the
last quarter of a century, you are certainly aware that the “negotiations table”
is nothing but a metaphor for buying time and obtaining political capital. The
Israelis want time to finalize their colonial projects in building up illegal
settlements on occupied Palestinian land; and the Palestinian leadership uses
the “talks” to acquire political validations from the so-called “peace-brokers”,
namely the United States.

The US, in turn, uses the futile “negotiations” to further assert itself as
the caretaker of the Middle East, overthrowing regimes while simultaneously
brokering peace.

Meanwhile, every other relevant political entity is included or excluded based
on its own worth to, or relationship with the United States. Thus, the honor
of invitation is bestowed upon “friendly regimes”. Others, namely, “enemies
of peace” are rejected for their failure to accommodate or adhere to US foreign
policies in the region.

While the “peace process” has failed to deliver neither peace to the region
nor justice to the Palestinians, the “peace process” industry has been an unenviable
success, at least until 2014 when Kerry and the US administration decided to
tend to more urgent regional affairs, for example, the war on Syria.

By then, Israel’s rightwing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was too empowered
by the anti-peace sentiment in his own society to even partake in the charade.
There was little capital for him to be seen with aging Mahmoud Abbas, shaking
hands and exchanging pleasantries. His rightwing constituency, which dominates
Israeli society, could not have cared less. They were – and are – still busy
confiscating Palestinian land, issuing more racist laws in the Knesset and fighting
dissent among their own ranks.

Prior to that date, and since the very first peace conference in Madrid in
1991, the “peace process” has splendidly paid dividends. The Israelis were finally
accepted as a “peace partner” and Israel slowly made its way from the margins
of the Middle East to the center, without having to concede an inch.

Even Saeb Erekat, the Chief Palestinian Negotiator, has no qualms with this
assertion. “In fact, the number of Israeli settlers transferred into Occupied
Palestine has nearly quadrupled since the beginning of…

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