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Wild Card Pt. X: unilateralism is the only way left

There are two things to learn from the Palestine Papers (which we already knew): America’s role has come to an end, and there’s no longer a need for negotiations

The Palestine Papers are indeed quite a leak – but just like its sister-leak in Wikileaks (the diplomatic cables), which were labeled as one of the biggest stories of the decade, they are destined to be forgotten in the next few days. I can barely remember what the diplomatic cables were about, and haven’t seen any of the much-hyped damage turn into reality. As is the case around the world, and in Israel and Palestine even more so, events on the ground don’t give that much of a shelf life to any story these days – even if they’re the biggest scoop around.

But if one were, even for a moment, to take it seriously, the biggest winner of the Al Jazeera leak, of course, is Hamas. Simply because they weren’t part of the whole process. So, the terrorist organization is ironically the only one to remain unscathed by the papers. Everybody else has been tainted. Israel – for refusing everything, for pushing “transfer” of Israeli Arabs to Palestine and more, the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) – for continuing to be the eternal pushovers that they are, but mostly the Americans –  which we’ll get to later.

There are only two things we should take away from the Palestine Papers. The first: There’s no need to talk anymore. Despite considerable concessions from the Palestinians, even the narrowest gap between the sides in 2008 proved to be an uncrossable bridge. The main stumbling point being the settlement blocs.

For most Israelis who support a two-state solution it’s always been a given that in any agreement these blocs would be annexed. As the papers show – even though we already knew it – the Palestinians have a different idea. Israelis who read the papers will have to understand that there will be no agreement without the dismantling of the huge settlement cities Ariel and Maaleh Adumim. Just because they have cinemas, theaters and malls this will not save them from the bulldozers.

The second thing to take away is the notion of America being a neutral broker in this process. Well sure, it’s not like we never had our doubts. But I think it’s fair to say we can now officially throw that notion out the window after reading then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s crass remarks about the Nakba: “Bad things happen to people around the world all the time.”

Then again, what would one expect from a woman who spent thousands of dollars on shoes and laughed hard at a Spamelot show on Broadway as bodies in New Orleans began to float through the French Quarter.

Joseph Dana of +972 enlightens us with further proof of American bias:

“During negotiations regarding Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority was ready to give up part of the contentious East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Israel simply rejected the offer and began moving settlers into Palestinians homes in the neighborhood. Apparently the Israeli rationale was that the Palestinians were ready to give it up, might as well move settlers in, create facts on the ground and force them to ‘give up’ different territory. A simple land grab. What is striking is that the United States monitored this entire process. American officials were aware of the Palestinian offer and then watched in relative silence while Israel created a new settlement.”
The Palestine papers are further proof that America, by claiming to be a neutral broker yet only enabling the occupation, has not been the friend that Israel so needs. A true friend would not have allowed Israel to dig its heels deeper into the the West Bank mud for four decades. It has not only misunderstood the concept of friendship, it has jeopardized its own security in the process.

With these two points combined – talking is useless, and so is America’s role – it is clear that a new approach must be taken. First of all, Europeans should be enraged about this charade called a peace process and take the wheel. It’s time for America to hand it over, nothing has come of their efforts. Furthermore, American citizens should be disappointed with their politicians, who have proven over and over again that they are nothing more than AIPAC puppets with solely the next campaign donation on their mind.

If the Palestinian Authority survives until this summer, after this lethal blow it has just received, it should be clear that an internationally imposed solution to the conflict is now the only way to go. This path should be comprised of Palestinian unilateralism combined with worldwide recognition of the Palestinian state. The best way now for America to help this solution is to simply sit back when the resolution appears at the UN and withhold its veto (this is the basis of the Wild Card campaign). After that, dealings between the two states will resume under forceful, objective European supervision in order to bring an end to Israeli control over Palestinian land.


Map of countries who recognize Palesine (Wikimedia commons)

After more countries continue to recognize Palestine between each Wild Card post, more top tier pundits (including Zvi Barel and the Christian Science Monitor) join the campaign (a call on the U.S. to recognize Palestine in 2011):

M.J Rosenberg keeps it nice and simple:

“The United States should either lay a plan on the table and demand its implementation, or the Palestinians should declare full independence, with negotiations with Israel to follow. And the United States should support them.
Forty-four years of occupation is enough, for both Palestinians and Israelis. And it’s time for America to keep its promises.”
Akiva Eldar of Haaretz writes a fake speech for U.S. President Barack Obama, called the State of the Conflict Address:
“In the coming months, we will make a supreme effort to rescue the peace process. If there is no substantial change in Israel’s position, the United States will recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, this coming September. You all know that this is in America’s interest.”

The Wild Card Campaign

Part I The Wild Card campaign starts with a bang through an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post
Part II Where French FM and President Abbas hint towards a future Palestinian state
Part III Egyptian FM joins the party
Part IV The NYTimes puts the Wild Card on the agenda
Part V The right wingers start to get nervous about unilateralism
Part VI The peace talks die, a call for Obama to think again about the Wild Card
Part VII EU sets the ground for recognition of Palestine
Part VIII AIPAC flexes its muscle – but who cares?
Part IX Obama’s Litmus test just around the corner

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    1. Ben Israel

      A case that has some paralles is that of Taiwan. Mainland China (Peoples Republic) insists on everyone in the world accepting the mantra that “There is only one China and Taiwan is part of China”. The PRC is the only one that sits in the UN. Almost every country in the world accepts the PRC’s views of Taiwan, and has diplomatic relations with them. Only a handful of countries have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Even the US has diplomatic relations with the PRC and not with Taiwan.
      YET, Taiwan is doing fine. It is in all respects an independent state, it can defend itself, and it is economically prosperous, inspite of the UN’s declarations and international diplomatic isolation.
      Thus, we see, the UN can declare something and almost all of the countries in the world make the same declaration but it doesn’t reflect the reality on the ground.
      Thus, the question arises-okay, 100+ countries may recognize an independent Palestinian state, even if they include the Green Line as the border. Add the UN to the equation. But how are you going to change the situation on the ground? (I mean, for example moving half a million Jews out of the newly “illegal settlements” over the Green Line?). What about the IDF’s presence there? How can the US impose anything against the will of the parties on the ground? Are you going to place punitive sanctions? Are you going to send troops to confront the IDF? How will they get there? Airlift to Jordan, and then fight their way across the Jordan River?
      Is there a political reaction to all these bold moves in the countries involved? Is Ami Kaufman’s view of the world the one that everyone jumps to or are their other interests at work?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Janna

      While Hamas is not hurt by the documents, I don’t think that they “win” anything from them, either. Palestinians who are fed up with Fatah and the PA don’t automatically become Hamas supporters. What’s more likely is that Palestinians will simply become apathetic toward the existing political parties and the PA in general. However, I doubt that many average Palestinians are really all that surprised by the behaviour of their “representatives”…

      Reply to Comment
    3. Y.

      While I don’t agree at all the papers show what ‘Israel has been refusing everything’ (if anything, it makes the Palestinian refusal to deal with Olmert more mysterious), what is more relevant is the idea that the intl. community is going to impose a peace on either side. This seems rather unlikely to me.

      Their main interest in the conflict is due to their fear of ME destabilization (followed by terrorism, oil shock, etc. etc.). Problem is, that any attempt to impose a deal over either side will harm stability much more than the lack of solution. I’m not sure they are even able to do it.

      I think a game will allow me to show why I’m skeptical:
      Let us assume the world does try to impose a peace, and (for the sake of argument) Israel says ‘yes’ while the PA says ‘no way’. What would the world do?

      Stop aid to the PA? (likely result being collapse followed by Hamas and Intifadah no. 3 and even more ME instability). Try to overthrow Abu Mazen (every patsy is both with about the same opinions and likely to be seen as a puppet, leading to the previous scenario). Send in troops (yeah, right)? The most the world can do in this scenario is to slightly more support what Israel is doing anyway, which is very weak for an imposition. And this is the scenario for the weaker side!

      So I think ultimately, the only way an imposed solution can work is if there’s enough of an internal support in both sides as to make them not resist it, and right now this doesn’t exist in either side given likely terms.

      Reply to Comment