By Mohamed El Mokhtar
The recent damming documents, consisting of minutes of negotiations, memos, diplomatic correspondences, and maps dating from 1999 to 2010, secretly obtained and publicly released by Al Jazeera satellite TV channel eloquently laid bare the material evidence attesting and conforming, beyond any reasonable doubt, the direct complicity of the Palestinian Authority in the continuing rape and criminal destitution of the Palestinian land and people.
It, alas, sadly reveals the absolute meaninglessness, and Kafkaesque character, of this farcical comedy erroneously called the peace process. Moreover, it shows, unashamedly and very clearly, the degree to which the so-called Palestinian negotiators are willing to go in terms of humiliating surrender and outright capitulation of the legitimate rights of their people for the sole purpose of pleasing their benefactors, or more accurately their masters, in Washington or indulging the paranoiac whims and endless nonsensical demands of their Israeli puppeteers.
This is just the latest grotesque episode in a long series of tragic acts, replayed with the same travestied characters wearing different costumes, starting with of the Oslo Accords parody, then the Washington striptease show and ending, God knows, where!
If, for instance, Cyril Ramaphosa, Oliver Thambo or Thabo Mbeki were as obsequious and complacent regarding the inalienable rights of black south-Africans as Saeb Erekat, Ahmed Qurai, or Yasser Abed Rabo are with the rights of the Palestinian people, would then the ruling Afrikaners have conceded anything meaningful during the negotiations leading to the end of the Apartheid regime? Would the Apartheid system have ended the way it did? Would South Africa have extraordinarily transformed itself from a racist despicable regime to a free and proud rainbow nation providing equal political rights to all of its citizens? Would the Black Africans have gotten anything more than few scattered, non viable, dusty Bantustans located at the periphery of their own historical native land?
It is indeed awkward, if not morally insulting, to even think of such an awful scenario because Thabo Mbeki, Cyril Ramaphosa, Oliver Thambo and their many other prestigious comrades, unlike these other despicable corrupt characters, were free and noble men; yes, they were free men who acted, despite the great imbalance of powers, with honor and dignity. They knew they were materially weak and no match with the military power of the Apartheid regime but they had the unbreakable conviction till the end that they were morally standing in higher ground. Therein lies the real difference between the two.
To even reflect about this issue makes you sick in your stomach much less to write about. Despite the nauseating feelings of disgust and indignity in the face of such withering spectacle of unparalleled treason, outright capitulation and historical betrayals, we are going to try to shed some light on some of the things that were revealed in these self-indicting documents. Let’s start first with the least dishonest and more candid camp, i.e., the Israeli side:
Tzipi Livni, the then-Israeli Foreign Minister, is quoted in a 2007 meeting providing a rather candid description of Tel Aviv’s negotiating strategy whose main goal is the prevention of a viable Palestinian state. “The Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’ll say that is impossible, we already have the land and we cannot create the [Palestinian] state,” she said.
Another similar assessment as to the deceitful character of the “peace process” was offered by a former Israeli negotiator, Daniel Levy, in an interview with the British newspaper the Guardian:
“What’s so striking is not so much the nature of the concessions, it’s that year after year they’re pursuing the same strategy which not only shows itself to have failed but showed itself to be on a slope of constant Palestinian slippage,” said the ex-negotiator, and added: “They knew that the Israelis were pocketing whatever they gave, building more settlements and then saying: we need more land.”
He, then, continued: “The Palestinians never extracted themselves from that structurally losing proposition, especially the expectation that the Americans would deliver Israel because the Palestinians thought they were the ones being reasonable in the negotiations. But it didn’t happen and it didn’t happen. The Americans constantly sided with the unreasonable side and the Palestinians kept digging themselves deeper and deeper in to this losing proposition.”
The current Israeli government seized upon the opportunity of these revelations to immediately brand- and I don’t blame them!- public demands by the Palestinian Authority for a freeze on construction in East Jerusalem as “ridiculous since it is clear that they had already conceded the aforementioned neighborhoods in negotiations during Olmert’s tenure, “said the Israeli daily Haaretz quoting Israeli officials.
The generous offers, or rather stupid capitulations, that were, secretly and illegally shall I underscore, made by the unelected PA, which, by the way, were condescendingly–how humiliating!-rejected by the Israeli side as being too little, included, among other things, a near total capitulation on the issue of East Jerusalem with all settlements approved of except one, a complete surrender on the issue of refugees and their legitimate right to return (Israel even rejected a modest proposal allowing the symbolic return of 10,000 refugees spread on the course of 10 years) etc.
Worse of all they showed that the Palestinian Authority was given an advance warning of the 2008-2009 murderous assault on Gaza. Now let’s imagine the following hypothetical scenario: the ANC being informed in advance of an attack to destroy the headquarters of the Communist party in Soweto and the civil area surrounding it! That type of vile collaboration and criminal complicity would certainly have killed forever the ANC and fatally jeopardized the South African struggle for liberation!
In light of all of this, it seems that the only outcome morally acceptable, albeit utopian at this stage of the evolution of the conflict, is a truly democratic bi-national state where all the inhabitants of that land can live in peace with equal rights under the protection of the law. The available alternatives are a lot worse: either a truncated, non viable, Bantustan-like Palestinian state or an exclusivist supremacist, apartheid-based, Zionist entity that soon or later will have to deal with the devastating winds and tides of history.
Instead of working now to solve what is primarily, and still is, a political problem over an illegally occupied land, Israel will have to face in the future the terrible consequences of its current intransigence, short-sidedness and a blind arrogance that will increasingly make the issue a religiously-based dispute and, therefore, face 25 years from now the grim prospect of opposing 2.2 billion Muslims. Against which current of history will the Israeli political leadership swim? Only time will tell! And time is unforgivably swift and unpredictable!
– Mohamed El Mokhtar Sidi Haiba is a political analyst. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.