Friday, August 27, 2004
A Eulogy for the Roadmap
Adrian Hamilton writes an op-ed for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer today that essentially declares that, although the roadmap might have been flawed, unworkable even, the way that the Bush administration is going about killing it, with silence from everybody but the Palestinians it seems, is much much worse.
U.S. acceptance of additional settlement building is so absolute a slap in the face of its road-map partners, so exclusively attuned to the president's domestic political needs, that its partners have responded with open-mouthed silence. No one denies the implications. But no one -- not the British, who once seemed so keen on leading the way to Middle East peace in parallel with the Iraqi invasion, not the Democratic Party in the United States that is so enthusiastic a critic of every other part of President Bush's Middle East policy -- is prepared to come out and say anything as the peace plan is buried beneath a gravestone marked "a forgotten victim of the U.S. presidentials."Essentially a call to action to the European community, Hamilton is well aware that the Palestinians cannot hope that a US change in November will bring them any closer to peace. Indeed, even outside of his outspoken support of Israel's wall and settlements, Kerry is running on a platform that is looking to get less involved in the Middle East, not more. Hamilton also captures the sense of awful pessimism/optimism that seems to best describe the situation now: "If there is any room for optimism, it may lie in the very awfulness of the situation." That about sums it up, folks.
Flawed though it was, the road map at least represented an international commitment to push for peace, recognition by the wider community that a settlement of the Palestinian issue was an essential part of better relations between the Arabs and the West.
This would be the very worst moment to throw that away, just as the world teeters on the precipice of a general confrontation between the Muslim world and the West. It's clear that little can be expected from the United States before the November elections. Even then it is doubtful that a change in government would bring that radical a change in policy, especially if the Democrats bring back to power Dennis Ross, Clinton's Middle East adviser and a man who has lost almost all credibility among Palestinians.
For the Europeans, as for the United Nations, there is no choice. They cannot afford to leave the Middle East to stew in its own juice. Much though Israel may dislike and distrust European intervention, the reality is that the European Union has to take an active part in something that lies on its borders and affects the communities within its boundaries. Israel cannot, with the huge European market on its doorstep, act as if the EU doesn't exist and doesn't have interests in how it deals with the Palestinian question.
[T]here is a role for the international community to keep involved and active in the search for peace, and to make absolutely clear the wider world's belief that a just and lasting settlement can rest only on the twin pillars of a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 boundaries. And in that there can be no room for new settlement activity, with or without the nod from Washington.
Is it just me or is history repeating itself? First on our shores, it was the Native American. Now, it's the Palestinian. We pay lip service to them only to turn our backs on them, thinking they can never retaliate.
Indeed, Ariel Sharon often references the "American frontier" when talking about the settler movement. I heard or read somewhere that the most recent US acceptance of Israeli settlement expansion might "damage the perception of the US as a fair broker in the Middle East" or something like that. Laughable! Since when did anybody truly believe that the US was acting as a "fair broker"? It's been a while since anybody's bought that, much less the Palestinians.Post a Comment