Tuesday, 17 May 2022
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In his speech on 24 June 2002 launching the "Roadmap for Peace" US President George W. Bush called for an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace. Essentially the "Roadmap for peace" was a plan to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict proposed by the Quartet of the Middle East: the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations. The final text was released on 30 April 2003. The process reached a deadlock early in phase I and the plan was never implemented, writes Nehad Ismael.

The then Israeli Prime Minister raised some fourteen reservations which scuppered the plan. In an opinion piece in the New York Times 24 September 2003 the Israeli historian Professor Avi Shlaim said this: "The Palestinian Authority embraced the road map and started implementing it even before it was issued. Sharon obtained from Bush three delays in issuing the road map and then submitted 14 amendments designed to wreck it".

Many observers of the Middle East believe that that entire peace process was a charade. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has by his pronouncements confirmed this view. According to a recent Washington Post report "Netanyahu made the sensational promise that he would not support the creation of a Palestinian state as long as he was prime minister, a stunning reversal of his earlier stance supporting a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict".

Many people are convinced that this has been Netanyahu's position all along, and that by re-electing Benjamin Netanyahu the Israeli public has rejected the two-state solution.
Palestinians and their supporters still believe the entire exercise has been a fraud all along. One major participant in this fraud was Tony Blair. Tony Blair stepped down as Britain's prime minister and as an MP, and on 27 June 2007 he took up an appointment as Middle East envoy for the Quartet promoting "economic growth and institutional development" although he has been widely described as a "peace envoy".

But the London Daily Telegraph on 16 March 2015 quoted UK's former ambassador to Libya Sir Oliver Miles, who used to run the Foreign Office's Near East and North African department, as saying the former prime minister had achieved "very little" in the post and his appointment was a "mistake". "I think he's not been able to do the job. I think he's the wrong man and I also think it's the wrong job," Sir Oliver said.

Most Palestinians had already given up on the so-called peace process and have been convinced that the Israeli leaders were not serious about peace. They argue how you can talk of peace and 2-state solution when the government is confiscating more and more Palestinian lands to build more and more settlements. The entire world was happy to accept the Israeli narrative that the Palestinians are not interested in peace until Netanyahu said it loudly and clearly that there will be no two-state solution. So Netanyahu's manifesto for peace consisted of two sentences: (No to the 2-state solution and yes to more settlements).

A New York Times editorial on 17 March put it this way: "Netanyahu's behaviour in the past six years - aggressively building Israeli homes on land that likely would be within the bounds of a Palestinian state and never engaging seriously in negotiations - has long convinced many people that he has no interest in a peace agreement. But his statement this week laid bare his duplicity, confirmed Palestinian suspicions and will make it even harder for him to repair his poisoned relations with President Obama, who has invested heavily in pushing a two-state solution".

Since the Oslo Accord in 1993 the interminable Middle East "peace process" has been a process with no end in sight and without peace. Has John Kerry the US Secretary of State been wasting his time trying to get both sides to the negotiating table? Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu insisted all the time that he wanted to negotiate with the Palestinians without any pre-conditions.

Back in 2010 Hillary Rodham Clinton, stated that that new round of negotiations should be "without preconditions", as Mr. Netanyahu had insisted, and that both Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas had agreed that the negotiations should be subject to a one-year time limit or deadline, as Mr. Abbas had insisted. Nothing happened.

Since the Oslo Declaration in the early 1990s and the Road Map in 2002 the roll call of failures and missed opportunities continued. Confiscation of Palestinian land and the construction of settlements continued unabated. The creation of irreversible facts on the ground was a deliberate Israeli policy to thwart the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state.
Writing in Haaretz the Israeli Daily Newspaper, in June 14 Kobi Richter was quite blunt about Netanyahu's mendacity: "The dust is beginning to settle from the collapse of Benjamin Netanyahu's peace fraud. Three of the architects – Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Lieberman – are trying to convince one another, and us, that you can sell to the world the story of the Palestinians being responsible for the failure of the peace process."

In 2003, the renowned Jewish thinker and historian Tony Judt published an article declaring that the two-state solution would not happen; that Israel had created too many "facts on the ground," meaning settlers in the occupied territories, and that Israel's citizens must prepare for the "unthinkable" one-state solution with all its implications.
Recalling the South African example, this would mean one democratic state for all with one-person one-vote to everyone regardless of religion or ethnicity. Citizens of the one-state could choose to live anywhere in the new Israel/Palestinian state.

In an interview published on November 29, 2007, in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Mr. Netanyahu's predecessor, Ehud Olmert, declared, "If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished."

According to latest news reports Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now reversed his position for the second time in a week on support for a Palestinian state and said he would back it under the right conditions, a turnaround that the U.S. and Palestinians dismissed as unconvincing. Netanyahu has chosen to perpetuate the two-state myth.

Nehad Ismail is UK based writer/broadcaster with special interest in Middle Eastern Issues

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