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Israeli Government Says No

to Obama, the Two-State Solution, and the Palestinian State

By Eduardo Brik, April 26, 2009

Israel, Obama and International Community
As the world looks carefully and with hope the new American Administration’s policies regarding the conflict, in Israel it is raising the belief that Obama can leave behind the historical position of unconditional support to Israel. As a result, Israeli politic is rejecting the new winds coming from America. 
The three denials of the Israeli government “no to Obama”, “no to the Two-State Solution” and “no to the creation of a Palestinian State” is not only a matter of fear and Israeli paranoia, but an ideological position of the Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu and his Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Avigdor Lieberman.
As Israel is castling itself in an hermetic position, the American President recently required both sides to make all the efforts to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East. He addresses also that peace is impossible to reach without the mutual recognition of Israel and Palestinian States.
At the same time, George Mitchell, United States Special Envoy for the Middle East, arrives to the region in his third visit and assigns the responsible posts for each issue. His aim is to rekindle the Peace process with Palestinian and Israeli representatives based in the Road Map and the declaration made at the beginning of Annapolis Conference.
It is remarkable George Mitchell’s statement in 2001 report: “Israeli government must freeze all settlement activity, including the 'natural growth' of existing settlements."
Is the first time Obama emphasizes the need to acknowledge the independence aspirations of an occupied people who is defending its identity and national independency right. Two States "is a goal that the parties agreed to in the Road Map and at Annapolis" and that it is "a goal that I will actively pursue as president", said Obama recently.
Obama has risen to the new Israeli executive that the necessary condition to progress in the peace process with Palestinians is the Two-State Solution as an unavoidable aim to achieve.
The current government of Israel doesn’t seem willing to support this position, but the contrary, it has retraced the peace process to its worst times of Israeli intransigence. Annapolis peace negotiations in 2007 November, started by Olmert and Abbas, resulted in a resounding failure due to Israeli government’s irresponsibility, expressing in front of the public opinion a “YES” to negotiate but in the practice blocking any possible initiative to end the conflict.
Annapolis was a hope for both peoples, but today the diplomatic situation and state of negotiations are much worse. Despite the political situation different Israeli annalists consider that if American pressure continues, at the end the actual government will give in; Nevertheless, we’ll have to assess what kind of pressures will be the ones that will actually be implemented and move forward the peace process. Otherwise it will remain just as good intentions. Only a coordinated international pressure would bring a shift towards peace.
The EU is not far of this strategy of pressing Israel. In a meeting of EU diplomacy celebrated last Friday in Check Republic, the EU representatives mentioned the need of Tel Aviv making a public commitment with the “Two-state for two peoples” principle. Otherwise, the good relations between EU and Israel could be affected.
“At least 10 communiques from Israeli embassies in Europe arrived at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem in recent days painting a difficult picture of the level of trust felt in Europe towards the Netanyahu government, particularly on diplomatic matters”, informs the newspaper Haaretz in its digital version.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recently expressed to Netanyahu his hopes to work in cooperation with the prime minister “to renew the peace process, in which the goal is to create an independent, sustainable Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel.”
It is worth highlighting the important performance of the Spanish President, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, in the conflict and his support to the Two-state solution. In the last international meetings this stance has been reinforced by Obama, who recognized Zapatero´s work “he take into account not only the extraordinary influence of Spain in the world, but also takes his responsibility very seriously”.
Equally, the diplomatic tour of the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos in the Middle East (Ramallah, Jerusalem and Cairo) interviewing with West Bank Palestinian authorities, Israelis and Egyptians is a boost for the peace process. It is also an effort to present EU position in relation to the Two-state solution, as the main question in order to end the conflict.
Regarding the possibility of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, up to date their differences are insurmountable. In the meanwhile Fatah’s position is losing credibility and strength day by day in the West Bank and Gaza as Hamas wins support in both areas.
Hamas is to Israel synonymous of Iran, therefore is not willing to negotiate with them. On the contrary, Obama has given clear signals to meet Ayatollas government. This mean an openness of his multilateral politic towards the existing forces in the region. The matter of more disagreement with the Iranian regimen is its persistence to continue nuclear energy development. Occident’s distrust concerning this matter is due to its suspicion of Iran hiding a plan B of nuclear rearmament, besides plan A presented to the International Community.
Last declarations made by the president of Iran point to a pacific use of the nuclear energy and its attempt to integrate in the International Community, seizing the opportunity favourable winds coming from Washington and other states. American and European new policies with Iran can help the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, as long as this country retires its threat of nuclear rearmament and destruction of Israel. Iran’s executive could be a main character of the peace process if it encourage Hamas to the negotiation, instead of confrontation. In this case, Israel could not use Iranian behaviour and its support to Hamas as an excuse to not negotiate.
Now it is urgent to call to an International Peace Conference to put an end to the Palestinian-Israel Conflict. Obama’s administration and EU role is a key factor, but not the only one, to achieve this goal. We also need to acknowledge and foster the mobilization and political action of Palestinian and Israel organizations working for peace in the region, Europe and the rest of the world to advance in this process. Without their daily work on the region the peace would be impossible.

Eduardo Brik

Palestina Israel Por Lapaz, Espana 





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