Are the new peace talks pointless?


By JLCohen
August 22, 2010
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United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have been invited to talks in Washington this September after both parties agreed to restart the peace talks that broke down more than a year and a half ago.

That's good news, surely? Could it be that an end to suffering is finally in sight for the millions of people who live in the West Bank, in Gaza and in those Israeli areas that daily face the
Qassam rockets aimed indiscriminately at homes, shops, schools and hospitals? Let's all hope so.

However, there would appear to be a slight problem. Take a look at the PA's human rights records. They're an organisation that regularly denies the freedom of speech of those they claim to speak for, thinks nothing of contravening the freedom of the press when news agencies see fit to publish stories they don't want people knowing about, promotes religious intolerance, tortures political dissidents and carries out extrajudicial executions, does nothing to prevent honour killings and may even have created infrastructure promoting them, takes little action to prevent or reduce violence towards women, leading Human Rights Watch to accuse them of "failing to act diligently to prevent, investigate, and punish violence against women, putting women's health and lives in jeopardy. Ultimately, the PA is denying victims their rights under international human rights law to non-discrimination and an effective judicial remedy for abuse", oppresses homosexuals and, according to journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, do everything within their power to prevent the international community from finding out about their "massive abuse of human rights and intimidation of journalists that its security forces are practicing almost on a daily basis in the West Bank."

Democratic nations, such as Israel and the USA, cannot conduct any sort of meaningful peace talks with an organisation like the PA because it is obvious that the PA are not working towards the best interests of the Palestinian people. They are nothing more than an oppressive and inhumane regime that utilises fear and violence to keep the will of the Palestinian people suppressed.

As Khaled Abu Toameh continues, "The Palestinians do not need a dictatorship that harasses and terrorizes journalists, and that is responsible for the death of detainees in its prisons. In the Arab world we already have enough dictatorships.

The Palestinians do not need additional security forces, militias and armed gangs. In fact, there are too many of them, both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."

One day, as so many of us hope and pray, there will be peace in Israel and Palestine. The majority of the Palestinian people, like people everywhere, simply want to live their lives without fear, violence and bloodshed and with enough food to feed themselves and their children. One day, they will realise that it's the PA who are preventing them from achieving these aims and when that happens, it'll only be a matter of time before they rise against the PA and destroy them. Perhaps they will then establish a democratic government with whom those nations that value human rights and freedoms can negotiate.

In the meantime, these latest talks are unlikely to achieve much despite the best will of those in the USA and Israel who long for peace, both for Israel itself and for Palestine. However, becoming known as the president under whom talks restarted is going to be a real popularity boost for Obama, whose public image is nowadays that of a mere human being rather than that of a semi-divine being as was the case immediately following his election. Hillary - and the US government - are surely well aware it's impossible to talk meaningfully about peace with violent warmongers, so one must wonder if improving presidential PR is the real purpose behind this?

COMMENTS

mattpryor

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 18:00

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Good points Jon.

Netanyahu, of course, has been calling for direct negotiations for the last 20 months (a fact conveniently omitted by our wonderful media when discussing this issue).

I don't understand why all this has to be done in the full glare of the media. Pure politics. It's unfair to raise expectations and this may lead to more violence if talks fail.

What's frustrating is that Israel has so much to lose and is gambling so much on a chance for peace. The PA have nothing to lose, can be as obstinate and intransigent as they like and will always be rewarded for it.

But good luck to them, and I really hope something meaningful and beneficial to everyone comes out of it.


JLCohen

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 18:50

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The PA - and especially Hamas - appear to be little more than an organised criminal gang these days, and the sooner the world wakes up to the fact that whatever suffering the Palestinian people must bear is caused by their leaders and supposed champions the better.

(Oh, and by the way - it's Jack, not Jon :-) )

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