Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal gave an important press conference in Doha, Qatar today, in which he spelled out the movement’s terms for concluding a ceasefire with Israel over Gaza. (Not clear to me yet whether his demands include some regarding the West Bank. I think the demand for re-release of the Shalit-deal-released Palestinians whom Israel rearrested over the past month would apply to the West Bank?)
Of great significance, too: The fact that PA/PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) today also reportedly endorsed Hamas’s terms in re the ceasefire. This puts Abu Mazen in a good position to be a reliable carrier of messages between Hamas and its US-Israeli opponents. Previously– as recently as about a week ago– Abu Mazen had lined himself up completely with the US-Israel alliance and its friends in Egypt’s military government, as they tried to force their own ceasefire terms down Hamas’s throat without any hint of a negotiation. Now, evidently, something– perhaps the overwhelming force of Palestinian public opinion?– has persuaded Abu Mazen that the most honorable role he can aspire to is as a letter carrier, rather than by continuing to be a Quisling for his people.
While reading this news today, it occurred to me that the fact that there is nothing left of that long-running and deceptive, US-stage-managed pantomime called the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” probably makes it easier for the parties concerned in the current Gaza-Israel crisis to conclude the robust humanitarian ceasefire that urgently needs to be nailed down. Back during the past two Gaza-Israel crises, in 2008-9 and 2012, Washington and Tel Aviv were still very eager to use the crisis to build up the political prestige of Abu Mazen and somehow to keep the peace process panto on the road; and Abu Mazen, loyal (and nicely rewarded) servant that he was, was very eager to do their bidding. This time, thank God, the business of concluding the ceasefire that urgently needs to be concluded bears none of that extra freight. It can be concluded on its own terms, between the parties directly concerned– that is, on the one side the US-Israeli alliance and on the other, Hamas and its allies.
As noted, Abu Mazen can play a decent role– as a letter-carrier between the US-Israeli side and the Palestinian resistance side. This would actually be very similar to the role that Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora played in the Lebanon-Israel crisis of 2006. A crucial aspect of that negotiation, remember, was that no-one was trying, during those ceasefire negotiations, to force Lebanon to sign a peace agreement with Israel, something that would have made the reaching of a ceasefire agreement impossible, despite the huge amount of damage that Israel inflicted on the Lebanese people during the terrible 33 days of that war. It’s the same in Palestine now.
Much remains to be negotiated between the parties to the current conflict– including, as always in these ceasefire negotiations between warrior Israel and its neighbors, the precise modalities of the ceasefire such as whether there will be a verification mechanism, and if run by whom and how; the sequencing of the many steps involved, including the reopening of Gaza to the rest of the world, implementation of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access, release of prisoners and captives, and so on on. But at least now these matters, which are of grave and urgent concern to Gaza Palestinians and their friends all around the world can be addressed without being weighted down by the requirements of that travesty of a diplomatic phenomenon, called the “peace” process.
And yes, given the final failure of the “peace process”, it surely behooves the members of the UN “Security” Council– if they have any respect for the basic survival and security of Palestinians in their homeland– to abolish the Quartet and regain control of this diplomacy for the UNSC itself. For a Biblical 40 years, the United States has held this crucial item on the world diplomatic agenda captive to its own wiles. It is time for the UNSC to wrest it back.
But that will all take time. The people of the pulverized Gaza Strip can’t wait. They need a decent ceasefire now– one that will end the suffocation, humiliation, and continuous assaults they have suffered for the 47 years. Let’s hope the newly appointed letter carrier does an honest, decent job.
3 thoughts on “Absence of “peace process” might help Gaza ceasefire negotiations?”
Helena, thank- you so much for sharing the in depth information that you have. Knowing why any ceasefire won’t be of value is helpful for those of us that are trying to follow this closely. Unfortunately our Canadian Prime Minister and our Foreign Affairs Minister are 100% behind Israel and couldn’t care less about what happens to the Palestinians. I am doing what I can to encourage them to not be so fanatical. Hoping they might change, sincerely, Gerald Whetter, Brandon, Manitoba
Dear Helena, I have neglected to read your articles for so long and am delighted to be back. I found your Al Jazeera post excellent, and was sad to read the usual Zionist slant, with nastiness as well, in most of the comments. (I cannot use any of the tags there to reply).
I have just finished reading Miko Peled’s wonderful book from Just World Books, and found it so moving and compassionate, that the present happenings are hard to reconcile with people who genuinely want peace and fairness but are confronted with refusal to admit any wrongdoing or change any fixed ideas and policies. If A General’s Son can learn and change and understand Palestinians’ normal, reasonable demands for a dignified life anyone should be able to at least try to see how others may feel.
The only way there will be a temporary peace in this latest round of the long Palestinian Israeli war, is if the tigress in Washington who protects her cub in Tel Aviv orders it.
From a military perspective after having taken more than 60 causalities, (that would translate based on population size to more than 3,000 for Americans) Israel has a vested interest now in finishing off Hamas and breaking the will of the people of Gaza to ever rise up militarily against them ever again.
But to do so would mean at least another 2,000 Palestinian deaths, demonstrations, media hoopla, and Washington has much bigger fish to fry in the Ukraine, Iraq, Syria and in the East China sea than Israel’s fish bowl wars in tiny Gaza.
If the Israeli cub is pulled off however, (by refusing to resupply it with arms) it will become even more vicious than it already is. As you called it Helena, turning even further to the right. Netanyahu will be blamed internally for allowing Hamas to become as strong as it has been and for bowing down to Washington. He will be viewed as weak.
And the UN Helena is an institution created of, by and for Empire. It will never do anything other than “form a commission” to harm any interest of Empire, which most definitely includes lil’ brother Israel. So don’t waste your time dreaming.