Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Annapolis Peace Summit: Can The Pal./Israelis Give Peace A Chance?

For decades the U.S, in tandem with other world leaders, has tried to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, to no avail. Each new administration has inherited the mantle of "peacemaker", tried its dang best to forge some kind of progress in that arena, and all have failed-- miserably.

A never-ending series of summits, conferences and accords have taken place over the past several decades, with few positive outcomes.

Starring Israel and Palestine as the major players, we've had the following:

Madrid Peace Conference (1991) under the aegis of the Bush Sr. Administration and others

Oslo Accords (1993) Clinton and others

Hebron Agreement (1997) under the guidance of U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher

Wye River Conference (1998) Clinton

Camp David Summit (2000) Clinton

Sharm el-Sheik (2000) Hosted by Egypt's Mubarak , with Clinton in tow

Taba Summit (2001) based on the Clinton plan

Beirut Summit (2002) Arab League

Road Map For Peace (2002) U.S., E.U. U.N. and Russia established a "Road Map" for peace.

Red Sea Summit (2003) Bush Jr's attempt to implement his "Road Map"

Sharm el-Sheikh (2005) Hosted by Egypt's Mubarak and Jordan's Abdullah II

Aside from indirectly leading to peace between Israel and a few of its Arab neighbours - Egypt and Jordan - no significant accomplishments have ever resulted from the main focus of these talks: the Pal/Israeli conflict. There are other independent projects working towards establishing peace in that region, but obviously none have had much impact, either.

So, we jump ahead to November 2007 and add yet another attempt to give peace a chance. This time, at the Annapolis Peace Summit, most of the members of the Arab League were present, save Hamas and Iran (for obvious reasons). Iraq, Kuwait and Libya were invited to attend, but chose not to send any delegates.

The results of the 1 day mini summit? Israel and Palestine have agreed to restart the peace process, and negotiations are set to begin on December 12th.

Sounds like a good start, but you have to wonder what, if anything, will it achieve? For peace among warring nations to truly work, you need much more than the express desire of the leaders of those nations to work things out. You need the support of the people. They need to be equally committed- to be as fervently hungry for peace as their heads of state, if not more. Without their support you have nothing. And as far as I can tell, there's not much hope on that front. Both Palestinians and right wing Israelis have already taken to the streets in protest. Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas denounced the summit, calling Abbas a traitor and stated that the Palestinian people would never recognize any agreements resulting from the Annapolis talks. Benjamin Netanyahu (of Israel's Likud Party) has also denounced the summit as being

"a fantasy, not a vision."
He believes that it will be nothing more than giving in to one-sided concessions, and that Olmert's government is

"making peace with a virtual partner, in a virtual reality." " We have a partner for words, but not for deeds, certainly not for fighting terrorism, and, to my regret, no partner for a real peace."

There are also many others, including Christian evangelicals, who believe this to be a very dangerous move. Michael D. Evans in an article on calls the conference
"..not a peace conference, but an “appeasement conference” to coalition-build Arab nations in preparation for an attack on Iran."

He goes on to say that

"The Islamofascists who deny Israel's right to exist while they send suicide bombers around the world to murder anyone else who disagrees with them don't consider Annapolis as mere theater. They attend conferences such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit in October 2003, where Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad made a comment typical throughout the Muslim world:

“If we are to recover our dignity and that of Islam, our religion, it is we who must decide, it is we who must act … We [Muslims] are actually very strong: 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.”
Evans is not alone. There are others who also believe the summit was/is a way of unifying Arab Nations against Iran and its allies in an effort to isolate Ahmadinejad as he continues to grandstand.

In fact, Ahmadinejad is already spewing his hate-filled, 'Israel will die' rhetoric by proclaiming Annapolis a failure and that

"It is impossible that the Zionist regime will survive. Collapse is in the nature of this regime because it has been created on aggression, lying, oppression and crime."

Though there is blanket global support for re-establishing peace talks, I'm not sure there are many who feel very positive about the actual prospects of peace, including me. According to polls, although approximately 70% of both Israelis and Palestinians actually support the summit, a large percentage of those polled hold no hope for peace.

And can one even trust the Palestinians and the Arab world, at large, to stick to their side of the deal? Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has a Palestinian Authority TV informational video clip on their website which aired a day after the summit. It shows a map of Israel sans Israel (see photo above). The P.A. TV is run by Abbas' Fatah, by the way.

Even if Olmert and Abbas, by some miracle, were able to cobble together a mutually agreeable peace deal, they would still have to get Hamas and Likud (and others) on board. And that's not very likely. Hamas, like Ahmadinejad, is committed to the destruction of Israel, and I would venture to say that most of the Arab world would probably not shed many tears if this were to occur. But say, by some other miracle, they did all come together, both factions would still have to persuade their people to comply. It would be easier for the Israelis to end the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank (major Palestinian concern), but reigning in the Palestinian militants (one of Israels major concerns) seems an impossibility. They're so enmeshed in a culture of violence and hate, that it would take generations to extricate themselves from that mindset. And the Israelis are unwilling, understandably so, to make too many concessions that could result in the eventual death of Israel as we know it.

George W. Bush said it best in a speech at the conference:

"The battle is underway for the future of the Middle East, and we must not cede victory to extremists. With their violent actions and contempt for human life, the extremists are seeking to impose a dark vision on the people. If this vision prevails, the future of the region will be endless terror, endless war and endless suffering."


Lizze said...

I am going out on a limb here (sarcasm) but I do not think any peace or progress to peace will happen from this summit.

I really wish peace would prevail. These meeting needs to happened on a regular basis - just in case both parties wake up and change their path.

My gut feeling is that the people with the power to stop this endless fighting are not the ones coming to the summit.

Pat Jenkins said...

good post..i got a question for ya incog... who do you think is the aggressor or instigator for all this acrimony? israel or palastine?

MondaythroughSunday said...

There will never be real peace between the two.

Incognito said...

LIZZE: Sadly, I think most people feel the same way.. And I think you are right.. but those who have the power to stop it.. Hamas and Iran don't want to stop it because they don't want to co-exist with Israel, they want it gone.

PATJ: No doubt in my mind... Palestine. Israel admittedly isn't fault free in some respects, but they have almost always responded to agression, not been the initial perpetrators of it. If they are bombed they bomb back.. they have that right.

MONDAY: Certainly seems that way. Very sad..

Aurora said...

Incognito, I'm a GOP voter from way back but GWB needs to get into Condaleeza's ear over her stance on Israel in this whole Annapolis thing. Isreal has really been given the shaft by all concerned and Olmert is lying on the ground yelling, 'kick me again'. It's time Israel elected someone with backbone to stand up and do what she needs to do to survive. If they go for this whole 'right of return' thing, it's going to be the death knell for them.

Liberal White Boy said...

Hi Incog

Gosh you have it wrong again. These are not warring parties. One is an occupier the other is occupied. One is oppressor the other is oppressed. One has a sophisticated powerful army the other has none. In addition to the original land theft(Israel) the rest of Palestine is being colonized /stolen. Not only that but they are building an apartheid wall in front of the stolen property. Why should anyone believe that Israel has any genuine interest in peace. That is just silly.

Debbie said...

I don't foresee peace between the Palestinians and Israel either. They will never be satisfied until they run Israel out of the region. So no, nothing will come of this.

It's amazing seeing all those opportunities in print. What a shame.

Right Truth

Pat Jenkins said...

amen sista!!! and one wonders what world liberal(dirty) white boy is living in....

MondaythroughSunday said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Incognito said...

AURORA: Agreed... Israel is bending over backwards and the Palis just keep asking for more... that more, of course, is Israel gone.

LIBERALWB: Hello.. figured this would bring out my few anti-semites.
We've gone over this too many times. Israel was initially handed their tiny portion of land by the U.N. It was not stolen. They are building a wall because they are trying to keep themselves alive. The Palis don't need a powerful army cos they've got a powerful army of civilian idiots willing to blow themselves up. Israel would love to live in peace if the Palis would just try to be a little more civilized.

DEBBIE: It is a shame. Cos I think most people crave peace. Most, but not all.

PAT J: He's your typical leftist anti-semite.

WomanHonorThyself said...

Annapolis is a joke because the hating, lying A-rabssssssssss are a a joke a worse .........the biggest threat to freedom in the world!

Incognito said...

ANGEL: People want to believe that peace is possible.. but exactly.. who can believe liars.