Gershon Baskin

The waiting game

11.08.2016

Gershon Baskin. Photo: Otmar Steinbicker

Will President Barack Obama leave a legacy platform on Israeli-Palestinian peace? And if so, what should it be? This is a question being debated in policy forums in Washington and in the Middle East. In Israel it is a lively debate taking place within what remains of the peace camp. Likewise on the Palestinian and Arab side, there is a lot of discussion and hope that before leaving the White House on January 20, 2017, President Obama will leave an indelible mark setting the parameters of peace that the next president will not be able to ignore.

Let it be noted that I also hope that President Obama will do this. I share the belief that a new UN Security Council Resolution, with clear parameters for the two-state solution and aimed at replacing the antiquated Resolution 242 is important and perhaps even necessary to save the two-state solution. The likelihood of this occurring, however, is close to zero. Some are suggesting as an alternative that Obama would refrain from vetoing a Security Council resolution that condemns Israeli settlement building as illegal and against international law.

So what? Would that be the impetus to prevent future Israeli building in Gilo or Ramot or even in Gush Etzion? In the absence of a Security Council Resolution some are suggesting a presidential speech with clear peace parameters. Is that what we are missing? Is that why there is no peace process and no peace? What possible value would another presidential speech have for the incoming president or for that matter for Israeli and Palestinian leaders? And why should anyone believe the new president will pick up an Obama speech and start remaking an Israeli-Palestinian peace process during the first half of their new administration? No, if there is any lesson to be learned from Obama about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, it is to stay far away from it.

No peace process nor peace agreement will be imposed on either the Israelis or the Palestinians.

No US president will try to impose an agreement and neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will ever accept an agreement that does not meet their minimal demands. No new American president, be it Hillary Clinton or (God forbid) Donald Trump, is going to place the Israeli-Palestinian issue on their agenda, at least not during the first half of their first term, and by then they will already be campaigning for their second. The European Union is also not going to come to our rescue, nor will Russia, China or the Arab world.

The biggest favor the departing US president can do for us, meaning Israel and the Palestinians, is to be straight and direct: the US is not going to save you. The US will continue to have Israel’s back, it will continue to provide military aid and a lot of money. The US will continue to support the Palestinian Authority, as long as it is not taken over by Hamas (or worse). The US will continue to issue worthless statements against the building of settlements while at the same time strongly opposing boycotts and divestment at home. Perhaps more importantly, the US will continue to provide Israel with a protective political umbrella in the international arena – the UN Human Rights Council, UNESCO, the Hague and more, even if Israel continues to build settlements. Only if Israel actually annexes parts of the West Bank might the US blanket of support be shaken, but even that is questionable.

As far as I can see, even if the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is being presented by the Israeli government as an existential threat and serious resources are being dedicated to fighting it, the unprofessional nature of the way that fight is being conducted is indicative of the reality: BDS is much more of a smoke screen than a real threat. While it is true that individual companies working in occupied areas have been targeted and those attacks have succeeded (several companies have relocated from the West Bank to inside of Israel), in the grand scheme Israel is significantly insulated from the effects of boycotts.

There is a larger threat of growing delegitimization of Israel’s existence around the world, especially at the level of civil society, but the only real way of derailing that is to end the occupation and Israel’s control over the Palestinian people.

It is not about “public diplomacy” (hasbara), it is about reality.

The continued belief that someone from the outside, such as the US president, the Quartet, the Saudis or someone else will resolve our conflict has enabled both Israelis and Palestinians and their leaders to escape the responsibility of taking charge, sitting down and figuring out how to do it. There is no avoiding the reality and the urgency of finding solutions, even if implementing the solutions takes years. This conflict has no chance of ending without sitting down together and reaching agreements. No one is going to do it in our place.

Gershon Baskin ist Autor des Aachener Friedensmagazins www.aixpaix.de. Seine Beiträge finden Sie hier


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Beiträge von Gershon Baskin
2016

The waiting game

The apology, democracy and peace

Sisi, the peace broker

Anti-anti-normalization

The republic of Israel-Palestine?

My enemy's leader

De-risking peace - Part 5

De-risking peace - Part 4

De-risking peace - Part 3

De-risking peace - Part 2

De-risking peace - Part 1

The Left is right

The French connection

The United Nations and Israel’s legitimacy

A moment of opportunity

The darkness of our times

Addressing the core

The worst negotiations, the best negotiations

Palestinian turmoil and Israeli interests

This one is for you - the Palestinians

Palestinian suffering makes no sense for Israel

Creating a compelling vision for peace

It is also in our hands

Sooner or later

There is no partner

There is no partner

2015

Yes, it is difficult to make peace

What does he really want?

To those who oppose Israeli-Palestinian peace

Israel – my sad home

Have I got news for you

It is still not too late for peace

Netanyahu, tell us what you really think!

The partnership challenge

The binational reality that we are experiencing

Abbas is still the leader who can make peace

A new intifada?

After Abbas

The distance between here and peace and security

Doing the wrong thing at that wrong time

The one and only solution!

Yeshayahu Leibowitz was right!

The disengagement – 10 years on: What we choose to forget

Needed - a new approach to Gaza

A bad agreement is better than no agreement

Obviously no peace now, so what then?

Ramadan Kareem!

Israel’s strategic choices regarding Gaza

Anti-normalization hypocrites

FIFA, soccer and the Palestinians

Both sides now

It’s time for Palestine

The citizens’ challenge – from despair to hope

We have the chance to do the right thing in Yarmouks

The world is not against us

This is what you voted for, and this is what you will get

The no decision elections

A cautious peace, but peace nevertheless

For the sake of Israel, Netanyahu must be sent home

Going ballistic even prior to an agreement

To the new IDF chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot

The Peace Bridge

The choices we must make

Israeli elections – It’s not about the economy

Threats and security

2014

Returning to negotiations

Our most important elections

The missed opportunities

We want peace, but they don't

Our future is in our hands

Defining who we are

Unlike religious wars, political wars have solutions

Today and tomorrow

If we had a real leader

Jerusalem of peace, Jerusalem of war

No tango going on at all

The Gaza challenge

Is Hamas prepared to end this war with a long-term ceasefire?

The end of the ceasefire, the renewal of war and the end game

The aftermath

Some thoughts this morning

Regional forum for security and stability – Gaza first

After a long phone conversation with a Hamas leader in Gaza

Don’t destroy Gaza, build it!

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 3 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 2 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace

Palestinian refugees in Syria

Annexing the West Bank – a catastrophic plan for the Jewish people

Mutual and reciprocal recognition

Our Palestinians, their Jews

A very personal statement on peace

2013

Contextual reciprocity

Negotiating atmospherics

My Conversation With Hamas

Ramadan Kareem

Wahrheit, Lügen und Rechtmäßigkeit

Kauft palästinensisch!

Rat für den Präsidenten

Keine Fortsetzung des Unilateralismus!

Diesen Weg müssen wir einschlagen!

Die Kluft im Umgang mit den israelischen Arabern schließen

2012

Eine Ein-Staat-Realität ist nicht durchführbar

Strategische Fehler und Herausforderungen

Mord an der Chance für Ruhe

Das Ende des Raketenbeschusses aus Gaza

Die Aufgabe eines Staatsmannes

Es gibt einen Ausweg

Atomwaffen raus aus dem Arsenal

Was Abbas Israel sagen sollte

Obama, gestatte es uns nicht!

Ist mein zionistischer Traum gestorben?