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November 28, 2007


The prospect of renewed peace talks over the middle brings up some interesting perspectives on the situation. Most people are filled with a, probably deserved, element of skepticism on the subject. Those who are optimistic, seem to think back to the Rabin-Arafat hand shaking and hope something can be achieved similar to the mid-90s. Unfortunately people’s recollection of the Oslo accords has been warped by they depressing situation, ‘on the ground’ since 2000.

People seem to conclude that the second intifada was a result of the breakdown of the peace process, not its failure in and of itself. They ignore the doubling of colonist numbers during the period, and the failure to effectively transition to PA controlled regions in an orderly (and timely) manner. Furthermore the notion that the PLO was the sole representative of the palestinian people was a root cause of the weak democratic structures that were established under Yasser Arafat.

One wonders if anything can be learnt from the failure of the past that is of help to Annapolis. Perhaps the most important contribution of Oslo, et al. to the peace process was to establish that other Arab states weren’t the representatives of the Palestinian people. Its also possible now that there have been elections within Palestine, both at the presidential and the governmental levels, that the aforementioned result of this won’t be an outcome.

Another key point to establish is that these talks, to be successful, will have to be long running. It took 6 years to go from initial statement of principles in Oslo, to a situation where negotiating positions were close in Camp David and Taba. Consequently both sides must engage in action during the talks themselves on the key issues, settlement building and security.

It will be Physically easy, but politically hard for Olmert to settlement building whilst Abbas faces greater challenges with keeping his end of the bargain up. I can’t see him being able to make any guarantees about keeping control given his precarious position and lack of ability to enforce law and order.

What is actually put on the negotiating table is another matter altogether, Israel don’t seem keen on re-establishing green line, internationally recognised, borders, whilst the Palestinians refuse anything less. It was seen at Camp David and Taba that expansive financial remunerations were not seen by Arafat’s delegation as compensatory for the loss of land, its an open question as to whether Abbas thinks differently. Its also an interesting question as to what the Palestinian have to offer on their part, afterall the primary donation given by Arafat was an official recognition that the 78% of the west of jordan mandate of palestine land that was taken following Israel’s creation in 1948 was Israeli. Offering further chunks of land from the remaining 22% certainly won’t wash with the palestinian electorate. It is entirely possible that a resolution to the situation might be enough carrot for the Olmert’s delegation, after all even though kadima was formed by Sharon, it contains men such as Barak and Peres who have advanced the situation in the past.

Ultimately for Annapolis to succeed one has to hope that the delegates attempt to achieve a new resolve and a new peace process rather than try to consider this a continuation of Oslo, otherwise it is doomed to live within the shadow of failure.

February 05, 2007

Palestine Solidarity Week

This week is Palestine Solidarity Week, all events, bar the charity dinner are free.  The schedule for the rest of the week is as follows: 

Tue Children of Palestine Charity Dinner 8pm, Ramphall

8pm, Ramphall Building, buy tickets in advance

Wed “Visit Palestine” Film Screening 6pm, S0.13

Award winning film on life under Israeli occupation

6pm, S0.13

Thurs Hamas in Power: Continuity or Change? 4pm, H0.52

Khaled Hroub- author: “Hamas: Political Thought and Practice”

Towards a Just Peace in Israel-Palestine 6pm, H0.51

John Hilary – Director, War on Want NGO

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Daphna Baram - journalist for The Independent, Ha’aretz

John Rose – author: “The Myths of Zion”

Fri Israel, Palestine and the British Media 4pm, H0.51 Dr. Mike Berry, author

“Bad News from Israel”

4pm, H0.52

Closing Address: Campaigning for a Free Palestine

Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian Ambassador to the UK

Debke Dancing Evening, the Union

Palestine’s National Dance performed by the Arabic Society

I hope to see you at one of the events. 

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