Israel - Palestine: Déjà vu all over again

Moshé Machover finds the recent 'peace process' talk oddly familiar

Watch US secretary of state John Kerry assuming the mantle of our lord: just as JC resurrected Lazarus, JK is about to revive the dead-as-a-doornail talks between the Israeli government and the captive so-called Palestinian ‘Authority’. Though, unlike old Lazarus, this corpse will talk and talk and talk … but will not walk.

I do not much enjoy repeating myself, but the Weekly Worker has recently acquired many new readers, so for the benefit of those among them who have recently arrived from outer space and have not seen this show before, I will shamelessly quote from my article, ‘Zionist “negotiating strategy” sham’, published in this paper almost two years ago:


For the Israeli leadership, the ‘peace process’ - or, as many Israelis (who have trouble distinguishing between long and short vowels) pronounce it, ‘piss process’ - is a perpetual ratchet mechanism for buying time, while colonisation of Palestinian lands is extended and expanded.

The Israeli negotiating strategy, successfully applied for the last 20 years, is very simple. At each stage of the process, Israel puts forward new conditions. If the Palestinian side rejects them, the negotiations are broken off, and world public opinion is invited to blame Palestinian intransigence for the deadlock. However, if the Palestinian side capitulates to the new demands, then Israel finds a pretext for stalling. A favourite ploy is to create provocations such as ‘targeted assassination’ of Palestinian militants. These are rarely reported by the international media, and never given any prominence, as they are considered routine moves in the ‘war against terror’. Eventually, some armed Palestinian group retaliates with a bloody bombing inside Israel or an ill-aimed rocket barrage. This is invariably given lurid coverage in the international media. Thereupon Israel breaks off the talks, because obviously one cannot negotiate with such terrorists. Again, the Palestinians are blamed for the failure of the talks. Meantime, Israeli colonisation continues to metastasise.

After a while, there is another international initiative for resuming the negotiations. In the new round of talks, the previous Palestinian concessions are taken as a starting point, and Israel’s conditions are ratcheted up.1


So here we go again. Netanyahu himself brazenly boasted about his tactics for using negotiations to torpedo any meaningful agreement. You can watch him bragging about it on a visit to a family of colons in the occupied West Bank: he was apparently unaware that he was being recorded on home video, which is now online.2

And, of course, leaders of the so-called ‘international community’ are well aware of Netanyahu’s game. We know this thanks to another accidental recording. On November 8 2011 Reuters reported:

French president Nicolas Sarkozy branded Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a liar” in a private conversation with US president Barack Obama that was accidentally broadcast to journalists during last week’s G20 summit in Cannes.

“I cannot bear Netanyahu - he’s a liar,” Sarkozy told Obama, unaware that the microphones in their meeting room had been switched on, enabling reporters in a separate location to listen in to a simultaneous translation.

“You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you,” Obama replied, according to the French interpreter.3



Nevertheless, these pots calling the kettle black all persist with this charade. Why? Netanyahu’s foreign minister designate, Avigdor Lieberman - who is suspended from office while defending himself against charges of corruption - has put his sticky finger on it. He recently pointed out on his Facebook page that “It is important to negotiate - and even more important that negotiations be conducted on the basis of reality and without illusions.” Lest there be any misunderstanding, he added that, as he had said many times, there is no solution to the conflict, at least not in the coming years. “What is possible and important to do is to manage the conflict.”4 In other words, negotiations with the Palestinians are not about reaching a resolution, but about ‘managing the conflict’. This managing act is in Israel’s interest, as well as that of the top manager in the White House.

Lieberman is right about one thing: in the coming years there can be no resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is because the balance of power is so heavily biased in favour of Israel. But here I am, repeating myself again. New arrivals from outer space: please refer to my article, ‘Breaking the chains of Zionist oppression’, where I wrote:

Palestinian resistance - whether armed or non-violent - may be able to put up a defensive struggle, but on its own it has no realistic prospect of inducing Israel to give up the Zionist colonising project and share Palestine on equal terms, be it in two states or in one ….

It is impossible to escape the conclusion that all schemes for resolving the conflict within the narrow confines of Palestine are exercises in futility.5


1. Weekly Worker September 29 2011.

2. www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-5hUG6Os68&feature=youtu.be.

3. www.reuters.com/assets/print?aid=USTRE7A720120111108.

4. www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/170096#.Ue05VRaXCN2.

5. Weekly Worker February 19 2009.