Friday, October 7, 2011

Yousef Munayyer on target re the US

Yousef Munayyer of the The Jerusalem Fund in Washington DC describes the position of the United States regarding Israel and the Palestinians concisely and in doing so explains why the US is no longer considered a mediator (if it ever was) in the Middle East.

"The Palestinians came to the United Nations in the hopes of putting forward a membership application because they had come to understand that domestic dynamics in the United States made it impossible for Washington to be an even-handed broker. If the Obama administration can't get Netanyahu's right-wing government to halt settlement expansion - an Israeli obligation under international law and the US-initiated Road Map for Peace - how could they possibly press Netanyahu to dismantle settlements, divide Jerusalem and admit refugees when the time came to get serious?

The United States is an exceptional place and it is a country that believes in its exceptionalism. Washington likes to believe it can do anything, and it can do and has done many things. But there is one thing it simply cannot do and that is even-handedly broker a deal between Israel and Palestinians. This has to do almost entirely with US domestic politics. Whether you blame the Israel lobby or accept the narrative that Americans en masse have a special connection with Israel, there is no doubt that America is solidly in Israel's corner.

The Israelis have long since recognised this; that is why they insist no other state or alliance of states mediates this conflict. Most Palestinians have long since recognised this and now, after 20 years of failed negotiations, even those among the Palestinians which have be most committed to a US-led peace process have come to the same conclusion.

If there was any doubt about how Washington's domestic politics handicaps its ability to broker, it was erased by President Obama's speech at the United Nations General Assembly. Without even a modicum of recognition of Palestinians' suffering and without one word of condemnation for Israeli colonialism, President Obama rang in the US election season."

This is a very short excerpt from his article Five Lessons Learned from Palestinian UN Bid. Munayyer moderates the excellent video presentations of The Palestine Center where one can always find intelligent conversations regarding Palestine.

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