If the past as an indication of the future, then George Bush’s call for an international peace conference will totally fail. It will fail because the key and main sponsor; the US, is partner in the occupation and a party to the conflict. As such with a policy that has consistently and materially supported the continued Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, the US is hardly a partial party that can move forward toward peace.
More troublesome for the US and the Palestinians is the fact that the issue of the continued and illegal Israeli military occupation is not an international issue but a key domestic issue. With the majority of the members of congress dependant on elections funding from powerful Israel and Jewish lobbies that makes peace almost impossible. Peace for Israel will mean an end to the powerful Jewish lobby and it means drying up of funding sources for large numbers of politicians that overstep and compete with each other in support of Israel and its continued occupation. Of course we need not forget the many active Christian Zionists who sees Israel continued occupation as a way for their salvation and their entry to the Kingdom of Heaven.
The US support for an aggressive and militaristic Israel preceded the 67 War. The US was very supportive of Israel’s pre-emptive strike and for over 40 years made sure through international diplomacy, military and financial support that the occupation including active financial and legal support for an expanding illegal settlements that saw almost half of the West Bank disappear to aggressive Jewish settlements. With facts like these it is very difficult to accept the US genuine desire to end the conflict and promote a peaceful settlement between Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states. The US preferred choice is for normalization of relationship with Israel while keeping the status quo. In other word Peace For Peace.
On the other side, and if the past is an indication of the future, then the same leadership that have managed the Palestinian (failed liberation) for the past 40 years and who negotiated Oslo, Hebron and the Gaza access then the Palestinians under occupation and the millions in exiles are in very deep trouble indeed.
The present Palestinian leadership that negotiated Oslo is simply unfit, incompetent and unqualified and has no legitimacy to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians. It is true that Mahmoud Abbas was elected president by those under occupation, but then under the PA Basic Laws, the president rule together with an elected legislative council, again, representing those under occupation. Since the Palestinian Legislative Council is defunct and non –operational then the president lacks the legitimacy to negotiate anything other than what he incompetently negotiated under Oslo. A government that is a security contractor for the continued Israeli occupation in exchange for money.
With the majority of Palestinians living in exiles, no one voted for Mahmoud Abbas, and no one voted for Fatah and no one voted for Hamas. Certainly no one voted for the PLO. The PLO is a self-perpetuating organization that never gained its legitimacy from the Palestinian people in direct vote or through elected representatives. Even if the PLO leadership try to claim legitimacy of representations, the majority of members of the Palestine National Council are dead, or incapacitated, certainly never elected by any one and should be impeached for failure to represent the people’s interest, not to mention the fact they did not meet for decades. They are representative in name only and only when it comes to collecting the paycheck.
With that kind of failed and non-existing institutions, the PLO is run for the most part by a have been, a group of parasites who have made the cause a career and a very lucrative source of income for themselves and their families. They succeeded in milking the cause to the last drop. Of course no one dare mention the tens of billions stolen by the late Yasser Arafat and his cronies and circle of families and friends. There was never an accounting of the many failures of the PLO and PA leadership.
Before it is too late and before the same team that negotiated Oslo negotiate legitimized and permanent Israeli Occupation, there is an urgent need for the Palestinians in the Diaspora to get together and organize, making sure the guys in Ramallah do not give away their rights permanently and legitimatize the Israeli occupation in exchange for lucrative security contract with Israel. Not to mention giving away the rights of the exiles.
Yes, the majority of Palestinians are for a genuine peace with Israel that takes into account their forced exiles and deprivations of their rights and properties not to mention the endless human suffering for the last 60 years. One thing for sure, the present Palestinian leadership is simply unqualified, incompetent and too corrupt and lacks any legitimacy to negotiate for those in exiles, and those under occupation. Time for the people to rally around the Palestine Agency the organization that will have a seat at the table. Time to take charge before it is too late.