Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Saeb Erekat School of Failed Negotiations.

Few days ago, I read a very interesting news item in one of the leading Arabic newspaper. The newspaper announced that Dr. Saeb Erekat the head of the PLO negotiating team with Israel decided, and after 3 years of research, decided to publish an academic manual on negations directed toward academic institutions, centers and students of conflict resolution.

Nothing should be surprising about the news item since there are hundreds if not thousands of books published annually on the subject of negotiations and conflict resolution. But to have Saeb publish a book on negotiations and conflict resolution, that is big news if not a big joke.

The interesting thing is that Dr. Erekat in over 20 years of leading the PLO and PA negotiating team achieved ZERO result for the Palestinians and the only success he and his team achieved over these years is a healthy paycheck and of course free travel, open expense accounts at the best hotels in the world and of course the almost daily briefings we see on television. He loves to appear on TV.

One would think that someone who achieved some results, even small, minute results have good reasons to tell us his methods, his tricks, his style of achieving some results. But for someone who is a total failure at negotiations to author and publish a book on negotiation is a big joke.

As some one who follows the Arab-Israeli so called “negotiations” closely, I have to questions what I read. Dr. Saeb must have rich experience in failure to tell us and share with prospective students of conflict resolution about negotiations with Israel, but to advise on negotiations that is a first.

What we know is that in over 15 years of negotiations the Palestinians team achieved ZERO results. Perhaps ZERO is a big achievement for the Palestinian negotiating team of Saeb Erekat & Company. The sad fact is that team gave away almost every thing. They gave away Hebron to the criminal Jewish Settlers long time ago, putting some 100,000 Palestinians under virtual curfew 24/7 without ever thinking of the consequences to the people of the city and the impact on their daily lives. 500 criminal Jewish settlers protected by the Israeli Army rule the city robbing, stealing, destroying, and murdering Palestinians of Hebron on a daily basis.

Another negotiation success of Dr. Saeb& Company is the trend setting agreement reached with Israel over access to Gaza, where Saeb and Mohamed Dahlan ,the brilliant Palestinian team, gave Israel virtual and total control of Gaza putting Gaza under Israeli total siege and imprisoning 1.5 millions, even the access between Gaza and Egypt was put under Israeli control. These two guys should be tried for their incompetence.

Perhaps Saeb will tell us in his book how he was able to achieve the management of some 550 Israeli check-points making the lives of millions of Palestinians daily hell with hundreds dying at check points and of course with hundreds of thousands facing daily humiliations at the hands of young thugs pretending to be part of a professional army?

Oh yes, I forgot, Saeb was able to negotiate for himself and couple of thousands of PLO, Fatah and Palestinian Authority functionaries VIP passes where they can whiz through these checkpoints while the people have to wait for hours if not days simply to get home from their farms or visiting relatives. Yes, these VIP passes are true success for Saeb and his team. Perhaps Saeb can shed lights in his book on his tricks and his methodology of successful negations in getting Israel to agree to grant 3,000 VIP passes to the big shots of the Palestinian Authority functionaries who zip through these check-points in their brand new BMWs and Mercedes while the “people” simply wait and wait and wait only to pass after so many hours through metal gates just like cattle.

Of course we must not forget about the successful negotiation of having Israel the rights to enter any town, any home, kidnap, kill and assassinate at well, and of course destroying homes, burning down shopping centers and destroying farms, while the PA elite force of his boss looks on. Indeed Saeb has proven to be a brilliant negotiator and with such a great track records students in conflict resolution can now learn much from Saeb Erekat School of negotiation. Harvard, ICAR, American University, East Mennonites all should be competing to convince Saeb to leave the Palestinian-Israeli negotiation and share his great knowledge, experience and of course his track record of failures with the world.

Saeb is a man with no sense of shame or dignity. He should have quit long time ago and he should be held responsible together with the Palestinian leadership for failures in the last 20 years of negotiations with Israel. Perhaps it is much better and much cheaper and cost effective to contract with some professional Israelis to represent the Palestinians. I am sure they will do a better job than Saeb & Company. Saeb if has any sense of respect for himself and his people should be the first to step down, resign and call on All of the PLO and PA leadership to resign and hand over the keys of their kingdom to Israel. Enough is enough and we have more than enough of Saeb & Company.

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