The Jerusalem Post (Link) - Ami Kaufman (December 8, 2010)
As expected, the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are now six feet under. On Monday night, Israeli and US officials confirmed that the Obama administration is abandoning its effort to renew the freeze on settlement building in the West Bank. As the NY Times reported:
TORTUOUS INDEED. And now that the talks have officially failed, the region is once again on the verge of dangerous and violent times. Before things spiral out of control, now is the time for Obama to embrace this failure and move on to the only step that can save the two-state solution, playing the Wild Card: endorsing Palestinian unilateralism.
The White House must begin to fully appreciate this option, since there are calls in Palestine to begin steps towards unilateralism in the very near future, and not wait for Palestinian Authority PM Salam Fayyad�s declaration of independence in August 2011.
In fact, just this week, three South American countries � Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay � have decided to announce their recognition of the Palestinian state.
What the Obama administration must understand is that unilateralism should not be perceived solely as a route taken out of frustration from the failure of peace talks. It is a solution, a route that will be taken to set into play a new dynamic � and a new set of international laws that will begin to be applied to an independent Palestine.
But many say, despite Fayyad�s partial success in institution building, that there is no way a viable state will be ready by the summer of 2011. This is true. Fayyad has done well but the Palestinian economy is not prepared to breathe on its own. The only thing that keeps it alive is donor aid, and there is little to make for a vibrant private sector � not to mention the daily obstacles of occupation.
So no, of course a state won�t be ready. But that�s not the issue. The issue is about shifting the problem from �should there be a Palestinian state� to �how do we get this state to work properly and give it full sovereignty over its territory.�
This is exactly what happened in Kosovo 2008. The Russians vetoed its declaration of independence, just as the US will most probably do with the Palestinians (unwisely, I must add). But Kosovo is in a way a �fait accompli.�
The question today is not whether there should be an independent Kosovo any more � it�s about how to make it work now that it�s a fact on the ground.
GOING BACK to the negotiating table would be a big mistake. As former Mossad intelligence officer and coeditor of Bitterlemons Yossi Alpher points out, continuing with fake negotiations will jeopardize not only Fayyad�s achievements, but also those that the US itself has invested so much in, such as the work of Keith Dayton, who recently left the region after five years of hard work as the US Security Coordinator for Israel-Palestinian Authority in October.
Amongst other things, Dayton oversaw the training of Palestinian Authority forces, and is considered by many to be a key factor in the drop of terror emanating from the West Bank:
In his November 14 Haaretz op-ed, Zvi Barel articulates why the recognition of a future unilateral declaration will actually help the process:
And to all those who threaten that a unilateral move would be a violation of the Oslo accords, Barel sets things straight:
Although all the recent signs point to Obama vetoing any Palestinian move in the Security Council, now that the talks have died, his administration should rethink the current route and consider the Wild Card as an option. Anything is better than sitting around and watching Israel obstruct any movement forward. �
Dividing Israel ~ Islam ~ Israel ~ Obama