Pales­tinian-Is­raeli peace process needs kiss of life

China Daily (Canada) - - WORLD -

The un­pleas­ant ex­changes on Tues­day at the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil be­tween United States and Pales­tinian rep­re­sen­ta­tives was just an­other in­di­ca­tion of how dif­fi­cult the Mid­dle East peace process may be­come. As US UN am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley ac­knowl­edged, at the root of the present im­passe was the White House’s De­cem­ber an­nounce­ment that the United States con­sid­ers Jerusalem to be Is­rael’s cap­i­tal and will move its em­bassy there.

Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas’ ap­peal for a new, broader frame­work for ne­go­ti­a­tions for Pales­tinian state­hood de­rived from dis­ap­point­ment, which was un­der­stand­able given the Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity’s oth­er­wise high hopes for a break­through un­der the US pres­i­dency of Don­ald Trump.

That, de­spite Trump’s pro-Is­rael re­marks on the cam­paign trail, Ab­bas was among his ear­li­est for­eign vis­i­tors was in it­self a clear sign of such hopes. It was then that Ab­bas praised his host as a leader com­mit­ted to peace.

Now that the Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity no longer sees Wash­ing­ton as a fit­ting peace bro­ker, it is only nat­u­ral for it to pur­sue a fresh ap­proach, es­pe­cially when Ab­bas’ claim of “ab­so­lute readi­ness to reach a his­toric agree­ment” is taken into con­sid­er­a­tion.

While the Pales­tine leader may have all but dis­qual­i­fied the United States as a me­di­a­tor, and things look messy at this point, it is im­por­tant to not look aside from the fact that all par­ties in­volved pro­fess they re­main com­mit­ted to peace and to ne­go­ti­a­tions aimed at se­cur­ing a last­ing so­lu­tion to the Pales­tine-Is­rael con­flict.

Ac­cus­ing the Trump White House of ab­di­cat­ing its com­mit­ment to a peace­ful so­lu­tion, Ab­bas told the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on Tues­day the Pales­tini­ans have not “re­jected ne­go­ti­a­tions” and be­lieve talks are the only path to peace; Is­raeli UN am­bas­sador Danny Danon con­ceded “the only way to move for­ward is to have di­rect ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans”; while Ha­ley urged Pales­tini­ans to choose “the path of ne­go­ti­a­tion and com­pro­mise” and US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said the other day the con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion re­gard­ing Jerusalem “does not pre­clude a twostate so­lu­tion”, which Ab­bas wants.

This might be a very weak con­sen­sus. But it is a pre­cious ray of hope that de­serves to be cher­ished by all par­ties.

Things may not be­come ir­repara­ble as long as the US is will­ing to re­view its Jerusalem stance and Pales­tine sees the for­mer’s in­dis­pens­able role in bro­ker­ing last­ing peace in the re­gion.

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