A "PEACE PROCESS" BUILT ON POLITICAL QUICKSAND
By Mark Bruzonsky*
Clinton arrived to blaring trumpets very late Saturdayevening. He arrived in Israel,
not Palestine, and no one should doubt thatbasic significance.
One of the greatest ironies of this generation is that whilethe world mobilized to
bring the Apartheid of South Africa to an end, atnearly the same historic moment it
allowed the U.S and Israel toimplement a variant of Apartheid in the Middle East. Another
generationof conflict is thus ensured, no matter what the politicians ofthe moment
Whatever further symbolism takes place with Clinton's Gazavisit, it is sure to be
feverishly played up by the Arafat crowd. But thebasic reality that Gaza has been twisted
into a ghetto/prisonsurrounded on three sides by an Israeli-patrolled electrified fence,
on thefourth by the Israeli-guarded sea, and internally "policed" by aquisling
regime, cannot be masked indefinitely.
This "peace process" is build on political quicksand. Afternine unprecedented
days together at Wye Plantation the protagonistscouldn't even agree on the relatively
simple matter of who among thePalestinian prisoners would be released.
When it comes to the "Palestinian Covenant", supposedly thereason for
Clinton's visit, Arafat hasn't even managed to gather a quorumof the once proud Palestine
National Congress, not to mention pursuea serious formal vote on such a weighty matter.
And with Ariel Sharon in charge of the "final agreement",Israeli settlements
still expanding at feverish pace, and "by-pass"roads increasingly criss-crossing
the very areas Arafat claims forhis quasi-State, the future may not be clearly forseeable,
but what isat least clear is that what Arafat keeps proclaiming is certainly notwhat is
coming to pass. About the only thing the Arafat regimemanages to consistently pursue is to
bribe and cajole many into parrotingits own slogans while repressing everyone else into
fearful silenceand depressed acquiescence.
The fragmented and confused remains of the Palestiniannationalist movement has been
meeting in Damascus in recent days,declaring their disgust with Arafat and all that he has
wrought. But they notonly lack the requisite power and resources to pursue their
goals,they lack basic cohesion and strategy as well, thus constantlyrelegating themselves
to marginality on history's sidelines.
The Jordanian Hashemite regime, colluding with the Americansand Israelis more than ever
before, prevented many Palestiniansfrom crossing the border and even getting to the
Damascus meeting.And the 300 or so Palestinians who did manage to gather there hardlyeven
managed to get the world's attention at a time when worldattention is focused on their
American Presidents come and go; the U.S. has seriousinstitutions and long-term
strategies that transcend individualadministrations. Too many among the Arabs just don't
seem to understand this basicreality, essentially mortgaging their own fate to whomever
happens tobe in the White House at the moment believing that a few kind words area
substitute for actual policies, even while history constantlyproves otherwise.
But unlike the Arabs, Western countries, and that includes theIsraelis, have serious
institutions and strategies transendingindividual leaders and "regimes." At the
political level, theArabs today are little better off, as the millenium nears its
turn,then they were generations ago at the time of the Ottoman Empire'scollapse. They were
as outmanuevered at the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991as they were at the Paris Peace
Conference of 1918. Their corrupt,inept, and infiltrated "client regimes"
continue to be easily manipulatedby the tried and true "divide and conquer"
approach. With such anhistorical dichotomy, the West manages to get one Arab leader or
anotherto sign this agreement or that, constantly pushing forward their owninterests while
Arab interests, not to mention rights, are constantlytrampeled under.
Until the nationalist Palestinians and their supportersseriously organize themselves in
a coherent and determined way to opposethe Apartheid Reservations fate, their destiny will
continue to besubverted. Ongoing and sophisticated opposition using modernmeans of
communication, as well as the building up of sustainableinstitutions that can both
conceive and pursue alternative policies andprincipled goals, are what today's situation
* Background and publication information for Mark Bruzonsky isat:http://www.MiddleEast.Org/mab.htm
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