Faisal Al Rfouh
The Jordan Times (Opinion)
January 20, 2010 - 1:00am

The upcoming visit of US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, is unlikely to yield fruitful results because of the differing attitudes of the concerned parties.

The Mitchell mission was set up by President Barack Obama just two days after his inauguration in January last year, to facilitate negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The US concern for the Middle East crisis seemingly became serious in the aftermath of September 11, as can be witnessed from the number of “special envoys” appointed since then.

The history of peace efforts exerted by the US particularly after September 11 is really a history of failure.

President George W. Bush on June 24, 2002, envisaged a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli refusal to accept it derailed the process.

The so-called Geneva Accords, signed on December 1, 2003, which envisaged a two-state solution with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, also ended in a fiasco because of Israeli rejection.

At the Beirut summit of the Arab League, on March 27-28, 2002, the Saudi proposal, unanimously adopted, offered peace in return for Israeli withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied in the 1967 war and recognition of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel declined to accept this proposal as well. The Arab League reiterated the proposal at its Riyadh summit in 2007. This time, Israel welcomed the proposal with reservations on several key elements.

On April 30, 2003, the Bush administration released a document titled “A performance-based roadmap to a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. It also became known as a proposal of the Quartet, comprising the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, and the Russian Federation.

The declared destination of the roadmap, “a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict by 2005”, still remains a mystery.

The US-hosted conference at Annapolis, Maryland, on November 27, 2007, between Israeli and Palestinian Authority’s Fateh leaders was also attended by many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Syria. At the conference, a two-state solution was publicly referred to as the mutually agreed-upon framework for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It reiterated the basic principles of the roadmap. However, the Israelis’ and the Palestinians’ differing positions with regard to key issues prevented the conclusion of a formal agreement.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair, the official envoy of the Quartet, also failed to clinch a peace deal.

The Palestinian position has been elucidated time and again and the only drawback from which the Palestinians suffer is the absence of unity between their two main factions, Fateh and Hamas.

All peace missions are bound to fail unless Israel is prepared to accommodate Palestinian aspirations in accordance with relevant UN resolutions.


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