Washington’s hopeless road to Middle East diplomacy – Asia Times

Washington's hopeless road to Middle East diplomacy - Asia Times

Secretary of State James Baker was given the task of organizing complete Middle East peace talks in 1990 that would include Israel, the Palestinians, and Israel’s other long-standing adversaries in the Arab world.

By the end of June that time, Baker had gotten stale with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who had turned down conversations with the notoriously terrorist and main adversary of Israel, the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Baker directly rebuked Shamir for telling a parliamentary hearing that he was not interested in peace deals. In case Shamir wanted to call, Baker rudely offered the White House telephone number. ” The mobile number is 202- 456- 1414″, he said. ” When you’re serious about this, call us”.

Baker had worked to persuade the PLO to abandon its plans to retake the Jewish state and create a Palestinian royal state, and along the way, put an end to terrorist attacks against Israelis.

Secretary of State James Baker and President George H. W. Bush at a convention. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The next year, extraordinary discussions among Israel, the PLO, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt got live in Madrid. Afterward, meetings held in various capital to address a wide range of security and economic issues ultimately failed. However, in Oslo, key agreements between Israel and the PLO led to the establishment of a Palestinian status in less than five years.

Statehood and harmony not arrived, swallowed up by assault and mistrust. The Oslo Accords had been sunk by decades of Israeli-Palestinian turmoil, presumably for great.

Strong forward to October 2023, when Hamas ‘ cruel assault on Israel revived the idea of a two-state solution, at least in theory.

The brutal assault on Israeli civilians on October 7 that claimed around 1,100 lives has aggravated the new US-led work. Baker and Bush could put the PLO’s history of criminal activity apart. In order to achieve peace after the October 7 attack, Bin Laden is no denying it. Just an Israeli dedication to a two-state solution can at the same time quell Muslim anger over Israel’s huge hostile offensive, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 30 000 Palestinians.

In any case, Biden has been unable to reconcile the conflicting goals of the antagonists: Israel’s desire to oust Hamas and appease Gaza with some sort of unusual occupation, Hamas, in order to succeed and to establish itself in a future state of Palestine.

The most recent of many trips to the Middle East this year saw the arrival of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to encourage proposals for a peace, the release of hostages held by Hamas, and a negotiation process that would lead to a Palestinian state.

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who heads the Likud Party when led by Shamir, has balked at American ideas. He rejects the idea of sovereignty and only offers a temporary ceasefire. He demands the release of hostages, which will allow the conflict to remain uninterrupted. He has n’t had to endure Baker’s verbal thrashing against Shamir in public.

Biden has mouthed a oftentimes conflicting list of common statements. He also advised Netanyahu not to kill to many Israeli civilians while promising to end Israel’s Hamas-related campaign.

Biden said an Israeli invasion of the southeastern Gaza city of Rafah, Hamas ‘ next stronghold, would mix a “red range” and provide some sort of punishment to Israel. The only action taken was the suspension of shipments of particularly heavy aerial bombs.

In terms of Hamas, Biden appears to want Hamas to sign its own death warrant, agreeing to a ceasefire and allowing Israel to continue its war against humanity. Biden’s National Security Affairs advisor Jake Sullivan said the US is “awaiting” Hamas’s response.

Hamas is open to discussions about ending Israel’s “aggression,” the withdrawal of its army from Gaza, and reconstruction of the enclave before considering hostage release, according to spokesman Osama Hamdan.

In addition to focusing on his presumptive domestic political needs ahead of the November presidential elections, there is much outside commentary about how Netanyahu and Hamas are handled. He is attempting to win back the support of two typically trustworthy voters: Arab American voters angry about the continued US failure to create a Palestinian state and Jewish American voters who support Israel.

We’ve seen an erosion of US ability to cow either Israel or the Palestinians. In the 1990s, the US was at the height of its regional influence.

  • Arab nations were held by Washington as a result of the US’s removal of Iraqi occupation forces from Kuwait.
  • Israel, kept out of the war at Washington’s insistence, was reluctant to cross an ally that had handily defeated Iraq, one of its most hardened regional adversaries.
  • Yasser Arafat, the PLO chieftain of the time, had supported Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and was eager for any kind of political rehabilitation. When he and Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin shared a Nobel Peace Prize for signing the Oslo Accords, his transition from a terrorist to a statesman was complete.

In the 20th century, the US luster as all- conquering regional paladin has faded:

  • It struggled in two drawn-out, unsuccessful conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Iran, which uses proxy” axis of resistance” allies in Lebanon and Yemen to demonize American Middle Eastern policy, is its adversary.
  • Washington’s focus is on challenges to its position in other countries, such as Asia, where China is flaunting its expanding military might, and Eastern Europe, where Russia invaded a neighbor and wants to enslave NATO from its borders.

But are there enough important parties out there to end the war? So far, not, said Aaron David Miller, a veteran US diplomat. In the end, negotiations only succeed if the parties experience sufficient pain, which is accompanied by a sense of urgency, he said. ” The only party that is in a hurry here is the Biden administration”.

For instance, Netanyahu sees military victories as a way to maintain his hold onto power while also earning his own compensation for leading Hamas ‘ unprecedented attack on Israeli soil.

Hamas’s only concern seems to be survival, and the hostages are its only weapon in bringing Israel to an end to the war. The only thing that is on its mind is that. &nbsp,

Robert Hunter, a former US ambassador to NATO, said the only way out for the US is clarity of purpose and sustained diplomatic pressure on all sides. The President must be aware that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be put to rest when this conflict ends, Hunter wrote. He needs to rekindle his trust in the United States as a trustworthy broker and for strategic competence. He needs to demonstrate that the United States puts its own interests before those of others.