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Right Intention: US Responsible for Palestinian Situation?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

US Responsible for Palestinian Situation?

I found an interesting comment in the Guardian this morning on Abu Mazen and the Palestinian situation. Here's the title:

A leader banking on the US to deliver a breakthrough

So solving the Israeli/Palestinian issue is the responsibility of the US? Not Europe, Russia, Middle East, etc? Or perhaps, and I know this sounds crazy, the responsibility of the Israelis and Palestinians themselves?

He also holds to a core set of principles. In 1999, he presented US officials with a straightforward proposal for a final deal: a Palestinian state within the borders of June 4 1967; east Jerusalem as its capital; and recognition of the principle of the refugees' right of return. Within those parameters, he left room for discussion. There would be equitable swaps of land; provisions to allow Jews unimpeded access to holy sites; and the right of return would be implemented in a manner that would not threaten Israel's demographic interests. The US and Israel ignored his suggestion.

Again, somehow the US is at least partially responsible for the current situation. Here's another one:

He looked at violence in cost-benefit terms, and while the costs were high, benefits were few: Israelis closed ranks, the US took sides, the international community turned its back, and the Palestinian Authority fell apart.

Again the US is seen as culpable at some level.

His belief in persuasion over violent pressure is a risky and, to many Palestinians, reckless one. As they see it, Palestinians did not militarise the confrontation, Israel did; and if Palestinians stop fighting, they would remove all pressure on Israel to compromise.

Does he really believe in negotiating over suicide bombers? Charles Krauthammer isn't convinced. But here we see that the Palestinians have little to no responsibility for their circumstances. It's someone else's fault.

To succeed, Abu Mazen is banking on support from the international community, principally the US. Ending violence and implementing institutional reforms are causes he believes in. But he also sees an important side-benefit, which is to put President Bush to the test. Bush has said that reining in militant groups and democratising Palestinian society would lead to a two-state solution. If the Palestinians live up to their commitments, Abu Mazen hopes, the US will have to live up to its own.

And here are the seeds being sown for laying the blame on Bush if somehow serious progress isn't made towards peace.

So in the eyes of most of Europe, the US is a big, clumsy imperialist that sticks its nose in everybody's business. But at the same time we are expected to solve most of the world's problems. How do people keep these contradictory ideas in their heads at the same time?


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