The future remains bleak

The Annapolis “peace” conference has concluded with Israel and the Palestinian Authority pledging to reach some kind of agreement by the end of 2008. Talking is always a good thing, far preferable to war, but the reality on the ground and the deep splits in both sides make the chances of peace almost impossible. Leading Arab commentator Rami Khouri explains:

The Annapolis meeting is a diplomatic suicide squeeze. It is unlikely to succeed, because the conditions and/or motives of the principal players — the U.S., Israel and half the Palestinians represented by President Mahmoud Abbas — are not conducive to the sort of daring moves and substantive compromises that are needed to achieve a full and fair peace. The Americans seem motivated primarily by a desperate need to elicit Arab and Iranian support on Iraq. They are not playing the fair mediator’s role, but rather persisting in supporting Israeli positions more often than coming down in the middle of Israeli-Palestinian issues. America‚Äôs sudden, urgent exuberance for Arab-Israeli peace-making within a year, after six years of total neglect or blatant pro-Israeli bias, is neither convincing nor sincere. Trying to force through a peace accord on an American presidential timetable is likely to fail, as it did in 2000 when Bill Clinton tried the same thing, albeit with a bit more sincerity.

Noam Chomsky rightly argues that such “peace” conferences are a diplomatic charade, designed to convince the world that progress is being made when, in fact, Palestine is being comprehensively killed in front of our eyes. Resistance is essential. Desmond Tutu agrees.

Palestinian voices are rarely heard in this debate and two Palestinians here explain why apartheid is the current reality in the occupied territories.