Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Remi Kanazi: Mapping Out Catastrophe

Mapping Out Catastrophe

By Remi Kanazi

Does anyone remember that quirky little document called "the roadmap," the proposed path to peace initiated by the Quartet—the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia—involving the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians? If you remember it and its contents, you can recall that Israelis and Palestinians should be in phase two (of three) of the plan by now: the creation of a quasi Palestinian state with "provisional borders" and the markings of sovereignty. Sadly, the prospects for peace look as grim as the day the roadmap was first outlined in June 2002. I still remember US President George W. Bush's words, "Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop." Furthermore, Bush proclaimed, "The Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will be ended through a settlement negotiated between the parties, based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338." In the nearly three and a half years since those promising words were spoken in the Rose Garden, Israeli settlement activity has expanded at an inordinate rate, and the peace process has been curtailed to say the least—nearly 2100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces.

According to statements made last year by Dov Weisglass, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior advisor, "The disengagement [of the Gaza Strip] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that's necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians." Weisglass’ bold and arrogant analysis was unnecessary. Bush's track record in the last five years is indication enough. Although focusing on the Iraq quagmire, President Bush nodded along with nearly all of Sharon's wishes regarding the Apartheid Wall’s discriminatory route, military incursions into the Occupied Territories, extrajudicial assassinations, and unilateral procedure. The status quo remained in place even after the death of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat who was considered "an obstacle to peace" by the US and Sharon's government. As Arafat faded away slowly, imprisoned in his compound in Ramallah, Bush publicly reassured Sharon that given "new realities" on the ground, "it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949." The "return to the armistice lines" is known to Palestinians as the remaining 22 percent of historic Palestine and is the basis for a viable and contiguous future state. Moreover, the White House made little mention of Israel's responsibilities pertaining to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, while Bush made constant calls for the disarmament of Palestinian militant groups and the “rights” of Israel in maintaining its security. An apparent double standard continues, Israeli security is considered to be a prerequisite and Palestinian security is an optional arrangement.

On October 20, 2005 another “historic” meeting took place between President Bush and Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas. Joining for a discussion on the "way forward" for Israelis and Palestinians, both men seemed fairly satisfied, granted there were no handholding attempts by President Bush. I guess the only ones left unsatisfied were those who are stimulated by actions rather than words. President Bush stated, "Israel should not undertake any activity that contravenes its roadmap obligations." Bush's post-game talk, unlike his speech in 2002 (albeit propaganda), was severely lacking in content and more importantly in reassurances for action if Israel doesn't fulfill its "obligations." If only President Bush spoke as firmly to Israel, as it did to Iraq prior to the invasion (concerning the implementation of "UN resolution after UN resolution”) or to Syria and its possible involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al Hariri. If political assassinations are illegal, should they not be illegal for all countries in the Middle East, including Israel? President Bush was merely paying “lip service” three and a half years ago. I still enjoyed, however, the calls for basing peace on UN resolutions that America voted for and a diffusion of the occupation which, I might add, has done wonders for the Palestinian economy and employment prospects.

Major polls show that the Palestinian population is against attacks on Israel. Likewise, Hamas stopped claiming responsibility for attacks and is gearing up for the parliamentary elections set for January 2006. Yet Israel has chosen to keep the peace process frozen, to mull over the next unilateral step, which according to Sharon and his aides won't be coming for a longtime anyway. This contradicts the mighty claim that Israel has no partner for peace. Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are waiting for engagement, bi-lateral talks and negotiations, but reciprocation does not fit into Sharon's unilateral vision. Yes, fighting exists, be it internal strife or struggle with Israel, but conflict existed after the signing of Oslo. One can easily say, however, that Abbas is more moderate, in tone and in speech to the Israeli, American and Palestinian media. As well, the agenda set forth by Abbas is more appeasing, peaceful, orderly and presidential.

All this lapdog action is not enough for Sharon and an acquiesced White House. Unfortunately, it is not enough for the Palestinian people either, who want change, sustainability, and a leader who will not give into the demands of Israel and America, but rather one who will stand up for their human and indigenous rights. Palestinian society will not let Abbas’ hand remain outstretched forever. Angered by continued land appropriation, home demolitions, extrajudicial killings, mass jailing, torturing, restrictions in movement, and strangulation in resources, the Palestinian people will rise up again. If Israel, America, and their own leadership would like the Palestinian people to remain seated, who in Sharon's administration, the Whitehouse, or the Palestinian Authority is willing to stand up and prevent the Third Intifada?


**Remi Kanazi is the primary writer for the political website He lives in New York City as a Palestinian American freelance writer and can reached via email at

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Ian Powell: Are we happy living in Handy's Age of Unreason?

On 19 June the Sunday Star Times published my column on the relationship between the Labour government’s stewardship of Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system and the outcome of the next general election expected to be around September-October 2023: Is the health system an electoral sword of Damocles for Labour... More>>

The First Attack On The Independents: Albanese Hobbles The Crossbench
It did not take long for the new Australian Labor government to flex its muscle foolishly in response to the large crossbench of independents and small party members of Parliament. Despite promising a new age of transparency and accountability after the election of May 21, one of the first notable acts of the Albanese government was to attack the very people who gave voice to that movement. Dangerously, old party rule, however slim, is again found boneheaded and wanting... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Predictable Monstrosities: Priti Patel Approves Assange’s Extradition
The only shock about the UK Home Secretary’s decision regarding Julian Assange was that it did not come sooner. In April, Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed the view that he was “duty-bound” to send the case to Priti Patel to decide on whether to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 grafted from the US Espionage Act of 1917... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Roe V. Wade Blindsides National

Momentum is everything in politics, but it is very fragile. There are times when unexpected actions can produce big shifts and changes in the political landscape. In 2017, for example, the Labour Party appeared headed for another hefty defeat in that year’s election until the abrupt decision of its then leader to step aside just weeks before the election. That decision changed the political landscape and set in train the events which led to Labour being anointed by New Zealand First to form a coalition government just a few weeks later... More>>

Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>