I recently wrote that if Israel’s next government is formed by the dovish ‘Zionist Union’, the US will likely seek to restart diplomatic negotiations.
These would, at best, ‘replicate previous efforts by achieving zero political progress while reducing the diplomatic cost of occupation for Israel, even as illegal settlement construction continues’; and at worst, ‘issue in the agreement Kerry tried and failed to secure last year’ at the expense of Palestinian rights.
If Benjamin Netanyahu forms Israel’s next government, on the other hand, ‘the US and Europe might seek to enshrine the parameters for future negotiations in a new Security Council resolution‘:
Such a resolution could wind up granting the settlement blocs to Israel, representing a historic defeat from which the Palestinian struggle for self-determination would almost certainly not recover. Just as UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) has served as the bedrock for negotiations the past half century, a new security council resolution inscribing the Kerry plan would set the parameters of all future negotiations.
Remarks by ‘senior White House officials’ published in today’s Ha’aretz are a further warning that, absent the emergence of a mass Palestinian movement, the diplomatic menu on offer to Palestinians will remain limited to these unappetising possibilities.
The officials outlined three scenarios:
– Renewed permanent status talks: In the event of a Zionist Union government, the Obama administration may push for a final resolution of the conflict. But, Ha’aretz reports, the administration ‘is aware that in view of the seriousness of the crisis in the peace process, this may not be very realistic’.
– Published US parameters:
One idea that has come up repeatedly in administration discussions over the past year is to present to the international community an updated American outline for a solution to the conflict. Such an outline could include the principles of the framework agreement that Kerry, Israel and the PA worked on at the end of 2013 and early 2014, but which did not come to fruition.
– A Security Council resolution:
Another possibility for an American initiative after the Israeli elections is to promote a UN Security Council resolution based on the American framework agreement, set principles for resolution of the conflict, and call for a renewal of talks. In this way, even if peace talks do not resume, a new source of international authority will have been determined for resolving the conflict that would not be based on Resolutions 242 and 338, on which talks have been based for the past 40 years.
The Ha’aretz report also sheds some light on the Palestinian Authority’s shambolic appeal to the UN Security Council last year:
Last September and October, when the Palestinians and Jordanians as well as the French were promoting two separate resolutions to set principles for resolving the conflict, the Obama administration considered formulating an American resolution. This resolution, in Washington’s view, would have been more balanced and the fact that the United States led it would have assured its passage. In the end, under pressure from then-Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and former President Shimon Peres, who feared that such a move would strengthen Netanyahu in elections, the Americans did not propose a resolution. Today both Kerry and Livni are said to regret that move.