Bird’s Eye: It’s clear that the US brokered peace process isn’t going anywhere, with Obama hamstrung by his inability (definitely politically, possibly volitionally) to play the only real card the US has and withdraw support from an intransigent Netanyahu. The Palestinians see the increasing support and impact the BDS campaign is drawing, and more than ever are unwilling to settle for non-contiguous territories. So what does the future look like? The truth is that no one has any idea, but we offer some interesting speculations, and one Thanksgiving affirmation of gratitude to those of us who are working to transcend ethnic and religious divides.
* The Endgame For The Peace Process Al Jazeera (Thanks, Gabe)
Future historians will no doubt argue over the precise moment when the Arab-Israeli peace process died, when the last glimmer of hope for a two-state solution was irrevocably extinguished. When all is said and done, and the forensics have been completed, I am sure they will conclude that the last realistic prospect for an agreement expired quite some time before now, even if all the players do not quite realise it yet: anger and denial are always the first stages in the grieving process; acceptance of reality only comes later.
There are growing signs, however, that the realisation is beginning to dawn in Ramallah, Tel Aviv and, most strikingly, Washington, that the peace process, as currently conceived, may finally be dead.
* A Modest Proposal For The Middle East Peace Talks Stephen M. Walt
Here’s my suggestion: assuming direct talks do resume under U.S. auspices, tell the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority that the United States is going to keep a very careful record of who did and said what, and the United States will not hesitate to go public in the event that anybody starts making ridiculous demands, indulging in delaying tactics, or refusing to make reasonable concessions. Unlike Camp David 2000, where nothing was written down and no maps were exchanged (at Israel’s insistence), this time we are going to prevent anybody from doing a lot of spin-control after the fact. In other words, the United States tells everyone we are going to act like an honest broker for a change, and if either side refuses to play ball, we are going to expose their recalcitrance in the eyes of the international community. Most importantly, this declaration can’t be a bluff: if the talks bog down, the administration has to be prepared to go public.
And remember: The goal here is a viable Palestinian state, not a bunch of disarmed and disconnected Bantustans. Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama have all made it clear a viable state for the Palestinians is the only alternative that the United States can get behind. It is what the original U.N. partition plan in 1947 called for, and all the other alternatives (binational democracy, ethnic cleansing, or permanent apartheid) are either impractical or directly at odds with U.S. values.
* Obama: Getting ‘Poned’ Bibi Style Al Jazeera (Thanks, Gabe)
Called the Parallel States Project, the group, whose roster includes former senior settlement leaders as well as Palestinians with longstanding ties to the PLO leadership, early on concluded that nothing short of a wholesale reimagining of Israeli and Palestinian identities in a manner that moved beyond territorial sovereignty while allowing each community to identify and remain loyal to its own state and identity would lift the impasse that has for so long doomed negotiations.
The core component of a Parallel States solution is the move from a two-dimensional notion of sovereignty based on fixed borders, to parallel, or better, overlapping notions of sovereignty, in which Israeli and Palestinian states could each claim sovereignty over the whole territory in a manner that would not infringe on the rights and claims of the other state, or its citizens.
How to pull off such a seemingly impossible magic trick? The answer is as simple as it is profound: Disassemble the triangle linking the citizen to her or his state through the particular piece of territory – Tel Aviv or Nablus, Ariel or Jaffa – on which he or she lives, and replace it with a direct link between the individual citizen and her or his respective state that would holds firm regardless of whether one is a Palestinian living in Herzliyya or a Jewish Israeli living in Gaza.
* Give Thanks To The Community We Are Building Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss
I give thanks today to my community. We are building it, a diverse community of brave people working across traditional tribal and ethnic and religious lines to try and forge a vision of coexistence in a troubled brutalized place. Let us celebrate our commitment, and learn from one another. I’m trying to learn myself, and overcome my own deeply-engrained prejudice.
We disagree about stuff. OK. But remember what happens when we remain inside our own religious and national communities, how weak we can be.