Breaking the Peace Process Stalemate

  • 21 July 2013

The efforts and visits of the US Secretary of State John Kerry have succeeded in putting Palestinians and Israelis on the right track of resuming the peace negotiations that have been stalled since 2010. The United Nations has described this as a ‘positive development’. Secretary Kerry’s evident determination to break the stalemate indicates that the US was fully aware of the grave consequences of the lack of progress on this front in a region as volatile as the Middle East and the Arab world.

The US believes that negotiation is the basic and the only method accepted by the global community as a tool for settling disputes. So, any delay in serious, effective efforts would only complicate matters and erode any chance of a solution agreeable to the two sides based on the Madrid Conference of 1991 that established the land for peace formula and an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders.

Any step to break the ice in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process will certainly have a positive effect on stability in the Middle East and the world. Progress on the peace front would support moderation and coexistence in the region and bring down extremism and confrontation. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict plays into the hands of extremists on both the sides and fuels tension and conflict at the regional level. This explains the reason why Kerry’s efforts have been well received.

Since the commencement of the peace process in 1991, Israel has been intransigent, has deliberately attempted to scuttle chances for peace and has demonstrated a lack commitment to the agreed roadmap. Israel’s inflexible position has been a stumbling block for success of peaceful efforts despite the strenuous efforts made by several regional and international powers, most notably the US. An example is the negotiations which came to an abrupt halt in 2010 because of Netanyahu government’s insistence to proceed with settlement plans in the West Bank and East Jerusalem regardless of their being in violation of the peace process conditions.

Palestinians are of the firm view that the colony-building activities must stop, that 1967 borders be recognized, that plans to judaize Jerusalem must be dropped and attempts at desecration of Al Aqsa Mosque must end. These are also the prerequisites for the success of any upcoming negotiations for peace. Only these conditions will set the Palestinian-Israeli dispute on the right course and end the procrastination, evasive tactics and confrontation.