Op. Palestine Won’t Play Trump’s Game, in Warsaw or Anywhere Else

By Dr. Nabil Shaath-

The White House shares the Israeli government’s illegal settlement ideology and backs its attempts to normalize relations with the Arab world while maintaining control over our country. That’s why Palestine won’t participate in Trump’s anti-Peace Plan

The policies taken by the Trump administration have undermined peace and security in our region. By fully siding with the Israeli government, they have tried to normalize the Israeli occupation and the systematic denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination.

The Warsaw Conference is part of this context. While the obvious target of the conference is Iran, the Trump team aims to use this conference as an event to push for their vision for Israel and Palestine, one that, based on the steps they have taken, is certainly not about peace making.

The basic requirement for any peace process to succeed is to address the interests of the parties involved. Certainly, as seen in Bosnia, Ireland or South Africa, such interests cannot contradict the obligations that each party has under international law. In other words, a peace process cannot be turned into an attempt to obtain amnesty for war crimes or to make one of the parties surrender its basic rights under the UN Charter.

The interest of the Palestinian side is to have freedom and the fulfilment of its long overdue inalienable rights. It is for Palestiniansto have equal rights just like any other people and to live in peace and dignity. The Israeli side used to claim that their main interest was security. At least this is how the Camp David Agreement of 1978 was designed by President Carter: Israel gets security and Egypt gets its land back.

Today, the Israeli interest is characterized less by security concerns and more by its intention to annex the largest percentage of occupied Palestinian territory as possible. The Israeli interest, as shown by the Israeli government, is about apartheid, not peace.

 The international community has an important role to play. Once a European foreign minister told me that while he agreed with recognizing Palestine and with the need of banning Israeli settlement products from their markers, taken such steps could be “harmful” for the “peace process.”

 I asked whether their passive attitude towards Israeli violations of international law and UN resolutions made Israel more willingly to end the occupation, end its colonial-settlement enterprise or even to accept a meaningful peace process. He could not answer. In fact he knew the answer: Lack of international involvement has only encouraged Israel to continue deepen its colonial-settlement enterprise without fearing any international response.