x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Peace process summit is epic deception

A daily round-up of news, comment and opinion from publications in the region

Hussein Atwi, in an opinion piece featured in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan, wrote that after nearly six months of diplomatic efforts by the US administration to push the peace process forward, no concrete results have been achieved. "The failure of the three-party summit held in Washington was disappointing to most Arabs who had bet on a fair American mediation role.

"While the Israeli president, Benjamin Netanyahu, emerged stronger as the US stopped demanding that Israelis freeze settlement construction, the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas won nothing but humiliation after he had formerly announced that he would not attend any meetings with the Israelis until they respected this condition. A possible scenario in the future is that the US would encourage resumption of direct peace talks according to Israeli conditions. The Israelis may use the negotiations to force the Palestinians to accept their demands. Thus, for the Palestinians to establish their state, they may have to recognise the Jewish status of Israel, waive the refugees' right for return, and acknowledge Jerusalem as a capital of Israel. If no agreement is reached between the two parties, Israel would continue to enforce its will as it always has to best serve its interests. This situation would definitely provide a breeding ground for a third intifada."

The UAE newspaper Al Bayan wrote in an opinion piece:"The Human Rights Council's postponement to review the Goldstone report on the war in Gaza blocks the way to condemn Israel for perpetrating war crimes. Referring the report to the UN Security Council has no justification other than to bury the issue. "Deferral of the report came as result of pressure exerted by the US along with European countries. The argument put forward by the UN human rights watchdog to give more time for investigation to mature is ill-grounded and reveals three facts.

"First, the US president Barack Obama's administration continues to adopt the same old rules of the game. The US tends to care about sensitive issues that may harm Israel's reputation worldwide as it always seeks to protect its strong ally's interests. "Second, the voice of international justice has been muffled because it dared to disclose strong evidence that will indict Israel. "Third, the act of postponement - even for six months - is likely to shift attention away from Israel.

"Postponement of discussing the content of the report reflects the fact that Israel is treated with policy of double standards, putting it in an advantageous position and above the law. International justice has, as a result, entered into a phase of decay.

The debate over sending more troops to Afghanistan or withdrawing from the country has gained momentum and with it comes a rising uncertainty about when a decision has to be taken, wrote Abdul Arrahman al Rashed in a comment piece for the London-based newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat. "Concerns over the increasing number of foreign troops in the country are understandable because that means more involvement in a costly war but without guarantees for a foreseeable victory. Nato members agree that Afghanistan is a place which produces suicide bombers tied to al Qa'eda who can at any time stage a comeback. The only option left is to establish an effective and strong government. "Both Afghanistan and Nato forces are in fact caught in a dilemma because they can neither defeat the Taliban nor form a responsible government.

"Yet Kabul over the last years has not achieved significant victories on the ground, while the Taliban have." "The security problem would worsen if troops withdraw. This is why it is more convenient to establish strong and stable institutions which can undertake the responsibility of governance and bring in local actors, including the Taliban, into the government."

Saleh al Qalab in a comment piece for the Kuwaiti daily Al Jarida, wrote: "Unless there is a prior agreement on the main issues laid out in the peace process plan proposed by the Arabs and approved by the Palestinian Authority and the quartet committee, including the US, we cannot be reassured of a possible breakthrough in the Palestinian political scene "Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chairman of Hamas, sent an optimistic message following his meeting with the Egyptian intelligence director, in which he said that the final version of the reconciliation project would be suggested by Egypt, and then all factions would be invited next month to attend a national meeting to conclude a deal.

"This is not enough. Egypt has always had a plan for bridging the gap between different Palestinian parties. What is lacking is the will of the Palestinian themselves to achieve national unity in its broadest terms. It can be seen that various Palestinian factions do not agree on the date of elections as well as the issue of detainees in Gaza and the West Bank. "Moreover, Mishaal demanded to stop security co-ordination with Israel and called again for resistance. After all this, one can wonder what kind of optimism is left."

* Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi @Email:melmouloudi@thenational.ae