11/09/2009

Negotiations doomed to failure

At the announcement of the Israeli approval of the construction of 455 new housing units inWest Bank settlements, the international reactions were rather clear: Washington regretted the action, the European Union and Arab League condemned it, Ban Ki Moon declared it « contrary to international law ». We can for once talk about not unanimity, and still …

Benjamin Netanyahu appears to worry little about the mayhem caused by its policy within the international community. And to think well, he is absolutely right. The critics may be numerous against Israel, it is rare that it has to suffer real penalties.
The reaction from Washington is even less to be feared that Barack Obama has so far more important issues to deal with as the difficult reform of health care in the United States. The momentary weakness of the American President against the American public opinion has opened a window of opportunity that the Israeli government seized.

Some media also emphasized the weakness of the Palestinian response which denounced an act that ruins any subsequent effort to freeze settlement, but which has not explicitly ruled out a resumption of negotiations with Israel. The content of this response shows the disadvantage of the Palestinian position.

These findings lead to a conclusion. If negotiations were to resume in the near future between Israelis and Palestinians, they are destined to an almost certain failure, not because the positions of the parties are irreconcilable, but because the opposing forces are unequal. The role of the international community is thus less pushing the parties toward each other than to rebalance the power relationship.

N.J.O.