Trend commentator: Who needs peace in Palestine?
Trend Middle East Desk Commentator Ulviyya Sadikhova
The terms "truce in the Middle East" and "Arab-Israeli peace agreement" have provoke a grin than the confidence and hope.
Despite the fact that during 17 years, the international community seems to be making efforts, the peace process in the Middle East came to a very dead end. None of the parties - conflicting, or mediating is going to withdraw it from there. The peace process was renamed long ago into the process of peace negotiations, which in their turn are held for the sake of negotiations.
There is a question: does anybody need peace in peaceful and secure coexistence of two countries - Palestinian and Israeli - side by side, in the Holy Land today? If yes, what is done for this?
Every country pursues, above all, its own interests in politics, and only then it cares for the health of its neighbors or brothers in religion and nation, such as the Arab countries. The approach is quite logical. But it is often considered that a country, if it gained certain international image, must fully resolve the problems of a neighboring country, which can not make a single step itself.
There is such situation today on the Palestinian front. The administration of moderate Fatah completely laid still dragging peace talks with Israel on successful Arab neighbors, for example Egypt and Jordan. They, in their turn, fasten their eyes on the White House administration.
Israel, realizing that nothing will be achieved from this "Chinese whispers", acts as it thinks necessary. It does not forget to recall the western allies sometimes that it is ready to sign a document with the Palestinians immediately, if its terms are fully implemented. All parties do not to forget about maintaining their personal interests, for which, in fact, they are involved in this PR campaign.
The last Arab Summit in Cairo, which took place amid a loud statement by Israeli Prime Minister about the continuing construction of Jewish settlements, reflects a clear picture that the Arab countries, including the Palestinian Authority do not know how to argue the failure of the peace process, and appealed to the U.S administration to put a time frame.
The stagnation of the peace process takes place simultaneously with serious domestic political developments in the Arab world, particularly in Egypt, and the growing tensions in the nuclear issue of Iran.
Israel, as always, remains in a better position. It ceased the construction of Jewish settlements for almost a year. It used cunning with Jerusalem. Earlier, hundreds of settlement sites were to be scattered throughout the West Bank, but now they are concentrated in the eastern part of Jerusalem. Israel and the U.S. knew that the ten-month moratorium will not give any results. But at the same time they convinced everyone that "better a small fish than an empty dish". Washington was forced to accept a partial freeze of Israeli settlement activities. Otherwise it would have lost the image of the objective and major mediator. Maintaining of a strong and open alliance between Israel and the U.S. plays a key role in the confrontation with Iran.
The Arab countries for ten months could not offer anything new to bring the peace process out of the impasse merely because the Palestinian problem is not included in the priorities of foreign policy.
Despite the fact that the peace process was declared as the main objective of the discussions in Cairo, Arab League summit focused on two main issues disturbing Arab regimes. These problems the possibility of revolution in Egypt and anti-Western and religious parties, such as Muslim Brothers' coming to power and the transformation of the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf to the main target to attack Tehran, if the war breaks out.
The threat that the center of the Arab world and politics - Egypt may be in the hands of religious groups, especially increased after the Western media published about the deadly disease of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
The presidential elections must be held next year. Though analysts believe that Mubarak's eldest son Gamal will be the president, however the chances of "Brothers" and reformist Mohammed ElBaradei are also great. El-Baradei, the IAEA former head, gives concern by his loyalty to the Iranian nuclear program and the need to democratize the Egyptian society.
His supporters - Muslim Brothers are very popular both in Egypt and outside it. They maintain close contacts with Palestinian group Hamas ruling in the neighboring Gaza. The victory of El-Baradei, or "Brothers" in the elections can jeopardize the other Arab regimes, particularly the monarchy and become a precedent for mass revolutionary actions.
Another headache is the Iranian nuclear program: despite the financial prosperity and relations with the United States, Arab countries have failed so far to reach nuclear capability achieved by Iran, which is under economic sanctions from the West. Hidden race in the struggle for nuclear primacy has begun in the Middle East, despite the calls of Arab states and Turkey to make the region a nuclear-free zone. For example, Jordan has already announced the availability of sufficient quantities of uranium for nuclear power plant construction, supported by the U.S. and in Turkey, meanwhile, a law came into force to build the first nuclear power plant, designed by Russian scientists, close to the Mediterranean Port of Mersin.
In addition, the leaders of the Arab world are dissatisfied with Ankara's growing influence in the region. The Arabs can not admit the second Ottoman hegemony in the region, and soon, "will insert a stick in the wheels" of the Turks, rather than to help. Turkey is, first of all, the Muslim member of NATO, which still officially has a military agreement with Israel, and any diplomatic victory will belong entirely to it alone, and the Arab states will get nothing from it. In addition, unlike Iran, Turkey is a Sunni country. If Tehran's influence spreads mostly among Shiite groups like Hezbollah and the Shiite parties in Iraq, but Ankara may include in the zone of its influence the Sunni Arab countries, for example, same Egypt or Jordan. The struggle to maintain leadership in the region replaced the Palestinian-Israeli peace process from first place to the list of foreign policy priorities of the Arab world.
The conditions of Arabs in a dialogue with Israel are put to somehow explain to everyone why the creation of a Palestinian state is still a sweet unrealized dream, motivating it with Israeli's disagreement with the items of the Arab peace initiative. And the Arab countries agreed to resume direct negotiations for one reason: they have nothing to offer in exchange, and another refusal may irritate the Americans.
It is interesting that the Arabs and the Israelis understand that they deal simply with an imitation of the peace process, in which Washington willingly played with them, whereas sharply rose the question of future fate of Iran's nuclear program on the agenda. The Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, focused on strengthening its power in the West Bank and to avoid strengthening of HAMAS, which enjoys huge popularity of the Palestinian population.
It seems today nobody needs peace in Palestine except ordinary Palestinian people. In such cases, it remains to resort to the old ways: to close the border checkpoint, to restrict the import of humanitarian goods into Gaza, and if this does not help - to start another military operation against civilians.