Obama signals drive for a deal

Submitted by Anon on 16 May, 2009 - 1:59 Author: John Nihil

So long as the Jewish and Arab workers in the Middle East remain subordinate to the forces of Israeli and Arab (or Islamic) chauvinism — as they are now — the only hope for Palestinian progress towards their own state is from intervention on their behalf from outside governments.

Of those, the USA is the decisive one.

The US government has the power to force Israel out of the West Bank and to insist that Israel accept the creation of an independent Palestinian state — of the Palestinian state stipulated in the November 1947 UN resolution that authorised the setting-up of Israel. (That state was crushed before it could come into existence, its territory annexed by Jordan, Egypt, and, very much the runner-up, Israel,. It would be twenty years before Israel came to control the Palestinian territories annexed by Jordan and Egypt, after the 1967 war).

The question is whether or not the new US government will exert enough pressure on Israel. It is now six years since the Americans, the United Nations, Russia, and the European Union adopted the ill-fated “road map” for Middle East peace. The core of it was that the Arab state would recognise Israel in return for Israeli agreement to withdraw from the Occupied Territories and to facilitate the creation of an independent Palestinian state, in contiguous territory, alongside Israel.

The sentiments were good, the objectives rational and in broad terms the only way to accommodate the just demands of both the Palestinians and Israel. The “roadmap” came to be a dead letter for lack of insistence by the USA and the others that the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel could not be allowed to continue,

Now the Obama administration has committed itself to secure a Middle East settlement on the basis of “two states”.

Simultaneously, the right-wing Netanyahu government which has assumed power in Israel has withdrawn even the verbal — and hypocritical — previous Israeli commitment to a Palestinian state. However, if the US government is determined to see it through, then a Palestinian state can be set up.

The US government is signalling heavily that it is “serious” about it. For sure, it is in the long-term interests of the USA and the other great powers to reach a settlement.

Socialists will maintain our own independent stance and perspective. We can never rely on US diplomacy, or give it credit in advance. But socialists should hope that the US administration is indeed serious about pressing for “two states”. In the calculable future, with anything like the current disposition of forces, there is no other road to serious alleviation of the situation of the Palestinian people.

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