November 30th, 2007

Chris Keeley

The One State Declaration

I know I feel too passionately on this issue for most people’s tastes, but I believe in the truth of every word in the statement below with all my heart.  

 

I sincerely believe that if we could convince the majority of Americans of the truth of these words we could have peace and reconciliation in the Middle East this instant.  I write these words and know that they are the truth.

 

Dr. Andrew Freeman, PhD (Linguistics & *Near Eastern Studies*)

SDET Microsoft

andfreem@microsoft.com

 

The One State Declaration
Statement, Various Authors, 29 November 2007

Editor's Note: The following statement was issued by participants in the July 2007 Madrid meeting on a one state solution and the November 2007 London Conference.

For decades, efforts to bring about a two-state solution in historic Palestine have failed to provide justice and peace for the Palestinian and Israeli Jewish peoples, or to offer a genuine process leading towards them.
 
The two-state solution ignores the physical and political realities on the ground, and presumes a false parity in power and moral claims between a colonized and occupied people on the one hand and a colonizing state and military occupier on the other. It is predicated on the unjust premise that peace can be achieved by granting limited national rights to Palestinians living in the areas occupied in 1967, while denying the rights of Palestinians inside the 1948 borders and in the Diaspora. Thus, the two-state solution condemns Palestinian citizens of Israel to permanent second-class status within their homeland, in a racist state that denies their rights by enacting laws that privilege Jews constitutionally, legally, politically, socially and culturally. Moreover, the two-state solution denies Palestinian refugees their internationally recognized right of return.
 
The two-state solution entrenches and formalizes a policy of unequal separation on a land that has become ever more integrated territorially and economically. All the international efforts to implement a two-state solution cannot conceal the fact that a Palestinian state is not viable, and that Palestinian and Israeli Jewish independence in separate states cannot resolve fundamental injustices, the acknowledgment and redress of which are at the core of any just solution.
 
In light of these stark realities, we affirm our commitment to a democratic solution that will offer a just, and thus enduring, peace in a single state based on the following principles:
 

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Chris Keeley

The most thoughtful commentaries I have read on Annapolis have come

The most thoughtful commentaries I have read on Annapolis have come
from Daniel Levy. He is now at the New America Foundation, and was
previously a senior policy adviser in the Israeli Prime Minister's
office, a member of the Israeli delegation to the Taba negotiations in
2001, and lead Israeli drafter of the informal Geneva Initiative. This
piece was published in the Guardian Unlimited under the title "Keep the
Cynics at Bay" on 11/27/2007 before the Annapolis meeting. Other pieces
are available at www.ProspectsforPeace.com.


     Thoughts on Annapolis
     <http://www.prospectsforpeace.com/2007/11/thoughts_on_annapolis.html>

Here is a curtain raiser that I have in today’s Guardian online
<http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/daniel_levy/2007/11/keep_the_cynics_at_bay.html>.

Theories abound as to why an Annapolis conference and why now. Jerry
Seinfeld would be excused for thinking that this is all a personal
conspiracy against him - his visit to Israel was dominating the
headlines until Annapolis came along. In fact some in the Israeli media
have been drawing a rather unflattering analogy: the Annapolis
conference resembles a Seinfeld episode - it's about nothing. Yada yada
yada.

It's easy to be cynical, but Annapolis does matter. Israelis and
Palestinians will formally re-launch permanent status negotiations after
seven long, violent and destructive years. The Bush administration is
finally engaged and expending some capital on this issue. The Arab
world, including Saudi Arabia and Syria, will be in attendance. At the
very least it is the kind of gathering that cannot be convened every
fortnight, and to come away from it with no results would be a setback
to the cause of Middle East peace and something of an embarrassment to
those in attendance. The uninvited naysayers back home - Hamas, Iran,
you know the list - may look like meanie spoil-sports today, but if a
month from now negotiations are stalled and the situation on the ground
is just as dreadful (place your bets) then it is they who will be
wearing the Cheshire cat grins.

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Chris Keeley

Grasp the Promise of Annapolis

Grasp the Promise of Annapolis
     <http://www.prospectsforpeace.com/2007/11/grasp_the_promise_of_annapolis.html>

Here is a piece I have in today's Forward
<http://www.forward.com/articles/12134/> (America's leading Jewish
newspaper).

Even the most hardened of Middle East cynics could be excused for
momentarily feeling a fluttering of hope after witnessing the scenes at
this week’s peace conference in Annapolis, Md.

Israel’s much-maligned prime minister, Ehud Olmert, conducted himself
with consumate dignity, displaying a rare capacity to combine unabashed
national pride with sincere empathy for the other. Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas, for his part, met Olmert’s outstretched hand with an
unflinching commitment to a negotiated resolution of this bloody
conflict and to a realization of his own nation’s aspirations that would
not be at Israel’s expense. Both men have developed a degree of genuine
mutual respect and appreciation, and they were on display at Annapolis.

Only President Bush came up short, sticking to a simplistic
good-versus-evil narrative that was not only patronizing, divisive and
lacking any resonance with the Arab world, but might very well prove
counterproductive. Nonetheless, the Bush administration, and especially
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, can allow itself a gentle pat on
the back this weekend: A joint statement was achieved, the conference
was well attended, the speeches were uplifting, and Bush personally
committed himself to the process.

T
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Chris Keeley

Daniel Levy on Annapolis--No. 3- -11/28/07

More Thoughts on Annapolis
     <http://www.prospectsforpeace.com/2007/11/initial_thoughts_on_annapolis.html>

The news out of Annapolis is mixed. The optics were certainly all there:
a joint statement, uplifting speeches, impressive attendees list and
presidential commitment. Of course, the statement lacked substance, but
really, it was the statement's existence, not substance, that was
important. Failure to produce a joint statement, even one so bereft of
content, would have been an inauspicious beginning.

When listening to the speech of President Bush versus that of both
Olmert and Abbas, one cannot help but be struck by how jarring, divisive
and dangerous Bush continues to be, with his Star-Wars-esque narrative
of good versus evil - especially when compared to the more
upliftingDarth Vader and empathetic speeches by Olmert and Abbas. It is
this narrative that goes down like a lead balloon in the region and the
policies it begets may well be the biggest obstacle to progress
post-Annapolis. Though we got our nice statements today and there will
be cold hard cash for the Palestinians at the Paris donor’s conference
in three weeks time, it is ultimately the developments in the region,
whether negotiations make progress or are paralyzed and whether the
situation on the ground improves or deteriorates, that will define the
legacy of Annapolis. If the Roadmap, stuck for the past four-and-half
years, is still stuck in a month, and the negotiations are still at an
impasse, all those currently sniping from the sidelines at Annapolis and
looking like mean-spirited spoilers will feel vindicated and be
strengthened. If Annapolis is more aboutBush isolating Iran, defeating
Hamas and generally delivering a blow to DarthVader’s stormtroopers than
it is about delivering a viable and realistic two-state solution – in
other words, more of the same – then we can expect exactly that, more of
the destruction and violence that we have seen over the past seven years.

On this front, it does not bode well that just about everyone appears to
remain in the undecided category on Syria. President Bush was pointed
and cutting in his reference to Lebanon, while the Syrians, for their
part, chose to be represented by only a Deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal
Mekdad. Annapolis does not yet mark the turning of a new page in the
Syria file.

Back on the Israel-Palestine track, if the post-Annapolis process is to
gain real traction, then it must be recognized that a divided
Palestinian polity cannot midwife a stable, implementable peace. The
Hamas spoiler potential is not solely or even principally about its
ability to deploy violence but, rather, about the credibility and
legitimacy of a process that excludes a democratically elected party. No
matter how good the performance at Annapolis, the conflict in question
remains grievance-based and its resolution lies in ending the
occupation. Though this may be a tough little pill to swallow, America
must recognize that the pursuit of an inclusive and comprehensive peace
process is not only crucial to progress in the region, but is also
therefore vital to the American national interest.
Chris Keeley

Annapolis, "Potemkin Village" of Peace--Le Monde Diplomatique 11/25/07

Annapolis, "Potemkin Village" of Peace*
   By Alain Gresh
   Le Monde Diplomatique

   Sunday 25 November 2007

   "The meeting that will bring Israelis and Palestinians together in
the United States at Annapolis (Maryland), Tuesday, November 27, will
undoubtedly be a success. Just as were the Sharm el-Sheikh summits in
2007 and in 2005. Just like the one in Aqaba, June 3, 2003 ... Since the
last real negotiations of January 2001, in Taba, this type of encounter
has been mechanically repeated with no after-effect ever following. The
parameters of a negotiated peace have long been identified: The borders
of Palestine will have to be as faithful as possible to the Green Line,
the cease-fire line in effect between 1948 and 1967; possible Israeli
annexations will be compensated for through land exchanges; Jerusalem
will have to be shared; the overwhelming majority of Palestinians who
want to return will come back to Palestine and not Israel. But is it
still possible to achieve that result?" That's what Gilles Paris wrote
in the November 25-26 Le Monde under the title "Annapolis Summit:
Leaving Distrust Behind
<http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3232,36-982094,0.html>."

  
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