WEF Blogging | Arab Israeli Conflict & Peace Talks

الأحد 20 أيار 2007

Unfortunately I arrived a little late to the Arab-Israeli session that included the likes of Saeb Erekat, Amr Mousa, Al Khatib and Shimon Peres amongst European and American representatives. I entered during an exchange between Peres and Erekat who were of course on opposite sides. Eventually however, they arrived at a common point where Peres stated he and the Israelis were prepared to accept several elements such as a two-state solution upon which Erekat asked him to turn his statement into a reality. This is what happened next:

Although Peres’ exit was prearranged and agreed upon, the moment he chose to leave was quite interesting in my opinion.

Meanwhile, the debate on stage shifted post-peres-exit, between the American representatives (republican and democratic congressmen) Baird and the Arab side that included Mousa, Erekat and Al-Khatib. The tug-of-war seemed to center on who was to blame, not in the sense of just Israelis or Palestinians, but rather whether Hamas or occupation was to blame for the Palestinian condition.

It was a frank exchange but it was also one of those sessions where if you’ve heard it once before then you’ve heard it a thousand times. Same struggle, same issues, same disagreements, same consensus, same old, same old. I think all the parties see the need for negotiations (a giant shift from this time last year) but I would argue that neither has the power to go through with it. The Israeli government is on the way out and cannot deliver. American interests are still as solid as ever in the conflict and the Palestinians are somewhat preoccupied with their own infighting. While all the participants on that stage discussed the issues that hindered peace, I believe none of them addressed any of the aforementioned issues as being relevant to why peace talks seem practically futile.