20 years after the signing of the Oslo Accords on 13 September 1993, the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have stalled once again in spite of aggressive attempts made by the Obama administration to facilitate negotiations. While US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed continued commitment to brokering peace talks, critics of the negotiations are unsurprised by this latest failure given the U.S. position regarding settlements, occupation, and military aid.
Josh Ruebner, author of Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace, suggested in today's Mondoweiss op-ed, explains the cynicism felt by many critics of the latest round of negotiations:
Rather than resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this proposal would only prolong it, while providing Israel a pretext to further entrench its military occupation and extend its colonization of Palestinian land. Rather than allowing Palestinians to exercise independence over a small portion of their homeland, this proposal would result in the establishment of an entity devoid of sovereignty akin to a South African apartheid-era Bantustan. No wonder that advocates of a legitimate two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are souring on its prospects.
At the beginning of Shattered Hopes, Ruebner recalls a time early in Obama's career when he, then a US state senator, rubbed shoulders with Palestinian-American intellectuals and worked along side left-leaning American Jewish activists. Early in his first term as president, some political observers suggested that the Obama administration might take a less staunchly pro-Israel approach to US foreign policy. But, as Ruebner points out, the Obama administration continues to provide unconditional military funding which has rendered the US complicit in the atrocities committed against Palestinians during Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009) and the ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Furthermore, Ruebner notes that on the eve of the United Nations vote for the recognition of Palestinian statehood, Obama vowed in an AIPAC address that the United States would not allow Israel to be singled out in an international forum.
For Ruebner and many others, today marks 20 years since the failure of the Oslo Accords, and it is a failure that will continue to be reinforced so long as the US acts as a dishonest broker in peace negotiations. As Ruebner noted in his article for the New Left Project, peace negotiations will continue to fail so long as they are conducted within the context of ignoring the power disparity created by occupation, the ongoing colonization of Palestinian land, and the Right of Return.
Ruebner will be kicking off his US book tour this weekend, visiting over 25 cities across the country. Select upcoming events include:
Sunday September 15, 9:00am - 11:00 am
Busboys and Poets
Tuesday September 17, 12:30pm – 2:00pm The Palestine Center
Tuesday September 24, 12pm – 2pm University of Pennsylvania
For a full list of book tour stops, please click here.