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Two Peace Processes

The Great War for Civilization by Robert Fisk

Book Review

Mick Hall • 29 May 2006

As the years pass since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and the Oslo Accords, both of which led to what the mass media and the politicians they serve called a Peace Process, one in the Middle-East, the other in the north east of Ireland, one cannot help but be struck by the similarity of these two processes.

Of course those within the Provisional Republican Movement will have none of this. If the Oslo Accords and the middle east Peace Process it led to, and the GFA were much of a muchness, they ask, then why, since the signing of these agreements, has the fate of the Provisional Republican Movement (PRM) and Gerry Adams not been that of Yasser Arafat and the PLO?

The reason is, they claim (always off the record), Yasser Arafat failed to take the opportunities Oslo and the Clinton administration offered him, thus his diminishing status was inevitable. Whereas 'the leadership' of PRM under Gerry Adams has managed to sustain movement in the process, the result being, despite setbacks beyond 'the leadership's' control, the SF Party has gone from strength to strength, gaining ever more local Council seats across the island of Ireland and steadily increasing its number of TD's, MP's, MEP's and MLA's, plus the PRM leadership are regularly welcomed in the political chancellories of the major powers and in the process have become a main stay on the nightly TV news, which has allowed them to punch way above their political weight.

One is tempted to repeat the reply of a certain old beard who on being asked two hundred years after the event, whether the French revolution was a success, he replied it is far too early to say. On the surface there may seem some substance in the above SF analysis, especially if your main sources are 'the leadership' of SF and the Western media. However, we now have another source from which to draw our conclusions, The Great War for Civilization by Robert Fisk, published by Fourth Estate. It is a magnificent tome and essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the similarities between the two peace processes and who and what really lay behind them, plus the tragic consequences of the poisonous cocktail western imperialism poured into the middle-east post 1914. Whilst Robert Fisk's book in the main covers the great sweep of history in the Middle East, it may also make uncomfortable reading for Irish republicans.

The motivating factor behind the Palestinian Peace Process was the inability of the State of Israel and its financiers the US government to crush the Palestinian Intifada (as with the PRM and the war in the north of Ireland). The Palestinian people and its organization the PLO could not alone defeat the occupier of their land, but their struggle to be free of occupation, albeit in varying degrees of intensity could be maintained almost indefinitely. Thus the US State Department, along with the think-tanks and academics who feed it intellectually, looked around for another solution to what had become a very expensive and dangerous problem, as it brought instability to a region that was of prime importance to the US economy and adversely effected US relationships throughout the Islamic world and beyond.

A plan was hatched to reel in the PLO, with a two state solution as the bait, nevermind the US admin was well aware that no Israeli government would implement such a solution, nor did the US have any true intention of seeing that they do so. The sole purpose being to bring the PLO and its leader Yasser Arafat in from the cold to restrain, police and thus control the Palestinian people and their intifada. (pg 555)

Thus the idea of the Oslo Accords and the middle east peace process evolved. In Chapter 12 of his book entitled, "The Last Colonial War", Robert Fisk sets out how it was choreographed by the USA with perfection and always in the interest of Israel. It is worth analyzing this process carefully, for the similarities with the northern Ireland peace process should become obvious to even the most servile and fawning SF apparachik, let alone the odd nincompoop within the organization.

As Fisk points out with anger and passion, when the US is running a Peace Process all who support it is a friend, the guys in the white hats, this includes Arafat (or Adams?), who due to the clout of the western media can be metamorphosed from a murdering terrorist to a worthy partner for peace without the sign of a flushed face. Of course the only criteria that is demanded of these 'partners for peace' is they dance to the US administrations tune without missing a beat. (pg 507)

If they cease to, or even argue on the detail, along with those who have opposed the peace process all along, they become 1984-like, 'Enemies of Peace', to be vilified in the international media and within the political chancellories of the world from which they quickly revert from being honored guests to persona non grata. Arafat's torture during the continuous negotiations since he first signed the Oslo Accords has been, to quote Robert Fisk, exquisite, each negotiation ending with yet another compromise on his part, the sole purpose of which was to further water-down the original Oslo Accord document and to display to all who is master of this Peace Process. (pg 536)

It should not be overlooked that by accepting the original document, Arafat had not only recognized the State of Israel but he had relinquished 78% of what was Palestine under the British mandate. Leaving him, he thought, the 22% which consisted of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem on which to build the new Palestinian State. In other words, by agreeing to the Oslo Accords, Arafat and the PLO had already made an enormous compromise which was in opposition to all they had previously fought for and against the charter of their own organization.

Whilst these seemingly interminable negotiations were going on, political life within the occupied territories did not stand still nor did its colonization by Israel. As Fisk points out, in 1990 the total number of Israeli colonists in the West Bank and Gaza was approx 76 thousand. By the year 2000, which is 7 years after Arafat first signed the Oslo Accords which began the so called Peace Process, there were 383,000 colonists within the occupied territories, living within strategically situated new towns and villages. All of which were built in violation of the Geneva convention.

One would not have known this by reading the Western press or listening to US/EU spokespersons, who to this day still describe these Israeli colonists as settlers — they do this for exactly the same reasons the Nazis during WW2 called those Germans who went East to farm the land vacated by the Jews of Poland 'Settlers'. This far more gentler term negates having to mention that not only are these people 'settling' on some one else's land, but they have stolen it, often in the most brutal manner. (pgs 528-527)

By this time it had long become obvious to the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people that the Peace Process was a dead duck, hence the rise in the popularity of Hamas who had opposed it. The Peace Process' sole purpose had been to lull them into believing the United States would act in an honorable way and be an honest broker in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to sucker in the PLO. In reality all that had come from it was yet more sorrow and hardship and increasingly more land was being lost to their tormentors. The movement they had placed their trust in, the PLO and its leader had all but betrayed them.

The reasons are manifest, incompetence; Mr Fisk tells us that during the Peace Process negotiations the Palestinians had no maps of the land they were haggling over with Israel, having to rely on those provided either by the Israeli Army or the CIA. Greed, egotism, vanity, personal ambition, infiltration by Mossad and CIA, but most of all a lack of democratic accountability within the Palestinian Resistance, which allowed Arafat and his clique to make one compromise after another without first consulting or answering to the Palestinian people. The cult of 'the leadership' had taken hold and it was to have tragic consequences for the Palestinian people.

Still for Arafat, ever the Machiavellian prince searching for the main chance, the victory of Ehud Barak and the Labour Party in the Israeli elections of 1989 and the call to Camp David from President Bill Clinton lit the flame of hope within his weary breast. We in the West were told by our media that at Camp David Arafat was offered his State by Barak, guaranteed by the United States. Or very nearly so, the actual deal was said to be 95 percent of the occupied territories and this great lie has become history.

Robert Fisk rages at his fellow journalists for reporting this rubbish, displays total contempt for those politicians who continue to spout this lie knowingly, and demolishes their wretched tall tales. What Arafat was actually offered was in fact 64% of the West Bank and Gaza, and not a blade of grass or cobble stone of east Jerusalem, which was promised to the Palestinians as their Capital when their leaders first signed the Oslo Accords. Finally, just to add insult to injury and to show whose heel was on whose neck, not a single member of the millions who make up the Palestinian diaspora would be guaranteed the right of return to their homeland. For the poor suffering and abused Palestinian people there would be no, 'next year in Jerusalem'. This right was to be reserved for the Jewish people alone and guaranteed by the United States of America. (pg 540)

Once Yasser Arafat, who had been so willing to sacrifice his peoples's dreams and hopes for a will in the wisp peace process, understood that even he could not make a silk purse out of this particular sows ear, nor did he have any wish to, the penny dropped, and he returned home to his compound/prison in Ramallah to await his fate. When asked soon after he returned from Camp David by a journalist what future lay ahead for the Palestinian people he answered, "to endure".

In the end, this vain, often foolish Machiavellian Prince had not discredited himself, nor his people, for on their behalf he finally refused the poisoned chalice that was the Middle East peace process. For this act of defiance the Western media, spoon-fed by the US administration and their European satraps, all but crucified him, pouring tons of excreta upon his head in the process, but he, like the people he once led, endured and looked forward to better days, either here on earth, or in the next life.





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6 June 2006

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Dr John Coulter

Two Peace Processes
Mick Hall

'The Beginning of the End has Past …'
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How Many Grannies?
Dr John Coulter

Even the Dogs Bark in Irish?
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Bards for St Brigid's
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USA v Iran
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Threat to Iran Based on Duplicity
David Adams

Manifesto of the Third Camp against US Militarism and Islamic Terrorism

Profile: Bernard Henry-Levy
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BHL: Bernard Henri-Levy
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28 May 2006

Humpty Dumpty
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Eamon Sweeney

Political Status
Geoffrey Cooling

Enough, Enough of Stormont
David Adams

Joined at the Hip
John Kennedy

Loyal to What
Fred A Wilcox

No Rest In Peace
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'Penetrated' Has Become the Sinn Fein Brand Mark
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Code Red
Dr John Coulter

Review of the Field Day Review 1: Debut Issue, 2005
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Profile: Salman Rushdie
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index



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