Between October 30 and November 1, 1991, a so-called “peace convention” sponsored by america and the Soviet Union was held in Madrid to handle the Palestinian-Israeli battle. In attendance have been delegates from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, in addition to the 2 sponsors and the host, Spain. It was the primary time the Palestinians and Israelis can be concerned in direct negotiations.
The convention was presupposed to be the preliminary step in peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine and it paved the best way for the Oslo Accords which have been signed two years later. It successfully laid the foundations for the purported “peace course of” – the dominating paradigm for battle decision between Israelis and Palestinians. Thirty years on, we will say fairly confidently that this paradigm has not introduced Palestinians any nearer to self-determination; relatively it has allowed Israel to consolidate its domination over them.
Though the Palestinians and Israelis have been supposed to barter on an equal footing in Madrid, they have been removed from handled as equals. The Palestinians have been patronised and humiliated from the beginning. The Palestine Liberation Group (PLO), which was main the Palestinian battle from exile in Tunisia, was formally barred from attending, upon the insistence Israel and the US. As a substitute, the Palestinian delegates have been a part of a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation.
So as to add insult to damage, two of the unofficial advisors that had accompanied the Palestinian delegation, Faisal Husseini and Hanan Ashrawi, have been barred from the negotiating room as a result of they have been Jerusalemites. For the Israelis, their inclusion meant recognition that Palestinians had a rightful declare to Jerusalem. This demeaning remedy of Palestinians would proceed to characteristic prominently in all “peace talks” that adopted.
It was additionally mirrored within the settlement on mutual recognition between the 2 events that got here in the course of the negotiations in Oslo. Whereas the Palestinians recognised Israel throughout the 1967 borders, the Israelis solely ever recognised the PLO because the authentic consultant of the Palestinian folks however not the proper to Palestinian sovereignty. Certainly, all through the “peace course of”, Israel and its overseas backers intentionally disassociated the Palestinian folks from their territory by omitting the phrase “Palestine” from their lexicon.
Throughout the Madrid convention, the basic rights of the Palestinian folks have been put apart, which might proceed to occur all through the so-called “peace course of”. For instance, discussions in regards to the standing of Jerusalem and the proper of return for Palestinian refugees have been postponed indefinitely, as they have been thought of too difficult to deal with. These points, after all, are on the coronary heart of the Palestinians battle.
Regardless of the concessions talked about above made by the Palestinians, Israel nonetheless managed to skilfully manipulate the narrative in order that the Palestinian facet was blamed for the eventual failure of the peace course of. Israeli officers wish to usually repeat the phrases of Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, who claimed that the Palestinians “by no means miss a possibility to overlook a possibility”. Many purchase into this anti-Palestinian rhetoric, ignoring the truth that the Israeli regime has been the most important impediment to peace.
Take for instance the truth that Israel has by no means stopped constructing unlawful settlements within the West Financial institution since 1967 – not at the same time as an indication of fine religion. It has additionally by no means stopped its marketing campaign of pressured expulsions of Palestinians from their houses and land in Jerusalem. The “peace course of” has merely been a relatively handy approach for the Israeli regime to detract from any accountability measures.
In the present day, 30 years after the Madrid convention, the Palestinians aren’t any higher off than they have been again then. In his opening deal with to the Madrid convention, Dr Haidar Abdel Shafi, the pinnacle of the Palestinian delegation described the state of affairs in Palestine in these phrases:
“We come to you from a tortured land and a proud, although captive, folks, having been requested to barter with our occupiers, however forsaking the youngsters of the Intifada, and a folks underneath occupation and underneath curfew, who enjoined us to not give up or neglect. As we communicate, hundreds of our brothers and sisters are languishing in Israeli prisons and detention camps, most detained with out proof, cost, or trial, many cruelly mistreated and tortured in interrogation, responsible solely of looking for freedom or daring to defy the occupation.”
From Madrid to Oslo and the varied different makes an attempt at “peace” ever since, what’s abundantly clear is that any “peace course of” that doesn’t recognise the basic Palestinian rights as a place to begin and doesn’t acknowledge the Israeli regime’s systematic denial of those rights, just isn’t a course of geared toward delivering peace.
The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.