Tuesday, February 03, 2009

"Mitchell Plan"

The highly celebrated US "engagement," aimed at "revitalizing the peace process" has led to "moderate Arab states" calling a special meeting of foreign ministers in Abu Dhabi today to consider what is being called the "Mitchell Plan", which is either a set of "steps and mechanisms" or else a plan for analyzing and evaluating certain proposed steps and mechanisms being set out by Mitchell in an existing document, and/or that might be proposed by the President Himself at a later time. Under steps and mechanisms, AlQuds alArabi, citing Saudi television, said the thing apparently has four clauses, involving ending the siege of Gaza, opening the border-crossings, renewing negotiations, and method for reconstructing Gaza infrastructure.

Which means?

First of all the meeting will not include Syria, Algeria or Libya, in other words it will be only for the US-allied "axis of moderates", excluding the others, and excluding the Palestinian resistance factions that bore the brunt of the recent Israeli attacks. And some think the "plan" involves the concept of a "government of technocrats" to oversee Gaza reconstruction, in preparation for later parliamentary and presidential elections under their supervision.

If that is the plan, then it is nothing new, says the AlQuds alArabi editorialist. The "government of technocrats" idea has been proposed many times by the Ramallah regime and been rejected as many times by Hamas, which is calling instead for a government of national unity. In fact, far from representing progress in Arab unity, this moderates-only/ exclude-Hamas approach represents a relapse following a brief period of hope when the Saudi king made conciliatory remarks at the recent Kuwait summit.

Apart from the unknown details of the "plan", the basic flaw in the current approach is clear, the editorialist says. The Arab states complain about division among the Palestinian factions, and blame that division for their ills, but at the same time the "moderate" Arab states are pursuing their own policy of "axes", for instance by involving in these talks only the US-allied regimes and excluding the others.
The support of the "moderate" states for President Abbas--and their complete ignoring of the factions that stood up to the Israeli attacks and frustrated their intent--is going to lead to more Palestinian division, and to the frustrating of Palestinian national reconciliation before it begins.

And this will [actually] open up additional space for Iran, which these moderate states are trying to combat, and whose political and financial influence with the resistance factions they are trying to limit.

If the states of the moderate axis are really intent on [Palestinian] national reconciliation, then they should be equidistant between the various factions, and serve as a bridge between them. Because if they continue with a policy of factional isolation and consecrate this policy of "axes", then what this will lead to is more divisions, among the Palestinians and in the sphere of the official Arab regimes both.


Post a Comment

<< Home