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Palestine - lame ducks, dead ducks and revived ducks

By David Singer - posted Monday, 1 December 2008


President George Bush became a lame duck on November 20, 2008 - giving up his unfettered executive authority to begin working closely with President-elect Barack Obama on important policy matters of significant national importance until his retirement from office at noon on January 20, 2009.

President Bush's Road Map became a dead duck on the very same day - after the Palestinian Authority placed full page advertisements in a number of Israeli and Palestinian newspapers urging Israelis to embrace the Arab League Initiative first proposed in 2002.

That Initiative was rejected by Israel on May 25, 2003 as having any role in the Road Map negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to create a new Arab State between Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

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The placement of these advertisements amounted to a total - and highly public - repudiation of the Road Map by the Palestinian Authority after almost six years of totally fruitless negotiations.

Such repudiation should be immediately accepted by Israel so that there is no possible misunderstanding that the Bush Road Map and the negotiating farce it represented is effectively ended once and for all.

The timing of the advertisements was exquisite - even if perhaps a little irreverent - in burying President Bush's vision on the very same day he surrendered his absolute power to make any decisions on the future progress of the Road Map proposals he personally instigated.

Dead ducks or mortally wounded ducks need to be buried or the stench soon becomes unbearable. They indeed abound aplenty and many people, countries and organisations will feature in the obituary notices.

The Quartet - America, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - has been mortally wounded. It has now seen its collective prestige in jointly endorsing and promoting the Road Map finally come crashing to the ground without achieving one iota of movement in achieving the Road Map's objectives.

Yet the end of the Quartet's negotiating role must be seen as a merciful release in finally terminating its public humiliation and embarrassing impotency at failing to have had the slightest effect whatsoever on influencing the course or outcome of the Road Map negotiations.

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Those countries who have paid up on their pledges totalling US$7.7 billion to the Palestinian Authority just 11 months ago must be gagging on their duck pancakes - as must those other countries who have contributed billions of more dollars in the last 15 years to a totally implacable and unyielding Palestinian Authority.

Rejecting 90 per cent of what you want and holding out for 100 per cent - and being supported in that rejection by a host of fawning nations eager to throw money at you - has been brought to an end by a few full page ads.

The Road Map - like the Oslo negotiations conducted between 1993 and 2000 - is now a curiosity piece to be picked over by future historians and conflict resolution centres as they ponder how 15 years of negotiations could have foundered in resolving sovereignty over a piece of land the size of Delaware.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

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All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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