[Published 24 January 2013]
Any hope of a negotiated two-state solution being achieved under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road Map has been blown away following the publication of statements made by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in September 2010 - which have recently surfaced and come back to haunt him in January 2013.
President Obama must rue the day he made the following reported comment in the New York Times after the Gaza ceasefire on November 21:
“Mr.Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence .. He sensed an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology.”
To the contrary - Morsi’s 2010 statements reveal a great deal of ideology concerning the two-state solution and Jews.
Morsi’s scathing and dismissive comments were made on 23 September 2010 (as reported by MEMRI - the Middle East Media Research Institute)
“These futile [Israeli-Palestinian] negotiations are a waste of time and opportunities. The Zionists buy time and gain more opportunities, as the Palestinians, the Arabs, and the Muslims lose time and opportunities, and they get nothing out of it. We can see how this dream has dissipated. This dream has always been an illusion… This [Palestinian] Authority was created by the Zionist and American enemies for the sole purpose of opposing the will of the Palestinian people and its interests."
He added for good measure
“No reasonable person can expect any progress on this track. Either [you accept] the Zionists and everything they want, or else it is war. This is what these occupiers of the land of Palestine know – these blood-suckers, who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs."
This tirade had been preceded by the following statements made by Morsi on Al-Quds TV (Lebanon) March 20, 2010:
“The Zionists have no right to the land of Palestine. There is no place for them on the land of Palestine. What they took before 1947-8 constitutes plundering, and what they are doing now is a continuation of this plundering. By no means do we recognize their Green Line. The land of Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, not to the Zionists
We must confront this Zionist entity. All ties of all kinds must be severed with this plundering criminal entity, which is supported by America and its weapons, as well as by its own nuclear weapons, the existence of which is well known…
We want a country for the Palestinians on the entire land of Palestine, on the basis of [Palestinian] citizenship. All the talk about a two-state solution and about peace is nothing but an illusion, which the Arabs have been chasing for a long time now. They will not get from the Zionists anything but this illusion.”
The publication of these remarks elicited the following mealy mouthed response from the White House
“We strongly condemn the remark that then-Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi made in 2010. The language that we have seen is deeply offensive. We completely reject these statements, as we do any language that espouses religious hatred. This discourse–this is a broader point–this kind of discourse has been acceptable in the region for far too long and it’s counter to the goal of peace. President Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths, and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt. Since taking office President Morsi has reaffirmed Egypt’s commitment to its peace treaty with Israel in both word and deed, and has proven willing to work with us towards shared objectives including a ceasefire during the crisis in Gaza last year. These commitments are essential to our bi-lateral relations with Egypt as well as for stability in the region.”
Morsi has so far not obliged the White House.
Why should he? The negotiations have failed - despite offers by Israel in 2000/2001 and 2008.
Morsi’s prescription for curing such failure is a recipe for disaster.
Pursuing a proposal so vigorously opposed by Egypt seems to be the height of stupidity. It cannot and will not eventuate in the face of such opposition.
Unphased by this development - the following statement was made last week following a meeting in Perth of AUKMIN - the Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations attended by Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr, the Australian Minister for Defence – Stephen Smith- and the UK Foreign and Defence Secretaries, William Hague and Philip Hammond.
“The Palestinian Authority and the new Israeli government must engage seriously in negotiations without preconditions. Actions by both sides must be in the interests of peace. Neither side should create obstacles to that objective”
The obstacle to engaging in such negotiations is pretty basic – the PA is dead and buried since it was decreed out of existence by Mahmoud Abbas on 3 January.
Compounding their gaffe the Ministers continued:
” We call on the Palestinian Authority to exercise restraint and avoid provocative actions at international forums.”
The PA has vanished into thin air – no longer able to cause or avoid provocative actions and will no longer be seen at international forums.
This inescapable fact and the revelation of the Morsi statements seem to be of no consequence to these Ministers.
They are in good company with President Obama - whose spokesman Jay Carney had this to say on 23 January:
“We believe that what needs to take place is direct negotiations between the two parties that address the final-status issues and that result in a two-state solution that provides the sovereignty that the Palestinian people deserve and the security that the Israeli people and Israel deserves”
The expectation that Israel could give the Palestinian Arabs what they themselves were never prepared to accept between 1948-1967 - has proved impossible to achieve
The restoration of the status quo that existed at 5 June 1967 - so far as can now occur given the changed circumstances on the ground - remains the last hope.
This will involve negotiations between Israel, Jordan and Egypt to allocate sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza between their respective States and the abandonment of the two-state solution.
Given Morsi’s extreme views - the time for any negotiations involving Egypt might need to be put on hold - whilst negotiations with Jordan on the return of the major part of the West Bank to its last Arab occupier are attempted.
One thing is certain - a change of course is urgently required - or we will all suffer from the ensuing shipwreck that is staring us in the face.
Flogging a dead horse is not a good idea since the stench emanating from the decomposing body will soon become too overpowering.