Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Alastair Crooke, “But what if nobody takes notice?” May 11, 2008.

“But what if nobody takes notice?” is the question posed by Robert Malley and Hussein Agha in an article in the recent New York Review of Books concerning the putative ‘shelf agreement’ being discussed between President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert. A ‘shelf agreement’ is an exercise in outlining some principles for the settlement of the Palestinian issue, rather than to attempt a full solution. It is a document, the culmination of the Annapolis process, intended not for implementation; but rather immediately to be set aside — on the ‘shelf’ — whilst all parties, Bush, Abbas and Olmert declare the document to represent a huge triumph — whilst shamelessly waving this Chamberlinesque ‘peace in out time’ paper before their electorates in order to ‘help’ in their respective elections, or to cement legacies.

Israel is expected to go to parliamentary elections shortly — whether or not Olmert survives the threat of a criminal indictment hanging over him. Olmert’s strategy has been to persuade Israelis that the ‘agreement’ is somehow an achievement. And in one limited sense, it may be seen by Israel to be an ‘achievement’. But not in bringing any change on the ground: the Occupation and the grinding life of Palestinians will continue as before. Indeed almost all Israelis and Palestinians understand that the much fêted ‘shelf agreement’ will be inoperable — neither Olmert nor Abbas can implement it, even if they wished so to do.

Read more about the "Shelf Agreement" here =>
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