Презентация на тему: " The Problem of External Mediation in the Resolution of the Arab-Israeli Conflict Alla Zakharchenko Odessa Mechnikov National University Research Paper." — Транскрипт:
The Problem of External Mediation in the Resolution of the Arab-Israeli Conflict Alla Zakharchenko Odessa Mechnikov National University Research Paper for Reset Project Contemporary Conflicts as an International Security Threat: Toward an Integrated Teaching and Research Program
Debate over Effectiveness of External Mediation In the literature, there are two traditional approaches: The first approach focuses on the thesis that achievement of a lasting peace in the Middle East ultimately depends on the parties directly involved whereas the pressure from the external powers is only an obstacle for reaching an agreement. The second approach stresses that the Arab- Israeli conflict requires active mediation, and prospects to resume negotiations or reach an agreement between two parties look dim unless third party gets involved.
External Mediation Nowadays: The International Quartet Members of the International Quartet: - the United States - the European Union - Russia have reached a common position on ways to find a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict (the Road map plan, 2003). Nevetheless the gap between them remains wide. They are not equal in their economic and political resources. Each of them has its own (often competitive) interests in the region and history of relationships with conflicting parties.
The European Union Europe tries to transform its economic power into political influence in the Middle East conflict as a key indictor of its capacity to play a leading role on the international stage. French President Nicolas Sarkozy: After a decade of US failure to bring peace, the EU could no longer act as spectators who watch time pass and could no longer contribute money and then be outside the political process… Nevertheless domestic political considerations and intra- European competition have prevented the consensus and common policy necessary for effective joint European action in the Middle East. Europe remains unable to convince Israelis or Palestinians that it has more to offer them than Washington in the role as mediator.
The EU and the Arab-Israeli Conflict The EU has been more critical of Israel and more supportive of the Palestinians than the US. The general position of the EU is that a Palestinian state should be based on the 1967 borders with equivalent land swaps, Jerusalem should be divided and become the capital of both states, and a negotiated settlement be found for the Palestinian refugee issue, although member states have sometimes been divided on these issues. However, EU states consider Israeli settlements illegal under international law.
Contradictions Between the EU and Israel The Israeli criticisms of the EU include the lack of appreciation for Israels security situation, failure to denounce terrorism strongly enough; over- emphasis on the settlements issue; failure to combat rising anti-semitism in Europe and biased media reporting. On the EU side, criticism of Israel includes the disregard for human rights in the occupied territories; continued expansion of illegal settlements; disproportionate use of force in response to suicide bombings; etc
European Position The EU has also been highly critical of Israeli military actions in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, often referring to them as "disproportionate" and "excessive force" and calling for an immediate cease-fire. Following the Gaza War, the European Parliament endorsed the Gostone Report. Following the Palestinian Authority's announcement that it would declare independence in September 2011, EU member states grew divided over the issue, with some stating that they are leaning toward an endorsement of Palestinian statehood in a coming United Nations vote. European pro-Arab sentiments has prompted a general Israeli distrust of Europe as effective mediator, and as long as this persist, Israel will continue to respond negatively to European initiatives, even seemingly sensible ones.
Russia Russia is currently pursuing a two track policy towards the Middle East, allowing Russia to develop friendly ties with Israel while simultaneously nurturing alternative, sometimes competing, interests with Arab countries. Russia has successfully signed diplomatic, military, and energy deals and developed ties with both Israel and its Arab neighbors without significantly alienating one or the other. The Kremlin's modus vivendi in the region is marked by pragmatism and economic calculations occasionally mixed with an undertone of anti-Americanism.
Russian Agenda Moscow was once a great power and aspires to be one again (according to Concept of National Security of Russian Federation, 2000). One of the main objectives – Russian return to the Middle East which is traditional Moscows sphere of influence. The most natural way to do so – reestablishing strong relations with traditional Russian allies in the Middle East, first of all, Syria. Russia's efforts to play a larger role in mediating the Israeli- Palestinian conflict (intentions to host Moscow conference) to counterbalance American dominance in peace process.
Russian Approach to the Conflict Moscow refuses to put Hamas and Hizballah on Russia's list of terrorist organizations. High-ranking Hamas delegations visited Moscow three times (March 2006, Februaty 2007, February 2010); Medvedev had meeting with Mashal during his visit to Syria in The active Russian dialogue with Hamas and arms sales to Syria is clear indicator of principal contradiction in Israeli and Russian approaches toward the crucial problems of Israeli security. Russian officials, for their part, have been frustrated by Israeli resistance to Russia's efforts to play a larger role in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The USA The USA is still more protective and supportive of Israel. Nevertheless the lack of appreciation for Israels security situation and over-emphasis on the settlements issue (Cairo speech, 2009) has prompted a general Israeli distrust of Obamas administration. In Obama, many Israelis think that they are dealing with an American leader who, as one official put it, has no special feeling for us.
Obamas Approach In his State Department Speech president Obama declared that the dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation. To achieve that, there must be two states "based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps. Speaking before a conference of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee he repeated that talks over a Palestinian state should be focused on Israels pre-1967 borders, along with negotiated land swaps, and challenged Israel to make the hard choices necessary to bring about a stable peace.
The 1967 Border Issue The 1967 border issue has always been privately understood, not spoken publicly, and certainly not publicly endorsed by a sitting American president. By adopting the 1967 borders with territorial swaps as the starting point for negotiations, US President Barack Obama has explicitly shifted US policy. Previous presidents have recognized that the 1967 borders were untenable for Israel and that adjustments would be made, especially the incorporation of settlement blocs. President Obama also explicitly stated that the refugee issue would come, along with Jerusalem, at the end of the negotiations.
The Arab Spring and Its Implications for the Arab-Israeli Conflict On a systemic level, the Arab uprising will create a new political and economic reality in the Middle East and transform the regional balance of power. Public pressure for a more independent international role is likely to fundamentally reorient the foreign policies of Middle Eastern countries regardless of their form of government – Western influence in the region will inevitably decline as a result. The rise of political Islam in the region as parties like Egypts Muslim Brothers join the political process. These transformations could skew the regional balance in favor of Iran. Radicalization of new Arab governments agenda will present a tough challenge of renewing the Arab- Israeli conflict.
Conclusion Nowadays external mediation in the Arab-Israeli conflict is constrained by a number of important factors. There are serious contradictions between major external mediators – the USA, the EU and Russia - on how to understand the roots of the conflict and its major problems: Jerusalem, refugees, Jewish settlements in the West Bank and many others. Despite the shared interest in economic and political stability of the Middle East, the leading external mediators in the Arab-Israeli conflict view key regional problems through distinct strategic prisms and divergent threat perceptions. Along with the unpredictable consequences of the Arab Spring it makes prospects for resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict very dim.