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06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



Maybe the end of the peace process is no bad thing?


Why the demise of the Middle East ‘peace process’ may be a good thing

Alastair Crooke, Beirut, 11 January  2011

Recognizing that a two-state solution is no longer in the cards opens the way for other paths that don’t depend on Western mediation. It puts to rest the fiction that a Palestinian state will emerge from even the best intentions of the West instead of from the political realities of the Middle East.

Alastair Crooke, a former MI6 agent in the Middle East, is the author of “Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution” and director of the Conflicts Forum in Beirut.

Establishing a Palestinian state has been a sine qua non of Western foreign policy for the last 20 years. For some, the evident demise of the “peace process” has given rise to a sense of bereavement nearly on par with the end of civilization. A Palestinian state, for many, was a banner of conscience, a matter of justice. It was perceived, too, as the essential remedy for the wider maladies of the Middle East. Its final exhaustion would seem to edge the region closer to an abyss.

Paradoxically, this breakdown may well be a good thing. It finally puts to rest the fiction that a Palestinian state will emerge from even the best intentions of the West instead of from the political realities of the Middle East itself.

A Palestinian state has been pursued since the Madrid Conference of 1991 set it as an objective after the first Gulf War. But meanings shift with time. Ideas become hollowed out like shells whose internal living organisms have long since withered.

“Statehood” no longer means what it once meant. It now veils an opposite concept: Statehood no longer signifies autonomy and independence, but an “alleviated occupation” that is really a management strategy of control and containment.

A new concept of statehood?

Perhaps under this concept of statehood a new Palestinian elite could live more comfortably, albeit amid persistent general poverty. Perhaps the visible tools of occupation and control over Palestinian life would be better concealed from the naked eye, even operated remotely through new technology. Such “statehood” would still be an occupation nonetheless, with the Palestinian internal security conduct, borders, airspace, water, economy and even its “electro-magnetic” field under the unchallengeable security control of Israel. Jerusalem, the refugees, and even the status of the Jordan Valley would be left pending for the never-arriving longer term.

In a way, this outcome after two decades is not surprising. It was seeded from the outset by Western acquiescence to Israel’s exclusive notion of self-determination in which its own security imperatives confined the space within which Palestinians would have to find their “solution.”

The fiction unveiled, a moment of clarity

The end of the peace process provides a rare moment of stark clarity as the veil drops, revealing the fiction underlying the two-state narrative. The truth is that a “state” was never on offer. Many in Israel were never comfortable with the concept of a Jewish majority state, since this would confer a parity of rights on the minority. The ideology of Zionism – a system of differential rights for Jews and non-Jews – has always been inherently in conflict with the idea of a Jewish majority. A two-state solution would have formalized a non-Zionist Israel as a “majority Jewish state,” as the counterpart to a Palestinian state.

The recognition that a two-state solution is no longer in the cards opens the way to visualizing other paths that don’t depend on the Western mediation.

Lessons from Africa

In some ways, the situation in the Middle East today reminds me of my experience 30 years ago in Africa. A moment of “clarity” then also brought crisis to another peace process – in South-West Africa/Namibia. It took another decade for Namibia finally to emerge as an independent state. What made the attempt at statehood there initially fail, and then subsequently succeed, holds lessons for the Middle East in the coming years.

Namibian independence efforts failed at first because the South African government, at that juncture, was sailing along, “jolly and light-hearted” in the security of its regional dominance. But then the political context changed radically.

In 1978, South Africa was standing “shoulder-to-shoulder” with America in a polarizing Cold War. It was the “enclave” of market economics in a Marxist region. How differently matters stood 10 years later as the Cold War was coming to an end. South Africa was no longer America’s “necessary” partner. Its legitimacy in the eyes of the world plummeted as the raison d’être for keeping Nelson Mandela in jail disappeared.

A new dynamic in the region – without US

In the Middle East today, another strict polarization which had branded everyone either pro-“peace” or against “peace” is melting fast. Israel’s growing belligerence on settlements and other issues has widened the gulf with the rest of the states in the region. It is matched by the growing power of Iran and the presence of Hezbollah in Lebanon, tilting the balance in the region towards a broad tent of “resistance politics.” Further, Turkey has taken on a new leadership role that stands up to Israel when necessary. And every passing day sees the Arab autocracies allied with the West growing more deeply moribund.

In short, there is a new dynamism and fluidity in the region in which the West is not a participant. America is not wholly “absent,” but neither is it fully “present.”

Is Israel a beacon or liability for US?

The incoming head of Mossad (Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations), Tamir Pardo, is reported to have said that Israel wants “to play a key role in helping the West win ‘the new Cold War’ with radical Islam in the region.” Israel, of course, has long wanted to be “the West’s enclave,” the “light” of a reborn Western culture which would shine out to Muslim states, as Lord Balfour put it at Israel’s birth as a nation.

But will Mr. Pardo’s “new Cold War” strategy serve the West, or will it only end up further isolating and diminishing Israel and America in the emergent “new” Middle East? Whether hemmed in by Hezbollah and Iran or rebuffed on occasion by Turkey, Israel is also no longer able to act militarily with absolute impunity. Rather than an outpost promoting Western interests, Israel is becoming a source of instability, and thus a liability just as the West must turn its full attention to mending its own economy and face the power shift of a rising China.

For Namibia, a solution came only when South Africa had exhausted its efforts at engineering a “Vichy” government in Windhoek, lost its military hegemony over the region and faced a paradigm shift in global politics. Only at that juncture was peace and statehood possible.

As it evolved, the Middle East “peace process” only perpetuated the underlying tensions without moving toward resolution. Paradoxically, the end of the peace process may be what finally gives peace a chance. It is impossible to say, however, how long a Namibia-type solution might take, or whether it will only find “resolution” through some form of further conflict.

Alastair Crooke, a former MI6 agent in the Middle East, is the author of “Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution.” He is also director of the Conflicts Forum in Beirut.

© 2010 Global Viewpoint Network/Tribune Media Services. Hosted online by The Christian Science Monitor.

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