Limited effectiveness of alternative actors in the peace process

Limited effectiveness of alternative actors in the peace process

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Dr.Salim M.Al Zanoon

There is no possibility that another country will replace the United States as a mediator in the peace process, given the limited effectiveness of other players.
The first is that although the international system is undergoing a process of restructuring and the rise of new powers, it is unable to impose its hegemony on the course of the international political process but Washington remains the dominant force in all the details of the peace process. It is the only country capable of exerting pressure on Israel in any future negotiations and abide by some of its decisions and it has a tendency to map out the final solution.
Second, the success of the experience of the multilateral framework in the Iranian situation lies in the common desire and interests of the parties to achieve the agreement, which is not available in the Palestinian case.
Third, the EU has not been able to turn its economic influence into a political presence in the peace process. It is not expected that its role will not go beyond than the economic support, a partnership agreement with the Palestinian Authority, and even if political action is expanded, it will not go beyond Washington’s vision and work with it.
Fourthly, all parties, including the International Quartet and the European Union still play a complementary role to the US role in the peace process and operate within the framework of the US vision, both on the economic and political side.
Fifth, Russia and China are not acceptable to the Israeli side to play the role of mediator, and according to the Israeli perspective, any role for them should be supportive of the American role.
Sixth, historical experience indicates the limited role of the United Nations and Washington’s ability to marginalize and bypass it, and Israel’s ability to ignore its decisions.
According to this perspective, it is a matter of time for the Palestinian leadership to realize the limited effectiveness of other actors in the peace process and to agree to renew US mediation in the peace process.
A multilateral framework for managing the peace process can be formed between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, but with the consent of the United States, and according to its vision, on the understanding that all players are aware that it is still the main actor in the peace process.
Following the Trump decision on Jerusalem, the Palestinian leadership rejected any role for the United States in the peace process as a party to the crisis in a way that could not play the role of mediator. The political discourse and practice of the Palestinian leadership indicate that it seeks to form an international framework similar to the 5 + 1 in which they reached to nuclear agreement with Iran rather than relying on one international mediation and in this context there are to examples , the first Quartet committee about the middle east (The United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union), and the second, the permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France , Russia , UK ,the United States ) , with the possibility of adding new actors such as Germany and some Arab countries. As a result, a Palestinian diplomatic move was started towards the European Union, the expected visit in February to Moscow, and the possibility of going to China in a step that will lead to a new peace process in a new framework and with an agreed international reference .
The formula of a multilateral framework calls for new players to enter the course of the peace process, after the uniqueness of the United States for more than a quarter of a century, suggesting a series of complex and complex questions: what is the size of the role that can be played by the new players? Will the parties to the conflict accept them? Can they pressure the parties? Will the United States give up its role in favor of new actors?

First: the United Nations.
The position of the United Nations is clear towards the Palestinian issue, the solution in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy, to end the Israeli occupation on the basis of the two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and its rejection of the Trump decision on Jerusalem, but historical experience indicates the limited role of the United Nations in implementing its resolutions, and the ability of the United States to marginalize and bypass it in many cases, and recently appeared to be an American attack on it and demand reform it, in the same framework Israel ignores all UN resolutions regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and given that the United Nations does not have the capacity to act as mediator in a future peace process.
Second: the European Union
The statements of European Union to reject Trump’s decision on Jerusalem prompted the Palestinian side to see the EU as a potential mediator in the peace process. However, historical experience indicates that the United States and Israel have not allowed the EU to intervene in the political process, , allowing it to play a complementary role in economic support only , as EU foreign ministers acknowledged that the prospects for political action in the Middle East were “very, very limited”.
In addition, Brussels has been facing a difficult challenge since the establishment of the European Union, which has been unable to transform economic influence into a political presence in all global crises. Its role has been limited to economic aspects, which is linked to the structure of the European Union based on the development a common policy at the minimum level and leave big issues to the national countries to decide about it and the EU’s foreign minister stressed that peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis can succeed only with the work of the European Union and the United States together .
According to this perspective, it is not possible for the EU to act as the sole mediator in a peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. It can not, as a unified institution, recognize a Palestinian state, leaving the decision of recognition to the member states alone in accordance with their internal policies but it can provide the economic support to the Authority and turn the Interim Agreement with it to an agreement of partnership .
Third: Russia.
In recent years, Russia has been able to impose its diplomatic and military presence in the Middle East, enabling it to play a role in the peace process, but the Israeli position is still refusing it to participate, as it adopts a biased attitude towards the Palestinians.
What makes Israel acceptance of a Russian role in the peace process complex is the divergence of the vision of the two sides for the interests and relations with the United States. At the time that Russia’s policy of anti-Americanism stems from a zero game making Russia a counterweight to it in the Middle East, Israel is an ally of the USA and has common interests so Tel Aviv will not accept Moscow to replace Washington in a future peace process and will not allow it to be a major mediator between the two sides. If accepted, it would play an assistant role with the consent of the United States.

Fourth: China.
China started to move towards the activation of its role in the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel despite it has launched an initiative last December that would allow for the renewal of negotiations between the two sides on the basis of a two-state solution on the 1967 borders with the exchange of land, a freeze on settlement construction and the adoption of some items of the Arab peace initiative but it pointed out that they are non-binding understandings and did not address the issue of Jerusalem, and Israel stressed that the Chinese intervention in the peace process, will not compensate in any way the place of US intervention.
Fifth: The United States.
In addition to the global balance of power, it is true that the international system is in the process of restructuring, and the rise of other players to compete with the United States at the top of the international system, but this force is still unable to dominate the course of international politics, and the United States remains dominant in all the details of the peace process.

In this context, the Trump Declaration on Jerusalem does not mean withdrawal from the peace process, but rather it refers to a greater role for Washington in the negotiations. It is trying to draw a road map for the final solution. The Jerusalem Declaration aims to impose a final solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict despite the rejection of the Palestinian side to this Vision.

Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies