The Camp David Accord was signed between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin in 1978 , in the presence of President Jimmy Carter at Camp David. This was the beginning of American involvement in the Palestine Israel conflict as a mediator. The second framework of this process ended with a Peace Treaty between Palestine and Israel in 1979. After the end of this Treaty, Sadat believed that 99 per cent of the solution cards were in the hands of the US. The latter then became the sole decider of war and peace in everything related to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the various conflicts in the region.
War has become an American trademark, as it sends death and destruction to Arab and Palestinian capitals and cities through its F-16s and Apaches, as well as its cruise and Tomahawk missiles. Peace is also an American trademark that, however, cannot be achieved with the United States’ “honest” mediation. Agreements signed at the White House lawns are only achieved until the American president intervenes and a picture is taken of him, with the Israeli prime minister on the right and an interchangeable Arab leader on the left. With regards to Palestine, this picture was taken hastily as President Clinton did not want to miss out on the opportunity to be immortalized in a scene similar to the one Carter appeared in, when he stood between Begin and Sadat. However, Clinton lost out on appearing in the final picture that was lost due to the failure of the Camp David II negotiations in 2000 between Arafat and Barak. Therefore, the Palestinians did not experience American peace other than the “historic pictures” and a third of a Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to Arafat, Rabin and Peres. Meanwhile, the US war industry continues to produce missiles and bombs, launched by its F-16’s onto the Gaza Strip.
Israeli journalist, Raviv Drucker has noted that the history of the Palestinian/Arab-Israeli negotiations have not seen a neutral mediator in the true sense of the word. He has cited some of the instances when the Israelis and Americans appear as one party against another (the Palestinians or Arabs). He refers to how in 1998, the Americans presented a draft agreement to the Israelis at the Wye Plantation in order to hear their comments on it and amended it before presenting it to the Palestinians. Not only this but one can see also how the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, Ehud Barak, imposed the Camp David Summit in July 2000 on President Clinton, despite the fact that the senior officials in the American administration, along with the president himself, though neither side was ready.
The Clinton administration was forced to agree and forced Arafat to attend. The Americans presented a flexible draft agreement to the Israelis alone. This agreement included Israeli ideas previously communicated to the Americans behind the backs of the Palestinians. This “flexible” draft was rejected by Barak, who insisted on new unfair proposals and asked that they be presented to the Palestinians as a US proposal, which was, in turn, rejected by Arafat.
The United States is not a neutral mediator that supplies the parties with its good services, a table to negotiate on, some snacks and muzak( background music in parties). The United States is an interested party, a superpower whose position in the Middle East and around the globe is based on its economic and military strength. It’s also based on the Americans’ ability to leverage those advantages for political action, to set the world’s agenda and win legitimacy for waging wars and making peace.
The Jewish lobby in America which is always a binding factor for any American President and it makes them to be in line with Jewish interests, regardless of party affiliations. This will never allow any US president to play the role of an unbiased mediator in the Palestine Israel conflict. So, President Trump’s idea of moving its embassy should not be seen as Trump’s own idea but a legacy of American presidents from Bill Clinton to him. This process of supporting Israelis will persist in the future too.
The author is a Scholar at the School of International Studies JNU, New Delhi. He can be reached at: [email protected]