Middle East Conflict: Need for Credible Mediator – MSG’s choices are limited.

image

The need for a credible universally-accepted mediator between Israelis and Palestinians has never been greater. Despite Israel’s devastating bombardment of Gaza the two sides for the first time agree on what a long-term arrangement should be. Both want a long-lasting ceasefire but need a third party to negotiate the terms.

MSG agenda for West Papua  membership to the sub – regional grouping  is embedded in the notion that MSG is a credible mediator to capture the way forward  in international arbitration on the independence struggle across the border.

We probe the way ahead for West Papua’s roadmap to freedom with the demise of the liberal democratic proposition in Europe characterised by Britain exiting the European Union, and the act of self – determination under the rule of law or Magna Carta as such.

West Papua membership bid is on MSG agenda in Honiara next month(Shival.D, http://www.Fijitimes.org).

In a show of Melanesian solidarity rallies have been held across West Papua in the weeks leading up to the MSG leaders summit to galvanize solidarity with West Papuan bid for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group(see the photo here in which thousands of Papuans took part in a demonstration in Jayapura, the West Papua capital).

image

Newly endorsed Director-General AmenaYauvoli said the request for membership by ULMWP was on the agenda, along with endorsements from the MSG senior officials and foreign ministers meetings in Lautoka last week.

“The foreign ministers’ meeting last week is to deliberate on the issues put forward and recommended by senior officials,” he said.

“From here, the decisions they take will go up to the leaders during a special summit in Honiara, Solomon Islands, on July 14.”

“Now that the senior officials have agreed and have recommended to the foreign ministers, they have endorsed it and now, they will take it up to the leaders for the formal endorsement, which completes the formalisation of the appointment.”

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) had to come to terms with the process of becoming a full member, which was quite complicated. A spokesman for ULMWP said:

“I believe the MSG Secretariat has been working hard to formalise a criteria of membership from observer to full member,” he said.
“We also really appreciate all the delegates and members of the MSG themselves, they are really working hard to help West Papuan people.”

image

Last year West Papua’s bid to join the group was knocked back by the MSG — but they were given observer status while Indonesia is an associate member.

Middle – East Conflict and West Papua Conflict – mediation in international arbitration

James M. Dorsey(2016) has concluded from his findings that amid the death and destruction raining down on the Gaza Strip there is a sliver of hope. We now see and have the makings for a mutually-agreed long term arrangement that would give both parties a degree of stability and security and allow for Palestinian  as well as  Israeli economic growth, to be better than today.

In fact, in a perverse way, the Israeli assault on Gaza has improved chances for such an arrangement by politically strengthening Hamas, the Islamist militia, which is no match for the Israeli military but has already  scored a psychological victory. Hamas demonstrated its ability to reach major Israeli cities with its rockets, infiltrate Israel proper, persuade international airlines to halt flights to Tel Aviv, and put up fierce urban resistance inside Gazan towns.

So, Israel’s military victory failed to camouflage its political defeat.

This would spare Israel the painful decisions it would have to take that are necessary for any definitive peace settlement to work such as the dismantling of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank and a shared future for East Jerusalem, both of which it conquered during the 1967 Middle East war.

As a result, Israel’s preferred solution for the medium, if not, the long term, is the status quo with effectively full control of the West Bank and a defanged Hamas.

Although for very different reasons and on different terms, Hamas shares with Israel the goal of a longer term arrangement that would not force it to make political concessions such as recognition of Israel and renunciation of the armed struggle. Hamas has repeatedly called for a ten-year ceasefire.

It recognises that Palestinians are in no position to persuade or impose on Israel terms that would guarantee a truly independent Palestinian state alongside Israel that would be anything more than a militarily weak adjunct of its powerful neighbour.
Nevertheless, as in most armed confrontations with Palestinians and Arabs since the 1967 war, Israel wins militarily but loses politically. If anything that trend is even more pronounced in the current conflict against a backdrop of improved Palestinian military performance, however limited, and mounting international unease not only with the toll in  civilian lives but with Israeli policy towards Palestinian territories at large.

Hamas’ growing street credibility

In addition, Hamas has increased street credibility while Abbas has been rendered even more ineffective than he already was. Using the death of three kidnapped teenagers as a pretext, Israel went on the offensive against Hamas even before it attacked Gaza to undermine the one effort by Abbas and Hamas for  the formation of a national unity government that could have enabled the Palestinians to negotiate a final solution to the Palestinian problem.
As a result, with neither party really interested in a final resolution, a long-term arrangement is potentially the best deal on the table.

Nevertheless, a deal on a long-term ceasefire could well be stranded on issues such as the future of the seven-year old Israeli blockade of Gaza that impairs its ability to freely import goods.

Other issues are Palestinian demands that it be able to build an airport and a port – requirements for economic growth that would complicate Israeli control. Only a mediator trusted by both parties would be able to explore whether those hurdles can be surmounted.

Interlocutors talk to interlocutors

And that is where the problem lies. No single mediator – the United States, the European Union, Egypt, Qatar or Turkey – is able to talk with any credibility to the two key parties, Israel and Hamas. The US and Israel as well as various European countries refuse to engage with Hamas whom they have labelled a terrorist organisation.

Egypt, while professing to sympathise with the Palestinians, is happy to see the Israelis do the dirty work for them in weakening what they see as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group it has banned as terrorists. Turkey’s relations with Israel have hit a new low and Qatar has no formal ties to Israel.

What this in effect means is that interlocutors have to talk to interlocutors to reach one of the two concerned parties – hardly a recipe for the kind of success that does not simply end the immediate bloodshed but creates the basis for a longer term arrangement that has a chance of moving things forward.

The ideal solution would be to bring Hamas in from the cold. That is obviously, with the fighting on the ground, beyond the realm of the possible. US President Barack Obama’s approach prior to the Gaza crisis was, after Secretary of State John Kerry’s failed effort to negotiate a peace agreement, to let the parties stew in their own mess.

Letting the parties stew fails to recognise opportunity and produces calamities like Gaza. A more constructive approach would be to recognise that neither Israel nor Hamas – two parties without whom a final resolution will remain an illusion – want peace but do want a long term cessation of hostilities. Achieving that would constitute significant progress and make the massive loss of life less senseless.

At the end of the day, the Middle East Conflict and the need for a credible mediator means MSG’s choices are limited. International arbitration on the West Papua issue becomes the only option left. Indonesia’s policy  experts and their options on West Papua roadmap to freedom are unclear, and they seem to be stumbling  at a time when international opinion is building up against its claim to sovereignty over West Papua.

Thus, with the liberal democratic order on the decline, Indonesia will be losing a lot of ground because the fraud of West Papua was a part and parcel of the liberal democratic tradition to fight the Cold War in the 1960s, and therefore promote US interests to consolidate its hegemony and domination in the international system.

We can make sense out of Britain’s withdrawal from the Europen Union which would mark a weakening of Europe’s liberal democratic order, and the European divisions is setting the pace in which Brexit has turned out to be a watershed. “The sands of Europe are shifting under our feet,” said one speaker. Britain is the only country that ever committed to carrying out an in/out referendum, but surveys show there are many in favour of holding similar consultations in other countries (53% in France; 49% of Swedes).

In West Papua’s case, Indonesia’s denial  then panic shows that the West led by the US misjudged the Papuan mood for self – determination. The Middle – East Conflict is about self – determination, so is the West Papua Conflict.

This week Brexit and the lone road taken by Britain after the referendum results came out proves that the inalienable right to self – determination by all nations is valid. Britain wished to go alone. West Papua does too.

And, Indonesia’s military . occupation of the former Dutch colony since the 1960s, and its denial has turned to panic as the liberal democratic proposition collapses in Europe, and therefore its claim to sovereignty over West Papua is fake.

image

For 60 years since Indonesia took over from the Dutch colonial masters has failed to solve the Papua Conflict through the security and military approach, and cannot camouflage its political defeat by MSG with its options to free West Papua from the shackles of oppression and colonialism.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s