The study is notable because it was not produced by a pro-Israel right wing think tank, but by a confirmed and credentialed organization on the left. It is always great when people start to put aside their political agendas and begin to look at the world through a lens of reality. This paragraph from the executive summary is a very poignant and depressing overview of the process.
But the reason most often cited for maintaining the existing peace process is the conviction that halting it risks creating a vacuum that would be filled with despair and chaos. The end result is that the peace process, for all its acknowledged shortcomings, over time has become a collective addiction that serves all manner of needs, reaching an agreement no longer being the main one.I like the point that
the ultimate goal of the peace process is not currently peace. These are true words and they reflect a growing frustration on the left. The left seems to be admitting that the causes of the conflict are not what they were thought to be. The lack of peace is not a result of one party injuring another, but a result of the fact that each party wants certain things that fundamentally conflict with the desires of the other party. There are no simple solutions.
Historically speaking, in these situations peace rarely comes through negotiation... it usually comes through military dominance. I am not advocating this, I am simply stating it as a fact. Both sides in the conflict are using negotiations to try to gain the upper hand and achieve their objectives. It different than conflict on the battlefield only in that fact that it is less bloody and more easily reversed.
It is important to note that one or both sides often have to be pressured to come to the negotiation table. By pressured, I mean that larger more dominant countries (US, Russia, China) force the parties to the table by threatening to take some aggressive action such as offering / withholding: military assistance, financial assistance, assistance in the United Nations, favored trade status, financial sanctions... the list is potentially endless.
All peace treaties are enforced by the threat of conflict. In this case, neither side is particularly concerned about a war, because the larger more dominant countries will intervene and stop it before either side gains the upper hand. This was true in the region in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 and it is true now.
Acknowledging that negotiations can be (and in this case are) an extension of the conflict (and not a means to peace as an outcome) is an important first step in understanding how to proceed. It is inherently obvious that if people valued peace more than whatever it is they are asking for in the negotiations, there would already be peace.
"Peace" negotiations often begin with a list of demands, but it is also obvious that a list of grievances is not usually a prelude to making peace. It is usually a justification for war.
A friend of mine once said to me that he believed that the peace process was to peace as Velveeta is to cheese. It looks like cheese, smells like cheese, and people agree to call it cheese, but it isn't really cheese.
Realize that the peace process as it it is currently being pursued is not a peace process... it is a (mostly) nonviolent war process. The first step in stopping it is to understand that fact.