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Unresolved Israel-Palestinian conflict prevents region-wide prohibition of nuclear weapons

Palestinians and Nuclear Weapons, The National Interest, 
The unresolved Israel-Palestinian conflict is one of the major factors preventing an effective region-wide prohibition of nuclear weapons.,
 by Paul R. Pillar , June 29, 2018

The Palestinians

“……… Consider the issue of nuclear weapons. Most of the states of the region have actively supported diplomacy aimed at making the Middle East a nuclear weapons-free zone. Israel, backed by the United States and now especially by the Trump administration, has opposed this diplomacy and looked for ways to impede it. These lines of contention were apparent this spring at a preparatory meeting for the next quinquennial review conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Israel argues that restrictions on nuclear weapons cannot be considered in isolation from other regional security issues. On the face of it, that is a valid argument, given the possible role of nuclear weapons as a deterrent against perceived non-nuclear threats. But Israel and its U.S. backer define the stumbling block in more Israel-specific terms. The Trump administration’s representative at the preparatory committee meeting spoke of many ostensible and mostly vaguely worded reasons to slow-roll diplomacy on a regional nuclear weapons-free zone, but the specific problem he singled out was “the non-recognition of Israel by some regional states.”

Any talk of recognition or non-recognition of Israel should immediately evoke the Arab League peace initiative , which has been on the table since 2002 and commits all the Arab states to recognition of, and peace with, the state of Israel contingent on a withdrawal from occupied territories and a just settlement of the Palestinian refugee problem.
Subsequent modification of the initiative has made clear the Arabs’ acceptance of land swaps that would not require rigid adherence to boundaries that existed prior to the 1967 war. Saudi Arabia took the lead in constructing this peace proposal. The initiative is still on the table. Despite the dalliance with Israel of de facto Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman and reports that he is willing to throw Palestinians under the bus as he pursues his own agenda, his government still subscribes to the terms of the initiative.
……… Full recognition requires the players in question to recognize the national rights of all other players and not to occupy someone else’s territory indefinitely. Also fair: amid much talk about recognizing Israel’s right to exist, it surely is just as reasonable to insist on recognition of the Palestinians’ right to exist. The conclusion: the unresolved Israel-Palestinian conflict is one of the major factors preventing an effective region-wide prohibition of nuclear weapons.

That the Trump administration has gone all in with the Israeli government’s wishes while continuing to claim for itself the principal mediator’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute augurs very badly for any settlement of the conflict in the foreseeable future. The pessimism is only accentuated when taking into account the personal and financial interests of would-be U.S. mediators that make it understandable for Palestinian leaders to reject them as hopelessly biased. The kind of suffering that has played out in Gaza and along the Gaza fence is one reason to regret the dim prospects for peace on this issue.


July 2, 2018 - Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, politics international, weapons and war

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