Nabil Amr
Palestinian writer and politician

Mr. Borrell’s Initiative

Emptiness generates a stronger echo than sounds.

This principle applies to politics, especially to political settlements. Although the Palestinian struggle has been ongoing for longer than any other and has generated more conflicts, coups, and turbulence than any other, it is always subject, when it comes to solutions, to exploitative initiatives that do not achieve their objectives.
This has been the case since the beginning, and it remains true to this day. Indeed, there is talk of a European initiative being prepared and will be launched once the concerned parties are consulted. Its initial draft has been published. Alongside an introduction about the motives behind it, it includes a ten-point proposal by Mr. Borrell aimed at achieving a comprehensive Palestinian-Israeli-Middle Eastern settlement.
Mr. Borrell's initiative reminds us of the “Roadmap” plan, which intended to save the Oslo Accords in stages after the latter began to gradually collapse. The Quartet at the time represented the entire world. To remind readers, it included the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations.
The Palestinians and Israelis were allowed to note their reservations on particular stipulations, provided that they agreed to it first. The Roadmap withered, the Quartet faded away, and the Oslo Accords continued to die under the watchful eye of its major sponsors.
We remind our reader of this plan and its fate, as well as the fate of the international framework that gave rise to it, to put Mr. Borrell's plan in its proper context. This is not a question of the text but about its chances of success. To know if this plan could potentially lead to a settlement, we must first determine the weight of those standing behind it. Assuming it was agreed upon by Europe, this grouping of states gave birth to the Oslo Accords, which is named after one of its capitals. However, the US and Israel colluded to push it out, reducing its role to providing funds. Sometimes it was called upon to persuade the Palestinians to acquiesce to the unacceptable.
Let us assume that Mr. Joseph Borrell is encouraged by the US; that would be a point against the plan, not for it. US encouragement would mean it is not serious, or that the initiative is meant to feel room.
It would be more beneficial for the US to put an initiative forward itself, which is not on its political agenda, unless we believe the leaks that suggest it is preparing something of this sort.
Moving on from the question of the US link to Mr. Borrell's initiative, and whether it is being launched in coordination with the US or encouraged by it, what deserves careful consideration is... Israel. With Netanyahu in power alongside his more fanatical coalition partners, is Israel ready to consider this initiative or even discuss it?
Netanyahu answered this question himself. He stressed that he strongly and unequivocally rejected the establishment of a Palestinian state. In fact, he argued that his remaining at the head of the Israeli government served one primary function, preventing the emergence of a Palestinian state, even if the whole world, including the US, agreed to its establishment.
The treasuries and archives of the Palestinians are filled with settlement projects. Their leaders have welcomed texts and proposals drafted by world leaders promising a reasonable solution to their chronic struggle. The influential global actors of our era have encouraged, supported, and adopted them, but the Palestinians have not seen tangible results, even after everything that has been said and continues to be said about the importance of resolving the Palestinian issue for stability in the Middle East and the world at large.
The proposal that Mr. Borrell has put forward in Europe’s name should not be evaluated solely based on the text, nor should it distract us from the urgent priorities that the world has failed to address, even minimally. Indeed, it does not make sense to believe that the same people who cannot stop the genocidal war, which continues and escalates in Gaza and the West Bank, and threatens to expand into a regional war, are capable of ensuring much more significant results.
Finally, it is essential to remember that the Arabs had put forward an initiative of their own early on. In terms of its weight and purpose, their initiative is more substantial than any other, including the one being presented by the Europeans, for example. Whether the Arab Peace Initiative can be a foundation for any serious attempts to end the conflict and solve its main issue is a question not only directed at Mr. Borrell but everyone around who wants the Middle East to become a hub for peace rather than a hub for wars.