Transcending World Order Regressions? 

30 Oct



[Prefatory Note: Initially published by Transcend Media Service, Oct. 29, 2018; the piece is dedicated to the memory of my cherished friend Marc Nerfin, whose creativity, social grace, progressive vision, and organizing talents are greatly missed, and most needed]


Transcending World Order Regressions? 

Not long ago I reread a wonderful essay written by my friend Marc Nerfin thirty-five years ago, and published with this enigmatic title, “Neither Prince nor Merchant–Citizen: An Introduction to the Third System, 1981.” The essential position taken by Nerfin is that neither the sovereign state nor the economic order is oriented toward a humane and sustainable future, although both nodes of power remain necessary for the organization of life on the planet.

For Nerfin what can alone produce an emancipatory politics is the further mobilization of what he labels as ‘the third system.’ Nerfin offered this definition: “Contrasting with governmental power and economic power —the power of the Prince and the Merchant—there is an immediate and autonomous power, sometimes evident, sometimes latent: people’s power. Some people develop an awareness of this, associate and act with others and thus become citizens. Citizens and their associations, when they do not seek either governmental or economic power, constitute the third system.

It is suggestive that Nerfin defines a citizen by what someone does by way of action, either singly or collectively, rather than as a formal status conferred by the decree of the state. He also observes that to be part of the Third System is to forego any ambition to exercise state power or to participate in the global economic order. In other words, citizenship implies autonomy of action and aspiration, but it is not reduced to the ideology of liberal individualism that tilts international human rights in Western civilizational directions, which would weaken its universalist claims.

This orientation has definite ideational links to the commoner movement that has been conceptualized in the writings and activism of David Bollier [See e.g. Bollier, Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the life of the Commons (2014)] who envisions a positive human future on the basis of joint action by individuals, groups, and communities that seek lives and livelihoods independent of state or market, pointing to an upsurge of cooperative undertakings along these lines around the world. Similarly, my assessment of neoliberal globalization that is negative about what I identify as globalization-from-above,and rests hope upon the potential transnational mobilization of movements in the spirit of ’’’another globalizationor globalization-from-below.It is a perspective that also insists that it is the creativity of people acting within the confines of civil society, not the projects of state and market, that possess emancipatory potential given our historical circumstances. [See Predatory Globalization: A Critique(1999)] 


Nerfin also apologetically notes that citizenship is at its roots a distinctively Western experience of societal participation in the shaping of collective life, and other civilizations are fully expected to have their own ways of vindicating participation as the basis of an experience of positive belonging to a larger human collective. Aside from these nuances, the central claim is that only the peoples of the world, acting spontaneously, collectively, and purposively, can achieve the sorts of transformations that human survival and ecological sustainability depend upon. It is this clarification by Nerfin that establishes illuminating affinities with the work and ethical engagements of Bollier, Johan Galtung, Robert Cox, Stephen Gill and many other thinkers who have freed themselves from the blinkering perceptions of global issues and world order as set forth by the realistmainstream, that is, those out of touch with reality, accurately and humanely conceived.

In rather profound ways, what Nerfin wrote more than three and half decades ago is more relevant to our current situation than when it was written. At the time, although the world was certainly imperiled by the Cold War, featuring a menacing nuclear standoff, predatory forms of capitalist expansion that were unperturbed by the persistence of mass misery or by the bloody interventionism that accompanied the sunset wars of the colonial era. At that time, compared to the dismal present, there were sources of normative promise and widespread hope, not least of which were the collapse of European colonialism and the liberation of hundreds of millions formerly captive in the global South.

The United States provided a partially benevolent leadership in world affairs, which while uncomfortably militarist, was still alert to the shared need for multilateral diplomacy and global lawmaking, as well as supportive of the United Nations so long as its limits were understood as limited, that is, not designed or empowered to challenge Western geopolitical maneuvers. Similarly, capitalism, still wanting to gain moral advantages in its rivalry with socialism, created social protection systems for much of its population, which while far from adequate, did introduce some degree of empathy into the dog-eat-dog life of a market driven society generating ever wider gaps of wealth and income.

When we consider the present, the situation of prince and merchant seems dismal by comparison. The United States exhibits an authoritarian, demagogic, and plutocratic leadership style that repudiates multilateral diplomacy even on the most vital of global challenges. Without even attempting to offer reassurances, Trump champions a law free sovereignty that is unapologetically dedicated to maximizing its national wealth and influence on a purely self-interested basis. This insular conception is backed up with escalating government investments in military capabilities. The avowed intention is to achieve a new form of global military dominance that will last forever.

Such a dark vision was set forth unabashedly by Donald Trump in his recent speech to the UN General Assembly that  provoked far more derisive laughter than applause, although tears might have been more appropriate. Trumps regressive geopolitics are coupled with the simultaneous launch of protectionist trade wars and private sector deregulation that encourages the continuing plundering of the planet, the further dismantling of domestic social protection structures, while being denialist or dismissive with respect to the grave multiple ongoing challenges of global warming, genocidal strife, massive human displacement and migration, expanding pockets of extreme poverty, and renewed threats of famine.

Yet it is not just a matter of this American populist embrace of what seems like a pre-fascist agenda at home and a disastrous retreat from engagement internationally, but structural trends along nationally distinctive yet globally convergent lines. Almost every large country is beset by right-wing ultra-nationalist leadership that mobilizes its base of support by finding scapegoats within its borders to account for mass frustration and anger, and favors walls to flaunt its exclusionary political will, epitomizing a callous rejection of  migrants fleeing combat, destitution, and despair. Such moral callousness is a sure sign of a fractured humanity and declining civilization. This global pattern signifies structural imbalances that have led to enraging levels of inequality, which results in stagnancy or worse for the multitude, while showering unprecedented wealth on tiny economic, often corrupt and criminalized elites.

Whereas Nerfin could invest his hopes in the creativity and visionary potential of people organized for fundamental change, we now have reasons to fear that the manipulation of democratic passions for the sake of order and vengeance will make a woefully inadequate system of world order even worse. The recent Brazilian elections are indicative of what we need to fear and oppose—an unqualified demagogic candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, known for his expressions of homophobia, hatred toward minorities, and harsh campaign promises to drain violently the swamps of government of its corrupt elements triumphs over traditional social democrats and even market oriented conservatives.

In this respect, we need to question whether and how the energies of the Third System, commoning, and globalization-from-below can be redirected toward emancipatory goals in ways that have mass appeal. If not, we must look elsewhere to meet the vital challenges of this bio-ethical emergency when organized global society seems distracted from such time-urgent policy priorities as climate change, genocide, and nuclearism.

To be fair, the Nerfin and Bollier perspectives do not expect media manipulated mainstream citizenries to provide the emancipatory energies needed. They are more reliant on accelerating detachment of persons and groups from these central organizing systems of state and market, finding free space to envision and enact alternatives in local settings that are indifferent, or even hostile toward conventional coding classifications of nationality, ethnicity, and religion. Perhaps, such exploratory communities are civil societys incubators for civilizational transformations that will usher in a planetary civilization guided by human interests and planetary realism when it comes to the global agenda and by local governance with respect to the daily life of communities. Even if this is so, the world order crises that are threatening human and non-human futures with catastrophe pose immediate challenges that cannot depend on the long temporal rhythms of axial transformation, which may last for centuries. Humanity is now facing challenges that need restorative responses within decades if tragedy is to be avoided.

Nerfin recognized that while emancipation was a Third System undertaking, the organization of global complexities still required responsible action by prince and merchant. In this respect, there is no escaping the imperatives of turning the tables on right-wing populism and predatory capitalism if the human species is to find the time, space, and imaginative energies to fulfill the vision and potential of ecological humanism, the only ethos that can build credible hopes for the further unfolding of the twenty-first century, which future historians are likely to perceive as the threshold of a new phase of world history.    


25 Responses to “Transcending World Order Regressions? ”

  1. jamesbradfordpate October 30, 2018 at 3:12 pm #

    Reblogged this on James' Ramblings.

  2. ray032 October 31, 2018 at 6:30 am #

    A few pictures adding thousands of words to this article.

  3. Beau Oolayforos November 1, 2018 at 2:37 am #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    Much of our present dilemma might be found in the attempt to unite Merchant AND Prince in the same person. For the second time in this new century, a sleazy businessman has been elevated to the US Presidency. The first one was an easy tool for Zionist thinktanks, leading us to the new quagmire in the Fertile Crescent, led in turn by an even stupider Merchant.

    Little as we care for militarism….some of the calm you ascribe to the time of Nerfin’s essay was expressed in the ex-Navy peanut farmer. Ike said something like “Pity to the future president who doesn’t understand the military as I do.” Tall order, and out of the question, nowadays. And it wasn’t only the ex-general’s words – he kept us out of conflicts urged by chicken hawks…he wanted the nation to heal, knowing personally the sorrow that war inflicts. Do we even need to mention our modern cowards?

    Sometimes I feel that Kelly is our last hope.

    (or need to mention the Father of Our Country’s martial exploits, and advice about alliances?)

    • Richard Falk November 1, 2018 at 3:58 am #

      As usual, very suggestive, and maybe our last reasonable hope, although still somewhat scary
      to my non-militarist core beliefs.

    • Fred Skolnik November 1, 2018 at 11:12 pm #

      Prof. Falk

      Why do you countenance the assertion that American presidnts are the tools of Jews? Don’t you understand where this is coming from? And if you’re going to block my responses to such filth, you should at least speak up yourself.

      • Richard Falk November 2, 2018 at 12:13 am #

        Unfortunately, it happens in this case to be true..Have you not noticed who is running U.S. foreign policy
        in the Middle East? Both their extreme Zionism and otherwise lack of relevant experience–Kushner, Friedman,
        and Greenblatt. This is not ‘filth’ but a lamentable reality.

      • Fred Skolnik November 2, 2018 at 12:45 am #

        The idea that the United States acts in any way other than what it perceives as its own best interests is absurd. The idea that Jews manipulate and control governments and therefore the world is a basic tenet of antisemitism which we all remember from Mein Kampf.

      • Fred Skolnik November 2, 2018 at 4:04 am #

        To make things perfectly clear: The United States regards Israel and the moderate Arab states in the Middle East as allies in its war against Muslim extremism and terror, and Israel with its military might as a rallying point for these moderate Arab states (Egypt, Jordan, etc.), which cooperate very closely with it in security matters. The United States also sees Israel as a brake against the spread of Russian influence in the Middle East, as was the case with the Soviet Union before that. Do you really not understand what motivates American foreign policy, for better or for worse? And of course there is also a natural affinity between the two countries and a natural response to the Arab threat to destroy Israel and massacre its population, which has been regularly pronounced for 70 years now, and hence the overwhelming support for Israel in the Anerican population (74%) despite the “even-handedness” of the liberal American press.

        As for experience, American foreign policy in the Middle East has been a disaster precisely because of the ignorance of policy makers, whether Jewish or not. The last time I looked, of the 35,000 employess of the State Dept. (in any case traditionally hostile to Israel), fewer than 10 were fluent in Arabic, and I doubt if 5 were fluent in Hebrew.

      • Richard Falk November 2, 2018 at 8:51 am #

        I appreciate your reasoned explanation, but you convey the impression that yours
        is the only way to interpret American national interests in the region. I and many
        others understand national interests of the U.S. quite differently, starting with the
        nuclear issue. Also, describe Egypt as ‘moderate’ is quite a stretch, and to ignore
        Israel’s support of MBS and Saudi Arabia despite its record at home and the war against
        Yemen is another stretch and to befriend Bolsonaro as Netanyahu seems to be doing is another step away from democratic values as the basis of legitimate government. If the U.S. followed my view of its interests, the ME would be a nuclear free zone and the Palestinians would be living in peaceful coexistence with a truly democratic Israel.

      • ray032 November 2, 2018 at 7:03 am #

        Fred, it’s coming from information already made Public.

        Netanyahu to US Congress, September 12, 2002:
        “If YOU take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I GUARANTEE YOU, that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region, The reverberations of what will happen with the collapse of Saddam’s regime, could very well cause an implosion in a neighbour regime like Iran”

        Americans and Iraqis who lost many lives and treasure with the Destruction of Netanyahu’s WAR against Saddam, cannot make a claim on his GUARANTEE. Proved dead wrong, the dead number over a MILLION PEOPLE, with the consequences still unfolding in this World.

        Iran didn’t implode. It increased influence in it’s own part of the World with the illegal US invasion of Iraq.

        God did not listen to Netanyahu but Americans do.
        Now he wants the US to finish the job.

        Israel’s Netanyahu spoke to a Joint Session of the US Congress in 2015 getting so many standing ovations by non-partisan, delirious, Republicans and Democrats, calling for the US to reject the Iran Nuclear deal. The only lasting Bi-Partisanship in the US Congress, even with the great Polarization, is over Israel and Israeli money needed for re-election.
        Trump withdrew from the Iran Nuclear on May 8 this year.

        Who understands the possible consequences of the US Declaration of War Trump announced against Iran, with the Economic Sanctions/Warfare designed to destroy the Iranian Economy supporting it’s 80 MILLION people before having to resort to bombs?

        All of this is happening with Netanyahu meddling in the US internal affairs in Public, that can be seen.

        Putin is blamed as a distraction, with constant anti-Russia/Putin propaganda without any visible proof in this grave matter of War or Peace.
        Putin is accused by the same US Intelligence Agencies who provided Fake Intelligence when the US went to the UN Security Council asking for the Legal Authority to invade Iraq and remove Saddam. Legal Authority to invade Iraq by the US was denied.

        With it’s delusional belief in it’s exceptionalism, the US invaded anyway, in violation of International Law, undermining the Global Order as represented by the UN since WWII, ushering in the Law of the Jungle to the region and this world.

      • Fred Skolnik November 3, 2018 at 9:16 am #

        Prof. Falk

        I am not speaking about what America’s best interests actually are but about how America perceives it’s interests. It is in accordance with this perception,that it acts, for better or for worse. But this is leading us astray from the idea expressed here that the U.S. government is the “tool” of Jews. This is quite simply preposterous.. Do you seriously believe that a bunch of smooth-talking Jews can come along and cause American presidents or heads of state anywhere to act against what they perceive as the best interests of their countries? You and I both know where such ideas come from.

      • Fred Skolnik November 3, 2018 at 9:22 am #

        Ray, America did not invade Iraq to make Netanyahu happy. You’re being silly.

      • Fred Skolnik November 3, 2018 at 12:54 pm #

        Are you actually afraid to post my last comment:

        The idea expressed here that the U.S. government is the “tool” of Jews is quite simply preposterous.. Do you seriously believe that a bunch of smooth-talking Jews can come along and cause American presidents or heads of state anywhere to act against what they perceive as the best interests of their countries? You and I both know where such ideas come from.

      • Richard Falk November 4, 2018 at 1:26 am #

        If you really think your comments are so persuasive as to induce ‘fear’ on my part
        you are living with even greater delusions that I had supposed. Your arguments are so
        one-sided and off target that only someone sharing such an outlook could find them convincing,
        and those who disagree with you, would only wonder whether it was worth the effort to engage
        with someone so dogmatic and unyielding.
        Briefly, I have never suggested that American foreign policy is a product of Jews telling the
        president what to do. It is a matter, well documented, of pro-Israeli groups, not least of which
        are Christian Evangelists, who form special interest groups that exert pressure in a variety of
        ways, including via Congress, donations, etc.. AIPAC has been for years notorious for the influence
        it wields.
        What makes this influence so effective is the absence of any countervailing forces in American political
        life that back the Palestinian struggle. There is no political benefit for any political figure to fail
        to follow what Israel strongly advocates, and many heavy costs as politicians from Paul Findley to now
        have found out.
        It is true that after the Israeli military victory in the 1967 War the Pentagon did come to view Israel
        as a strategic asset in the region, and that this began to change the view of American national interests
        within an influential part of the bureaucracy.
        But to jump from there to the claim that American political leaders privately see American national interests
        served by promoting an Israeli-oriented foreign policy in the Middle East is to misunderstand the nature of
        American foreign policy, which is always an outcome of competing pressures and interests and values, and can
        never be essentialized as this or that as a totality.

      • Fred Skolnik November 4, 2018 at 1:24 am #

        If American policy makers did not believe that it was in America’s best interests to support Israel, it wouldn’t. I have explained why the United States believes it is in its best interests. The United States does nor require Israel, Jews or Christian Evangelists to tell it what radical Islam is or that Russian and Iranian hegemony in the Middle East is opposed to those interests. The United States also does not require Israel or Jews or Christian Evangelists to tell it that Hamas is a barbaric terrorist organization.

        To the extent that I am dognmatic and unyielding, you are no less so. My views, for you information, are quite moderate, so if you can’t “engage with me, whom can you engage with other than your admirers? There is nothing dogmatic or unyielding about characterizing the Gaza demonstrators as rioters or pointing out that 80% of those killed belonged to the terrorist organizations or that the security fence is there to prevent terrorists from blowing up Israeli women and children in buses and restaurants. Nor is there anything dogmatic or unyielding about the parameters of a settlement that I have more than once described.

      • Richard Falk November 4, 2018 at 3:01 am #

        Take a look at this, from a rather conservative American living in Paris, but having
        had a career in Riyadh as a lawyer, and then tell me if you think he is slandering Jews:

        Al Jazeera’s Investigation of the Israeli Lobby in the United States on behalf of John V. Whitbeck []ReplyReply AllForwardActions
        Sunday, November 04, 2018 5:14 AM
        TO: Distinguished Recipients
        FM: John Whitbeck

        Further to my message of November 2 on AL JAZEERA’s never-broadcast investigative report on the activities of the Israel Lobby in the United States, I particularly recommend watching episode 2, which focuses on how virtually all members of the U.S. Congress are either bought or frightened into putting the interests of a foreign country ahead of the interests of the United States.

        It is particularly worth noting that Kenneth Marcus, the professional Israel-First lobbyist who features prominently in the second part of episode 2 for his efforts to oppose the BDS movement and intimidate pro-Palestinian activism on American university campuses, has since this film was completed been nominated by Donald Trump as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, assuming this position in August.

        The appointment of Marcus to this position is a clear signal that the civil right to advocate for fundamental human rights for Palestinians will be vigorously suppressed under the Adelson/Trump regime.

        Watch the film the Israel lobby didn’t want you to see

        The Electronic Intifada has obtained a complete copy of The Lobby – USA, a four-part undercover investigation by Al Jazeera into Israel’s covert influence campaign in the United States.

        It is today publishing the first two episodes. The Paris-based Orient XXI has published the same episodes with French subtitles.

        The film was made by Al Jazeera during 2016 and was completed in October 2017.

        To get unprecedented access to the Israel lobby’s inner workings, undercover reporter “Tony” posed as a pro-Israel volunteer in Washington.

        The resulting film exposes the efforts of Israel and its lobbyists to spy on, smear and intimidate US citizens who support Palestinian human rights, especially BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

        It shows that Israel’s semi-covert black-ops government agency, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is operating this effort in collusion with an extensive network of US-based organizations.

        These include the Israel on Campus Coalition, The Israel Project and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

        – The Lobby – USA, episode 1

        – The Lobby – USA, episode 2

      • Fred Skolnik November 4, 2018 at 3:52 am #

        Of course Israel tries to get its point of view across and of course Israel regards individuals trying to undermine its existence as enemies and acts accordingly. What do you expect? American foreign policy and the American public have supported Israel from the beginning, for precisely all those reason that I enumerated. When America doesnt see things eye to eye with Israel, it acts as it sees fit. You have to be naive in the extreme to think otherwise. Trump did not move the U.S embassy to West Jerusalem or renew sanctions on Iran because the Israeli lobby bought congressmen.

      • Richard Falk November 4, 2018 at 12:12 pm #

        The point, which should not need repeating, is that when special interests are not
        balanced or neutralized by countervailing pressures, bad things happen, especially if
        tied to large donation. Not long before the Trump move of the embassy, the casino billionaire,
        Sheldon Adelson, called the White House and apparently said, “you are making fool out of me
        by not moving the embassy.” This is anecdote, but it is one of thousand, all pointing in the same

      • Fred Skolnik November 4, 2018 at 12:52 pm #

        Do you really not understand why America supports Israel? Reread what I wrote above. (“To make things perfectly clear …”) What can be more obvious?

  4. Kata Fisher November 1, 2018 at 10:01 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    This article is so inspiring – that everyone will be moved to do something meaningful with their life!

    The problem is that most folks that have what it takes for world-change are all up to neo-right deceptions. The other folks will not and would not budge their finger – unless God Himself told them otherwise … but seriously sho can hear from God. Thats just ancient Myth and Drama! If I cant hear ot or you cant hear it – it must be!

    I have to confess that in general – your articles to me are sooooo boring stuff 🙂

    I love this article is full of substance. I read it twice yesterday, and I am reading it again!


    The bitter truth is that world is accursed – and everyone has been and is getting what they have deserved.

    Hopefully there will be some equilibrium at sight. Then again, the hope is gone is when we know that chaos does not stop with accursed cults.

    The major problem is that illegitimate attempts to change human condition for better end up with more wicked and accursed cults that direct the change human condition. Its just absolutely insane that is so. Whats actual cause of that? What is it?

  5. Kata Fisher November 1, 2018 at 10:06 pm #

    Also, Professor Falk –
    One tiny after-thinking: The truth about tolerating a certain level of incivility means that you cant correct the wicked – by any means in a wicked culture and/or environment – is best to have wicked have their way – and by that alone they also be accursed.

    • Richard Falk November 2, 2018 at 12:16 am #

      You have an interesting observation, which I share. We need to tolerate a level of incivility
      to grasp the fuller nature of prevailing reality.

  6. Gene Schulman November 2, 2018 at 12:58 am #

    This might help those who think that the US is not under the Israeli influence to think again.

    At the same time, with all due respect Richard, how can you share and condone Kata’s weird curses? One should not tolerate incivility. That leads to horrors like Yemen, to name just the most recent.

    • Kata Fisher November 2, 2018 at 8:47 pm #

      Dear Gene, if there would be curse that humans could originate – there would be no consequence for any one – but those who originate it! That by which one has comes curse comes upon them – is as simple as that. That may be a bit strange. But, I am about to miss my chappel hang out … if I don’t stop to explain the difference. I must go. Hope you keep warm – it’s must be getting awfuly cold in Switzerland. Warm Greetings – K.F.

  7. ray032 November 5, 2018 at 7:24 am #

    I get e-mail notice of new articles in AL-MONITOR every Day. This one is interesting and this is only 1 line in it: After all, the only thing more dangerous to Netanyahu than getting tangled up in war, is getting tangled up in peace.”

    ‘Is Bibi’s restraint on Gaza a sea change, or last act before war?’

    “The leadership of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad announced Nov. 1 that they accept the understandings reached with Israel through Egyptian mediation: transitioning to nonviolent demonstrations along the fence while the siege of Gaza is eased,” reports Shlomi Eldar. “The joint announcement was made at the end of a meeting between the heads of the organizations (including Hamas’ military arm) at Hamas political bureau chief Ismael Haniyeh’s office in Gaza. The groups decided to give the plan a trial period of six months.”

    Both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have shown unusual restraint in recent weeks in order to prevent escalation of the conflict with Israel, distancing themselves from rocket attacks on Beersheba in southern Israel on Oct. 17. Rasha Abou Jalal reports that Hamas officials told Al-Monitor that those attacks were not planned in the “resistance factions’ joint operation room,” which is “designed to ensure that any retaliatory Palestinian military action against Israel is done jointly among the factions [Hamas and the Islamic Jihad], to identify the opportune time to carry out such an action, and to determine its magnitude based on that of the Israeli attacks.”

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s willingness to deal with Gaza has been a work in progress. Almost 10 years ago, “Netanyahu announced that if he was elected [as prime minister], he would order the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to invade Gaza, bring down the Hamas regime and destroy the terror nest that it has become,” writes Ben Caspit. “On Oct. 29, Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israel ‘has no interest in toppling the Hamas regime.’ The prime minister summoned political reporters and regaled them with a very detailed and convincing speech as to why Israel has no current interest in bringing down Hamas and would, therefore, make do with reaching an arrangement to keep Gaza from total collapse. The reasoning, in Netanyahu’s own words, was that the collapse of Gaza ‘would blow up in our faces.’ He then went on to blame Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the collapse of Gaza’s humanitarian infrastructures.”

    “The mini arrangement was initiated by Egypt after the chances of a broader arrangement were deemed to be nil,” writes Eldar. “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas categorically refuses to enter Gaza and take part in an arrangement despite the enormous efforts expended on it. Another of the obstacles to the arrangement is Hamas’ unwillingness to give up its demonstrations at the border, out of concern that if the arrangement doesn’t work they would be hard to restart.”

    “An additional obstacle to an arrangement that seems to have been solved is Israel’s refusal to allow the monthly transfer of $15 million in Qatari funding for the salaries of Hamas administration personnel,” adds Eldar. “Egypt promises that the money will be transferred to the civil administration of Hamas and not its military arm, though it’s unclear how it could be overseen, so Israel seems to be leaning toward withdrawing its objection.”

    “What is remarkable about this chaotic and unresolvable situation is the way that history has been turned upside down,” writes Caspit. “At about the same time that the prime minister was saying this, the PLO’s Central Committee meeting in Ramallah on Oct. 28 decided to call on Abbas to place recognition of Israel on hold along with any security coordination between the Palestinian forces, the IDF and Shin Bet. This call for measures expressed Abbas’ recent policy of ‘burning the house down.’ They leave him watching with nervous anticipation at Israel’s attempts to rescue Hamas, while he remains isolated in Ramallah.”

    What worries Netanyahu, adds Caspit, “is that if Abbas returns to Gaza and takes the reins of power from Hamas, he and the Israeli right will immediately lose their ultimate excuse, i.e., that negotiations have reached a deadlock. Suddenly, there would be a single, unified Palestinian partner in Gaza and the West Bank with whom Israel would be obliged to negotiate. That is the one possibility that Netanyahu will do everything he can to avoid. If he has to reach an ad hoc alliance with Hamas in order to achieve this, then he has no choice but to do so. After all, the only thing more dangerous to Netanyahu than getting tangled up in war is getting tangled up in peace.”………………………

    To read the rest Register for Free here:

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