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November 30, 2002

The New Road Map

As you have read, Israel is not expected to respond to it until after the elections but the work on redefining it goes on. Sharon has given a qualified yes with reservations. For Israel to participate in such a road map would rival in stupidity its entering the Oslo Accords.

The actual text is set out below with my comments in bold, interspersed.
Communiqué issued by the Quartet

New York, 17 September 2002

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, High Representative for European Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, and European Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patten met today in New York.

Reaffirming their previous statements, the Quartet members reviewed developments since their last meeting, on July 16, 2002. They deplored and condemned the morally repugnant violence and terror, which must end. They agreed to intensify their efforts in support of their shared goal of achieving a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement based on their common vision, as inter alia expressed by President Bush, of two states, Israel and an independent, viable and democratic Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

Resolution 242 sanctioned Israel remaining in occupation until there was agreement as to secure and recognized borders. Oslo endorsed this resolution and created a political entity Palestinian Authority with whom to negotiate, but still no mention of a Palestinian State. After two years of Arab induced violence in breach of their commitments at Oslo, the New Road Map purports to grant them not only a state but an "independent, viable and democratic" state. "independent" means no limits to their sovereignty including no restrictions on their militarization or defense pacts with other Arab countries. "viable" means that their land must be contiguous and they must have water rights and full access to the Israeli economy. "Democratic" means whatever you want it to mean. We can't tell them how to govern themselves. It seems to me that the outcome has been predetermined by this innocuous preamble. Who says terrorism doesn't pay.

The Quartet will continue to encourage all parties to step up to their responsibilities to seek a just and comprehensive settlement to the conflict based on UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338, and 1397, the Madrid terms of reference, the principle of land for peace, and implementation of all existing agreements between the parties. The Quartet reaffirms the continuing importance of the initiative of Saudi Arabia, endorsed at the Arab League Beirut Summit, which is a vital part of the foundation of international efforts to promote a comprehensive peace on all tracks, including the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks.

The Quartet is working closely with the parties and consulting key regional actors on a concrete, three-phase implementation roadmap that could achieve a final settlement within three years. This will only happen if Israel is forced to capitulate and give the Arabs the '67 borders at a minimum and probably allow a token right of return. Comprehensive security performance is essential. The plan will not succeed unless it addresses political, economic, humanitarian, and institutional dimensions and should spell out reciprocal steps to be taken by the parties in each of its phases. In this approach, progress between the three phases would be strictly based on the parties' compliance with specific performance benchmarks to be monitored and assessed by the Quartet.

If it is performance based how can you have a meaningful timetable. Besides we can't trust the State Department to stand in judgement much less the Quartet.

The Quartet also supports, in preparation for establishment of a Palestinian state, efforts by the Palestinians to develop a constitution which ensures separation of power, transparency, accountability, and the vibrant political system which Palestinians deserve.

They may support it but what are they going to do about it.

The plan will contain in its initial phase (2002-first half of 2003) performance-based criteria for comprehensive security reform, Israeli withdrawals to their positions of September 28, 2000 as the security situation improves, and support for the Palestinians' holding of free, fair, and credible elections early in 2003, based on recommendations established by the Quartet's International Task Force on Palestinian Reform. The first phase should include a ministerial-level meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHL) to review the humanitarian situation and prospects for economic development in the West Bank and Gaza and identify priority areas for donor assistance, including to the reform process, before the end of the year. The Quartet Principals will meet alongside the AHLC ministerial.

This is ass backwards. Until such time as the Arabs actually suppress the terror even if it takes a civil war Israel shouldn't be asked to make concessions. This plan requires Israel concessions if there is a temporary reduction of terror. It does not provide for consequences if there is a breach. Essentially it tolerates terror and lawlessness because nobody can end it. All this in six months.

In the plan's second phase (2003), our efforts should focus on the option of creating a Palestinian state with provisional borders based upon a new constitution, as a way station to a permanent status settlement.

What the hell is a provisional state.

In its final phase (2004-5), the plan envisages Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at a permanent status solution in 2005.

How can you mandate when an agreement will be reached?

Consistent with the vision expressed by President Bush, this means that the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will be ended through a settlement negotiated between the parties and based on U.N. resolutions 242 and 338, with Israeli withdrawal to secure and recognized borders.

This is good but it has to compete with all the principles stated above. That's a huge reduction in their value.

The Quartet welcomes the Task Force's report on the progress of the seven Reform Support Groups, and notes that a number of significant achievements, especially in the area of financial reform, have been realized in a short period of time under very difficult circumstances. Under the aegis of the Quartet, the Task Force will continue its work of supporting the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority as they establish and prioritize reform benchmarks, particularly on the issues of elections, judicial reform, and the role of civil society.

Isn't that nice. They are going to work with them.

Both the reform effort and the political process must include Israeli measures, consistent with Israel's legitimate security concerns, to improve the lives of Palestinians, including allowing the resumption of normal economic activity, facilitating the movement of goods, people, and essential services and to lift curfew and closures.

Israel's "legitimate" security concerns are incompatible with "improving the lives of Palestinians." It should have put the onus on the Palestinians to address Israel's security needs before progress on the Palestinian improvement.

Consistent with transparent and accountable Palestinian budget arrangements, the Quartet welcomes Israel's decision to transfer part of the Palestinian VAT and customs revenue that has been withheld since September 2000, and calls on Israel to continue this process and re-establish regular monthly revenue transfers to the Palestinian Ministry of Finance. And consistent with the recommendations of the Mitchell Commission, Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop.

The Quartet welcomes the report of UN Secretary-General's Personal Humanitarian Envoy Catherine Bertini as well as the latest UNSCO report on the impact of closures. It calls on Israel and the Palestinians to recognize and act upon their respective responsibilities and to move quickly to ameliorate the sharply deteriorating humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza. In particular, Israel must ensure full, safe and unfettered access for international and humanitarian personnel.

Reiterating the critical importance of restoring lasting calm through comprehensive performance on security, the Quartet calls on the Palestinians to work with the U.S. and regional partners to reform the Palestinian security services, strengthen policing and law and order for the civilian population, and fight the terror that has severely undermined the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians. Israelis and Palestinians should re-establish security cooperation and reciprocal steps should be taken by Israel as the Palestinians work to combat terrorism in all its forms.

The methodologies used in this document are to have separate paragraphs that address what Israel needs and what the Palestinians want. Both of these things are incompatible and must be fought over. This document brings us no closer to a settlement but what it does do is enshrine additional principles in favour of the Arabs and at the expense of the Israelis. Mitchell gave more rights to the Palestinians then Oslo did. Now the road map is going much further still. It offers nothing to Israel. It just reiterates what Israel has long been entitled to, but it gives the Palestinians all kinds of new rights. It should be resisted in totality.

The Quartet will continue to discuss the timing and modalities of an international conference.

The Quartet also met and discussed these issues with the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, as representatives of the Arab League Follow-up Committee, and with representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Quartet looks forward to continuing consultations.

Pursuant to this road map which has yet to be agreed upon Israel is being asked or forced to turn over PA money and to concern itself with the poor Palestinians rather than their own security

Contributed by Ted Belman