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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

April 02, 2003

Reject the Road Map (Ted Belman)

Its worse than a Trojan horse, its a time bomb.

The rush to publish, or more accurately, to impose the Road Map is obscene and an act of desperation by the US.

Powell argued that by vanquishing Iraq, a dedicated enemy of Israel, Israel would feel more secure to make peace.

My G-d, the dust isn’t even settled yet. What kind of Iraq will come into being? Will it be controlled by America? If so, what ever happened to creating a democracy? Will it be a hotbed of terrorism with various factions fighting for power and to throw out the US? If America gets out, who will be in charge? Will the UN have a role? Will Egypt or Saudi Arabia be more or less stable? Will the threat of terrorism and support therefore, from Syria and Iran, be ended? Will Turkey and the Kurds be fighting? Will Iran be trying to curry favour with the Iraqi Shi’ites? Will Syria be looking to extend its influence in Iraq?

Any half brain would know, that at a minimum, one should wait for all this to settle down and be made clear before arguing Israel can proceed in confidence. The only reason this is being done is for America to do what all Arab regimes do, deflect criticism and attention to Israel.

The Road Map will prove Israel’s undoing. There is nothing good in it for Israel. No basis for hope.

Res 242 authorized Israel to remain in occupation until it had an agreement for secure and recognized borders. Some of the land was to go back to Jordan, Syria and Egypt. The Palestinians, let alone Palestine, were not even a concept.

Then came Oslo, unfortunately, brought upon Israel by its then government, which recognized the Palestinian Authority in exchange for commitments to foreswear violence and incitement. It proposed a negotiated settlement based on Res. 242. It did not prejudge borders and did not restrict settlement activity. Nor did it promise a Palestinian State at the end or the return of the refugees. The Palestinians never took their commitments seriously and neither did the governments of Israel or the US. Oslo proved to be a Trojan horse, as the Palestinians intended, which greatly weakened Israel.

Then came Mitchell who recommended that settlement activity stop notwithstanding that it wasn’t required by Oslo. It never got off the ground because the Palestinians wouldn’t stop the terror. Tenent tried to chart a course to effect Mitchell to no avail.

Then there was a chorus of voices, or should I say "vices", from Europe, claiming that the Palestinians had to be given hope and another chorus of vices demanding international observers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Europe was paving the way to get a better deal for the Palestinians then they had agreed to in Oslo. No one demanded that the Palestinians live up to their commitments given in Oslo.

Finally Bush cracked and in his June speech articulated a vision of a Palestinian State upon certain conditions being fulfilled. Israel accepted this vision because of the conditions imposed. The Quartet was formed in the belief that if everyone agreed on a solution beforehand, that the Palestinians and the Israelis, who could not do so themselves, would have to accept it. The Quartet then worked out a Road Map while the US was trying to get support from the other members of the Quartet for authority to make war on Iraq. Need I say more? The Road Map picks up on the two state solution and abandons all the conditions precedent to its creation set out by Bush, and imposes some of its own.

I could write another couple of pages to illustrate how bad it is for Israel. Suffice it so say that it castrates Israel. They are to be forced to accept a multilateral process at the expense of its own sovereignty. The Quartet will decide if the Palestinians are doing enough to end terror, on the right of return, on the rights of a Palestinian State, on where the borders are and what is to become of Jerusalem. I say this even when the Road Map provides that all issues are to be negotiated.

It is an unmitigated disaster for Israel. It is worse than a Trojan horse, it is a time bomb. Israel should stand its ground now and fight diplomatically before they are burdened with the implications of having accepted it. At the moment Israel has accepted the Bush vision of two states with all the preconditions. They should never accept any other guiding principle as presently in the Road Map, such as the Saudi Peace Plan, or that Israel must cooperate to make the state “viable”, or that the Quartet will decide anything. It is bad enough that they have accepted the vision of a two state solution. I would have preferred that only when borders are agreed upon, to Israel’s liking, would they agree to a state.

If Israel maintains its independence and sovereignty, what can the Quartet do? They can pass a resolution at the UN, perhaps even under Chapter 7, which makes it binding. But to do so requires Bush to take on Congress, the Senate and the Christian Coalition. Remember 71% of Americans according to the latest poll are against a Palestinian state being created. And Bush must do this as he approaches an election year. Even if such a resolution gets passed, Israel is better off than if it accepted it, save for the anger of Bush for having caused him, this fight. And maybe, just maybe, Bush will be happy that he pleased the Arabs and the EU by publishing the Road Map while at the same time having it rejected by Israel. Bush could even go so far as to collect more brownie points with the Arabs for pressing Israel to accept it, even if it doesn’t.

I can dream, can’t I?