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

April 23, 2003

Travelling the Road Map to a Dead End

Reading the road map, By Barry Rubin
The European interpretation, which no doubt is shared by the Palestinians, can be basically summarized as saying that the road map sets a schedule for creating a Palestinian state in the next three years no matter what happens.

The US interpretation, which is closer to but not identical with the Israeli view is that the Palestinians are offered a state within a reasonable time frame but can only achieve it by making a satisfactory deal with Israel. This requires them, first, to prove their readiness and ability to end the current violence, followed by a peace treaty resolving all the issues.

There is no doubt that the US standpoint is going to triumph in the actual application of this plan. Therefore, the road map is not a threat to legitimate Israeli interests.
According to DebkaFile,
Contrary to some media reports, the policy-makers of the Bush administration are very simply not all that interested in being directly involved in the new Palestinian government or even the “road map” drawn up by the Middle East Quartet. Some Israelis present the road map as Washington’s vehicle for buying its way back into the good graces of the Arabs, the Europeans and the United Nations, after occupying Iraq.

DEBKAfile’s Washington sources say the Bush administration has a quite different use for the “road map”, namely, to demonstrate that reaching Baghdad was not the be-all and end-all of America’s strategy, but a move in the larger design for reshaping the Middle East – and not only by military means. An example of America’s non-military options for achieving change would be the “road map”.

At the same time, Bush and his advisers are under no illusion about the malign nature of Arafat, Abu Mazen’s ability to stamp out the terror he perpetuates, or Mohamed Dahlans’ intentions. Washington means to avail itself of the “road map” as a device for charting its next steps in Iraq and in relation to Syria. It will be kept handy for future actions in the Middle East against the Hizballah, the Jihad Islami, the Hamas and other Palestinian groups.
There's hope for us yet.