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

May 28, 2003

FrontPageMag Symposium on Roadmap

In the excellent Symposiium on the lessons learned from Oslo in the drafting of the Roadmap, Khalid Turaani, executive director of American Muslims for Jerusalem made some outrages statements. My comments are in bold
What the road map failed to do is acknowledge the major asymmetry of power between Palestinians and Israelis - the occupied and the occupiers.
Facts are facts. Why should there be symmetry. Negotiations always reflect the relative strength of parties.
[...] has resulted in a road map that demands of the occupied Palestinians something Israel itself hasn't been able to do since its illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, reign in militant groups.
The Palestinians have never tried nor will they try. So its bogus to say they have been unable to do so. Futhermore, Israels presence in the territories is not illegal as he says. It is there as a result of a war of aggression started by the Arabs and because the UN said they could stay there until they had secure and recognized borders.
(Although the Roadmap provides for a viable state)But that emphasis is almost stripped of meaning when the conditions that would make the emergence of a viable Palestinian state possible are lacking.
I wish it were that simple. Israel has to worry that the Quartet will insist on it nevertheless, with the threat of sanctions.
The road map doesn't even take us back to the situation of Oslo. It accommodates Israeli demands for the final Palestinian state to be much smaller than the West Bank and Gaza - which is 22 percent of historic Palestine. And this is very dangerous, since Sharon's idea of a Palestinian state is disconnected Bantustans in no more than 42 percent of the West Bank and Gaza.
I have searched the Roadmap for hints of this "accomodation" but couldn't find any. It is true that Sharon is on record of working toward that end but I have no idea how he hopes to acheive it. The Roadmap doesn't provide for it. It does say that the final stage has to be freely negotiated between the parties. Nice talk. But I think Israel will not be permitted to insist on such borders.
The road map does not provide at all for reversing Israeli policy of a frenzied settlement drive during Oslo. [..]. It increased because of an Israeli policy designed to hinder any possibility of the emergence of a viable Palestinian state.
At least he didn't claim that settlements were illegal but he implied it. If his only complaint is that it was "frienzied", I can live with that. The faster the better. As for hindering the emergence of a viable state, Israel never had an obligation to agree to a state much less that it be viable. The Arabs always describe Israels demands or activities as hindering a solution but they leave themselves free to demand anything and everthing and to commit terrorist outrages and to vilify Israelis and Jews without that being considered as a hinderance.
One other issue that needs to be resolved if there is going to be peace between Israelis and Palestinians is the issue of the refugees. [..] It is only reasonable that Palestinians who were driven from their homes be allowed to return. If the Quartet wants to see real peace between Palestinians and Israelis, they should allow international law and human rights to play a bigger role in peace negotiations. Israel's "might is right" attitude is too destructive.
There it is again, without a return, no real peace.