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May 13, 2003

U.S. won't push peace map on Sharon

CAIRO — The Bush administration said yesterday that it will not insist that Israel formally accept the "road map" for peace in the Middle East, saying the initial steps it has taken "in effect" mark the beginning of the plan's implementation.

[...] Asked about Israel's refusal to endorse the road map, Mr. Powell said at a press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher: "It makes no difference whether you have the word 'accept' or not have the word 'accept.'

"What makes the difference is whether or not both sides find enough in common with the road map that they can begin the process of moving down this road."

[...] In Washington, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said the United States would not "negotiate" the terms of the peace plan, despite Israel's appeal for several specific changes.

"We are more than happy to hear the comments of the parties and, in fact, we are beginning to hear those comments," she said in an interview with Reuters news agency. "But the road map is simply a way to carry out the president's June 24 vision, and we don't want to spend time negotiating the road map."


Both Powell, in dismissing the need for acceptance and Rice in saying the Roadmap is just a path to the June speech, slough over a very important fact. Acceptance is everything . Without acceptance Israel is not bound by anything in it. They simply will take steps so long as it is in their interest to do so. They are not agreeing to anything or bound by anything. This, Powell and Rice are glossing over. That's what Powell was referring to many times in the past when he said that we should "focus on implementation".

The Whitehouse and probably Sharon knew that they wouldn't be required to accept it so it is really not necessary to ammend it. Looking back over a couple of my articles it seems that I was on to this.

On April 3, in my article Talk about Gobbledygook I wrote.
According to Reuters, Powell tells European leaders U.S. serious about 'road map'. But the article is so contradictory that it is incomprehensible.

Apparently Powell told the Europeans that the US could not impose the plan but also told them the United States intended to promote the plan "as it is" without amendments by either side.

But Powell added: "Please understand that it can't just be issued and magical things happen, and it's not going to be just imposed," said the senior official, who asked not to be named.

"It's going to take a heck of a lot of work to get the sides to implement the road map but President Bush has committed to work very hard," the official quoted Powell as saying.

"And we are ready to engage in a very, very comprehensive and forceful way," he told a news conference. He did not say whether the sides could amend the plan.

Now let me see. No one has yet said that we must accept it. Good. Also the fact that it won't be imposed is terrific. But apparently he believes that the US must do a lot of work to get both sides to implement it. What, pray tell, does that mean? How are they going to get Israel to implement it if it doesn't like it and if the Plan won't be imposed. Another question. What the hell is the Road Map. Is it just a set of principals that are not agreed to by the parties themselves. Or are they first going to force Israel to agree to it But they said they wouldn't force us. Very confusing
It seems it is no longer confusing and the fact we worried about Rice's hard line of no ammendments was also nothing to worry about, because acceptance wasn't going to be required.

In my article Release of the Roadmap, on April 21, I wrote;
Just what is the Road Map? Bush talks about "releasing it" but no one talks about what significance that such release would have, beyond the obvious, which is to say that it is an expression of principles agreed to by the Quartet. What happens if it is not agreed to by the parties to the conflict. Isn't it remarkable that there has been no discussion about both sides accepting it so that it binds them. (Remember how Oslo was formally accepted.) Or are they just to proceed along its paths without agreeing to it. The reason for this glaring absence is that the Quartet knows that neither side would get it through their governments, so it would be a non starter. Therefore, they have chosen to "release it without amendment". Since it hasn't been agreed to by the sides, it is irrelevant legally. So why all the fanfare?

It is expected and confirmed by both sides that they will proceed down its paths although not formally agreed to. This simply requires executive agreement and not parliamentary agreement.
It appears that I saw this coming.