Thursday, November 8, 2007

Israel Just says NO to a Just Peace - Part 4 - The Words say "Peace" but the actions say "No Just Peace"

The Words say “Peace” but the Actions say “No Just Peace.”

Dateline Boston, MA - November 8, 2007

Included in this post are excerpts from two articles in today's Boston Globe.

Here is the first.

A Legacy of Peacemaking by Nadav Tamir, the Israeli consul general in Boston.

On Sunday, the State of Israel celebrated the life and work of former prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated 12 years ago. In the context of the new opportunities emerging in the Middle East, Rabin's legacy will get one more chance to shine in the upcoming peace conference in Annapolis, Md. Rabin created the foundations for the two-state solution - Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace and security - as the only means to end the conflict and the only future for the vision of Israel as a Jewish democracy. Within Israel, an overwhelming majority of the population supports this initiative. So does the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert views the current Palestinian government under Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad as the best partner Israel has ever had for the creation of a political horizon that would foster peace between Palestinians and Israelis. In the Israeli leadership's estimation, Abbas and Fayyad understand that the Palestinian people will not achieve their deserved right to statehood through indiscriminate violence and terror, but rather through negotiations. They understand that the one-state solution is rhetoric used by extremists on both sides who seek to dominate the other and do not accept the right to self-determination. .... In Israel, there is a deep anxiety that high expectations and lack of sufficient preparation to address the most sensitive issues will lead to another tragedy like we faced after Camp David in 2000, when the collapse of peace talks led to egregious violence. However, the status quo is neither attractive nor sustainable, and we must not allow these obstacles to hinder us from cultivating peace. We have to make progress while managing expectations. The Annapolis conference can be a new energizing beginning toward peace, even if it can't be the happy ending to the conflict.... As usual, in the Middle East there are those who would go to any length to destroy this peace initiative. Iran and its proxies are concerned that positive developments would prevent them from exporting the Islamic revolution throughout the region. This is no longer an issue of being pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli, but rather a confrontation between those who support peace and those who prefer chaos and bloodshed....The words of the song sung by Rabin just a few minutes before he was shot in a peace rally in Tel Aviv echo strongly today: "Let your eyes look up with hope, not through a rifle sight. Sing a song, a song for love, not for another fight. Don't tell me 'the day will come'; work for it without cease. Inside every city square let out a cheer for peace!" We have to make an effort to clear the entrenched cynicism in the region, so that people in the Middle East will be able to sing this song once again and "give peace a chance" without sounding trite.

Here is the usual “We Strive for Peace” public relations piece by a representative of the Government of Israel who talks of peace in soaring beautiful phrases. He says, as usual, that the people of Israel want peace, that Abbas is (for the moment) a “partner for peace” and that all that seems to stand in the way is the Palestinians realizing that they “will not achieve their deserved right to statehood through indiscriminate violence and terror, but rather through negotiations”.

That’s all there is, isn’t it? Just make sure that those Palestinians stop being so upset at the current situation and there will be peace.

“As usual, in the Middle East there are those who would go to any length to destroy this peace initiative.”
What are the terms of “peace initiative”, Mr. Tamir, that the Government of Israel is striving for and that the people of Israel support? Is it one where the illegal settlements will be closed? Is it one where the borders will be the Green Line? Is it one where there will be final resolution of Jerusalem, the status of the refugees, water resources and security for both states?

And when is this supposed to happen? You mention your concern about the lack of adequate preparation but that Rabin’s legacy will get another chance to shine at the upcoming (?) peace conference.

Did you forget to mention that news reports seem to indicate that there has been any good faith preparation on the part of the Government of Israel leading up to this possible conference? The Government of Israel is the one that wants a “vague” statement and the Palestinians want a detailed statement with timelines for making a deal.

Is it really Iran that is standing in the way of peace?

As I read the other news story about this conflict in the paper today, I continue to believe, as I have for many years, that the Government of Israel is the party standing in the way of a just peace.

Remember the Road Map? The fundamental flaw in the road map was that at the end of two years, the parties would only then negotiate the terms of a final settlement. However, the Road Map was “agreed to”, the “quartet” was established and implementation began.

What was supposed to happen in Phase I (when an agreement is really important does the US Department of State always use Roman numerals rather than Arabic – hmmmm???!!!)

In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below; such action should be accompanied by supportive measures undertaken by Israel. Palestinians and Israelis resume security cooperation based on the Tenet work plan to end violence, terrorism, and incitement through restructured and effective Palestinian security services. Palestinians undertake comprehensive political reform in preparation for statehood, including drafting a Palestinian constitution, and free, fair and open elections upon the basis of those measures. Israel takes all necessary steps to help normalize Palestinian life. Israel withdraws from Palestinian areas occupied from September 28, 2000 and the two sides restore the status quo that existed at that time, as security performance and cooperation progress. Israel also freezes all settlement activity, consistent with the Mitchell report.
So tell me about the Government of Israel’s efforts to comply with the terms of Phase I.

What about those free, fair and open elections that the Palestinians had. Tell me about how the Government of Israel and the quartet supported this road map provision and the effort to establish a democracy in a future Palestinian state.

Oh, I almost forgot. How about this last sentence?

“Israel also freezes all settlement activity, consistent with the Mitchell report.”

In case you have forgotten the Mitchell Report, here is what it said about the settlements in 2001:

“Settlements: The GOI also has a responsibility to help rebuild confidence. A cessation of Palestinian-Israeli violence will be particularly hard to sustain unless the GOI freezes all settlement construction activity. Settlement activities must not be allowed to undermine the restoration of calm and the resumption of negotiations.”
And now ………drum roll, please…… the other article in the paper today.

Israelis still expanding settlements, report says – by Richard Boudreaux, Los Angeles Times November 8, 2007

JERUSALEM - Israel is enlarging 88 of its 122 West Bank settlements despite an agreement to halt the spread of Jewish communities in Palestinian territory, the watchdog group Peace Now said yesterday. …. A report by the group, which documented the construction of homes with aerial photography and on-site visits,
intensified the debate here over a key issue for the US-sponsored peace summit planned for later this year. Israel wants to keep large blocs of settlements in a final peace accord, while the Palestinians demand the entire West Bank for a future state. Under a 2003 US-backed plan known as the road map, Israel agreed to stop the growth of settlements as a first step toward talks on borders. …Neither the Israeli government nor Yesha, the settler movement, disputed the report.
So, again, according to Mr. Tamir:

“They understand that the one-state solution is rhetoric used by extremists on both sides who seek to dominate the other and do not accept the right to self-determination.”
Even I get weary listening to myself babbling the same thing all the time; i.e., The continued support for 40 years for the illegal transfer of Jewish Israelis into settlements in the West Bank and their expansion is THE obstacle to a viable two state solution. The Government of Israel’s continued refusal to comply with an agreement that it would even freeze the expansion is evidence that it has NO plan to agree to dismantle settlements. Based on the “facts on the ground” today, there no just peace just “pieces’ of land for the Palestinians, a situation that, hopefully, no one, no government, no world opinion would recognize as anything other than a permanent apartheid.

Therefore, isn't it the Government of Israel who is forging ahead on a determined plan that has only one realistic option – a one state solution.

The rhetoric of extremists, huh?
“Give peace a chance”

Give me a break!!

The words of the Government of Israel say “peace” but its actions say “no just peace.”

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