Israels køreplan

Haaretz

Israels køreplan

Sharon har brug for velvilje og store lån fra USA i den kommende tid. Det kræver til gengæld en vis imødekommenhed overfor USA´s ideer om fredsforhandlinger. Akivar Eldar analyserer Israels ønsker og strategi i forhold til den såkaldte Køreplan (The Road Map)

Meridor’s mission

(Uddrag af artiklen “People and Politics / ‘On the Road Map,’ with

Meridor as Shimon Peres” i Ha´aretz d. 30.1.2003)

It’s no accident Sharon chose Dan Meridor, of all people, to shape the prime minister’s “peace plan.” Meridor, a returning resident of the Likud who will be left out of the Knesset when it reconvenes, has been asked to prepare the plan, and not, as is much more usual and conventional, the foreign minister, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The messenger, in this case, is part of the message the prime minister wanted to send to both the Americans and the Labor Party.

Meridor, who took part in Camp David II, is considered the signpost of the left in the Likud. He is a passionate supporter of dismantling isolated settlements and the establishment of a genuine Palestinian state in all the territories, except for “settlement blocs” that will be annexed to Israel.

Meridor explains that he joined the government after he was persuaded that Sharon seriously means to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, based on the establishment of an independent state. But in private conversations, Meridor is saying he is not sure the “peace plan” is serious or another Sharon attempt to gain time – and a few billion in guarantees.

Either way, Meridor, as usual, takes his mission seriously. It will be interesting to see how he behaves if it turns out Sharon is doing to him what he used to do to Shimon Peres. Will Meridor agree, as Peres did, to serve as Sharon’s fig leaf?

Meridor’s mission will be to custom tailor the Quartet’s “Road Map” of December 20, 2002, to fit the size of President Bush’s June 24, 2002 speech.

One attempt to fix the map according to Bush’s speech has already failed miserably. An examination of the corrections Israel proposed to the Quartet ahead of the meeting with Bush last month can explain why all four members of the forum, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, rejected nearly all of the Israeli proposals.

Neither the Quartet nor Sharon is known to have changed views since. When the day comes, apparently after the war in Iraq, Bush will have to decide with whom he’d prefer to clash – with Sharon and the Jewish community, which could affect his political stability, or the Quartet and the Arab world, which could influence the stability of the Middle East.

Here are the main elements of the “Road Map – Israeli remarks” with interpretative commentary:

“Progressing in stages and conditional transition from phase to phase based on performance rather than timetables: the implementation of the governmental reforms that will lead to the replacement of the current Palestinian Leadership with a `new and different leadership.’

This means that Sharon is holding Bush to his word about the removal of Arafat as a precondition, which does not require any reciprocal Israeli move, not even a temporary freeze on the construction of one illegal outpost. Even among official Israeli experts in assessing the Palestinian side, it’s hard to find a single expert who believes in the chance of finding any Palestinian personage or organization with any prestige at all, who would lend a hand to removing Arafat as long as the IDF makes itself at home in the Palestinian cities of the West Bank.

The demand to start with a replacement of the leadership with a new leadership, as a precondition for any progress on the rest of the plan, blatantly contradicts the article concerning the elections (according to Israel, the elections are only for parliament), in which Israel raises the demand “the date of elections should be determined on the basis of the security reality and the progress in the reform process. These factors will be measured according to performance and not a timetable, in order that they may serve as basis for the founding of new institutions.”

How can the leadership be changed in the first stage, when the elections only take place later? Is Israel calling for a putsch against an elected leader – Arafat?

“The success of the president’s plan is predicated on the basic assumption that a pre-condition for any progress is cessation of violence, terrorism, and incitement … According to the draft of the road map, the Palestinians are only required to call for an end to the violence `at the first stage.’ This is unsatisfactory. At this stage, the Palestinians must make maximum effort to end the terror and violence and not settle for mere declarations. The IDF redeployment is conditional on the implementation of real security reform, in order that authorities may be transferred to an appropriate Palestinian security mechanism, which has undergone reforms.The reform is part of the security work-plan – the Tenet plan, as translated by General Zinni into operational terms … including a chain of preventive steps (intelligence gathering, arrests, interrogations, prosecution, punishment).

Interpretation: In the scenarios prepared by the IDF Research Department there is not a single one that describes a situation in which the Palestinian Authority, or any other security body, takes over the security authority and arrests “wanted men” while the IDF is deplyed in the territories and the settlers are free to build new outposts. This Israeli correction to the road map should be read in the context of another reservation expressed in the document: Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens. Israel cannot make a commitment to refrain from taking action in certain areas (including `civilian areas’) which serve as `hotbeds’ for terrorist activities against Israelis.

“We believe that the U.S. has a dominant and leading role in this process and accordingly the supervision mechanism should be led by the Americans. Furthermore, we must agree on the nature of the supervision mechanism. It is essential that it include clear and specific subjects, that the supervision mandate be limited in time and that the members will be experts only. The Quartet may assist the process by supporting the American effort, but it cannot judge on issues such as determining goals for progress, judging on the transition from one phase to the next or addressing security issues.”

In other words, Israel reserves the right to monitor the monitors, supervise the supervisors, inspect the inspectors, and especially to make sure they don’t stick their noses into the outposts.

“Israel is taking action to alleviate the plight of the Palestinian population,m regardless of the Bertini Report, which includes several recommendations that are unacceptable to Israel. Israel is making a great effort to advance the Palestinian economy, including permiting employment in Israel, at a significant risk to security. Israel has also acted ti improve the working conditions of the international humanitarian organizations operating in PA territories, and to preserve the essential PA civilian systems … It should be made clear that a significant improvement in the condition of the Palestinian population will only be possible after a significant improvement in the security situation.”

Any interpretation or commentary will only belittle the overwhelming data about the extent of malnutrition, unemployment, and destruction in the territories.

“We must be precise and adhere to President Bush’s statement `a Palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional’ rather than a `state with provisional borders’ as appears in the road map. Territorial agreements for this state should be a combination of territorial and transportation contiguity … this state, if established, should be the product of a detailed agreement with Israel and not merely the product of understandings.”

This is the article that exposes Sharon’s vision of Palestine: a series of cantons connected by bridges and tunnels, which looks a lot better when it’s described as “transportation contiguity.”

“The purpose of the road map should be an end to the conflict, an end to the claims and the achievement of a durable peace agreement, rather than an end to the `occupation,’ as presented in the draft submitted to us.”

Read this article along side the one about the settlements, which says “`additional action’ regarding the settlements will be discussed in the framework of the permanent status negotiations, which will determine the fate of the settlements.” It is possible to understand from this that the Israeli government does not regard the West Bank and Gaza as occupied territories and therefore Israel’s right to settle there is on par with the Palestinian right.

“The demand to reopen institutions in Jerusalem is unacceptable. In any event, issues relating to Jerusalem will be discussed in the framework of the final stage negotiations.”

This means the Palestinians are required to give back to Israel the letter of commitment given to them by the foreign minister of Israel, Shimon Peres, about the activity of their institutions in East Jerusalem.

If Meridor manages to bridge even a few of these items, Peres will have to pay him with something more than the ribbon and medallion that Peres received as the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

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