Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

President Bush Presses The Palestine Panic Button

[PublishedJuly 2007]

President George Bush is having a panic attack as his five year old vision of implanting an Arab state between Israel and Jordan in 6% of historic Palestine - the Bush Dream - has turned into a nightmare.

The President has been exposed as totally powerless and lacking in influence to resolve what seemed to him to be so readily achievable in 2002.

The Bush Dream has yet to get off the ground in the slightest detail and still remains only a distant mirage on the political horizon despite intense diplomacy over the last four years by America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - the Quartet - to transform it into a reality.

A desperate President Bush has now fallen back on three old chestnuts - an international conference, providing lots of weapons and throwing $190 million at the problem - in a last ditch effort to salvage something from the wreckage of his Middle East policy that is in tatters and utter disarray

The recipient of this largesse is Palestinian Authority President and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas who has been unceremoniously and ignominiously removed from control of Gaza and its 1.5 million inhabitants and who has no power to make any agreement with Israel that can possibly bind the Arab residents of the West Bank and Gaza.

President Bush is simply wasting his time and needlessly squandering his country's resources in thinking that Mr Abbas can ever deliver on the Bush Dream for the following further reasons:

1. No meaningful negotiations can even begin until the repeal of those provisions of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Covenant which

(a) call for the State of Israel to be eliminated by armed military struggle and

(b) deny the legality of existing international agreements in relation to the former territory of Palestine - including the Mandate for Palestine, article 80 of the United Nations Charter and Security Council Resolution 242.

These provisions in the PLO Covenant are the very antithesis of the Bush Dream.

Creating a climate conducive to a peaceful resolution of the conflict can only be achieved by first erasing these offensive provisions.

President Bush has erred badly in not conditioning his further diplomatic and financial support on these provisions being immediately repealed.

2. President Bush's latest statement makes it clear that any negotiations "must lead to a territorial settlement with mutually agreed borders reflecting previous lines and current realities, and mutually agreed adjustments."

However Mr Abbas is unwilling to concede one square metre of the West Bank to Israel and requires Israel to withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines -a sure fire recipe for sinking any negotiations.

How can the Bush Dream ever eventuate given this totally uncompromising stance by Mr Abbas?

Furthermore "the current realities" are that

(a) Mr Abbas is demanding that 450000 Jews be uprooted from their existing homes for the Bush Dream to come to fruition.

(b) Mr Bush has already signalled this is not acceptable in a letter dated 14 April 2004 to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declaring:.

"In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities. "

How then can President Bush contemplate the successful conclusion of a final status agreement to which Mr Abbas is a party given his intransigent stance on these basic issues?

3. Remarkably Mr. Bush's latest statement makes no mention of a very sensitive issue - the demand by Mr Abbas that millions of Arabs be allowed to go and live in Israel. Mr Abbas has never indicated the slightest interest in modifying this demand - which is totally unacceptable to Israel.

However President Bush's letter to Mr Sharon makes America's position very clear:

" It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel."

This is a deal breaker on its own. No wonder President Bush seeks to gloss it over. His reticence indicates an unwillingness by him to come to grips with recognising that further negotiations with Mr Abbas are doomed before they begin.

The Bush Dream - as well intentioned and heartfelt as it was when it was first proposed in 2002 - has failed and has now joined many other similar proposals that have fallen by the wayside over the last 70 years.

Prolonging the agony and raising false expectations can only be the end result of this latest effort to resuscitate a process that has realistically never had a chance of succeeding since it was first announced.

The adage - "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" - succinctly describes President Bush's failure to get the Arabs to genuinely negotiate with Israel in resolving the Arab-Jewish conflict. He joins many other famous statesmen and diplomats whose efforts went unrewarded for the same reason.

Better he wakes up to the reality now than suffer the indignity of further rebuffs.

Humility is far preferable to humiliation - and there is plenty of that in store for President Bush if he continues down the road to nowhere.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Quartet Quartered, Road Map Thwarted, Palestine Aborted

[Published July 2007]

The Quartet’s Road Map has failed according to the ten foreign ministers of the European Union’s Mediterranean States - Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain, France, Greece, Italy , Malta, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia - (“the Mediterranean Ten”).

In an open letter to the Quartet’s new negotiating supremo Tony Blair, they state unequivocally and without any diplomatic nuances :

“Topping this analysis - we might as well admit it straight away - is the recognition of a shared failure we can no longer ignore: the “road map” has failed. The status quo which has prevailed since 2000 is leading nowhere, as we know.”

[ ]

This unusually frank admission heralds the end of the European Union’s involvement with America, Russia and the United Nations in the Road Map jointly sponsored by the four of them in 2003.

Four years of intense international diplomacy in the Middle East by the world‘s most powerful negotiating team ever assembled to achieve what the Mediterranean Ten call “an idea“ - the creation of a new Arab state between Israel and Jordan in 6% of historic Palestine - has finally been recognised as a total waste of time and effort.

This idea has never really progressed beyond an idea since its conception 70 years ago - due to continuing Arab intransigence at every point of time that it has been proposed.

But undaunted by this spectacular failure, the Mediterranean Ten have not yet given up on making this idea a reality.

They now hope to get there by laying down four “revised objectives” in a new European Union Road Map that are totally impossible to achieve - and which guarantee that this latest version will also be shredded into the waste paper basket like its many predecessors.

These four revised objectives include:

1. Negotiations without prerequisites on the final status, embracing such issues as refugees and borders.

What is there to negotiate about ?

On refugees, - the Palestinian Authority will not and cannot agree to compromise its demand that millions of Arabs be allowed to go and live in Israel. It would be dead in the water if it did.

On borders - the Palestinian Authority wants every square metre of the West Bank and Gaza - having rejected an offer of 92% in 2000. Do the Mediterranean Ten really believe the Authority would be prepared to accept less than 100 % after years of international arm twisting has failed to get it to moderate its demand?

2. Consider sending in a “robust international force”

Even the Mediterranean Ten acknowledge the risks are high and that this objective is predicated on the condition that “it must operate alongside a peace plan without taking its place…”

How can a peace plan ever emerge if the first objective hits a brick wall?

3. Get Israel to help Mahmoud Abbas by releasing the thousands of prisoners without blood on their hands, and by freezing Israel’s settlement policy.

The Mediterranean Ten are surely on the road to dreamland - displaying naiveté and stupidity that should forever disqualify them from holding their positions as Foreign Ministers for their respective countries.

Are they unaware of the damage, carnage and havoc that can be wreaked by just one of these convicted terrorists successfully making it through Israel’s tight defences next time? Are they blind to what has happened in America, Iraq, Afghanistan, Spain, Bali, England and Scotland?

And the Mediterranean Ten still seek to maintain the Quartet’s racist and discriminatory policy to halt Jews populating and copulating in the West Bank. What international outcry would there be if the Mediterranean Ten suggested Arab residents similarly refrain?

4. Don’t push Hamas to up the stakes - reopen the border between Gaza and Israel.

In other words - reward terrorism and rejectionism, open the gates to enemies who are sworn to wipe you off the earth and are not prepared to change their mindset.

Incredibly the Mediterranean Ten believe these four objectives are within their grasp. Their arrogance and dictatorial attitude display a total lack of understanding of what the conflict is really about.

Seven of these ten Mediterranean countries were members of the League of Nations which in 1922 unanimously endorsed the creation of the territory of Palestine with defined borders for the first time in history - and voted in favour of the Jews being granted the right to reconstitute their national home there.

They were also parties in agreeing to postpone or withhold the right of the Jews to live in 77% of Palestine just less than two months later to appease Arab demands - which ultimately led to an independent Palestinian Arab State being created in that area in 1946 that is today called Jordan.

Are their Foreign Offices ignorant of their countries’ acquiescence in this process?

Do they seriously believe the idea of a State between Israel and Jordan is ever likely to happen after 70 years of trying have resulted in abject failure every time?

The Mediterranean Ten need to understand that the real key to resolving this conflict is two states - not three states - in former Palestine - one for the Arabs, one for the Jews.

This can be achieved by redrawing the boundary between Israel and Jordan so as to divide sovereignty in the West Bank between them.

This will give the Jews about 20% of historic Palestine and the Arabs about 80% of historic Palestine.

This solution will not require any negotiations on the four objectives proposed by the Mediterranean Ten.

This is an idea that can quickly become an achievable reality. Anything else is surely certain to fail.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Israel's Illusion - Fatah Feted Is Hamas Hated

[Published July 2007]

Israel's unilateral decision to release 250 Fatah terrorists from Israeli jails continues the insane policy of appeasement adopted by successive Israeli Governments since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.

This latest decision coupled with unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon in 2000, Gaza in 2005 and the unilateral release of another 500 terrorists in February 2005 sends a clear message to its Arab enemies - that terrorism coupled with no compromise and no meaningful negotiations is bringing concrete and tangible benefits towards the ultimate goal of wiping Israel off the face of the earth.

The decision to release these 250 terrorists was taken in obscene haste since their names and the crimes they committed were not even known to the Israeli cabinet when it made its astounding decision.

Israel is no Guantanamo Bay - all those to be released have been tried sentenced and convicted by due legal process.

The Israeli Cabinet was only told that those to be released did not have "blood on their hands". That they had "blood on their minds" - and still no doubt harbour the same thoughts now - apparently was a matter of complete indifference to the Israeli Government.

Coupled with this release was the release and return of four terrorists "with blood on their hands" to Jordan - a state with whom Israel has diplomatic relations. They are to serve out in Jordan a ridiculously short period of only 18 more months of their life sentences for murder for which they were convicted by Israel.

As controversial and shocking as this decision was, at least it could be argued that Israel was releasing them in the national interest of forging better relations with an Arab State with whom it has a signed peace treaty.

But the rationale offered by Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for the release of the 250 Fatah terrorists makes amazing reading:

"We want to make use of all means to strengthen moderate forces within the Palestinian Authority, and to encourage them to follow the path that we believe can create conditions for real talks" [Israelinsider - 8 July 2007]

The "moderate forces" are Fatah - an organisation committed to Israel's destruction in stages - as contrasted to the "extremist forces" namely Hamas - an organisation committed to Israel's destruction in one fell swoop.

Some option for Israel to choose - death by one blow or by a thousand cuts. Why choose either?

Does Mr Olmert not understand that contrary to strengthening Fatah, this decision will only encourage Hamas to keep undermining Fatah in an attempt to coerce Israel into releasing even more terrorists to continue propping up Fatah?

Are we now going to see an "unending cycle of terrorist releases" in response to an "unending undermining of the moderates"?

The path that Mr Olmert believes the moderates will now be encouraged to follow to create conditions for "real talks" was articulated by Mr Olmert at the meeting he held at Sharm El Sheikh with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah and Mahmoud Abbas on 25 June:

"We recognize the new government in the Palestinian Authority, which recognizes Israel's right to exist and a solution of two states for two peoples. It is ready to implement the agreements signed, renounces terror and violence as a means and a goal, and has no members of terrorist organizations. We will work together to implement the Roadmap and advance the goals set out therein."

The new Government in the Palestinian Authority recognises Israel's right to exist and renounces terror and violence as a goal? Has it taken any steps to revoke the Palestine Liberation Organisation Charter that calls for Israel's annihilation and armed struggle as the only way to liberate Palestine? Has it done anything to stop the virulent hatred of Jews endemic in its educational system, its newspapers and television programming?

The Palestinian Authority recognises the two state solution ? Well maybe - if that two state solution results in a Jew free state between Israel and Jordan and the entry into Israel of millions of Arabs. This recipe for Israel's suicide is one that even Mr. Olmert cannot accept and Mr Abbas can never compromise on. It is and always has been a non-starter since it was first proposed by Yasser Arafat 33 years ago.

The only real two state solution involves the division of the West Bank between Jordan and Israel - the two successor states in former Palestine. That's what "two states for two peoples" - the Jews and the Arabs - surely means.

Implementing the Road Map is surely fanciful from anyone's perspective. It has failed to get off the ground after four years of prodding and cajoling by its sponsors America, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - surely the most powerful group of "enforcers" ever assembled. It has been rejected by the Arab League whose members are now urging negotiations based on their own five year old plan that would have even harsher consequences for, and has already been rejected by, Israel.

Mr Olmert said of his decision to release those 250 terrorists:

"I think that this gesture is a fitting one, and not a product of some illusion" [Israelinsider - 8 July2007]

"Fitting"? - the unconditional release of 250 convicted and sworn enemies of Israel and a brutal slap in the face for the Israeli Defence Forces, police and security services who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect ordinary Israeli civilians from these would be mass murderers?

"Not the product of some illusion"? - believing that any unilateral compromise ever has or ever will bring any meaningful concession from the Palestinian Authority?

Call it an illusion, a mirage, an aberration - Olmert's poor political judgement has once again caused serious harm to Israel's national interest and any prospect for a resolution of the Arab- Jewish conflict.