Annapolis – Road to Nowhere (Great Article)

Zalman Shoval, JCPA

SUMMARY

* In the past, including under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, one often heard of concessions or compromises on the territories Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War referred to as painful. According to Sharon, Israel was to give up something that was ours, not return something to which we have no right.

* The Israeli government has in effect relented on the Roadmap demand that the Palestinians first stop all the violence and destroy the terrorist infrastructure. Yet if one should raise in this context the question of Israeli settlements, it will be difficult to convince most Israelis that building a house or a kindergarten should be equated with suicide bombings and the killing of women and children.

* In an unimplementable “shelf agreement,” Israel will be seen to have committed itself to certain far-reaching steps that it has not implemented. On the one hand, this will be seen as the starting point for any future negotiations, and on the other hand, it will invite increasing pressure on Israel, with the added element of ongoing terror.

* When Israel originally accepted the Roadmap, it was stipulated that there would be no negotiations on the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza (Phases 2 and 3) until the Palestinians first fulfill their security commitments in accordance with Phase 1. If those pre-conditions for negotiations from 2003 have already melted away four years later, then why shouldn’t Annapolis pre-conditions for implementation of the “shelf agreement” melt away four years from now?

* Wasn’t Annapolis touted primarily as a way to create an effective front against Iran? The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate published a few days after Annapolis made nonsense of that intention. In fact, one actually sees a rapprochement between Iran and those “moderate” Arab regimes, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

KEY SENTENCES

“Painful concessions”; Israel was to give up something that was ours, not return something to which we have no right. In contrast, the attitude of the current government has forgone with Israel’s basic moral, historic, or legal claims to the territories.

On the Israeli side, if you fine-tune what Mr. Olmert says, this means in effect: what I really need is the process, the talks, not necessarily the outcome, so that I can present myself to the public as the leader who has to be kept in power in order to give peace a chance.

…could indeed agree on a document which will include all sorts of references to some, though not all, of the so-called core issues, although almost nothing will or can be implemented.

..Israel should be extremely concerned that once it signs a “shelf agreement,” international pressures will grow for it to be implemented even before the Palestinians fulfill their Roadmap commitments in the area of security.

Moreover, the “shelf agreement” will already affect the situation on the ground even before it is implemented.

Israel already saw in the 1990s during the Oslo process that progress in the peace process did not automatically undercut the influence of Hamas and build up the strength of a moderate Fatah.

..de-facto peace can be achieved under certain circumstances, even on a long-term basis, without a final, comprehensive written agreement, and there have been examples of both all through history.

February 13, 2008 | Comments »

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