Response to the peace process in the middle east


Just to try and balance Eyals rather one sided view of the 'generous' concessions made by Israel. An analysis of the Israeli proposals of December 2000 published by the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) concluded that Israel: 1. only proposed to relinquish control over between 77.5-81 percent of the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem, which most likely included Israel's retaining of the Jordan Valley. 2. wanted sovereignty over one-third of occupied East Jerusalem and all of West Jerusalem. 3. wanted control of the third holiest site in Islam, al-Haram al-Sharif (which Israel refers to as the 'Temple Mount'), where "Israel, incredibly, also demanded Palestinian agreement to the construction of a synagogue." Noam Chomsky writes "The intended result is that an eventual Palestinian state would consist of four cantons on the West Bank: Jericho, the southern canton extending as far as Abu Dis (the new Arab "Jerusalem"), a northern canton including the Palestinian cities of Nablus, Jenin, and Tulkarm, and a central canton including Ramallah. The cantons are completely surrounded by territory to be annexed to Israel. The areas of Palestinian population concentration are to be under Palestinian administration, an adaptation of the traditional colonial pattern that is the only sensible outcome as far as Israel and the US are concerned. The plans for the Gaza Strip, a fifth canton, are uncertain: Israel might relinquish it, or might maintain the southern coastal region and another salient virtually dividing the Strip below Gaza City." Guardian newspaper on 14 April 2001, diplomatic editor Ewen MacAskill wrote: "The Israelis portrayed it as the Palestinians receiving 96% of the West Bank. But the figure is misleading. The Israelis did not include parts of the West Bank they had already appropriated. The Palestine that would have emerged from such a settlement would not have been viable. It would have been in about half-a-dozen chunks, with huge Jewish settlements in between - a Middle East Bantustan. The Israeli army would also have retained the proposed Palestinian state's eastern border, the Jordan valley, for six to 10 years and, more significantly, another strip along the Dead Sea coast for an unspecified period: so much for being an independent state. " At a 6 April 2001 Center briefing for the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine in Washington D.C., Omar Dajani, Amjad Atallah and Nisreen Haj-Ahmad -- legal advisors to the Palestinian Negotiation Support Unit -- challenged the popular perception of Barak's offer. "The Palestinians' shortage of water resources and agricultural land was neglected by Barak's proposals. Annexation of "large swaths of the territory" over the Western Aquifer would increase Israel's proportion of water under international law, thus reducing the Palestinians'. This aquifer primarily lies under West Bank land and is the "best" and "most abundant" Palestinian water source. As for their agricultural needs, the only area left for development is the Jordan Valley, which Israel sought to keep under long-term lease. On the topic of independence, the Palestinians asked Israel to "cede overriding authority" over air, water, and other key issues, to them. Israel was willing to recognize Palestinian "sovereignty" in these areas, but wanted to maintain overriding control." So, to sum up the above points, Israel's proposal divided Palestine into four separate cantons surrounded by Israel: the Northern West Bank, the Central West Bank, the Southern West Bank and Gaza. Going from any one area to another would require crossing Israeli sovereign territory and consequently subject movement of Palestinians within their own country to Israeli control. Not only would such restrictions apply to the movement of people, but also to the movement of goods, in effect subjecting the Palestinian economy to Israeli control. Lastly, the Camp David proposal would have left Israel in control over all Palestinian borders thereby allowing Israel to control not only internal movement of people and goods but international movement as well. Such a Palestinian state would have had less sovereignty and viability than the Bantustans created by the South African apartheid government. But finally my personal favourites are the following from Camp David 2 - The state (Palestinian) would not make alliances with other countries without Israeli approval and would not allow introduction of foreign forces west of the River Jordan. -Israel would be allowed deploy troops in the Jordan Valley if Israel were to be threatened by invasion from the east. Now, does that sound like a viable state to anyone?

Created By: George O'Carroll