A map that leads nowhere
- "Road Map" Commentaries
For Palestinians, this is a map that leads nowhere
By Sa'id Ghazali
The Independent - 1 May 2003
The release of the "road-map" peace plan, and the appointment of the
new Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, are being seen around
the world as a new window of opportunity to resolve the Middle East
conflict. But most Palestinians, from those on the street to
political leaders, do not think the road-map is a such a big deal -
or that it will end their suffering and meet their national
The road-map is no more than an entrance ticket to the dance hall
where the Israelis will play the same old tunes against "terror".
The Palestinian officials, with their VIP cards and what's left of
their fancy cars, have been readying themselves for the thrilling
dance that will put them once again at the centre of international
attention. A careful reading of the road-map predicts an unhappy
ending. The peace plan deals with the Israeli demand that the
suicide bombings and other attacks by the Palestinian militants end.
But it does not give the demands of the Palestinians equal
Why doesn't the road-map clearly and unequivocally include the main
demand, that Israel withdraw to its internationally recognised
pre-1967 borders? Instead, it refers back to UN resolution 242,
which Israel has ignored for a long time. What about the future of
Jerusalem's Arab quarters and the city's Muslim and Christian holy
sites? Where is the solution for the millions of Palestinian
refugees across the Middle East?
The road-map does not recognise the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as
the primary source of instability in the region. On the contrary,
everything is the fault of the Palestinians, who unleashed the
intifada against Israel.
In fact, the road-map is no more than a phased security initiative
for Israel, opening the gate for the Palestinian Authority (PA) and
the Israelis to work together to quell Hamas, the al-Aqsa Martyrs'
Brigades and the other militant factions. The PA must do this first.
Until it succeeds - no easy task - there will be no steps forward
from Israel. The Israeli army will not even pull back from the re-
occupied Palestinian cities.
And if the PA succeeds? Then negotiation will commence over a
Palestinian state with provisional borders.The hard issues -
permanent borders, what happens to Jerusalem (which both sides want
as a capital), the right of return for Palestinian refugees - will
all have to wait until after the creation of the provisional state.
Ariel Sharon's view of the size of this Palestinian state is only 42
per cent of the West Bank. Recently, he demanded that the
Palestinians abandon their demand for the right of return for the
Palestinian people, forced to flee their homes in what is now Israel
in 1948, as a precondition for Israel even to accept the road-map.
But what matters here is not to make an argument against the
road-map. The facts on the ground seen by the Palestinian people in
their daily life are more revealing. The conditions speak of the
impossibility of creating an independent Palestinian state, without
dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as the primary source
of the problem.
The unwillingness of Israel, the US and Britain to see the changes
on the ground in the occupied territories does not mean that these
changes do not exist. The ever-spreading settlements and by-pass
roads for the exclusive use of settlers, the Israeli army camps and
training areas, the new separation wall Israel is building to fence
in the Palestinians in the West Bank, the water resources under
Israel's control - these are the reality.
I spoke recently with one of the ministers in the new cabinet of Mr
Abbas about the road-map. He admitted that he was not sure the peace
plan would achieve the withdrawal of the Israeli army from all of
the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He told me the landslide victory
achieved by the US in Iraq is forcing the PA to lower its head. For
him, the road- map is a diplomatic lifeline for the PA. "We cannot
reject it because we will face catastrophe," he said.
But what is more catastrophic than the crushing load of 36 years of
occupation? Thirty-six years during which more than 200 settlements
have been constructed, and thousands of Palestinians killed. The PA
was born out of the failed Oslo experiment. Under the Oslo accords,
statehood for the Palestinians was meant to end the conflict. Now
the Palestinians are asked to view a state as yet another interim
phase, through which they have to jump into the unknown.
The Palestinians and Israelis have wasted precious time in
negotiating these substantive issues without any success. The
outcome of seven years of marathon negotiation under Oslo was zero.
The same dynamic has been set up deliberately in the road-map. The
PA has to accept in the end what Israel will propose, or face being
crushed again, as it was crushed by Israel during the 30 months of
On the Palestinian street, you hear a very different view from the
PA's line. In Nablus, I spoke with a cross-section of people: a
doctor, a carpenter, a grocer, a moderate prayer leader in the local
mosque and a former activist who lost his right hand in an
explosion. I asked them what they thought of the road-map. The
answers were terse: "Another Oslo." "Meaningless." "A failing new
experiment, a rotten meat." "Even a collaborator would not accept
MIFTAH's Perspective: No Guts No Glory
Date: Fri, 02 May 2003 10:37:36 +0300
From: "MIFTAH Organization" <miftah@...>
Subject: MIFTAH's Perspective: No Guts No Glory
The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue &
No Guts No Glory
May 03, 2003
Is Israel truly committed to peace? Are the Israeli people willing to
make the necessary shift towards acceptance of the Palestinians'
right to freedom? Will the Israeli government fully withdraw its
troops to the boundaries of June 1967, as stipulated by international
law? Do the Palestinians want peace? Can they take a collective
decision (at all levels of society) to stop attacks against Israeli
civilians, which only tarnish the legitimacy of the Palestinian
cause? Is the US willing/able to influence Israel to implement
binding agreements, if necessary?
Possible answers to these questions may clarify what lies ahead in
the long and bumpy road to peace. Yet, there seem to be as many
detrimental factors aimed at destroying the `roadmap' as there are
efforts to facilitate its implementation. These factors, apparently,
are manifested within the Israeli government and society, Palestinian
opposition groups, as well as US lawmakers and officials.
Does Israel want peace? Peace is nestled in Israel's hands; it is
militarily and economically the powerful party, and is therefore
capable of reversing the damage it has inflicted on the Palestinian
population throughout the past 31 months, let alone the past 36
years. Israel is capable of ending the strangulation of Palestinian
society by easing movement restrictions. Most vitally, it is capable
of ending hostilities by effectively implementing a complete halt to
military assaults against a predominantly civilian Palestinian
population. Are Israelis willing to make sacrifices for peace?
Israel's only share of the "sacrifices" is its full implementation of
UN Resolution 242, thus allowing the Palestinians to establish their
independent state on 22% of historical Palestine.
Perhaps "sacrifices" will have to be made with the inevitability of
Israel's dismantlement of illegal Jewish settlements on occupied
Palestinian land. Settlements are illegal in accordance with the
Forth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from
changing or building on land occupied during war.
Israel's "sacrifice" would, therefore, be the mere compliance with
endlessly undermined laws and resolutions.
Do the Palestinians want peace? Can they unite under a legitimate
method of self defense in order to end the Israeli occupation? The
Palestinians must come to terms with the new realities imposed by the
shortsightedness of the current US administration; a new world order
characterized by a narrow interpretation of world events and a
simplistic assessment of international relations. The US is bent on
further expanding its hegemony, at the expense of other peoples'
freedom, and in complete contradiction with its own foundations and
alleged values. For that reason, the Palestinians will have to adopt
a new approach of maximizing their gains from the current process.
Ariel Sharon has already sent his Minister of Tourism, Benny Elon, in
order to lobby the pro-Zionist US congress against President Bush's
vision of a Palestinian state by 2005. Elon is advocating the total
destruction of Palestinian society and the transfer of Palestinians
to Jordan. According to Ha'aretz daily newspaper, Elon has close ties
with fundamentalist and evangelist Christians and through them is
exerting pressure on Bush and the US Congress to drop the idea of a
Such actions and policies only bare witness to Israel's lack of will
to make a real commitment towards peace in the region.
The Palestinians have made enormous efforts in order facilitate the
process of reconciliation and to end hostilities. The Palestinian
Basic Law has been amended, thereby facilitating real changes in, and
concrete reforms within, Palestinian institutions. The Palestinians
appointed a Prime Minister with real authoritative powers, a
commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict, and above all
a declared commitment to stop Palestinian attacks against Israeli
Is America capable of exerting pressure on Israel? Yes, America is
the only nation capable of pressuring the Israelis to move away from
the lawlessness of militarism, and to take an alternative route of
political dialogue. However, there is only a small timeframe in which
George W. Bush can maneuver and contradict the wishes of the pro-
Zionist lobby before the Presidential elections in 2004. Therefore,
pressure on Israel to implement a ceasefire must take place
immediately, with the aim of ending hostilities on the ground and
setting the momentum of the new peace process.
5) Trash: I wonder what the Road Map says about this...
From: "Sam Bahour" <sbahour@...>
Date: Thu, 01 May 2003 21:12:10 +02:0
Subject: Trash: I wonder what the Road Map says about this...
Another sad day in Palestine... over a dozen more Palestinians
killed, among them a toddler, child and women. You most likely will
not hear much about this "routine" day here, but I'm sure you will
hear about the Palestinian suicide bombing that is unfortunately
bound to follow in the hours or days to come.
This sad day follows another sad day in Israel where a suicide bomber
took the lives of three Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv. International
media spoke of the Israeli victims as real people with names, since
the Palestinians don't get that privilege, I present them by their
names here and pray they rest in peace, hopefully in peace alongside
the Israeli victims of occupation as well:
The total number of Palestinians killed in the past 12 hours has
reached 13, 11 of the killed are innocent unarmed civilians. In
AlShajaiya neighborhood in Gaza: 2-year-old Ameer Ayyad, 13- year-old
Mahmoud AlDahbdoob, 15-year-old Ahmad AlTatar, 21- year-old AbdAllah
Alamrani, 25-year-old Mohammad Naim, 30- year-old Mohammad AbuZeina,
36-year-old Nasser Hals and 40- year-old mentally retarded man Bakr
Mohussein. In Yatta south of Hebron: 23-year-old Mohammad Bdair and
24-year-old Khaled AlMakhamne were surrounded at a house and gunned
down by the Israeli occupation soldiers. On Wednesday evening in
Rafah 55- year-old woman Subheya AbuAtwia was shot dead along with 75-
year-old Mansoor AbuHadeed by the Israeli troops invading Rafah.
Raed Daraghmeh a Palestinian farmer from Toobas near Nablus is the
thirteenth victim of Israeli aggression and state sponsored terror
killed in past 12 hours.
On another issue, for those that have been on my list for a while you
will recall the subject of the story below...I passed out a letter by
our Mayor a few months back on the same issue:
Pending repair of pot holes so we can follow the road map,
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