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Friday, March 17, 2006

Colonization of Palestine precludes peace

Haifa University Economics Professor and blogger Steven Plaut refers to HaAretz as "Israel's Hebrew Palestinian Daily." Today, HaAretz (which I sometimes call al-Ard) shows us why it deserves that name once again, giving space to Dhimmy Carter.... I would suggest that you keep a barf bag handy while reading this one....

For more than a quarter century, Israeli policy has been in conflict with that of the United States and the international community. Israel's occupation of Palestine has obstructed a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land, regardless of whether Palestinians had no formalized government, one headed by Yasser Arafat or Mahmoud Abbas, or with Abbas as president and Hamas controlling the parliament and cabinet. [Even if one accepts the characterization of the Administered Territories as occupied - which I do not - Israel's being there has not prevented any 'peace agreement' - comprehensive or otherwise. Yasser Arafat was offered a more than fair 'settlement' by Ehud Barak (who offered way too much in my opinion) and responded by launching a bloody 'intifadeh' that killed more than 1000 Israeli Jews. Abu Mazen sat for the next two years crying that he was weak instead of taking even the first step necessary to implement the 'road map' - which is itself a miserable excuse for a compromise. And Hamas at least has stopped pretending. They will never accept a Jewish state in the Middle East. So let's stop fooling ourselves and let's make the 'Palestinians' live with the consequences of their actions. CiJ]

The unwavering U.S. position since Dwight Eisenhower's administration has been that Israel's borders coincide with those established in 1949, and since 1967, the universally adopted UN Resolution 242 has mandated Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories. [This is a lie. According to a 1991 article by Eugene Rostow, who represented the United States in the drafting of UN Resolution 242, "
Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until "a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces "from territories" it occupied during the Six-Day War--not from "the" territories nor from "all" the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip." CiJ] This policy was reconfirmed even by Israel in 1978 and 1993, and emphasized by all American presidents, including George W. Bush. As part of the Quartet, including Russia, the UN and the European Union, he has endorsed a "road map" for peace [which says absolutely nothing about how much of the 'territory' Israel will gift to the 'Palestinians.' And by the way, Resolution 242 doesn't even mention a 'Palestinian' state reichlet, because the PLO only came into existence in 1964. CiJ]. But Israel has officially rejected its basic premises with patently unacceptable caveats and prerequisites.

With Israel's approval, The Carter Center has monitored all three Palestinian elections. Supervised by a blue-ribbon commission of college presidents and distinguished jurists, they have all been honest, fair and peaceful, with the results accepted by winners and losers.


The preeminent obstacle to peace is Israel's colonization of Palestine. There were just a few hundred settlers in the West Bank and Gaza when I became president, but the Likud government expanded settlement activity after I left office. President Ronald Reagan condemned this policy, and reaffirmed that Resolution 242 remained "the foundation stone of America's Middle East peace effort." President George H.W. Bush even threatened to reduce American aid to Israel.

Although President Bill Clinton made strong efforts to promote peace, a massive increase of settlers occurred during his administration, to 225,000, mostly while Ehud Barak was prime minister. Their best official offer to the Palestinians was to withdraw 20 percent of them, leaving 180,000 in 209 settlements, covering about 5 percent of the occupied land.

The 5 percent figure is grossly misleading, with surrounding areas taken or earmarked for expansion, roadways joining settlements with each other and to Jerusalem, and wide arterial swaths providing water, sewage, electricity and communications. This intricate honeycomb divides the entire West Bank into multiple fragments, often uninhabitable or even unreachable. [For the record, we are talking about mostly uninhabited land here. CiJ] Recently, Israeli leaders have decided on unilateral actions without involving either the United States or the Palestinians, with withdrawal from Gaza as the first step. As presently circumscribed and isolated, without access to the air, sea or the West Bank, Gaza is a nonviable economic and political entity. [You know what? I agree. Withdrawing Expelling all the Jews from Gaza was a huge mistake. We should have paid the 'Palestinians' to leave instead. CiJ]

The future of the West Bank is equally dismal. Especially troublesome is Israel's construction of huge concrete dividing walls in populated areas and high fences in rural areas - located entirely on Palestinian territory and often with deep intrusions to encompass more land and settlements. The wall is designed to surround a truncated Palestine completely, and a network of exclusive highways will cut across what is left of Palestine to connect Israel with the Jordan River Valley. [Last week, I drove on Route 443, which the 'security fence' runs alongside. There is almost no 'wall' to speak of. Yes, there is a wall in some spots, but that 'wall' constitutes only about 5% of the total fence. Most of it is just a chain link fence with some sophisticated monitoring equipment. Of course, Dhimmy Carter could care less if Jews were murdered, so he doesn't want us to build the 'fence' at all. After all, what's more important: thousands of Jewish lives, or a few 'Palestinians' being able to take a stroll in the forest? CiJ]

This will never be acceptable either to Palestinians or to the international community [Who is the 'international community' and when was Dhimmy elected to speak for it? CiJ], and will inevitably precipitate increased tension and violence within Palestine, and stronger resentment and animosity from the Arab world against America, which will be held accountable for the plight of the Palestinians.


There is little doubt that accommodation with the Palestinians can bring full Arab recognition of Israel and its right to live in peace. Any rejectionist policies of Hamas or any terrorist group will be overcome by an overall Arab commitment to restrain further violence and to promote the well-being of the Palestinian people. ['Little doubt'? If Dhimmy trusts the 'Palestinians' and Hamas so much, why doesn't he take them at their word? CiJ]



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