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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The 'joint declaration'

Israel and the 'Palestinians' did issue a 'joint declaration' or statement or whatever else you would like to call it in the end. You can find the full text here (Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs). I just want to highlight a few points:
We express our determination to bring an end to bloodshed, suffering and decades of conflict between our peoples; to usher in a new era of peace, based on freedom, security, justice, dignity, respect and mutual recognition; to propagate a culture of peace and nonviolence; to confront terrorism and incitement, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis.
Holy Moral Equivalence! How many instances of 'terrorism and incitement' have been committed by Israelis and how many by 'Palestinians'? Which society treats its violent individuals as beneath contempt and worse, and which society glorifies them as 'martyrs,' lionizes them on television and in the streets and treats them as heroes? Does this mean that Abu Mazen is going to stop referring to terrorists as heroes and brothers? I'll believe it when I see it. But the moral equivalence in that paragraph is grating.
The parties also commit to immediately implement their respective obligations under the performance-based road map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict issued by the quartet on 30 April, 2003 -- this is called the road map -- and agree to form an American, Palestinian and Israeli mechanism led by the United States to follow up on the implementation of the road map.
Note that Israel has apparently yielded on the fourteen reservations subject to which Ariel Sharon agreed to the road map. I explained what those reservations were and why they mattered here. I also predicted that Olmert would drop them.
The parties further commit to continue the implementation of the ongoing obligations of the road map until they reach a peace treaty. The United States will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitment of both sides of the road map.

Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the road map, as judged by the United States.
This is the most significant point of all in a statement that is otherwise short on substance. I explained why this is bad for Israel here and here. It is likely that American perceptions of Israel's security needs will be far more lenient than Israel's perceptions (unless the government is going to go around censoring the army again).


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