The revised version of the road map sponsored by the US administration and the Quartet calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in 2003 with provisional borders. This Palestinian state will have a seat at the UN.
The United States has not presented Israel with a copy of the new document, but its main points were leaked by a variety of sources and have reached the top political echelon in Jerusalem. The US has informed Israel that at issue is not a new draft version, but a “rolling paper” in reference to which the parties will be asked to voice their reservations. The Americans also said that the document kept changing from one moment to the next and that it would change once again after Israel had submitted its reservations.
Officials in Israel were very critical of the US administration’s conduct on this issue. A high-ranking Foreign Ministry official said: “while the Americans reached an understanding with Sharon about freezing talks on the road map until after the elections, behind Israel’s back they continued to churn out irreversible papers that have bearing on Israel’s fate.”
Officials close to Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu say that the new road map is worse than its precursors and it harbors numerous risks to Israel. Conversely, professional civil servants in the Foreign Ministry note that it was their impression from the new road map that a number of improvements from Israel’s point of view had been made. Following are the central tenets of the new road map:
- The date of the establishment of a provisional Palestinian state was moved from the second stage of implementation to the first. The new road map notes that the Quartet will act to secure international recognition for the Palestinian state and to have it accepted as a member of the United Nations. This means that an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders will be established in 2003 and will be given a seat at the UN.
- A complete freeze of the construction in settlements has been moved from the second stage of implementation in the road map to the first stage, including construction in the Jerusalem periphery.
- The new version of the road map obliges the Palestinians to achieve immediately and unconditionally an end to violence against Israelis everywhere in the first stage of implementation.
- The new road map no longer demands that Egypt and Jordan return their ambassadors to Israel once Israel has withdrawn its troops to their pre-Intifada positions in response to Jordanian and Egyptian protests that the issue was their own internal affair and should not be linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This article ran in Yedioth Ahronot on November 21, 2002