Statement by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice

The roadmap was presented to the Government of Israel with a request from the President that it respond with contributions to this document to advance true peace. The United States Government received a response from the Government of Israel, explaining its significant concerns about the roadmap.

The United States shares the view of the Government of Israel that these are real concerns, and will address them fully and seriously in the implementation of the roadmap to fulfill the President’s vision of June 24, 2002.

This amorphous fig leaf solution is sheer madness.

This American statement isn’t a solution. It is another problem. A source for future American-Israeli friction.

What does it mean to “address them fully and seriously in the implementation of the roadmap”? This when the roadmap itself is not being changed?

Would anyone commit to a defective contract based on the assurance that even though the written text is dangerously defective that when the contract is implements that the problems will be address?

How can they be addressed when the text calls for one thing and “addressing” these problem means doing something completely differently?

Washington has already been bending over backwards to ignore the failure of the Arafat-Mazen government to meet expectations. More of the same can be expected in the future.

Prime Minister Sharon’s statement after the announcement indicates a serious failure in his team to think beyond the next 24 hours.

It should be noted that the “response from the Government of Israel, explaining its significant concerns about the roadmap” is not in the public record. A third party – concerned Israeli citizens – have no way of even establishing if what happens in the future does or doesn’t address these problems since it can always be claimed that newspaper reports regarding Israel’s concerns were no accurate.

If the wording of the statement was coordinated with Sharon the ramifications are even more serious. It indicates that the true “enemy” of both Bush and Sharon is the Israeli public, hence the move to try and strip it of its ability to effectively monitor and criticize implementation.

Today is a black mark on American Israeli relations and a black mark on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The question remains if the ministers who make up his cabinet have the will to put the interest of the nation over personal considerations and stop this madness. This is particularly challenging for ministers who see themselves only a conviction away from the prime minister’s slot (unlike other Israeli politicians who tried to separate themselves from illegal fundraising activity, Sharon relied on his sons and developed a paper trail that even the most political attorney general can ignore for long).

To date no vote has been held on this matter by the Cabinet in point of fact, no official discussion has been held by the Cabinet of the roadmap.

Under the law, each minister bears responsibility for the decisions of the Government.

We will see this Sunday if the ministers have the intestinal fortitude to act on that responsibility.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel (+972-9) 760-4719/Fax (+972-3) 725-5730
pager 03-6106666 subscriber 4811