Jerusalem – On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met in his office with Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah party along with the new Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayaad. The media was not apprised as to what was discussed. In an apparent effort to keep the press in the dark, Olmert took the unprecedented step of canceling the traditional news interview that Israeli prime ministers always provide to the media on the eve of the Jewish New Year, which commenced last night.
However, the usually reliable Palestinian Ma’an News Agency published the Hebrew document presented by the government of Israel to Abbas, which summarizes the “declaration of principles” (DOP) between Israel and the PLO to be presented at the autumn summit, expected to be held in November in Washington:
1. “Israel will end the occupation of the West Bank within an agreed period of time. The withdrawal and evacuation of settlements will be carried out gradually and in several stages. Each evacuated area will be turned over to the Palestinian Authority, which will then enforce law and order in these areas.”
Analysis: This would mean that Israel formally relinquishes sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and the areas acquired by Israel after the 1967 war after Jordan’s attack on Israel was repulsed. This withdrawal would place Palestinian armed forces within rocket range of almost all of Israel and transform the Sderot reality of “life under Kassam rockets” into a nightmare reality with which almost all of Israel would have to cope.
Such a move would ignore the warnings of a special study conducted by the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israel Defense Ministry that concluded that Israel cannot defend areas against rocket attacks within the 1967 lines if Israel were to pull back from Judea and Samaria. Moreover, this would mean that Israel accepts the Arab narrative of the “occupation” of the West Bank instead of recognizing the right of Jews to settle anywhere west of the Jordan River, as guaranteed by the San Remo Treaty and approved by the League of Nations in 1924 and ratified by the United Nations in 1945. Meanwhile, this would mean that Israel expects the Palestinian Authority to suddenly enforce law and order, while the dominant party in the PA, Fatah – the Arabic term for “conquest” – remains in a state of war with Israel.
2. “An unarmed Palestinian state will be established within the 1967 borders. The specific details of the borders will be determined according to security, demographic and humanitarian needs. This will pave the way for an equal territorial exchange. Israel will keep some settlement blocs, and Palestinians will be guaranteed contiguity and economic development.”
Analysis: There is no provision for arms collection of the Palestinian armed forces that are now under the control of the Palestinian Authority. Meanwhile, the term “contiguity,” with reference to the future Palestinian state, means that there will be a permanent land connection between Gaza and Judea, thereby cutting Israel in two by allowing a passage through Israel that would allow hostile forces to cross Israel at will, cutting off the Negev region of southern Israel from the rest of the Jewish state.
3. “There will be two capitals in Jerusalem, one for Israel and one for Palestine. The Israeli neighborhoods will be under Israeli sovereignty and the Arab neighborhoods under Palestinian sovereignty. There will be cooperation between both authorities to enhance the quality of life for all residents.”
Analysis: Arab and Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem intertwine with one another. Recognition of Palestinian sovereignty would allow Fatah armed forces to patrol Arab neighborhoods and stockpile weapons there. To travel from one Jewish neighborhood to another Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, one would be forced to travel through land controlled by Fatah armed forces. Meanwhile, the Palestinians define at least 12 Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem as Arab neighborhoods because they were Arab neighborhoods before 1948.
4. “Special arrangements will be prepared to secure access to holy places for all religions. A special administrative authority will be established to secure each country’s bonds with the holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem.”
Analysis: Free access to the “holy places” in Jerusalem has existed only since 1967. Between 1949 and 1967, although the U.N. guaranteed free access of all religions to all parts of Jerusalem, the Arab Muslims who then ruled Jerusalem would not allow access of any Jew to the Old City of Jerusalem. What Palestinian Arabs now demand is that Jews would not have access to the Temple Mount.
5. “Palestine will be recognized as the national homeland for the Palestinian people and Israel will be recognized as the national homeland for the Jewish people.”
Analysis: The pronouncements may well allow millions of Arabs to flood Judea and Samaria in a strategic mountainous region that overlooks and threatens Israel, which would be forced back to the coastal plain.
6. “A just solution [is] to be agreed on for the problem of the Palestinian refugees with recognition of the suffering caused them … with the understanding that the implementation of national self-definition will be the main aspect of the solution.”
Analysis: From an international perspective, such a “just solution” means the fulfillment of U.N. resolution 194, which is approved every year with the support of all nations – except Israel. U.N. resolution 194 recognizes the right of Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendents to return to the homes and villages that they left in 1948. “Individual right” is also a code word for allowing Arab refugees and their descendents to return to homes that their grandparents left as a result of the 1948 war. As a result, Palestinian legal teams will now press legal claims for the “right to return” and to reclaim property in hundreds of villages that were abandoned during the 1948, which would displace those who now live in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramle, Lod, Haifa, Tzfat and collective farms throughout Israel.
7. “Both sides will declare the end of conflict and endeavor to gain public support as much as possible, and both sides [will] do their best to cooperate against any aspect of terrorism and violence from either of the two states against the other.”
Analysis: The PLO has never defined their attacks on Israelis as acts of terror. At no time has the Palestinian Authority worked to curb Fatah’s Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, which is defined both by the United States and Israel as an illegal terrorist organization. Since the outbreak of hostilities in 2000, Fatah has taken credit for the murder of 328 people in Israel in cold blood. Meanwhile, the language of this clause strangely equates “terrorism and violence” as emanating from both sides.
8. “Both sides [will] consider this agreement as being in accordance with the principles of the peace initiative proposed by the Arab League. Both will call upon the members of the Arab League to take positive steps toward full implementation of that initiative. They will also call on the international community and the International Quartet to intervene and provide aid in different ways to push the agreement forward.
“This declaration must be agreed on by both the Israeli and Palestinian sides before the U.S.-sponsored autumn peace summit. It will then be proposed and documented as international resolutions. Immediately after the autumn peace summit, in tandem with negotiations to reach a detailed agreement, Israel will start the withdrawal of forces and evacuation of settlements in the West Bank. The completion of the stages of the evacuation will take place in tandem with the completion of the negotiations.”
Analysis: The Arab League remains at war with Israel and is not being asked to cancel its war against Israel nor its very charter, which states that the purpose of the formation of the Arab League is to eradicate the Zionist entity. At the same time, it appears to suggest that Israel will agree before negotiations take place that it will decimate thriving Jewish communities.
All this is reminiscent of negotiations that occurred between Israel and the PLO during the summer of 1993, which led to the signing of the first “declaration of principles,” the original DOP, known as the Oslo Accord. The Oslo Accord was signed on the White House lawn on Sep. 13, 1993, between the Israeli and PLO delegations.
The Israeli Knesset ratified the Oslo DOP on Sep. 25, 1993, by a vote of 61 to 50. The PLO Executive Council, however, scheduled a special session on Oct. 6, 1993 to ratify the DOP. At that meeting, the PLO claimed that it could not attain a quorum at its office in Tunis, so the DOP was never ratified by the PLO.
The fact that the PLO never ratified the DOP in 1993 was reported by the Israeli left-wing newspaper Al HaMishmar, whose correspondent, Pinchas Inbari, was practically the only Israeli reporter in Tunisia. However, no other mainstream Israeli newspaper has ever reported that the PLO never even ratified the Oslo Accord, while the Israeli government has always acted as if the PLO had ratified the DOP.
The lesson to be learned from 1993 is that no matter what form of DOP is enacted, the PLO will probably not ratify it.
No matter what happens, however, it is doubtful that the mainstream media would ever publicize the failure of the PLO to formally approve the DOP.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007