On April 20th, 2005, The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs distributed a multicolored, glossy brochure entitled “Israel’s Disengagement Plan: Renewing the Peace Process”. The brochure intermingles the philosophy of unilateral disengagement with superlatives about Israel’s desire for peace and Israel’s expectations from the new Palestinian leadership. The brochure goes so far as to feature smiling pictures of the EU- funded left wing Israeli-Palestinian organization known as “The Parents Circle”, captioned with “young faces of hope”.
On May 1st, 2005, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs placed the brochure on to the official internet site of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The publication and distribution of the premises and text of the Disengagement Plan should be viewed as an important public service, since most people, even in Israel, have never had the opportunity to read the Disengagement Plan and the reasoning behind it., Surprisingly, although the Disengagement Plan has been commonly called the “Gaza Withdrawal Plan”, the text of the Disengagement Plan reads like a “Palestinian Empowerment Plan”
Using the premises stated in the text of “Israel’s Disengagement Plan: Renewing the Peace Process” brochure as a guide, the time has come to take a closer look at some of the premises of the Disengagement Plan, as stated in this official publication of the Government of Israel.
(Premises stated in “Israel’s Disengagement Plan: Renewing the Peace Process” are in lower case. QUESTIONS IN UPPER CASE)
1. Premise of the Disengagement Plan:
“Ever since the 1967 Six Day War brought Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip under Israel¡¦s administration, their status has been in question”.
BY WHOM? BY THE UNITED NATIONS?
2. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“Israel was forced to wage that war in self-defense, and the disputed territories were held not as the object of conquest, but to be part of eventual negotiations for lasting peace”.
DOES THIS MEAN THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL TAKES THE POSITION THAT THE ONLY REASON THAT ISRAEL HAS HELD ON TO JUDEA, SAMARIA AND GAZA WAS TO RELINQUISH THESE AREAS IN THE FRAMEWORK OF “EVENTUAL NEGOTIATIONS”? WHAT ABOUT ISRAEL’S JEWISH AND HISTORICAL CONNECTIONS TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL? WHAT ABOUT THE STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS OF THESE AREAS TO ISRAEL’S SECURITY CONCERNS?
3. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“Today Israel is poised to disengage from the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the northern West Bank, an initiative that will be the first practical test of the possibility for peaceful coexistence with the Palestinian Authority under the new leadership of Mahmoud Abbas”.
WHY DOES THE BROCHURE NEGLECT TO MENTION THAT CLAUSE ONE OF THE DISENGAGEMENT PLAN CLEARLY STATES THAT THERE IS “NO PALESTINIAN PARTNER FOR PEACE”? WHY DOES THE BROCHURE NOT MENTION THAT ABBAS HAS NOT PROCLAIMED ANY DESIRE FOR “PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE” IN ANY ARABIC LANGUAGE OUTLET OF THE OFFICIAL PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY MEDIA?
4. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“The Disengagement Plan does not replace negotiations, but could make an important contribution to the renewal of peace talks as envisaged by the Roadmap sponsored by the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations – provided, of course, that the PA eliminates the infrastructure of terrorism”
AND IF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY DOES NOT ELIMINATE THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF TERRORISM ¡V WHAT THEN? WHY DOES THE BROCHURE NOT MENTION THAT ABBAS HAS TAKEN NO STEPS THE DIRECTION OF DISMANTLING THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF TERRORISM?
5. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“It is Israel’s view that the direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on the final status will result in the establishment of full peaceful relations between Israel and a Palestinian state”.
WHY DOES THE BROCHURE NOT MENTION THAT THERE IS NO MENTION WHATSOVER OF “PEACEFUL RELATIONS BETWEEN ISRAEL AND A PALESTINIAN STATE IN ANY OFFICIAL PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY MEDIA OUTLET OR IN THE PALESTINIAN EDUCATIONAL CURRICULUM?
6. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“Prime Minister Sharon presented the plan by recalling the Roadmap, whose acceptance he had announced at the previous year¡¦s Herzliya Conference: “The Roadmap is the only political plan accepted by Israel, the Palestinians, the Americans and a majority of the international community. We are willing to proceed toward its implementation: two states – Israel and a Palestinian state – living side by side in tranquility, security, and peace.¡¨
WHY DOES THE BROCHURE MAKE NO MENTION OF THE 14 PRECONDITIONS ESTABLISHED BY THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT WHEN THE ISRAELI CABINET RATIFIED THE ROAD MAP ON May 25th. 2003?
7. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“The Prime Minister called on the Palestinians to meet the challenge of peaceful coexistence”
AND IF THEY DON’T ANSWER HIS CALL?
8. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“Disengagement has two main purposes, Sharon said: enhancing Israel¡¦s security by reducing terrorism and boosting Israel¡¦s economy by improving the quality of life”.
HOW DOES SHARON’S UNILATERAL HANDOVER OF VITAL ASSETS TO THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY REDUCE TERRORISM?
9. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“The renewed dialogue and coordination between Israel and the PA, together with Palestinian steps to end terrorism and dismantle its infrastructure, will hopefully enable an orderly transition of security responsibility and ensure that the Disengagement Plan’s implementation does indeed improve conditions on the ground, serving as a platform for renewed negotiations between the sides”.
SINCE THIS PLAN IS PREDICATED ON THE PA TAKING STEPS TO “end terrorism and dismantle its infrastructure”, AND SINCE THE PA SHOWS NO SIGNS OF DOING SO, WHY SHOULD ISRAEL TRANSFER SECURITY RESPONSIBILITY TO THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY?
10. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“The Gaza Strip shall be demilitarized and devoid of weaponry which is not in accordance with the Israeli-Palestinian agreements”.
HOW DOES ISRAEL INTEND TO ENFORCE THE DEMILITARIZATION OF GAZA? DID THE ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE ESTABLISHMENT NOT WARN AGAINST THE CURRENT UNCHECKED MILITARIZATION OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY?
11. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“Israel will work to reduce the number of checkpoints throughout the West Bank. “
WHY? TO HELP TERRORISTS INFILTRATE WITH GREATER EFFICIENCY?
12. Premise of the Disengagement Planƒn
“Security Assistance to the Palestinians: Israel agrees to coordinate assistance and training for the Palestinian security forces by American, British, Egyptian, Jordanian, or other experts in an effort to combat terrorism and maintain public order”.
DOES THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL NOT KNOW THAT THE “PALESTINIAN SECURITY SERVICES” HAVE CONSISTENTLY TURNED THEIR WEAPONS GIVEN “TO COMBAT TERRORISM” INTO A WAR AGAINST ISRAELI CITIZENS, RESULTING IN THE COLD BLOODED MURDER OF MORE THAN 1000 PEOPLE AT THE HANDS OF THESE SAME “PALESTINIAN SECURITY SERVICES”?
13. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“Israel will consider the establishment of a seaport and airport in the Gaza Strip, in accordance with arrangements to be agreed upon”.
WHY WOULD ISRAEL ESTABLISH A SEAPORT AND AIRPORT FOR AN ENTITY AT WAR WITH THE STATE OF ISRAEL?
14. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“Real Estate Assets: Israel will aspire to transfer industrial, commercial, and agricultural facilities to an international party that will put them to use for the benefit of the Palestinian population”.
THE June 6th, 2004 DECISION OF THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT INDEED STATES THAT THESE CONFISCATED FACILITIES ARE TO BE TRANSFERRED TO “an international party that will put them to use for the benefit of the Palestinian population” WITH FOUR VITAL WORDS ADDED: “NOT INVOLVED IN TERROR”. WHY DOES THIS BROCHURE ELIMINATE THESE FOUR WORDS AND CONTRADICT THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT DECISION NOT TO HAND OVER VITAL ASSETS TO TERRORISTS?
15. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“If and when the Palestinian side demonstrates its willingness to cease terrorism and institute reforms as required by the Roadmap, the dialogue for peace can resume”
SINCE PRIME MINISTER SHARON INDICATES THAT THE PALESTINIAN SIDE HAS NOT SHOWN ITS WILLINGNESS TO CEASE TERRORISM, THEN WHY HAS ISRAEL RESUMED A DIALOGUE WITH THE PALESTINIAN SIDE?
16. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“Sharm e-Sheikh on February 8, 2005: At the summit, Prime Minister Sharon and PA Chairman Abbas declared a cease-fire, formally ending more than four years of violence and terrorism”.
I COVERED THAT SUMMIT. THE SPOKESPEOPLE OF THE ISRAEL MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL STRESSED THAT NO CEASE-FIRE DECLARED, AND THERE WAS NO AGREEMENT AND NO DECLARATION OF ANY FORMAL END TO FOUR YEARS OF VIOLENCE AND TERRORISM. WHY, THEN, DOES THE BROCHURE PERPETRATE THIS MYTH?
17. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“Beyond the cease-fire, Sharon and Abbas agreed on a process of transferring security responsibility for Palestinian areas even before the implementation of the Disengagement Plan”.
WHY WOULD ISRAEL TRANSFER SECURITY RESPONSIBILITY TO THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY BEFORE AN IRONCLAD AGREEMENT TO ASSURE THAT THE PALESTINIAN SECURITY FORCES WOULD NOT OPERATE AGAINST ISRAEL?
18. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“Indeed, if security conditions allow, Israel will transfer security control of key Palestinian towns in the coming days. We are already acting to ease conditions for the Palestinians, by opening border crossings, facilitating the transfer of funds, and so on. We also recognize the central importance of the economic dimension, and we are actively encouraging the international community to mobilize resources to help rehabilitate the Palestinian economy”.
WHY SHOULD ISRAEL GRANT VITAL RESOURCES TO AN ENTITY WHICH IS A STATE OF WAR WITH ISRAEL? HAS THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT FORGOTTEN THAT THE PLO COVENANT WAS NEVER CANCELLED?
19. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
“In this context, we welcome the interest of the private sector in promoting business and investment opportunities in the PA. The real test is the test of actions, not of declarations; the test of outcomes, not ceremonies. We must remember: progress towards peace will not be possible without consistent and effective Palestinian action on the ground to end the terror against Israel¡¦s civilians, as required by the Roadmap”.
AND IF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY CONTINUES TO NOT TAKE ANY ACTION AGAINST TERROR? WILL ISRAEL STILL ACT IN A UNILATERAL FASHION TO STRENGTHEN THE PALESTINIAN ENTITY?
20. Premise of the Disengagement Plan
On May 8th, 2005, Israel’s Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom declared that if Hamas wins the election in the Palestinian Authority, then Israel would not be able to carry out the Disengagement, since Israel does not want to create a Hamas-stan state. The response of the Prime Minister’s office was to declare that the disengagement would be carried out no matter what, since the entire process is totally unilateral.
IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE FOREIGN MINISTER OF ISRAEL DOES NOT SEEM TO BE UPDATED THAT THE HAMAS ALREADY REMAINS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY.
IT WOULD ALSO SEEM THAT THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL HAS NOT READ THE NEW PUBLICATION OF THE ISRAEL MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, ENTITLED, “Israel’s Disengagement Plan: Renewing the Peace Process”, WHOSE PREMISES ARE BASED ON MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN ISRAEL AND ITS PALESTINIAN PARTNER ON THE ROAD TO RENEWING A PEACE PROCESS. DOES THIS SOUND LIKE A UNILATERAL PROCESS?