December 10, 2003

Geneva Watch Every now and

Geneva Watch

Every now and again I get beaten up for appearing a bit the starry-eyed, imbecilic idealist and cheerleading Foggy Bottom peace processer types re: conflict resolution initiatives over in the Holy Land.

Comes with the territory, I guess. Regardless, and not because of the above but merely coincidentally, I hadn' t blogged much recently on the GVA Accords. But I should take this opportunity to provide you with some strong contra Geneva opinion that, in the spirit of airing divergent views, I post here.

First, a Yossi Klein Halevi & Michael B. Oren piece in TNR (subscription required).

Next, from the reader E-mail files:

Greg--

"Like your quoted correspondent from Tel Aviv, I am a regular and admiring reader. Unlike him, I live in Delaware. I hope you won't take it amiss if I describe your attitude toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as Israel-sympathetic well-meaning British.

Were you aware that one of the Palestinian negotiators didn't attend because Arafat did not endorse the accords? (He merely sent the negotiators off with his blessing.) Or that said negotiator, Abdel Kader (Khadr?) was quoted in the Jerusalem Post 12/01 as saying that the purpose of the accords is to sow division in Israel? Did you know that those who attended were physically attacked on departure, and that large rallies are being held denouncing the collaborators? I'm sure you know what happens to collaborators.

Perhaps you didn't notice that in the accords Palestine is for the Palestinian people, while Israel is for "her people", and that nowhere is there recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. And there is this comment from another negotiator, Jamal Zakot, in the PA daily Al Hayat al Jadida:

"The document does not promise a full and collective return for millions of Palestinians, but it also does not cede this right. On the contrary: the proposed time frame for the solution of the refugee problem is five years, while the time frame for the Israeli retreat from the Palestinian lands, evacuation of settlements and completion of installing Palestinian sovereignty on its lands according to the maps - which are more important than the texts - is only three years."

Finally, a careful reading of Articles 3 and 16, despite the purported Israeli veto, indicates that if other methods of negotiation fail, the IVG (Implementation and Verification Group) has the final say. That would occur after all other Israeli obligations had been performed. Suppose the Palestinians continued to be maximalist in their demands regarding return. Do you think the Russians, the UN, the EU, and the regional members would support the Israeli 'veto'? Could the US stand alone against them?

This accord gives more than ever before, and doesn't even require an end to terrorist attacks; it has no performance requirements on the Palestinian side, only promises. There've been promises before. Indeed, Israel doesn't even have overflight rights, for surveillance, and is wholly dependent on Palestinian good faith for water. This is a truly suicidal document.

On another point, you complain of lack of Israeli support for Abu Mazen, and seem to cite that as the reason for his failure. But he refused to take any action against any terrorist group. When faced with outraged cries that he had betrayed the cause (after the meeting with Bush), he reassured his "brothers" of Hamas, IJ, etc. that he had given up
nothing, that their goals were the same, and that their differences were tactical merely.

Sharon pulled down a few outposts, which some stubborn extremists reestablished. Had there been movement, or cessation--even slowing--of attacks, he might well have gone after them again, more strongly. He removed some checkpoints, and allowed workers in, with the result that entry guards were killed at that checkpoint. So he closed them.

Meanwhile, Abu Mazen was trying to negotiate a hudna, and the terrorist groups were making demands on Israel for prisoner releases (well beyond the "roadmap"). Did you know that at least two of the released prisoners subsequently murdered Israelis? And these were those who purportedly did not have bloody hands, but the demand was for release of murderers and planners of murders.

The sad fact is that Abu Mazen was almost never mentioned in the Palestinian press. Nothing could have gained him support; he was the little man who wasn't there, who had been made only Arafat's puppet for the wider world. Arafat is good at that game. Not that I think the end of Arafat will change much. Since his return from Tunisia, he has
preached murder and maximalism to a generation.

Sorry for not providing links. If there is anything you'd like verified, let me know. Thanks for your patience. I have no answers.

Yours in frustration.
AB
"

Well, let me first say I'm immensely gratified to have such thoughtful readers. And, second, as I likely say too often-- when time allows--I hope to continue the GVA debate both in relation to some of the points reader AB made as well as the TNR piece.

Posted by Gregory at December 10, 2003 04:03 PM
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