Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Threesome In Annapolis

Well, the Annapolis declaration the Bush Administration pushed and worked so hard for is out in public, finally. And the three principles have spoken. What did they say, really? And more importantly,what didn't they say? I'll translate it into plain English and condense it as much as possible so you don't have to wade through it anymore than necessary.

Let's start with President Bush . As the host, official greeter and main impetus of this farce, he merits pride of place.

The president started out with the usual greeting and openers and then read this statement, the one the Israelis signed on to, and the Palestinians only signed at the last minute:

"The representatives of the government of the state of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, represented respectively by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas, in his capacity as chairman of the PLO executive committee and president of the Palestinian Authority, have convened in Annapolis, Maryland, under the auspices of President George W. Bush of the United States of America, and with the support of the participants of this international conference having concluded the following joint understanding:

We express our determination to bring an end to bloodshed, suffering and decades of conflict between our peoples; to usher in a new era of peace, based on freedom, security, justice, dignity, respect and mutual recognition; to propagate a culture of peace and nonviolence; to confront terrorism and incitement, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis.

In furtherance of the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, we agree to immediately launch good-faith bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues without exception, as specified in previous agreements.

We agree to engage in vigorous, ongoing and continuous negotiations and shall make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008.

For this purpose, a steering committee led jointly by the head of the delegation of each party will meet continuously as agreed.

The steering committee will develop a joint work plan and establish and oversee the work of negotiations teams to address all issues, to be headed by one lead representative from each party.

The first session of the steering committee will be held on 12 December, 2007.

President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert will continue to meet on a biweekly basis to follow up the negotiations in order to offer all necessary assistance for their advancement.

The parties also commit to immediately implement their respective obligations under the performance-based road map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict issued by the quartet on 30 April, 2003 _this is called the road map — and agree to form an American, Palestinian and Israeli mechanism led by the United States to follow up on the implementation of the road map.

The parties further commit to continue the implementation of the ongoing obligations of the road map until they reach a peace treaty. The United States will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitment of both sides of the road map.

Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the road map, as judged by the United States."

In other words, the leaked copy I linked to yesterday from Ha'aretz ( hat tip, Carl In Jerusalem) was pretty much right on the money. There's a deadline to finish `negotiations' by the end of next year,but no later than the end of Bush's term. Both parties will implement the Road Map.

Or to put it another way, the Israelis will be monitored to make sure that they comply, and the Palestinians will promise to try to try. And since the US is the sole arbiter and judge of who's complying and who's not, there's no provision for Israel to decide on its own that the Palestinians aren't keeping up their end and ending Israel's strategic concessions...that's going to be up to Condi Rice and the US State Department.

You'll notice that, as I reported previously, there's no language about the Arabs renouncing terrorism and incitement..there's only an intention to `confront it'. Nor is there any language about recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. Neither the Palestinians nor the Saudis would go along with that.

In his subsequent remarks, the president talked about tough choices both sides will have to make, and came up with the curious statement that this was merely an agreement to begin negotiations, when obviously it's much more than that, since the US is mandating American monitoring and a deadline. He also mentioned that Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Selim Fayyad are committed to peace and opposed to terrorism.

In view of that, looking at the statement made by Mahmoud Abbas is enlightening.

Put aside the rhetoric and get to the meat and you see that Abbas was very plainspoken about the fact that the Palestinians are not planning on making any of those tough choices the president spoke about.

He mentioned Palestinian sovereignty over half of Jerusalem no less than three times, as well as a retreat by Israel to the pre-1967 lines, including the Golan and what Abbas referred to as `the remaining occupied parts of Lebanon', which shows that this was cleared with Hezbollah as well, since only they regard any part of Lebanon as `occupied'. He also was adamant about the release of all Palestinian terrorists in Israeli custody, which shows just how deep his commitment to peace and opposition to terrorism run. And of course, he's insisting on flooding Israel with Arab `refugees'.

A real clue to Abbas' actual motivation was his use of a phrase beloved by his old boss Arafat in the Oslo era: `The peace of the brave'.

Not only was there no admission that any of this is negotiable, but Abbas actually warned everybody that this opportunity for Israel to make peace surrender would not come again!

Believe it or not, I actually respect Abbas more than I do the third member of this trio, Israel's Ehud Olmert.

Unlike Abbas, his speech was rife with the desire of Israel to make `painful compromises' and humble themselves, something I'm certain inflamed every Arab who was listening to him with new hope for Israel's ultimate demise. He never once mentioned Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem as its undivided capitol, an end to Palestinian terrorism and incitement or any restitution for the almost one million Jewish refugees of the 1948 conflict or Arab recognition of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. He even mentioned the value in the Saudi `peace' ultimatum.

The most he got in was a timorous plea for the return of the three Israeli servicemen kidnapped by the Arabs. And where Mahmoud Abbas continuously mentioned Jerusalem and the Palestinian demands, Olmert mentioned his appreciation of Palestinian `humiliation' as a major theme in his speech.

That this pathetic, corrupt apparatchnik, with almost no support at home was unwilling to defend his own country's rights as Abbas did is the latest in a long line of folly.

The real winner, of course was Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, who saw their agenda legitimized in an international forum. If the Israelis succumb, the Arabs have a new strategic platform to attack them, and just as with Oslo, the ex-President and various pundits will bloviate about what went wrong. If this falls through and Israel declines to commit national suicide, the Arabs and their allies can blame Israel as `an obstacle to peace.'

And that will ultimately come back to haunt the US, mark my words.

So that's what happened at Annapolis.

4 comments:

louielouie said...

it appears that olmert truly is the odd man out in the photo ff used.
the red tie is the new "white flag"???????

Freedom Fighter said...

You have no idea of what I was originally going to photoshop to go with this. Louie..it might have gotten this blog an `R' rating!

Suffice it to say that it was along the lines of an Israeli cartoon I once saw in the period after Oslo,with Yasir Arafat doing Yitzhak Rabin doggystyle while Rabin was saying `the process must continue!'

louielouie said...

it's your blog ff.
post what you will.
you are aware of the only photo that i personally dislike.
i would never accuse you of posting it deliberately, just for you own personal amusement, or would i?????

Freedom Fighter said...

I know the photo you're talking about.

Given how you feel about President Bush, I've never been able to figure out why it affects you in that way..