|Israel Resource Review
||6th December, 2003
Accord: A Strategic Assessment
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror
Jerusalem Issue Brief
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Institute for Contemporary Affairs
founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation
Vol. 3, No. 9 - 4 December 2003
A self-appointed Israeli negotiating team, claiming to speak in
the name of a majority of Israelis, concluded the Geneva Accord with a
Palestinian delegation. It conceded almost all the security arrangements for
the West Bank and Gaza Strip sought by past Israeli governments.
The Geneva Accord leaves Israel with no safety net in the event
that the agreement is violated by the Palestinian side. It is as though its
architects learned nothing from the collapse of the Oslo Agreement.
The Geneva architects agreed to the expulsion of more than
100,000 Israeli Jews from the territories.
In the name of the Jewish people, the Israeli Geneva team gave
up the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Jewish history. They seem unaware
of the long-term implications for the Zionist movement of conceding Zion.
According to Geneva, Israelis recognize for the first time a
Palestinian "right of return" to Israel proper. In exchange, the
Palestinians agreed that not all the Palestinians will come to Israel. The
number that will enter Israeli territory cannot be understood from Geneva's
The Geneva model should not be adopted by anyone concerned for
the security and future of the Jewish state.
The Geneva Accord, which perhaps should have been called the Dead Sea
Agreement, for that is where it was negotiated, is not an agreement between
states. Nevertheless, its Israeli signatories present it as a "model" for a
future treaty. In this context, it is fitting to examine what exactly the
Geneva model contains and what it lacks, as though it was a real peace
treaty, for only in that way can the model it proposes be judged.
Looking at some of the comments about the agreement, it appears to be based
on very tangible Israeli concessions in exchange for what is presented as a
real Palestinian concession over their claim of a "right of return." Is this
really the case? This requires detailed examination.
The Israeli Concessions
The Temple Mount
What did the Israeli team concede in this model agreement? First, the
Israelis took a step that no Israeli government had ever taken before: they
transferred sovereignty over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to the
Palestinians, establishing "Zionism without Zion." This is an ideological
concession that is a matter of individual values - something everyone can
judge according to his or her own world view.
There will be those who see in this concession a break between Israel and
its historical heritage, and therefore an act that negates the very
legitimacy of the return of the Jewish people to their land. According to
this view, Geneva provides the Palestinians with their ultimate victory on
the central question that has been raised since the beginning of the modern
return to Zion: have the Jewish people returned to their historic homeland
or did they come as foreign occupiers? True, Israel lived without the Temple
Mount from 1948 to 1967, but this would be the first time it actually
In contrast, there will be quite a number of Israelis who will see the
Temple Mount issue in very practical terms - that formalizing Palestinian
sovereignty is only making permanent the present-day arrangements that have
existed on an interim basis since 1967, since the Muslim Waqf (originally
Jordanian and now Palestinian), and not the State of Israel, really
determines what happens on the Temple Mount. From this perspective,
"territorial compromise" must necessarily include Jerusalem, and the Temple
Mount within, and there is no added significance to this concession except
the recognition that, without it, Israel will be forced to live by the sword
for eternity. Accordingly, it is worthwhile to make this compromise over
symbols in order to reach a better future.
The Geneva model contains the most extreme version of this approach, for it
conceded the most important place in Jewish history. Gauging the impact of
this kind of concession over a central value tied to the national soul of a
people is not easy to measure, but it is probably far more damaging than
those who elected to follow this course might ever imagine. Moreover, in
Geneva this concession is total. The agreement ironically establishes that
the supreme authority over the Temple Mount will include various states, the
United Nations, and the European Union, as well as representatives of the
Organization of Islamic States - but Jewish representatives will not take
part in the proposed international body.
The West Bank and Gaza
The second major Israeli concession is an almost total withdrawal from the
West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and the Gaza Strip. In the matter of
territory, the Israeli Geneva signatories took a major step beyond the
concessions offered by the Barak government: of all the settlement blocs,
Geneva leaves mainly those surrounding Jerusalem. Its concession of
withdrawal from the Ariel area dramatically increases the number of Israeli
citizens who will have to be removed or expelled from their homes. Geneva
also entails an almost total abandonment of the high ground dominating the
metropolitan Tel Aviv region, leaving the central stretch of Israel's
coastal strip, where most of its population and industrial capacity are
located, completely exposed, without any real strategic depth.
The transfer of the Jordan Rift Valley to the Palestinians leaves Israel
with no ability to defend itself from threats from the east, should they
emerge once again in the future (no one knows exactly what will be in Iraq
in the long term). The withdrawal from the West Bank also has elements in
common with the concessions the Geneva architects made over Jerusalem. The
power of its historical significance may be less, but the withdrawal has
broad practical significance for both Israeli security and for the vast
numbers of Jews who will have to be removed. Moreover, even the tiniest
Palestinian territorial concession is fully compensated for with an
equivalent amount of empty land inside the State of Israel. Thus, in effect,
there isn't even the slightest territorial concession by the Palestinians to
The third concession in Geneva worth analyzing is the loss of "security
arrangements" that had been an essential part of previous Israeli proposals.
Looking at the results of this negotiation, the involvement of former
Israeli army officers was completely superfluous. The Geneva Accord contains
no security safety net whatsoever. There is evidence of the involvement of
former Israel Air Force personnel in the drafting of Geneva, for the only
arrangement that is related to security is the right reserved for the Israel
Air Force to conduct military exercises in the airspace over Palestine.
It is true that there are a few elements that remain of what former Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin insisted upon - that Israel will have its military
border along the Jordan River. Geneva provides Israel with two isolated, and
hence worthless, early-warning stations. But all of Rabin's other security
requirements are dropped in Geneva, either immediately or over the course of
three years. The Geneva security arrangements are even scaled back from what
appeared in the draft to which the Palestinians gave their agreement during
the Barak period.
In essence, almost all of Israel's security requirements were exchanged for
the idea of deploying a foreign military presence that will be supervised by
an international committee created to oversee the agreement's
implementation. Israel's security needs were also conceded in return for
basically empty declarations about cooperation between Israeli and
Palestinian security establishments. According to the logic of Geneva, the
Israel Defense Forces can be dismantled, for the IDF has no role in fighting
terrorism and in defending the State of Israel. These responsibilities,
according to Geneva, will now lay with the proposed international force. The
end result is that decisions on matters crucial to Israel's sovereignty and
security are put in the hands of an international committee. Since the end
of 1947, such committees have consistently rallied against Israel. In
Geneva, the European Union, the United Nations, and others will be
responsible for the security of Israel.
For example, there is no provision in the agreement for the deployment of
Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley, if a concrete threat from the east
evolves. Israel would have no control, or even an Israeli presence, at the
borders between Palestine and Egypt or Jordan in order to thwart the
infiltration of terrorist elements into Palestinian territory. There would
be no Israeli presence at the international entry points, or at Palestinian
airports and seaports, in order to prevent the smuggling of illegal weaponry
(which was attempted regularly during the Oslo years). Even if the
Palestinian regime or the international forces that are deployed fail to
take effective measures against persistent terrorism, Israel would have no
right to operate against terrorist cells coming from Palestinian territory
or to act against terrorists that it knows are planning to strike. Indeed,
there is an Israeli responsibility to avoid such actions. The only right
Israel has is to complain about the negligence of those who are supposed to
protect its security.
Of course, if Palestinian terrorism does not come to a halt, Israel will
find itself without the necessary capabilities to prevent such attacks and
bring them to an end. Moreover, since an international force will be
present, Israel will lose its freedom of action, even if it is forced to
ignore its commitments under the agreement. Zeev Schiff, the commentator on
national security for Ha'aretz newspaper, has already noted that if a
Geneva-like agreement were to collapse for any reason after it was
implemented, Israel would find itself in a far more difficult situation. The
assessment of the security threat to Israel under such a scenario must
include regular Katyusha rocket attacks on Tel Aviv, unrestrained terrorist
attacks across all of Israel, and the use of far more sophisticated weaponry
than has been used in the past. The qualitative improvement in the weaponry
on the Palestinian side will make it much more difficult for the Israel
Defense Forces to counter them.
A reader of the Geneva Accord gains the impression that those who drafted it
completely forgot that there was already a "peace process" begun in Oslo
that collapsed and continued in the form of a brutal terrorist campaign,
that was supported by some of the Palestinian signatories to Oslo. The
Geneva exercise is not based on any serious attempt to learn any lessons
from Oslo's breakdown: What if the dream of peace is not realized because
the intentions and capabilities of the other side were not correctly
evaluated? When Israeli intelligence warned that the Oslo agreements could
end up with the firing of Katyusha rockets on Ashkelon, this appeared at the
time to be illogical to its architects and supporters. Among former Israeli
officers, the question must be asked how some people allow themselves to
ignore this possibility, even today, after Qassam rockets have already
struck Ashkelon and Sderot. It is a sad irony that the language on Israel's
rights in the Geneva Accord leave it only with the option of issuing a
complaint, even if it detects the movement of tanks and armored vehicles
within the Palestinian corridor it is to create between the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip. This encapsulates the extent to which Israeli security was
treated irresponsibly in the Geneva Accord.
The Palestinian Concessions
What are the Palestinians giving in return for the Israeli concession of
sovereignty over the Temple Mount, the near total withdrawal from the West
Bank and Gaza, and the loss of all meaningful security arrangements? The
Israeli Geneva architects say that the Palestinians gave up their claim of a
"right of return" of Palestinian refugees to pre-1967 Israel. This point
requires very careful examination, because with the exception of Sari
Nusseibeh, no leading Palestinian public figure has dared to speak of a
concession on the "right of return." To the contrary, the more negotiations
progress, the more it will become clear that the Palestinians still insist
on their demand for "the return."
From the Palestinian viewpoint, the "right of return" contains two elements:
1) The matter of principle, meaning the recognition of the existence of
such a right.
2) The method of implementation, meaning how many Palestinians will
actually exercise this right if it is accorded to them.
The Israeli Geneva architects assert that their main achievement is with
respect to the second element of the right of return, for they claim to have
reached an agreement that will let Israel control the numbers of those
returning. Yet the very recognition of the first element, the principle of a
"right of return" based on Geneva's explicit reliance on UN General Assembly
Resolution 194 of 1948 and on the resolutions of the Beirut Arab Summit of
2002, is nothing less than an historical error of the highest order of
magnitude. It connects the very existence of Israel to a Palestinian version
of a fundamental injustice whose historical accuracy it can no longer refute
after Geneva. In short, it undermines Israel's very right to exist.
It is clear upon examination of Geneva that its main achievement for
Israel - blocking the Palestinian right of return - is far from hermetic.
True, the Palestinians concede their unqualified demand to allow all the
refugees to immigrate to Israel. Yet the Palestinians obtained Israeli
recognition of the "right" to assert it in large numbers. The actual number
of "returnees" is supposed to be calculated according to the average number
of refugees that will be taken in around the world. On one hand, the
agreement stipulates that it is up to the individual Palestinian refugee to
decide where he wants to settle (in Palestine, Israel, or a third country).
On the other hand, the agreement recognizes Israel's sovereign right to
determine the entry of refugees. This potential contradiction is bound to
leave Israel open to continuing international pressure to open its doors. It
is not surprising to find the Palestinian legislator who was one of the
Palestinian team leaders, Kadura Fares, telling the London Arabic daily
al-Hayat, in mid-October 2003, that the Palestinians did not give up the
"right of return." The results of this could be devastating, even leading to
a change in the demographic balance inside Israel in a manner that will
threaten its character as a Jewish state.
The Geneva proposals on the Palestinian refugees are a trap for Israel, for
if an Israeli government were to refuse to fully implement the decisions of
the international committee concerning the "return" of tens or hundreds of
thousands of refugees to Israeli territory, the Palestinians retain the
right, according to the Geneva Accord, to continue the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict and their struggle as they did before the agreement was signed.
This is a formula for future disarray. The section on refugees ends with an
Israeli commitment to commemorate the memory of former Palestinian villages
that existed before the 1948 invasion by the Arab states. Wouldn't such a
project simply reinforce Palestinian awareness of their refugee status
forever? This is a huge Palestinian achievement.
Other Issues Emanating from Geneva
While the above analysis covers the major issues that appear in the Geneva
Accord, there are other aspects of the proposed model that need to be
Conditionality and Reciprocity
There is no conditionality in the timetable of Geneva's implementation.
According to the agreement, Israel's complete withdrawal is to take place
even if terrorism persists. Of course, Israel has the right to complain to
the international committee, but it may not halt its withdrawal, even if
Israel has solid confirmation that the Palestinian Authority is not lifting
a finger to combat terrorism or if there are intelligence indications that
it is actually providing tangible assistance to terrorist groups. Even under
these conditions, Israel is required to transfer territories vital to its
national defense and to concede its ability to fight terrorism.
The Issue of Water
The Geneva Accord contains no understanding between the parties over the
question of water resources. Nonetheless, the Palestinians have achieved a
significant advance payment in this area: explicit Israeli recognition of
Palestinian sovereignty over water resources in their territory. There is no
reference to the fact that these water resources are part of the mountain
and coastal aquifers that stretch into Israel and constitute the primary
source of water for Israelis residing in central Israel. It is not clear
why, even in this unfinished area of negotiation, the Israeli team created a
position of clear-cut inferiority for Israel, right from the start.
The Palestinians are to be given a corridor from the Gaza Strip to the
Hebron highlands that crosses the State of Israel. By contrast, in cases
where such corridors would have been useful for Israelis, such as from
Jerusalem to Ein Gedi or along Route 443 connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
through Beit Horon, Israelis have no equivalent rights of passage.
Israel as a Jewish State?
Even what ostensibly should have been a fundamental matter of principle -
that the Palestinians recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state - is
phrased carelessly and in a manner that is open to diverse interpretations.
This allows the Palestinians to give a very different meaning to this
clause, so that there is no connection between any claim of an achievement
for Israel and the actual language that Geneva adopts. In the agreement, the
State of Israel recognizes a Palestinian state, with its national character
defined, but "Palestine" only recognizes Israel as a state, with no
reference to its character. Indeed, Kadura Fares of the Palestinian
negotiating team told al-Hayat that the Palestinians did not recognize
Israel as a Jewish state in the Geneva document. Furthermore, given the
clauses in Geneva on the "right of return," the Palestinians can wage a
campaign to alter Israel's demographic make-up and remain true to their
signature on the agreement.
In summary, an analysis of the Geneva model indicates that it is completely
slanted to the Palestinian side. It is an agreement that contains virtually
no Israeli achievement whatsoever in comparison with the tangible
concessions it grants to the Palestinians: principally, the abandonment of
the Temple Mount and the loss of security arrangements that up until now
Israel insisted upon, and whose importance has been demonstrated over the
years since the signing of the Oslo Agreements and their crashing failure.
Israel loses an important part of its national sovereignty in this agreement
to an international committee, and it concedes the ability to defend itself
to an international force. In addition, Israel will have to deal with the
"right of return" and absorb massive numbers of refugees on its territory
within the "green line," for Israel itself is not to decide how many will
Israelis should judge the model put forward in the Geneva Accord according
to what it contains and what it lacks. This analysis is far more important
than the ceremonies and participation of foreign leaders, for whom the
destiny of Israel has never been a top priority.
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror is former commander of the IDF's National
Defense College and the IDF Staff and Command College. He is also the former
head of the IDF's research and assessment division, with special
responsibility for preparing the National Intelligence Assessment. In
addition, he served as the military secretary of the Minister of Defense.
This Jerusalem Issue Brief is available online at:
Dore Gold, Publisher; Lenny Ben-David, ICA Program Director; Mark Ami-El,
Managing Editor. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Registered Amuta), 13
Tel-Hai St., Jerusalem, Israel; Tel. 972-2-5619281, Fax. 972-2-5619112,
In U.S.A.: Center for Jewish Community
Studies, 5800 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215; Tel. 410-664-5222;
Fax 410-664-1228. Website: www.jcpa.org.
The opinions expressed
herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Board of Fellows of the
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
The Institute for Contemporary Affairs (ICA) is dedicated
to providing a forum for Israeli policy discussion and debate.
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The Lies of Geneva
Prof. Shlomo Avineri
Professor of History and Political Science at the Hebrew U
Former Director-General of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The initiators of the Geneva document are, of course, entitled to express
their views and publicize them in any manner they see fit. But do they have
the right to brazenly lie to the public as to what the document does or does
not contain? Here are a few examples:
The initiators present themselves as independent political and intellectual
figures from both sides. Not so. Indeed, the Israeli side includes
opposition figures and independent intellectuals; the Palestinian side is
headed by the former Palestinian Minister of Information, who said the
document has Arafat's blessing. The Palestinian Prime Minister says he
personally agrees with the document. The Palestinian initiators do not
include any opposition figures - because there is no real opposition in the
Palestinian Authority, except for Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who, as is known,
are not partners to the initiative. This is a document of part of the
opposition in Israel and of the Palestinian ruling establishment.
Before the document was made public, the initiators said it contains
Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel as "the state of the Jewish
people." Not so. The "Jewish people" is not mentioned in the document. What
is does say is that "the two sides recognize Palestine and Israel as the
national homes of their nations." Whoever wishes can certainly say that
Israel as "the state of all its citizens" is the national home of "the
Israeli nation," which includes Jews and Arabs. It is no coincidence that
the word "Jew" doesn't appear in the document. The Palestinian signators do
not include anyone who believes there is a "Jewish people."
The document's initiators said the Palestinians have waived the right of
return. Not so. The document says United Nations Resolution 194 and other
resolutions shall be the basis for the solution of the refugee problem. To
be sure, resolution 194 doesn't speak of the "right" of return - it only
determines that the refugees shall return to their former places. As the
Arabs see it, Resolution 194 is the basis of the international legitimacy of
the right of return.
The document's initiators said most of the Israeli settlers would remain
where they are. This is correct only if the term "settlers" includes not
only those living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but also the 200,000
Israelis living over the Green Line in Jerusalem. When the explanatory notes
say that 300,000 Israelis over the Green Line will remain in their places,
it is clear that most of the settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will
be evacuated. How many? It is worthwhile knowing how many, but nowhere do
the initiators expressly say how many settlers will have to be evacuated.
The reason for this lacuna is obvious.
A careful reading of the document shows that in the matter of the refugee
problem and certain other matters Israel will in effect be placed under the
supervision of an "implementation" group and a commission comprising not
only the U.N., the U.S., Russia and the European Union, but also the Arab
states. In effect, Israel will cease to be a sovereign country regarding
substantive matters and will turn into a kind of international mandated
territory. It is clear why this is not being told to the public.
Not only the Arab refugees will be entitled to compensation, but also some
Arab countries - for the expenses they incurred in "hosting" the refugees
since 1948. The Israelis public has not been told this. It also has not been
told that the agreement speaks of developing "appropriate ways of
memorializing the [Arab] villages and communities that existed before 1949."
Who would by a used car from these people? Not I.
This article ran in Yediot Aharonot on December 1,
2003 and was translated by Moshe Kohn and distributed by
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First Hand Coverage of the
Proposed Dispatch of
International Forces to Protect Palestinian Entity
Yitzhak Sokoloff and David Bedein
December 4, 2003
The Geneva Discord
Yitzhak Sokoloff is a fellow of the Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies of
Bar Ilan University and the Senior Fellow of the Jerusalem Public Policy
David Bedein is the Bureau Chief of the Israel Resource News Agency located
at the Beit Agron International Press Center in Jerusalem, Israel
Sokoloff and Bedein covered the Geneva Initiative event this week.
Since US Secretary of State Colin Powell has scheduled an 11:00 Friday
morning meeting with the initiators of the "Geneva Initiative", Yossi
Beilin and Yased Abed Rabo, it is important to understand the realities of
the Geneva Initiative,
as we saw it unravel this week in Geneva.
Although polls taken over the past decade do confirm that most Israelis are
indeed willing to accept a significant territorial compromise with the
Palestinian Arab people to achieve a lasting peace, a poll conducted by The
Peace Index Project of the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel
Aviv University showed that only 18% of the Israeli public expressed support
for Yossi Beilin's Geneva Initiative.
Why is this the case? Because the Israeli public, including people who are
committed to the idea of such a peace process, have become skeptical of
those who speak peace in one language and at the same time encourage their
children to engage in mass murder.
In Geneva this week, at the "launching" of the "Geneva Public Initiative"
there were no signs of such skepticism.
Yossi Beilin stood beside Yased Abed Rabo, until recently the head of the
Palestinian Ministry of Information and declared, "Now we have a partner",
not withstanding the fact that it was Mr. Abed Rabo's own colleagues who
produced and broadcast the sermons and musical film clips that deny
Israel's right to exist and blatantly incite Palestinian teenagers to
become suicide bombers. Notwithstanding the fact that it had been Mr. Aded
Rabo who had led the international lynch mob falsely accusing Israel in
Jenin in 2002.* Neither Abed Rabo nor Mr. Beillin, nor any other official
spokesman from either side, saw fit to condemn the use of terror by
Palestinians against Israeli civilians. Neither did they call upon
Palestinian organizations to cease the use of terror even before the
conclusion of a political agreement. On the contrary, the Geneva Initiative
actually encourages such terror by requiring a total amnesty for all
Palestinian terrorists, including those members of the Islamic Jihad who
even this week attempted to infiltrate a suicide bomber into an Israeli
high school in order to massacre hundreds of Israeli children.
At the launching event of the Geneva Initiative, ten Palestinian speakers
stood up and spoke of Israel as an "apartheid", "criminal" or "racist"
state, glorifying Palestinian martyrs and lamenting the fate of the
prisoners, regardless of the heinousness of their crime.
Ten Israeli speakers responded in a language of desperation, despair and
blind hope in the ultimate good will of their partners from the PLO. The
Palestinians brought singers to speak of the heroism of their fighters
sacrificing their freedom in the name of Palestinian nationalism. . The
Israelis presented Aviv Gefen, who had refused to serve in the Israeli
Army, and who called for a world without nations and for an Israel without
Unanswered Questions of the Geneva Initiative Text
We came to Geneva with carefully prepared questions about the
Geneva Initiative, after closely examining the text of the proposed
accord. Yet there was little opportunity for questions. The five hour
Geneva Initiative was a photo-op, not a media event for inquiry, even though more than 280 news agencies showed up
These are some of the unanswered questions and concerns that we attempted
to pose to Geneva Initiative Organizers and their supporters:
Issues Regarding Security
1. Why is it that while Israel would be required to start withdrawals
immediately [Article 5, Paragraph 7(b)], there is no time element
associated with disbanding the PLO terrorist infrastructure-"irregular forces or armed bands" [Article 5, Paragraph 1(b)iv]?
2. Since the Geneva Initiative provides for a non-militarized
Palestinian state, why is there no provision for clearing out such
weapons-smuggled in defiance of Oslo Accord stipulations-weapons that
currently exist in large numbers in areas under control of the PA?
4. While the Initiative would detail the weapons the "non-militarized"
PLO state's Security Force could possess [to be spelled out in Appendix X,
which has not been agreed upon yet], this list can be changed at any time
without Israel's consent. [Any proposed changes to Annex X shall be
considered by a trilateral committee composed of the two Parties and the
Multinational Force. If no agreement is reached in the trilateral committee,
the Implementation and Verification Group composed of the US, Russian
Federation, EU, UN and others may make its own recommendations. -- Article 5, Paragraph 3(b).] How can Israel be asked to relinquish control in this
5. Palestine would be able to enter into defense pacts with even the most
radical Muslim state as long as the treaties do not specifically mention
"launching aggression or other acts of hostility " against
Israel [Article 4, Paragraph 1(b)iii.] In other words, the Palestinians
will be allowed to sign defense pacts with Iran, which has been fighting a
proxy war against Israel from Lebanese territory for the last 15 years, and
which has publically declared that its national strategic objected is the
destruction of the Jewish state.
6. Why are Security Provisions so short-lived?: Monitoring of international entry points into a Palestinian State? will be by a Implementation and Verification Group composed of the US, Russian Federation,
EU, UN and regional representatives (i.e. Arab states) that can be
terminated after 5 years. [Article 5, Paragraph 11 (d)]. Israel is limited
to a "small military presence" in the Jordan Valley under the authority of
the Multinational Force and that presence is only guaranteed for 5.5 years
[Article 5, Paragraph 7(f]]. The two "Early Warning" Stations provided for
Israel under the Initiative are guaranteed for only a period of ten years.
[Article 5, Paragraph 8(f)]. In light of ten years of PA non-compliance
with the Oslo Accords, how can Israel be asked to trust that security
provisions would be required only for a few years?
What if? The Right of Self Defense in case of treaty violations.
The Geneva Initiative is predicated upon the good will of both sides.
Speaking on the record, the head of the European Parliamentarian
Delegation to the Geneva Initiative, Mr. Graham Watson, described the planned armed international force that the US, Canada, the EU, the Scandinavian countries, Japan and Australia plan to dispatch to patrol the future borders which will run through the middle of Jerusalem and alongside Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Watson confirmed that Geneva Initiative mandates the creation of an international force which would actively prevent the Israeli army from pursuit of terrorists who escape into "Palestinian territory" since that international force is, according to the Geneva Initiative, designed to protect the "integrity of Palestinian territory". The good will of all future Israeli governments would be moot. The intentions of the Palestinian leadership, on the other hand would be critical. One of the most important lessons of the failure of the Oslo process was that despite the military force at its disposal, the Palestinian Liberation Organization has consistently refused to use force in order to prevent any terrorist attacks against the citizens of Israel.
The Geneva Initiative does not address the issue of what will happen if the
Palestinian State will prove itself no more inclined to prevent
murderous attacks on Israel by the Hamas, the Islamic Jihad or Arafat's own
force, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, than did the Palestinian Authority did
under the Oslo Accords? What if the Palestinian State were more successful at smuggling in weapons and missiles than its predecessor? None of the Geneva Initiative spokespeople were prepared to address that issue.
Under the current situation, Israel can and does exercise its right of
self-defense by intervening militarily against the perpetrators of
terrorist attacks. Under the Geneva Initiative, this option would require
Israel to clash directly AND MILITARILY with virtually the entire
international community. An Implementation and Verification Group, made up of Americans, Europeans, Russians, the United Nations and "representatives from the region" (presumably from Arab States), would be charged with defending the territorial integrity of the Palestinian State.
In other words, the very same Palestinian leadership that has been caught in
the act of smuggling massive quantities of armaments into its
"demilitarized" territory under Oslo would be protected from Israeli
even if terrorist attacks were to be launched against Israel
from Palestinian territory and even if Israeli passenger planes
are shot out of the sky by "unofficial" Palestinian missiles.
Refugee Issue Not Resolved
The Geneva Initiative deigns to solve the Palestinian refugee problem by
making it the responsibility of the international community, including Israel.
Third countries, including Israel and Palestine would physically absorb the
refugees and third countries, including Israel but not including Palestine,
would be financially responsible both for funding the population transfer and
compensating and indemnifying Palestinians for their having been refugees in
the first place. That is because the Geneva Initiative recognizes "the right
of states that have hosted Palestinian refugees to remuneration"[Article 7,
Paragraph 3(b)], but there is no reference to the possibility of offsetting
the value of Palestinian Arab property "at the time of displacement" against
the value of lost Jewish property in Arab countries. And since "No further
claims related to events prior to this Agreement may be raised by either
Party." [Article 1, Paragraph 2], the right to raise this issue of lost
Jewish property will be forever forfeited.
Meanwhile, The Geneva Initiative requires Israel to assume the
responsibility to indemnify Arabs who have lived their lives as refugees.
At the same time, there is NO mention of the responsibility of the Arab oil
states for having launched an invasion of Israel within minutes of its birth
to bear such expenses resulting from their actions.
By the same token, Israel is required to release all the Palestinian
prisoners, including those who bear responsibility for committing heinous
acts of mass murder, while the PLO, which has accumulated billions of
dollars, bears no responsibility for compensating the victims of forty
years of terrorist attacks against Israel.
Why not insist on Palestinian Democracy?
One of the most striking lessons of the successful aftermath of World War
II was the creation of stable democracies in Japan and Germany, which has
resulted in 60 years of peace and stability. And the Germans and Japanese
have enjoyed life in liberal democracies that respect human rights under the law. Yet the Geneva Initiative denies the Palestinian people the rights granted the Germans and the Japanese, because it makes no reference whatsoever to the need to establish Palestinian institutions of democratic government, including those which respect the rights of minorities to political dissent and religious freedom. Yet the lack of democracy in Palestine would pose the same dangers for Israel that the lack of democracy in Germany once posed for France. For the Palestinians, the continued rule of the PLO is no less than tragic, a tragedy that evidently did not concern the authors of the Initiative or their European supporters. At this writings, over two hundred Palestinians currently await execution for a variety of real and imagined offenses against the Palestinian Authority.
Territory and Demography: the need for more creative thinking
It has become common wisdom that the most realistic solution of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict will require all of the Jews to live in Israel
and as many of the Palestinians as possible to live in Palestine. The
fundamental problem is more demographic than it is territorial. Jewish life
cannot be guaranteed under Palestinian sovereignty and large Palestinian
populations in Israel will inevitably raise objections to the Jewish nature
of the state. The Geneva Initiative, on the other hand, recognizes
Palestinian territorial claims to the entirety of the West Bank (Judea and
Samaria) and Gaza, while leaving well over a million Palestinian Arabs as
citizens of the Jewish state. Why for instance, could not the land swaps
envisioned by the agreement include many of the densely populated
Palestinian towns located today in Israel proper but along the envisioned
border, in exchange for Jewish communities or empty territories located
with the same proximity to Israel? Instead, Jewish communities will be
dismantled, unpopulated regions of Israel will be transferred to
Palestine, and over a million Arabs who define themselves as being
Palestinian will continue to live in Israel.
The Temple Mount: Yours, Mine, or Shared?
Both Jews and Moslems have deep religious and historical ties to the Temple
Mount, where two important mosques stand today and where the First and Second Temples once stood for hundreds of years. The Geneva Initiative rules out the concept of joint sovereignty, or no sovereignty, and reinforces an extreme Islamic argument, which is not even held by all Moslems, which is that at the Jewish presence in the historical land of Israel and especially on the Temple Mount, has no historical basis. Why not share this holy site that is so precious to both sides? Why is a symbolic Jewish presence on the Holiest Site of the Jewish people such an anathema to Palestinian negotiators eager to launch both peoples on the path of reconciliation? The fact that the Geneva Initiative recognizes the historical rights of Moslems to the Temple Mount,but denies them to Jews, puts the fundamental good will of the Geneva Initiative Negotiatiors into question.
* Witness Abed Rabo's allegations about the supposed "massacre" in the
United Nations refugee camp of Jenin in April 2002 , which the UN itself
determined four months later to have caused the deaths of 56 Palestinians,
most of whom were
Distorting this reality, Abed Rabo told AFP on April 14, 2002 that
"Israeli bulldozers had dug mass graves for around 500
Palestinians. half of them women and children.The past fifteen days have
been perhaps Palestine's most traumatizing in decades for they have wrought
unspeakable death, destruction, sorrow, and helplessness to the Palestinian People. Needless to say,Palestinian civilians have suffered the brunt of Israel's on-going war on the very fabric of Palestinian life, in its physical and metaphorical aspects.
It will take our nation years to overcome the pain and loss that the
massacres, which the Israeli occupation army, has left us to mourn.
Hundreds of our children, women, and young men have been killed with utmost
savagery and their story remains obscured because of Israel's persistent
efforts to literally bury the proof of its unspeakable crimes."
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