Israel Resource Review 6th December, 2003


The Geneva 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 wording.

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 conceded possession.

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 Israel.

Security Arrangements

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 critically examined:

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 come.

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, Email: 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: © Copyright. 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 Geneva Initiative:
Proposed Dispatch of International Forces to Protect Palestinian Entity
Yitzhak Sokoloff and David Bedein

Geneva, Switzerland 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 Center.

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.

Begin Here

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 passionately 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 settlements.

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 fashion?

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 military action 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 armed combatants.

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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