Israel Resource Review 3rd January, 2003


Disaster in the Making:
Danger of Foreign Troop Intervention in Jerusalem
David Bedein

The latest panacea for Middle East peace, now gaining momentum, is the dispatching of foreign troops whose dual task would be to create a Palestinian Arab state and mitigate Arab terror. Foreign troops would drive an armed wedge between the warring Israeli and Palestinian Arab entities in order to create a semblance of peace.

On December 5, at an international security seminar in Herzliya, former US ambassador Martin Indyk proposed introducing US troops who would act as a peacekeeping force with or without a peace agreement.

On December 12, the Canadian representative to the Palestinian Authority, Steve Hibbard, told a Palestinian Authority publication of his proposal to dispatch Canadian troops to the Middle East. On December 13, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky's spokesman gave an interview in which he endorsed US troops who would be dispatched to patrol Ramallah and other Arab cities.

On December 16, Meretz went a step further and called for an international army dispatched here to keep the peace. On December 17, a senior official of the European Union delegation to Israel noted the mobility of 20,000 European peacekeepers now based in Macedonia and their readiness to be deployed to facilitate Middle East peace.

But have advocates of an armed international presence considered the consequences of their suggestion?

Those who advocate an armed international presence claim foreign troops have succeeded in preserving peace accords in the region. After all, foreign troops patrol the borders of Israel and Egypt. They patrol the armistice lines with Syria and with Lebanon. What would be the difference?

Foreign troops stationed in the Sinai desert patrol an international border following a peace agreement accepted by both Israel and Egypt. Foreign troops patrol the Syrian and Lebanese cease-fire lines following armistice agreements accepted by Israel, Syria and Lebanon.

But foreign troops dispatched to patrol Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza, would be stationed where Israel, the PLO and the entire Arab world have reached no agreement since 1948.

That's the difference.

The PLO, based in the provisional Palestinian Authority in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, asserts its right to wage a war to regain the 531 Arab villages lost in 1948. Meanwhile, millions of Arab refugees wallow in UNRWA Arab refugee camps since 1948 under the premise of the "right of return" to those 531 villages, which have been replaced by Israeli cities, collective farms and woodlands.

Israel asserts its right to annex and settle all the lands it acquired after the 1948 war, along with some of the lands acquired in 1967 - a right no nation has ever recognized. It asserts its right to Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem - a right no nation in the world, including the US, has ever recognized.

All this spells out a formula for continued conflict in the unresolved 1948 war. International troops would fight for the policies of their respective governments, which would bode ill for Israel.

A likely scenario: Foreign troops are dispatched to the hilly village of Beit Jala overlooking Bethlehem and towering over Gilo, the southernmost part of Jerusalem. The stated purpose of the armed international peacekeepers is to facilitate the transformation of Beit Jala into a thriving suburb of Bethlehem as part of a future vibrant, independent Palestinian Arab entity, and to stop shooting attacks against Israel from the village.

A few days after foreign troops take up their positions, armed Beit Jala residents positioned on the roof of the strategically placed Flowers of Hope school fire rockets and mortars into Gilo, blowing up Jewish homes and killing tens of Jewish residents.

The response is not long in coming. The IDF fires at the source of the mortar shells, blowing up the school and killing hundreds of Arab schoolchildren and dozens of foreign peacekeepers stationed nearby.

Headlines around the world: "Israelis kill schoolchildren and foreign peacekeepers." Within days, world revulsion against Israel leads to an international campaign for Israel to evacuate Gilo. Hundreds of foreign troops are dispatched to impose martial law and a curfew on Gilo, defined by the world as an illegal settlement.

This would be the likely consequence of any international armed presence in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem. It would automatically turn into a disaster for Israel - and Jews around the world bear the consequences. Even the US, regarded as the friendliest country to Israel, sees no place for any Jew to live anywhere beyond the 1949-67 armistice lines.

Several years ago, a delegation of Israeli American citizens living beyond the 1967 lines asked the US consul in Jerusalem about the human rights of Jews in these Jewish communities that have been under constant terror attack. The consul responded: "If you live there, then you have no human rights."

Most recently, the US embassy in Tel Aviv was asked if the repair of the old Hurva synagogue in the old Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, taken back by Israel in 1967, would be considered "illegal settlement activity." The answer from the US embassy, whose ambassador is an observant Jew, was that it would.

Now imagine US, Canadian and EU troops enforcing their anti-settlement policies with massive armed force.

Conclusion: Any armed international presence would immediately become a target in the line of fire, and Israel would be blamed for the casualties among them.

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Final Draft of Bush Road Map Rejects Israeli Demands
Alex Fishman
Correspondent, Yediot Ahronot

In the final version of the road map for an Israeli-Palestinian arrangement, most of the Israeli demands for corrections were rejected,as indicated by an analysis comparing the final document to the Israeli comments. This contradicts claims made in Jerusalem that this was an Israeli achievement.

The comparison was made between the final road map, which was finalized during the latest meeting of the Quartet, which includes the US, the EU, the UN and Russia, and the comments Israel submitted on the first draft.

Among others, Israel requested to determine that one of the conditions for progress is the replacement of the Palestinian leadership with a "new and different leadership",meaning the replacement of Arafat. The final version makes no explicit mention of changing the leadership and states only that it will be possible to make progress when the Palestinian people have a leadership that acts strongly against terror.

According to the sources, the Israelis also demanded that the US be the one to supervise the process and its implementation, but the final document states that the Quartet will meet regularly to evaluate the performance of the parties. Israel also requested that there be no reference in the document to the Saudi plan, but the final document says that the arrangement will be based, among others, on the plan of Prince Abdullah and bring an end to the "occupation that began in 1967", in complete contradiction to the Israeli request.

Israel also met with disappointment on the issue of settlements. Israel requested that questions relating to the settlements be discussed in the final status arrangement. In the final document, even the condition that existed in the previous draft of the document vanished, which had stated that the freeze on settlements would take place unconditionally after a comprehensive cease fire. On the matter of Jerusalem as well, Israel's request not to re-open the Palestinian institutions in the city was rejected, and the document states that the institutions that were closed will be re-opened.

Israel's main achievement is in fact the American agreement to begin the implementation of the document only after the elections in Israel.

Sources in Jerusalem said that the final document has not reached Israel, and this is a non-binding document.

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