Israel Resource Review 24th June, 2002


An Immediate Reaction To President Bush's Policy Speech
Dr Mike Cohen
Strategic Defence Analyst

Tonight's speech made me think that I was hearing the thoughts of the poetic prophet Isaiah, preaching to his flock about the vision of the rising of the dry bones in his seven prophesies of redemption.

Far be it from me to call the U.S. President a prophet, far less a false one, but his vision of the process by which to pull our region out of the muck, at least if taken at face value from tonight's speech, is based on false messianic type hope, a hope that has already cost us way too much blood, sorrow and agony.

Why go far. Immediately following the speech, CNN broadcast an interview with one of Israel's most recent false prophets, former premier Ehud Barak who said he could accept every word as stated. The former premier (whose English by the way has improved dramatically since he left office) was immediately followed by Saeb Erikat who was having a hard time controlling his venomous anger at the obvious problem he knew he would now face in continuing to spew his regular dosage of verbal poison against Israel.

I feel sorry for Mr. Bush, I really do. He's in a tough spot and there is nothing he can say or do that will satisfy his critics - so he did the next best thing - he laid out a vision that if, (that's IF with a capital I and a capital F) adhered to, would in fact bring with it the Shimon Peres dream of a new middle east.

Israelis have a saying, im lasavta sheli hayu galgalim, which can be loosely translated as "and my grandma rides roller skates," or "ya, right, that'll happen."

IF the Palestinians create the coup that the president called for and send Arafat packing; and

IF they found a suitable replacement that could actually govern without corruption; and

IF they actually created the reforms the president called for, separation of the arms of government, free media, real court system, in short - democracy; and

IF that government was able to keep its people in control and stop terror; and

IF the new constitution created included freedom of religion where members of all faiths could vote and serve in the legislature; and

IF members of all faiths and creeds were allowed to own and live on the land, in other words not an apartheid, Judenrein state; and

IF they created a free market economy that satisfied the IMF and World Bank's strictest criteria; and

IF they began teaching peace in their schools and summer programs; and

IF they added Israel to the maps they use in their schools and propaganda and removed her from their symbols; and

IF and IF and IF and IF . . .

I too would sign on to the president's plan and I would be happy to live in such a country -- wait a minute, I think I used to live in one, oh yah, now that I think of it - it's called Canada…

The author is a veteran commentator and IDF reservist in a special forces unit who has been staying in touch with his friends all over the world by way of these e-mails. He is currently completing work on a book that will illustrate the positive changes in Israeli and Jewish society during Operation Defensive Shield.

Dr. Mike Cohen
MTC Analysis & Strategy Systems
Corporate & Not-for-Profit Division
(+972-54) 996-453

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Bush, Like Clinton, Unwittingly Offered a Prescription for War
David Bedein

President Bill Clinton gave a speech in September, 1993, in which he said that the PLO and Israel would sign an agreement on the White House lawn that would leave the most important issues the future of Jerusalem and the fate of 3.6 million Arab refugees and their descendents from the 1948 war to be "resolved" seven years later.

My oldest son, Noam, then eleven years old, watched Clinton's speech and shrugged his shoulders, saying "it looks like everybody is preparing a war for when I will be eighteen".

How correct Noam was. His Israel army combat service commenced in the Fall of the year of 2000, at the time when the war broke out between Israel and the PLO over the "unresolved" issues of Jerusalem and the Arab refugees from 1948.

What the PLO and Israel could not resolve at the negotiating table moved to the field of battle.

President George W. Bush's June 2002 speech repeated Clinton's mistake of September 1993.

Despite Bush's vision of a democratic and accountable Palestinian Arab entity that could live in peace and harmony with Israel, the president again left the tough issues of Jerusalem and refugees for "future" negotiations.

Despite Bush's concern for the poverty and suffering that afflicts the Palestinian Arabs, Bush once again relegated the poorest of Palestinian Arab society, the Palestinian Arab refugees, to continue a life of squalor in makeshift UNRWA Arab refugee shantytowns that have been their "temporary" abode since 1949, where they have wallowed under the premise and promise of the "right of return" to their homes and villages which they lost in the 1948 war. These homes and villages from 1948 no longer exist, except in the UNRWA educational system which inculcates the idea of the right of return to the precise homes and villages that they left in 1948, even though their abodes no longer exist.

Bush is now considering an additional $50 million for US AID for the UNRWA to keep these Arab refugees in these squalid conditions . . . instead of initiating an effort to resettle the Arab refugees in a decent and dignified conditions that would douse the flames of their rebellion.

If the US continues to relegate millions of Arabs to their continued "temporary" refugee status until they can be repatriated to homes that no longer exist, the US fans the flames of anger that may kindle even more violence in the future .

As to Bush's notion that Jerusalem's status will be negotiated in the future, this also places unrealistic hopes in the imagination of Palestinian Arabs. That is because Israel annexed all of Jerusalem in 1967, after 19 years when Arabs ruled East Jerusalem and denied Jews any access to the Jewish Holy Sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. The current PLO campaign, repeated time and again by Arafat, calls for the liberation of "Holy Jerusalem". Bush's speech gives hope to the Palestinian Arabs that they may have an ally in their war to liberate holy Jerusalem.

As in 1993, what the PLO and Israel cannot resolve at the negotiating table will move to the field of battle.

Bush's speech of 2002, like Clinton's message in 1993, remains a prescription for war.

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PLO Dissapointment with Bush Speech
Roni Shaked
Arab Affairs Correspondent, Yediot Aharonot

The Palestinians are disappointed in President Bush's speech and particularly in the demand that they replace their leadership, which implies a demand to remove Arafat from power.

The Palestinians were also disappointed that Bush did not call on Israel to "stop its aggression" and to begin negotiations immediately with a strict timetable for implementation.

But in an attempt to appease the US and to maintain an open channel of discourse with the administration, the Palestinian leadership and Arafat issued a statement referring the to speech positively. But off the record Palestinian officials said: "This speech presented Sharon's ideas combined with the American vision of two states. The demand to replace Arafat is not realistic."

Officially, Arafat said that he welcomed the ideas raised by President Bush in his speech and he considers them to contribute and promote the peace process. "The leadership hopes to discuss the necessary details to secure the success of these ideas through direct and bilateral meetings with the American administration and with the consultation of the quartet [the US, Europe, Russia and the UN] and the Arab brothers."

This piece ran in Yediot Aharonot on June 25, 2002

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