|Israel Resource Review
||28th November, 2003
MK Abdul Malik Dehamshe:
An Agent of Arab Terror?
Maariv Newspaper Investigations
MK Visits Enemies of the State
Ma'ariv (p. 6) by Ami Ben-David -- Does MK Abdul Malik Dehamshe take
advantage of his parliamentary immunity to pass secret messages between the
terrorists imprisoned in Israel? Security officials accuse Dehamshe of
serving as a conduit between the terrorists and the terrorist leadership in
Dehamshe is a permanent visitor to the prisons in Israel. His frequent
visits to the most senior terrorists have aroused suspicion in the security
establishment. In the past few days a sensitive document has been compiled
by the GSS and the Prisons Service. The document, which is classified as
top secret, contains intelligence about the meetings of MK Dehamshe with
security prisoners, some of them defined as highly dangerous.
"In the past week alone MK Dehamshe had meetings with a large group of
arch-terrorists in Israeli jails," a senior GSS official said yesterday.
"He went from one prison to another, spoke with them in private, and now we
are checking whether he conveyed messages between terrorists held in
Dehamshe, who represents the United Arab List in the Knesset, has
submitted more than 80 requests to visit senior terrorists since the
beginning of the year. The security prisoners whom Dehamshe has visited are
described by the security establishment as "terrorists of the first rank."
Many of them have been convicted of murdering Israelis. Some of them belong
to the leadership of the Palestinian prisoners. Those whom Dehamshe visited
include the Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, the murderer of the Haran
family Samir Kuntar, Amana Mona, who lured teenager Ophir Rahum into a
terrorist ambush [where he was murdered], and many others.
The security establishment is very worried about communication between
the prisoners who are in jail and those active outside the prisons. In the
past month evidence has accumulated that the security prisoners have been
directing terrorist attacks from inside the prisons. A few months ago the
GSS uncovered bomb vests hidden inside a washing machine in Abu Dis. The
vests were intended for simultaneous terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. The
security establishment knows that these attacks were planned at Eshel
Prison in the south.
The security establishment has also obtained evidence that in similar
cases Arab MKs helped imprisoned planners of terrorist attacks to pass
secret messages to terrorists active in the territories. The Prisons
Service invests a great deal of effort in trying to prevent the passage of
such messages. Every few days prison guards raid cells and find dozens of
cell phones which have been smuggled into the prisoners. The Prisons
Service also installed devices throughout the prisons to block reception by
these cellular phones. But there is one thing which the guards cannot
touch. The Prisons Service does not have authorization to monitor the
conversations between the prisoners and the MKs who visit them. Nor can the
guards touch notes passed by the prisoners to the MKs. Senior Prisons
Service officials said the situation is absurd. Last Thursday Dehamshe
conveyed a request from some prisoners for a meeting with Internal Security
Minister Tzahi Hanegbi Already on Sunday morning Dehamshe was sitting in
the office of the warden of Shikma Prison for a meeting with senior
prisoners, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah leaders. Dehamshe
claimed the meeting was aimed at promoting the hudna. "The MK has immunity
and therefore we were forbidden to be present at the meeting," one of the
prison officials said. "We are forbidden to monitor or wiretap a meeting
between prisoners and MKs, but we are permitted to observe them." The
officer said. "I cannot say what took place at the meeting, but from our
intelligence it is clear that messages were passed, positions were
coordinated and documents and letters were taken out of the prison by the
Security officials said all of Dehamshe's meetings were with security
prisoners, none with common criminals. Dehamshe also met with Sheikh Raed
Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement. "Dehamshe says
he is trying to calm the prisoners, but according to the intelligence
document which we obtained, he inflames the atmosphere among the security
prisoners," a senior Prisons Service official said. "He is advising that
the glass partitions in the visiting cells be removed and that a list of
prisoners to be released be drawn up in preparation for an agreement with
the Palestinian Authority."
Dehamshe: The Allegations Endanger My Life
Ma'ariv (p. 7) by Ami Ben-David -- MK Abdul Malik Dehamshe said yesterday
that he has never been involved either in coordinating terror attacks or in
providing secret assistance to terrorists. Dehamshe also said that most of
the prison visits he requested from the Prisons Service were never made.
"That is untrue. The allegations are stooping to a new low of unheard of
[proportions]," Dehamshe commented. "I visited prisoners even before I
became an MK, when I worked as a lawyer. Customarily, I submit a list with
the names of 20 prisoners and, in practice, only visit one or two of them.
After each visit I write a letter to either the prison warden or the
internal security minister."
In response to the allegation that he helps plan terror attacks during
his visits to prison, Dehamshe said: "That is a cheap, baseless, very
severe allegation that makes my life forfeit. If they say that the
prisoners are coordinating their positions then let the prison authorities
examine themselves. There have always been instances of coordination, and I
play no role in that affair."
A Prisons Service spokesman responded: "MK Dehamshe's visits to prison
were conducted in keeping with the law that allows MKs to visit prisoners."
These articles ran on November 26th, 2003 in the
daily Israeli newspaper, Maariv
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Some Questions That Journalists Might Ask About
the Geneva Initiative
Israel Resource News Agency working paper
Issues Regarding Security
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 PLO terrorist
infrastructure-"irregular forces or armed bands" [Article 5,
The Initiative will prohibit certain weapons in the PLO
state. Why is there no provision for clearing out such
weapons-smuggled in defiance of Oslo Accord stipulations-that
currently exist in large numbers in areas under control of the PA?
Under the Initiative, the IDF will be barred from patrolling the
airspace of parts of Jerusalem that will be under Israeli
control [Article 4, Paragraph 1(a)].
How will Israel be able to adequately defend her capital under these conditions?
While the Initiative would detail the weapons the "non-militarized" PLO state's Security Force could posses [to be spelled out in Appendix X, not yet written], 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?
The PLO state can enter into defense pacts with even the most radical state as long as the stated objective of the pact does not explicitly include "launching aggression or other acts of hostility " against Israel [Article 4, Paragraph 1(b)iii.]
How can Israel, which still faces hostility and belligerence on the part of several Middle East states, be asked to agree to such an arrangement?
Security Provisions are only short-lived:
Monitoring of international entry points into the PLO state can be
terminated by the Implementation and Verification Group composed of the US, Russian Federation, EU, UN and others 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?
Discrepancies Regarding the Refugee Issue
The 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 forfeited.
Why should Israel be asked to agree to this inequity?
Israel is to pay a "lump sum" covering the aggregate value f "Palestinians' property at the time of displacement". This property is not identified as "Palestinian refugee property", opening the possibility that land that Israeli Arabs may also claim would be included in the calculation. [Article 7, Paragraph 9].
Why has this not been clarified?
Religious Rights Forfeited
The Waqf may bar Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount on the grounds that it
disrupts religious worship or decorum on the site [Article 6, Paragraph 5(b)iii].
The Oslo Interim Agreement refers to respecting "the ways of worship" and "religious rights of Jews . . . " at religious sites [Annex III, Appendix 1, Article 32] but the "Initiative" only refers to "access" [Article 10]. It is the position of the PA appointed Mufti of Jerusalem as well as the other PA religious officials that, while Jews may have "access" to such holy sites as the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, it is blasphemy for Jews and other infidels to pray at these sites as they are also considered mosques.
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The Palestinian "Humiliation"
Last Wednesday, President George W. Bush, addressing a crowded press conference in London in the presence of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, called on Israel to stop what he termed the "daily humiliation" of Palestinian Arabs at checkpoints where IDF troops and Israeli police conduct security searches of Palestinian Arabs before they can enter Israeli cities.
I asked a U.S. consular official in Jerusalem why Bush would claim that Israel was subjecting Arabs to humiliation at checkpoints. The U.S. consular official took offense at the very question. "I think that it is obvious that if my staffers from Bethlehem are made to wait an inordinate amount of time in their cars at the checkpoint, then that would be a clear matter of humiliation," he retorted.
The U.S. consular official went on to say that his staffers had clear IDs as to who they are and where they worked. Since Bethlehem is well known for spawning industries that produce countless counterfeit documents, I asked the consular official if it was not understandable that Israeli security officials be extra careful in examining all identification, as an added measure of caution, before allowing vehicles to pass into the nation's capital.
The U.S. consular official took even greater offense at that question, indicating that he hoped I would not write about this issue. I could only take that as a blessing to explore the matter further. What was of particular concern was that the U.S. consular official did not seem to be aware of what had transpired on Tuesday at one of the checkpoints between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The incident took place at 6 o'clock Tuesday morning at the checkpoint near Beit Jalla, just south of the tunnel road that goes through Beit Jalla into Jerusalem. The sun had just risen. A Palestinian Arab from Bethlehem, who looked familiar to the young IDF troops at the checkpoint, proceeded to get out of his car with a prayer blanket. This was the last week of Ramadan, and the young, devout-looking man made a hand signal that he wanted to pray. The IDF troops at the checkpoint afforded him the opportunity to pray and did not conduct a security search of his vehicle nor his person. The man then knelt to the ground, spread out his prayer blanket, and proceeded to pull out an AK-47 and murder two young IDF troops at point blank range. Moshe Belsky, age 23, who was speaking on his cell phone with his mother, and Shaul Lahav, age 20, the checkpoint commander, were killed instantly.
The killer then hopped into his car and sped back to Bethlehem, where he donned his uniform as an officer in the Palestinian Authority police force. The news media overseas only reported that two Israeli soldiers had been killed at the entrance to the Jerusalem tunnel by a "militant." Arafat's Fateh Tanzim took credit for the murder on the official PBC Voice of Palestine radio.
Israel had granted the PA the use of Israeli radio air waves in 1993 and still does so in order to foster a "voice of peace" for the PLO. The message communicated on the Voice of Palestine over the past ten years has hardly been a "a voice of peace."
I met Shaul Lahav on the day before his death. I had stopped by the checkpoint for a few minutes with tourists from the U.S., and they were pleased to meet Shaul, because he knew English. His parents had moved to Israel at roughly the time that I had moved to Israel, in the early 1970's. He was the oldest son in the family, their first "sabra," and was almost the same age as my oldest son (who just turned 21 and also serves in an IDF combat unit). Shaul interrupted his conversation with us at the checkpoint to receive a call from his girlfriend from his Kibbutz. Shaul might have married, raised a family and led a happy life. At the age of 20, everything is just ahead of you. What can be more of a "humiliation"? A young man cut down by the PLO in the prime of his life or the enforcement of strict security measures so the PLO does not murder another young man in the same exact place?
Other examples of alleged Palestinian "daily humiliation" at the hands of the IDF, duly reported to the U.S. consulate, are the sIDF's trict searches of Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances. People tend to forget that the Red Crescent is run by Fatchi Arafat, Yasser Arafat's brother, and that the IDF has reported numerous instances in which the Red Crescent ambulances were used to smuggle armed terrorists and weapons in a terror campaign that has seen 20,000 armed attacks in Israel in three years.
Most recently, Jerusalem's Alternative Information Center, funded through the Ford Foundation and the New Israel Fund, and run by self-proclaimed Trotskyite Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, provided a film for the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem. The film documented the "humiliation" Arabs in East Jerusalem must endure at these security checks. It depicted an iron gate that Arabs have to go through for security checks that lead into the East Jerusalem offices of the Israel Ministry of Interior and the Israel Ministry of National Insurance. Both of these offices provide vital health, education, registration and welfare aid to the local population.
What the Alternative Information Center film "forgot" to illustrate was that the iron gate and the severe security restrictions on entering Israeli government offices in East Jerusalem did not exist until three years ago. That's when Aish Kodesh Gilmore, a part time Israeli security guard, was shot in the neck and killed by an officer in Arafat's Fateh Tanzim militia. The Fateh Tanzim issued an immediate press release to the media, praising the murder of Aish Kodesh Gilmore, the same as was done after Shaul's murder.
I knew this young man, Aish, whose unusual name stuck with me. He was named for a Rabbi known as the Aish Kodesh - A Rabbi in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. His weekly stenciled prayer sheets and Bible commentaries kept up the spirits of the starving Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto throughout their ordeal -- until Aish Kodesh was himself banished from Warsaw. (He later perished from famine.) Aish Kodesh's writings were found preserved in a jar after World War II and were of great inspiration to the musically inclined Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, who was the Rabbi of Colorado-born Reuvein Gilmore.
Reuvein Gilmore later became one of the founders of the Moddiin collective community that Rabbi Carlebach's students pioneered just north of Jerusalem. Inspired by Rabbi Carlebach's stories of the Aish Kodesh, Reuvein gave the name of his little boy Aish Kodesh. I remember him well as a little fellow with long blonde curls, who would sit on Rabbi Carlebach's knees and listen as the Rabbi played songs of hope and Hassidic inspiration on his guitar. I had lost contact with Aish Kodesh, until I heard of his murder. I interviewed his young widow, shortly after the tragedy.
When I went to interview Zahava Gilmore, Aish Kodesh's widow, just one month after he was murdered in his role as a security guard in East Jerusalem, the person who ran to greet me at the door was Talia, Aish Kodesh's orphaned three-year-old daughter. Zahava explained that Talia always runs to the door, expecting her father to come home. If that is not the ultimate of humilation, what is?
Aish Kodesh's widow remarked that Aish was proud of the special role he performed in helping the people of East Jerusalem get the government benefits that they deserved.
You sometimes have to ask over and over and over: Which is the greater "humiliation": a young man cut down by the PLO in the prime of his life, or the enforcement of strict security measures so that the PLO does not murder another young man in that exact same place?
President Bush must understand that the staff of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem may need to take some lessons on the meaning of "humiliation" during a time of war. U.S. troops are busy learning the lesson of constant terrorist harassment the hard way in Iraq.
After all, Bagdad and Basra are not very far from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Shaul and Aish Kodesh were no different than American boys serving their country against a lifelong sponsor of terrorists. And Moshe Belsky's mother feels the pain as much as any dead soldier's mother -- maybe more so, since she was speaking to him at the moment of his murder.
President Bush should know well that Israel deserves the right to protect its sons at the checkpoints. Ask the mothers of Shaul, Moshe and Aish Kodesh.
A security check is not humiliation. It is protection.
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Subsidizing Press to come to Geneva:
Who is behind this?
Israel Resource Policy Statemen
November 25th, 2003
Numerous statements have been issued from the office of Beilin's
Geneva Initiative in Tel Aviv which claimed that Beilin's
initiative was financed by private Jewish contributors.
However, one of the architects of the Geneva Initiative, Dr.
Stephen Cohen, introducing himself as a paid advisor to the US
State Department, spoke at a conference of the Brit Tzedek
V'Shalom conference in Boston on November 19th, in which he
stated that the funder of the Geneva Iniative was the Swiss
Government. Cohen stated in answer to a question in the audience
that he did not know of any major Jewish contributors to the
On Monday, November 24th, the Geneva Initiative organizers offered to fly
journalists to cover the event in Geneva on subsidized round trip chartered
flight for the price of $150. (Our news agency is paying $871 each for two
reporters to have two round-trip tickets to cover the event)
The spokesperson of the Geneva Initiative told reporters that
the flight was subsidized by the Center for Humanitarian
Dialogue, a Geneva-based Non-Governmental organization
When asked if this Center was financed by the Swiss Government, the Geneva
Initiative Spokesperson said that she did not know. When she was asked if they had an office in Israel, she said that she did not know. They were not listed in Israel. The spokesperson for the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center in Ramallah, was kind enough to provide the contact information Center's office in the Palestinian Authority. They did not know anything about their involvement with the journalist flight arrangement.
At the office of the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva, their
spokesperson was asked as to whether their programs were financed by the Swiss government.
The spokesperson said that some of their programs and projects
were indeed financed by the Swiss government.
The Center spokesperson was then asked as to whether the flight for the
journalists on Monday sponsored by their agency was financed by the Swiss
The answer was: "What flight"?
The Center spokesperson was rather surprised, and wondered if the agency that he worked for had not informed its spokesman of its activities.
The Center spokesman checked and called back to say that his agency was not in any way, shape or form involved in the subsidy or organization of the
journalist's flight to cover the Geneva Initiative.
The Center spokesman suggested to call the Swiss government spokesman. The
Swiss government spokesman was not ready to say anything on the subject, saying that all this would be discussed in a press conference tomorrow.
I called back to the Beilin Geneva Iniative Office to ask why they had said
that the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue was subsidizing the flight when the Center's spokesperson said that the Center had nothing to do with the flight.
It took two hours for the spokesperson of The Beillin Geneva Initiative to get back to me with an answer that it was the Swiss government which is subsidizing the flight for journalists.
It would seem highly unusual for a foreign government to finance the activities of another government's opposition event.
It is even more unusual for a foreign government to pay for reporters to cover such an event.
A spokesman of the Swiss Foreign Ministry explained that to the best of his knowledge that his government was paying for the delegations to come to Geneva, not for journalists to come. The Swiss government spokesman referred the question to Michael Levy, a close associate of Yossi Beilin.
Levy indicated that Journalists were not offered any subsidy on the trip.
When asked to explain further, Levy slammed down the phone. Asked why he hung up the phone, Levy said that he had said enough to the media on this matter.
So much for the notion that private Jewish contributors are behind the Beilin Geneva initiative.
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Geneva Accord in English:
Outline of the accord:
Article 1 - Purpose of the Permanent Status Agreement
Article 2 - Relations between the Parties
Article 3: Implementation and Verification Group
Article 4 - Territory
Article 5 - Security
Article 6 - Jerusalem
Article 7 - Refugees
Article 8 - Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation Committee (IPCC)
Article 9 - Designated Road Use Arrangements:
Article 10 - Sites of Religious Significance
Article 11 - Border Regime
Article 12 - Water
Article 13 - Economic Relations
Article 14 - Legal Cooperation
Article 15 - Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees
Article 16 - Dispute Settlement Mechanism
Article 17 - Final Clauses
The State of Israel (hereinafter "Israel") and the Palestine Liberation Organization (hereinafter "PLO"), the representative of the Palestinian people (hereinafter the "Parties"):
Reaffirming their determination to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, and to live in peaceful coexistence, mutual dignity and security based on a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace and achieving historic reconciliation;
Recognizing that peace requires the transition from the logic of war and confrontation to the logic of peace and cooperation, and that acts and words characteristic of the state of war are neither appropriate nor acceptable in the era of peace;
Affirming their deep belief that the logic of peace requires compromise, and that the only viable solution is a two-state solution based on UNSC Resolution 242 and 338;
Affirming that this agreement marks the recognition of the right of the Jewish people to statehood and the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to statehood, without prejudice to the equal rights of the Parties' respective citizens;
Recognizing that after years of living in mutual fear and insecurity, both peoples need to enter an era of peace, security and stability, entailing all necessary actions by the parties to guarantee the realization of this era;
Recognizing each other's right to peaceful and secure existence within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;
Determined to establish relations based on cooperation and the commitment to live side by side as good neighbors aiming both separately and jointly to contribute to the well-being of their peoples;
Reaffirming their obligation to conduct themselves in conformity with the norms of international law and the Charter of the United Nations;
Confirming that this Agreement is concluded within the framework of the Middle East peace process initiated in Madrid in October 1991, the Declaration of Principles of September 13, 1993, the subsequent agreements including the Interim Agreement of September 1995, the Wye River Memorandum of October 1998 and the Sharm El-Sheikh Memorandum of September 4, 1999, and the permanent status negotiations including the Camp David Summit of July 2000, the Clinton Ideas of December 2000, and the Taba Negotiations of January 2001;
Reiterating their commitment to United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397 and confirming their understanding that this Agreement is based on, will lead to, and -by its fulfillment-- will constitute the full implementation of these resolutions and to the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in all its aspects;
Declaring that this Agreement constitutes the realization of the permanent status peace component envisaged in President Bush's speech of June 24, 2002 and in the Quartet Roadmap process.
Declaring that this Agreement marks the historic reconciliation between the Palestinians and Israelis, and paves the way to reconciliation between the Arab World and Israel and the establishment of normal, peaceful relations between the Arab states and Israel in accordance with the relevant clauses of the Beirut Arab League Resolution of March 28, 2002; and
Resolved to pursue the goal of attaining a comprehensive regional peace, thus contributing to stability, security, development and prosperity throughout the region;
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On Monday, an agreement will be signed by Israelis and Palestinians.
This "Geneva accord" has gotten much attention. And the signing itself will be greeted with much hoopla. Journalists are being flown in from around the world by the Swiss government. Jimmy Carter will be heading a list of foreign dignitaries. The U.S. Embassy in Bern will be sending an observer.
This is all rather peculiar: The agreement is being signed not by Israeli and Palestinian officials, but by two people with no power.
On the Palestinian side, the negotiator is former information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, who at least is said to have Yasser Arafat's ear. The Israeli side, however, is led by Yossi Beilin, a man whose political standing in his own country is so low that he failed to make it into Parliament. After helping bring his Labor Party to ruin, Beilin abandoned it for the far-left Meretz Party, which then did so badly in the last election that Beilin is now a private citizen.
There is a reason why he is one of Israel's most reviled and discredited politicians. He was the principal ideologue and architect behind the "peace" foisted on Israel in 1993. Those Oslo agreements have brought a decade of the worst terror in all Israeli history.
Now he is at it again. And Secretary of State Colin Powell has written a letter to Beilin and Rabbo expressing appreciation for their effort, and is now planning to meet with them.
This is scandalous. Israel is a democracy, and this agreement was negotiated in defiance of the democratically (and overwhelmingly) elected government of Israel. If a private U.S. citizen negotiated a treaty on his own, he could go to jail under the Logan Act. If an Israeli does it, he gets a pat on the back from the secretary of state.
Moreover, this "peace" is entirely hallucinatory. It is written as if Oslo never happened. The Palestinian side repeats solemn pledges to recognize Israel, renounce terror, end anti-Israel incitement, etc. - all promised in Oslo. These promises are today such a dead letter that the Palestinian side is openly bargaining these chits again, as if the Israelis have forgotten that in return for these pledges 10 years ago, Israel recognized the PLO, brought it out of Tunisian exile, established a Palestinian Authority, permitted it an army with 50,000 guns and invited the world to donate billions to this new Authority.
Arafat pocketed every Israeli concession, turned his territory into an armed camp and then launched a vicious terror war that has lasted more than three years and killed more than 1,000 Israelis. It is Lucy and the football all over again, and the same chorus of delusionals who so applauded Oslo - Jimmy Carter, Sandy Berger, Tom Friedman - is applauding again. This time, however, the Israeli surrender is so breathtaking it makes Oslo look rational.
A Palestinian state, of course. Evacuating every Jewish settlement in new Palestine, of course. Redividing Jerusalem, of course. But that is not enough. Beilin gives up the ultimate symbol of the Jewish connection and claim to the land, the center of the Jewish state for 1,000 years before the Roman destruction, the subject of Jewish longing in poetry and prayer for the 2,000 years since - the Temple Mount. And Beilin doesn't just give it up to, say, some neutral international authority. He gives it to sovereign Palestine. Jews will visit at Arab sufferance.
Not satisfied with having given up Israel's soul, Beilin gives up the body too. He not only returns Israel to its 1967 borders, arbitrary and indefensible, but he does so without any serious security safeguards.
Palestine promises to acquire and buy no more weapons than specified in some treaty annex. This is a joke. Oslo had similarly detailed limitations on Palestinian weaponry, and nobody even pretended to enforce them. Last year, a massive illegal boatload came in from Iran on the Karine A. What did the world do about it? Nothing.
Today, however, Israel still has control over Palestine's borders. Under Beilin, this ends. Palestine will be free to acquire as much lethal weaponry as it wants.
And on the critical question that even the most dovish Israelis insist on - that the Palestinians not have the right to flood Israel with Arab refugees - the agreement is utterly ambiguous. Third parties (including among others the irredeemably hostile Syria and its puppet Lebanon) are to suggest exactly how many Palestinians are to return to Israel, and the basis for the number Israel will be required to accept will be the mathematical average!
This is not a peace treaty, this is a suicide note - by a private citizen on behalf of a country that has utterly rejected him politically. That it should get any encouragement from the United States or from its secretary of state is a disgrace.
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Powell: Letter of Support to
Initiators of Geneva Accord
HaAretz News Story
remains whether Israel's supporters in the US Congress will
object to a formal Powell embrace of the accord initiators after
the Geneva Conference takes place -db]
The Geneva Accord peace plan got a significant boost Friday, with a letter of support from U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, organizers said.
Washington's backing of the Geneva Accord could be seen as a veiled rebuke to the Israeli government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who has attacked the plan as subversive.
Powell's letter was addressed to the leaders of the initiative, former Justice Minister Yossi Beilin and former Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, the two told a news conference.
"Dear Yossi and Yasser," the letter read, according to a Beilin aide. "The president remains committed a two state solution . . . but we also believe that projects such as yours are important for sustaining hope and understanding."
The Geneva plan proposes a Palestinian state on nearly all the land Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War. It would also give Palestinians control of a disputed Jerusalem holy shrine, known to Muslims as the Haram as-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.
In return, Palestinians would give up their demand for the "right of return" of about four million Palestinian war refugees and their descendants to Israel.
Paul Patin, a U.S. Embassy spokesman, said the United States remains committed to the road map peace plan, which envisions a Palestinian state by 2005, but does not draw borders. Israelis and Palestinians are deadlocked over implementation of that plan.
Patin said Powell's letter was meant to show support for the Geneva Accord, but was not an official endorsement.
An Israeli official dismissed the Powell letter as unlikely to have an impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"They can compliment and praise all they want, but from compliments no real progress has been made," the official said on condition of anonymity.
The plan is being sponsored by Switzerland and is to be officially launched in Geneva, although a date has yet to be decided. Abed Rabbo said it should be a matter of weeks.
On Wednesday, the plan got the blessing of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan who called it a "courageous" attempt to break the stalemate on both sides.
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz - the Pentagon's No. 2 official - last week praised another unofficial peace plan drawn up by a prominent Palestinian moderate and the former head of Israel's secret service.
Ami Ayalon and Sari Nusseibeh say they have collected 100,000 Israeli and 60,000 Palestinian signatures in three months.
Their petition calls for Israel to withdraw to the borders it had before the 1967 war, when it captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The document calls for a demilitarized Palestinian state in those territories.
In a lecture at Georgetown University, Wolfowitz said the petition's principles "look very much like" the Bush administration's road map to a peaceful, two-state solution.
In Friday's news conference, authors of the Geneva plan said they were not trying to usurp the authority of their respective governments but to mobilize public opinion as a tool for change.
"We are not taking away the role of anybody," Abed Rabbo said. "We are sending a message to the governments of both sides and to the governments of the world to start official negotiations because there is no alternative to official negotiations."
This piece ran in HaAretz on November 7th, 2003
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