Posted by Lilly from ? (188.8.131.52) on Saturday, June 22, 2002 at 4:54PM :
Bush has no vision - the Palestinians need to create one for him.
'Interim' State Equals No State at All
Only full sovereignty has meaning for Palestinians. Bush can point the
All indications suggest that President Bush's anticipated peace plan for
Palestinians and Israelis will only deepen the confusion regarding U.S.
policy. Conflicting and contradictory statements from senior officials
have left people throughout the region, and many in the United States,
at a loss in trying to make out what the administration plans to do.
Now Bush is expected to recommend the creation of an "interim"
Palestinian state as the key element in ending 20 months of carnage.
Apparently he will propose taking the status quo of nominal Palestinian
rule in 40% of the West Bank and renaming it a state, although it would
not have the rights and responsibilities of an actual state. This idea
is not simply a nonstarter, it is nonsense.
Interim independence and partial sovereignty make as much sense
politically as a woman being somewhat pregnant. Independence and
sovereignty are either fully realized or meaningless.
Much the same may be said about the president's repeated calls for the
Palestinian Authority to become democratic. While Palestinian reforms
are clearly needed, it is absurd to speak of creating a democracy among
noncitizens of a nonstate under a foreign military occupation and
without meaningful sovereignty.
What is available under such conditions is, at best, the democracy of a
high school student council, not that of a free people in a sovereign
republic. Americans are heirs to a grand tradition of insight about the
basic requirements of liberty and independent self-government--concepts
that are casually betrayed by the facile blather about democracy without
Meanwhile, Israeli and Palestinian extremists are busy ensuring that the
conflict deteriorates to the point where no plan will stop the killing.
The intensity, viciousness and frequency of Palestinian suicide attacks
against Israeli civilians have only increased as a result of Israel's
recent rampages and the sacking of many West Bank cities. Israel's plan,
announced Wednesday, to reoccupy Palestinian-ruled areas is not a change
of policy; it's a continuation of Israeli behavior over the last five
months. More of the same will meet with just as little success.
And Israel's new "security fence" is another chimera offered up by
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who continues to feed his people
the illusion that the Palestinian uprising can be crushed and the
occupation then continued in peace and security.
According to numerous reports, Sharon told a closed meeting of the U.S.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that there would be no
peace deal for at least 10 years; that Israel was prepared for a
100-year struggle; that a Palestinian state was out of the question any
time soon; and that the key to Israel's security was 1 million new
The irony is that, in spite of the ascendancy of radicals on both sides,
there is much for a genuinely committed White House to work with.
The Palestinians still have a secular leadership that is committed to
establishing an independent state alongside Israel and that is not, as
many falsely claim, dedicated to its destruction. A recent working paper
presented to the Bush administration by senior Palestinian officials
reiterates several far-reaching concessions made in the 2001 Taba talks
regarding borders, Jerusalem, demilitarization and refugees.
The majority of Israelis are still in favor of a two-state solution, and
serious progress would surely revive the dormant Israeli peace movement.
The plan forwarded by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and adopted by the
Arab League provides an excellent basis for multi-party talks designed
to create a permanent peace based on total Arab recognition of Israel,
provided the occupation ends.
Most important, the Bush administration can proceed on the basis of its
own stated positions--including support for an independent Palestinian
state--which, if translated into proactive policies, would constitute a
decisive intervention on behalf of peace.
What Bush needs to do is embrace his own vision, base U.S. policy on
this vision and create a practical plan to bring it quickly into effect.
Despite the extremists, such a policy would enjoy powerful support from
a majority of Americans, Israelis and Palestinians, as well as other
It would offer the only real chance in the foreseeable future to end the
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