One of the major problems in this conflict is in discerning between the fact and the fiction. Mostly, what is said is fiction, and what is done is fact. Therefore, while Israel has finally accepted the road map by word, it means nothing as far as I am concerned just as the Palestinian acceptance has not changed anything on the ground. We will have to wait a few days or weeks before we can claim to be the wiser about the direction of Palestinian-Israeli relations. As things stand now, with Arafat regaining total control through Friday’s decision of the Fatah Executive to strip Muhammad Dahlan of his control of the Palestinian security forces, and transfer their control of Naser Yusef, it does not look promising.
In saying so, I must admit that I stand by the 14 points published by Israel regarding the road map. They are suprisingly fair, and I do think they are the only hope for the process to go right. Here they are, in full, thanks to IMRA:
The Roadmap: Primary Themes of Israel’s Remarks
1. Both at the commencement of and during the process, and as a condition to its continuance. calm will be maintained. The Palestinians will dismantle the existing security organizations and implement security reforms during the course of which new organizations will be formed and act to combat terror, violence and incitement (incitement must cease immediately and the Palestinian Authority must educate for peace). These organizations will engage in genuine prevention of terror and violence through arrests, interrogations, prevention and the enforcement of the legal groundwork for investigations, prosecution and punishment. In the first phase of the plan
and as a condition for progress to the second phase, the Palestinians will complete the dismantling of terrorist organizations (Hamas. Islamic Jihad. the Popular Front, the Democratic Front Al-Aqsa Brigades and other apparatuses) and their infrastructure, collection of all illegal weapons and their transfer to a third party for the sake of being removed from the area and destroyed., cessation of weapons smuggling and weapons production inside the Palestinian Authority, activation of the full prevention apparatus and cessation of incitement. There will be no progress to the second phase without the fulfillment of all above-mentioned conditions relating to the war against terror. The security plans to be implemented are the Tenet and Zinni plans. [As in the other mutual frameworks. the Roadmap will not state that Israel must cease violence and incitement against the Palestinians].
2. Full performance will be a condition for progress between phases and for progress within phases. The first condition for progress will be the complete cessation of terror, violence and incitement. Progress between phases will come only following the full implementation of the preceding phase. Attention will be paid not to timelines, but to performance benchmarks (timelines will serve only as reference points).
3. The emergence of a new and different leadership in the Palestinian Authority within the framework of governmental reform. The formation of a new leadership constitutes a condition for progress to the second phase of the plan. In this framework, elections will be conducted for the Palestinian Legislative Council following coordination with Israel.
4. The Monitoring mechanism will be under American management. The chief verification activity will concentrate upon the creation of another Palestinian entity and progress in the civil reform process within the Palestinian Authority. Verification will be performed exclusively on a professional basis and per issue (economic, legal, financial) without the existence of a combined or unified mechanism. Substantive decisions will remain in the hands of both parties.
5. The character of the provisional Palestinian state will be determined through negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The provisional state will have provisional borders and certain aspects of sovereignty, be fully demilitarized with no military forces, but only with police and internal security forces of limited scope and armaments, be without the authority to undertake defense alliances or military cooperation, and Israeli control over the entry and exit of all persons and
cargo, as well as of its air space and electromagnetic spectrum.
6. In connection to both the introductory statements and the final settlement, declared references must be made to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and to the waiver of any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel.
7. End of the process will lead to the end of all claims and not only the end of the conflict.
8. The future settlement will be reached through agreement and direct negotiations between the two parties, in accordance with the vision outlined by President Bush in his 24 June address.
9. There will be no involvement with issues pertaining to the final settlement. Among issues not to be discussed: settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (excluding a settlement freeze and illegal outposts), the status of the Palestinian Authority and its institutions in Jerusalem, and all other matters whose substance relates to the final settlement.
10. The removal of references other than 242 and 338 (1397, the Saudi Initiative and the Arab Initiative adopted in Beirut). A settlement based upon the Roadmap will be an autonomous settlement that derives its validity therefrom. The only possible reference should be to Resolutions 242 and 338, and then only as an outline for the conduct of future negotiations on a permanent settlement.
11. Promotion of the reform process in the Palestinian Authority: a transitional Palestinian constitution will be composed, a Palestinian legal infrastructure will be constructed and cooperation with Israel in this field will be renewed. In the economic sphere: international efforts to rehabilitate the Palestinian economy will continue. In the financial sphere: the American-Israeli-Palestinian agreement will be implemented in full as a condition for the continued transfer of tax revenues.
12. The deployment of IDF forces along the September 2000 lines will be subject to the stipulation of Article 4 (absolute quiet) and will be carried out in keeping with changes to be required by the nature of the new circumstances and needs created thereby. Emphasis will be placed on the division of responsibilities and civilian authority as in September 2000, and not on the position of forces on the ground at that time.
13. Subject to security conditions, Israel will work to restore Palestinian life to normal: promote the economic situation, cultivation of commercial connections, encouragement and assistance for the activities of recognized humanitarian agencies. No reference will be made to the Bertini Report as a binding source document within the framework of the humanitarian issue.
14. Arab states will assist the process through the condemnation of terrorist activity. No link will be established between the Palestinian track and other tracks (Syrian-Lebanese).
These points are certainly in the Palestinian’s own self-interest, and it would be a shame for the peace process to once again fail just because the world does not realize that terror is bad and terrorism supporting dictators–such as Yassir Arafat and the other leaders in the Arab world–are worse.