Behind the Scenes: Israel and Palestine

Posted by Sean McCormack
August 27, 2008
Israeli Checkpoint Jericho

About the Author: Sean McCormack serves as the Department Spokesman and Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.

If there is a well worn groove in American diplomacy, it is the flight path between Washington and Jerusalem (and more recently Ramallah), a path we have followed as well having just concluded our seventh trip to the "region" in about nine months. As with much in diplomacy, it is important to learn from the past but not be captive to it. In that regard, it is worth noting for you a few ways in which the current process differs with the past.

One lesson learned is that leaks to the media can kill ongoing negotiations. We've all seen it before, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that the well timed leak designed to place someone else at a disadvantage is an art form in the Middle East writ large, but most especially in Israel and the Palestinian territories. During the current political negotiations, however, we have had very few leaks to the media about the substance of what is being discussed between the two sides. There will come a time to speak in public about what has been agreed, but to talk about incomplete discussions would be premature and harmful to what the Israelis and Palestinians are trying to do. And, ultimately, any concerns about how they negotiate will be wiped away in the end by public judgment of what they negotiated. We, by the way, fully encourage continuation of the current news blackout as it helps the two sides build trust as they hammer away at the most delicate issues, such as borders, security, right of return for Palestinian refugees and Jerusalem.

We have also taken a slightly different tack in monitoring some of the practical, on the ground changes that need to occur in the process to bring about a Palestine and an Israel that are peaceful neighbors. Secretary Rice asked Lieutenant General Will Fraser (U.S. Air Force) to serve as the "Roadmap" monitor. You can Google "Middle East Roadmap" and get as much detail as you would like about the Roadmap. At its most basic, the document lists a series of obligations each side has agreed that will help lead to the two-state solution. These obligations include such things as removal of roadblocks, checkpoints, and illegal outposts by the Israelis and the building of an effective security force and legal processes by the Palestinians in order to fight terror effectively and to maintain security in Palestinians areas. Fulfillment of obligations by each side would not only improve the situation on the ground for Israelis and Palestinians, but by completing items on the list both sides help build an effective, peaceful, and mutually beneficial relationship necessary for them to live as neighbors. Almost as important as the role itself is the man selected to fill it. Lt. Gen. Fraser also serves as Assistant to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (his day job) and as an adviser to Secretary Rice. He travels with her on nearly every overseas trip and is an integral part of her team.

What Lt. Gen. Fraser has been able to accomplish in his "spare time" as Roadmap monitor is truly impressive. Through painstaking data collection and site visits, he has built an analytical process for measuring each side's compliance with its obligations. For example, he and his team have a built a database of roadblocks and checkpoints in the West Bank that did not previously exist. We, and the parties, now have a picture of how checkpoints and roadblocks function, how they got there, what each contributes to security, and how each affects movement of goods and people. Why is that important? Well, in order to gain maximum positive effect for any given action, all sides need to understand potential costs and potential benefits for any move. By quantifying these variables, we can move beyond mere assertions by both sides and have a more rational, productive conversation. While it might make for a better press release to say 50 roadblocks have been removed, the reality may be that removing the right 20 roadblocks may have more net benefit to both sides. In a process as fraught with emotion as this one, Lt. Gen. Fraser's contribution of placing these issues on a sound analytical foundation has been enormous. You should also know that he is a pilot with command experience in B-52, B-1, and B-2 aircraft, and he has been nominated by the President to serve as the next Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. The patience and precision required of pilot have come in handy in the kinds of duties which Lt. Gen. Fraser has been charged with and succeeded in during his Roadmap responsibilities.

While these are a couple of ways in which we are trying to put the lessons of the past to good use, old fashioned deal-making, political will, and a bit of good fortune will be key ingredients in determining when the parties will succeed.

One other point, you should know that we are still pushing for a deal between the two parities by the end of 2008 -- the agreed goal at last November's Annapolis peace conference. Judging by some of the stories about Secretary Rice's trip, though, you would be forgiven for thinking that's not the case and that we had thrown in the towel because of uncertain politics in Israel and the Palestinians territories. After having sat in some of today's meetings between Secretary Rice and both the Israelis and the Palestinians, I can say firsthand that the Annapolis goal remains the goal.

Comments

Comments

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
August 27, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

It seems the greatest problem the world has had in all negotiations is the fact the minority of many of these countries are being prompted by outside interference from negotiations which have validity and longevity.

Israel has tried in every respect to maintain peace and most Palestinians also want peace. The scares of the past are only one form of propaganda used as fuel by the minority and their proponents who want to maintain an active aggressive front on Israeli borders.

The world today is in the same position of America long ago: "United we stand, divided we fall." We are being kept divided by whom?

That is the beginning to a solution, identifying the true enemy of democracy or peace in any given situation. Find the true source.

Syrian P.
|
Syria
August 27, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

You do not have the regional balance of power to conclude any peace treaty in Canaan. Unless that is resolved first, your effort, although appreciated, will be fruitless. The regional countries must feel satisfied and feel that it is in their own interest to have that conflict ended so they can cooperate in the enforcement of the plan. That will require major shift of policy from each and every country in the region and agreement by all Non State Actors. Where do you see that possible at this time?

Look at the players as weight pieces, pretend the solution as a scale; the weight balance is dead equal, completely balanced on the scale. This situation is made that way by design and hard work to keep the relative peace, but that is also what is keeping the scale from tilting one way or another. You can spend eternity on that dead center and the needle will not move in either direction one notch, nothing will move, unless someone shakes the scale or a weight is added to one side.

Do you know the easiest way to add weight to a piece that can tip the scale, the Israeli thought so and they were dead wrong about it, In fact they managed to tip the scale not in their favor and nor in that peace settlement the U.S. is striving for, talk about clumsy. When you are interested in really tipping the scale, SNP can help.

SNP concludes that, Israeli are not experienced strategists, their only tools mentally and physically is wanton violence and conniving tactics that are so shallow and naive (Primitive instincts), any intelligent power can see thru them, manipulate and defeat them. The U.S. has no interest in resolving the issue either. They do understand what it will take to change the balance, but stay put and let the Israeli make bigger mess and stronger enemies, to Washington satisfaction. I don't mean the innocent Washingtonian at DOS, the career Diplomat that aiming for a trophy to cap his career, I mean those with the money, guns and oil interests.

As long as the scale weight on dead center, all efforts to bring peace and normalcy to the Middle East are in vain.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 28, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ SNP, I think that's a fairly weighted assesment despite your bias. But I would suggest the status quo (or the center if you will) is not viable in any long term context.

a) because change is inevitable.

b) because peaceful change is desireable.

c) because democracy R us, sayeth the people.

-----

@ Sean McCormack,

If the US wants to stop the Israeli settlement activity that is in violation of the Roadmap, then we are going to have to use the loan guarrantees and possibly other assistance we give them as leverage to compel them to stop.

I understand as one in the construction buisiness that economics and jobs play a part. So I suggest our freind Israel get into the nation building buisiness to see a viable Palestinian state that they can call partner in peace and prosperity.

Hamas in Gaza exists as a roadblock, not just to the roadmap, but to the future of the entire region's stability.

And it must be removed as such. That much I know.

How to? is beyond my limited ability to imagine.

Short of a D-day landing on the beach in Gaza by a coalition of the willing, and a request by Abbas of the UN Sec. Council to create the mandate.

Otherwise Palestine may never be "contiguous" or viable as a nation.

Let me put it like this, if a street gang took over Compton in downtown LA, declared itself an elected government, kicked out the police and held the national guard at bay, and launched attacks against neigboring Bellflower, how would we deal with it?

Negotiate? I don't think so.

We'd call in the Marines, spec opps and any other asset neccessary to restore order to ensure the safety of the population of LA, and legitimate rule of law.

Regardless of whether the people of Compton were supportive of the gang or not.

Perhaps this is an odd analogy and I doubt that it fits in all aspects, (religious differences for one don't exist as a factor in LA), but I hope you'll appreciate the hypothetical and the perspective.

Syrian P.
|
Syria
August 28, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

@Eric, NM

Did you read -- SNP can help, tilting the center that is (status Quo) which is understandably is not viable or acceptable to anyone, and the Middle East should not be living one more day under it. Of course we are biased in favor of SNP strategy, what did you think I am here working for free for, taking money out of the kid piggy bag to support SNP, don't think we are on Assad or Washington payroll. Change in the Middle East is a must do and now. Peaceful change is doable with the right help and strategy. Not sure about the democracy part, specially for countries that have no national identity, allegiance is pledged to sub-sect, sect, religion, family, football club, political party and State is last on a long list. National allegiance and real statehood needs to be established before Democracy can become effective. It worked in USA because you had a strong constitution and the people are united under the flag with a goal in life to strive in pursuit of happiness and progress. Americans get up everyday and build more centers and taller buildings, not to fight sectarian warfare.

But if you to watch a movies Gang of New York, you will get an idea about how it was in America as well, and should you watch the Matrix you will get a perfect idea of how it will ends up. So it all correlated to a timeline.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 28, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

What is Democracy SNP? Other than the people's will upon its leaders, repected and institutionalized by the government structure?

Nationalism, and pride in one's system of government is secondary and fully dependant upon government institutions that ensure the rights of the people and the rule of law.

Regardless of which football team one favors to win....(chuckle).

Why don't you tell me how you think SNP can help in a practical application as it applies to your strategy, and I'll give you an honest assesment.

Let me just clarify something here. I disagee with your assesment of US and Israeli mindset involved.

As Condi Rice said yesterday, "If this was easy, this conflict would have been resolved long before now." (paraphrasing)

How does your strategy deal with a mindset that wishes to see the destruction of Israel?

One thing's for sure, this ain't no movie one just walks away from, goes home and has dinner.

One might take example of how America has dealt with ethnic strife in our society, and find lasting solution to living peacefully with diversity.

We have.

Syrian P.
|
Syria
August 28, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

@Eric, N.M.

That is how westerners will understand Democracy that is not how people who lived for couple of thousand years under successive dictatorships, which are how Middle East countries lived under whether called Sheikhdom, Emirates, City State or Kingdom understands it. For them, Democracy will be a system of Government to serve own sect not Nation. There is no STATEHOOD or NATION in their mind. No Loyalty to Political Parties, all that is still evolving. There are abstract concepts that are unattainable such as Islamic Ummah, Arab Nation. Before you can introduce Democracy to the region people, you will need to instill a sense of Nationalism, a pride in ones nation, a feeling that his effort is for the betterment of his Nation. Attempts to jump starts Democracy and leap through to Western Style is futile and will lead to Civil Wars right now. On the other hand, I can discuss with you the terrible price Americans now day are paying for that Democratic system and who ended up controlling it, but then the comment will be blocked by DIPNOTE.

You see Eric? that is how the world on the outside thinks, just like you, always repeating the same mantra to the people in the region and they always fail. Remember, the Governments and superficial institutions are not by the people for the people. It is for the ruling elite. There exist a disconnection between rulers and populace. That was result of the Second World War and the Neo Colonial model the west brought or enforced on the region to control it.

You disagree with my assessment of the mindset on what basis, I stand solidly on that assessment and have earned a lot of respect for being a proponent of it when every baby was shouting praises for America and Israel policy in the Middle East. SNP have always hit the nail on the head with assessments that naive guppies positioned themselves under that 6 inch coffin nail. We have not seen any proof that changes being made. As you know this is subject I would not discuss on this platform. But you are wrong again.

SNP relies on factual, proven, recorded history and it is the basis of our Syrian Nationalism ideology. Jews has lived in the Middle East and Palestine for thousands of years, Jerusalem was a Hebrew City and Hebrew were the only language spoken in the city until the Roman destruction. We stand by the rights of the Jewish people to the land and Jerusalem as their undivided city. What someone in Iran or Arabia would opine differently, that is of no concerns to us, it is not of their business, unless they want SNP to interfere in theirs, better stay out. We only needs to worry about convincing Syrians and Lebanese in these facts, and we can, we have a rule book to deal with it.

Let Miss Rice know that resolving the Middle East problem for SNP is one of the easiest venture, a child play, a piece of cake. The real trouble for the region as a whole, especially Syria is JOBS and resources. It is critical now but as time passes by it will become uncontrollable and will have serious ramification on peace in the region.

All the rest is basically Maslow law put to work. As long as you keep the Levant under the Maslow Pyramid, you are going to deal with its nasty situation for millennia. Given the current static, balanced state, you will spend eternity on it. But once you elevate the region to the first layer of that Pyramid, give the people the securities, it is natural that Maslow law will apply itself as this is natural for people.

Sounds like a Mason plan but that is who drafted the U.S. Constitution and founded America, I don't know who you would call a Jefferson or Franklin ruling in the Middle East today that can bring this about.

You see Maslow Law at work in America everyday. People of all nationalities come is poor, undereducated, hardly speak English, once secure, prosperity comes in and Social Mobility does the rest. They start out from sectarian neighborhoods and many ends up in Irvine. One can mention for example what is happening in India, China, Russia, and Eastern Europe now and what happened in Japan after WWII.

Running out of space on this comment, so I will abbreviate: MEPI was the right Idea, but it needs expansion, neutrality and improvements. As to the Middle East problem, you need to focus less on resolving the problem first and then Maslow criteria comes afterward and reverse the process to focus on setting up the Region on the first stage of the pyramid and as people move upward the degrees, the Middle Problem will find resolution. The other way around, nothing will be resolved. That is the approach SNP takes to the Levant region problems. The word Nationalist does not necessarily means Hitlerian, rather, a banner post like the Hebrew erected in the Sinai to get all the tribes in unisons.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 29, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Interesting take on things SNP,

While I agree with you that jobs and resources play an important role in any stable society, and that the lack of them contributes to extremism and instability, you still have not answered my question with any specificity.

My dissagreement concerns your characterization of US and Israeli mindset when you say there is no interest in resolving this long running open sore in the Mideast. The evidence strongly suggests otherwise.

See, I don't believe your use of emotionally charged adjectives serves to add any clarity to this conversation we're having. It serves only as a distraction to others from the truth as you see it.

In one sense it can be fairly said that all politics are local, and I do grasp what you are trying to say about where people place their loyalties.

But the bottom line is that if a government doesn't serve the people's needs and interests, it fails to illicit their confidence, or their sense of national pride.

In Iraq for example, there was this thought of partitioning Kurds, Suni, and Shiite, but since all of them considered themselves "Iraqi" that wasn't desirable to them. Nor to the US, being committed to the territorial integrity of Iraq. And this one case study seems to totally invalidate the notion that Nationalism begets democracy, whereas it shows that our having promoted democracy actually strengthens national pride.

We could debate which came first, like the chicken or the egg, but both are interactive upon each other simultaneously.

I'm glad you think MEPI is a good program, as it seems to have proven its worth.

But you lost me when you started getting into illuminati conspiracy theory. Let's just stick to tangible reality, shall we?

A piece of cake? I sure would like to see the nuts and bolts plan you think will be so easy to implement in the face of rejectionism that runs rampent in the minds of Hamas.

So let's start with that.

How do you propose to resolve their fixated mindset?

Like you, they do not believe that institutions of government are by, for, and of the people. That's one reason why they staged a coup against Fata.

How do you propose to get them to coexist in peace with Israel?

You wrote:

"We stand by the rights of the Jewish people to the land and Jerusalem as their undivided city. What someone in Iran or Arabia would opine differently, that is of no concerns to us, it is not of their business, unless they want SNP to interfere in theirs, better stay out. We only needs to worry about convincing Syrians and Lebanese in these facts, and we can, we have a rule book to deal with it."

That seems like a fairly sane approach to me, and maybe you'd like to elaborate on this a bit to better my understanding of these rules, and the methodology in dealing with it.

I'm a reasonable man, and while I may disagree on many things with you, that doesn't mean I'm not open to having a rational exchange of ideas with you.

I see things from the shoes I stand in, as do you in yours. Somewhere along this path we just might find some common ground to work together on.

Madoc
August 29, 2008

Madoc writes:

SNP fron Syria, you rock. Thank You for your thoughtful analysis. I especially appreciate the way you look into the deeper aspects of American history to give perspective. Also, before reading this blog, I never heard of SNP. I found great stuff about SNP on YouTube. But, I cant get to snp.i.am. Not sure why.

Syrian P.
|
Syria
August 29, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

@ Eric, NM

What kept Iraq together was not U.S. brought Democracy but oil, pipelines and revenue sharing! Add the interest of invaders in maintaining total control over these resources than have to deal with 3 separate entities at the least.

No evidence whatsoever to suggest that the U.S. special interests that are really in control of and the direction of U.S. foreign policy shown any interest in ending the Middle East conflict, other than maintaining the status Quo. Israeli as well, has shown strong evidence to the contrary.

Of course it must be emotional, we are Nationalists talking, this is not a boardroom and CNN and PBS style will kill you mentally. LOL, After 30+ years of orders and national fervor to rally people into a cause and away from spending money on that second BMW for the wife, not sure if you can get any SNP to talk socially and normally. Under self examination, the conclusion is that we are, too late or unable to make changes.

You telling me there are no Illuminati and no trilateral commission and no others. Next you try to convince us that Mickey Mouse is real. No, not sharing that piece of cake with you, that info is part of a proprietary Agenda and working Platform. If you to know about it, guess what, they will right away start on foiling it, That is the U.S. and Israel, just like they tried to foil moving members to Sweden, Venezuela, setting up SNP bank accounts (using European cover) and SNP move to Tripoli, Lebanon. The most terrifying plan for Israeli Zionists and U.S. Zionists / commercial interests is PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, because that is a dead ender for AIPAC, ZIONISM, RAPHAEL, UNITED TECHNOLOGIES, RAYETHON AND? and all.

@ Eric, you will never convince anyone otherwise.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 29, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ SNP,

If there is one thing about people that's a given, it's that they can only change themselves. You can try to understand them, change their circumstances, try to point the roads to peace, but in the end, they must want it for themselves, knowing what the alternatives are.

The research and analysis that I post on this blog is not designed to convince anyone, or intended to change their mindset.

That is entirely up to the individual as to whether it makes sense to them or not. And I just can't get emotionally attached to any response to their interpretation of reality as I see it, because it would impare my ability to remain objective.

Now some folks think extraterestials exist, just as some think the illuminai rule the world, but there is a distinct shortage of hard evidence to support either.

So I'm not going to base my analysis on conjecture, or subjective opinion regarding this.

I would say that when the president of the US proposed a two-state solution, and put the roadmap out as a workable path to peace, there were many who stood in the way to see it fail.

Given your previous statement regarding your unwillingness to offer a constructive idea because it would be "foiled", I believe the president has more guts to seek peace in the region than SNP does.

And as we have a saying in America to the effect that if your not willing to put up, then you should shut up, I think it is self evident that you really don't have a clue how to obtain a lasting peace, have no plan, no rulebook, and no interest in seeing resolution of the matter.

If you are not willing to risk placing your ideas up for debate, then what good are they to anyone, including SNP?

Well, in my estimation taking that paranoid position is about as useful as a fart in a whirlwind.

I told you I'd give you an honest assesment one way or another.

And that's where it stands at this point.

Syrian P.
|
Syria
August 29, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

@ Eric N.M.

My comments below your quotes

1 -- Now some folks think extraterestials exist, just as some think the illuminai rule the world, but there is a distinct shortage of hard evidence to support either.

How much evidence you need Eric, have you heard of the -Drake equation-, just on mathematical probability alone this is sufficient evidence. But I will let this go because with someone like you where do you start, Bible, Babylon, Pyramid Giants (Nehalem) or Roswell and Bill Cooper. Will have that and all the Illuminati's game plan on the SNP website for people like you to get up to speed about what will be transpiring between 2012-2017

2 -- I would say that when the president of the US proposed a two-state solution, and put the roadmap out as a workable path to peace, there were many who stood in the way to see it fail.

The President and his Secretary could not be naive as to this plan sailing through. My feeling it is just a Political Posturing and Public Relation to score points in Arab World and Moslem countries to show that U.S. is partial and fair on that important issue to them. This declared plan covers for all the U.S. atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan, public relation wise. The President knows for a fact that the Plan has no life to it. Otherwise, he would not have publicized it. Should the plan be for real, it will be sabotaged because as said before, there exist many regional and extra-regional players that have no interest in resolving this Middle East trouble, unless it is amicable in all parties favor. Tehran will not let go, unless you give up on harassment and sanctions, Syrian Baathists will fight it to get the Golan back, Syrian SNPier will fight it because we have a commitment to keep the Status Quo, or resolve everyone problem in a deal package. Under this Bush 2 States Plan, In the Middle East, you will have Palestinian Terrorist Organizations that terrorized our Syria and devastated Lebanon for decades, ending up with a State having free market economy, free elections, rule of laws, general freedoms of society, not to mention dignity granted by all including the Israeli. While people in Lebanon will be living under Hezbollah Shia complete control, Iraq under U.S. SOFA occupation and Syrians, well, sir, have you lived under Baathist rule? Why don't you try it first. Please tell Pres. Bush and Sec. Rice to take all the Ivory Towers of 300, Rand Corp, AEI and the few hundreds other tanks Middle East Plans (don't forget Hamilton-Baker-Derkejian) and re-works them, put it all to work in the next 3 months, the way they suppose to be, in the right order, otherwise IT AINT GONNA HAPPEN, PERIOD.

I am teaching my 3rd grader girl the same strategy to carry through when I die, and I got promise from her that she will teach her second grader the same plan. ENJOY the STATUS QUO, and don't listen to Israelis no more, although they think they are ahead in a secret plan, LOL. That gonna be a heck of disappointment, a stone wall. I will personally watch the burning of the Aqsa Mosque on TV and volunteer to place the first stone for the Jewish Temple in place, Have Bush and Rice beat that plan.

Kirk
|
Kentucky, USA
August 30, 2008

Kirk in Kentucky writes:

What I am interested in knowing is how the U.S. is profiting from being the mediator? Despite all the nice talk about global peace and such, there is a quiet understanding that being a mediator entails some benefit. What is the U.S. benefit? Is it just having a hand in the direction of the negotiations? International prestige? What could it be? With U.S. being so pro-Israel, we would seem to be less than ideal partners for this venture. Or is it just to promote a stronger U.S. / Israel alliance? But does stabilizing the conflict over an area the size of a few city blocks on the other side of the world have any impact on the American people at all? As I went to the store today, my meager paycheck in hand, and saw the prices of all my groceries still steadily rising, I have to admit feeling a certain amount of contempt over our government spending hundreds of thousands of dollars monitoring "roadblocks" in some sandpit thousands of miles away. Despite the last 8 years of the Bush doctrine, global control by military might, I still firmly believe that the job of our government is taking care of our people here at home, not policing the world and not trying to manipulate world events for our business sector -- which some how makes those involved richer, and I, the tax payer, poorer. I truly feel for the plight of the millions of people, Israeli and Palestinian alike, but I think it's up to those two to sort out their own problems and if they lack the foresight to see how peace brings prosperity for all, let them shed each other's blood like animals and suffer inevitable the consequences. Sometimes people, countries, need a third party to help facilitate negotiations, but unless we have something to gain by meddling in an affair 4,000 years in the making, it's none of our business. Treaties of this nature are only paper handcuffs, which are immediately discarded at the first convenience of gaining tactical advantage, and do not address the real underlying dynamics that causes conflict. How many citizens of either country truly desire peace and how many only want a short respite to entrench their positions, re-equip, recruit, and propagandize? Only until a change in the minds of the people in such an overwhelming majority that it forces the leaders and war hawks aside can there be true peace. Is that what is happening now? Or are we indivertibly prolonging a conflict that will only be resolved by either an internal change, a national commitment to join hands on the path of new horizons, or a resounding military defeat by one side or the other? Both options may be years from developing. If most people involved are really for peace, then I say let us do good, but if that is not the case, then we are remarkably short sighted at best, or worse, making deliberate attempt to bleed two nations dry. At every breach of treaty that we are involved in, our own international prestige drops -- guilt by association. So what do we gain by remaining entangled in this mess?

Madoc
|
New Hampshire, USA
August 30, 2008

Madoc in New Hampshire writes:

If the Arab Palestinians believe they will be a majority in Palestine, they will favor One Palestine, One Person, One Vote. If the Arabs of Palestine believe they will be a minority in Palestine, they will favor a separate Arab state in Palestine.

Same thing for the Zionist Palestinians. If Zionist Palestinians believe they will be a majority in Palestine, then they favor One Palestine, One Person, One Vote, only they would call it Israel. If Zionist Palestinians believe they will be a minority, then they will favor a separate Zionist State in Palestine called Israel.

Right now the Zionist Palestinians see they will be a minority in an Arab state, and favor partition for this reason. Unfortunately, Arabs don't need a Palestinian state as much as Zionists do. So, creating a Arab Palestinian state is to Arabs just a stepping stone toward restoring Arab power in a long disputed region.

Sadly, SNP is correct. This conflict will go on so long as Arabs feel they are under the heel of imperialism, dictatorship, or whatever. Until the peoples and countries surrounding Israel come to terms with themselves and feel they are in control of their affairs, Israel will be symbolic of their struggles, and the regional powers will compete with each other against Israel.

Take petroleum out of the picture, and Israel's GDP exceeds that of all the surrounding countries. The Israelis have plenty to offer the region. The conflict is completely solvable. But, the region remains intransigent, and the Israelis know this all too well.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 30, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ SNP,

A) theories and probabilities don't equal concrete evidence.

B) I'm not sure you even know what's in the roadmap or why you oppose it, because you base so much of your rhetoric on conjecture and assumption.

So, being a fellow who does research and analysis on an objective basis and separate opinion from fact, I'm going to post the whole enchilada for the sake of all who may wonder what the deal is, and was to begin with. Why Annapolis was a stepping stone, and the comprehensive nature of the Roadmap itself.

Wait for it, as it will take several posts due to length.

You wish to maintain the status quo? I'm afraid you're on a fool's errand if that's the case, for the reasons I cited previously.

I think there's been quite enough burning and blowing up of religious sites throughout the Mideast, and your plan is obviously not part of any viable solution, just more of the same.

No wonder your financing was curtailed.

The highlight of any parent's life is when they realize they have produced and nurtured offspring that are smarter than their parents. I trust your children will be, despite your best efforts to keep them bound by your own limited outlook.

And this too is my honest assesment.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 30, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

(Cont...)

Phase III: Permanent Status Agreement and End of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict -- 2004 ã 2005
Progress into Phase III, based on consensus judgment of Quartet, and taking into account actions of both parties and Quartet monitoring. Phase III objectives are consolidation of reform and stabilization of Palestinian institutions, sustained, effective Palestinian security performance, and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at a permanent status agreement in 2005.

Second International Conference: Convened by Quartet, in consultation with the parties, at beginning of 2004 to endorse agreement reached on an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and formally to launch a process with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet, leading to a final, permanent status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements; and, to support progress toward a comprehensive Middle East settlement between Israel and Lebanon and Israel and Syria, to be achieved as soon as possible.

Continued comprehensive, effective progress on the reform agenda laid out by the Task Force in preparation for final status agreement.

Continued sustained and effective security performance, and sustained, effective security cooperation on the bases laid out in Phase I.

International efforts to facilitate reform and stabilize Palestinian institutions and the Palestinian economy, in preparation for final status agreement.

Parties reach final and comprehensive permanent status agreement that ends the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 2005, through a settlement negotiated between the parties based on UNSCR 242, 338, and 1397, that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and includes an agreed, just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee issue, and a negotiated resolution on the status of Jerusalem that takes into account the political and religious concerns of both sides, and protects the religious interests of Jews, Christians, and Muslims worldwide, and fulfills the vision of two states, Israel and sovereign, independent, democratic and viable Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security.

Arab state acceptance of full normal relations with Israel and security for all the states of the region in the context of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.

[End]

Released on April 30, 2003

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 30, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

(Cont...)

Phase II: Transition -- June 2003-December 2003

In the second phase, efforts are focused on the option of creating an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and attributes of sovereignty, based on the new constitution, as a way station to a permanent status settlement. As has been noted, this goal can be achieved when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror, willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty. With such a leadership, reformed civil institutions and security structures, the Palestinians will have the active support of the Quartet and the broader international community in establishing an independent, viable, state.

Progress into Phase II will be based upon the consensus judgment of the Quartet of whether conditions are appropriate to proceed, taking into account performance of both parties. Furthering and sustaining efforts to normalize Palestinian lives and build Palestinian institutions, Phase II starts after Palestinian elections and ends with possible creation of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders in 2003. Its primary goals are continued comprehensive security performance and effective security cooperation, continued normalization of Palestinian life and institution-building, further building on and sustaining of the goals outlined in Phase I, ratification of a democratic Palestinian constitution, formal establishment of office of prime minister, consolidation of political reform, and the creation of a Palestinian state with provisional borders.

International Conference: Convened by the Quartet, in consultation with the parties, immediately after the successful conclusion of Palestinian elections, to support Palestinian economic recovery and launch a process, leading to establishment of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders.

Such a meeting would be inclusive, based on the goal of a comprehensive Middle East peace (including between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon), and based on the principles described in the preamble to this document.

Arab states restore pre-intifada links to Israel (trade offices, etc.).

Revival of multilateral engagement on issues including regional water resources, environment, economic development, refugees, and arms control issues.

New constitution for democratic, independent Palestinian state is finalized and approved by appropriate Palestinian institutions. Further elections, if required, should follow approval of the new constitution.
Empowered reform cabinet with office of prime minister formally established, consistent with draft constitution.

Continued comprehensive security performance, including effective security cooperation on the bases laid out in Phase I.

Creation of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders through a process of Israeli-Palestinian engagement, launched by the international conference. As part of this process, implementation of prior agreements, to enhance maximum territorial contiguity, including further action on settlements in conjunction with establishment of a Palestinian state with provisional borders.

Enhanced international role in monitoring transition, with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet.

Quartet members promote international recognition of Palestinian state, including possible UN membership.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 30, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Phase 1 (cont...)

Relying on existing mechanisms and on-the-ground resources, Quartet representatives begin informal monitoring and consult with the parties on establishment of a formal monitoring mechanism and its implementation.

Implementation, as previously agreed, of U.S. rebuilding, training and resumed security cooperation plan in collaboration with outside oversight board (U.S.-Egypt-Jordan). Quartet support for efforts to achieve a lasting, comprehensive cease-fire.

All Palestinian security organizations are consolidated into three services reporting to an empowered Interior Minister.

Restructured/retrained Palestinian security forces and IDF counterparts progressively resume security cooperation and other undertakings in implementation of the Tenet work plan, including regular senior-level meetings, with the participation of U.S. security officials.

Arab states cut off public and private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting and engaging in violence and terror.

All donors providing budgetary support for the Palestinians channel these funds through the Palestinian Ministry of Finance's Single Treasury Account.

As comprehensive security performance moves forward, IDF withdraws progressively from areas occupied since September 28, 2000 and the two sides restore the status quo that existed prior to September 28, 2000. Palestinian security forces redeploy to areas vacated by IDF.

Palestinian Institution-Building

Immediate action on credible process to produce draft constitution for Palestinian statehood. As rapidly as possible, constitutional committee circulates draft Palestinian constitution, based on strong parliamentary democracy and cabinet with empowered prime minister, for public comment/debate. Constitutional committee proposes draft document for submission after elections for approval by appropriate Palestinian institutions.

Appointment of interim prime minister or cabinet with empowered executive authority/decision-making body.

GOI fully facilitates travel of Palestinian officials for PLC and Cabinet sessions, internationally supervised security retraining, electoral and other reform activity, and other supportive measures related to the reform efforts.

Continued appointment of Palestinian ministers empowered to undertake fundamental reform. Completion of further steps to achieve genuine separation of powers, including any necessary Palestinian legal reforms for this purpose.

Establishment of independent Palestinian election commission. PLC reviews and revises election law.

Palestinian performance on judicial, administrative, and economic benchmarks, as established by the International Task Force on Palestinian Reform.

As early as possible, and based upon the above measures and in the context of open debate and transparent candidate selection/electoral campaign based on a free, multi-party process, Palestinians hold free, open, and fair elections.

GOI facilitates Task Force election assistance, registration of voters, movement of candidates and voting officials. Support for NGOs involved in the election process.

GOI reopens Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and other closed Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem based on a commitment that these institutions operate strictly in accordance with prior agreements between the parties.

Humanitarian Response

Israel takes measures to improve the humanitarian situation. Israel and Palestinians implement in full all recommendations of the Bertini report to improve humanitarian conditions, lifting curfews and easing restrictions on movement of persons and goods, and allowing full, safe, and unfettered access of international and humanitarian personnel.

AHLC reviews the humanitarian situation and prospects for economic development in the West Bank and Gaza and launches a major donor assistance effort, including to the reform effort.

GOI and PA continue revenue clearance process and transfer of funds, including arrears, in accordance with agreed, transparent monitoring mechanism.

Civil Society

Continued donor support, including increased funding through PVOs/NGOs, for people to people programs, private sector development and civil society initiatives.

Settlements

GOI immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.

Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 30, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

(cont...)

Phase I: Ending Terror And Violence, Normalizing Palestinian Life, and Building Palestinian Institutions -- Present to May 2003

In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below; such action should be accompanied by supportive measures undertaken by Israel. Palestinians and Israelis resume security cooperation based on the Tenet work plan to end violence, terrorism, and incitement through restructured and effective Palestinian security services. Palestinians undertake comprehensive political reform in preparation for statehood, including drafting a Palestinian constitution, and free, fair and open elections upon the basis of those measures. Israel takes all necessary steps to help normalize Palestinian life. Israel withdraws from Palestinian areas occupied from September 28, 2000 and the two sides restore the status quo that existed at that time, as security performance and cooperation progress. Israel also freezes all settlement activity, consistent with the Mitchell report.

At the outset of Phase I:

Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israelãs right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.

Israeli leadership issues unequivocal statement affirming its commitment to the two-state vision of an independent, viable, sovereign Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel, as expressed by President Bush, and calling for an immediate end to violence against Palestinians everywhere. All official Israeli institutions end incitement against Palestinians.
Security

Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.

Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.

GOI takes no actions undermining trust, including deportations, attacks on civilians; confiscation and/or demolition of Palestinian homes and property, as a punitive measure or to facilitate Israeli construction; destruction of Palestinian institutions and infrastructure; and other measures specified in the Tenet work plan.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 30, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

[ The Roadmap ]

Press Statement
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 30, 2003

A Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The following is a performance-based and goal-driven roadmap, with clear phases, timelines, target dates, and benchmarks aiming at progress through reciprocal steps by the two parties in the political, security, economic, humanitarian, and institution-building fields, under the auspices of the Quartet [the United States, European Union, United Nations, and Russia]. The destination is a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict by 2005, as presented in President Bush's speech of 24 June, and welcomed by the EU, Russia and the UN in the 16 July and 17 September Quartet Ministerial statements.

A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel's readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement as described below. The Quartet will assist and facilitate implementation of the plan, starting in Phase I, including direct discussions between the parties as required. The plan establishes a realistic timeline for implementation. However, as a performance-based plan, progress will require and depend upon the good faith efforts of the parties, and their compliance with each of the obligations outlined below. Should the parties perform their obligations rapidly, progress within and through the phases may come sooner than indicated in the plan. Non-compliance with obligations will impede progress.

A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors. The settlement will resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967, based on the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, UNSCRs 242, 338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah -- endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit -- calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbor living in peace and security, in the context of a comprehensive settlement. This initiative is a vital element of international efforts to promote a comprehensive peace on all tracks, including the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks.

The Quartet will meet regularly at senior levels to evaluate the parties' performance on implementation of the plan. In each phase, the parties are expected to perform their obligations in parallel, unless otherwise indicated.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 30, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ SNP,

Like the story of the farmer's donkey trapped in the well, it took a while before the donkey realized that the dirt shoveled on top of him by the farmer was raising the ground beneath him as he shook it off. Rather than being buried alive, the donkey was able to step out of the well.

So it goes with perception of change.

Anyone who has witnessed the birth of one's child can tell you that yes indeed you create your own reality, the question is what do we wish to create for ourselves as reality on this planet, now and for our children's, and their children's future?

Not just in my country, but the world as a whole, as an international vision.

Inherently, change is viewed with suspicion as a threat to culture and ways of tradition and ethical belief systems. As it applies to developing countries in this nuclear age, the post-cold war aftermath presents a vast paradox that present no easy solutions, and has culminated in the reality of the war on terrorism as it exists today.

Blind faith should not be allowed to seal humanity's fate.

And this too is a concious choice one must make as an individual.

Zharkov
|
United States
August 30, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

1. Palestinians suffering injustices resorted to throwing rocks and bombs, and the IDF retaliated by buldozing homes, burning businesses, and shooting into crowds of people;

What independent tribunal will be created to resolve all disputes between Palistinians and Israelis so that they can resolve issues in a more civilized manner?

2. Israel today has a prosperous and growing industrial base, defense industry, and agricultural sector, all profitable and self-sufficient, and a better trade balance than our now-technically bankrupt US;

Why have U.S. foreign aid payments to Israel not stopped?

3. The U.N. created Israel in 1948 without regard to the wishes of arabs in the region;

Why can the U.N. place peacekeeping forces in numerous other countries but not in Israel or Palestine?

4. Without jobs, universities, and hope for the future, Palestinians have nothing to do;

What plans can be made for improving the job situation for Palestinians and why cannot this be funded by eliminating Israeli foreign aid and use that money instead to rebuild Palestine infrastructure and schools, and low interest loans to start new arab businesses?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 1, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Zharkov asks,

"Why can the U.N. place peacekeeping forces in numerous other countries but not in Israel or Palestine?"

Fair question, but if you think about reality on the ground a bit, do you think perhaps Hamas will simply turn over their control of Gaza to the UN willingly or peacefully?

Nice thought though.

By the way, Iran and Syria have supplied more than rocks to Hamas and other rejectionist entities.

Zharkov
|
United States
September 2, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Eric answered only 1 out of 4 questions, so is this a clue why there has been no peace for Israel in over 50 years? Our government seems to have run out of answers.

If someone at the conference derives a plan to answer all 4 questions correctly, there could be progress, but the real reason why peace conferences fail involves historically-justified, mutual hatred that won't go away, and a generous foreign aid program that never ends.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 2, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Well Zharkov, The parties themselves are going to have to answer the questions arn't they?

I just offered my thoughts on a couple of them.

Remember Zharkov, I'm not payed to cater to your ego, and you wouldn't be able to afford my fee anyway....(chuckle).

Zharkov
|
United States
September 3, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Yes, I agree -- the parties themselves must anticipate problems with their peace agreement and work out solutions, which tells me:

1. It is definitely not a U.S. problem; and,

2. If they truly wanted peace, they could have had it at any prior peace conference, and there have been dozens, if not hundreds of peace conferences over the years. Israeli-Arab peace conferences were President Carter's favorite sport. Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton seemed to enjoy playing that game also. Peace conferences are SOP for the presidency. Every president has them but none have solved the puzzle; and,

3. The U.N. created the mess in Palistine, and it is their job to fix it in whatever manner they can. If Kosovo is "a success", then Palistine should be easy.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 3, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

It's actually everyone's problem.

A) because the world is sick of being witness to it.

B) Because it threatens the stability of an entire region of the globe.

And with respect to the UN, if this international org could have solved the outstanding political, economic, and security issues of its own accord, it surely would have by now.

So for the first time a US president in 2002 proposes a two-state solution. Greater international engagement with the parties was undertaken in the formation of the "Quartet" ( UN, US, EU, and Russia).

And things are slowly moving toward the envisioned comprehensive agreement that is a prerequisite for the formation of a contiguous Palestinian state.

Despite the best efforts of Iran, al quaida, Hamas, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, and other entities violently opposed to the existance of Israel.

I left Syria out of the list because they too are in process of coming to the table to talk peace. Negotiation has taken place in this regard.

It's been a political football from one US admin to another, but that's not for lack of effort or some malign intent to see no resolution take place.

That would not serve US national interest.

It is simply a case of diplomacy never failing to fail, until it succeeds.

Takes decades sometimes.

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