from A World to Win News Service

Palestinians Offered Deadend "Road Map"

Revolutionary Worker #1202, June 8, 2003, posted at

We received the following from the A World to Win News Service:

26 May 2003. A World to Win News Service. After weeks of hesitation, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon announced that his government has accepted the "roadmap to peace in the Middle East" released by the White House in late April. Immediately afterwards, George Bush declared that he will travel to the Middle East, to meet first with several Arab heads of state then with Sharon and Palestinian PM Abu Mazen.

The roadmap is being presented as a rigorous application of even-handedness towards both sides. But this is not true. It is a political missile aimed at one side, the Palestinians. Its purpose is to nurture an illusion and help Israel crush their struggle. In this sense, it is in parallel with the Israeli gunfire directed against them every day, killing 40 infants, children and adults since the roadmap was published, and the lockdown that has kept Palestinians prisoner in the West Bank and Gaza since May 19.

Look at what is required of Israel. The Western media claims that one of the "toughest demands" made of the Israelis in the first phase of the roadmap is to "freeze settlement activity" in the Occupied Territories (meaning occupied from 1967, as opposed to from 1948), and the world has been told repeatedly of Sharon's willingness to make "painful sacrifices" in this regard. Yet the Israeli occupation of these lands in the first place is a violation of international law and UN Resolutions (242)--and building settlements on them, as Israel has been doing for decades under both "liberal" and "right-wing" governments, is a further compounded violation of international law. So the U.S. and its media are working overtime to portray agreement to a freeze on these settlements as a "painful sacrifice" by the Sharon government, even though it is a long-standing requirement of UN resolutions and international law that Israel never build a single settlement in the first place! Even more flagrantly, in accepting the roadmap, Sharon refused to say that he would accept its provisions and dismantle any settlements, even the most recent, as yet mainly uninhabited settlements.

On point after point, this is the so-called even-handed approach of the roadmap: requiring minor Israeli concessions on unjust policies that have long placed it in violation of international law and world public opinion, while requiring the Palestinian leadership to surrender its just claims and to suppress all resistance to Israel and its U.S. masters. The Palestinian Authority has, for instance, already done a great deal to implement its requirements under phase one (installation of Bush and Sharon's hand-picked Prime Minister Abbas to sideline the elected Arafat, overhauling its finances, etc.), while the Israelis have done nothing at all. In fact, Sharon has publicly stated that he has 15 objections that he will submit to Bush--even though one of the basic characteristics of the roadmap process is that it is "not negotiable." No one in the Bush administration has slapped him down. Israel has also repeatedly made it clear that it considers that the Palestinians putting an end to violence is a "precondition" to any progress, even though this too flies directly in the face of the roadmap principle of "simultaneity." Instead of being rebuked for this, U.S. politicians gave the Israeli position broad support.

The plan sets out a scheme in three phases that is ultimately aimed at establishing some form of Palestinian state by 2005 in return for acceptance of the existence of Israel by the Palestinians and guarantees by all the Arab states so that it will enjoy a stable, secure position in the Middle East. This is, in fact, its real purpose. One of the main items Sharon is demanding in exchange for accepting the plan is that the Palestinians give up their demand for the "right of return"--the right of the 4.5 million Palestinians driven out of Israel and their children to once again live in their native villages and towns that are now a part of Israel, in addition to the almost 1 million Palestinians who are second-class Israeli citizens. Sharon objects that the return of any large number of refugees would jeopardize the nature of Israel as a Jewish state, since there are only a little more than 5 million Jewish inhabitants in this country stolen from the Palestinians. Sharon's logic is indisputable. This is the logic that stands behind the Israeli government's actions in the last three years, when they have killed 2,300 Palestinians and wounded another 22,000, and destroyed 12,000 Palestinian homes with their killer bulldozers.

These facts make it clear that there can be no real solution for the Palestinians nor peace and security for anyone as long as this land is ruled by a religious state for the benefit of settlers and not a multinational, secular state for the benefit of all.

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