FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Roadmap and the Wall

by NEVE GORDON

The new peace initiative called the “Road Map” has a few advantages. In contrast to the Oslo Accords and a variety of other proposals, it affirms that Israel must put an “end to the occupation” as well as ensure the creation of a “viable Palestinian State.”

As opposed to “Tenet” and “Mitchell,” the two previous initiatives sponsored solely by the United States, the Road Map was devised and introduced by the Quartet; namely, the United Nations, European Union, Russia, and U.S. Insofar as the Quartet rather than just the U.S. will be the arbiter of this proposal, it will have a more balanced and fairer adjudicator.

The Road Map also states that a peaceful solution must be informed by the principle of land for peace as well as UN resolutions 242, 338,1397, and the Saudi proposal, documents that underscore some central issues not mentioned in the current initiative. Finally, it is a performance-based rather than declaratory document, and each side must carry out its obligations concurrently within very specific and short timeframes. So while the Palestinian Authority democratizes its institutions and tries to quell attacks on Israelis, the Israeli military must withdraw to the positions it held prior to September 2000.

Despite improvements over previous initiatives, the Road Map contains at least one essential flaw that can easily undermine the successful realization of a just peace.

The proposal is based on a three-phase solution. The first two phases have concrete guidelines that specify each side’s obligations and determine the dates of implementation. The four most difficult issues are, however, left to the final phase. Within a year following the beginning of this phase, the two parties are supposed to resolve the differences that have been at the heart of the conflict for over 36 years: 1) the final borders between the two states; 2) the status of Jerusalem; 3) the dismantlement of the Jewish settlements; and 4) the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

The Road Map itself says nothing about how these four problems are to be resolved. Yet, the power differential between the two sides is such that the Palestinians will have to depend on the good intentions of the Israelis. And since Prime Minister Sharon does not seem to have good intentions, this proposal, like the ones before it, is unlikely to beget a lasting peace.

The media has, nonetheless, expressed enthusiasm about Sharon, claiming that he is no longer the warmonger he used to be, but rather a man of peace. To demonstrate their point, they emphasize the military’s current efforts to dismantle Jewish outposts and cite Sharon’s statement that “Israel must end the occupation of 3.5 million Palestinians.” The desire to believe in a better future is so great that some liberal Israelis have even begun to trust the “new Sharon.”

Israel’s premier, however, is a chameleon. The military did indeed dismantle a few outposts in a series of operations well coordinated with the media. But the international press has conveniently forgotten that since entering office Sharon has allowed the settlers to build over 60 outposts. Along the same lines, he is probably sincere in his hope that Israel will end the occupation of 3.5 million Palestinians; however, he is unwilling to end the occupation of Palestine. People yes, land no.

The crucial point is that while Sharon is feigning to be a peacenik, he is creating facts on the ground that will undermine any future agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. The major issue is not so much the ongoing military operations, but rather the separation wall or “security fence,” a complex series of barriers, trenches, roads, and fences.

A map published in the Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth reveals that the so-called security fence, whose initial objective was to protect Israelis from the infiltration of suicide bombers, is not being erected on the 1967 borders. Rhetoric aside, the wall is being built in order to expropriate land. If Sharon succeeds, no less than fifty percent of the West Bank will be annexed to Israel!

Additionally, the area allocated for the Palestinian state-to-be will be divided into three enclaves, not including the Gaza Strip, which will be walled in on all sides. The Palestinian city Kalkilya, home of 40,000 people, is already a ghetto. Moreover, eighty percent of the water aquifers will be under Israeli control, making the enclaves dependent on Israel.

One cannot understand Sharon’s attitude towards the Road Map without examining the political objectives of the separation wall. A Palestinian friend put it well when he claimed that the wall is, in a sense, like the Hamas. “The two,” he said, “are against the Road Map.”

NEVE GORDON teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University, Israel. He is one of the writers featured in The Other Israel: Voices of Dissent and Refusal and can be reached at ngordon@bgumail.bgu.ac.il.

Neve Gordon is a Leverhulme Visiting Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies and the co-author of The Human Right to Dominate.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail