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To: Carolyn who started this subject8/24/2001 12:27:07 PM
From: TimF
   of 23353
 
I'm not saying I support this idea for a solution, I'm just wondering what people think about it.

A Way Out of the Middle East Impasse
nytimes.com

By THOMAS FRIEDMAN

The Middle East conflict has
gotten so violent and
depressing, you wonder how the
two sides can ever find a way
out. We need a new idea. I'd like
to propose one — but first some background.

If you listen to the Israeli left, the only way out of this
stalemate is more talks with Yasir Arafat. I was a strong
believer in the Oslo process, because Oslo was a
necessary and worthwhile test of whether Israel could
produce a Palestinian partner for a secure peace. It was a
test the majority of Israelis wanted, it was a test that
contributed mightily to the investment and prosperity
Israel enjoyed in the 1990's, which helped absorb so many
Russian immigrants, and it was a test that made possible
the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, as well as Israeli
diplomatic missions from Qatar to Morocco.

It was also a test that Israeli leaders, from Yitzhak Rabin
to Bibi Netanyahu to Ariel Sharon, felt was important
enough for each to participate in land-for-peace trades
with Mr. Arafat, because they each knew that there was no
military solution and that any long-term peace had to
involve Israel's ceding land in return for Mr. Arafat's
providing security. Finally, it was a test needed to unite
Israel: a majority of Israelis had to find out if there was an
alternative to permanent life on the barricades.

But at some point you have to say the test failed. That is
what Camp David symbolized. Mr. Arafat was not willing
to look his people in the eye and tell them that 95 percent
was all they were going to get and they needed to make the
best of it, nor was he willing to acknowledge a Jewish
connection to Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Which is why I
don't believe the left's argument that more negotiations
now with Mr. Arafat will do the trick. Maybe Israel can
still strike a mini-deal or a cease-fire with Mr. Arafat, but
not a final peace.

That's right, says the Israeli right, so what we need now is
not more negotiations but more military pressure; now is
the time to crush Mr. Arafat and his whole gang.

No one can criticize Israel for retaliating in the harshest
manner for suicide bombs in restaurants; no country in the
world would behave otherwise. But the idea that there is a
tipping point, where enough military pressure on the
Palestinians will get them to say "uncle" and willingly
accept some mini-mini-state in the West Bank, is utter
fantasy. Five million Jews cannot sustain a military
solution against five million Palestinians and 95 million
Arabs.

O.K., says the Israeli right, then just smash them and then
put up a wall around Israel. Another fantasy. First of all,
thanks to all the ideological Jewish settlements that Israel
has set up in the West Bank and Gaza (recklessly cheered
on by the American Jewish right), Israel now has a huge
strategic-political problem.

If Israel keeps all the settlements and the Arab areas
around them, demographically it will become an apartheid
state or a non-Jewish state. If it tries unilaterally to uproot
some of the settlements, without any commitments from the
Palestinians, it will trigger a Jewish-Jewish civil war. It
will also provide a huge victory for Palestinian radicals
— who will have gotten land for war. If Israel uprooted
only some settlements and put up a wall, it would leave
behind a chopped-up Palestinian mini-state that would be
totally non-viable. It would be a seething cauldron,
uncontrolled by Israel, that could easily acquire heavier
weapons from Iraq and become a strategic threat.

In short, Oslo was a test that failed, but was aborted
before it was too late. The settlements are a continuing,
long-term threat to the entire Zionist enterprise. So what to
do? Staying in the West Bank and Gaza will slowly
destroy Israel from within, but just leaving and putting up
a wall could destroy Israel from without.

The only solution may be for Israel and the U.S. to invite
NATO to occupy the West Bank and Gaza and set up a
NATO-run Palestinian state, à la Kosovo and Bosnia. I'm
serious. Israel can't stay in the West Bank and Gaza and
remain a Jewish democracy; but it can't unilaterally
withdraw, put up a wall and leave an uncontrolled
Palestinian entity there — without creating a permanent
threat to Israel's existence. Nor, for that matter, can Israel
trust Mr. Arafat anymore to administer these areas
properly. What is needed is for Israel to turn these areas
over to NATO or a NATO- like force. The Palestinians
can have their state — but no army — under NATO's
watchful eye.

It's a long shot, but it addresses the real problem, and a
future column will explain how it might work.

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To: TimF who wrote (2929)8/24/2001 2:39:26 PM
From: LV
   of 23353
 
I think Friedman’s suggestion is tongue-in-cheek. Only insane would want to place NATO troops in Gaza and West Bank in midst of anti-Western Islamic fundamentalists. Remember Somalia and Lebanon where we tried to serve as peacekeepers? Palestinian territories will be much worse IMO. Perhaps this is just Friedman’s way of teaching Europeans about realities of life in the Middle East <g>.
Building the wall around Palestinian areas is the least objectionable scenario. Israel should keep only Jerusalem and areas necessary for her defense, and evacuate the rest. Let the Palestinians build their own life. Who cares if radicals think that they won, just keep them on the other side of the wall. And then, maybe in a generation or two, some dialogue may be possible. As they say, high fences make good neighbors. And talking about Jewish-Jewish civil war is ridiculous. Israel is a free country, and any settler who wants to live under Palestinian Authority is free to do so, so no forced settlement evacuation is required. Besides, involuntary population transfer to and from occupied territories is against Geneva Convention, and we wouldn’t want any more UN denunciations of Israel than absolutely necessary <g>. And as far as violence across the wall, that is what the Army is for. Just let them do their job.

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To: LV who wrote (2930)8/24/2001 2:49:59 PM
From: TimF
   of 23353
 
LV, I'm not so sure it was tongue-in-cheek. It sounded serious, perhaps not wise but serious.

Tim

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To: GUSTAVE JAEGER who wrote (2927)8/25/2001 1:01:18 AM
From: Nadine Carroll
   of 23353
 
re: Although the right of return is a legitimate claim by the Palestinians, it's a fallacy to pretend that it was the cause of the wrecking... Everybody knows that the real, only deadlock in the peace negociations is the status of Jerusalem and the Jews' deadly game to keep it under 100%-Jewish control

I don't know who your "everybody" is. I am repeating what the main negotiators, primarily Yossi Beilin, Saeb Erekat and Dennis Ross said was the cause. (Read Dennis Ross's interview in the New York Times Magazine)They are in a position to know. You are distorting the record.

Barak offered shared sovereignty in Jerusalem, including shared sovereignty over the Temple Mount.

Sharon is using Arafat's salami tactics against him. For years, Arafat would demand first one concession, then another, then another, for some action on his part that never seemed to be quite forthcoming. Sharon is saying that Arafat can lose assets piece by piece for continuing the intifada. He took the battle to Arafat's favorite battleground: political symbolism. Besides, it was a very restrained reaction to a suicide bomber that had just killed 15 and wounded 100 more, with Arafat's incitement and blessing.

Arafat and most of the Palestinian leaders have always hinted at the highly symbolic nature of that claim and allowed for the details of implementation to be loose enough so that, practically, it wouldn't set up a demographic imbalance in Israel.

You name the position, Arafat has said it at some time to somebody. His words have never had the slightest bearing on his actions. But he didn't say anything like this at Camp David or Taba, when an actual deal was on the table and a compromise could have sealed it.

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To: GUSTAVE JAEGER who wrote (2928)8/25/2001 1:12:19 AM
From: Nadine Carroll
   of 23353
 
re: on this issue Arafat had not consigned the Palestinians to be the people in Arab history who had sold out on Jerusalem.


Yeah he didn't sell out. He didn't acquire a state, either, now did he? What is presented on TV does not have much to do with what went on in the negotiations. The Arab political world is continually drunk on its own rhetoric. Much easier to talk about glory and jihad and driving the Jews out of Jerusalem than to sell hard compromises to the people. Particularly for Arafat, who is weak, corrupt, and indecisive.

Besides, as I've said before, the Arab world doesn't want the Palestinians to become prosperous; then they would cease to be a thorn in Israel's side and all the Arab regimes would lose a major rallying point that always directs their people's anger outward, towards the Jews.

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To: TimF who wrote (2929)8/25/2001 1:47:48 AM
From: Nadine Carroll
   of 23353
 
I read Tom Friedman's column and was appalled. How could Tom Friedman, who spent the 80's reporting from Beirut, make such a ludicrous suggestion?

First of all, NATO forces in the West Bank would be a HUGE win for Arafat, and would just validate the whole intifada strategy, ecouraging more of the same.

Second, what would NATO forces do when Hamas used them for human shields, just as it used the TIPH forces in Hebron? There are basically two options.

First option: They could follow the example of the TIPH and UNFIL forces, which is to focus almost entirely on Israeli actions, making no distinction between responses to terror and first strikes, and ignoring Palestinian actions. Why do the the UN forces do this? It's not because they are anti-semites (for the most part). It's just that it's much easier to observe a army than a terrorist cell (Hamas does not permit inspection of suicide bomber facilities), and an army has a chain of command. If an Israeli officer loses his temper and threatens to shoot the observers, he has a CO, who has a general, who reports to Sharon, etc. Killing observers would be very bad PR for Israel. But if a Hamas terrorist threatens to shoot the observers, who do you complain to? Arafat always has super deniability. So they play ball, aware that a bomb may head their way if they don't.

Second option: They could actually try to keep the peace, which would mean seizing arms from Hamas and company. This would involve them in the fighting, and the gunfire would soon be aimed in their direction. Would they stay if a bomb blew up their barracks, as happened to the Marines in Beirut in 1983? I sincerely doubt it.

History has shown again and again that peacekeepers are only of use when there is a peace to keep. If one side wants to keep shooting, the peacekeepers will only find themselves being used as human shields. To respond to this situation requires that they be willing to fight, and generally speaking, they do not have the stomach for a war.

IMO the minimum necessity, the sine qua non for getting out of this impasse, is a change in Palestinian leadership, to one with some legitimacy. Arafat has got to go. At this point even Hamas would be an improvement. Hamas has a basic PR problem in the West -- they're honest. The completely lack Arafat's talent for talking peace in English and jihad in Arabic. They talk jihad in any language, and don't pretend to be aiming just for the West Bank and Gaza. But if they came to power in an election, they might able to negotiate a truce.

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To: Nadine Carroll who wrote (2932)8/25/2001 3:39:52 AM
From: GUSTAVE JAEGER
   of 23353
 
Re: I am repeating what the main negotiators, primarily Yossi Beilin, Saeb Erekat and Dennis Ross said was the cause. (Read Dennis Ross's interview in the New York Times Magazine)They are in a position to know. You are distorting the record.

Well... I guess all I have to do to answer you is pulling out your own words (from post #2933) --with a somewhat different spin....

"What is presented on TV or the New York Times does not have much to do with what went on in the negotiations. The Jewish political world is continually drunk on its own rhetoric. Much easier to talk about hamas and jihad and driving Arafat out of Palestine than to sell hard compromises to the people. Particularly for Sharon, who is flatfooted, bloodthirsty, and counterproductive.

Besides, as I've said before, the Western world doesn't want the Israelis to come to terms with their Arab neighbors; then the Middle East would cease to be a useful bogey in front of Western public opinion and most of the European regimes would lose a major rallying point that always directs their people's anger outward, towards the Arabs."

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To: Nadine Carroll who wrote (2933)8/25/2001 3:59:39 AM
From: GUSTAVE JAEGER
   of 23353
 
Footnote to my previous post -- Jerusalem as the only stumbling block in the Middle East negociations:

Jerusalem Quarterly File

Double Issue 11-12, 2001

The Prospects for a Shared Jerusalem

Laura Fragiacomo

jqf-jerusalem.org

Excerpt:

Salim Tamari also refuted the claim that Jerusalem is an open city delineating the type of discriminatory policies faced by Palestinians that would indicate that simply respecting each other's legacy in the city is not enough. He reminded the audience that while Israelis are free to move and settle anywhere within Jerusalem, Palestinians are barred from visiting or from even reclaiming their properties in West Jerusalem: "As long as one group is denied access to the other side of the city, then we have to treat the colonial presence of the city on the Arab side as a colonial or settler presence." According to Tamari, the illegal presence of 200,000 Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem was a key reason for the collapse of the discussions on Jerusalem during the Camp David talks. Whereas Ben-Meir referred to the presence of settlers in East Jerusalem as a historical right, Tamari argued that these settlers were "imported" into East Jerusalem to ensure a Jewish majority in the Palestinian areas of the city. The importing of Jewish residents is part of an overall plan by the Israeli government to reduce the proportion of Palestinian residents in Jerusalem. The effects were felt in 1985 when, for the first time since the Israeli occupation of 1967, Israeli Jews formed the greater part of East Jerusalem's population. The tactics of the Israeli government are various and irreversible. Strict and discriminatory building codes favoring Jewish residents have forced Palestinian residents to the margins of the city or the West Bank; once they live outside of Jerusalem boundaries, the Israeli government accuses them of leaving the city and strips many of them of their residency. Tamari also discussed how damaging the Oslo process has been for the Palestinian people. Economic life, for instance, has been stunted, as continual closures imposed on Palestinian areas have severed the West Bank and Gaza from Jerusalem - their main metropolitan center and commercial marketing outlet.

[...]

While Tamari and Khalidi unsurprisingly pointed to the status quo of the Israeli occupation as the root cause for the failure of the Oslo/Camp David framework, Ben Meir called for its formalization within the negotiations framework: "Both sides should continue to administer their holy places as they have" since Israel captured the Old City in 1967. The Palestinians have been exercising de facto sovereignty over their holy shrines and educational institutions. Israel should now formalize this arrangement by extending extraterritoriality to the Palestinians over the entire area called Haram al-Sharif - including much of the Old City where a majority of Palestinians reside. This solution "could satisfy the Muslim needs without compromising the integrity of a united city." Rashid Khalidi countered that such a plan will not lead to a satisfactory or equitable solution for the sharing of Jerusalem's holy places: "The status quo has led to killings, on three occasions in ten years of Palestinian worshippers on the Haram al-Sharif. This, to my way of thinking, is not an acceptable status quo. People were shot down in 1990, 1996, and 2000 in one of the holiest places in Islam." The status quo has led to "violence in holy places all over Palestine - in both Jewish and Muslim holy places," he reiterates.

Interestingly, one of the main discussion points of Daniel Seidemann is that there is no status quo per se in Jerusalem, alluding to the fact that Jerusalem's current reality is one of instability and constant flux. Although the city is seen as the "detonator" of the current uprising, which is blamed on Sharon's visit to the Haram al-Sharif, the city remains quiet on the surface. Yet Seidemann urged people not to be deceived by the apparent calm: "Jerusalem is like an atomic device. When it blows, watch out..." He believes that expectations of Palestinians in East Jerusalem are high and that they will not accept a continuation of Israeli hegemony. Seidemann issued a "dire" warning, saying the Intifada will find its way into Jerusalem, especially if the current move towards unilateralism is completed: "Unilateral withdrawal is almost like a surgical removal between Israelis and Palestinians. Nothing will motivate the Palestinians in Jerusalem more than if they are to be sealed from their hinterland in Ramallah."
[snip]

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To: Thomas M. who wrote (2922)8/25/2001 4:33:48 AM
From: GUSTAVE JAEGER
   of 23353
 
Follow-up to my Byzantine Alliance scenario or how Europe's deceitfulness towards Arabs might further wreak havoc on the Middle East...

Jerusalem Quarterly File

Double Issue 11-12, 2001

Time to Change: The European Role in Jerusalem

Issa Kassissieh


Author's Note:
This article was written prior to the passing of Mr. Faisal Abdel Qader al-Husseini. The staff at the Orient House vow to continue the legacy of Mr. Husseini and to maintain the Orient House as the PLO Headquarters in East Jerusalem.


jqf-jerusalem.org

Excerpt:

Europe's policy towards Palestinians in Jerusalem can be characterized as following the line of least resistance. Over the past three years, Europe has slowly regressed in its willingness to meet Palestinian officials in Jerusalem during diplomatic visits and to maintain a balanced position vis-à-vis the Israelis and Palestinians. European financial contributions to Jerusalem and its institutions have also been largely symbolic. This lack of support comes in spite of the letter from Shimon Peres to the former Norwegian Foreign Minister Johan Holst, dated October 11, 1993, in which the Israeli Foreign Minister stated that support for East Jerusalem institutions should be "encouraged." Financial assistance to East Jerusalem has also dropped off despite the growing needs in the city after Israel imposed the military closure in 1993.

Europe's unwillingness to implement policies that might effectively deter Israel from consolidating its status quo on Jerusalem's final status and to support Palestinian institutions only contributed to the unequal power balance. Such inequality created the setting for Camp David where the Palestinians were forced into a lose-lose position: the Israeli stand on Jerusalem, based on 34 years of creating facts on the ground, was presented to the Palestinian side in a "take it or leave it" manner. As the Israeli ideas only allowed for the creation of distinct Bantustans and did not satisfy the Palestinians' minimal strategic demands for developing East Jerusalem, the Palestinians naturally expressed their reservations. While the Palestinians did not wholly reject the Israeli ideas, they were subsequently condemned for not accepting the proposal in its entirety.

Europe has erred in interpreting the past flexibility of the Palestinians, particularly in regards to Jerusalem, as a willingness to make concessions on the city; this has become a costly misinterpretation. On paper, Europe continuously calls for the adherence to international law and UN resolutions on Jerusalem; yet in practice international laws are not enforced. Israel thereby is given the leeway to issue inflammatory statements, such as the recent one issued by the Israeli Security Minister Uzi Landau calling for the shutting down of a dozen Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem, including the Orient House. The ability of Israel to make such provocative declarations with no recrimination from the international community only encourages the Israeli right wing.

Europe must reconsider its passive policy towards Palestine and Jerusalem in particular. Its failure to play a strong role in the Middle East has contributed to today's destabilized environment. Europe cannot afford to remain locked into a cycle of having to compensate the Jews for its role in their past suffering; instead it must recognize today's requirements and set out to curb injustice where injustice thrives. Not doing so will diminish Europe's stature in Palestine and the entire Middle East. As Faisal Husseini would always reiterate, "If the Palestinian secular and moderate leadership loses the flag of Jerusalem and the Palestinian state; if it is unable to fulfill the promises made at Madrid, then other radical nationalist movements will pick up the flag." If this occurs and Europe cannot curb Israeli violations in the occupied territories then extremism will spread, destabilizing not only the Middle East but also possibly Europe itself. Europe has reached another crossroads in its history with the Middle East and now has the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past.
________________

Indeed we're in for the worst-case scenario: as the US retreats on the diplomatic sidelines, Europe trades off its long-standing pro-Arab/Palestinian inclination against a higher-profile role in the region --on Israel's terms...

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To: Tom Clarke who wrote (2901)8/25/2001 5:17:29 AM
From: GUSTAVE JAEGER
   of 23353
 
Now that Condit story becomes interesting....

August 25, 2001

Condit faces punishment by Democrats

By Joyce Howard Price and Stephen Dinan
THE WASHINGTON TIMES


The House minority leader yesterday called Rep. Gary A. Condit's statements in his interview with Connie Chung "disturbing and wrong" and said he and fellow Democrats will consider punishing Mr. Condit by removing him from the House intelligence committee.
[snip]
washtimes.com

LOL! Fancy that! Mr Condit belonged to the House intelligence committee?! Enjoying access to CLASSIFIED stuff... Could it be that Miss Chandra Levy was a decoy? Condit framed up in a honey trap?? You tell me.

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