"For the man whose knowledge is not in order, the more he has of it, the greater will be his confusion." -- Herbert Spencer (1820-1923)
How much more is Arafat going to get in return for long-unkept promises?
In the run-up to PM Binyamin Netanyahu's trip to Washington in mid-January, the Israeli cabinet agreed on its expectations of the Palestinian Authority, prerequisites for a further Israeli withdrawal from areas of Judea-Samaria.The PA reacted by accusing Israel of "new tricks"--a line parroted by some media commentators--and that Israel was making it impossible for the PA to comply. But all of the obligations were agreed upon and signed into accords years ago. In return for these undertakings, the PA has achieved a mini-state, with control over major cities and scores of villages in Judea-Samaria and Gaza. The obligations Israel is insisting the PA meet, include:
In April 1996, the PNC voted for a six-month deadline for a legal panel to draft a new charter for the PLO. However, the deadline passed, with no panel ever having convened.
Last February, a month after documents attached to the Hebron Protocol obligated the PA to "complete the process of revising the Palestinian National Charter", the PA chief negotiator Abu Mazen said there was no need to amend the Covenant as the required changes had already been made.
However, the allegedly amended Covenant has never been published or made available, and is generally believed not to exist.
Israel wants the PNC's legal committee to "issue a statement specifying which articles have been annulled in accordance with the April 1996 PNC decision. Then, the PNC itself must reconvene and pass a new resolution affirming the statement by its legal committee concerning which specific articles in the Covenant have been changed."
Israel accuses the PA of deploying nearly 36,000 policemen in areas under its jurisdiction, exceeding the limit prescribed by the Oslo accords by more than 50 per cent (other sources, including a PA human rights group, has put the true figure at closer to 85,000). Moreover, the PA has failed to give Israel a complete list of all police recruits for review and approval.
Israel has repeatedly demanded that the PA stop operating in Jerusalem. It wants an end to the activities in the capital of all PA officials, including those on the Temple Mount carried out by the PA's "Minister for Religious Affairs" Hassan Tahboub and Islamic Mufti Ikrama Sabri. It has repeated its call for Faisal Husseini's "Ministry for Jerusalem Affairs" to stop its activities at Orient House, the eastern Jerusalem building dubbed the "unofficial PLO HQ" in the city, and for an end to PA security services' operations in Jerusalem.
Israel focused in January on three specific areas where the PA had failed to honour its commitments:
Preventing incitement and hostile propaganda. The government presented more than 80 statements made by PA officials and PA media in the past year "which constitute incitement to violence and hostile propaganda against Israel they have praised Hamas terrorists, threatened Israel with war, and accused Israel of injecting Palestinians with the AIDS virus, poisoning Palestinian food products and threatening to destroy the Al-Aksa mosque."
Israel said it expected officials to stop engaging in and encouraging incitement against Israel. "PA employees, preachers in mosques and others who incite to violence against Israel must be dismissed from their posts, prosecuted and punished. The PA must also end incitement to violence against Israel in the official Palestinian media (including radio and television).
"The PA should undertake a comprehensive public education campaign regarding the rejection of violence and terror and normalisation with Israel."
Transfer of terror suspects to Israel. The government named 34 individuals Israel has asked be handed over to face trial, including PA Police Chief Ghazi Jabali, wanted for instructing PA policemen to ambush and fire at Israelis; suspected killers of Israeli civilians; and suspected masterminds of bombings which cost scores of lives. To date, the repeated extradition requests have been ignored.
Confiscation of illegal firearms. Israel wants the PA "to systematically confiscate all illegal weapons and punish those illegally bearing arms. The PA must also act to prevent the smuggling of weapons into Palestinian-controlled areas by all elements, including by senior Palestinian officials and VIPs. PA officials caught smuggling weapons must be removed from their posts. Any weapons and explosives in PA possession or in Palestinian-controlled areas which violate the terms of the accord must be transferred to Israel."