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THE ISRAEL REPORT

May/June 2000
harhoma

Barak's Flippancy: Official Fatah website editorial reviews Barak's assumptions and proposes response

The prime minister of the Zionist entity, Ehud Barak, has been using his coalition crisis to avoid fulfilling his obligations under the peace agreements, especially those related to the interim issues. He did his utmost to make the third redeployment part of the final status issues. Such an attempt formed a barrier that made it impossible to bridge the gap between the Palestinian and Israeli positions. In addition, Barak has been using the Palestinian political prisoners as hostages to exert more pressure on the Palestinian leadership for further concessions. However, he failed for our prisoners believe that their freedom is part of the freedom of our homeland.

As to the Palestinian leadership, it heavily relies on the position of the U.S. and its president, Mr Clinton, who sponsored the peace agreements from the beginning. Such reliance makes it difficult to employ the capabilities of the Palestinian people which when maximally used in the past, made the U.S. Administration force Israel to fulfill its commitments to maintain stability.

Israel has been using its 'democracy' to stall the peace process and to justify its aggression against our people through intimidation, the confiscation of land, the imprisonment of our freedom fighters, and the Judaization of Jerusalem. On the other hand, the PNA has gone as far as arresting political activists to show that it can control the Palestinian masses and to prove to the U.S. its adherence to the peace process.

Such policies by the PNA made Barak think that the Palestinians have no other options but to negotiate with Israel. Therefore, one should not be surprised when Israel reduces the scope of the third withdrawal to 1% rather than 50% of the West Bank area, or when it reduces the number of political prisoners to be released to only three instead of 1600.

This clearly provocative insult by the Israelis came before President Arafat 's meeting with President Clinton. The head negotiator, Mr Saeb E'reikat, felt disgusted and stopped the negotiations with Israel until the latter changes its attitude towards the peace process. However, Mr E'reikat had to be patient and to return to the negotiating table since our negotiating strategy is based on pleasing the U.S. Administration.

Out of patience, also, President Arafat gave peace its last chance although he refused to participate in a summit that is supposed to include Barak and President Clinton. However, this last opportunity will not elicit any serious response from Barak who is sure that even President Clinton cannot pressure him into accepting any peace deal. This flippancy on the part of Israelis is supposed, from Barak's point of view, to restore some of the deterrence capability that the Israeli army lost after its withdrawal from South Lebanon.

Israel's flippancy is due to the following:

+ Barak's belief that Mr Clinton's desire to achieve peace in the Middle East is a personal one since he wants to appear as the man who achieved peace in a troubled region. Besides, Mr Clinton is not in a position to exert any pressure on Israel. In fact, he may exert pressure on President Arafat. After all, Denis Ross has more concern for the Israelis, and he does not seem to be interested in fulfilling the wishes of an outgoing president.

+ Barak's belief that the Palestinian leaders who keep on saying that their options are open, cannot lead any possible confrontations with Israel. They fear, according to Barak, that they will lose some of the gains they have accumulated over the past few years. They also fear that new leaders may emerge out of confronting Israel.

+ Barak's belief that showing no regard for the PNA and the peace process will in the end strengthen the Palestinian opposition. Leaders of the opposition will reject any submission to Israel and, thus, will lead violent demonstrations protesting against the non-release of the Palestinian prisoners and the building of more settlements. These demonstrations, in Barak's view may result in some violent clashes between the PNA and the opposition, and this will weaken the position of the PNA at the negotiating table.

+ Barak's belief that the Palestinian leadership will not declare the independent state without obtaining Israel's agreement. Barak will, therefore, try to blackmail the Palestinians to get more concessions, especially on the issues of Jerusalem and the borders. Barak relies on the position of the U.S. which so far has refrained from acknowledging the Palestinians' right to self determination.

+ Barak's belief that the Palestinian people under the PNA can no longer play the role they did during the Intifada. Al-Aqsa uprising was, after all, contained by building at Abu-Ghneim, and the last uprising on the issue of the prisoners was also contained by some PNA security apparatuses.

+ Barak's belief that through some harsh military measures he can make the Palestinians surrender to his will. Only in this context one can explain the statement made by General Mufaz, head of the Israeli army, who threatened to use his helicopters and missiles against the PNA.

These beliefs which account for Barak's lack of seriousness toward the peace process and on which his negotiating strategy is based, require that the PNA modify its negotiating strategy taking into account the need to do the following:
+ To promote national unity, which has been reaffirmed by the Central Council, this requires the activation of democracy including the principle of political pluralism and the release of all political prisoners who simply exercised their right to express them selves freely.

+ To hold elections at the level of village and city councils, popular committees, and the chambers of commerce. These elections will enhance the role of the people in actualizing their national independence.

+ To consider our national interests and to exclude from our agenda subjective factors such as the satisfaction of the U.S. Administration which will exert pressure on Israel only when stability in the Middle East is threatened.

+ To carefully prepare for popular protests outside the PNA-controlled areas in order to face the threats of the Israeli settlers who are usually supported by the army.

+ To coordinate with the Arab World, in particular, Jordan and Egypt, to support our stance and to call for an Arab summit before September to exert pressure on both U.S. and Israel.

+ To call on all peace-loving nations to condemn Israel's flippancy towards the peace process.

+ To stress the decision to actualize sovereignty and national independence at the upcoming meeting of the Central Council. At this meeting we should seek the support of all countries that suggested the postponing of the declaration of our independent state. These countries will be kindly asked to recognize the state of Palestine as soon as it is declared. This recognition will force Israel to deal seriously with the international legality.

+ Not to capitulate to Israel's unsacred promises and, instead, to adhere to our national principles. The inevitability of victory and the continued readiness to sacrifice, are two convictions that should direct our efforts to reach our goal.

The PNA that derives its stance from the above mentioned will obtain the support of the PLO and the Palestinian people here and in the Diaspora. Only Under such conditions can we realize our goal: an independent state with blessed Jerusalem as its capital.

Revolution Until Victory.


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