It was bad enough when Secretary of State Colin Powell and President Bush were insisting that – no matter what – Israel remain committed to the disastrously misguided "roadmap" to create a Palestinian state as the lynchpin of a Mideast peace plan.
Now Powell is considering meeting with an Israeli meddler and an Arab provocateur who have come up with a new plan to carve up the Jewish state – outside of accountability to the people affected.
Imagine if, let's say, Ralph Nader began informal negotiations with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network. After three years or so, these talks led to a proposal accepted by both sides that the U.S. would give up half of its territory, divide the capital of Washington, D.C. and agree to other concessions in exchange for a promise by al-Qaida to cease all terrorism.
Would such a plan deserve international scrutiny? Would it warrant further investigation by top diplomats? Would it be worth the paper it was written on?
Of course not. It would not only be an extraordinarily bad policy decision for the U.S. and the rest of the free world, it would undermine real negotiations by accountable, official, authorized representatives of government.
Nevertheless, once again, the U.S. has a double-standard when it comes to Israel. We ask Israel to do what we say, not what we do. In fact, we ask Israel to do things we as a nation would never consider doing in a million years.
Israel's top government leaders are urging Powell not to meet with organizers of an unofficial Mideast peace treaty, arguing the secretary of state would not help the actual peace process. Launched Monday in Geneva, the informal agreement was the result of three years of talks between former Israeli and Palestinian negotiators working in private without representing their governments.
The U.S. government has been generally supportive of the unofficial Geneva initiative, while insisting that the "roadmap" peace plan is the only one on the table. Powell said he would go ahead with a meeting of the unofficial plan's architects. The meeting would not contradict the U.S. commitment to the "roadmap" outlining the establishment of a Palestinian state, he said.
"I don't know why I or anyone else in the U.S. government should deny ourselves the opportunity to hear from others and who have ideas with respect to peace," Powell said during a visit to Tunisia.
Israeli Vice Premier Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that Powell would be "making a mistake" by meeting the plan's organizers, led by former Israeli Cabinet minister Yossi Beilin and Palestinian minister Yasser Abed Rabbo. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon described the hypothetical agreement as subversive.
The deal proposes borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state close to Israel's borders before the 1967 Mideast war, giving the Palestinians almost all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and part of Jerusalem. It calls for the removal of most Israeli settlements there and severely limits the so-called "right of return" for Palestinians who fled or were driven out during the 1948-49 war that followed Israel's creation and their descendants. It also divides sovereignty in Jerusalem.
One of the chief Arab architects of the "Geneva Accord" admitted Sunday his side had helped draw up the radical plan specifically to create division among Israelis, thereby further weakening the Jews from within to benefit the Palestinian cause.
Fatah official Hatem Abdel Khader, who was deeply involved in the secret talks that spawned "Geneva," told the Jerusalem Post Sunday the Palestinian side had helped author the agreement primarily in order to cause a rift in Israeli society and to undermine the Sharon government.
"Our aim was to create divisions inside Israel and block the growth of the right-wing," the Post quoted Khader as saying.
Powell and America should not be a part of such tactics.
This is not the way to fight terrorism.Joseph Farah's nationally syndicated column originates at WorldNetDaily, where he serves as editor and chief executive officer.
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