Sunday, November 02, 2003

REFLECTIONS ON RABIN AND THE "PEACE" PROCESS: Many things have happened since Yitzhak Rabin has died, yet we've achieved so little. I was a staunch believer and supporter of the Oslo accords, but Oslo was, to put it very bluntly, a lie.

The Oslo accords's failure to address the causes of the conflict--the occupation itself, borders, settlements, the right of return and the settlements--attribute to the bloodshed going on today. A lot of people attribute the failures of Oslo to the Palestinians, alleging that they turned to violence instead of negotiating. But the Palestinian attacks don't occur in a vacuum. Instead of something similar to a workable Palestinian state, the Jewish settler population in the West Bank grew to 400,000; in the Jordan Valley, 5,000 Jewish settlers consumed 75% of the water, leaving the remainder for two million Palestinians; by 2000, Israel had built 250 miles of bypass roads ("Jew-only" roads) on Palestinian land to connect settlements and Israel; Israel's control over people's movement and goods increased.

Why should the Palestinians and Israelis waste their time on a political process that serves neither and only causes future problems? Reality comes down to this: attacks on Israeli civilians are unlikely to end until the conditions which encourage them are removed. It's a harsh reality but one that should be considered; not necessarily accepted.

So what's the peace-plan for the future? How to end the suffering for both people?

First of, Yasser Arafat is not a miracle worker. Neither is Mahmoud Abbas or Abu Queria or any other Abu you'll find. You need to deal with the issues and root causes. The current roadmap lacks a destination. Freeze the settlements? Alright. Ending terrorism? Of course. So what comes next? What about Jerusalem? How do the millions of refugees end up? How are you going to deal with the wall? What are the borders going to be? How are we going to guarantee to security? If none of these issues are addressed, we're going to end up in destination "unknown." Yeah, we all know that worked right? The Roadmap is a continuation of Oslo. Let's start with giving Ariel Sharon and Sheikh Yassin a Nobel Peace Prize! How about dodging issues and wishfully thinking than they will magically disappear?

Start dealing with the issues. The Geneva accords sounds nice and I'm sure it's workable. If issues aren't solved, you are left with a process without substance and a roadmap to nowhere.

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