Monday, January 07, 2008

Swimming Against the Current in the Peace Process

Nadene Goldfoot
Dr. Dore Gold, Israel's ambassador to the UN in 1997-99, is President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and author of "The Fight for Jerusalem " asked the question about the Oslo peace process of the 1990's and the present day Road Map of 2003.

He brings out that in phase I of the Oslo peace process, the Palestinians were to end incitement against Israel in all their institutions. It was after this happened that there was to be talks about an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders. Education for Peace was an Oslo requirement.

Again, there are no negotiations about Palestinian statehood, according to the Roadmap, until the Palestinians' phase I obligations are fully met.

The Palestinian textbooks for the 12th grade show a regression to the use of hostile language referring to jihad and martyrdom, emphasising the need for steadfastness against the enemies of Islam. Israel was removed from all the maps in the text. The West Bank Palestinians are being governed by a Fatah-dominated government led by Abbas which still uses older textbooks, so they are maintaining hostile propaganda against Israel in Palestinian schools.

It looks to me like Condoleesa Rice is trying to negotiate a future Palestinian state by circumventing the Bush administration's own 2003 Roadmap sequence. She's forgetting about the Palestinian obligations by talking about the issues like borders, Jerusalem and refugees. In the meantime, Hamas and Fatah have been engaged in secret backchannel talks to restore their relationship.

How can Israel have a Palestinian neighbor who continues to teach hatred for Israel? How can Israel expect a peaceful coexistance? Do we think peace will come about after the establishment of a Palestine at this rate? No, I don't. It will mean they will be that much closer and will be armed with more weapons to destroy Israel.

Oslo had the right idea in the beginning; that of asking the Palestinians to teach acceptance of Israel first before talking about creating a state. It's too bad that the current is so strong that it is carrying Rice along with it and she has given up these expectations. Swimming against this current could save the world.

Reference: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs 25 September 2007 Where is the Issue of Education for Peace in the Olmet-Rice-Abbas Initiative? by Dore Gold

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