October 28, 2002
READING THE MAP:
A road map that leads straight back to Oslo
(NATAN SHARANSKY, Oct. 24, 2002, Jerusalem Post)
[T]his road map will only result in a new illusion whereby a new Palestinian dictatorship will be called upon to protect Israel's security and advance the cause of peace. Judging from this map, the Quartet believes that a Palestinian society poisoned for the last decade to hate Israel and Jews will be ready to freely choose a new leadership in a matter of months and be ready to peaceably join the community of nations in less than a year.
Once again, we are told, all that is needed to make peace a reality is resumed security cooperation, some money, and a little good will.Rather than strengthening the Palestinian people and investing in their freedom, the Quartet document returns to the Oslo formula by placing its faith in a "reformed" Palestinian dictatorship. Such a dictatorship will be no more interested in the welfare of its people than any other.
Six months ago, I sent a plan to Prime Minister Sharon that I believe outlines the broad steps that must be taken to ensure that Israelis and Palestinians embark on a genuine path to peace.
It calls for a temporary administration to be established for the next two to three years so that Palestinian society can be "detoxified" and democratic institutions can be developed. Rather than call for elections at the beginning of the process of reform, elections must come only after that process is well under way.
After all, only when Palestinians are not afraid to speak freely will they have a real opportunity to freely choose a leadership that is not compromised by terror. And only with such a leadership can Israel hope to engage in constructive negotiations for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
Last summer, Bush crossed a peacemaking Rubicon in his historic speech. But alas, the Quartet's road map takes us back to the other side. Rigid timetables, confidence building measures, and new Palestinian strongmen will bring us no closer to peace today than they did for the last decade.The only hope for an Israeli-Palestinian peace remains investing in a free Palestinian society that will want to join Israel in building a common future.
While we revere Mr. Sharansky, he seems quite wrong here. Palestine will be a state, must make peace with Israel, and should evolve towards democracy, but the three are not entirely dependent on each other.
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 28, 2002 12:02 PM
I'm with Mr. Sharansky. The trouble is that the Palestinian dictatorship is terrorizing Palestinians as well as Israelis, and if they are given control of a state democracy and peace will NEVER develop. It's true that a rational dictatorship, a la Egypt or Jordan, could develop peace and maybe democracy eventually, but where will we find such a rational dictator and how will we impose his rule, when the terror fanatics have decimated all rivals? The reality is that it will be no harder, perhaps much easier, to create a democracy as to create a dictatorship that would work for peace.
So you believe that the Israeli people will impose that kind of control? For how long?
Excellent question . . . There is strong sentiment in Israel for appeasement and/or building a wall and washing their hands of Palestinians entirely. But I think the Bush administration believes that the war on terror will be a long one and will end only after a democratic, moderate Islam has triumphed throughout the Middle East. In order to build momentum for democrats, they are going to work hard to create democracy where they can -- and that will be Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine soon, and hopefully Iran later. I think that once Saddam is gone, the Bush administration is going to strike a deal with Israel that involves them supervising the transition to democracy in Palestinian areas. We can offer Israel various things in return, like an open treaty guaranteering military security as with NATO, and economic aid.
How can a Palestinian government claim legitimacy if the Israelis are running it?
No, after a brief initial period the Israelis wouldn't be running the state, just policing the state. What I imagine would be a government like the PA, only this time with a constitution that prescribes democratic institutions and rights of the people (e.g. right to life, right to jury trial, etc.). If the government pulls a woman out and executes her for alleged collaboration with Israel, as the PA did yesterday, the Israelis would have to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice. So Israel's role would be similar to that under Oslo, where it provided national defense for the PA, but expanded. This would follow a period of stripping the West Bank and Gaza of known terrorists, including Saddam's lackey Arafat.
This "new PA" would be legitimate because within constitutional bounds, it would be sovereign.
This is all speculation, but I think this is the logical continuation of the course the Bush administration has been charting.
Without equating them at all morally, I wonder how George Washington would be viewed had he acceded to a requirement that America be patrolled by British troops?
Those Palestinians committed to eternal war against Israel will hate it, but those who want democracy and the opportunity to pursue normal lives -- careers, family, speech without fear of reprisals -- will welcome a few years of civilizing force (or 'detoxification' as Sharansky puts it). And if two or three years doesn't work, there's always backup plans B and C -- turning the Palestinians over to Jordanian supervision, or giving them to a 'friendly' dictator who's been thoroughly vetted during the occupation. In either case, Israel builds the wall. This is better than just adopting the dictatorship and wall right off, because the Palestinians will have been given the chance to show they can create a civil society.
P.S.-- If I am right that this really is the Bush plan, I wonder if the Sharansky proposal isn't a trial balloon to start building support? As deputy prime minister Sharansky carries weight in Israel, but as leader of a minor party it isn't as political charged as if a Likud leader put it forth. Sharansky is surely the source you'd choose for this proposal . . .
Orrin: In re Washington and British occupation. Prior to 4 July 1776 that solution may well have been accepted, given British accession to other colonial political demands. Prior to Valley Forge and the Battle of Trenton, possibly. But after the Battle of Saratoga, Washington would never have acceded to such a solution. But what is the difference between the American Revolution and the Intifada?
Arafat ain't won no Trentons, let alone a Saratoga.
Tom, actually, they won the first Intifada when Israel went to Oslo and offered them a state.
Indeed, Orrin, when they lose, they win. Now, what would happen were Israel to lose....