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                               CAMP DAVID II

MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 7/19/00:

Of course, the whole purpose of Camp David II has been to get Arafat to essentially surrender while he is alive and to "end" the conflict on Israeli terms.  The prime instigator of Camp David II was Prime Minister Barak himself, and the commentators who have been pushing hard for Arafat to "seize the moment" while he can are those sponsored by the Israeli/Jewish lobby.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton is doing what he has always done -- representing the Israelis in a kind of Good Cop capacity -- and rather than calling him on it the Palestinians play along, collecting as much money as they can and allowing the CIA to control far more than ever.  Also, make no mistake about this either, no matter how good an actor Clinton is, he and the entire American "negotiating team" are pretty much extensions of the Israeli/Jewish lobby, something MER has documenting extensively in recent years.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Army is developing new techniques that are more linked with crowd control and putting down rioting than the former tactics which were more directly military in nature and style.

The following reports, from Israeli sources, are as usual slanted and need to be read carefully.  But even so, also as usual, the Israelis are more forthright and professional than are the poor Palestinians whose journalistic institutions are more controlled than ever and still quite primative overall.


          By Danny Rubinstein, Amir Oren, Amira Hass,
     Nitzan Horowitz and Aluf Benn - Ha'aretz Correspondents

[Ha'aretz - 19 July]
Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat has warned that without an agreement that would guarantee Palestinian control over Al Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, there will be no deal on any subject at Camp David.

The tone of the Palestinian leader's message is indicative of the general atmosphere at Camp David:  The talks are intensive and there is a rush to meet a deadline that is marked by the departure of President Bill Clinton for the G-8 meeting on the Japanese island of Okinawa on Wednesday.

The Israeli delegation believes that the Americans are about to present a document of bridging proposals in order to push the two sides toward an agreement.

The American negotiators have so far made a myriad of bridging suggestions, both verbal and in writing, but they have refrained from presenting a general, conclusive document, similar to the draft peace agreement they offered at Sheperdstown during the peace talks between Syria and Israel.

The issue of Jerusalem was the focus of intensive talks yesterday, and members of the Palestinian delegation spent several hours on the telephone with Orient House and Faisal Husseini, who is in charge of the Jerusalem portfolio on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians inquired into Israel's activities in the territories and in Jerusalem, and requested information and maps of Jerusalem,
focusing on the Old City and the holy sites there.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ehud Barak summoned Reuven Merhav, a former director general of the Foreign Ministry. Merhav has been working on solutions for the Jerusalem issue at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies. A study published several days ago by the institute examines the possibility of establishing the Palestinian capital in the eastern part of the city.

Referring to the efforts the Israeli and Palestinian leaders are making, President Clinton said yesterday that any agreement at Camp David will anger half the population of each side. He was specifically referring to the issue of Jerusalem, on which both Barak and Arafat have made it clear that they are unwilling to compromise.

Israeli sources said that as of yesterday, the Palestinian chairman was sticking to his original tough stance, and was showing little willingness to compromise despite the talks last week.

Sources in the Israeli delegation predicted that if there is a breakthrough prior to Clinton's departure for Japan, the negotiating teams and the leaders will remain at Camp David in order to formulate an agreement. "If Arafat decides not to go through the door, the summit will end in a crisis," they added.

The Israeli sources said that Barak is sticking to his red lines: a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, the joining of settlement enclaves to Israel, and no legal or moral responsibility on Israel for the creation of the 1948 refugee problem. "These positions allow a broad range of maneuver for reaching an agreement, but Arafat's positions are uncompromising," the Israeli sources said.

Nonetheless, there has been some progress in the talks. According to reports from Palestinian delegates, there has been some agreement on the issue of borders, on which Israel has agreed to examine the possibility of exchanging territories. There has also been progress on the issue of the border with Jordan, on which the Palestinians have agreed to the establishment of an Israeli security zone.

Notwithstanding the difficulties and the pressure for an agreement, a senior American official said yesterday that the president had not changed his schedule. He emphasized that the meeting of the G-8 in Japan was important for the United States and that Clinton was very interested in attending.

In his first public comments on the summit since last week's opening sessions, Clinton told the New York Daily News that the ongoing negotiations were "the most difficult" he has witnessed, even compared to the talks over Ireland or those over the former Yugoslavia at Dayton.

Based on the president's comments on the negotiations, observers are issuing contrasting assessments on the possibility of finding a solution at Camp David.

The Palestinians expressed optimism and willingness to stay on at Camp David. "If the Americans decide to extend the talks, we will not reject that," said PLO representative in the United States Hassan Abd al-Rahman.

However, not all Palestinians are expressing optimism. Hanan Ashrawi and three other delegates of the PLO who travelled to Washington as part of an advisory delegation have decided to return. The group concluded that it would not be allowed to fulfill its role, because of the pressure exerted by the Americans, who refused to allow it to meet with Arafat. Similarly, the message from the territories is for Arafat and the Palestinian delegation not to make any compromises.

In response, Israeli sources said that the Palestinians are constantly laying the groundwork to blame Israel for a failure in the talks.

In preparation for a possible explosion in the territories, Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz has been in close contact with Barak. According to IDF assessments, a conflagration will occur in the territories whether Camp David succeeds or not, and the army is preparing to respond on short notice. One of the scenarios being considered is that if the summit fails completely, Arafat might unilaterally declare


[From Arutz-7 - Israeli Press Agency affiliated with Likud and settlers - 7/17:]
Meanwhile, the IDF claims to be "prepared" for Palestinian riots anticipated in Judea and Samaria should the summit fail.  Senior army commanders have assured Yesha leaders and residents over the past few days that the IDF is ready to squelch the expected wave of uprisings.

One issue of concern is the threat of mass Palestinian marches by unarmed Arab women and children on Jewish settlements - which the army now claims it has figured out how to "deal with."  Until now, leading IDF officers such as Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Sha'ul Mofaz have said that such marches and attempts to penetrate Jewish towns would be treated as any other "threat to Israeli lives."  However, the army has now formulated its plans for marchers who are still outside the settlements:  Among other measures, a special unarmed force will be dispatched to form a human chain to block
their progress.

Ha'aretz correspondent Amos Harel reports today that the forces will be specially-trained in the dispersion of demonstrations.  In place of infantry, policemen and female soldiers will be preferred. Nevertheless, the paper says, IDF snipers will be deployed behind the unarmed forces in the event that Palestinian gunmen placed behind the women and children open fire on the unarmed soldiers.  Harel also reports that the army will utilize new methods of breaking up violent crowds, including water and
dye-spraying tanks and giant nets dropped from the air.
Arutz-7's Kobi Sela reports that at least some Palestinian elements foresee a violent post-Camp David period ahead:  Jewish drugstores in Jerusalem, Ofrah, and Michmash were robbed this week of almost all their medicines, while the money in the cash registers was ignored.  Security has been beefed up around pharmacies, and instructions have been given to Yesha residents to be on the alert.  Many of the Yesha settlements are simply not ready for that which the army considers to be a not-unrealistic scenario: the storming of their towns by Arab civilians or soldiers.  Arutz-7's Effie Meir reports that measures that must be taken include: preparing the
residents, gathering weapons and first-aid supplies; walkie-talkie equipment in case phone lines and cellular relay antennas are destroyed; water and food supplies; determining regulations for opening fire; coordination between neighboring communities; fortifying guard positions; and more.

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