none.gif (43 bytes)mer_header02.gif (882 bytes)
September 2000 - Return to Monthly Index          MiddleEast.Org 9/28/00
News, Information, & Analysis That Governments, Interest Groups, and the Corporate Media Don't Want You To Know! 
      If YOU Don't Get MER, YOU Just Don't Get It! 
 To receive MER regularly email to INFOMER@MiddleEast.Org

Sharon on the "Mount", Barak on "Al Quds"


MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 28 Sept 2000:
    Israel's PM, Ehud Barak, is more desperate than ever.  He sees power slipping from his grasp and the whole strategy the Israelis have purused to create a Palestinian State on their terms -- more autonomy than sovereignty but packaged brightly.  Arafat is not in much better shape.  He too is desperate, not so much to "declare" a State which he's been doing for some time, but to get the many billons he's been promised that will let he and friends keep power in thier hands.  And Clinton is extra busy recasting his role in the history books and electing Al and Hillary to succeed him.
    Barak invited Arafat to his home earlier this week, and Clinton gave them a call while they were planning their next steps.  Barak's interview with the Jerusalem Post (see the article below) was the result.  They are all looking desperately for a way to entice Arafat to sign an "end of conflict" agreement.  The words are being changed to make this possible.  The realities on the ground and when it comes to real control aren't going to change very much.  Yossi Beilin, one of Barak's top allies in all this, has said so much -- just check prior articles we have published about Beilin and the role he plays.
    Meanwhile, fellow General Ariel Sharon, has his own agenda.  Barak has approached him to maybe join a "national unity government" and become Foreign Minister again; but Sharon has his own agenda.  For decades he has maintained an apartment on the main street in the Muslim quarter of the Old City -- with a huge Jewish flag and Menorah visible for all to see from the roof.  The timing for Sharon's "demonstration" of Israeli sovereignty today is not very likely to have been accidental.


TEL AVIV, Israel, Sep. 28 (UPI) - Twenty-five Israel policemen and five
Palestinians were injured Thursday morning when Likud opposition leader
Ariel Sharon and members of his party's parliamentary faction toured the
Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Police and the Wakf (Islamic trust) reported.

 The Temple Mount, site of the first and second Jewish temples, is the
holiest site to Judaism. The Moslems call it Haram e-Sharif and consider it
their third holiest site because the Prophet Mohammad ascended to visit
heaven from there.

 Sharon arrived early Thursday after policemen fanned out in the Old City
to prevent riots and was met by Palestinian youngsters who shouted Allahu
Akbar (God is Great) and cursed him. He headed for Solomon's stables, where
the Moslems had built a mosque arousing Jewish concern that they dug under
the mount and cast away precious historical artifacts.

 By then hundreds of Palestinians gathered around visitors trying to forge
ahead but policemen pushed them back.

 Sharon stayed at the site for a few minutes then left the Temple Mount as
Palestinians shouted at him "Murderer go away."

 Police said clashes erupted between police and protestors who threw
objects and stones at the officers. A Jerusalem police spokesman said
officers retaliated with rubber bullets. Jerusalem Police Commander Maj.
Gen. Ya'ir Yitzhaki talked to Israeli Arab legislator Ahmad Tibi and the
stoning stopped.

 A Jerusalem police spokesman said 25 policemen were injured. Most of them
were treated on the spot but one was taken to a hospital.

 The Director of the Islamic Wakf in Jerusalem, Adnan Husseni, said five
Palestinians were injured by police beatings but bullets hurt none.

 The visit was "very provocative," Husseni said.

 Israel and the Palestinians are at loggerheads over sovereignty on the
Mount, and the dispute has helped stall progress in negotiations between
Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

 The Palestinians are particularly furious at Sharon who was Defense
Minister during the 1982 Lebanon War. After Israel occupied West Beirut
Lebanese Phalange entered the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps there and
murdered hundreds of Palestinian refugees. An Israeli commission of Inquiry
forced Sharon out of office because of his responsibility for that area.


                          BARAK TO 'POST':

                   By Herb Keinon and Jeff Barak

JERUSALEM POST (September 28) - If a peace agreement is signed with the Palestinians, it will include Jerusalem and Al-Quds as two capitals, Prime Minister Ehud Barak said for the first time yesterday in a Rosh Hashana interview with The Jerusalem Post, to be published in full tomorrow.

One government official said this is the first time Barak has spoken publicly of Jerusalem and Al-Quds as separate entities, and of Al-Quds as capital of a future Palestinian entity.

"I do not know if there will be an agreement," Barak said. "But if there is an agreement it will include an end to the conflict, permanent borders for Israel recognized by the world, 80 percent of the settlers in Judea and Samaria under Israeli sovereignty in settlement blocks, security arrangements, principally along the eastern
border, and Jerusalem bigger than ever since King David - with a solid Jewish majority for generations, united under our sovereignty, and recognized by the world as the capital of Israel."

Barak continued: "Now I don't want to enter details. There will also be a Palestinian capital that will be called Al-Quds. It will also include what we agree upon, but the final result will be Jerusalem that will include Givat Ze'ev, Ma'aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion - big in territory, including all, almost all, the Jewish neighborhoods, and
as a result it will make Israel stronger."

Pressed on the Al-Quds suggestion, Barak said: "It will be Jerusalem and Al-Quds, one next to the other, as two capitals. But with Jerusalem with dozens of embassies from all over the world, and Jerusalem under the guidelines that we established. It was no coincidence that I said that no Jewish prime minister will sign on a paper, document, or agreement that transfers the sovereignty of the Temple Mount to the Palestinians or to an Islamic body."

Asked whether he would agree to transfer the Temple Mount to an international body like the UN, or a combination of the UN and some specific Moslem countries, Barak said he did not want to discuss the issue at this point.

Barak's comments on Jerusalem bear a striking resemblance to what appeared in the Beilin-Abu-Mazen document from 1995. That recently published document read: "Within the 'City of Jerusalem' both parties recognize the Western part of the city to be Yerushalayim, and the Arab Eastern part of the city, under Palestinian sovereignty, to be 'Al-Quds.'"

According to that document, Al-Quds will become the capital of "the independent state of Palestine."

After making his remarks on Al-Quds, Barak reiterated that "I am not sure that there will be an agreement, because I am not sure there is a partner ready for historic decisions." Barak also spelled out for the first time his conception of a partial agreement with the Palestinians, which would include all issues except Jerusalem.

This is expected to be one of the topics of discussion during the current round of talks Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are conducting with the Americans in Washington. Those talks entered their second day yesterday, with both teams meeting separately with US Special envoy Dennis Ross.

"I don't think [a partial agreement] is inconceivable, and it even was raised at Camp David, more than once," Barak said.

The idea, he explained, would be to reach agreement on everything but Jerusalem or the Temple Mount.

Those issues would be set aside and dealt with "under a time frame and mutually-agreed procedure."

For instance, he said, Jerusalem may be set aside for another two years, or the Temple Mount for another 10 years, during which time the status quo will remain in place, and there will be ongoing negotiations to resolve the issue, with the participation of the US.

Lamia Lahoud adds:

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are expected to return tonight from their meetings in Washington.

The Americans will not present their proposals for an agreement until after the negotiators have briefed their leaders, a Palestinian source close to the negotiations said.

One idea the Americans are trying to solve is the dispute over who will have sovereignty over the Temple Mount. The Americans might suggest placing the site temporarily under the supervision of the UN Security Council and the three permanent members of the Jerusalem committee - Morocco, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia - a Palestinian source said.

The Palestinians have not yet accepted the idea. One source said they are suggesting placing the Temple Mount under Palestinian sovereignty and the Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty, and finding a special arrangement for what is underneath the Mount.

Israel has, in the past, suggested giving sovereignty aboveground to the Palestinian Authority, while keeping sovereignty under the ground for Israel.

Palestinian officials are now calling to solve other issues first, and leave Jerusalem until the end.

Copyright © Mid-East Realities & The Committee On The Middle East.
All rights reserved.  POBox 18367 - Washington, DC 20036.   Email:   MER@MiddleEast.Org
Phone (202) 362-5266        Fax (202) 362-6965      Web:   http://www.MiddleEast.Org