They've co-opted the very term 'peace process'; and now they want to do something similar with their contortions about a 'Palestinian State'...something both unreal and grossly deformed by their very policies.
U.S., Israel Readying Call for Palestinian Statehood
By NOGA TARNOPOLSKY
The FORWARD - January 2003]:
JERUSALEM - Israel and the United States are preparing a new joint peace
initiative for possible release following Israel's January 28 general
election, the Forward has learned.
The initiative, details of which are still being ironed out in high-level,
behind-the-scenes talks, would reportedly include a joint American-Israeli
call for the establishment of a "demilitarized Palestinian state with
temporary borders," according to several sources familiar with the talks. A
unilateral Israeli announcement of the establishment of such a Palestinian
state is being considered. The new state reportedly would be led by an
appointed prime minister, with Yasser Arafat barred from playing any role.
Senior officials have confirmed that such plans are under discussion.
Several sources cautioned against expectations of an early breakthrough,
however, insisting that such plans would not be activated until after the
Iraq crisis has been resolved.
Any explicit declaration relating to the establishment of Palestinian
statehood, one senior government source told the Forward, would be part of a
"second phase," following Palestinian economic and political reform and the
cessation of terrorism.
Nonetheless, the American-Israeli plan appears to be in a fairly advanced
stage of development. According to Israeli sources, a team has been formed
at a New York public relations agency, Howard Rubenstein & Associates, to
develop scenarios for the plan's public presentation. Options said to be
under study include a possible address by Prime Minister Sharon before a
joint session of Congress.
Drafters are also said to be examining past examples of "provisional
statehoods," including the onetime South African protectorate of Namibia,
which went through a provisional stage before achieving full independence.
Israel's consul for media and public affairs in New York, Ido Aharoni,
confirmed the Rubenstein involvement, but said it is unrelated to any
request from the Prime Minister's Office. "There have been no direct
instructions from Jerusalem on this issue," he said. "However, since
[Palestinian statehood] is part of the public discourse in Israel, it has
certainly been discussed, among other things, with Rubenstein, in order to
better prepare us from a PR point of view."
Broad hints that a concrete plan is underway have been dropped on several
occasions in recent days by ranking Israeli and American officials,
including at least two public statements by Sharon. In a Newsweek interview
last week, Sharon attempted to downplay the diplomatic efforts of the
so-called Madrid Quartet - the United States, European Union, United Nations
and Russia - by declaring: "Oh, the Quartet is nothing! Don't take it
seriously! There is [another] plan that will work."
Outlining the alternate plan, Sharon said it would entail the removal of
Arafat from his "influential position" and the appointment of a Palestinian
Sharon's dismissive comments about the Quartet ruffled diplomatic feathers
in Europe and Washington, touching off hurried exchanges of statements.
Secretary of State Colin Powell reaffirmed America's commitment to the
Quartet's efforts, including its so-called "road map" for ending the
intifada, a plan loosely based on President Bush's June 24 Middle East
speech. In reply, Sharon reaffirmed through aides that "within the forum
known as the Quartet," Washington and Jerusalem "see eye to eye."
Another public affirmation of American commitment to Palestinian statehood
was made by the usually hawkish deputy defense secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, in
a Washington Post interview. Wolfowitz told the Post's David Ignatius that
in a post-Iraq war scenario, "our stake in pushing for a Palestinian state
Ranking American and Israeli sources emphasized, however, that the flurry of
public statements was in large measure a "smokescreen" meant to calm frayed
nerves in Europe and the Arab world while the "significant discussions" were
going on largely unnoticed.
Sources pointed to a January 15 speech by Sharon to the Science Club of the
Israeli Friends of the Weizmann Institute of Science as a revealing guide to
prime minister's view of current talks.
Israel, Sharon said, has "arrived at an agreed-upon plan with the United
States, and once we deviate from it, the United States will also deviate
from it, despite the great efforts invested in a long and difficult
negotiation process. My seven visits to Washington during the last 18 months
have not been easy, and they have certainly not been in vain."
Sharon said the "underlying principle of this plan - which is acceptable to
Israel - is progress in phases, with the first phase being a complete
cessation of Palestinian terrorism. The transition from one phase to a more
advanced one is not defined according to a pre-determined timetable, but on
the basis of performance. Each transition to the next phase is conditional
on complete fulfillment of the commitments in the phase preceding it. Israel
should obviously not be expected to make political concessions prior to a
proven state of calm and Palestinian governmental reforms. The reform
process is necessary in order to remove Arafat from the reins of power and
decision-making and to establish a more proper government, which will lead
the security, economic and democratic reforms."
While the Forward's sources did not provide details about the secret talks,
they emphasized that discussions have reached the level of minutiae and deal
with various scenarios, including one in which war with Iraq is avoided.
A Likud source familiar with the talks said that while Sharon may initially
be obliged to establish a narrow, right-wing coalition unlikely to approve
of such a plan, the ultimate goal remains to form a more amenable national
unity government "after the Labor party finishes its post-electoral purges."
[attribution to: www.mideastweb.org/mewnews1.htm ]