June 29, 2007
Tony Blair and the Preconditions for Peace in the Middle EastBy David Singer
Tony Blair couldn't even wait for the announcement of his appointment as special envoy for the Quartet - America, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations - to repeat this famous mantra in the House of Commons:
Is he really serious -"the only way"? No other options at all? What a doomsday prognosis.
After 14 years of trying and failing dismally to create a State between Israel and Jordan it seems that the same flawed policy objective is going to be around at least until Mr Blair is replaced by some other eminent person of the status of a former US President, British Prime Minister or head of the World Bank.
George Bush or Condoleezza Rice will probably relish such a job in two years time.
If Mr Blair is serious in his pronouncement and believes the "two -state solution" is the only way, then there first has to be an immediate change of mindset by the Palestinians before he starts any new negotiations to achieve that goal.
This involves Mahmoud Abbas - the head of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority - calling a meeting of the Palestinian National Council to amend or repeal the following offensive and belligerent provisions of the PLO Charter - which totally contradict the "two- state solution" to which the Quartet is so inextricably tied and make a mockery of any "peace process" to be undertaken by Mr Blair:
This must be amended to state it is also the homeland of the Jewish people.
British Mandatory Palestine comprised Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. This clause must be repealed if the "two state solution" is to have any meaning.
If this is allowed to stand, the Quartet and Blair may as well go and fly kites now.
At least it doesn't say "terror attacks" but it still needs to be repealed. How does this type of officially sanctioned conduct gel with the peace process ?
This is totally incompatible with the "two state solution" and must be repealed now.
Can Tony Blair hope to have any success with such rejectionism staring him in his face?
Total disregard for international law and the rule of law including Security Council Resolution 242 have no place in negotiations being conducted by the Quartet. If Mr Blair wants his authority to be respected and treated seriously, this clause must go.
Offensive - not only for Jews - but for Christians as well. These ideas need to be erased.
Letting this stand makes the two state solution impossible to attain.
Displays a racist and anti-Semitic state of mind and attitude totally inimical to any peaceful resolution and must be expunged entirely.
It takes a majority of two-thirds of the total membership of the Palestinian National Council at a special session convened for that purpose to amend the above articles.
In 2003 the Council had 669 members, 88 from the Palestinian Legislative Council, 98 representing the Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza and 483 representing the Palestinian Diaspora
Such numbers now would represent a fair and representative cross section of the movers and shakers in Palestinian public opinion. Action taken by them to amend or repeal these offensive articles would send a powerful message to the constituency that the days of hating Jews, armed struggle, resistance and terror are over.
This meeting can be called in 60 days to see if the Council members are really serious in wanting to end the conflict by taking such ground breaking and historic decisions.
There would be those who would ignore the change of direction and continue to engage in terror. They would have to be dealt with as ruthlessly and effectively as possible.
Oslo and everything that has followed has had no chance of success because this quantum leap in thinking was not demanded before any negotiations took place.
The charade that Mr Blair can play peace games whilst the body politic can play war games and engage in pathological hatred of your "partner for peace" must end.
If Mr Blair doesn't press for this meeting of the Palestinian National Council, then his mission will - like so many of those before him - have only one positive outcome - lots of frequent flyer points, heaps of photo opportunities, and a few extra kilos in weight put on at lavish banquets held in his honour.
No repeal, no amendments to the PLO Charter - no negotiations, no State. It really is as simple as that.
David Singer is an Australian Lawyer and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organization calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine