July 18, 2007
Quartet Quartered, Road Map Thwarted, Palestine AbortedBy David Singer
The Quartet's Road Map has failed according to the ten foreign ministers of the European Union's Mediterranean States - Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain, France, Greece, Italy , Malta, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia - ("the Mediterranean Ten").
In an open letter to the Quartet's new negotiating supremo Tony Blair, they state unequivocally and without any diplomatic nuances :
This unusually frank admission heralds the end of the European Union's involvement with America, Russia and the United Nations in the Road Map jointly sponsored by the four of them in 2003.
Four years of intense international diplomacy in the Middle East by the world's most powerful negotiating team ever assembled to achieve what the Mediterranean Ten call "an idea" - the creation of a new Arab state between Israel and Jordan in 6% of historic Palestine - has finally been recognised as a total waste of time and effort.
This idea has never really progressed beyond an idea since its conception 70 years ago - due to continuing Arab intransigence at every point of time that it has been proposed.
But undaunted by this spectacular failure, the Mediterranean Ten have not yet given up on making this idea a reality.
They now hope to get there by laying down four "revised objectives" in a new European Union Road Map that are totally impossible to achieve - and which guarantee that this latest version will also be shredded into the waste paper basket like its many predecessors.
These four revised objectives include:
1. Negotiations without prerequisites on the final status, embracing such issues as refugees and borders.
What is there to negotiate about?
On refugees, - the Palestinian Authority will not and cannot agree to compromise its demand that millions of Arabs be allowed to go and live in Israel. It would be dead in the water if it did.
On borders - the Palestinian Authority wants every square meter of the West Bank and Gaza - having rejected an offer of 92% in 2000. Do the Mediterranean Ten really believe the Authority would be prepared to accept less than 100 % after years of international arm twisting has failed to get it to moderate its demand?
2. Consider sending in a "robust international force"
Even the Mediterranean Ten acknowledge the risks are high and that this objective is predicated on the condition that "it must operate alongside a peace plan without taking its place..."
How can a peace plan ever emerge if the first objective hits a brick wall?
3. Get Israel to help Mahmoud Abbas by releasing the thousands of prisoners without blood on their hands, and by freezing Israel's settlement policy.
The Mediterranean Ten are surely on the road to dreamland - displaying naiveté and stupidity that should forever disqualify them from holding their positions as Foreign Ministers for their respective countries.
Are they unaware of the damage, carnage and havoc that can be wreaked by just one of these convicted terrorists successfully making it through Israel's tight defences next time? Are they blind to what has happened in America, Iraq, Afghanistan, Spain, Bali, England and Scotland?
And the Mediterranean Ten still seek to maintain the Quartet's racist and discriminatory policy to halt Jews populating and copulating in the West Bank. What international outcry would there be if the Mediterranean Ten suggested Arab residents similarly refrain?
4. Don't push Hamas to up the stakes - reopen the border between Gaza and Israel.
In other words - reward terrorism and rejectionism, open the gates to enemies who are sworn to wipe you off the earth and are not prepared to change their mindset.
Incredibly the Mediterranean Ten believe these four objectives are within their grasp. Their arrogance and dictatorial attitude display a total lack of understanding of what the conflict is really about.
Seven of these ten Mediterranean countries were members of the League of Nations which in 1922 unanimously endorsed the creation of the territory of Palestine with defined borders for the first time in history - and voted in favour of the Jews being granted the right to reconstitute their national home there.
They were also parties in agreeing to postpone or withhold the right of the Jews to live in 77% of Palestine just less than two months later to appease Arab demands - which ultimately led to an independent Palestinian Arab State being created in that area in 1946 that is today called Jordan.
Are their Foreign Offices ignorant of their countries' acquiescence in this process?
Do they seriously believe the idea of a State between Israel and Jordan is ever likely to happen after 70 years of trying have resulted in abject failure every time?
The Mediterranean Ten need to understand that the real key to resolving this conflict is two states - not three states - in former Palestine - one for the Arabs, one for the Jews.
This can be achieved by redrawing the boundary between Israel and Jordan so as to divide sovereignty in the West Bank between them.
This will give the Jews about 20% of historic Palestine and the Arabs about 80% of historic Palestine.
This solution will not require any negotiations on the four objectives proposed by the Mediterranean Ten.
This is an idea that can quickly become an achievable reality. Anything else is surely certain to fail.
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