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30 November 2007

Annapolis Declaration & U.S., Israeli & Abbas Speeches Deeply Flawed

ZOA: Annapolis Declaration & U.S., Israeli & Abbas Speeches Deeply Flawed

Morton A. Klein - Nov 28, 2007
Zionist Organization of America

New York -- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has described the Annapolis Joint Understanding declaration and aspects of the speeches delivered by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as deeply flawed. The ZOA has also condemned key aspects of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas' address to the Annapolis meeting while praising President Bush's insistence in his speech that the Palestinian Arabs and the Arabs states explicitly accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state.

The Joint Understanding of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders read by President Bush to the meeting:

· "We express our determination to … mutual recognition; to propagate a culture of peace and nonviolence; to confront terrorism and incitement, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis": Mutual recognition was supposed to have occurred 14 years ago at Oslo. The fact that this call is repeated here, as it has been in every previous agreement, shows that it has never been given by the Palestinians and is therefore unlikely to ever be forthcoming. This passage also makes the preposterous suggestion that terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder is something that occurs on both the Israeli and the Palestinians sides. Yet it is only on the Palestinian side that clerics can be found condemning Jews as "the sons of monkeys and pigs" or as being akin to the AIDS virus; where video clips glorify suicide murder of Israelis; where the acting parliamentary speaker calls for the murder of Jews and Americans; where streets, schools and colleges are named in honor of suicide bombers; where armed terrorists operate openly in public and where wanted terrorists are shielded in the PA presidential compound. By agreeing to this passage, Israel is acting as if the Speaker of the Knesset had delivered a speech calling for murder of Arabs; or as if the Israeli Chief Rabbi or some other senior rabbinical figure had cited Jewish religious texts calling for the murder of all Muslims; or as if a major Israeli daily newspaper like Haaretz or Maariv contained articles arguing that the utter extermination of all Muslims would be a blessing for humanity; or as if a Jewish educational institution was named after a mass-murderer of Arabs; or as if Prime Minister Olmert shielded terrorists from in his Jerusalem residence. Moreover, Israel has committed virtually no terrorism against Arabs and has promoted sympathy for the Palestinians in official publications and textbooks. The inclusion, therefore, of this passage trivializes the very real issue of Palestinian terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder by suggesting that both sides have been guilty of it is one of the worst forms of moral equivalence we have ever seen.

· "In furtherance of the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, we agree to immediately launch good-faith bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues without exception, as specified in previous agreements" : By agreeing to this passage, the Israelis have permitted the legally and morally baseless Palestinian demand of a 'right of return' of Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants to Israel to be made an issue for negotiation. This discards the stance of successive Israeli governments that it is not responsible for the flight of Palestinians in 1948-49 caused by the Palestinians own decision to wage war on Israel. Moreover, the 'right of return' is incompatible with Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state, which was precisely the Palestinian intention behind the inclusion of such language in the joint declaration.

· " The parties also commit to immediately implement their respective obligations under the performance-based road map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, issued by the Quartet on 30 April 2003 -- this is called the road map -- and agree to form an American, Palestinian and Israeli mechanism, led by the United States, to follow up on the implementation of the road map. The parties further commit to continue the implementation of the ongoing obligations of the road map until they reach a peace treaty. The United States will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitment of both sides of the road map" [emphasis added]: For the first time in its history, an Israeli government has agreed to permit another government to act as arbiter and decide whether it or the Palestinians have met their obligations under signed agreements. This represents a major erosion of Israeli sovereignty and national security, especially in view of the fact that during the Oslo process, the U.S. systematically overlooked Palestinian violations of the Oslo agreements for fear of derailing the process. ( White House , November 27, 2007).

Bush speech:

· "The Palestinian people are blessed with many gifts and talents. They want the opportunity to use those gifts to better their own lives and build a better future for their children. They want the dignity that comes with sovereignty and independence." : This statement ignores the reality of a large amount of polling data and the content of the PA's media, mosque sermons, video clips and TV programs showing that a majority of Palestinians approve of terrorism against Israel, do not accept Israel's permanence as a Jewish as a Jewish state, even if a peace treaty were to be signed and demand the so-called 'right of return' which is incompatible with Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state.

· "Today, Palestinians and Israelis each understand that helping the other to realize their aspirations is key to realizing their own aspirations -- and both require an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state. Such a state will provide Palestinians with the chance to lead lives of freedom and purpose and dignity. Such a state will help provide the Israelis with something they have been seeking for generations: to live in peace with their neighbors" : This simply ignores the abundant evidence of continuing Palestinian extremism and thus the dangers a Palestinian state would pose to Israel. The creation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would place Jerusalem and Israel's other major population centers in rocket and rifle range of Palestinian terrorists whom the PA currently glorifies in its media and mosques and after whom they name streets and schools.

· "President Abbas seeks to fulfill his people's aspirations for statehood, dignity and security. President Abbas understands that a Palestinian state will not be born of terror, and that terrorism is the enemy standing in the way of a state. He and Prime Minister Fayyad have both declared, without hesitation, that they are opposed to terrorism and committed to peace. They're committed to turning these declarations into actions on the ground to combat terror": Abbas and the PA do not accept Israel's existence, as Abbas himself told a PA TV audience in October 2006; Abbas does not condemn terrorism as a crime, merely as something that harms Palestinian public relations; nor has he and the PA dismantle terrorist groups, jailed terrorists and confiscated their weaponry. To the contrary, Abbas specifically ruled out cracking down on terror groups, contrary to Oslo and the roadmap. Additionally, Fatah's Constitution to this day calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism against Israelis as an indispensable part of the struggle to achieve that goal (Article 19). In May 2006, Abbas named Mahmoud Damra, wanted by Israel for leading shooting and roadside bomb attacks against Israelis, including the killing of IDF soldiers near Neve Tzuf in 2000 and of an Israeli citizen near Tapuach, in Samaria, in 2001, as commander of Fatah's Force 17. Like Arafat before him, Abbas has sheltered wanted terrorists in the Muqata, his presidential compound in Ramallah, including Khaled Shawish, a senior Fatah commander responsible for the murder of 19 Israelis and the wounding of dozens more in numerous attacks, until Israeli forces captured him in May 2007. One of many polls

· " For these negotiations to succeed, the Palestinians must do their part. They must show the world they understand that while the borders of a Palestinian state are important, the nature of a Palestinian state is just as important. They must demonstrate that a Palestinian state will create opportunity for all its citizens, and govern justly, and dismantle the infrastructure of terror" : This statement accurately reflects the fact that, contrary to Bush's other assertions about Abbas and the PA being moderates, neither have fulfilled their signed commitment to end terror and incitement that they repeatedly made in Oslo I, Oslo II, Hebron and the Wye River agreements.

· "Arab states should also reach out to Israel, work toward the normalization of relations, and demonstrate in both word and deed that they believe that Israel and its people have a permanent home in the Middle East. These are vital steps toward the comprehensive peace that we all seek … the United States will keep its commitment to the security of Israel as a Jewish state and homeland for the Jewish people" : Bush correctly stated that Israel must be accepted permanently as a Jewish state, not merely an entity that is accepted provisionally until it can be subverted ( White House , November 27, 2007).

Olmert speech:

· "The continued shooting of Qassam rockets against tens of thousands of residents in the south of Israel, particularly in the city of Sderot, serves as a warning sign - one which cannot be overlooked. The absence of governmental institutes and effective law-enforcement mechanisms, the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the ongoing activity of murderous organizations throughout all the territories of the Palestinian Authority, the absence of a legal system which meets the basic criteria of a democratic government - all these are factors which deter us from moving forward too hastily" : Rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza have been persistent since the start of the Palestinian terrorist wave in 2000 and was not significantly different when Abba's Fatah had undisputed control of Gaza until Hamas took over earlier this year. Accordingly, Fatah provides no greater stability or insurance against violence than Hamas.

· "I wish to say, from the bottom of my heart, that I know and acknowledge the fact that alongside the constant suffering which many in Israel have experienced because of the history, the wars, the terror and the hatred towards us - a suffering which has always been part of our lives in our land - your people have also suffered for many years, and some still suffer. For dozens of years, many Palestinians have been living in camps, disconnected from the environment in which they grew, wallowing in poverty, neglect, alienation, bitterness, and a deep, unrelenting sense of deprivation. I know that this pain and deprivation is one of the deepest foundations which fomented the ethos of hatred towards us" : With this extraordinary statement, Olmert virtually blames Israeli defensive actions for causing Palestinian suffering, rather than the Palestinian aggression aimed at destroying Israel that gave rise to Israeli security measures in the first place. Palestinians have been for 14 years the highest per capita recipients of international aid in history. Instead of using it to build a prosperous society, funds have gone to terrorism, PA officials and corruption of all kinds. Israel and the world therefore bear no responsibility for the parlous state of the Palestinian economy. By saying otherwise, Olmert absolves Palestinians of responsibility for the consequences of their own actions.

· "I am familiar with the Arab peace initiative, which was born in Riyadh, affirmed in Beirut and recently reaffirmed by you in Riyadh. I value this initiative, acknowledge its importance and highly appreciate its contribution. I have no doubt that it will be referred to in the course of the negotiations between us and the Palestinian leadership": The Saudi plan is no peace initiative at all. It demands, in return for Arab recognition and "normalized relations," Israel's withdrawal to the pre-June 1967 armistice lines; the creation of a Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital; and the Israeli acceptance of the morally and legally baseless so-called 'right of return' by Palestinian Arab refugees of the 1948-49 war and their millions of descendants to Israel, thereby inundating Israel with hostile Arabs and ending its existence as a Jewish state. Under the terms of this plan, Israel would have to surrender not only eastern Jerusalem with its holiest Jewish sites, but also all of Judea and Samaria, where over 400,00 Israeli Jews live, including the strategically vital Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights. Moreover, the Saudi initiative insists on the 'right of return' and rejects any substitute for it, assuring "the rejection of all forms of Palestinian partition which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries," meaning the rejection of the settling of the refugees and descendants in neighboring Arab countries and the granting of citizenship to them. All previous Israeli governments have rejected the 'right of return' as unacceptable and incompatible with Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state ( Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 27).

Abbas speech:

· "This Arab and Islamic participation in today's meeting is also an affirmation that the Arab peace initiative was not a step without well-defined targets, but indeed it was a bold strategic plan that aims changing the nature of relations in the region and to usher in a new era there. But to achieve that does not depend on the Arab and Islamic position by itself, but requires meeting this position by a reciprocal strategic willingness that would basically lead to ending the occupation of all Palestinian occupied territories in 1967, including East Jerusalem, as well as the Syrian Golan and what remains of occupied from Lebanese territories, and to resolve all other issues relating to the conflict, especially the Palestinian refugees question in all its political, humanitarian, individual and common aspects, consistent with Resolution 194, as emphasized by the Arab peace initiative and the participation of sister states that host refugees and carry huge burdens in this regard" : The Arab peace initiative, as demonstrated earlier, is no peace plan at all, nor do Abbas' demands for total Israeli withdrawal find support in United Nations security council Resolution 242, which governs the basis of any peace settlement. UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (1948) is non-binding, speaks only of a return of refugees within the context of the Arab world making peace with Israel and was in consequence rejected by all Arab parties at the time.

· "We do recognize, and I presume that you share with me this view, that the absence of hope and overwhelming despair would feed extremism" : Palestinian poverty and desperation is produced by Palestinian insistence on maintaining war against Israel, not by Israel and terrorism and violence which it produces is caused by radical Islamist and pan-Arab ideology, neither of which can accept the existence of an independent Jewish state. Moreover, studies at Harvard and Princeton show that most terrorism, including by Palestinian suicide bombers is committed by people with above-average education and from middle-class backgrounds, not one of deprivation and poverty.

· "We have to support this negotiating process in concrete and direct steps on the ground that would prove that we are moving in an irreversible path toward negotiated, comprehensive and full peace, and ending all settlement activities, including natural growth, and reopening closed Jerusalem institutions, removal of settlement outposts, removal of road blocks, and freedom of prisoners, and to facilitate our mission in the authority to enforce law and the rule of law. Here, I must defend in all sincerity and candor, and without wavering, the right of our people to see a new dawn, without occupation, without settlement, without separation walls, without prisons where thousands of prisoners are detained, without assassinations, without siege, without barriers around villages and (inaudible).I look forward, Mr. President, to see that our prisoners have been set free and returned to exercise their role in supporting peace and to stand by us in our mission to build our statehood and our homeland. It is my duty to say that, to have peace, we need the fate of the city of Jerusalem to be a critical component in any peace accord that we might reach." If Abbas was a genuine peace-maker, he would not be calling for the release of jailed Palestinian terrorists who murder and maim Israelis, nor would he welcome them back into the PA. A genuine Palestinian peace-maker would be able to accept Jews living in a Palestinian state, just as large numbers of Arabs live within the Jewish state as citizens. A genuine peace maker would deal with the terrorism that causes Israeli security measures, not demand their removal as of right.

· "We need East Jerusalem to be our capital and to establish open relations with Western Jerusalem, and to ensure for all the faithful from all religions their right to exercise their rituals and to access holy shrines without any discrimination and on the basis of international and humanitarian goals": Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab state, not even Jordan when Jordan controlled the eastern half of the city. Freedom of religious expression in Jerusalem and indeed in the Middle East has only occurred under Israeli rule, not under Arab rule. PA officials have also foreshadowed that they would prohibit Jewish worship at the Western Wall were it ever handed over to their control.

· "The whole world today now is stretching its hand toward us in order to help us put an end to our tragedy, to our holocaust that has been running for too long, and to lift the historical injustice that our people suffer": By referring to Palestinian travails as a 'holocaust,' Abbas grossly offends the memory of 6 million Jew deliberately murdered by the Nazis, which occurred with the active collaboration of the Palestinian leadership at the time. By use of this term, Abbas implicitly called Israelis Nazis – and this at a supposed peace conference. (Associated Press, November 27, 2007).

· Abbas' speech said nothing about condemning terrorism as a moral crime and obscenity; promised to do nothing to combat terrorism and end the incitement to hatred and murder that feeds it; did not undertake to rename the streets, schools and sports teams named in honor of suicide bombers – in short, did not undertake anything to indicate that he was truly serious about making peace with Israel as a Jewish state.

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