Israël nog steeds een eenzame roepende in de woestijn om vrede in het Midden-Oosten
Laatst bijgewerkt: zaterdag, 15 februari 2014 om 13u22'
De Palestijnse Autoriteit heeft de Amerikaanse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken John Kerry meegedeeld dat het zijn vredesvoorstel voor een raamakkoord niet zal accepteren in zijn huidige vorm, vertelden PA ambtenaren aan The Times of Israel. De ambtenaren beweerden dat het huidige voorstel van de regering-Obama, dat bedoeld is om te dienen als basis voor verdere besprekingen over een tweestatenoplossing, vrijwel alles bevat wat Israël eiste – bijna tot in het detail – maar niet ingaat op de vitale behoeften aan Palestijnse zijde.
John Kerry, de Tante Sidonie van Amerikaanse disproportionele bemoeizucht, bijt andermaal in het Palestijnse stof
Israëlische functionarissen hebben talrijke eigen bezwaren geuit op de gerapporteerde voorwaarden, met de Israëlische minister van Defensie Moshe Ya’alon die werd geciteerd omtrent een beschrijving van het veiligheidsaspect in het document, dat bijvoorbeeld “niet meer waard is dan het papier waarop het gedrukt staat.”
De Palestijnse functionarissen detailleerden tegenover The Times of Israel wat volgens hen de belangrijkste bezwaren waren tegen het voorstel van raamakkoord. Zoals bekend werden de vredesbesprekingen hervat in juli vorig jaar en lopen af in april, tenzij Kerry de twee partijen kan overtuigen om de onderhandelingen verder te zetten.
Israëlische functionarissen hebben aangegeven dat premier Benjamin Netanjahoe geneigd is om de gakadreerde voorwaarden te accepteren, op voorwaarde dat zij niet bindend zijn en dat hij bezwaren kan inbrengen tegen hen, hoewel dit nog niet werd bevestigd. Premier Netanjahoe zal naar verluidt op 3 maart 2014 president Barack Obama ontmoeten in Washington.
Kernpunten van het ontwerp van raamakkoord zoals dat werd voorgesteld door John Kerry en afgewezen werd door de Palestijnse Autoriteit, bevatten volgens de Palestijnse officiële onderhandelaars de volgende obstakels:
Grenzen: Het vredesakkoord zal gebaseerd zijn op de pre-1967 lijnen, maar zullen rekening houden met veranderingen aan de grond van de afgelopen decennia sindsdien.
Nederzettingen: Er zal geen massieve evacuatie komen van “inwoners.”
Vluchtelingen: Palestijnse vluchtelingen zullen toegestaan worden om terug te keren naar Palestina of mogen blijven waar ze momenteel leven. Bovendien is het mogelijk dat een beprekt aantal van de vluchtelingen mogen terugkeren naar Israël binnen de pre-1967 lijnen als een gebaar van goede wil en alleen met Israëlische medeweten. Nergens staat geschreven dat Israël de verantwoordelijkheid draagt voor het leed van die vluchtelingen.
Hoofdstad: De Palestijnse hoofdstad zal in Jeruzalem zijn.
Veiligheid: Israël heeft het recht om zich te verdedigen door zichzelf.
De Vallei van de Jordaan: Het IDF zal een aanwezigheid behouden in de Vallei van de Jordaan. De duur dat het IDF zal blijven zal afhankelijk zijn van de mogelijkheden van de Palestijnse veiligheidsmacht.
Grensovergangen: Israël zal blijven doorgaan met de grensovergangen naar Jordanië te controleren.
Definitie van de landen: Twee staten zullen resulteren in “een nationale staat van het Joodse volk en een nationale staat voor het Palestijnse volk.”
Lees hieronder (in het Engels) meer in detail over het hoe en waarom de Palestijnen dit voorontwerp van Kerry’s raamakkoord verwerpen:
Senior Palestinian sources told The Times of Israel that many of the above clauses are unacceptable to the PA for several reasons. For a start, the references to the borders and settlements leave too much room for Israeli interpretation. “What does ‘There will be no widespread evacuation of residents’ mean?” asked one official. “This means that Israel will want to keep a bigger percentage of the West Bank and this point is not acceptable to us. What does ‘Taking into consideration changes on the ground since then’ mean? I mean, Israel continues to build settlements.”
The official continued: “The same with the refugee issue; there is no recognition of Palestinian suffering. We want an expression of regret, an Israeli admission of the suffering caused to us. Where did it disappear to? And the humanitarian gesture [for a limited entry of Palestinian refugees into Israel] that depends on Israel’s consent doesn’t leave much to the imagination,” the official said, indicating that Israel would not likely be generous on this issue.
The official added that a still more problematic issue for the PA is Jerusalem. “When the Palestinian capital is defined as ‘in Jerusalem,’ what does it mean? In Shuafat? In Issawiya? We demanded that the Palestinian capital would be al-Quds a-Sharqiya (East Jerusalem). But Netanyahu refused firmly, and the US administration accepted his position.
“What about security and the Jordan Valley? What does it mean that Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself? We will not agree to the entry of Israeli troops into the PA territory. And as for the ongoing presence of the army in the Jordan Valley, it’s ridiculous to set the timeline [for the IDF’s exit] according to ‘the abilities of the PA security forces.’ Who will determine that ability? And who will say, ‘That’s it, the PA is ready to assume responsibility for the Valley’?”
(For its part, Israel would likely have significant objections to the Kerry framework terms if they are drafted as claimed by the Palestinians. Israel has indicated that the relatively minor alterations to the pre-1967 lines envisaged by the PA are inadequate, and that there will have to be larger land swaps to accommodate most of the settlers. Netanyahu further wants any Jews whose settlements are on the Palestinian side of an agreed border to be given the option of staying on under Palestinian rule, an official in his office told The Times of Israel last month — a stance rejected by Abbas. Israel is adamantly opposed to any “return” for any Palestinian refugees to today’s Israel. Netanyahu has reportedly insisted that there be no suggestion of legitimate Palestinian claims to Jerusalem in the framework document. And he has insisted that the IDF secure the West Bank-Jordan border even after Palestinian statehood.)
On Tuesday, when Nabil Abu Rudeineh, PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s official spokesman, referred to Kerry’s framework agreement, he surprised observers by saying that if both sides get to raise objections to its content, as Kerry has said they will be permitted to, it would empty the agreement of all its content.
Rudeineh’s statement was hard to fathom, given the significant reservations the Palestinians have with the current version. Almost all senior Palestinian officials with whom The Times of Israel has spoken in recent days made clear that the PA does not have the legitimacy, in the eyes of the public, to accept the Kerry proposals. “We said ‘No’ to him in the past, and we will say it again in the future,” a senior PA administrator said. According to this official, accepting the current version of the framework accord is unthinkable for the PA. The official did not hide his anger toward the US administration, and of course, toward Israel.
“We have reached many achievements in recent years. We have attained stability and quiet [in the West Bank],” he said this week in Ramallah. “But you [the Israelis] are now allowing the situation deteriorate. Your security echelon understands the problems and the difficulties. But the political leadership does not care at all. Everyone is acting on the basis of his or her own political interests. [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman is winking at the center; Netanyahu is afraid of the right; the Jewish Home party is hardening its position; and [Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi] Livni is too weak. So you ask me if there is a partner for peace? The answer is ‘No.’”
Asked how events would play out if the PA rejects the framework proposal when Kerry presents it, the official said, “All options are open to us, whether contacting international institutions [to seek to advance Palestinian statehood unilaterally] or in other ways. But, he warned, “I have no doubt that the situation on the ground will get worse. For both sides. The stability we have grown used to will start to crack.”
There are a number of reasons for this, he went on, and listed a litany of grievances. ”One, the steps of the Israeli occupation and the settlers. The arrest, land confiscations, house demolitions, and of course violence against settlers. Two, the high youth unemployment rate. There are no economic opportunities for young Palestinians and one of the central reasons for this is lack of land for development. Area C — 60% of the West Bank — is under full Israeli control, and we are not allowed to build there or invest in various projects. Three, the stopping of international aid programs. I include here UNRWA budget cuts. This leads to a sharp increase in poverty and unemployment, specifically in the poorest places like the refugee camps.
“Four,” he continued, “Hamas and the extremist factions don’t want the situation to stabilize, and are doing a lot in order to undermine it. I’m talking about dozens of cells that have been detained in the past year by Palestinian security forces, which planned attacks against Israelis and against the PA. They are also initiating demonstrations and popular protests, and are using the settlers’ crimes in order to attack the PA. Five, Jerusalem and al-Aqsa. Your actions there, such as the visits of right-wing politicians to the mount, hurt the feelings of every Arab and Palestinian.” The PA is also having trouble digesting the Israeli insistence on the Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, he noted.
“We have no intention of dragging this conflict in a religious direction. Every sensible person in the Middle East is trying to keep religion away from the various conflicts, except for you. What’s in it for you? The conflict between us is not religious. So why do you need our recognition that your state is Jewish? In your ID cards, your nationality is listed as ‘Israeli’ and not as ‘Jewish.’ You never asked such a thing of Egypt or Jordan. What is your concern? We are telling you outright: the peace agreement will bring about the end of the conflict and the end of all claims. So what is all this nonsense you are saying that this proves we won’t accept the state of Israel? The whole world recognizes you. These are not the days of the founding, when the world didn’t accept you. But you’re still stuck in that mindset.”
Netanyahu has called Palestinian recognition of Israel as the “Jewish state” his “first and most unshakable demand.” “Recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people means completely abandoning the ‘right of return’ and ending any other national demands over the land and sovereignty of the State of Israel,” he said last October. “This is a crucial component for a genuine reconciliation and stable and durable peace.”
‘Israel is in touch with Hamas and Dahlan’
The disaffection with Israel, as expressed by the Palestinian Authority leadership, is not confined to the dispute over the framework document and the terms of a final-status agreement. Abbas’s associates have a growing sense that the Israeli government is working behind the Palestinian scenes to corner him politically and force him to compromise. They claim to have proof of a direct link between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, as well as with out-of-favor former Abbas confidant Mohammad Dahlan, despite Israeli officials’ denials.
According to Abbas’s affiliates, secretive talks between Hamas and Israel are being mediated by Qatar, and not Egypt, which views Hamas as a serious threat to regional stability. “We see what Israel is trying to do here — to undermine our internal affairs and to force Abbas to compromise,” said a PA official. “But this leads us to harden our positions rather than show any will to concede. You need to understand, the overthrow Hamas carried out in Gaza will not repeat itself in the West Bank. Instead of strengthening moderates, Israel is trying to weaken us. The entire region currently suffers from a rise of extremism and terror activities. You must cooperate with us in order to achieve peace, not fight with us.”
It may be that the warnings about a likely deteriorating security situation, and even the pledge to say no to the Americans, some Palestinians analysts said this week, are empty threats by the PA. These analysts estimate that Abbas would prefer not to get into a direct confrontation with the US administration, and that, therefore, he is more likely to give Kerry a “Yes, but,” rather than an outright “No.”
Yet the sensitivity of Abbas’s political situation, and the deteriorating reality on the ground, cannot be ignored. Criticism of the PA’s governance is widely heard in the Palestinian street. More and more allegations of corruption are emerging, after years in which it seemed that the level of such abuse was receding. Law and order in the West Bank is also said to be weakening. Residents of Ramallah-area refugee camps like Jalazun and Qalandiya, and those near Nablus and Jenin, increasingly speak of armed men moving around at night, worsening violence, and even a rise in drug use. PA policemen are involved in selling weapons in some cases, PA officials have acknowledged.
Some of the reasons for the decline in the PA’s functioning are likely related to the departure of prime minister Salam Fayyad, and his replacement by Rami Hamdallah. Hamdallah is more focused on political confrontation with Israel and less on building a state, according to some Palestinian commentators. This is also seen in the significant weakening of the Palestinian court system, they said, and in the dwindling funds in the state treasury.
Of late monthly salaries to PA officials were paid without a reliance on foreign donations, PA Finance Minister Shukri Bishara recently announced. But Palestinian officials predicted that by next month, funds in the PA coffers will have dwindled again to the point where it would once again struggle to pay its employees.
door Avi Issacharoff
Met dank aan Tiki S. voor de hint: “”Voor de 4e keer….het is nee”” getekend, Mahmood Abbas, PM zonder mandaat van een land dat niet bestaat!
- The Times of Israel:
♦ PA tells Kerry no to framework deal in current form – Palestinians informed US secretary central elements of his proposal are unacceptable, Ramallah officials say; door Avi Issacharoff [lezen]
- Arutz Sheva:
♦ Erekat: No to Recognition, No to Israeli Presence in ‘Palestine’ – Chief PA negotiator meets Palestinian Arabs in London, reiterates PA refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state; door Elad Benari [lezen]
- Commentary Magazine:
♦ Palestinians Confirm: It’s a “No” – Few seemed to be listening earlier this week when the Palestinian Authority released a list of red lines that in practice meant an outright rejection of Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace framework; door Tom Wilson [lezen]