November 30th, 2007 § 0 comments

THEY almost didn’t make it, but in the last hour Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, agreed on a joint statement. Four months of preliminary talks had failed to produce what Mr Abbas and Condoleezza Rice, the American secretary of state, had hoped to brandish at this week’s peace summit in Annapolis: an agreement to predetermine some aspects of the final-status deal that would ultimately create a Palestinian state next to Israel. In the end, Ms Rice had to settle for less, but the Palestinians and Israelis did agree two things. Final-status talks will begin on December 12th. And the United States will monitor both sides’ compliance in the meantime with the “road map” peace plan of 2003, under which Israel is meant to freeze settlement-building in the West Bank while the Palestinian Authority (PA) takes action against militants who attack Israel.

So they will talk again, and the US will stop Israel building settlements in the occupied terrortories (fucking laughable, that is. Hasn’t happened before has it? Everytime the US told Israel off, some fresh settlements sprang up.)

An Israeli official says that any impression that Mr Olmert plans a total construction freeze, as the road map stipulates, is a “convenient misperception”.

And the PA, not including the elected ruling party Hamas, must stop it’s citizens resisting an occupying force.

A more telling measure of Mr Olmert’s intentions may be how vigorously he goes after the 100-plus “unauthorised” outposts established by hardline settlers, of which the road map requires him to dismantle around 60. Previous attempts to take even one down have led to violent clashes between the police and settlers, who are regrouping for a showdown after losing their fight to stay in the Gaza Strip in 2005. As for the Palestinians, the American arbitrator will find himself squeezed between the Israeli reading of the road map—that the PA must entirely dismantle terrorist groups before any final-status deal that the two sides reach can go into effect—and the Palestinian one, which is that it need only get the task well under way.

Israel must dismantle 60-ish of the 100+ ‘unauthorised’ settlements, no mention of the ‘authorised’ ones that are illegel under international law, which are a terror to the Palestinians as the settlers shoot at, intimidate and abuse Palestinians with little or no comeback, but yet the PA has to entirely dismantle terrorist groups, not some or most, but all, some of which may not even be under it’s control.

The PA’s letting itself get screwed, while Israel and the USs’ rejectionism is showing through again.

Labels: Israel, Palestine, USA

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