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A pitch for votes, not peace

Barak’s plan shows Tel Aviv is interested in dragging Palestinians to agree to a new Israeli definition of occupation

Image Credit: Hugo A. Sanchez/©gulf news
Gulf News

With the unprecedented and accelerated process of Judaisation by the Israeli colonial/Zionist entity in Occupied Jerusalem and West Bank, Israeli opposition leader Shaul Mofaz, introduced three months ago, what many observers considered as an “ugly” plan to attain a peaceful settlement in the Middle East. The plan proposed annexation of Occupied East Jerusalem and 40 per cent of West Bank by Israel along with a call on Palestinians to drop for good the ‘Right of Return’ guaranteed by UN resolution 194 to all Palestinian refugees and to recognise Occupied Jerusalem as “the eternal Jewish capital of the Jewish State”. Such a plan, which is full of delirium, suggests that Israeli security can only be guaranteed by disjointed territories that would constitute a mini-Palestinian state completely disarmed and devoid of sovereignty upon its borders. A month later, Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak, came up with his own plan which asserted the egotistic mentality of Israelis by proposing a unilateral separation from the Palestinians similar to the move that took place in the Gaza Strip in 2005 during the right-wing Ariel Sharon government’s rule.

Barak’s plan also calls for the removal of a few small Israeli colonies in the West Bank, but all other major Israeli colonies — the plan went on to say — must remain under Israeli sovereignty and control in which 90 per cent of the Israeli colonisers live and prosper on occupied Palestinian Lands. Barak told the Israel Today newspaper that “All the high areas in the West Bank, overlooking Israeli cities and towns, will be under the control of the Israeli army, along with the Jordan Valley in the eastern border of the West Bank. If some Israeli ... [colonists] choose to stay in the small ... [colony] not annexed by Israel, then, they will be under the Palestinian authorities”. Finally, Barak called upon Israel to adopt “the Arab Plan” and to start negotiating first with the Palestinians and then with Syria (after the civil war there gets settled) where Israel can withdraw from the Golan Heights after installing “security measures” with guarantees from the US and the international community. As expected, Barak’s plan was met with semi-absolute rejection. Dany Danon, Knesset member of the Likud party, told media that “the only separation that should be in the plan is that Barak should separate himself from the government”. He said “the plan shows Barak’s desperation to give himself an opportunity to gain seats for his party in the next elections”.

Israeli Information Minister Yuli Edelstein sounded more critical saying “Barak keeps insisting on committing mistake after mistake, especially after he supported the catastrophe of Oslo and arranged the unilateral unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 when he was the prime minister, on top of supporting the unilateral unconditional withdrawal from Gaza, which has now missiles that forced a million Israelis to find shelters underground”. Another comment came from David Rotem, a Knesset member from the extreme right Israel Beitona, who said “the wise man learns from mistakes committed by the others, but the foolish/dimwit does not learn from mistakes he himself has committed. This delirious Barak plan hardly represents the five Knesset members of his party which has lost contact with reality”.

“The Barak plan does not even meet the minimum requirement of Palestinian demands”, the Washington Post wrote and “the Israeli greater colonies separate many Palestinian cities and towns from each other, annexing vast areas in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially in Occupied East Jerusalem. These separated towns and cities do not represent separate people, but one people who should be connected geographically within an independent Palestinian State”. The newspaper said Barak introduced his plan to attract voters from the middle road who are now standing between the far left and far right. The New York Times also wrote that “many in Israel see that the real motive in Barak’s plan is not peace with the Palestinians, but to score advantage to give Barak votes in the coming Israeli elections”.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) should take both plans into serious consideration and set up a solid strategy to confront them. Dr. Nabeel Shaath, a senior Fatah Central Committee member, said Barak was proposing an old catastrophic plan previously considered by Sharon and “calls for a Palestinian temporary mini-state without [occupied] East Jerusalem, without the Jordan valley, without the Arab part of the Dead Sea and without 40 per cent of the West Bank that contains the major Israeli colonies and without any right to the Palestinians to underground water or rights over Palestinian territories, to say the least”.

Indeed, consecutive developments show that Israel is interested in dragging the Palestinians to agree to a new Israeli definition of the occupation which is really a skeletal rule that is completely free to collect the garbage with a very strong security system, to mainly protect the Israeli colonists, to keep exploiting Palestinian land and live in peace and tranquillity!

Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman is the Chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopaedia.