Commentary: Palestine: Bush's Roadmap Leads to Dead End
The Bush administration knows nothing about peace. The administration backed Israel's brutal, right-wing Sharon government from day one, and waged a cowardly military attack on Iraq. In the aftermath of militarily defeating the Iraqi government, the Bush administration is trying to reshape the Middle East, dominate the entire region and eliminate all opposition to the United States. While the attempt to put down the Iraqi resistance continues, Washington is now taking aim at the Palestinian liberation struggle. Central to the struggle for freedom in the Middle East, the battle of Palestinians for Palestine serves as an example and an inspiration to all the Arab peoples of the region.
The timing of this so-called peace plan is like an approach used by Bush Sr. 12 years ago. In 1991, after three years of the first Intifada (uprising), Israel was unable to defeat the Palestinians. But the defeat of Iraq (along with the collapse of the Soviet Union) weakened international support for Palestine. So the first Bush administration proposed negotiations. The plan was to end the Palestinian struggle by creating something that would resemble a Palestinian state, but not have real independence or sovereignty.
The Oslo 'peace process' dragged on for seven years. While Israel refused to meet the deadlines in the agreements, the mainstream U.S. media blamed Palestinians for breakdowns in the process. In September 2000, the failure to achieve anything resembling true independence led to the eruption of a new Palestinian Intifada, which continues to this day. And now, after another attack on Iraq, Junior is trying Dad's old strategy in Palestine.
The so-called Roadmap for Peace, designed by the United States and minor partners (United Nations, European Union and Russia), follows many difficult roads. None of them lead to peace. The plan outlines a few steps, ending with a meeting to talk about the issues at the heart of this conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people.
Step one of the Roadmap calls for an end to acts of violence by Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is charged to disrupt and disarm organizations, and jail Palestinian leaders, that have supported armed struggle against Israel. In its attempts to destroy the militant section of the Palestinian resistance, the PA is doomed to fail. Most Palestinian groups have not agreed to the Roadmap, and won't stop their militant actions. And the Palestinian people will not give up their resistance in the face of continuing attacks by Israeli settlers and a massive Israeli military presence in the Occupied Territories.
A just peace will never come from treating the Palestinian resisters as criminals. Palestinians, and all occupied peoples, have the right to resist an occupying force by any means necessary. This right is guaranteed by international law.
The fundamental problem with the Roadmap, and all U.S.-supported 'peace' proposals, is its support for the state of Israel. The Roadmap asks the world to accept a racist state, where citizenship, political power and economic rights are granted based on race and religion, not on birthplace or family ties to the land. The Roadmap ignores over 1.3 million Palestinians (20% of the entire population), who live as second-class citizens or non-citizens, inside 'Israel.' More importantly, it dismisses the right of 4 million Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
UN General Assembly Resolution 194 stipulates that all Palestinian refugees must be granted the right to return. Resolution 194 is never mentioned in the Roadmap, even after the world has heard the Sharon government say it will never consider allowing the Palestinians back. Bush can't talk about peace in the Middle East while ignoring almost half of the Palestinian population.
The Roadmap fails to address the core question of, “Where will Palestine be?” Sharon has made clear his plans to leave Palestinians in control of a few disconnected pieces of land, totaling less than half the Occupied Territories. Israel will control the borders, airspace, water and underneath all of Palestine. Settlements and Israeli-only highways will carve up Palestinian territories. Israeli armaments, in the name of the national defense, and paid for by U.S. tax dollars, will patrol every border of any land left to the Palestinians.
Palestinians will continue to fight to win back their lands and their lives. The real road to peace begins with an end to the constant flow of U.S. dollars to Israel.