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1 – Chronologie 2007
Chronologie 2007
Dezember 2007
30.12.2007:
Der französische Präsident Nicolas Sarkozy begrüßt bei seinem
Besuch in Kairo das Streben der arabischen Staaten nach Nutzung
der Kernenergie an. Ägypten bietet er die Zusammenarbeit bei der
friedlichen Nutzung der Kernenergie an.
27.12.2007:
Bei ihrem Treffen in Jerusalem sagt Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert
seinem Gesprächspartner Präsident Machmud Abbas zu, dass die
Irritationen der vergangenen Tage – gemeint sind die Pläne für die
Erweiterung von Maale Adumim und Har Homa – die
Endstatusverhandlungen über die zentralen Konfliktthemen nicht
beeinträchtigen sollen. Olmert vermeidet es jedoch, die genannte
1
Bautätigkeit ausdrücklich anzusprechen .
23.12.2007:
Die israelische Regierung beschließt in ihrem Haushaltsplan 2008
den Bau von zusätzlich 250 Wohneinheiten in Maale Adumim und
500 Wohneinheiten in Har Homa östlich bzw. südlich von Jerusalem.
Dafür sollen 99 Millionen Neue Shekel (~ 17,7 Millionen Euro) zur
Verfügung stehen. Am selben Tag treffen Außenministerin Tsipi Livni
und der palästinensische Unterhändler Achmed Qureia zur
Vorbereitung des nächsten Treffens zwischen Ehud Olmert und
Machmud Abbas zusammen.
18.12.2007:
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2 – Chronologie 2007
US-Präsident George W. Bush hat die Lieferung russischer
Atombrennstäbe nach Iran begrüßt, wenn sie für zivile
Atomkraftwerke gebraucht würden.
17.12.2007:
In der Nachfolge von Annapolis findet in Paris eine Geberkonferenz
mit neunzig Delegationen statt. Dabei soll nach Auskunft von EUAußenkommissarin Benita Ferrero-Waldner die bisherige Nothilfe für
die Palästinenser, die seit Juni 2006 – nach der Wahl von „Hamas“ –
unter der Bezeichnung vorläufiger Internationaler Mechanismus
(TIM)“ läuft, auf eine langfristige Entwicklungshilfe unter dem Titel
„PEGASE“ – Programme palestino-européen de gestion de l’aide
socio-economique / Palästinensisch-Europäisches Programm zur
Amtsführung der sozio-ökonomischen Hilfe“ – umgestellt werden.
PEGASE ist umfassender („Regierungsführung“, „soziale
Entwicklung“, „Wirtschafts- und Privatsektorenentwicklung“ sowie
„öffentliche Infrastruktur“) und auf drei Jahre bis 2010 angelegt und
ist im Gegensatz zu TIM nicht auf jeweils drei Monate befristet.
Insgesamt erwarten die Palästinenser mehr als 7,7 Milliarden USDollar über den Zeitraum von drei Jahren. Davon will die
Europäische Union allein 2008 rund 440 Millionen Euro übernehmen,
hinzu kommen von Norwegen 140 Millionen US-Dollar, von Japan
120 Millionen US-Dollar, von den USA 555 Millionen US-Dollar, von
Frankreich 350 Millionen Euro, Frankreich und Deutschland je 200
Millionen Euro, von Saudi-Arabien 350 Millionen Euro sowie von den
Golf-Emiraten 200 Millionen Euro. Bis einschließlich 2010 stellt die
Europäische Union Mittelbindungen in Höhe von 3,47 Milliarden USDollar in Aussicht. Während der Quartett-Beauftragte Tony Blair am
18. Dezember erklärt, dass mit den zugesagten Hilfen der Staat
Palästina bis Ende 2008 aufgebaut werden könne, merkt der
palästinensische Ministerpräsident Salam Fayyad an, dass das Geld
zu siebzig Prozent für die Gehälter der rund 150.000 Angestellten
der Autonomiebehörde und nur zu dreißig Prozent für den
wirtschaftlichen und infrastrukturellen Aufbau eingesetzt werden
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3 – Chronologie 2007
müsse. Am 21. Dezember begrüßte der UN-Sicherheitsrat in einer
einstimmig verabschiedeten Erklärung die Ergebnisse der Pariser
2
Konferenz als wegweisend .
16.12.2007:
Yossi Beilin kündigt an, dass er bei den parteiinternen Wahlen am
18. März 2008 nicht wieder für den Vorsitz von „Meretz/Yachad“
kandidieren werde. Er werde die Partei nicht verlassen und sich bei
den nächsten Parlamentswahlen um einen Sitz bewerben. Beilin
hatte die Arbeitspartei 2003 aus Enttäuschung darüber verlassen,
dass ihm nur ein hinterer Listenplatz eingeräumt worden war. Er
kündigte an, dass er Haim Oron bei den „primaries“ unterstützen
werde. Auch die Abgeordneten Zahava Gal’on und Ran Cohen
werden sich um den Vorsitz bewerben. Nach dem Bericht in „Yediot
Achronot“ liegt die Zahl der Parteimitglieder bei 15.000 Personen,
von denen 35 Prozent der „Kibbutz Artzi“-Föderation angehören. Der
Leitartikel in „Haaretz“ verweist auf Beilins geringes Charisma, die
Massen zum Enthusiasmus zu bewegen, bescheinigt ihm aber, die
Politik auf seinen Weg eingeschworen und es nie aufgegeben zu
haben, einen Partner auf der palästinensischen Seite zu erkennen.
Gleichzeitig habe er die innenpolitische Agenda als Markenzeichen
von „Meretz“ vernachlässigt: Trennung von Religion und Staat,
Schutz von Minderheitenrechten, Freiheit der
Informationsbeschaffung und der Meinungsäußerung, Schutz des
Obersten Gerichtshofes, Gleichstellung von Mann und Frau3. Nach
Ansicht von politischen Gefährten dürfte sich Beilin fortan wieder
mehr um die Ideen der „Genfer Initiative“ kümmern.
Yoav Stern berichtet in „Haaretz“ über eine in der Nähe von Madrid
geplante Konferenz von israelischen und palästinensischen
Friedensaktivisten, die bereits im Vorfeld abgesagt worden ist.
Besonders der Streit über die Ein- oder die Zwei-Staaten-Lösung
sowie die Beteiligung von Angehörigen von „Peace Now“ und der
4
Arbeitspartei hätten die Konferenz verhindert .
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4 – Chronologie 2007
Die „Jerusalem Post“ berichtet über das wachsende
Einkommensgefälle in Israel. Während die Reichen immer reicher
und die Armen immer ärmer würden, wachse die Zahl der letzteren.
Im Jahr 2006 machten als arm eingestufte Angestellte 18,8 Prozent
der Bevölkerung aus, 32,7 Prozent würden unterhalb der
Einkommensgrenze liegen. Besonders hoch sei die Arbeitslosigkeit
im „arabischen Sektor“. Während sie in einem arabischen Ort 20,9
Prozent betrage, liege der höchste Prozentsatz bei 9,4 in der
jüdischen Ortschaft Kiryat Malachi (südöstlich von Ashdod)5.
Unter der ironischen Überschrift „Lasst uns den Krieg nach Gaza
tragen“ setzt sich Zvi Bar’el in „Haaretz“ kritisch mit Absichten
zusammen, militärisch in den Gazastreifen zurückzukehren.
Nachdem der Qassam-Beschuss und der Waffenschmuggel aus
Ägypten schon aus der Zeit der israelischen Besatzung datierten und
da die Erwartung entgegen allen Erfahrungen hinfällig sei, nach
einer Intervention würden 1,5 Millionen Palästinenser gegen
„Hamas“ rebellieren, bleibe für die Begründung einer Intervention nur
das Prestige übrig, zumal da die Bewohner von Sderot keinen Krieg,
sondern Schutz vor den Raketen wünschten. Ehud Olmert könnte
seinen neuen Partner Machmud Abbas natürlich auffordern, dass
der Beschuss aufhören müsse, doch dieser würde ihm antworten,
dass genau dies das Ziel der Verhandlungen sei6.
15.12.2007:
Zwischen 150.000 und 200.000 Menschen versammeln sich in
Gaza-Stadt, um das zwanzigjährige Bestehen von „Hamas“ zu
feiern. „Hamas“-Ministerpräsident Ismail Haniyeh erklärt, dass Israel
nie anerkannt werde, und führt den Widerstand in Libanon, Irak und
Afghanistan als Beispiele für den Erfolg gegen die dortige Besatzung
an. In einer Botschaft aus Damaskus bestreitet der Leiter des
Politischen Büros von „Hamas“, Khaled Meshal, das Mandat von
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5 – Chronologie 2007
Machmud Abbas, mit Israel zu verhandeln. Das palästinensische
Volk sei zu einer dritten und vierten „Intifada“ bereit.
15.12.2007:
Arabische Nachrichtenagenturen berichten, dass 21 iranische
Parteien unter Führung der früheren Staatspräsidenten Akbar
Hashemi Rafsandjani und Mohammad Khatami eine Koalition im
Parlament bilden wollen, um die „ernste Krise“ im Lande zu
beheben, die eine „unerfahrene Regierung“ ausgelöst habe.
14.12.2007:
Die „Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” berichtet aus einem ihr
zugespielten Papier des Berliner Auswärtigen Amtes, wonach
Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier bei seinen 44
Auslandsreisen 2008 „einen großen Bogen“ um den Nahen Osten
machen wolle.
Yossi Sarid, früherer Vorsitzender von „Meretz“ in der Nachfolge von
Shulamit Aloni, erklärt Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel zur „Frau des
Jahres“ aufgrund ihrer Offenheit, russische und chinesische
Menschenrechtsverletzungen zu kritisieren. Zur Politik Merkels im
israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt äußert sich Sarid nicht7.
Das „Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network“ mit Sitz in
Kopenhagen kritisiert die Repressionen der syrischen Regierung
gegen politische Dissidenten. Zu ihnen zählt Akram al-Bunni, der
schon einmal 17 Jahre lang im Gefängnis gesessen habe, sowie
dessen Bruder Anwar al-Bunni und seine Frau8.
13.12.2007:
Arabische und palästinensische Investoren unter Führung SaudiArabien unterzeichnen in der jordanischen Hauptstadt Amman einen
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6 – Chronologie 2007
Vertrag in Höhe von 200 Millionen US-Dollar zur Entwicklung von
Bauprojekten in der Westbank.
In der Wochenausgabe der ägyptischen Zeitung „Al-Ahram (Die
Pyramiden)“ berichtet Gamal Essam El-Din von einer wachsenden
Zahl parlamentarischer Anfragen an die Regierung von
Ministerpräsident Achmed Nazif. Während die Zahl der MultiMilliardäre steige, müssten siebzig Prozent der Bevölkerung mit
gerade einmal zwei US-Dollar pro Tag auskommen, und die
Mittelkasse dünne aus. Andere Abgeordneter würden beklagen,
dass die Regierung große Grundstücke an eine Handvoll
Geschäftsleute mit engen Beziehungen zur regierenden
Nationaldemokratischen Partei vergebe, dass die Regierung
Abgeordnete mit Geldgeschenken besteche und dass private
Monopole in der Zementproduktion entstanden seien. Ein weiterer
Parlamentarier habe darauf hingewiesen, dass die Normalisierung
der Arbeitsbeziehungen zu Israel viele israelische Spione nach
Ägypten gebracht habe und dass dreizehn Prozent der ägyptischen
Arbeiter in Israel heute Mitglieder der dortigen Armee und viele mit
israelischen Frauen verheiratet seien9.
12.12.2007:
Die in Annapolis vereinbarten Verhandlungen werden von der
israelischen Regierung (Tsipi Livni) und der Palästinensischen
Autonomiebehörde (Achmed Qureia) in Jerusalem mit der
Diskussion über Verfahrensfragen aufgenommen. Die Gespräche
werden durch die israelische Siedlungstätigkeit um Ost-Jerusalem
belastet und die israelische Forderung, palästinensischen Militanten
das Handwerk zu legen.
In Beirut wird François al-Hadj mit vier Leibwächtern ermordet. Der
Brigadegeneral galt als Nachfolger von Armeechef Michel Suleiman,
der als Kompromisskandidat bei den mehrfach gescheiterten
Präsidentschaftswahlen antreten soll. Hadj hatte den wochenlangen
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Aufstand seit dem 21. Mai im palästinensischen Flüchtlingslager
Nahr al-Bared niedergeschlagen, bei dem 230 Mitglieder der radikalislamischen „Fatah al-Islam“ und 168 Soldaten getötet worden sind.
Für die Wahl Suleimans ist eine Verfassungsänderung notwendig.
Am 21. Dezember scheitert der zehnte Versuch, einen neuen
Staatspräsidenten zu wählen. Frankreichs Präsident Nicolas Sarkozy
kappt am 30. Dezember die diplomatischen Beziehungen zu Syrien,
bis Damaskus bereit sei, die Wahl des neuen Staatspräsidenten in
Beirut zu gestatten. Am 2. Januar 2008 gibt die syrische Regierung
den Abbruch ihrer diplomatischen Beziehungen zu Frankreich
bekannt. Am selben Tag beschließt die libanesische Regierung eine
Verfassungsänderung, die einem amtierenden Chef der Streitkräfte
– in diesem Fall Suleiman – die Kandidatur zur Staatspräsidentschaft
ebnet. Das Parlament muss dem Beschluss noch zustimmen.
Yoram Ben-Zeev, Israels neuer Botschafter in Deutschland, übergibt
Bundespräsident Horst Köhler sein Beglaubigungsschreiben.
11.12.2007:
Amirama Golan berichtet in „Haaretz“ vom jüngsten Kongress der
kommunistischen Partei „Demokratischen Front“ („Chadash“).
Während sie früher eine arabisch-jüdische Partei gewesen sei, neige
sich das Gewicht heute zu den nationalistischen und islamischen
Kräften hin.
Das libanesische Parlament verschiebt zum achten Mal die Wahl
des neuen Staatspräsidenten und setzt als neuen Termin den 17.
Dezember fest. Wenn der maronitische Kommandierende General
Michel Suleiman gewählt werden soll, muss zunächst Artikel 49 der
Verfassung geändert werden, wonach der Kandidat zwei Jahre lang
dem höheren öffentlichen Dienst angehört haben muss. Der
bisherige Amtsinhaber Emile Lahoud war am 23. November aus dem
Amt geschieden.
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8 – Chronologie 2007
04.12.2007:
Akiva Eldar berichtet in „Haaretz“ über den Film „Eine Million
Geschosse im Oktober“, der sich mit den israelischen
Vorbereitungen auf den Ausbruch der zweiten „Intifada“ Ende
September 2000 kritisch auseinandersetzt. In dem Film kommen
mehrere Kabinettsmitglieder zu Wort, aus deren Äußerungen klar
werde, dass das Militär erneut politische Entscheidungen überspielt
habe10.
Ein ägyptisches Gericht nimmt dreizehn Angehörige der
Moslembruderschaft fest. Ihnen werden Verschwörung gegen die
Regierung und illegale Tätigkeiten vorgeworfen. Zwei Tage später,
am 6. Dezember, werden elf Studenten der Al-Azhar-Universität in
Kairo, denen die Mitgliedschaft zur Moslembruderschaft vorgeworfen
wird, festgenommen. Bereits am 19. November hatten die Behörden
25 Moslembrüder im Nildelta arretiert.
Das Weiße Haus in Washington kündigt an, dass Präsident George
W. Bush am 9. Januar 2008 für drei Tage nach Israel und Palästina
reisen werde, bevor er bis zum 16. Januar weiter nach Bahrein, die
Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate, nach Saudi-Arabien und Ägypten
reist. Der Besuch soll dem Vernehmen nach der Unterstützung der in
Annapolis am 27. November unterzeichneten „Gemeinsamen
Erklärung“ zur Wiederaufnahme der israelisch-palästinensischen
Verhandlungen dienen. Bush war 1998 als Gouverneur von Texas
zum ersten und letzten Mal in Israel.
Die US-Geheimdienste veröffentlichen einen Bericht, dass Iran sein
Atomwaffenprogramm „mit hoher Sicherheit“ 2003 unterbrochen und
bis Mitte 2007 offenkundig nicht wieder aufgenommen habe.
Präsident George W. Bush bezeichnet den Bericht als Warnsignal,
warnte aber davor, ihn zu ernst zu nehmen. Teheran sein Programm
jederzeit wieder auflegen könne. Nichts habe sich geändert. Iran war
und bleibe eine Gefahr.
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9 – Chronologie 2007
03.12.2007:
Scott Mcconnell bricht in der Zeitschrift „The American Conservative“
eine politische Lanze für das Buch von John Mearsheimer and
Stephen Walt „The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy“ (London
and New York 2007, Deutsch bei Campus 2007)1. Die Autoren
würden für normale Beziehungen zwischen den USA und Israel
plädieren und hätten damit eine landesweite Diskussion angestoßen.
Ihr Ausgangspapier auf der Website der „John F. Kennedy School
For Government“ in Harvard sei 275.000 Mal heruntergeladen
worden11.
US-Außenministerin Condoleezza Rice protestiert gegen den
geplanten Neubau von 307 Wohneinheiten in der Siedlung Har
Homa südlich von Jerusalem. „We’re in a time when the goal is to
build maximum confidence between the parties and this doesn’t help
to build confidence. There should not be anything which might
prejudge final-status negotiations.” Der Baubeginn hatte im
März/April 1997 (Regierung Benjamin Netanyahu) schwere Unruhen
ausgelöst. In Har Homa sollen heute rund 6000 Menschen wohnen.
02.12.2007:
In der wöchentlichen Kabinettssitzung führt Ministerpräsident Ehud
Olmert aus, dass Israel die Verhandlungen mit den Palästinensern in
der Hoffnung zügig vorantreiben werde, um bis Ende 2008 zu einem
Abschluss zu kommen, dass es aber keine Verpflichtung auf eine
feste Zeittafel gebe.
Nach palästinensischen Medienberichten plant die
Autonomiebehörde, die 69 teilnehmenden Parteien der
1
Dazu der Essay von Prof. Gert Krell in der Rubik „Rezensionen“ dieser
Homepage.
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10 – Chronologie 2007
Geberkonferenz am 17. Dezember in Paris um 5,5 Milliarden Euro
für den Zeitraum von drei Jahren – also bis 2010 – zu bitten. Damit
sollen vor allem ausstehende Verpflichtungen sowie die Gehälter der
Regierungsangestellten bezahlt werden. Die „International Herald
Tribune“ berichtet am 6. Dezember, dass die palästinensischen
Bitten 5,8 Milliarden US-Dollar ausmachen, wovon siebzig Prozent
für die laufenden Ausgaben des Haushalts einschließlich der 120
Millionen US-Dollar für Gehälter von Regierungsangestellten
vorgesehen seien. Dreißig Prozent seien für Entwicklungsprojekte
gedacht.
01.12.2007:
Nach dreijähriger Unterbrechung öffnen Syrien und Irak den größten
Grenzübergang zwischen beiden Ländern.
November 2007
29.11.2007:
Die US-Administration drängt den UN-Sicherheitsrat, eine positive
Erklärung zu den Ergebnissen von Annapolis abzugeben.
Der Generalsekretär des Exekutivkomitees der PLO, Yasser Abed
Rabbo, verliest vor der UN-Vollversammlung in New York eine
Botschaft von Präsident Machmud Abbas, in der dieser die
Weltgemeinschaft beschwört, den Beginn ernsthafter
Friedensverhandlungen als Ausfluss der „historischen Konferenz” in
Annapolis zu unterstützen12.
27.11.2007:
In Annapolis findet die eintägige internationale Konferenz zur Lösung
des israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikts statt. Von israelischer
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Seite nehmen Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert, Außenministerin Tsipi
Livni und Verteidigungsminister Ehud Barak teil, von
palästinensischer Seite Präsident Machmud Abbas. Syrien ist durch
den stellvertretenden Außenminister Faisal al-Miqdad vertreten. Von
den arabischen und moslemischen Staaten sind vertreten Ägypten
(Mitglied des „Arabischen Quartetts“), Algerien, Bahrain, Jordanien
(Mitglied des „Arabischen Quartetts“), Libanon, Mauretanien,
Marokko, Oman, Qatar, Saudi-Arabien (Mitglied des „Arabischen
Quartetts“), Sudan, Syrien, Tunesien, die Vereinigten Arabischen
Emirate (Mitglied des „Arabischen Quartetts“) und Jemen sowie
Indonesien, Malaysia, Pakistan und die Türkei. Von deutscher Seite
nimmt Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier als gegenwärtiger
Vorsitzender der G-8-Staaten teil. Bush, Abbas und Olmert
unterzeichnen zum Abschluss eine gemeinsame Erklärung13.
Während US-Außenministerin Condoleezza Rice dem
stellvertretenden syrischen Außenminister die Hand reicht und ihm
für die Teilnahme dankt, beschuldigt Bushs Nationaler
Sicherheitsberater Stephen Hadley am 30. November Damaskus,
den Terror in der Region zu unterstützen. Gleichzeitig überlässt er es
der israelischen Regierung, mit Syrien Verhandlungen aufzunehmen.
In einem Beitrag für die „Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“ schreibt der
frühere Außenminister Klaus Kinkel, dass er sich „einen fairen
Interessenausgleich kaum anders vorstellen (kann) als im Rahmen
des Friedensplans der ‚Genfer Initiative’“.
23.10.2007:
In Kairo treffen sich die Außenminister von elf arabischen Staaten im
Rahmen der Arabischen Liga zur Vorbereitung der Konferenz in
Annapolis. Es fällt auf, dass entgegen dem Skeptizismus unter den
Teilnehmern der palästinensische Chefunterhändler Saeb Erakat die
Erwartung äußert, dass die Konferenz nach sieben Jahren Stillstand
– seit dem gescheiterten Gipfeltreffen in Camp David – dem
Friedensprozess neues Leben einhauchen werde.
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12 – Chronologie 2007
Nach der in letzter Minute erfolgten Vertagung der Wahl des neuen
Staatspräsidenten in Libanon hat der gegenwärtige Amtsinhaber
Emile Lahoud die Macht an das Militär übertragen, um die Sicherheit
des Landes zu garantieren, wie er erklärt. Ministerpräsident Fuad
Siniora bezeichnet den Schritt als verfassungsrechtlich nicht
gedeckt. Parlamentspräsident Nabich Berri („Amal“14) setzt als
neuen Termin den 30. November an. Für den ersten Wahlgang ist
die Zweidrittelmehrheit vorgeschrieben. Hinter dem Machtkampf
verbergen sich pro-westliche (Siniora) und pro-syrisch-iranische
(Lahoud/Hisbollah) Loyalitäten.
20.11.2007:
In Jordanien finden Parlamentswahlen mit 984 Kandidaten in 45
Wahlbezirken statt. Von den 110 zu vergebenden Parlamentssitzen
sind sechs Sitze für Frauen, neun für Christen sowie drei für
Tscherkessen und Tschetschenen reserviert. Gegenwärtig sitzen 17
Abgeordnete der „Islamischen Aktionsfront“ im Parlament. Die
versprochene Wahlrechtsreform, die das Ungleichgewicht der
Chancen zwischen den ländlichen Räumen und den Städten und
Flüchtlingslagern zu Ungunsten der letzteren beseitigt, hat nicht
stattgefunden. Bei den letzten Wahlen am Juni 2003 gingen 58,8
Prozent der Bevölkerung zu den Urnen.
19.11.2007:
Nachdem am Vortag beim Treffen zwischen der israelischen und der
palästinensischen Delegation keine Fortschritte erreicht worden sind,
kommen Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert und Präsident Machmud
Abbas zum achten Mal zusammen.
Die EU-Außenminister beschließen auf ihrer Sitzung in Brüssel ein
Aktionsprogramm für die Palästinenser, das Hilfe für den Aufbau der
Wirtschaft einschließlich der Berufsausbildung und für Polizei und
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13 – Chronologie 2007
Justiz vorsieht. Bundesaußenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
spricht von einem „eindrucksvollen Programm“.
18.11.2007:
Die USA fordern Israel zu einem „totalen Siedlungsstopp” und zur
Freilassung von erheblich mehr als 450 palästinensischen
Gefangenen auf; diese Zahl beschießt das israelische Kabinett am
selben Tag. In einem „non-paper“ verlangt die ägyptische Regierung
als Bedingung für ihre Teilnahme in Annapolis die Wiedereröffnung
des Orient House in Ost-Jerusalem, das früher als Zentrale der PLO
in der Stadt galt, die Räumung der „illegalen Außenposten“ der
Siedlungen und eine Verminderung der „checkpoints“ in der
Westbank, um die Bewegungsfreiheit der palästinensischen
Bevölkerung entscheidend zu erweitern. Ministerpräsident Ehud
Olmert sagt das Ende der Bodenenteignungen in der Westbank und
die Räumung von „illegalen Außenposten“ zu, ohne die Forderung
nach einem „totalen Baustopp“ erfüllen zu wollen. In den
bestehenden Siedlungen würde weitergebaut, um dem „natürlichen
Wachstum“ Rechnung zu tragen.
Das israelische Kabinett stimmt der Freilassung von 441
palästinensischen Gefangenen zu. Am 3. Dezember werden 429
Gefangene aus der Westbank und Gaza freigelassen.
Die „Jüdische Allianz für Gerechtigkeit und Frieden“ in den USA „Brit
Tzedek v’Shalom“ appelliert an die US-amerikanischen Juden, jene
Kräfte in der Politik zu unterstützen, die sich für echte
Friedensbemühungen einsetzen, und ihre Skepsis zu überwinden.
Nur dann lasse sich Geschichte verändern15.
Beim Treffen zwischen Syriens Präsidenten Bashar Assad und
Jordaniens König Abdullah II. in Damaskus betonen beide die
Bedeutung einer gerechten und umfassenden Lösung für den
israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt auf der Grundlage des
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14 – Chronologie 2007
arabischen Friedensplans von 2002/2007 und internationaler
Resolutionen. In dem Kommuniqué zum Abschluss des Treffens wird
Syrien aufgefordert, für die Stabilität und Sicherheit Libanons zu
sorgen sowie zwischen beiden Ländern normale Beziehungen auf
der Basis des gegenseitigen Respekts und beidseitiger Interessen
16
aufzubauen .
15.11.2007:
Präsident Machmud Abbas ruft in einer Radio- und
Fernsehansprache aus Anlass des Jahrestages der Proklamation
des Staates Palästina im November 1988 in Algier zum Sturz von
„Hamas“ auf. „Diese Bande“ habe mit Waffengewalt den
Gazastreifen genommen.
13.11.2007:
Das Treffen zwischen Außenministerin Tsipi Livni und dem
palästinensischen Verhandlungsführer Achmed Qureia zur
Vorbereitung der Konferenz in Annapolis endet ergebnislos.
Während Qureia auf einer israelischen Verpflichtung besteht, sich
auf die Grenzen von 1967 zurückzuziehen und der Etablierung der
Hauptstadt Palästinas im arabischen Teil Jerusalems zuzustimmen,
beharrt Livni auf der israelischen Absicht, eine allgemein gehaltene
Erklärung vorzulegen.
In der Pressekonferenz mit Tsipi Livni in Jerusalem glaubt der
Außenbeauftragte der Europäischen Union, Javier Solana, dass
nach einem erfolgreichen Abschluss der Konferenz in Annapolis ein
Vertrag zwischen Israel und den Palästinensern in acht Monaten
erreicht werden könne.
12.11.2007:
www.reiner-bernstein.de
15 – Chronologie 2007
Gegenüber dem Außen- und Sicherheitspolitischen Ausschuss der
Knesset betont Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert, dass die israelische
Delegation unter Leitung von Außenministerin Tsipi Livni versuche,
zu allen Elementen einer Friedenslösung eine Verständigung zu
erreichen, dass dies jedoch von der vorherigen Erfüllung der ersten
Stufe der „Road Map“ des internationalen Quartetts abhänge. Beide
Politiker erklären, dass die Konferenz in Annapolis nur einen Tag
dauern werde.
Vor der Knesset betont Außenministerin Tsipi Livni, dass die
Konferenz in Annapolis nach israelischer Auffassung lediglich
anberaumt werde, um den Friedensprozess anzustoßen, nicht
jedoch die zentralen Fragen zu klären. Gleichzeitig räumt Livni ein,
dass die Palästinensische Autonomiebehörde Probleme habe, über
die Westbank keine absolute Kontrolle habe. Indirekt kritisiert Livni
den einseitigen Rückzug aus dem Gazastreifen: Es sei richtig, nach
einer Vereinbarung mit den Palästinensern zu suchen, statt ihnen die
Schlüssel vor die Füße zu werfen.
Während einer Massenkundgebung in Gaza-Stadt als Anlass des
dritten Todestages von Yasser Arafat werden von „Hamas“Milizionären sieben Palästinenser getötet. Die Homepage der „AlQassam-Brigaden“ – dem bewaffneten Arm von „Hamas“ –
behauptet, dass Demonstranten zunächst Steine auf Polizisten
geworfen hätten. Präsident Machmud Abbas kündigt einen
eintägigen Generalstreik an.
Nach dem neuen Bericht der Bewegung „Frieden jetzt“ hält die
Bautätigkeit in 88 Siedlungen der Westbank weiter an, und zwar
überwiegend westlich der „Sicherheitszäune“. Gegenüber dem
Vorjahr sei die Zahl der Siedler um 5,8 Prozent auf 267.000
Personen gestiegen. Die „Jerusalem Post“ meldete am 31. Oktober,
dass von der geplanten 790 Kilometer langen Route der
„Sicherheitszäune“ bislang 450 Kilometer gebaut worden seien und
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16 – Chronologie 2007
dass in den vergangenen vier Monaten kein einziger Kilometer
dazugekommen sei.
10.11.2007:
108 prominente Palästinenser, unter ihnen Sari Nusseibeh, richten
an Präsident Machmud Abbas einen Appell, bei der Konferenz in
Annapolis „unsere nationalen Interessen nicht zu verletzen“.
08.11.2007:
Der diplomatische Korrespondent von „Haaretz”, Akiva Eldar, erhält
in diesem Jahr den „Eliav-Sartawi Preis für Nahost-Journalismus“ der
von der in New York tätigen Gruppe „Search for Common Ground“
verliehen wird. Arie Lova Eliav gehört zu den frühen Befürwortern
einer israelisch-palästinensischen Annäherung, die er in seinem
Buch „Land of the Hart. Israelis, Arabs, the territories and a vision of
the future“, Philadelphia 1974, begründete. Der Arzt und EuropaKoordinator der PLO Issam Sartawi setzte sich auf der
palästinensischen Seite ebenso frühzeitig für einen Ausgleich mit
Israel ein und wurde am 10. April 1983 am Rande der Tagung der
„Sozialistischen Internationalen“ in Lissabon ermordet. Das
Verbrechen wurde der palästinensischen Terrorgruppe von Abu
Nidal zugeschrieben.
07.11.2007:
Die Internetseite ynet.com von „Yediot Achronot“ meldet, dass in den
vergangenen Monaten rund 3000 Jerusalemer Palästinenser einen
Antrag auf die israelische Staatsbürgerschaft gestellt hätten,
während es in den Jahren seit dem Junikrieg 1967 insgesamt nur
12.000 gewesen seien. Der Bericht zitiert einen Palästinenser mit
den Worten, dass er für sich und seine Frau, die in der Westbank
gebürtig sei, diesen Schritt getan habe, weil er befürchte, dass seine
Frau ansonsten gezwungen werde, Jerusalem zu verlassen. Die in
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17 – Chronologie 2007
der Stadt lebenden 240.000 Palästinenser besitzen den Status
permanenten Wohnrechts, der sie zur Teilnahme an den
Stadtratswahlen berechtigt, die sie allerdings nur in wenigen Fällen
nutzen.
05.11.2007:
In einem Interview mit der palästinensischen Nachrichtenagentur
„Maan“ kündigt der Nahost-Beauftragte des Quartetts, Tony Blair,
an, dass er „brutal realistisch“ an die ihm aufgetragenen Aufgaben
gehen werde, den Palästinensern beim Aufbau von Institutionen
einschließlich der Reform der Sicherheitsdienste und bei der
Sicherung eines höheren Lebensstandards zu helfen.
04.11.2007:
Nach Gesprächen mit US-Außenministerin Condoleezza Rice in
Jerusalem erklärt ihre israelische Amtskollegin Tsipi Livni, dass die
„Road Map” des internationalen Quartetts verwirklicht werden
müsse. Nach ihrer Interpretation müssen die Palästinenser zuerst
die militanten Gruppen auflösen, bevor Israel einem
palästinensischen Staat zustimmen werde.
03.11.2007:
Bei der Gedenkfeier aus Anlass des zwölften Jahrestages der
Ermordung von Yitzhak Rabin nehmen in Tel Aviv mehr als
hunderttausend Menschen teil. In seiner Ansprache beklagt der
Schriftsteller David Grossman den moralischen Verfall von Staat und
Gesellschaft, der in krassem Widerspruch zur militärischen Stärke
stehe. Bei der Begegnung mit Ehud Olmert, an den er sich mehrfach
anklagend wendet, weigert sich Grossman, dem Ministerpräsidenten
die Hand zu reichen17. Rabins Sohn Yuval Rabin ruft die israelische
Gesellschaft auf, sich von seinem Mörder Yigal Amir zu distanzieren
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18 – Chronologie 2007
– dessen Sohn am selben Tag beschnitten wird – und die
universellen Werte der Demokratie und Humanität zu achten.
02.11.2007:
Der palästinensische Präsident Machmud Abbas empfängt in
Ramallah vier hochrangige Angehörige von „Hamas“, unter ihnen
den früheren stellvertretenden Ministerpräsidenten Nasser Eddin alShaer zu Gesprächen. Das Treffen gilt dem Ziel, die Spannungen
unter den Palästinensern zu mildern und für die Geschlossenheit der
palästinensischen Delegation bei der Konferenz in Annapolis zu
demonstrieren, die nach den bisherigen Zeitplänen am 26.
November beginnen soll.
01.11.2007:
Die Europäische Union und Israel eröffnen in Tel Aviv einen
„European-Israeli Business Dialogue“, der der Förderung von
Unternehmeraktivitäten und wirtschaftlicher Erneuerung zugute
kommen soll. Dazu unterzeichnen EU-Vizepräsident Günter
Verheugen und Israels Handelsminister Eliyahu Ishai ein
Memorandum.
Oktober 2007
28.10.2007:
Die israelische Regierung beschließt auf Betreiben von
Verteidigungsminister Ehud Barak (Arbeitspartei) die Drosselung der
Energiezufuhr in den Gazastreifen. Damit sollen die Palästinenser
für den Raketenbeschuss in das südliche Israel bestraft werden. Von
den Einschränkungen betroffen sind vor allem palästinensische
Versorgungseinrichtungen wie Krankenhäuser, Kindergärten,
Schulen, Tankstellen, Elektrizitätswerke sowie die privaten
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19 – Chronologie 2007
Haushalte. Israelische und palästinensische
Menschenrechtsorganisationen erreichen beim Obersten Gericht in
Jerusalem die Nachprüfung der Entscheidung innerhalb von fünf
Tagen. Bis dahin setzt Generalstaatsanwalt Menachem Mazuz den
Vollzug des Beschlusses aus.
Israels Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert räumt vor einer
Pressekonferenz in Jerusalem seine Prostata-Krebserkrankung im
Frühstadium ein. Sie würde ihn nicht in seiner Amtsführung
beeinträchtigen, beruhigt er sein Kabinett. Kommentatoren
spekulieren, ob die für den 26. November in Annapolis (Maryland)
geplante Konferenz verschoben werden muss.
09.10.2007:
Israelische Medien berichten über die bevorstehende Enteignung
von 1.129 Dunam (113 Hektar; 1 Dunam = 1.000 qm)
palästinensischen Landbesitzes für den Bau einer Straße zwischen
Ost-Jerusalem und Jericho. Dazu sollen 3500 Wohneinheiten
gehören. Die neue Straße soll die sogenannte E1-Route zwischen
Jerusalem und Maale Adumim von palästinensischem
Verkehrsaufkommen befreien. Kommentatoren fragen, ob damit der
Vorbereitung einer gemeinsamen israelisch-palästinensischen
Erklärung für die bevorstehende Konferenz am 26. November in
Annapolis (US-Bundesstaat Maryland) ein Ende gesetzt werden soll.
Vermutet wird hinter der Neuauflage der Enteignungspläne, die 2004
auf amerikanisches und europäisches Verlangen zurückgestellt
wurden, Verteidigungsminister Ehud Barak (Arbeitspartei). USAußenministerin Condoleezza Rice bringt gegenüber dem
israelischen Botschafter in Washington, Sally Meridor, ihr Befremden
zum Ausdruck und verlangt Aufklärung.
08.10.2007:
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20 – Chronologie 2007
Das israelische und das palästinensische Verhandlungsteam treffen
sich zum ersten Mal in Jerusalem, um eine Erklärung zur Vorlage auf
der Regionalkonferenz am 26. November in Annapolis (USBundesstaat Maryland) vorzubereiten. Von palästinensischer Seite,
die von dem ehemaligen „Oslo“-Unterhändler und späteren
Ministerpräsidenten Achmed Qureia geleitet wird, gehören an Saeb
Erakat, Yasser Abed Rabbo und Akram Haniyeh. Ihr sitzt das
israelische Team unter Leitung von Außenministerin Tsipi Livni mit
Olmerts Stabschef Yoram Turbowicz, Shalom Turgeman (Amt des
Ministerpräsidenten), Aharon Abramovitch (Auswärtiges Amt) und
Amos Gilad (Verteidigungsministerium) gegenüber.
07.10.2007:
In Gaza-Stadt ist der Leiter des einzigen christlichen Buchladens im
Gazastreifen, der zur baptistischen Bibelgesellschaft gehörige Rami
Khader Ayyad, von Islamisten ermordet worden.
03.10.2007:
In seiner Jerusalemer Residenz beginnen Ministerpräsident Ehud
Olmert und Präsident Machmud Abbas mit ihren Teams die
offiziellen Verhandlungen zwischen beiden Seiten. Dabei werde
Abbas, heißt es von palästinensischer Seite, die zentralen
Konfliktthemen „Siedlungen“, „Grenzen“, „sichere Übergänge“,
Jerusalem“ und „Flüchtlinge“ einbringen. Während Abbas ein
ausgearbeitetes Rahmenwerk anstrebt, besteht Olmert auf einer
„Declaration of Interests“. Die israelische Regierung wünscht keinen
Zeitplan, um die genannten Probleme zu lösen. Yossi Beilin,
Vorsitzender von „Meretz“, betont, dass Verzögerungen den
Extremisten in die Hände spielen. Die Verhandlungen sollen nach
Angaben von Präsidentenberater Yasser Abed Rabbo geheim
geführt werden.
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21 – Chronologie 2007
Angehörige von „Hamas“ stürmen ein Gebäude von „Fatah“ in GazaStadt, nachdem ein Tag zuvor vier Palästinenser getötet worden
sind.
01.10.2007:
Die israelischen Behörden entlassen 57 palästinensische Häftlinge,
die aus der Westbank stammen. Nach Presseberichten sollen
insgesamt 11.000 Palästinenser in israelischen Anstalten sitzen.
September 2007
24.09.2007:
Die israelischen Autoren A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, Yehudit
Katzir, Alice Shalvi, Yael Megged, Yehoshua Sobol, Amos Oz, Meir
Shalev, Eli Amir, Zruya Shalev, Esther G. Haim und Savyon
Liebrecht richten einen Appell an die Regierung in Jerusalem, in dem
sie ein Abkommen mit Machmud Abbas und Verhandlungen über die
Waffenruhe mit Hamas verlangen.
Israel lässt 87 palästinensische Gefangene frei.
21.09.2007:
Die Anzeichen mehren sich, dass in der israelischen Regierung über
den künftigen Status des 1981 „wiedervereinigten“ Jerusalem
nachgedacht wird. Nach Medienberichten kann der Vorstoß Haim
Ramon („Kadima“), auf Teile der Stadt zugunsten der Palästinenser
zu verzichten, bei Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert mit Zustimmung
rechnen.
19.09.2007:
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22 – Chronologie 2007
Das israelische Kabinett beschließt, den Gazastreifen zum
„Feindgebiet” zu erklären, um „Hamas“ zu schwächen und die
militante Gruppe „Islamischer Djihad“ zur Beendigung des
Raketenbeschusses auf israelische Ortschaften zu zwingen. Nach
US-amerikanischen Medienberichten ist Washington im Vorfeld nicht
über die Entscheidung informiert worden. UN-Generalsekretär Ban
Ki-Moon warnt vor einer kollektiven Bestrafung der palästinensischen
Bevölkerung.
Oppositionsführer Benjamin Netanyahu bestätigt in einem Interview
mit dem israelischen Fernsehen, dass er von vornherein in den
Abwurf von Bomben auf eine syrische Militäranlage am 9.
September eingeweiht gewesen sei. Die Aussage wird von Seiten
der Regierung als Geheimnisbruch scharf kritisiert.
Auf ihrem Flug von Washington nach Israel verlangt USAußenministerin Condoleezza Rice Fortschritte bei der Vorbereitung
der für Mitte November geplanten Nahostkonferenz. Es gehe nicht
an, ständig über die Zweistaatenlösung zu sprechen. Rice bezieht
sich mit ihrer Kritik auf Ehud Olmerts Absicht, mit Machmud Abbas
lediglich eine gemeinsame Absichtserklärung zu unterschreiben,
während Abbas auf einer „Prinzipienerklärung“ besteht.
In Beirut wird der libanesische Abgeordnete Antoine Ghanem von
der Phalange-Partei durch die Explosion einer Autobombe ermordet.
Mit ihm kommen zwei Leibwächter und zwei Passanten ums Leben.
Ghanem ist der achte Politiker der antisyrischen Mehrheit im
Parlament, der einem Anschlag zum Opfer fällt.
Nach Presseberichten ist im Juli eine mit Senfgas bestückte Scud-CRakete in einer syrischen Militäranlage explodiert, bei der 15
Personen getötet worden sein sollen.
12.09.2007:
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23 – Chronologie 2007
Der Bundestag stimmt der Verlängerung des UNIFIL-Mandats in
Libanon mit 441 gegen 126 Stimmen bei vier Enthaltungen zu. Nur
die FDP und „Die Linke“ bleiben bei ihrem Nein.
10.09.2007:
Israels Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert und der palästinensische
Präsident Machmud Abbas kommen in Olmerts Jerusalemer
Resident zu einem zweistündigen Gespräch erneut zusammen. Sie
benennen Verhandlungsteams zur Klärung von Einzelfragen ─
Kommunikation, Sicherheit, Wirtschaft – im Hinblick auf die
internationale Friedenskonferenz im November.
06.09.2007:
Israelische Kampfflugzeuge bombardieren in der syrischen Wüste
eine Militäranlage, in der nach US-amerikanischen Erkenntnissen
Atomwaffen gebaut würden.
02.09.2007:
Der palästinensische Präsident Machmud Abbas schließt per Dekret
die Teilnahme von „Hamas“ bei den nächsten Parlamentswahlen
aus. Alle Kandidaten, heißt es, müssten die PLO als einzige legitime
Repräsentantin des palästinensischen Volkes anerkennen. „Hamas“
gehört dieser Dachorganisation unterschiedlicher Gruppen und
Parteien nicht an. Während Vertreter von „Hamas“ betont, dass nur
das Parlament einen solchen Beschluss fassen dürfe, weist Abbas
darauf hin, dass es seit langem nicht mehr funktionstüchtig sei.
Einheiten der libanesischen Armee besetzen den Rest des
palästinensischen Flüchtlingslagers Nahr el-Bared in der Nähe von
Tripoli, das seit Monaten von der Gruppe „Fatah al-Islam“ besetzt
war. Ministerpräsident Fuad Siniora spricht von einem „großen
nationalen Sieg“.
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24 – Chronologie 2007
August 2007
28.08.2007:
Entwicklungsministerin Heidi Wieczorek-Zeul unterzeichnet in
Damaskus ein Abkommen, wonach die Bundesrepublik Deutschland
34 Millionen Euro als Finanzhilfe und weitere zehn Millionen für die
technische Zusammenarbeit bis 2009 zahlen will. Weitere vier
Millionen Euro stellt die deutsche Ministerin für die Integration
irakischer Flüchtlinge in Syrien in Aussicht. Gleichzeitig berichten
Medien über die zunehmende Drangsalierung von syrischen
Dissidenten.
Israel verringert seine Truppenpräsenz auf den Golanhöhen.
27.08.2007:
Seit seinem Amtsantritt im Juni trifft Israels Außenministerin Tsipi
Livni in Jerusalem mit dem palästinensischen Ministerpräsident
Salam Fayyad zum vierten Mal zusammen. Dabei geht es um die
Stärkung der sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Verbindungen. Am selben
Tag verhandeln drei Stunden lang Ehud Omert und Machmud Abbas
in Olmerts Jerusalemer Residenz; es ist ihre dritte Begegnung. Nach
Angaben von Abbas’ Berater Saeb Erakat werden die
entscheidenden Probleme „Grenzen“, „Flüchtlinge“ und „Jerusalem“
nicht angesprochen. Dagegen berichtet der israelische
Regierungssprecher David Baker von Verhandlungen über
„grundlegende Probleme“.
13.08.2007:
Bei den parteiinternen Wahlen um den Vorsatz im „Likud” setzt sich
Benjamin Netanyahu mit 73,2 Prozent gegen seine Konkurrenten
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25 – Chronologie 2007
Moshe Feiglin und Danny Danon durch. Die Wahlbeteiligung liegt bei
vierzig Prozent.
06.08.2007:
Zum ersten Mal seit der Ära Barak-Arafat empfängt Präsident
Machmud Abbas in Jericho Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert. Die
Begegnung dauert mehr als drei Stunden. In seiner
Begrüßungsansprache betont Olmert, dass er gekommen sei, um
„ausstehende fundamentale Fragen“ mit Abbas zu diskutieren. „Es
ist unser gemeinsames Ziel, eine miteinander getragene Vision für
die Schaffung zweier Staaten für zwei Völker Seite an Seite in
Frieden und Sicherheit zu schaffen“, und zwar „so schnell wie
möglich“, erklärt Olmert. Berater sprechen von einem „Gerippe“ für
einen künftigen Vertrag, das bei der internationalen Konferenz im
November 2007 präsentiert werden soll. Dagegen betont
Regierungssprecher David Baker, dass die Gespräche dazu dienen
sollten, Vertrauen zu schaffen, auf das man aufbauen könne. Das
nächste Treffen soll in zwei Wochen stattfinden.
Juli 2007
31.07.2007:
Nach einem Bericht von Danny Rubinstein in „Haaretz“ können in
rund 20.000 Fällen palästinensische Eltern und Familien in OstJerusalem nicht mit ihren Angehörigen in der Westbank
zusammenleben, ohne dass sie ihr Wohnrecht in der Stadt verlieren.
26.07.2007:
Nach seinem Treffen mit dem „Meretz“-Vorsitzenden Yossi Beilin in
Ramallah äußert Machmud Abbas die Hoffnung, innerhalb des
Jahres 2008 werde es zu einem Friedensvertrag mit Israel kommen.
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26 – Chronologie 2007
Diese Erwartung, so die Zeitung „Maariv“, hätten ihm George W.
Bush und Condoleezza Rice bestätigt. Nach Zeitungsberichten soll
Abbas bei dem Gespräch mit Beilin die neue politische Plattform
erläutert haben, die erstmals auf das Mittel des bewaffneten
Kampfes zur Errichtung des palästinensischen Staates verzichtet.
Das Dokument wird am 27. Juli von Ministerpräsident Salam Fayyad
der Öffentlichkeit vorgestellt18.
Der Nationale Sicherheitsberater und Sekretär des Nationalen
Sicherheitsrates, Mohammed Dachlan, tritt zurück.
In Jerusalem stellt der Milliardär Arkadi Gaydamak die von ihm
gegründete „Bewegung für soziale Gerechtigkeit“ vor. Gegen
Gaydamek liegt seit 2000 auf Veranlassung der französischen Justiz
ein internationaler Haftbefehl wegen Steuerhinterziehung und die
Verwicklung in illegalen Waffenhandel vor.
Zwei Tage nach der Freilassung von seit acht Jahren in libyschen
Gefängnissen festgehaltenen bulgarischen Krankenschwestern und
einen palästinensischen Arzt unterzeichnen Frankreichs Präsident
Nicolas Sarkozy und der libysche Präsident Muammar Gaddafi in
Tripoli ein geheimes „Memorandum über die Kooperation zur
friedlichen Nutzung der Kernenergie“. Danach soll in der Nähe von
Tripoli mit dem Bau eines Reaktors begonnen werden. Der Pariser
Vorstoß löst unter den EU-Partnern kritische Kommentare aus.
25.07.2007:
Erstmals besuchen im Auftrag der Arabischen Liga der ägyptische
Außenminister Achmad Abul Gheit und sein jordanischer Kollege
Abdelelah al-Khatib Israel und werben in Gesprächen mit
Staatspräsident Shimon Peres, Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert,
Außenministerin Tsipi Livni und Oppositionsführer Benjamin
Netanyahu für den Friedensplan der Arabischen Liga vom März
2002, der genau fünf Jahre später in Riyadh bestätigt wurde.
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27 – Chronologie 2007
16.07.2007:
Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert und Präsident Machmud Abbas
treffen im Jerusalemer Amtssitz von Olmert zu dem seit langem
vereinbarten Gespräch zusammen. Grundlegende Ergebnisse sind
nach dem zweistündigen Gespräch nicht erkennbar. Olmert sagt die
beschleunigte Freilassung von 256 palästinensischen Häftlingen zu,
außerdem soll für 178 gesuchte Angehörige der „Al-Aqza“-Brigaden
und anderer palästinensischer Verbände eine Amnestie erlassen
werden. Der palästinensische Minister für GefangenenAngelegenheiten Ashraf Eid al-Ajrami bedauert, dass es sich bei den
Freizulassenden um nur Personen mit Kurzstrafen handele. Am 20.
Juli lassen die israelischen Behörden 255 Palästinenser frei.
Die Knesset wählt Shimon Peres zum neunten Präsidenten des
Staates Israel. An die Stelle von Peres als stellvertretender
Ministerpräsident tritt der frühere Justizminister Haim Ramon.
US-Präsident George W. Bush wiederholt in Washington seine
Vision einer Zweistaatenlösung in Grenzen, die „frühere Verläufe
und gegenwärtige Realitäten“ widerspiegeln, kündigt die
Unterstützung von Präsident Machmud Abbas und Ministerpräsident
Salam Fayyad an, begrüßt die Rolle von Tony Blair als neuem
„Quartett“-Repräsentanten, dessen Aufgaben er mit dem Aufbau von
Institutionen für den lebensfähigen und territorial
zusammenhängenden palästinensischen Staat, der Entwicklung
eines gesunden Finanzsystems und der Geltung des Gesetzes
bezeichnet. Schließlich fordert Bush die internationale Gemeinschaft
zu mehr Anstrengungen für den Frieden auf und kündigt ein
regionales Friedenstreffen („international meeting“) unter Leitung von
Außenministerin Condoleezza Rice für den Herbst an. Die
ursprünglich für den 25. Juni geplante Ansprache war wegen der
innerpalästinensischen Auseinandersetzungen im Gazastreifen
19
verschoben worden .
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28 – Chronologie 2007
Mai 2007
31.05.2007:
Die frühere Beauftragte für Sonderaufgaben im Amt des
Generalstaatsanwaltes, Talia Sasson, äußert in einem Beitrag für
„Haaretz“ Bedenken gegen die Änderung des Eides bei der
Einführung von Knesset-Abgeordneten. Während er bisher lautet
„Ich schwöre, gegenüber dem Staat Israel loyal zu sein und in gutem
Glauben meine Aufgaben in der Knesset zu erfüllen“, solle er wie
folgt geändert werden: „Ich schwöre, gegenüber dem jüdischen und
demokratischen Staat Israel loyal zu sein, gegenüber seinen Werten
und Symbolen sowie in gutem Glauben meine Aufgaben in der
Knesset zu erfüllen.“ Sollte die neue Formel angenommen werden,
so Sasson, würden die arabischen Abgeordneten ausgeschlossen
und die arabische Bevölkerung, die sie vertreten, weiter entfremdet
werden. Damit würde Israel als demokratischem Staat und seiner
internationalen Reputation zusätzlich geschadet werden20.
Der diplomatische Korrespondent von „Haaretz“, Aluf Benn, berichtet
von ernsthaften Bemühungen der israelischen Regierung, über eine
dritte Partei Friedensverhandlungen mit Syrien anzubahnen. Benn
zitiert dabei Äußerungen von Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert im
kleinen Kreis21.
Anlässlich der scharfen Sicherheitsmaßnahmen aus Anlass des G-8Gipfels in Heiligendamm (Ostsee) zählt Burkhard Müller in der
„Süddeutschen Zeitung“ die Plätze auf dem Globus, an denen Zäune
und Mauern die Nachbarn voneinander trennen sollen: Israel und
Palästina; Syrien und die Türkei; Irak und Iran; Iran und Pakistan;
Pakistan und Afghanistan; Indien und Pakistan; Indien und Birma;
Birma und Thailand; Nord- und Südkorea. Außerdem zögen die USA
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29 – Chronologie 2007
im Innern Iraks Zäune und Mauern, um die verfeindeten Gruppen im
Lande auseinanderzuhalten.
30.05.2007:
Das Nahost-Quartett veröffentlicht nach Beratungen in Berlin ein
Kommuniqué, in dem es seine tiefe Besorgnis über die Gewalt im
Gazastreifen ausdrückt und alle Palästinenser zum Gewaltverzicht
und zur Waffenruhe auffordert. Gleichzeitig verurteilt das Quartett
den „Qassam“-Beschuss auf den Süden Israels und die Aufrüstung
von „Hamas“ und anderen Terrorgruppen. Präsident Machmud
Abbas wird aufgefordert, Ruhe und Ordnung wiederherzustellen.
Das Quartett verlangt von Israel, bei seinen Gegenangriffen
Zurückhaltung gegenüber der Zivilbevölkerung und der Infrastruktur
zu üben, und bringt seine „besonderen Sorgen“ über die Festnahme
von palästinensischen Abgeordneten zum Ausdruck. Darüber hinaus
begrüßt das Quartett den fortgesetzten Dialog zwischen Ehud Olmert
und Abbas und unterstützt die US-amerikanischen Bemühungen, die
Sicherheit, die Bewegungsfreiheit und die „Zugangsfragen“ –
gemeint sein dürften die Öffnung der Übergänge Karni und Rafach
im Gazastreifen – zu fördern. Die Palästinenser sollten wissen, dass
ihr Staat lebensfähig sein werde, und die Israelis sollten wissen,
dass ein künftiger Staat Palästina eine „Quelle der Sicherheit und
nicht der Bedrohung“ sein werde. Abschließend heißt das Quartett
die Bestätigung der arabischen Friedensinitiative am 28. März in
Riyadh willkommen, die im Rahmen der „Road Map“ ein
lebenswichtiges Element bei den internationalen Bemühungen um
einen regionalen Frieden darstelle. Die Mitglieder des Quartetts
kündigen für Juni ein Treffen mit Israelis und Palästinensern an,
wobei die erzielten Fortschritte überprüft und weitere Schritte
diskutiert werden sollen22.
Der palästinensische Informationsminister Mustafa Barghouti
(unabhängig) verwahrt sich in einer Pressekonferenz in Ramallah
scharf gegen den Vorschlag von „Meretz/Yachad“, im Gazastreifen
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30 – Chronologie 2007
eine internationale Truppe unter Aufsicht der Arabischen Liga zu
stationieren. Diese Empfehlung verstoße gegen das Recht der
Palästinenser, über ihr eigenes Schicksal zu entscheiden, und gegen
das Prinzip der Staatsbildung.
Shimon Peres, einer der stellvertretenden Ministerpräsidenten, gibt
seine Kandidatur für das Amt des israelischen Staatspräsidenten
bekannt. Die Wahl findet in der Knesset am 12. Juni statt.
Amtsinhaber Moshe Katzav lässt die Geschäfte ruhen, seitdem ihm
die sexuelle Nötigung früherer Mitarbeiterinnen und die Annahme
von Schmiergeldern vorgeworfen werden.
Die israelische Tageszeitung „Maariv (Abend)“ veröffentlicht die
Ergebnisse einer Umfrage, wonach 86 Prozent der israelischen
Bevölkerung nicht bereit sind, auf die „Klagemauer“ in der
Jerusalemer Altstadt im Austausch für den Frieden zu verzichten. 53
Prozent sprechen sich gegen die Rückgabe großer Teile der
Westbank an die Palästinenser aus, 46 Prozent sind dafür. 86
Prozent glauben nicht daran, dass die gegenwärtige Regierung den
Friedensprozess mit Syrien einschließlich der Rückgabe der
Golanhöhen unter der Voraussetzung eines Friedensvertrages
fördern werde, acht Prozent sind davon überzeugt.
Die Vertreter des Verbandes der britischen Dozenten beschließen
auf ihrer Jahrestagung im Badeort Bournemouth mit 158 gegen 99
Stimmen einen Antrag, ihren Mitgliedern in den kommenden zwölf
Monaten den Boykott akademischer Einrichtungen in Israel zu
empfehlen, die die Besatzung unterstützen. Darüber hinaus wird der
Verband aufgefordert, über die Europäische Union ein Moratorium
über Israel bei der Zusammenarbeit in Forschung und Kultur
durchzusetzen und die Förderung seitens des Europäischen
Wissenschaftsfonds einzustellen, bis sich Israel an UN-Resolutionen
halte. Am 31. Mai berichten mehrere Medien, dass die britische
Gewerkschaft des öffentlichen Dienstes (UNISON) für ihre
Jahrestagung Mitte Juni in Brighton ebenfalls einen Boykottaufruf
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31 – Chronologie 2007
vorbereite, auch wenn ein solcher Beschluss vorwiegend
symbolischen Charakter haben werde. In einem Beitrag begründet
Daniel Levy, der im israelischen Team der „Genfer Initiative“ für
den juristischen Feinschliff dieses Friedensvertragsentwurfs sorgte,
seine Ablehnung des Boykotts: Ein Boykott solle entweder den Staat
Israel delegitimieren oder er sei ein grundlegendes Missverständnis
dessen, wie man im Nahen Osten Frieden erreichen, die Okkupation
beenden sowie für Palästinenser und Israelis Sicherheit durchsetzen
könne. Die Befürworter des Boykotts sollten wissen, schreibt Levy,
dass ein Naher Osten ohne Israel auf ein Rezept hinauslaufe, das
auf Generationen des Blutvergießens mit Unrecht bedeute und auf
den Widerstand der großen Mehrheit der Juden in der Welt
hinauslaufe. Deshalb würden viele palästinensischen Führer eine
Zweistaatenregelung befürworten und die Förderung des Boykotts
niedrig hängen. Die Beendigung der Okkupation und die
Realisierung eines lebensfähigen und unabhängigen
palästinensischen Staates würden einen Staat Israel als Partner
brauchen. Wenn Israelis die Welt als unabänderlich feindlich gesinnt
betrachteten, was durch den Boykott bestärkt werde, werde auch die
künftige internationale Rolle bei der Beendigung des Konflikts weiter
geschwächt. Es sei effektiver, die legitimen israelischen Sorgen und
Wünsche zu verstehen und gleichzeitig keinen Zentimeter im Blick
auf die Illegitimität und die kontraproduktive Natur der Okkupation
abzuweichen23.
Nathan Guttman berichtet in der US-amerikanisch-jüdischen Zeitung
„Forward“ von Bemühungen, die großen jüdischen
Friedensorganisationen in den USA „Peace Now“, „Israel Policy
Forum“ und „Brit Tzedek v’Shalom“ im Herbst unter einem Dach zu
integrieren. Dazu würden zehn Millionen US-Dollar benötigt. Liberale
Beobachter erhoffen sich, so Guttman, von diesem Schritt ein
Gegengewicht zum „American Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)“. Zu
den Organisatoren gehöre auch Daniel Levy24.
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32 – Chronologie 2007
Der Sicherheitsrat der Vereinten Nationen beschließt einstimmig bei
fünf Enthaltungen – darunter der Vetomächte China und Russland –
die Einrichtung eines Sondertribunals zur Untersuchung des Mordes
von Rafik Hariri. Der frühere libanesische Ministerpräsident war am
14. Februar 2005 in Beirut ermordet worden. Der Regierung in Beirut
wird bis zum 10. Juni Zeit gelassen, der Aufforderung
nachzukommen, ansonsten werde der Sicherheitsrat in eigener
Verantwortung tätig werden. Aufgrund der Massenproteste nach
dem Tod Hariris war die syrische Besatzungsmacht zwar gezwungen
worden, ihre Truppen aus Libanon zurückzuziehen, ohne dass
jedoch ihr indirekter Einfluss über ihre Geheimdienste und
Parteigänger vollständig erlosch.
29.05.2007:
In der US-amerikanischen Zeitschrift „The American Prospect“ lässt
der Autor des Buches „The Accidental Empire – Israel and the Birth
of the Settlements, 1967–1977“ (New York 2006), Gershom
Gorenberg, die vergangenen vier Jahrzehnte seit dem
Sechstagekrieg aus der Sicht der israelischen Siedlungspolitik
Revue passieren und zitiert abschließend die Sorgen des früheren
israelischen Botschafters in Berlin, Avi Primor, über den
Imageverlust Israels in Europa: "The only problem we have in our
international standing is the occupation and the settlements," says
Avi Primor, head of the Center for European Studies at the
Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and a former Israeli ambassador
to the European Union. He gives a striking example: After the Oslo
Accords, the EU promised to give Israel "privileged status," under
which it would receive all the benefits of membership except voting
rights. It was an unprecedented offer, and would have had major
economic benefits. The move was frozen following the assassination
of Yitzhak Rabin, revived when Ehud Barak seemed poised to make
peace, and frozen again after the failure at Camp David. In talks with
the Europeans, explains Primor: "They say to you, 'What Israel are
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33 – Chronologie 2007
we talking about, ... what are its borders, who are its residents,
where are its human rights?'"
28.05.2007:
Im ersten Wahlgang der Arbeitspartei für die Neubesetzung des
Vorsitzes setzt sich Ehud Barak mit 35,6 Prozent gegen Ami Ayalon
durch, der 30,6 Prozent erhält. Der bisherige Amtsinhaber,
Verteidigungsminister Amir Peretz, landet mit 22,4 Prozent auf dem
dritten Platz. Auf Ophir Pines-Paz entfallen 8 Prozent vor Danny
Yatom mit 2,7 Prozent. Von den 103.498 Mitgliedern nehmen 65,5
Prozent an den parteiinternen Wahlen teil. Da keiner der Kandidaten
die notwendigen 40 Prozent der abgegebenen Stimmen erreicht,
wird am 12. Juni eine Stichwahl zwischen Barak und Ayalon nötig.
Bei der Jahreskonferenz der israelischen Anwaltskammer in Eilat
geraten Generalstaatsanwalt Menachem Mazouz und Justizminister
Daniel Friedmann über die Frage aneinander, wer über die Wahl des
Generalstaatsanwalts entscheidet. Friedmann plädiert für einen
stärkeren Einfluss der Regierung, während Mazouz auf die
Unabhängigkeit pocht. Der aus dem Amt scheidende Vorsitzende
der Anwaltskammer, Shlomo Cohen, sieht in der
Auseinandersetzung „einen Kulturkampf über den Charakter Israels
als Rechtsstaat“. Der Hauptkommentar von „Haaretz“ verwahrt sich
am 31. Mai gegen Versuche Friedmanns, die Unabhängigkeit der
Rechtspflege auszuhöhlen – auch angesichts der
Korruptionsvorwürfe gegen mehrere Regierungsmitglieder mit Ehud
Omert an der Spitze25.
27.05.2007:
In einem Referendum wird der syrische Präsident Bashar Assad für
eine zweite Amtszeit bestätigt.
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34 – Chronologie 2007
24.05.2007:
Die israelische Armee nimmt 33 hochrangige „Hamas“-Mitglieder in
der Westbank fest, darunter den Erziehungsminister Nasser Eddin
Sha’er, den ehemaligen Kabinettsminister Abdul Rachman Zeidan
(Tulkarem), die Abgeordneten Hamed Bitawi und Daoud Abu Ser,
den Leiter der „Waqf“-Einrichtung in Nablus, Fayad al-Aghbar, sowie
die Bürgermeister Adli Yaish (Nablus), Wajich Qawas (Qalqilya),
Omar Shtayyeh (Tal), Omar Abdul Jedayel (Samou), Omar Hamayel
(al-Bireh) und Arab Shurafa (Beita) sowie weitere hohe Mitarbeiter
von Ministerien und öffentlichen Einrichtungen. Am 24. Mai wird ein
palästinensischer Bauer bei der Arbeit bei Einsätzen der israelischen
Luftwaffe im Gazastreifen getötet. Nach Angaben des
palästinensischen Informationsministers Mustafa Barghouti sind jetzt
41 der 131 Mitglieder des „Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)“
ohne Anklage in Haft, so dass das Parlament funktionsuntüchtig sei.
Am 26. Mai wird außerdem der Kabinettsminister Wafi Kabha
festgenommen. Am 29. Mai nehmen israelische Soldaten in Nablus
Jamal Abdel Hamid Mohammad Tirawi fest, dem vorgeworfen wird,
zum militärischen Arm von „Fatah”, „Tanzim (Organisation)“, zu
gehören, und Leiter der Sicherheitsdienste in der Stadt sein soll.
Tirawi gehört als Abgeordneter dem palästinensischen Parlament
an, dem „Palestinian Legislative Council“.
22.05.2007:
In einer Presseerklärung beklagt die italienische Abgeordnete und
Vizepräsidentin des Europäischen Parlaments Luisa Morgantini
(„Konföderale Fraktion der Vereinigten Europäischen
Linken/Nordische Grüne Linke“) den Ausbruch der Gewalt in
Libanon, der erneut Tausende palästinensische Flüchtlinge der
Kollektivbestrafung durch „Feinde des palästinensischen Volkes –
„Fatah al-Islam“ – zum Opfer fallen würden, um direkt zum
israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt überzugehen und die Politik
26
Israels zu verurteilen .
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35 – Chronologie 2007
21.05.2007:
Washington gibt der Regierung in Jerusalem Grünes Licht für
Verhandlungen mit Syrien über die Golanhöhen,
Sicherheitsmaßnahmen und einen Friedensvertrag. Gleichzeitig
verweigert die US-Administration Israel das Recht auf Gespräche
über Libanon und die US-amerikanische Politik in der Region.
Nach einem Bericht vom Vortag bezweifelt der Hauptkommentar von
„Haaretz“ die Fortgeltung des Primats der Politik gegenüber dem
Militär in der Westbank. Während die Regierung von der
Zweistaatenlösung spreche, finde eine Art Militärputsch statt, der die
Westbank in einen Siedlerstaat verwandle. Die Armee folge ihrer
eigenen Agenda, gegenüber der das Verteidigungsministerium unter
Leitung eines Zivilisten – gemeint ist Amir Peretz – nichts zu sagen
habe. Folgerichtig habe ein Berater des Verteidigungsministers für
die Westbank erklärt, dass die Armee an der diplomatischen Agenda
der Regierung nicht interessiert sei und vor allem als die Armee der
Siedler diene. Dazu gehörten die Ignorierung von Entscheidungen
des Obersten Gerichts und die Unterlassung von Meldungen über
die Zahl der „checkpoints“, so dass die Regierung über die
Erleichterung des palästinensischen Lebens entspannt reden könne.
Das Gerede von Ehud Olmert und Tsipi Livni über die Teilung des
Landes klinge hohler denn je27.
Uzi Benziman bezeichnet in einem Kommentar den Frieden mit
Syrien als den Schlüssel zur Sicherung des Staates Israel. In der
Zeitung „Haaretz“ schreibt Benziman, dass die militärische
Abschreckungsfähigkeit Israels in den vergangenen sechs Jahren
beschädigt worden sei und nicht mehr ausreiche. Auch wenn
Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert seine politische Position damit weiter
schwächen würde, liege es im nationalen Interesse Israels, für den
Frieden mit Damaskus auf die Golanhöhen zu verzichten.
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36 – Chronologie 2007
Im Alter von 67 Jahren stirbt der führende Soziologe an der
Hebräischen Universität in Jerusalem Baruch Kimmerling.
Kimmerling, der sich vor allem durch seine Studien zur extremen
Rechten in Frankreich einen Namen machte, äußerte sich
regelmäßig als Gastkommentator in Tageszeitungen. Zu seinen
auch in deutscher Sprache vorliegenden Büchern gehörte „Politizid.
Ariel Sharons Krieg gegen das palästinensische Volk“ (München
2003). Reuven Kaminer, „Urgestein“ der israelischen
Friedensbewegung und Autor des Buches „The Politics of Protest:
The Israeli Peace Movement and the Palestinian Intifada“ (Brigthon,
U.K., 1996), rühmt in seinem Nachruf Kimmerlings Klarheit des
Denkens, seine Fairness und seine politische Wahrhaftigkeit, die im
scharfen Gegensatz zu den Anfeindungen gestanden habe, denen
er ausgesetzt gewesen sei28.
20.05.2007:
Bei den heftigsten Kämpfen seit dem Ende des libanesischen
Bürgerkrieges im Jahr 1990 sterben seit dem 20. Mai in und um das
palästinensische Flüchtlingslager Nahr al-Bared („Kalter Fluss“)
nördlich der Hafenstadt Tripoli über achtzig Personen, darunter
Soldaten, Islamisten und palästinensische Flüchtlinge. Die Gefechte
brechen aus, nachdem Angehörige der Gruppe „Islamische Fatah“
am 18. Mai einen libanesischen Armeeposten beschossen und einen
Tag später eine Bank überfallen wurde. Der libanesische
Drusenführer und Vorsitzende der „Sozialistischen Fortschrittspartei
(PSP)“ Walid Djumblat beschuldigt Syrien, Terroristen aus dem
Ausland zu „importieren“. Die Rede ist von Saudis, Pakistanis und
Bangladeschis mit Verbindungen zu „al-Qaida“. Am 22. Mai
beschließt das Kabinett in Beirut, „Fatah al-Islam“ zu vernichten.
Der Sicherheitsberater von Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, hält
im Interview mit der Zeitschrift „The American Prospect“ politische
Regelungen im Nahen Osten für möglich, wenn die USA ihre
Ambivalenz aufgeben und die Probleme angehen. Den israelisch-
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37 – Chronologie 2007
palästinensischen Konflikt bezeichnet Brzezinski als lösungsreif,
wenn Washington einen Abschluss verfolge, den beide Seiten nicht
wollten. Kein Frieden sei möglich, wenn Israel die Kontrolle über den
arabischen Teil Jerusalems aufrecht erhalte. Die „Genfer Initiative“
habe die belangvollste Vorlage für eine Lösung vorgelegt. Europa
werde nur dann eine politische Rolle spielen, wenn es mit den USA
zusammenarbeite, dabei aber auf einer gemeinsamen Politik und
einer gemeinsam getragenen Verantwortung bestehe. Der Krieg in
Irak, der auch Regelungen im israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt
beschädigt habe, habe den lebensfähigsten und modernsten
arabischen Staat zerstört. Hinzu kämen die islamophobische
Rhetorik von George W. Bush sowie die religiösen und rassistischen
Tonlagen in den US-Medien, die ihn, Brzezinski, an die Diffamierung
29
der Juden in Nazi-Deutschland erinnerten .
19.05.2007:
Der für den juristischen Feinschliff der „Genfer Initiative“ auf
israelischer Seite verantwortliche Daniel Levy, der gegenwärtig in
Washington, D.C., arbeitet, beklagt im „Guardian“ die Untätigkeit der
Europäischen Union, die das Engagement den beiden Nicht-EULändern Schweiz und Norwegen überlasse. Da Europa vor der
Haustür des Gazastreifens liege, wirkten die dortigen Ereignisse auf
die moslemischen Gemeinschaften in Europa zurück. Schon deshalb
sei die EU zum politischen Handeln aufgefordert30.
18.05.2007:
Angesichts der israelischen Luftangriffe im Gazastreifen, nachdem
mehr als 45 „Qassam“-Raketen auf die Stadt Sderot niedergingen,
vereinbaren „Fatah“ und „Hamas“ das Ende ihrer gewaltsamen
Auseinandersetzungen. Die Waffenruhe hält nicht. Israelische
Kampfflugzeuge fliegen weiter Angriffe auf vermeintliche „Hamas“Ziele, bei denen viele Zivilisten ums Leben kommen. Am 21. Mai
stirbt eine 32jährige Frau in Sderot in ihrem Auto durch einen
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38 – Chronologie 2007
Schrapnell-Beschuss aus dem Gazastreifen. Dort kündigt „Hamas“
als Antwort auf die „gezielte Tötung“ von Familienangehörigen des
„Hamas“-Abgeordneten al-Haja, bei dem dieser nicht zu Schaden
kommt, die Rückkehr zu Selbstmordattentaten in Israel an. Am 27.
Mai stirbt ein weiterer Israeli in Sderot durch Schrapnell-Beschuss.
Der jordanische König Abdullah II. bezeichnet vor tausend
geladenen Politikern und Geschäftsleuten beim „World Economic
Forum“ in Petra am Toten Meer das Leiden der Palästinenser unter
israelischer Besatzung als unerträglich. Ministerpräsident Ehud
Olmert fordert bei dieser Gelegenheit die Regierungen der
Arabischen Liga zu Gesprächen „ohne Vorbedingungen“ auf. In
gleicher Weise äußert sich Olmerts Stellvertreter Shimon Peres und
kündigt einen Gegenplan zur Erklärung der Arabischen Liga vom
März 2002 und Riyadh vom März 2007 an, ohne ihn näher zu
erläutern. Daraufhin ruft ihm der palästinensische Chefunterhändler
Saeb Erakat zu, dass die Verhandlungen vorüber seien und nun die
Zeit für Entscheidungen gekommen sei.
17.05.2007:
Bradley Burston räumt in „Haaretz“ ein, dass die Redaktion des
Blattes große Hoffnungen darauf gesetzt habe, in ihrer InternetAusgabe Lesern die Möglichkeit einzuräumen, auf Nachrichten und
Beiträge spontan zu reagieren. Mittlerweile habe sich herausgestellt,
dass diese Chance zu giftigen Bosheiten, rassistischen
Beleidigungen, heftigen Wutanfällen und zur Aufforderung zur
Gewalt missbraucht werde, die ernsthafte Leser abschreckten. Die
Reaktionen stünden im krassen Widerspruch zu den humanistischen
Werten wie Respekt, Würde des Menschen und Offenheit
gegenüber anderen. In derselben Richtung wie Burston äußert sich
am 21. Mai Gershon Baskin in der „Jerusalem Post“. Der Autor,
neben Hanna Siniora Leiter des „Israel-Palestine Center for
Research and Information (IPCRI)“, vermutet hinter der aggressiven
Resonanz auf seine zweiwöchentlichen Beiträge in dieser Zeitung
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39 – Chronologie 2007
entweder die Opposition gegen jegliche Existenz des
palästinensischen Volkes, die Leugnung eines zweiten Volkes oder
die Verweigerung gleicher Rechte für die arabisch-palästinensische
Minderheit in Israel selbst. Hinter jedem dieser Fälle verberge sich
die abenteuerliche Idee eines „freiwilligen Transfer“ der
Palästinenser, wenn man ihnen das Leben nur unerträglich genug
mache. Sollte sich die Zweistaatenlösung erledigen, wäre auch das
Konzept Israels als demokratischer Staat beendet. „Nach vierzig
Jahren Besatzung ist die Zeit für uns alle gekommen, befreit zu
werden“, schließt Baskin seinen Beitrag31.
Der frühere US-amerikanische Botschafter in Ägypten und Israel,
Dan Kurtzer, der heute an der „Woodrow Wilson School of Public
and International Affairs“ in Princeton lehrt, beklagt in einem Beitrag
für die Website „bitterlemons“, dass US-Präsident George W. Bush
die Gelegenheit nach dem Tode von Yasser Arafat habe
verstreichen lassen, sich energischer um den Endstatus im
israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt zu bemühen. Stattdessen
kümmere sich seine Regierung um nachgeordnete Probleme, statt
die Chancen im Zuge der Erklärung der arabischen Gipfelkonferenz
von Riyadh ernst zu nehmen. Nach den Präsidentschaftswahlen im
November 2008 stünden die USA vor der Alternative, allein in die
bilateralen Verhandlungen zwischen Israelis und Palästinensern zu
gehen oder eine dritte Partei zu finden, die die Früchte der USA
erntet32.
16.05.2007:
Seit dem 11. Mai sind in Gaza Dutzende Palästinenser in Kämpfen
zwischen „Fatah“- und „Hamas“-Anhängern getötet worden. Die
Auseinandersetzungen halten an, so dass befürchtet wird, dass die
innerpalästinensische Vereinbarung von Mekka vom 8. Februar
keinen Bestand haben werde33. Der Generalsekretär von „Fatah“,
der in Tunis residierende Faruk Kaddumi, fordert „Hamas“ auf, die
Regierung der nationalen Einheit zu verlassen, und macht ihre
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40 – Chronologie 2007
Führung für die Toten verantwortlich. Die syrische Regierung
verlangt von beiden Seiten, sich an die Vereinbarung von Mekka zu
halten. Ägyptens Präsident Hosni Mubarak distanziert sich von
„Hamas“: Mit ihr werde es keinen israelisch-palästinensischen
Frieden geben, wenn sie an der Macht bleibe.
15.05.2007:
Aus Anlass des „Nakba-Tages“ – der Erinnerung an die
„Katastrophe“ der palästinensischen Flüchtlinge 1947/48 –
veröffentlicht eine Gruppe von israelisch-arabischen Intellektuellen
eine „Haifa-Deklaration“, in der sie Israel auffordert, ein Staat mit
„nationaler Gleichberechtigung“ zwischen Juden und Arabern zu
werden. Die Deklaration, die nicht von der islamischen Bewegung in
Israel mitgetragen wird, ist die vierte ihrer Art in den vergangenen
Monaten34.
14.05.2007:
Der palästinensische Innenminister Hani Qawasmeh (unabhängig)
tritt aufgrund der gewalttätigen Eskalation im Gazastreifen zurück,
nachdem er am 23. April schon einmal diesen Schritt angekündigt,
aber die Autonomiebehörde den Rücktritt ablehnte. Ministerpräsident
Ismail Haniyeh übernimmt interimistisch das Innenressort.
Unter dem Eindruck der anhaltenden Gewalt im Gazastreifen kündigt
die EU-Außenkommissarin Benita Ferrero-Waldner die mögliche
Wiederaufnahme der direkten europäischen Finanzhilfen für die
Palästinensische Autonomiebehörde an. Die Kolumnistin Amira Hass
berichtet in „Haaretz“, dass sich nach Angaben des „UN Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)“ die auswärtigen
Zuwendungen für die Palästinensische Autonomiebehörde im Jahr
2006 auf 900 Millionen US-Dollar gegenüber dem Vorjahr mit 349
Millionen US-Dollar erhöht hätten, und zwar mittels des „Temporary
35
International Mechanism (TIM)“
oder über ein Konto bei Präsident
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41 – Chronologie 2007
Machmud Abbas. Der größte Zuwendungsgeber sei mit 448
Millionen US-Dollar die Arabische Liga gewesen, gefolgt von der
Europäischen Union mit 219 Millionen US-Dollar und 42 Millionen
US-Dollar der Weltbank. Außerdem seien rund 180 Millionen USDollar bar in die palästinensischen Gebiete geschmuggelt worden.
Die „New York Times“ berichtet, dass das Internationale Komitee
vom Roten Kreuz in einem vertraulichen Brief dagegen protestiert
habe, dass Israel gegenüber Ost-Jerusalem und seinem Umland
durch die Trennungsmauer, den Bau eines äußeren Siedlungsrings
jenseits der Stadtgrenzen und der Schaffung eines dichten
Straßennetzes, das die verschiedenen israelischen Ortsteile und
Siedlungen innerhalb und außerhalb Jerusalems miteinander
verbinde, eine allgemeine Nichtachtung seiner Verpflichtungen
gemäß dem internationalen Menschenrecht an den Tag lege.
Dadurch würden die Verbindungen der Palästinenser in Jerusalem
und in der Westbank abgeschnitten und der Zugang aus der
Westbank zu Schulen und Krankenhäusern in der Stadt erschwert.
Der Sprecher des Auswärtigen Amtes Mark Regev weist die
Behauptung zurück, dass Ost-Jerusalem besetztes Territorium sei.
Nach der Annexion von 1967 wäre allen Palästinensern die
Stadtbürgerschaft angeboten worden. Der Korrespondent der „New
York Times“ in Jerusalem, Steven Erlanger, bestätigt, dass es für
Palästinenser aus der Westbank fast unmöglich sei, nach Jerusalem
zu gelangen, wenn sie nicht dort geboren seien. Selbst Besuche
müssten beantragt werden. Das natürliche Wachstum und die
Beschränkungen bei den Baut neuer Häuser bedeuteten, dass große
Familien oft in sehr kleinen Wohnungen leben müssten.
Ebenfalls in der „New York Times“ berichtet Nicholas D. Kristof von
einem vollständigen Friedensplan, den Iran im Mai 2003 als
Geheimpapier den USA übermittelt habe, der jedoch von der BushAdministration „getötet“ worden sei, obwohl er die USamerikanischen Sorgen vor einer nuklearen Aufrüstung, vor dem
Terrorismus und vor Irak angesprochen habe: „volle Offenlegung“
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42 – Chronologie 2007
des iranischen Nuklearprogramms, „Ende jeder materiellen
Unterstützung der palästinensischen Oppositionsgruppen“ und Druck
auf „Hamas“, die Gewalt gegen israelische Zivilisten – nicht jedoch in
den besetzten Gebieten – zu beenden, „aktive iranische Hilfe bei der
Stabilisierung Iraks“, Unterstützung beim Übergang der „Hisbollah“ in
eine politische Organisation sowie Übernahme der Erklärung der
arabischen Gipfelkonferenz vom März 2002 zur Beendigung des
israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikts. Im Gegenzug habe Teheran
„gegenseitigen Respekt“, die Aufhebung des Boykotts, den Zugang
zur Nukleartechnologie für friedliche Zwecke und eine USamerikanische Erklärung verlangt, dass Iran nicht zur „Achse des
Bösen“ gehöre36.
Der am Londoner St. Anthony’s College lehrende israelische
Historiker Avi Shlaim bezeichnet die Nahostpolitik des Ende Juni aus
dem Amt scheidenden Premiers Tony Blair als „einen katastrophalen
Fehlschlag“. Damit habe Blair mitgeholfen, die von Großbritannien
beanspruchte Brückenfunktion zwischen Europa und den USA zu
zerstören. Seine Unterstützung der neokonservativen Agenda im Irak
sei unkritisch und bedingungslos gewesen. Dabei habe Blair nicht
verstanden, dass die besonderen Beziehungen Washingtons nicht
Großbritannien, sondern Israel gelten würden, so dass der Premier
gegenüber den USA alle Konzessionen gemacht habe, ohne etwas
dafür zu erhalten. Bush habe argumentiert, dass der Krieg in Irak die
Palästinenser schwächen und sie zwingen würde, eine Regelung zu
Israels Bedingungen zu akzeptieren, der Weg nach Jerusalem also
über Bagdad verlaufe. Das wirkliche Problem sei jedoch Israels
Besatzung und deren Unterstützung durch die USA. Darüber hinaus
habe der Sturz des Baath-Regimes das Problem des Terrorismus
nur verschärft37.
13.05.2007:
Die geplante Begegnung zwischen dem jordanischen König Abdullah
II. und dem palästinensischen Präsidenten Machmud Abbas in
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43 – Chronologie 2007
Jericho wird angeblich wegen schlechten Wetters abgesagt, solle
jedoch nachgeholt werden. Das Treffen wurde im Vorfeld des für
diese Woche vorgesehenen Besuchs der ägyptischen und
jordanischen Außenminister in Jerusalem vereinbart. Am 24. Mai
meldet „Haaretz“, dass die Arabische Liga Jordanien damit
beauftragt habe, im Namen der Arabischen Liga die Gespräche mit
Israel zu führen. König Abdullah II. habe gegenüber Palästinensern
betont, dass er keine Ambitionen in der Westbank verfolge und
einen unabhängigen palästinensischen Staat wünsche.
Die israelische Außenministerin Tsipi Livni verteidigt in einem
Interview mit der ägyptischen Zeitung „al-Ahram („Die Pyramiden)“
ihre Begegnung mit dem Präsidenten des italienischen Parlaments
Fausto Bertinotti am 7. Mai in Jerusalem und wiederholt unter
mehrfacher Betonung, dass sie als Repräsentantin der Mehrheit des
israelischen Volkes für die Teilung des Landes zwischen dem
Mittelmeer und dem Jordan in zwei Staaten eintrete und dass die
Umsetzung dieses Ziels bislang am palästinensischen Terrorismus
gescheitert sei. Dennoch werde der Rückzug aus dem Gazastreifen
nicht der letzte Schritt sein38.
Sprecher der israelischen Regierung verwahren sich gegen
Vermutungen, dass Hubert Vedrine zum neuen französischen
Außenminister in der Regierung von François Fillion ernannt wird.
Vedrine sei für Israel einer der schlimmsten Außenminister gewesen
und bleibe dies auch heute. Am 18. Mai wird der frühere
Gesundheitsminister Bernard Kouchner, der zu den Mitbegründern
der Hilfsorganisation „Ärzte ohne Grenzen“ in Frankreich gehörte,
zum neuen Außenminister ernannt. Seine Sozialistische Partei droht
daraufhin, Kouchner aus der Partei zu stoßen.
12.05.2007:
Die deutsche EU-Präsidentschaft teilt dem israelischen
Außenministerium mit, dass die europäischen Botschafter nicht an
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44 – Chronologie 2007
den Feierlichkeiten zum vierzigsten Jahrestag der „Vereinigung
Jerusalems“ – dem „Jerusalem-Tag“ – in der Knesset am 13. Mai
teilnehmen werden. Wie die arabischen Parteien weigert sich auch
der Vorsitzende von „Meretz/Yachad“, Yossi Beilin, an der
Zeremonie in der Knesset teilzunehmen: „Ich möchte mich nicht
selbst belügen und an dieser merkwürdigen Veranstaltung
teilnehmen, die die Vereinigung von Jerusalem ehrt, die nie
stattgefunden hat.“ Auch der US-amerikanische Botschafter will nicht
kommen. Hintergrund der Weigerungen sind die USTeilungsresolution 181 von 1947, die für Jerusalem den Status eines
„corpus separatum“ vorsah und die Annexion des arabischen Teils
der Stadt durch Israel nach 1967. Der bis dahin unbekannte
Abgeordnete Yoel Hasson („Kadima“) verwahrt sich am 13. Mai in
einem Offenen Brief an den deutschen Botschafter Harald
Kindermann gegen die „Respektlosigkeit“ der Absage und verbindet
seinen Protest mit der Shoah: „Die Europäische Union und die
deutsche Regierung könnten,“ so schreibt er, „eine historische
Gelegenheit wahrnehmen, Fehler der Vergangenheit zu
korrigieren39.“ Der Hauptkommentar von „Haaretz“ erinnert am 16.
Mai daran, dass ein Drittel der Gesamtbevölkerung Jerusalems – die
Palästinenser – Bürger zweier Klasse seien oder – schlimmer noch –
in israelischen Augen ein „demographisches Problem“ darstellten.
Ministerpräsident Ehud Barak sei der erste gewesen, der eine
Teilung der Stadt gemäß den „Clinton-Parametern“ vom Dezember
2000 vorgeschlagen habe, gefolgt von der „Genfer Initiative“ und
der Arabischen Friedensinitiative vom März 200240. Nach einer
Umfrage lehnen 96 Prozent der Israelis den Verzicht auf die
westliche Umgehungsmauer des ehemaligen Tempelbezirks
(„Klagemauer“) selbst im Zuge eines dauerhaften Friedens ab.
Dagegen würden 43 Prozent auf das arabische Ost-Jerusalem
verzichten – derselbe Prozentsatz, der sich dagegen ausspreche. 84
Prozent glauben nicht an einen Frieden mit den Palästinensern41.
10.05.2007:
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45 – Chronologie 2007
Die „Jerusalem Post“ und „Haaretz“ berichten von einem
Positionspapier des Auswärtigen Amtes in Jerusalem, in dem die
Friedensabsichten des syrischen Präsidenten Bashar Assad als
ernsthaft bezeichnet werden, wenn sich Israel nicht länger gegen
Verhandlungen sperre. Gleichzeitig meldet die „Jerusalem Post“,
dass der Kommandeur der „UN Disengagement Observer Force
(UNDOF)“ entlang der israelisch-syrischen Grenze auf dem
Golanhöhen, der österreichische Generalmajor Wolfgang Jilke,
israelische Behauptungen zurückgewiesen habe, dass Syrien auf
dem Höhenzug militärisch aufrüste; auf der israelischen Seite seien
die Aktivitäten des Militärs größer. Am 7. Mai habe der Vorsitzende
des israelischen „Nationalen Sicherheitsrates“ Ilan Mizrachi, vor dem
Auswärtigen und Sicherheitsausschuss der Knesset erklärt, dass der
syrische Ruf nach Friedensgesprächen authentisch sei. Aus dem
Verteidigungsministerium verlaute, so „Haaretz“, dass die
Einmischung von „Bürokraten“ – gemeint seien die Angehörigen des
Auswärtigen Amtes – in das Geschehen auf den Golanhöhen
unerwünscht sei. Dabei verweisen sie darauf, dass syrische
Alleingänge von den anderen arabischen Staaten als ein Vorgehen
bezeichnet würden, ihnen angesichts der gemeinsamen Erklärung
von Riyadh Ende März 2007 in den Rücken zu fallen, und die Tür zu
einer israelisch-palästinensischen Entspannung zugeschlagen
würde.
09.05.2007:
Nach einem Bericht der Weltbank dient der Einsatz des israelischen
Militärs in der Westbank weniger der Sicherheit Israels, sondern der
Bewegungsfreiheit der Siedler und dem Ausbau der Siedlungen.
Obwohl die israelische Regierung im November 2005 die Lockerung
der Bewegungsfreiheit zugesagt habe, sei die Zahl der
Straßensperren („checkpoints“) seither um 44 Prozent auf 546
gestiegen. Dadurch würde den Palästinensern der Zugang zu fast 50
Prozent der Westbank verwehrt: rund um die Siedlungen, das
Jordantal, Ost-Jerusalem, die eingeschränkt nutzbaren Straßen auf
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46 – Chronologie 2007
einer Länge von 700 Kilometern und die für militärische Zwecke
geschlossenen Gebiete. Heute würden in 121 Siedlungen 250.000
42
Israelis leben, doppelt so viele wie 1994 . Der stellvertretende
Verteidigungsminister Ephraim Sneh (Arbeitspartei) nennt den
Bericht fehlerhaft und unausgewogen, weil er sich auf Dateien des
von Ost-Jerusalem aus arbeitenden „UN Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)“ stütze. Laut Sneh gibt es 300
fliegende und 25 feste „checkpoints“. Nicht Israel erschwere das
Leben der Palästinenser, sondern der Terror. Aus dem Bericht der
Weltbank geht hervor, dass die Finanztransfer der internationalen
Gemeinschaft nur sehr bedingt die Lebensverhältnisse der
Palästinenser erleichtern.
07.05.2007:
Entgegen dem Boykott des Nahost-Quartetts und der israelischen
Politik empfängt Außenministerin Tsipi Livni den Präsidenten des
italienischen Parlaments, Fausto Bertinotti, der zuvor mit
Angehörigen der „Hamas“ in Ramallah zusammengetroffen war.
06.05.2007:
Yoav Stern berichtet in „Haaretz” von libanesischen Pressestimmen,
die nach dem israelischen Vorbild der Winograd-Kommission eine
Untersuchung zur Verantwortung der „Hisbollah“ und der Regierung
in Beirut für den Krieg im Sommer 2006 fordern.
04.05.2007:
„Haaretz” berichtet exklusiv über Termine, die die US-Regierung
Israel und der Palästinensischen Autonomiebehörde zur Erfüllung
vorgegeben habe. Danach solle Israel bis zum 1. Juli eine
Busverbindung zwischen dem Gazastreifen und der Westbank
einrichten, viele „checkpoints“ in der Westbank auflösen sowie den
Zugang zu palästinensischen Dörfern öffnen, die durch den
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47 – Chronologie 2007
„Sicherheitszaun“ nunmehr auf der israelischen Seite liegen. Im
Gegenzug solle die Autonomiebehörde den Beschuss mit „Qassam“Raketen aus dem Gazastreifen und den Waffenschmuggel über die
ägyptische Grenze unterbinden sowie dafür sorgen, dass die
Sicherheitskräfte Machmud Abbas unterstellt würden. Die israelische
Regierung weist die Fixpunkte („benchmarks“) zurück. Vertreter der
Palästinensischen Autonomiebehörde äußern sich dagegen
zurückhaltend positiv. Am 8. Mai sagt US-Außenministerin
Condoleezza Rice ihren geplanten Besuch in Jerusalem ab. Zur
Begründung heißt es, dass sie darüber verärgert sei, dass die
israelische Regierung die Washingtoner Fixpunkte an die Presse
weitergegeben, bevor sie selbst eine Stellungnahme abgegeben
habe. Außerdem halte sie, Rice, einen Besuch in Israel angesichts
der dortigen Debatten um die Konsequenzen des Winograd-Berichts
für sinnlos, weil sie nicht mit leeren Händen wieder abreisen wolle.
03.05.2007:
In Tel Aviv findet eine breit getragene Demonstration mit mehr als
100.000 Teilnehmern statt, die den Rücktritt von Ministerpräsident
Ehud Olmert fordern. Hauptredner ist der auch in Deutschland
bekannte Schriftsteller Meir Shalev43. Unter den Teilnehmern
befinden sich von Seiten der Arbeitspartei der ehemalige Minister
Ophir Pines-Paz, der frühere Rektor der Universität Beersheva
Avishai Braverman sowie die Abgeordneten Ami Ayalon und Danny
Yatom, während die Abwesenheit von Ehud Barak – der sich um den
Vorsitz der Partei ebenso bemüht wie Ayalon – auffällt. Führende
Vertreter der Siedlerbewegung und des oppositionellen „Likud“ sind
ebenfalls anwesend, nicht jedoch der Vorsitzende Benjamin
Netanyahu. Von „Meretz/Yachad“ nimmt Yossi Beilin teil. Uri Avnery
führt den „Gush Shalom“ an. Der Kolumnist Gideon Levy beklagt in
einem „Haaretz“-Kommentar, dass sich die Organisatoren der
Demonstration nur auf den kleinsten gemeinsamen Nenner „Olmert,
geh nach Hause“ verständigt hätten, und fragt, wo denn –
abgesehen von den Mutigen der radikalen Linken – die
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48 – Chronologie 2007
Demonstranten gegen den Krieg im Sommer 2006 gewesen seien.
Kein Redner habe die Frage gestellt, wie der nächste Krieg
verhindert, die Besatzung beendet und Verhandlungen mit Syrien
aufgenommen werden könnten.
Die international hochgeschätzte israelische Politologin Naomi
Chazan bemerkt jenseits der öffentlichen Aufmerksamkeit
bemerkenswerte und vielversprechende Entwicklungen in den
israelisch-palästinensischen Beziehungen. Trotz aller Widerstände
und Hindernisse gelinge es der „Genfer Initiative“, dem „Peres
Center for Peace“, dem „Israel-Palestine Center for Research and
Information (IPCRI)“, der Gruppe „Gush Shalom um Uri Avnery, dem
„Jerusalem Link“ und vielen anderen, über nationale
Meinungsverschiedenheiten hinweg dem Extremismus die Stirn zu
bieten und auf einen Kurs der Koexistenz hinzuarbeiten. Auch wenn
diese Institutionen und Gruppen keine politische Führung ersetzen
könnten, würden sie Marksteine für die rationale Interaktion und die
Schaffung eines Klimas einer krönenden Versöhnung bilden44.
Im ägyptischen Sharm el-Sheikh beginnt eine zweitägige
internationale Irak-Konferenz, an der Delegierte aus sechzig Ländern
und mehr als dreißig Außenminister teilnehmen. Am Rande der
Konferenz trifft US-Außenministerin Condoleezza Rice den syrischen
Außenminister Walid Mualem zu einem halbstündigen Gespräch und
wechselt einige Worte mit dem iranischen Außenminister
Manouchehr Mottaki. Damit durchbricht Rice den bisherigen Boykott
Washingtons gegenüber diesen Ländern aus der „Achse des
Bösen“.
02.05.2007:
Die beiden Architekten der „Genfer Initiative“ Yossi Beilin und
Yasser Abed Rabbo führen in Ramallah Gespräche mit dem
palästinensischen Präsidenten Machmud Abbas. Abed Rabbo gehört
zu Abbas’ engsten Beratern.
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49 – Chronologie 2007
April 2007
30.04.2007:
Die von der Regierung eingesetzte fünfköpfige
Untersuchungskommission unter Vorsitz des ehemaligen Richters
am Obersten Gericht von Eliyahu Winograd übergibt die Ergebnisse
ihrer Nachforschungen zum Krieg in Libanon 2006 unter dem Titel
„Kommission zur Untersuchung des Ereignisfeldzugs im Libanon
2006“ und legt in einer ausführlichen Presseerklärung eine
Zusammenfassung des öffentlich zugänglichen Teils vor; der volle
Bericht soll imAugust vorgelegt werden. Dabei spart die Kommission
nicht mit deutlicher Kritik an der politischen und militärischen
Führung und wirft der Regierung Fehler vor, die ihre Schwäche im
strategischen Denkens widerspiegele, das besonders Ehud Olmert
vorzuwerfen sei: Er habe hastig entschieden, obwohl ihm kein
detaillierter militärischer Plan vorgelegen habe.
Verteidigungsminister Amir Peretz habe nicht im Rahmen des
strategischen Konzepts gehandelt, für das er verantwortlich sei. Der
scheidende Generalstabschef Dan Halutz seinerseits habe die
politische Führung nicht mit der „Komplexität der Lage“ vertraut
gemacht45. Der neue Generalstabschef Gabi Ashkenasi richtet ein
Komitee zum Studium des Berichts ein. Führende Funktionäre von
Olmerts „Kadima“-Partei äußern die Vermutung, dass der
Ministerpräsident dem von dem Bericht ausgehenden Druck nicht
standhalten und zurücktreten werde, und lehnen Neuwahlen ab, die
die Partei voraussichtlich nicht überleben würde. Der zur
Arbeitspartei gehörende Minister ohne Geschäftsbereich Eitan Cabel
tritt am 1. Mai von seinem Amt zurück, um den Druck auf Olmert zu
erhöhen. Der frühere Minister für Wissenschaft und Technologie
Ophir Pines-Paz, der im November 2006 aus Protest gegen die
Aufnahme von Avigdor Lieberman („Unser Haus Israel“) ins Kabinett
zurücktrat, ruft zu Demonstrationen auf, damit seine Arbeitspartei die
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50 – Chronologie 2007
Regierung verlässt. Nach ihrem Gespräch mit Olmert am 2. Mai
fordert Außenministerin Tsipi Livni ihn zum Rücktritt auf und kündigt
ihre Kandidatur als Vorsitzende von „Kadima“ an. Neuwahlen lehnt
Livni ab. Während die Abstimmung in der Knesset-Fraktion
mehrheitlich für Olmert ausgeht, kündigt der Koalitionsvorsitzende
Avigdor Itzchaki aus Protest gegen Olmert seinen Rücktritt an. Das
Kabinett beschließt die Einsetzung einer Arbeitsgruppe unter Vorsitz
des früheren Generalstabschefs Amnon Lipkin-Shachak, die die
Umsetzung der Empfehlungen der Winograd-Kommission prüfen
soll. In einer Stellungnahme spricht sich der Vorsitzende von
„Meretz/Yachad“, Yossi Beilin, am 3. Mai für den Amtsverzicht
Olmerts aus und betont, dass Livni oder Shimon Peres, gegenwärtig
einer der Stellvertretenden Ministerpräsidenten, die Aufgabe
übernehmen könnte, ohne dass er – Beilin – beiden einen
Blankoscheck für die künftige politische Unterstützung ausstellen
46
wolle .
28.04.2007:
Der Leiter des in Damaskus residierenden Politischen Büros von
„Hamas“, Khaled Meshal, erklärt in einem Interview mit der
palästinensischen Zeitung „al-Ayyam („Die Tage)“ von Kairo aus,
dass die überwältigende Mehrheit der palästinensischen Fraktionen
für die Etablierung des Staates Palästina in den Grenzen von 1967
sei. Alle weiteren Überlegungen hingen von der politischen
Entwicklung ab.
26.04.2007:
Nach einem Bericht der in Ost-Jerusalem erscheinenden „Middle
East Times“ bedankt sich Präsident Machmud Abbas bei seinem
Besuch in der Schweiz bei Außenministerin Micheline Calmy-Rey für
die Unterstützung bei der Erstellung der „Genfer Initiative“ und
erklärt, dass er dafür sorgen werde, dass dieses grundlegende
47
Dokument in der Arabischen Liga diskutiert werde .
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51 – Chronologie 2007
Unter Bedingungen der Geheimhaltung beginnt in Amman vor einem
Militärgericht ein Prozess gegen mehr als dreißig Angehörige der
jordanischen Moslembruderschaft. Ihnen sollen Geldwäsche und
terroristische Aktivitäten vorgeworfen werden.
24.04.2007:
„Hamas“ teilt mit, dass sie die seit November 2006 angeblich
eingehaltene Waffenruhe brechen will – seither sollen über
zweihundert „Qassam“-Raketen aus dem Gazastreifen im Süden
Israels eingeschlagen sein. Als Begründung verweist „Hamas“ auf
Angriffe des israelischen Militärs auf ihre Führungskräfte in der
Westbank, bei denen am vergangenen Wochenende neun
Palästinenser getötet worden seien.
Eine dreijährige Umfrage der „School for Political Science“ an der
Universität Haifa unter 490 männlichen und weiblichen Soldaten hat
ergeben, dass sie entgegen der Vorannahme am Ende ihres
Militärdiensts abgestuft eher zu Kompromissen in
Sicherheitsangelegenheiten neigen, eine höhere Achtung gegenüber
der arabischen Minderheit in Israel und gegenüber den
Menschenrechten an den Tag legen als zu Beginn ihres
Wehrdienstes. Dis gelte insbesondere für die Feldsoldaten und
Offiziere. Ziel der Untersuchung ist es nach Auskunft des Instituts
gewesen festzustellen, ob das Militär politisch neutral sei, wie es
behaupte, oder ob es politische Botschaften ausstrahlt. Das Institut
schlägt vor, verstärkt Angehörige der nationalen Minderheiten
(Araber, Drusen und Beduinen) sowie ultraorthodoxe Juden,
religiöse Frauen und sozial auffällige Jugendliche in den Militärdienst
aufzunehmen48.
23.04.2007:
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52 – Chronologie 2007
Der palästinensische Innenminister Hani Qawasmeh (Unabhängig)
reicht bei Ministerpräsident Ismail Haniyeh seinen Rücktritt ein, weil
er seine Autorität gegenüber den ihm unterstellten
Sicherheitsbehörden nicht durchsetzen könne. Das Kabinett lehnt
den Rücktritt ab.
Amir Oren enthüllt in „Haaretz“, dass das dem Pentagon
nahestehende „Institute for Defense Analyses“ im Februar 1967
einen geheimen Notfallplan vorbereitet habe, wonach die USA
militärisch Israel angreifen würden, sollte es in einem Krieg die
Existenz, die Unabhängigkeit und die territoriale Integrität der
arabischen Staaten jenseits der Waffenstillstandsgrenzen von 1949
bedrohen. Die Drohung richtete sich auch an Ägypten und Jordanien
für den Fall eines von ihnen inszenierten Krieges gegen Israel. Die
USA wollten einen vernichtenden Sieg beider Seiten und ein
Eingreifen der Sowjetunion verhindern und selbst neutral bleiben.
Dass der Plan nicht zur Ausführung kam, führt Oren darauf zurück,
dass die militärischen Vorbereitungen hinter den diplomatischen
Entwicklungen und den Erfolgen der Luftwaffe und der
Panzereinheiten Israels im Sinai zurückblieben49.
22./23.04.2007:
In Syrien finden Parlamentswahlen statt. Dabei fallen 167 der 250
Sitze automatisch der „Nationalistischen Fortschrittsfront (NPF)“ –
einer Koalition der „Baath“-Partei mit neun kleineren Parteien – zu,
so dass nur über 83 Sitze entschieden wird. Um sie bemühen sich
Unabhängige, die seit 1990 an den Wahlen teilnehmen dürfen.
Gemäß dem Wahlgesetz müssen 50 Prozent der
Parlamentsmitglieder Arbeiter und Bauern sein. Die Wahlbeteiligung
wird von Beobachtern im vorhinein auf drei bis vier Prozent
geschätzt, weil politische Entscheidungen nicht im Parlament fallen.
Die Geschäftsordnung gibt jedem Abgeordneten die Möglichkeit, in
einer Legislaturperiode bis zu zehn Gesetzentwürfe einzubringen,
wovon kaum jemand Gebrauch macht.
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53 – Chronologie 2007
22.04.2007:
Aufgrund von Korruptionsvorwürfen während seiner Zeit als
Vorsitzender der Gewerkschaft „Histadrut“ lässt der israelische
Finanzminister Avraham Hirchson („Kadima“) sein Amt ruhen.
Interimistisch übernimmt Ehud Olmert zusätzlich die Aufgaben.
21.04.2007:
In einem Gastkommentar in „Haaretz“ bezeichnet der ehemalige
israelische Außenminister Shlomo Ben-Ami Annahmen als
unrealistisch, die Regierung in Jerusalem könne durch ein
Endstatus-Abkommen mit Präsident Machmud Abbas
Verhandlungen mit der neuen palästinensischen Regierung unter
Einschluss von „Hamas“ aus dem Wege gehen. Der Übergang von
„Hamas“ zu einer parlamentarischen Politik sei historisch
unvermeidlich, fährt Ben-Ami fort. Dabei werde sich jedoch die
Bewegung nicht mit Kabinettsposten zufrieden geben, sondern die
PLO von innen her aufzurollen versuchen. Die Beispiele der
ägyptischen Moslembruderschaft, der „Islamischen Aktionsfront“ in
Jordanien, der „Auferstehungspartei“ in Tunesien und der „Partei für
Recht und Entwicklung“ in Marokko würden für den historischen
Kompromiss den Weg anzeigen. Die USA würden den Krieg um die
arabische Demokratie zwar gewinnen, aber paradoxerweise um
seine Früchte gebracht werden, weil sie sich keinen islamischen
politischen Pluralismus vorstellen könnten und einem westlichen
liberalen Demokratiemodell anhingen50.
In einem galligen Kommentar greift Uri Avnery Repräsentanten der
extremen Linken in Israel an, die ihre politischen Theorien um jeden
Preis der Realität anpassen wollten, um einen Vergleich mit dem
Apartheidregime in Südafrika zu ziehen und damit einen allgemeinen
Boykott Israels zu begründen. Nachdem die internationale
Gemeinschaft die Palästinenser mit ihrem Finanzboykott nicht in die
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54 – Chronologie 2007
Knie gezwungen habe, werde das bei dem wirtschaftlich viel
stärkeren Israel noch weniger gelingen, zumal da solche Aufrufe bei
den Überlebenden der Shoah Assoziationen der Naziparolen „Kauft
nicht bei Juden“ wecke, die der Deportation in die Gaskammern
vorausgingen. Mit seinen kritischen Äußerungen bezieht sich Avnery
besonders auf den „neuen Historiker“ Ilan Pappe (Haifa), der bei
einer Demonstration in einem palästinensischen Dorf nicht die
Okkupation, sondern den politischen Zionismus als Grund allen
Übels bezeichnet habe. Selbst wenn Avnery manchen
Grundannahmen Pappes zustimmt, will er auch nach Jahrzehnten
des politischen Kampfes an der Überzeugung festhalten, „die
politische Richtung in Israel zu ändern“51. Pappe wechselt im
Sommer 2007 auf den Lehrstuhl für Nahost-Geschichte an die
Universität Exeter (U.K.).
20.04.2007:
Shahar Ilan gibt in „Haaretz“ Zitate wieder, die der jordanische König
Abdullah II. gegenüber einer Delegation der Knesset bei deren
Besuch am 18. April in Amman gemacht habe. Dabei solle der König
gesagt haben, dass die arabischen Staaten und Israel im selben
Boot gegen „Hisbollah“ und „Hamas“ sitzen würden und dass der
arabische Friedensplan von Riyadh vom 28. März ein historisch
einmaliges Verhandlungsangebot sei. Einen Tag später, am 21.April,
weist der Direktor des Königlichen Kommunikations- und
Informationsdienstes die Darstellung Ilans zurück. Die dem König
zugeschriebenen Äußerungen seien verzerrt wiedergegeben
worden. Die israelische Delegation unter Leitung des Vorsitzenden
des Außen- und Sicherheitsausschusses der Knesset, Tsachi
Hanegbi, bezeichnet die arabischen Erwartungen, den
palästinensischen Flüchtlingen das Recht auf Rückkehr
einzuräumen, als einen zu hohen Preis.
Der viel beachtete Kommentator David Ignatius berichtet in der
„Washington Post“, dass Henry Kissinger US-Außenministerin
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55 – Chronologie 2007
Condoleezza Rice geraten habe, trotz der Gewalt im Irak einen
Dialog in Gang zu setzen, der in einen regionalen Prozess unter
ägyptischer Führung münden und in einer dritten Phase eine Gruppe
interessierter Staaten – zu denen Ignatius Indien, Indonesien und
Pakistan rechnet – bitten solle, bei der Stabilisierung Iraks
mitzuhelfen, wenn die US-Truppen schrittweise abgezogen werden.
Gegenüber dem israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt solle Rice
diplomatisch stärker Flagge zeigen, wozu entgegen israelischen
Widerständen Treffen mit palästinensischen Kabinettsmitgliedern
gehören sollten. Schon am 17. April begegnet Rice dem
palästinensischen Finanzminister Salam Fayyad (Unabhängiger) im
Büro ihres Stellvertreters C. Robert Welch.
18.04.2007:
In Tel Aviv treffen der israelische Verteidigungsminister Amir Peretz
(„Arbeitspartei“) und sein US-amerikanischer Kollege Robert Gates
zusammen. Dabei lobt Gates die internationale Front gegen das
iranische Nuklearprogramm und zeigt sich erfreut, dass die
diplomatischen Bemühungen zu seiner Verhinderung, wenn auch
nicht sofort, funktionieren.
17.04.2007:
Gemäß der Erklärung der Arabischen Liga vom 28. März in Riyadh
beschließen dreizehn Außenminister die Einrichtung von
Arbeitsgruppen für die anvisierten Verhandlungen mit Israel. Am
selben Tag betont der Vorsitzende von „Meretz/Yachad“, Yossi
Beilin, in der Internet-Ausgabe von „Yediot Achronot“, dass die
arabische Initiative Prinzipien formuliert habe und keinen Ersatz für
Verhandlungen darstelle. Wenn die arabischen Staaten, fügt Beilin
hinzu, in die Schuhe der Palästinenser schlüpfen und für sie die
Verhandlungen führen würden, wären ihre Positionen weit weniger
52
kompromissbereit .
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56 – Chronologie 2007
15.04.2007:
Im Rahmen des vereinbarten zweiwöchentlichen Turnus trifft Israels
Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert In Begleitung von Außenministerin
Tsipi Livni und Verteidigungsminister Amir Peretz den
palästinensischen Präsidenten Machmud Abbas, in dessen
Begleitung sich sein Chefunterhändler Saeb Erakat befindet. Statt
über die Kernfragen eines Endstatus zu beraten, wie von
palästinensischer Seite gefordert, stehen lediglich Fragen der
Lebensverbesserung der palästinensischen Bevölkerung im
Mittelpunkt.
12.04.2007:
Der syrisch-amerikanische Geschäftsmann Ibrahim Suleiman, der
über enge Verbindungen zur Regierung in Damaskus verfügt,
berichtet gemeinsam mit dem früheren Generaldirektor im
Jerusalemer Außenministerium Alon Liel dem Auswärtigen und
Sicherheitsausschuss der Knesset über ihren gemeinsamen Entwurf
für einen Friedensvertrag zwischen beiden Staaten53. Bereits im
Vorfeld des Auftritts weist ein Sprecher des Außenministeriums in
Jerusalem die Bedeutung der Übereinkunft als irrelevant zurück und
lehnt ein Treffen ab. Liel informiert den Ausschuss über seine
Berichte an das Büro des damaligen Ministerpräsidenten Ariel
Sharon und an das Außenministerium über den Fortgang der
Gespräche mit Suleiman. Dieser unterstreicht den ernsthaften Willen
Syriens zum Frieden mit Israel. Nach seinen Worten könnte
innerhalb von sechs Monaten ein vorläufiger Vertrag zwischen
beiden Staaten geschlossen werden. Am 15. April dementiert die
syrische Regierung, dass sich Suleiman in ihrem Namen in Israel
aufgehalten habe.
11.04.2007:
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57 – Chronologie 2007
Der palästinensische Finanzminister Salam Fayyad bittet in Brüssel
die Europäische Union um die Wiederaufnahme ihrer Finanzhilfe
und beziffert den Bedarf auf knapp eine Million Euro, um eine
humanitäre Katastrophe abzuwenden. Fayyads Gesprächspartnerin,
die EU-Außenkommissarin Benita Ferrero-Waldner, weist darauf hin,
dass 2006 rund 700 Millionen Euro in die palästinensischen Gebiete
geflossen seien, und betont, dass die künftigen Hilfen an die
Erfüllung der drei Prinzipien des Nahost-Quartetts gebunden seien.
Bis dahin werde die Europäische Union gemäß den Vorgaben des
54
„Temporary International Mechanism (TIM)“
verfahren.
08.04.2007:
Die arabische Zeitung „a-Sinara“ aus Nazareth berichtet, dass der
Abgeordnete Azmi Bishara von der arabischen
„Nationaldemokratischen Liste (Balad)“ nach seinen gegenwärtigen
Aufenthalten in arabischen Ländern und in Europa sein
Parlamentsmandat, das er seit 1996 innehat, aufgeben und nicht
nach Israel zurückkehren wolle. Die Gründe für seine Absicht bleiben
zunächst unklar. Zu den Spekulationen gehören Bemühungen in der
Knesset, Bisharas Immunität aufzuheben, weil er in der
Vergangenheit mehrfach die „Feindstaaten Syrien und Libanon“
besucht und für Spenden zugunsten von „Hisbollah“ geworben habe.
Von politischem Gewicht dürfte Bisharas Überzeugung sein, dass
ein palästinensischer Staat in der Westbank und im Gazastreifen mit
Hauptstadt in arabischen Teil Jerusalems immer unwahrscheinlicher
wird und dass Bishara deshalb sein ursprünglich auf das Verhältnis
von Juden und Arabern in Israel bezogenes Konzept vom „Staat für
alle seine Bürger“ auf den gesamten Raum zwischen Mittelmeer und
Jordan ausdehnen will, was seinen Abschied von der
Zweistaatenlösung bedeutet. Erziehungsministerin Yuli Tamir und
der Vorsitzende von „Meretz/Yachad“ Yossi Beilin werfen Bishara
vor, dass er mit seinen Überzeugungen den jüdischen Charakter
Israels aushöhlen wolle. Am 12. April teilt Bishara mit, dass sein
geplantes Ausscheiden aus der Knesset nach elfjähriger
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58 – Chronologie 2007
Zugehörigkeit in den Nachstellungen begründet liege, denen er
aufgrund seiner politischen Arbeit ausgesetzt sei. Die Bestätigung
von Meldungen, dass er nicht nach Israel zurückkehren wolle, fehlt in
seiner Mitteilung, zumal da seine Ehefrau und die gemeinsamen
Kinder in Israel leben. Am 22. April unterstreicht Bishara von Kairo
aus seinen Beschluss, sein Parlamentsmandat zurückzugeben.
Nachdem die israelischen Sicherheitsbehörden ihren Vorwurf des
Hochverrats wiederholten, weist Bishara sie am 3. Mai in einem
Beitrag für die „Los Angeles Times“ mit Entschiedenheit zurück,
verlangt jedoch von Israel die Respektierung der arabischen
Geschichte und kollektiven Identität. Er bleibe bei seiner
Überzeugung, dass Israel ein Staat für all seine Bürger werden
müsse 55.
05.04.2007:
Hohe muslimische Würdenträger in Jerusalem und in der Westbank
verwahren sich gegen die zweitägige Absperrung der IbrahimMoschee in Hebron aus Anlass der jüdischen Pessach-Feiertage.
03.04.2007:
In einem Interview mit „Le Monde“ verweist der palästinensische
Außenminister Ziad Abu Amr auf die weitreichenden Veränderungen
der palästinensischen Positionen hin, die sich in der Erklärung von
Mekka vom 8. Februar zwischen „Fatah“ und „Hamas“ wiederfinden
würden. Besonders erstaunt zeigt sich Abu Amr über die
Schnelligkeit und das Ausmaß der Transformation von „Hamas“:
Noch vor einem Jahr habe sie einen palästinensischen Staat in den
Grenzen von 1967 und die Rolle der PLO als einziger
Repräsentantin des palästinensischen Volkes mit einem
Verhandlungsauftrag abgelehnt. Nunmehr könne die neue
Regierung der nationalen Einheit den Europäern und den USA nicht
länger als Beleg für die Fortsetzung ihres Finanzembargos dienen.
Die Erklärung von Riyadh vom 28. März sei ein ernsthaftes
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59 – Chronologie 2007
Verhandlungsangebot an Israel. Das Problem bestehe darin, dass
sich Israel mit Rückendeckung in Europa und in den USA
Verhandlungen über den Endstatus verweigere.
Der Generalsekretär der Arabischen Liga, der ägyptische Diplomat
Amr Moussa, kündigt ein Treffen von zehn arabischen
Außenministern – Ägypten, Saudi-Arabien, Jordanien, Syrien,
Libanon, PLO, Marokko, Tunesien, Bahrein und Qatar – in zwei
Wochen an, um Israel zur Annahme der Erklärung von Riyadh vom
28. März aufzufordern.
02.04.2007:
Nach Gesprächen in Jerusalem und Ramallah verwahrt sich die
Fraktionsvorsitzende der Demokraten im US-Repräsentantenhaus
Nancy Pelosi gegen Kritik aus dem Weißen Haus gegen ihre Reise
nach Damaskus. Sie setze „große Hoffnungen“ in ihre Gespräche
mit der syrischen Regierung, wird Pelosi zitiert, die mit ihrer
Delegation zuvor in Beirut mit Politikern der Regierung und der
Opposition zusammenkommt und am Nachmittag von Außenminister
Walid Mualem in Damaskus empfangen wird. Am 31. März waren
bereits die Abgeordneten Frank Wolf, Joe Pitts und Robert Aderholt
von Präsident Bashar Assad empfangen worden. Israels
Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert weist Pilosis Mitteilung zurück, dass
er ihr eine Botschaft zur Wiederaufnahme von Verhandlungen nach
Damaskus mitgegeben habe. Israels Position werde sich nicht
ändern, solange Syrien zur „Achse des Terrors“ gehöre und
Terrorgruppen unterstütze. Am 11. April schreibt Robert Malley, der
in der Ära Bill Clintons zu dessen wichtigsten Nahost-Beratern
gehörte und heute die Orient-Abteilung der „International Crisis
Group“ leitet, in den „Los Angeles Times“, dass Washingtons
Vorwurf absurd sei, Pelosi habe durch ihren Besuch in Damaskus
das dortige „Paria-Regime“ aufgewertet. Die USA seien weltweit
nicht weniger als Syrien isoliert. Solange Washington an seinem
feindlich gesinnten Kurs festhalte, werde Damaskus keinen Anlass
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60 – Chronologie 2007
sehen, seine Verbindungen zu Iran, zur „Hisbollah“ und zu anderen
Terrorgruppen aufzugeben.
01.04.2007:
Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert kündigt seine Bereitschaft zu einem
Sondierungstreffen mit den gemäßigten arabischen Regierungen an,
also vor allem außer Syrien. Zuvor forderte Olmert in Anwesenheit
von Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel die deutsche EURatspräsidentschaft auf, „alle arabischen Staatsoberhäupter“
einzuladen. Olmerts Angebot stößt bei Palästinensern und auf der
arabischen Seite auf Zurückhaltung und Skepsis. Der neue
palästinensische Außenminister Ziad Abu Amr erklärt bei einem
Besuch in Paris am 2. April, seine Regierung habe „nicht das Gefühl,
auf israelischer Seite einen Partner für den Frieden zu haben“. Auch
ein Beraster von Präsident Machmud Abbas äußert sich ähnlich:
Israel wolle eine Normalisierung mit der arabiaschen Welt, ohne
einen Preis zu bezahlen. Nach Auskunft aus Riyadh solle Israel
zunächst die arabische Friedensinitiative akzeptieren, bevor ein
Treffen zustande kommen könne. Für den Vorsitzenden von
„Meretz/Yachad“, Yossi Beilin, verschanzt sich Olmert hinter
„sinnlosen Worthülsen“, statt „den Stier bei den Hörnern zu packen“.
Der kanadische Politologe Bernard Avishai berichtet von einer
Tagung zum palästinensischen Flüchtlingsproblem an der „Al-Quds
University“ in Abu Dhis östlich von Jerusalem, bei der noch einmal
die verschiedenen Überlegungen zu seiner Lösung diskutiert worden
sind, vor allem die in Taba im Januar 200156 getroffenen
Vereinbarungen, die in den Entwurf der „Genfer Initiative“
mündeten. Avishai vertritt die Auffassung, dass jenseits aller
ideologischen Gründe die Globalisierung der israelischen Wirtschaft
die Regierung zum Frieden mit den arabischen Nachbarn zwingen
werde57.
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März 2007
31.03.2007:
Bei ihrem informellen Treffen in Bremen am 30./31. März bestätigen
die 27 Außenminister der Europäischen Union ihre ablehnende
Haltung gegenüber den Regierungsmitgliedern von „Hamas”, wollen
aber mit den Mitgliedern des „Arabischen Nahost-Quartetts“
Ägypten, Jordanien, Saudi-Arabien und den Vereinigten Arabischen
Emiraten zusammenarbeiten. Möglichkeiten der finanziellen Hilfe für
die Autonomiebehörde sollen gemäß dem „Vorläufigen
Internationalen Mechanismus (TIM)“ vom Sommer 200658 geprüft
werden.
In einem Beitrag für die „Los Angeles Times“ plädiert der
palästinensische Finanzminister Salam Fayyad für das Ende des
internationalen Finanzboykotts der Autonomiebehörde und beklagt
die anhaltende israelische Abriegelung der Grenzen sowie die
Einbehaltung von Steuern und Abgaben durch Israel. Die Schaffung
eines lebensfähigen und unabhängigen Staates Palästina sei der
Ausweg aus dem fast sechzig Jahre andauernden Konflikt59.
In einem Gastkommentar für die „International Harald Tribune“ am
31. März/1. April bezeichnet der bis zu seiner Emeritierung in
Harvard lehrende US-amerikanische Sozialethiker Herbert C.
Kelman Vorbedingungen, die palästinensischen
Verhandlungspartnern abverlangt würden, als „unausgewogen,
unrealistisch und unnötig“. Auch wenn die Anerkennung des
Existenzrechts Israels unerlässlich sei, sei es ein Fehler, den Beginn
oder die Fortsetzung von Verhandlungen von einem völligen Ende
jeglicher Gewalt abhängig zu machen. Eine solche Vorbedingung
würde den gegen Verhandlungen eingestellten Kräften die
Handhabe liefern, sie zu torpedieren. Vielmehr sei es vernünftig, „ein
Maß an Doppeldeutigkeit“ („a degree of ambiguity“) zu akzeptieren
und die Klärung ideologischer Differenzen der Dynamik des
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62 – Chronologie 2007
Verhandlungsprozesses zu überlassen. Flexibilität müsse durch das
Prinzip der Gegenseitigkeit von Handlungen und Verpflichtungen
ergänzt werden: Israel müsse sich an dieselben Bedingungen halten
wie die Palästinenser. Kelman nennt in diesem Zusammenhang
insbesondere die Waffenruhe, Militäraktionen in den besetzten
Gebieten und die Siedlungstätigkeit. In derselben Ausgabe der
Zeitung beklagt Thomas L. Friedman bei Außenministerin
Condoleezza Rice die Kluft zwischen ihrer Reisefreudigkeit und dem
Mangel an einer kohärenten Strategie. Deshalb würden nur die „bad
guys“ Geschichte im Vorderen Orient schreiben. Friedman ruft
Washington zur Rückkehr zum „Clinton-Plan“ auf, praktisch also zu
den sog. „Parametern“ des Präsidenten vom Dezember 200060, die
drei Jahre später in den Entwurf der „Genfer Initiative“ mündeten.
Einen Tag zuvor, am 30. März, hatte auch Gilad Sher, Leiter des
Büros von Ministerpräsident Ehud Barak und Mitglied des
Verhandlungsteams in Camp David im Juli 2000, die „Parameter“ als
Ausgangspunkte für die endgültige Regelung des Konflikts
bezeichnet.
30.03.2007:
In Interviews mit „Haaretz“ und „Jerusalem Post“ aus Anlass des
bevorstehenden Pessach-Festes kündigt Ministerpräsident Ehud
Olmert an, dass seine Regierung keinen einzigen palästinensischen
Flüchtling die Wiederansiedlung in Israel gestatten werde. 1948 sei
das Problem durch die arabischen Staaten verursacht worden, so
dass Israel keine Verpflichtung akzeptieren werde. Dagegen
wiederholte Olmert seine „fundamentalen Prinzipien“ von den zwei
Nationalstaaten Israel und Palästina, die miteinander in Frieden
ohne Terror. Und Gewaltdrohungen leben. Auch wenn er sich von
Abbas enttäuscht zeigt, weil der seit Juni 2006 festgehaltene
Gefreite Gilad Shalit noch immer nicht frei sei, bezeichnet er den
Präsidenten als den einzigen Verhandlungspartner von Statur und
mit Autorität. Der umfassende Frieden mit der arabischen Welt sei
innerhalb von fünf Jahren erreichbar.
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63 – Chronologie 2007
Ari Shavit, einer der führenden israelischen Publizisten, veröffentlicht
in „Haaretz“ eine beißende Kritik an Ehud Olmert, dem er
persönliche Korruption und politische Inkompetenz in gefährlichem
Ausmaß beschuldigt. Olmert sei der schlechteste Ministerpräsident,
den das Land je gehabt habe. Für seinen Aufstieg trügen vor allem
die Journalisten Verantwortung, die in ihren Interviews allzu häufig
auf kritische Fragen verzichtet hätten.
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel beginnt eine dreitägige Reise in den
Nahen Osten zu Gesprächen mit dem palästinensischen
Präsidenten Machmud Abbas (in Ramallah), in Israel (mit Ehud
Olmert, Tsipi Livni und Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem), in
Jordanien (mit König Abdullah II. in Aqaba) und in Libanon (mit
Ministerpräsident Fuad Siniora in Beirut). Am 1. April fordert Abbas
Merkel auf, den Boykott der Autonomiebehörde zu beenden, weil er
darauf hinauslaufe, die Belagerung des palästinensischen Volkes zu
billigen. In einem Kommentar der „Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung”
beklagt Wolfgang Günter Lerch, dass die Bundeskanzlerin bei der
Kontaktaufnahme nur Abbas einen Besuch abgestattet und andere
palästinensische Politiker – gemeint sind angehörige von „Hamas“ –
nicht getroffen habe. Lerch schreibt: Merkel „hätte sich nichts
vergeben, wenn sie durch einen ungewöhnlichen, mutigen Schritt auf
die palästinensische Seite zu versucht hätte,
Wandlungsmöglichkeiten der palästinensischen Politik auszutesten
und für die Europäer den Vorreiter zu spielen. Dies wäre – in des
Wortes doppelter Bedeutung – ein wirklicher Anstoß gewesen.“ Von
Olmert sei wenig zu erwarten gewesen, und „vollends unklar ist, was
ein Treffen mit dem Verhinderungs-Politiker Netanjahu bringen
sollte. Über ihn ist die Zeit längst hinweggegangen.“ Deutsche
Zeitungen berichten am 3. April, dass Abbas vergeblich darum
bemüht gewesen sei, Merkel zu einem Besuch in Bethlehem bei den
dortigen kirchlichen Würdenträgern zu bewegen.
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28.03.2007:
Zum Abschluss der Tagung der Arabischen Liga im saudischen
Riyadh verabschieden die Staats- und Regierungschefs der 20
Staaten und der Palästinensischen Autonomiebehörde – Libyen
nimmt nicht teil, während Libanon mit zwei Delegationen präsent ist,
mit Präsident Emile Lahoud und Ministerpräsident Fuad Siniora,
dieser auf einem Gästeplatz – eine Resolution, in der sie ihre
Positionen gegenüber dem israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt vom
März 2002 wiederholen. Keine Einigkeit erzielen sie bei der
Bewertung der politischen Liga im Irak und in Libanon61. Nach
Medienberichten beklagt der saudische König Abdullah während der
Tagung, dass die arabische Welt für die Misere im Irak selbst
verantwortlich sei, weil sie es zugelassen habe, „dass Kräfte von
außen die Zukunft der Region mitbestimmen“. In einer Erklärung
beschränkt sich die israelische Regierung am 29. März auf die
62
Wiederholung ihrer Grundpositionen . Der Vorsitzende von
„Meretz/Yachad“, Yossi Beilin, bezeichnet die saudische Initiative als
„totale Umkehr“ der „drei Neins“ der arabischen Gipfelkonferenz in
Khartum (28.08.-02.09.1967). Die jetzige Erklärung von Riyadh sei
außerdem eine ermutigende Antwort auf das „al-Qaida-Phänomen“
und die iranische Nukleardrohung63. In der Wochenausgabe der
Zeitung „Al-Ahram (Die Pyramiden)“ verweist die Kommentatorin
Dina Ezzat auf das gewachsene Gewicht Saudi-.Arabiens in der
arabischen Welt, bei den Palästinensern, in Libanon, im Sudan und
in Somalia. Fazit: Saudi-Arabien nehme den Fahrersitz ein, auch
wenn es nicht zuviel Aufmerksamkeit wünsche – in Kairo verspüre
die Intelligentsia einen gewissen Schock –, weil die Stabilität der
Region vom Ende des israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikts
abhänge64. Doch nach Auffassung hoher arabischer und USamerikanischer Repräsentanten werde der Irak der Test zur den
saudischen Einfluss sein.
26.03.2007:
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65 – Chronologie 2007
Im Interview mit dem Zürcher „Tages-Anzeiger“ zeigt sich der
Direktor des Büros der „Genfer Initiative“ in Tel Aviv, Gadi
Baltiansky, erfreut darüber, dass dieser Entwurf immer größere
65
Zustimmung finde .
Der stellvertretende Ministerpräsident Shimon Peres vertritt in
„Haaretz“ erneut die Auffassung, dass der Übergang von einer
territorial gebundenen Wirtschaft zu einer Wirtschaft der
Wissenschaft und Technologie zwar keine Grenzen, aber
Beziehungen verändere. Deshalb setzt er sich für den israelischpalästinensisch-jordanischen „Peace Valley Plan“ ein, der in einer
ersten Phase auf einer Länge von 520 Kilometern einen Kanal vom
Roten Meer ins Tote Meer vorsieht, um die dortige Verdunstung zu
stoppen, und dann einen Industriepark, einen gemeinen Flughafen,
eine Touristenindustrie, landwirtschaftliche
Produktionsgemeinschaften aufbauen soll, um später zwei
Eisenbahnlinien in ost-westlicher Richtung zu installieren66.
Nach ihrem Besuch in Assuan stellt sich US-Außenministerin
Condoleezza Rice in Kairo der internationalen Presse. Dabei betont
sie, dass George W. Bush bei seinem Amtsantritt vom Fehlschlag
der Gipfelkonferenz mit Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak und Yasser Arafat in
Camp David (Juli 2000) belastet gewesen sei, und vertritt die
Auffassung, dass im Gegensatz zu damals die Zweistaatenregelung
von „Menschen“ – gemeint sind Israelis, Palästinenser und die
arabischen Staaten – nicht akzeptiert worden sei. Dafür habe Bush
den Grundstein gelegt. Gleichzeitig wiederholt sie ihre Bemerkung
vom Vortag, dass Washington vom bevorstehenden Treffen der
Arabischen Liga in Riyadh keine Zusätze zur Erklärung vom März
200267 verlangt habe. Es handele sich um eine arabische Initiative,
die aber hoffentlich zur Grundlage für eine aktive Diplomatie werden
könne68.
25.03.2007:
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66 – Chronologie 2007
In der gemeinsamen Pressekonferenz mit Machmud Abbas betont
Condeleezza Rice in Ramallah, dass es von Seiten der USA keine
Bitten um Erweiterung der Erklärung der Arabischen Liga vom März
2002 im Blick auf die bevorstehende Konferenz in Riyadh gebe. Es
komme darauf an, ein Gespräch („conversation“) mit Fortschritten für
den „politischen Horizont“ in Gang zu setzen. Rice unterstreicht
erneut die Bedeutung der „Road Map“69, die allerdings durch einige
„Details“ ergänzt werden müsse, um den Endstatus zu erreichen. Für
George W. Bush genieße die Errichtung palästinensischen Staates
an der Seite Israels höchste Priorität – „ich glaube, er bezeichnete
ihn sogar als Palästina“. Andererseits bindet Rice die Entstehung
des Staates an die Vorbedingung des Endes der palästinensischen
Gewalt. Auf eine weitere Frage, warum er entgegen seiner früheren
Zusage die Freilassung des im Juni 2006 entführten israelischen
Gefreiten Gilad Shalit nicht erreicht habe, weist Abbas darauf hin,
dass auch die Freilassung palästinensischer Gefangener in Israel
ungeklärt sei70.
In seiner wöchentlichen Übersicht berichtet das „Israel/Palestine
Center for Research and Information (IPCRI)”, dass vor wenigen
Tagen Professor Mohammed Dajani von der Al-Quds-Universität in
Jerusalem eine neue islamische Partei gegründet habe, die als
gemäßigte Gegenspielerin bei den nächsten Parlamentswahlen im
Jahr 2009 neben „Hamas“ und „Fatah“ als drittgrößte Gruppierung in
den „Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)“ einziehen will. Im Vorfeld
der Gipfelkonferenz der Arabischen Liga in Riyadh fordert IPCRI
außerdem die israelische Regierung auf, in einer Erklärung das
Recht des palästinensischen Volkes auf einen eigenen souveränen
Staat zum Ausdruck zu bringen.
Michael Borgstede berichtet in der „Frankfurter Allgemeinen
Sonntagszeitung“ vom Schicksal junger arabisch-palästinensischer
Frauen in Israel, die „Ehrenmorden“ von Familienangehörigen zum
Opfer fallen, ohne dass der Polizei die Ergreifung der Täter gelingt.
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24.03.2007:
Nach internationalen Medienberichten hat Ministerpräsident Ehud
Olmert in den vergangenen Wochen zum zweiten Mal ein geheimes
Treffen mit hohen Vertretern der saudischen Regierung gehabt. Das
erste soll vor sechs Monaten in Amman stattgefunden haben.
23.03.2007:
In einem Kommentar der „New York Times” begrüßt Thomas
Friedman die bevorstehende Gipfelkonferenz der Arabischen Liga in
Riyadh, die auch einen „emotionalen Durchbruch“ für den israelischpalästinensischen Konflikt bringen müsse. Deshalb empfiehlt er dem
saudischen König Abdullah, nach Jerusalem zu reisen und das
Friedensangebot dem israelischen Volk persönlich zu überbringen.
Wenn der König dem Vorbild von Anwar Sadat im November 1977
folge, könnte der Konflikt ein für allemal beendet werden. Friedman
schlägt im Falle der Reise vier Schritte vor:
1. den Besuch der Al-Aqza-Moschee, wo er den moslemischen
Anspruch auf den arabischen Ostteil Jerusalems unterstreichen
solle;
2. die Ansprache vor dem palästinensischen Parlament in Ramallah
mit dem Ziel, die palästinensische Bereitschaft zum Frieden im
Austausch für den Rückzug Israels auf die Linien von 1967
arabischerseits zu unterstützen;
3. den Besuch in Yad vaShem, um zu betonen, dass die moslemische
Welt die Leugnung der Shoah ablehne;
4. die Ansprache vor der Knesset in Jerusalem, um seine
Friedensinitiative der israelischen Öffentlichkeit zu überbringen.
Abschließend wägt Friedman die Risiken und Chancen einer solchen
Initiative gegeneinander ab und erinnert daran, dass er es gewesen
sei, der dem damaligen Kronprinzen Abdullah im Februar 2002
erstmals seinen Friedenplan vorgestellt habe71.
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68 – Chronologie 2007
22.03.2007:
Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert äußert sich zufrieden über die
72
Entscheidung des Nahost-Quartetts , an den drei Bedingungen für
die Wiederaufnahme der Finanzhilfe für die Autonomiebehörde
festzuhalten: Anerkennung des Existenzrechts Israels, Verzicht auf
Gewalt, Achtung unterzeichneter Vereinbarungen. Gegen
Gespräche mit Präsident Machmud Abbas gebe es keine Bedenken.
Gleichzeitig bezeichnet er das saudische Friedensangebot von
Beirut im März 2002 als eine „geeignete Grundlage“ für
Verhandlungen. Der „Haaretz“-Redakteur Akiva Eldar nennt den
Wettbewerb zwischen Israel und dem Nahost-Quartett um die
Fortsetzung des Boykotts der Autonomiebehörde ein Rennen
zwischen einem Paddel- und einem Motorboot.
21.03.2007:
Der schwedische Außenminister Carl Bildt kündigt für das
kommende Wochenende Begegnungen mit der palästinensischen
und der israelischen Regierung an. Die Regierung in Jerusalem lässt
mitteilen, dass sie Bildt nicht empfangen werde. Nach
Presseberichten plant auch das EU-Mitglied Belgien, vertreten durch
Außenminister Karel de Gught, in den kommenden Tagen
Begegnungen mit palästinensischen Regierungsmitgliedern. Am
Abend des 21. März trifft er mit Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert
zusammen.
Das israelische Parlament verlängert das Staatsbürgergesetz bis Juli
2008 und verschärft es. Es untersagt Heiraten zwischen israelischen
Staatsbürgern und Angehörigen von „Feindstaaten“: Syrien, Libanon,
Irak, Iran und Palästinensern aus der Westbank und dem
Gazastreifen im Alter von 18 bis 35 Jahren bei Männern und 18 bis
25 Jahren bei Frauen.
Das israelische Parlament verabschiedet ein Gesetz zur Gründung
einer Akademie für die arabische Sprache. Sie soll ein Ort der
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69 – Chronologie 2007
Forschung und der Pflege der arabischen Sprache, ihrer Dialekte,
der Kultur und der Folklore in Israel werden.
Das jordanische Unterhaus ändert das strittige Presse- und
Publikationsgesetz und streicht die Klauseln, die die Festsetzung von
Journalisten erlauben. Statt dessen können sie mit Geldstrafen bis
zu 28.000 Dinar (rund 40.000 US-Dollar) bestraft werden, wenn sie
die Religion herabsetzen, den Propheten Mohammed beleidigen, zu
sektiererischer Zwietracht oder zum Rassismus aufstacheln,
Personen verletzen sowie falsche Informationen und Gerüchte
streuen.
20.03.2007:
In einem Interview mit dem US-„Council on Foreign Relations”
bescheinigt der frühere US-amerikanische Unterstaatssekretär und
langjährige Botschafter in Israel, Martin Indyk, dem State
Department unter Führung von Condoleezza Rice den festen Willen,
sich ernsthaft mit dem israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt zu
befassen und damit von der politischen Abstinenz der BushAdministration Abschied zu nehmen.
Unter Berufung auf „amnesty international“ äußert sich das „EuroMediterranean Human Rights Network“ mit Sitz in Kopenhagen und
Brüssel besorgt über die geplanten Verfassungsänderungen in
Ägypten, die sie als die schwerste Erosion politischer und rechtlicher
Standards seit 26 Jahren bezeichnet73. So verbietet der neue Artikel
5 Parteien „mit einem religiösen Hintergrund“. Unabhängige
Kandidaten dürfen künftig nicht für das Amt des Staatspräsidenten
kandidieren. „Terrorfälle“ kann der Staatspräsident an Militärgerichte
überweisen, gegen deren Urteil keine Berufung möglich ist. An dem
Referendum beteiligen sich nach amtlichen Angaben lediglich 27,1
Prozent, von denen 75,9 Prozent der Vorlage zustimmen.
Unabhängige Beobachter wie die „Ägyptische Organisation für
Menschenrechte“ sprechen lediglich von sechs bis neun Prozent
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70 – Chronologie 2007
Beteiligung, nachdem alle wichtigen Oppositionsgruppen zum
Boykott aufgerufen haben. An den Wahllokalen sollen zivil
gekleidete Sicherheitskräfte Demonstranten verprügelt haben. Auf
der gemeinsamen Pressekonferenz mit US-Außenministerin
Condoleezza Rice am 26. März in Kairo verteidigt der ägyptische
Außenminister Aboul Gheit die geplanten Verfassungsreformen mit
dem Hinweis auf die terroristischen Bedrohungen, denen Ägypten
ausgesetzt sei. Rice selbst betont auf Fragen, dass sie das Problem
der Demokratieentwicklung angesprochen habe, dass aber jeder
Staat seinen eigenen Weg finden müsse, wobei sie auf ihre
persönlichen Erfahrungen in den Südstaaten der USA verweist.
19.03.2007:
Das Bestallungskomitee für rabbinische Gerichtshöfe ernennt zwölf
neue Richter ultraorthodoxer Richtung. Die Ernennung ruft
erhebliche Unruhe in der Bevölkerung hervor, weil damit
Eheschließungen, Scheidungen und Konversionen zusätzlich
erschwert werden. Seit 1991 sind aus der ehemaligen Sowjetunion
mindestens 600.000 Menschen in Israel eingewandert, die nach dem
jüdischen Religionsgesetz, der „Halacha“, keine Juden sind. Liberalorthodoxe Rabbiner halten „das System“ für nicht reformierbar.
17.03.2007:
Die Mitglieder der neuen palästinensischen „Regierung der
nationalen Einheit” aus „Hamas“, „Fatah“ und Unabhängigen stellen
sich dem Parlament, dem „Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)“, vor
und legen den Amtseid ab. Für die Regierung stimmen 83 der 132
Mitglieder, drei Parlamentarier stimmen dagegen, 41 nehmen nicht
teil, weil sie in israelischen Gefängnissen sitzen. An der Spitze der
Regierung steht weiterhin Ismail Haniyeh als Ministerpräsident,
während als neuer Außenminister, Finanzminister und Innenminister
die Unabhängigen Ziad Abu Amr, Salam Fayyad und Hani
Qawasmeh ihr Amt antreten74. Das Programm des neuen Kabinetts
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71 – Chronologie 2007
kann seinen Charakter als Formelkompromiss zwischen den
divergierenden Kräften schwerlich verbergen. Ganz abgesehen
davon, dass es den Anschein erweckt, als ob es sich um eine voll
handlungsfähige Regierung handelt, bezieht es sich auf „die
gesegnete Vereinbarung von Mekka“ vom 8. Februar unter der
Schirmherrschaft des saudischen Königs, die den Höhepunkt einer
langen Dialogserie unter führender Beteiligung von Ägypten und
Syrien bilde, und auf die Fortschreibung des sog.
Gefangenenpapiers, das in Gestalt des „Nationalen
Versöhnungsdokuments“ vom 28.Juni 200675 verabschiedet worden
ist. Das Regierungsprogramm vom 17. März
– verspricht, in den 1967 besetzten Gebieten einen Staat mit der
Hauptstadt Jerusalem zu errichten,
– verspricht, das Recht der Flüchtlinge auf Rückkehr in ihre Häuser
und die Wiedergewinnung ihres Eigentums zu sichern,
– verspricht alle Gefangenen und Festgehaltenen zu befreien,
– verlangt die Wiederherstellung der Rolle der PLO als einziger
legitimer Repräsentantin des palästinensischen Volkes, wo auch
immer es lebe,
– fordert zum Widerstand gegen Israel und die USA „durch
verschiedene Akte“ mit Schwerpunkt in den besetzten Gebieten
und gleichzeitig zur politischen Aktion, zu Verhandlungen und zur
Diplomatie auf,
– schätzt die Autonomiebehörde als Kern des künftigen Staates,
bestätigt das verwaltungstechnische Verhandlungsmandat der PLO
und des Präsidenten, dessen Ergebnisse dem Parlament zur
Abstimmung vorgelegt werden müssten,
– bekennt sich zu den Prinzipien der Demokratie und zu
regelmäßigen freien und „wahrhaft demokratischen“ Wahlen auf
allen Ebenen sowie zur Freiheit der Medien,
– verurteilt den Einsatz von Waffen gegen innenpolitische Gegner,
– unterstützt den politischen Kampf der Bevölkerung im Gazastreifen
um ihre Freiheit,
– unterstreicht die Notwendigkeit einer Reform des
palästinensischen Sicherheitssystems und
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72 – Chronologie 2007
– begrüßt die Rolle und die Präsenz von internationalen
Solidaritätskomitees zur Unterstützung des palästinensischen
Kampfes gegen die Okkupation, die Siedlungen und gegen den
76
„Apartheidswall“ .
In einer Stellungnahme lehnt die israelische Regierung am 18. März
die neue Regierung ab, weil sie nicht die drei Voraussetzungen –
Verzicht auf Gewalt, Anerkennung des Existenzrechts Israels und
Zustimmung zu unterschriebenen Vereinbarungen – erfüllen wolle,
erklärt aber die Bereitschaf zur Zusammenarbeit mit Machmud
77
Abbas . Da Verteidigungsminister Amir Peretz für Verhandlungen
plädiert, fehlt in der Erklärung die Aufforderung an die internationale
Gemeinschaft, auch dieser Autonomiebehörde keine Finanzmittel zu
überweisen. In einer Stellungnahme schiebt Ehud Olmert diese
Ermahnung nach. Der Sprecher des deutschen Auswärtigen Amtes
setzt sich vorsichtig von der offiziellen israelischen Ablehnung mit
der Bemerkung ab, man wolle zunächst abwarten; im gleichen Sinne
äußert sich Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Washington.
Die EU-Außenkommissarin Benita Ferrero-Waldner erklärt bei
gleicher Gelegenheit, dass die EU ihre Hilfe für die Palästinenser bei
Umgehung ihrer Regierung drei Monate lang auf der Grundlage des
im Frühjahr 2006 vereinbarten „Temporary International Mechanism
78
(TIM)“
fortsetzen wolle, weil es Hinweise gebe, dass auf die drei
Voraussetzungen des Quartetts allmählich eingeschwenkt werde.
„Wir werden die neue Regierung an ihren Handlungen und ihren
Worten messen“, erklärt Ferrero-Waldner79. Die US-Regierung will
Kontakte zu den „Fatah“-Mitgliedern der Regierung aufnehmen,
betont jedoch die Fortsetzung ihrer Embargo-Politik. Als erster
prominenter europäischer Politiker trifft Raymond Johansen,
Staatssekretär im Außenministerium Norwegens – das nicht zur
Europäischen Gemeinschaft gehört – am 19. März in Gaza-Stadt mit
dem palästinensischen Ministerpräsidenten Imail Haniyeh
zusammen. Die israelische Regierung sagt danach sein geplantes
Treffen mit Kabinettsmitgliedern ab.
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73 – Chronologie 2007
Gemäß einer internationalen Meinungsumfrage halten 56 Prozent
der befragten Israelis die Aufrechterhaltung des Boykotts gegen die
palästinensische Regierung für falsch, 39 Prozent befürworten seine
Fortsetzung.
In Long Island (USA) stirbt im Alter 63 Jahren die bis 2006 an der
Universität Tel Aviv lehrende Linguistin Tanya Reinhart, die zuletzt
das Buch „The Roadmap to Nowhere“ vorgelegt hat – eine heftige
Kritik an der israelischen und US-amerikanischen Politik80.
15.03.2007:
In seinem Beitrag „On Israel, America and AIPAC“ in der „New York
Review of Books“ verteidigt der Milliardär und Mäzen George Soros,
der in Ungarn die Shoah überlebt hat und heute US-amerikanischer
Staatsbürger ist, das Recht von Juden auf Kritik an der israelischen
Politik. Er beschuldigt die pro-israelische Lobby um das „American
Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)“, Kritik zu unterdrücken, und
berichtet, dass er nach einer Versammlung, in der er politisch
alternative Vorstellungen geäußert habe, in der Zeitschrift „The New
Republic“ als „junges Rädchen in Hitlers Schubkarren“ bezeichnet
worden sei, als ihm, den Dreizehnjährigen, der Vater in Budapest
eine falsche Identität habe besorgen wollen. Soros fordert die
jüdische Gemeinschaft in den USA auf, die Verteidiger der Israelfreundlichen Organisationen darauf hinzuweisen, dass sie durch ihre
Legitimierung der israelischen Politik der Okkupation, der Kontrolle
und der Unterdrückung in der Westbank und in Ost-Jerusalem den
Antisemitismus fördern. Dass AIPAC erfolgreich die Kritik
unterdrücke, habe der Beschuldigung den Weg geebnet, dass es
eine allmächtige zionistische Konspiration gebe81. Ein Sprecher von
AIPAC erklärt, dass sich die Organisation nicht zu Soros’ Beitrag
äußern werde. Am 16. März macht der britische „Economist“ einen
„Klimawandel“ aus, dem sich AIPAC von Seiten arabischstämmiger
US-Amerikaner, liberalen Juden und außenpolitischen Experten
gegenübersehe, und fordert „eine offene Debatte“ über die
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74 – Chronologie 2007
Nahostpolitik der USA und verlangt von AIPAC „eine positive Rolle in
dieser Debatte, wenn sie eine machtvolle Kraft in der
amerikanischen Politik bleiben will“. Am 18. März beklagt in der „New
York Times“ der vielfach ausgezeichnete Kolumnist Nicholas Kristof,
der in letzter Zeit besonders über den Völkermord in Darfur
geschrieben hat, dass es unter den Republikanern und Demokraten
im Kongress keine ernsthafte politische Debatte über die USamerikanische Politik gegenüber Israelis und Palästinensern gebe.
Wie Soros verweist Kristof darauf, dass in Israel selbst lebhafte
Debatten um den politischen Kurs der Regierung stattfinden.
14.03.2007:
In der gemeinsamen Pressekonferenz mit Tsipi Livni begrüßt USAußenministerin Condoleezza Rice die saudische Friedensinitiative
vom März 2002, auch wenn sie noch keine Verhandlungsposition
beschreibe82. Niemals seit der ersten zionistischen Einwanderung
sei die arabische Welt so bereit gewesen, mit dem jüdischen Staat
eine Regelung zu treffen, unterstreicht der frühere israelische
Außenminister Shlomo Ben-Ami die Bedeutung der Beiruter
Erklärung in einem Meinungsbeitrag am 18. März für „Haaretz“.
Danny Rubinstein bezeichnet in „Haaretz“ die Frage nach der
politischen Zukunft Jerusalems als zentrales Problem. So wie der
Staat Israel nicht existieren würde, wenn das Recht der
palästinensischen Flüchtlinge auf Rückkehr durchgesetzt werde, so
könne ein palästinensischer Staat nicht ohne Ost-Jerusalem als
Hauptstadt existieren. Die Palästinenser hätten die berechtigte
Sorge, dass sie Jerusalem verlieren. Die Trennungszäune und mauern um den Ostteil der Stadt seien nahezu vollendet. Während
Israel behaupte, dass es sich nicht um politische Grenzen handele,
schauten die Kreuzungsbefestigungen im Norden, Osten und Süden
mehr und mehr wie Grenzanlagen zwischen Ländern aus, so dass
die palästinensischen Proteste in Kauf genommen werden könnten.
Gemäß dem israelisch-jordanischen Friedensvertrag vom September
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75 – Chronologie 2007
1994, in dem Jordanien der Schutz der heiligen moslemischen
Stätten zugesprochen worden ist, seien beide Regierungen darauf
bedacht, der Autonomiebehörde keine Kontrolle über die Al-AqzaMoschee einzuräumen. Rubinstein schließt mit der düsteren
Prognose, dass der Traum von „zwei Staaten für zwei Völker“ ohne
83
Ost-Jerualem für die Palästinenser beendet sei .
Erstmals seit mehr als zwei Jahren besucht der EUAußenbeauftragte Javier Solana Syrien und trifft in Damaskus mit
Präsident Bashar Assad, Vizepräsident Faruk Shara und
Außenminister Walid Mualem zusammen. Dabei fordert Solana
Syrien dazu auf, einen Beitrag zum Frieden und zur Sicherheit in
Libanon im Rahmen der UN-Resolution 1701 zu leisten, zur
Aufklärung an dem Mord an dem früheren Ministerpräsidenten Rafik
Hariri am 14. Februar 2005 sowie zum Abbau der Spannungen im
Irak beizutragen, und verlangt die Unterbindung des
Waffenschmuggels über seine Grenzen. Nur dann könne Damaskus
mit der Aufhebung der internationalen Isolation rechnen. Während
Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier Solanas Besuch
ausdrücklich begrüßt, werden in Israel Stimmen der Empörung laut,
weil der EU-Außenbeauftragte die europäische Unterstützung bei
der Wiedergewinnung der von Israel besetzten Golanhöhen
zugesagt habe. Solana wird mit den Worten an die Adresse
Mualems zitiert: „Wir möchten so sehr wie möglich darauf
hinarbeiten, dass Ihr Land Syrien das Gebiet wiederbekommt, das
1967 weggenommen worden ist.“ Nur der Vorsitzende von „Meretz“,
Yossi Beilin, begrüßt den Besuch Solanas, weil er den Beginn von
Verhandlungen zwischen Israel und Syrien erneuern könne.
Der Präsident des „World Jewish Congress“ Edgar Bronfman
entlässt mit sofortiger Wirkung seinen seit dreißig Jahren
amtierenden Generalsekretär Israel Singer, dem er Vergehen der
Korruption und der persönlichen Bereicherung vorwirft. Beobachter
vermuten hinter der ohne Vorwarnung erfolgten Trennung darüber
hinaus eine seit langem erkennbare Entfremdung zwischen
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76 – Chronologie 2007
Bronfman und Singer mit ihren divergierenden politischen
Temperamenten.
13.03.2007:
In einem Kommentar in „Haaretz“ zur Rede von Bundeskanzlerin
Angela Merkel aus Anlass der Eröffnung des von der Axel-SpringerStiftung ausgerichteten „Europe-Israel Dialogue“ am 10. März in
Berlin werden Erklärungen in akademischen Kreisen und in der
extremen Linken in Deutschland und in anderen Teilen Europas
kritisiert, die Israel das Recht auf Existenz absprechen. Gleichzeitig
verweist der Kommentator auf die israelische Politik gegenüber den
Palästinensern, die es wert sei, deutlich verurteilt zu werden. Alle
Regierungen hätten es versäumt und hielten daran fest,
Gelegenheiten zur Versöhnung mit den arabischen Nachbarn
ungenutzt verstreichen zu lassen, sie hätten die Siedlungstätigkeit
verstärkt und eine destruktive Herrschaft der Okkupation, der
Unterdrückung und der Korruption errichtet84.
12.03.2007:
In einem Gespräch mit der „Jerusalem Post” fordert ein nicht
genannter arabischer Diplomat Israel auf, das Recht der
palästinensischen Flüchtlinge auf Rückkehr prinzipiell anzuerkennen,
aber die Details den Verhandlungen zu überlassen. Die Beiruter
Erklärung der Arabischen Liga vom März 2002 sei ein Rahmen für
eine Regelung, deren Ausgang Verhandlungen überlassen bleiben
müsse. Niemand behaupte, dass alle Flüchtlinge zurückkehren
wollten, so dass der jüdische Charakter Israels nicht beschädigt
werde. Der palästinensische Chefunterhändler Saeb Erakat
wiederholt gegenüber dem Blatt das Interesse an einer „gerechten
und vereinbarten Lösung“. Am selben Tag berichtet „Haaretz“, dass
Außenministerin Tsipi Livni den saudischen Plan als „eine sehr
positive Idee“ würdige, aber die Wahrnehmung des Rechts auf
Rückkehr der palästinensischen Flüchtlinge ablehne.
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77 – Chronologie 2007
Vor der Konferenz des „American Israel Public Affairs Committee
(AIPAC)“ in Washington betont Tsipi Livni, dass sich Israel und die
USA inmitten eines Kampfes um die Zukunft der freien Welt
befänden. Er könne nur gemeinsam gewonnen werden. An
vorderster Stelle der Bedrohung nennt Livni Iran als Träger des
Extremismus, vor dem die freie Welt nicht die Augen verschließen
dürfe. Der internationalen Gemeinschaft müsse außerdem an der
Schaffung eines unabhängigen und territorial souveränen Libanon
gelegen sein, das die Milizen entwaffne und friedliche Beziehungen
zu seinen Nachbarn entwickeln könne. Syrien, Iran und die
„Hisbollah“ würden dies verhindern wollen. Im Blick auf das
Verhältnis zu den Palästinensern wiederholt Livni die „Vision des
Friedens“ im Rahmen der Zweistaatenlösung. Der Staat Palästina
könne indes nur durch die Absage an den Terrorismus zustande
kommen. Trotz der Enttäuschung über die innerpalästinensische
Vereinbarung von Mekka habe Israel „die Tür zum Dialog mit den
Gemäßigten“ nicht geschlossen. Gemäßigte müssten sich diesen
Titel jedoch verdienen85. In einer Videoschaltung zur Konferenz
äußert Ehud Olmert die Befürchtung, dass ein rascher Abzug USamerikanischer Truppen aus Irak, für den in Washington Pläne
ausgearbeitet würden, der Sicherheit Israels und der Region schade.
Eine heftige Kritik an der jüdisch-evangelikalen Allianz in den USA
übt Sarah Posner am 13. März auf der Internetseite „American
Prospect“. Dem Gründer der „Christians United for Israel“, John
Hagee, wirft Posner vor, vor AIPAC eine „höchst bizarre
Armaggedon-Rhetorik“ verwendet zu haben86. Ob Hagee für Israel
gut sei, sei uninteressant. Das wahre Problem bestehe darin, dass er
eine Katastrophe für die Vereinigten Staaten und ihre Position in der
Welt repräsentiere – nicht weil er die Juden zu sehr liebe oder
tatsächlich insgeheim hasse, sondern weil er eine wachsende
politische Bewegung anführe, die von Grund auf die Weltpolitik
missverstehe. Sie verstärke den Eindruck, dass die USA von
messianischen Kräften gelenkt würden, die im Widerspruch zu
87
Frieden und Stabilität in der Welt stünden .
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78 – Chronologie 2007
11.03.2007:
Zu Beginn der wöchentlichen Kabinettssitzung erklärt Ehud Olmert,
dass Israel alles in seiner Macht Stehende tun wolle, um das tägliche
Leben der Palästinenser zu erleichtern. Im Blick auf die Sitzung der
Arabischen Liga am 28./29. März in Riyadh fügt Olmert die
Erwartung hinzu, dass die positiven Elemente der Beiruter Erklärung
der Arabischen Liga vom März 2002 bestätigt und die
Verhandlungschancen zwischen Israel und den Palästinensern
gestärkt würden.
Am Abend geht das dritte Treffen zwischen Ehud Olmert und
Machmud Abbas in Jerusalem ohne greifbare Ergebnisse zu Ende.
Weitere Gespräche werden vereinbart.
09.03.2007:
Israelische Zeitungen berichten, dass der US-amerikanisch-syrische
Geschäftsmann Ibrahim Suleiman seine Bereitschaft erklärt habe,
vor dem Auswärtigen und Sicherheitsausschuss der Knesset über
seine informellen Gespräche mit dem ehemaligen Generaldirektor im
israelischen Auswärtigen Amt, Alon Liel, unter Schweizer Vermittlung
zu berichten. Dabei ging es um eine israelisch-syrische
Verständigung88. In einem Interview mit dem arabischen
Fernsehsender „al-Djazeera“ am 19. März bestätigt Syriens
Präsident Bashar Assad die Kontakte.
Nach monatelangem Schweigen hat Oppositionsführer Benjamin
Netanyahu („Likud”) in einem Interview mit „Haaretz” der Regierung
Ehud Olmerts keine lange Amtszeit eingeräumt, weil sie auf allen
Feldern versagt habe. Dabei lässt er erkennen, dass er mit
Überläufern aus Olmerts „Kadima“ rechnet, um im Parlament ein
Misstrauensvotum und dann Neuwahlen durchzusetzen. Gleichzeitig
vertraut Netanyahu auf moderate Kräfte in der arabischen und
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79 – Chronologie 2007
palästinensischen Politik, die auf der Grundlage gemeinsamer Werte
an einer „Allianz“ mit Israel zur Abwehr des islamischen Extremismus
und der iranischen Nuklearbedrohung interessiert seien. Iran sei
verwundbarer, als es scheine, nämlich auf wirtschaftlichem Gebiet.
Dabei setzt Netanyahu auf westliche Inhaber von Pensionsfonds im
Wert von vielen Milliarden US-Dollar, die verkauft werden könnten,
wenn Firmen Handels- und Wirtschaftsbeziehungen mit Teheran
unterhalten (sog. Sekundärboykott). Wie vor der
Generalversammlung des „United Jewish Appeal“ in Los Angeles im
November 200689 zieht Netanyahu eine Parallele zwischen der
westlichen „Appeasement“-Politik von 1938 gegenüber NaziDeutschland und der westlichen Gleichgültigkeit, die iranische
Bedrohung Israels ernst zu nehmen. Gegenüber der Beiruter
Erklärung der Arabischen Liga vom März 2002 zeigt er sich
vorsichtig offen und zu „Konzessionen“ bereit90.
08./09.2007:
Zum Abschluss des Treffens der europäischen Staats- und
Regierungschefs in Brüssel verabschieden die Beteiligten eine
Resolution, in der die Vereinbarung von „Hamas“ und „Fatah“ in
Mekka begrüßt und zur Wahrung der politischen und territorialen
Integrität und Unabhängigkeit Libanons gemäß der UN-Resolution
1701 aufgerufen wird91.
08.03.2007:
„Haaretz“ berichtet jetzt, dass Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert bei
seiner Befragung vor der Kommission unter Vorsitz von Richter
Eliyahu Winograd92 am 1. Februar eingeräumt habe, die Invasion
nach Libanon Mitte Juli 2006 sei nicht das Ergebnis der Entführung
zweier israelischer Soldaten gewesen, sondern die Entscheidung sei
bereits im März 2006 gefallen. Als er mit Offizieren des Generalstabs
verschiedene Bedrohungsszenarien an Israels Nordgrenze
durchgespielt habe, hätten seine Gesprächspartner positiv auf die
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80 – Chronologie 2007
Frage geantwortet, ob sie gegebenenfalls militärisch darauf
vorbereitet seien – so etwa auf die Entführung israelischer Soldaten.
Die Entscheidung des US-Sicherheitsrates in der Resolution 1701
sei von ihm verzögert worden, bis Israels Armee eine bessere
Ausgangsstellung erreicht habe.
Nach einem Bericht derselben Zeitung hat ein Sprecher von
„Hamas“ am Vortag ihr gegenüber die Zusage gemacht, dass seine
Organisation und „Fatah“ einen vollständigen Waffenstillstand mit
Israel, einschließlich des Beschusses vom Gazastreifen aus,
anbieten, wenn sich die israelische Regierung nicht länger für den
internationalen Boykott der Autonomiebehörde einsetze. Dieses
Angebot werde Präsident Machmud Abbas bei dem voraussichtlich
am 11. März stattfindenden Treffen mit Ehud Olmert vortragen.
Die palästinensische Menschenrechtsorganisation „Al-Haq (Das
Recht)“ nimmt den Internationalen Frauentag zum Anlass, die
Verletzung der Menschenwürde palästinensischer Frauen und
Mädchen durch die israelische Besatzung und durch die
Respektlosigkeit anzuklagen, die sie seitens der Autonomiebehörde
in ihren Familien erdulden müssen93.
Die Betonmauer in der Altstadt von Nikosia seit 1974, die die
griechische von der türkischen Bevölkerung getrennt hat, wird von
griechischen Zyprioten eingerissen, um einer Kreuzung Platz zu
machen. Der Abriss wurde von Seiten der Regierung mit der
Forderung nach Abzug der türkischen Truppen auf der anderen
Seite verbunden. Erst dann könne die Öffnung der Grenze ernsthaft
erwogen werden94.
07.03.2007:
Vor beiden Häusern des US-Kongresses beklagt Jordaniens König
Abdullah II. die fortgesetzte Gewalt im Nahen Osten, deren Gefahren
auf die ganze Welt ausstrahlen. Die seit vierzig Jahren andauernde
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81 – Chronologie 2007
israelische Besatzung habe auf allen Seiten bittere Gefühle der
Enttäuschung und der Hoffnungslosigkeit hinterlassen. Doch eine
Lösung könne nicht von außen aufgezwungen, sondern nur mittels
Verständigung, Absprache und Kompromiss erreicht werden.
Abdullah II. erinnert in diesem Zusammenhang an die Beiruter
Erklärung der Staaten der Arabischen Liga vom März 2002, die
international sowie in den moslemischen Staaten Unterstützung
finde. Abschließend appelliert der König an die USA, bei der Suche
nach dem Frieden zwischen den Palästinensern und Israel energisch
zu helfen95.
06.03.2007:
Mit „Empörung und Entsetzen” reagiert der israelische Botschafter in
Deutschland, Shimon Stein, auf Äußerungen deutscher katholischer
Bischöfe während ihres Besuchs in Israel und in den
palästinensischen Gebieten96. So zitieren deutsche Zeitungen den
Kölner Erzbischof Joachim Meisner nach dem Besuch des von
Mauern umschlossenen Bethlehem mit den Worten: „Ich kann gar
nicht hingucken. Für mich ist das ein Albtraum, das macht man mit
Tieren, aber nicht mit Menschen.“ Meisners Sprecher dementiert das
ihm zugeschriebene Zitat. Sein Augsburger Amtskollege Walter Mixa
spricht von einer „ghettoartigen Situation“, die „fast schon
Rassismus“ sei. Der Eichstätter Bischof Gregor Maria Hanke
vergleicht seine Eindrücke beim Besuch in der Gedenkstätte „Yad
vaShem“ mit dem „Ghetto in Ramallah“ und entschuldigt sich später.
Der Sekretär der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, Hans Langendörfer,
weist die Kritik Steins zurück, bedauert aber „einige wenige sehr
persönliche Bemerkungen … aus der emotionalen Betroffenheit
Einzelner“97. Der Vorsitzende der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, Karl
Kardinal Lehmann, weist in seinem abgewogen formulierten
Statement für die Presse auf die unhaltbar erscheinenden
politischen Verhältnisse zwischen Israelis und Palästinensern hin
und schreibt: „Als Bischöfe können wir keine politischen Vermittler
sein und keine politischen Auswege aus der Misere vorzeichnen.
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82 – Chronologie 2007
Wohl aber können und müssen wir immer wieder auf das Leiden der
Menschen aufmerksam machen98.“ Der Vorgang wird in der
99
deutschen Öffentlichkeit kontrovers diskutiert . Der an der
Universität Montreal lehrende jüdisch-orthodoxe Historiker Yakob M.
Rabkin beklagt in der „Baltimore Sun“ die wachsende Kluft zwischen
den „zionistischen Advokaten Israels und säkularen und religiösen
Juden, die den Zionismus und die Handlungen des Staates Israel
zurückweisen oder in Frage stellen“. Darüber sei eine offene Debatte
ausgebrochen, wie auch der Film „München“ von Steven Spielberg
unter Beweis stelle, der die moralischen Kosten der chronischen
Anhänglichkeit Israels auf die Macht beklagt habe und dafür von der
Israel-Lobby in den USA böse attackiert worden sei100.
05.03.2007:
Im Anschluss an das Treffen des „Israel-European Union
Association Council“ in Brüssel lobt der deutsche Außenminister
Frank-Walter Steinmeier die guten wirtschaftlichen und
wissenschaftlich-technologischen Beziehungen zwischen beiden
Seiten. Steinmeiers israelische Kollegin Tsipi Livni weist auf
dasselbe Wertesystem, dieselben Ziele und dieselben Interessen in
den Beziehungen ihres Landes zu Europa hin, unterstreicht jedoch,
dass Israel in einer anderen Weltgegend liege, in der ein Kampf
zwischen Gemäßigten und Extremisten stattfinde, wobei sie
besonders auf „Hamas“ und Iran aufmerksam macht. EUAußenkommissarin Benita Ferrero-Waldner betont die Bedeutung
der europäischen Nachbarschaftspolitik für Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft
und die Liberalisierung des Handels101.
Giora Eiland, früherer Sicherheitsberater von Ministerpräsident Ariel
Sharon, zeigt sich skeptisch, ob Israel gegenwärtig mit Syrien in
Verhandlungen für einen Friedensvertrag eintreten solle, und nennt
dafür sechs Gründe: 1. Der Friedensvertrag würde nicht die iranische
Nukleardrohung beseitigen. 2. Er würde nicht das palästinensische
Problem lösen, weil es sich bei Syrien um einen Territorialkonflikt
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83 – Chronologie 2007
handele. 3. Israel könne nicht gleichzeitig an zwei Fronten
Verhandlungen führen, und eine Klärung mit Syrien würde von den
Palästinensern als Schlag ins Gesicht betrachtet werden und könnte
eine neue „Intifada“ auslösen. 4. Ein Friedensvertrag würde nach
dem syrischen Abzug keine Entlastung im israelisch-libanesischen
Verhältnis bringen. 5. Er würde nicht zu einem umfassenden Vertrag
mit der arabischen Welt führen, solange das palästinensische
Problem nicht gelöst sei. 6. Aus demselben Grund würde er die
Stellung Israels in der Welt nicht verbessern102.
03.03.2007:
Der saudische König Abdullah und der iranische Präsident Machmud
Achmadinedjad vereinbaren in Riyadh die Eindämmung der
Spannungen zwischen Schiiten und Sunniten, die Beendigung der
konfessionell geprägten Gewalt im Irak und die Verhinderung ihrer
Übertragung auf die anderen arabischen Länder. Unterschiedliche
Darstellungen kursieren nach dem Treffen über die iranische
Bereitschaft, die Beiruter Friedensinitiative vom März 2002 zu
unterstützen. Am 5. März verbreitet die Website „Gulf in the Media“
einen Bericht, wonach sich Saudi-Arabien gegenüber einer
Veränderung der Beiruter Erklärung offen zeige, Teheran vor einer
Konfrontation mit den USA gewarnt werde und Libyen die Teilnahme
an der arabischen Gipfelkonferenz Ende März in Riyadh ablehne103.
Februar 2007
28.02.2007:
Gegenüber der palästinensischen Zeitung „Al-Ayyam (Die Tage)“ hat
Israels Außenministerin Tsipi Livni die Beiruter Erklärung der
Arabischen Liga vom März 2002104 „in der gegenwärtigen Form“
zurückgewiesen. Besonders wendet sie sich gegen die Forderung
nach Rückkehr der palästinensischen Flüchtlinge, die in dem
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84 – Chronologie 2007
ursprünglich von Saudi-Arabien vorgelegten Entschließungsantrag
nicht enthalten gewesen sei105.
Das „Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – Adalah“ legt
aus Anlass seines zehnjährigen Bestehens einen
Verfassungsvorschlag auf der Grundlage eines demokratischen,
zweisprachigen und multikulturellen Staates Israel vor. In dem 9Punkte-Plan wird auf die Universelle Menschenrechtserklärung von
1948 und auf den Entkolonialisierungsprozess nach dem Zweiten
Weltkrieg hingewiesen, bevor verlangt wird,
– dass Israel die Verantwortung für das Unrecht anerkenne, das dem
palästinensischen Volk seit 1948 zugefügt worden sei,
einschließlich des Rechts der palästinensischen Flüchtlinge auf
Rückkehr gemäß der UN-Resolution 194 [vom Dezember 1948],
des Rechts des palästinensischen Volkes auf Selbstbestimmung
sowie der Verpflichtung Israels zum Rückzug aus den 1967
besetzten Gebieten;
– dass Israel das Leben der arabisch-palästinensischen Bürger des
Staates seit unvordenklichen Zeiten in ihrer Heimat einschließlich
ihrer nationalen Identität anerkenne,
– dass anerkannt werde, dass der arabisch-palästinensischen
Minderheit seit 1948 schweres Unrecht zugefügt worden sei,
– dass anerkannt werde, dass die Würde und die persönliche
Freiheit die Grundlage für die Aufrechterhaltung einer gerechten
Gesellschaft seien, und
– dass anerkannt werde, dass kein anderes Volk besetzt werden
dürfe und völlige Gleichheit zwischen den jüdischen und
arabischen Staatsbürgern hergestellt werden müsse106.
Anlass des Offenen Briefes ist eine europäisch-israelische
Konferenz am 5. März.
In ihrem jüngsten Bericht wirft die renommierte „International Crisis
Group“, die gegenwärtig von dem ehemaligen britischen EUAußenkommissar Chris Patten und dem früheren US-Botschafter
Thomas Pickering geleitet wird, dem Nahost-Quartett sowie „Hamas“
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85 – Chronologie 2007
und „Fatah“ völliges Versagen im vergangenen Jahr 2006 vor. Die
westliche Verpflichtung auf die Demokratie im Vorderen Orient sei
von Grund auf diskreditiert. „Hamas“ sei, auch wenn schwach, stark
genug, ihren Weg fortzusetzen. „Fatah“ habe nichts getan, um ihre
Glaubwürdigkeit wiederherzustellen, so dass die Ankündigung von
Neuwahlen oder eines Referendums keinen Ausweg aus der Krise
biete. Die Gewalt zwischen Israel und den Palästinensern habe ihre
Fortsetzung gefunden: „Nach fast jedem einleuchtenden Standard –
Regierungsfähigkeit, Sicherheit, Wirtschaft, Institutionen-Aufbau und
Friedensprozess – hat es nur Rückschritte gegeben.“ Die
Vereinbarung von Mekka biete eine Chance, das katastrophale
Abgleiten in den Bürgerkrieg aufzuhalten. Im Außenverhältnis habe
sie zwar die drei Voraussetzungen des „Quartetts“ zur
Wiederaufnahme der Hilfe für die Palästinenser nicht erfüllt: Die
neue Regierung wolle die alten Vereinbarungen zwischen Israel und
der PLO „respektieren“, sich jedoch nicht an sie „halten“; sie habe
Israel nicht anerkannt, und sie habe der Gewalt nicht abgeschworen.
Was jedoch zähle, sei, ob die künftige Regierung einem
Waffenstillstand zustimme; ob sie von Tag zu Tag mit Israel
zusammenarbeite, ob sie sich mit Verhandlungen zwischen
Machmud Abbas und Israel einverstanden erkläre und ob sie bereit
sei, der Bevölkerung eine Endstatus-Vereinbarung in einem
Referendum vorzulegen und das Ergebnis zu respektieren. Würde
dies erreicht werden, sollte der internationale Boykott sofort
erleichtert und „Hamas“ damit ein Impuls zur weiteren Mäßigung
eingeräumt werden. Kritisch an die Adresse der sog. internationalen
Staatengemeinschaft gerichtet, nennt die „International Crisis Group“
die Vereinbarung von Mekka eine Voraussetzung und kein Hindernis
für einen erneuerten Friedensprozess. „If the Quartet adopts the
position that little has changed, the ensuing political and financial
isolation might kill the agreement between Hamas und Fatah virtually
at birth.” Nach Berichten habe es im Gazastreifen und in geringerem
Ausmaß in der Westbank einen erheblichen Anstieg des
Drogenkonsums, der Prostitution, der Kleinkriminalität und anderer
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Phänomene gegeben, die üblicherweise mit wachsender Armut
einhergehen.
27.02.2007:
Das „Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN)“ – der
Zusammenschluss von über achtzig europäischen
Menschenrechtsorganisationen – drückt in einem Offenen Brief an
die EU-Außenminister, an den EU-Außenbeauftragten Javier Solana
sowie an die EU-Kommissarin für auswärtige Angelegenheiten
Benita Ferrero-Waldner ihre Sorgen vor der Menschenrechtslage in
Israel und in den besetzten palästinensischen Gebieten aus und
fordert die Europäische Union auf, dass ihre weitere
Zusammenarbeit mit Israel von der israelischen Einstellung
diskriminierender Praktiken und ihrer Folgen gegenüber der
palästinensischen Bevölkerung abhängig gemacht werden solle
107
.
25.02.2007:
In einem Interview mit der in London erscheinenden saudischen
Zeitung verlangt der Leiter des Politischen Büros von „Hamas“ in
Damaskus, Khaled Meshal, die israelische Anerkennung
palästinensischer Rechte und den Rückzug aus der Westbank und
dem Gazastreifen als Voraussetzungen für eine Friedensregelung
und betont, dass die palästinensische Politik unabhängig von Israel
Entscheidungen treffe108.
23.02.2007:
Nach der Begegnung mit Bundesaußenminister Frank-Walter
Steinmeier am Vortag in Berlin begrüßt Bundeskanzlerin Angela
Merkel im Gespräch mit Präsident Machmud Abbas die
Vereinbarung zwischen „Fatah“ und „Hamas“ in Mekka zur Bildung
einer Regierung der nationalen Einheit, weil sie das Blutvergießen im
Gazastreifen beenden könne. Gleichzeitig erinnert Merkel aber auch
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87 – Chronologie 2007
an die drei Voraussetzungen für die Wiederaufnahme der
internationalen Hilfe für die Palästinenser. Während Merkel auf die
Freilassung des israelischen Gefreiten Gilad Shalit drängt, der am
25. Juni 2006 entführt wurde, verlangt Abbas die Entlassung von
rund zehntausend palästinensischen Gefangenen aus israelischen
Gefängnissen und Lagern. Politische Fortschritte sind aus dem
Gespräch zwischen Merkel und Abbas nicht erkennbar. Der
Sprecher für internationale Beziehungen und Obmann der Fraktion
DIE LINKE im Bundestag, Wolfgang Gehrcke, vermutet, dass die
Ergebnislosigkeit des Treffens auf den „engen deutschen
Schulterschluss mit der israelisch-amerikanischen Position“
zurückzuführen sei. Damit sei erneut „eine weitere Chance vertan,
Europa als ernsthaften und ehrlichen Makler“ zu etablieren.
Jordaniens König Abdullah II. fordert die israelische Regierung in
einem Interview mit dem israelischen Fernsehen auf, mit den
Palästinensern und den arabischen Staaten Verhandlungen auf der
Grundlage der Beiruter Erklärung der Arabischen Liga vom März
2002 aufzunehmen. Ohne eine Klärung des israelischpalästinensischen Verhältnisses werde es keine Lösung der
arabisch-israelischen Beziehungen geben. Ohne ein Ende des
israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikts werde der Funke der Gewalt
auf die gesamte arabisch-moslemische Welt überspringen.
Nach einer Meldung der Deutschen Presseagentur aus Kairo, die
von der „Frankfurter Rundschau“ übernommen wird, haben 150
saudische Sunniten und Schiiten am 22.Februar einen Brief
veröffentlicht, in dem sie umfassende politische Reformen
anmahnen, um die Auseinandersetzungen zwischen beiden
islamischen Glaubensrichtungen einzudämmen. An ihnen seien vor
allem die USA und Israel schuld, weil sie die regionalen
Konfliktparteien unterstützten, um die arabischen Gesellschaften zu
zerstören: „Die zionistisch-amerikanische Koalition ist der einzige
Nutznießer von Bürgerkriegen in der Region“, heißt es in dem Brief
nach bekannter verschwörungstheoretischer Manier.
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88 – Chronologie 2007
Der Londoner „Guardian“ berichtet vorab aus dem Bericht des
südafrikanischen Rechtsprofessors John Dugard im Auftrag der
Vereinten Nationen, wonach „Israels Rechtspraxis und sein Handeln
in den palästinensischen Gebieten mit Sicherheit Aspekte der
Apartheid widerspiegelt“. Dugard weist in dem Bericht, der das
Datum vom 29. Januar trägt und im März dem UN-Rechtausschuss
vorgelegt werden soll, die israelische Behauptung zurück, dass die
Trennungsmauer allein der Sicherheit diene: „Es ist vollkommen klar,
dass die Mauer und die Kontrollpunkte vor allem darauf abzielen, der
Sicherheit, dem Wohlbefinden und der Behaglichkeit der Siedler zu
dienen.“ Am 22. Februar berichtet die von Ramallah aus arbeitende
palästinensische Menschenrechtsorganisation „Al-Haq (Das Recht)“
von der unbegründeten Verweigerung der Ausreiserechte aus der
Westbank nach Jordanien, Ägypten und Spanien für ihren
Generalsekretär Shawan Jabarin durch israelische Behörden109.
22.02.2007:
Israels Oberstes Gericht gibt den Bewohnern der Siedlungen Avnei
Hefetz und Einav in der Westbank Recht, für die das israelische
Militär Sicherheitszäune um ihre Siedlungen errichten soll, auch
wenn diese palästinensisches Ackerland durchschneiden.
21.02.2007:
Nach einem Bericht von „Haaretz“, der sich auf eine
wissenschaftliche Untersuchung stützt, sind 43 Prozent der
Bevölkerung im arabischen Ost-Jerusalem Araber und 43 Prozent
Juden – 184.300 Personen. Zwischen 1967 und 2005 sei in den
Stadtgrenzen Jerusalems die arabische Bevölkerung von 68.600 auf
244.800 gestiegen, die jüdische Bevölkerung von 197.700 auf
475.000. Die größten jüdischen Neubauviertel seien Pisgat Zeev
(rund 41.000), Ramat (40.000), Gilo (27.000), Neve Yaacov
(20.000), Ramat Shlomo (14.000) und Ost-Talpiot (12.000).
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US-Außenministerin Condoleezza Rice informiert die Mitglieder des
Nahost-Quartetts in Berlin über die Ergebnisse ihrer Reise in den
Nahen Osten. An dem Treffen nehmen außer dem deutschen
Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, sein russischer Kollege
Sergej W. Lawrow, UN-Generalsekretär Ban Ki-Moon sowie der EUAußenbeauftragte Javier Solana und die EU-Kommissarin für
auswärtige Angelegenheiten Benita Ferrero-Waldner teil. In einer
vorab verteilten Presseerklärung vertritt Steinmeier die Auffassung,
dass das Nahost-Quartett zu einem intensiven Engagement
zurückgefunden habe: „Gerade in diesen Tagen wird erkennbar, wie
wichtig es ist, dass die internationale Staatengemeinschaft in der
Frage des Nahost-Konflikts mit einer Stimme spricht.“ Die
Gespräche bezeichnet Steinmeier als „ausgesprochen nützlich“,
obwohl sie über die Wiederholung bekannter Standpunkte nicht
hinauszukommen scheinen110.
Eine libanesische Flugabwehrrakete wird über Süd-Libanon auf
israelische Aufklärungsflugzeuge abgeschossen.
20.02.2007:
Der Jahresbericht 2006 von „Peace Now“ zählt zweitausend Siedler
in 102 Außenlagern der Westbank. Zwar seien im vergangenen Jahr
keine neuen „outposts“ entstanden, doch seien manche weiter
ausgebaut worden. Nach Angaben des Innenministeriums hätten
2006 in Siedlungen der Westbank 268.000 Juden gelebt.
Yossi Alpher, gemeinsam mit Ghassan Khatib Redakteur des
Internet-Portals „bitterlemons“ berichtet, dass der saudische König
Abdullah Ende [voraussichtlich 28./29.] März die Beiruter Erklärung
vom März 2002 – sie wurde im März 2006 auf der Sitzung der
Arabischen Liga im sudanesischen Khartum bestätigt – auf die
Tagesordnung des Gremiums setzen wolle, um sie zu erweitern und
zu konkretisieren. Dieser Friedensplan werde aufgrund seiner
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90 – Chronologie 2007
umfassenden Bedeutung als mögliches Instrument gegen Iran und
den radikalen Islam eingeschätzt. Wegen der verfehlten USamerikanischen Politik in der Region sei eine politische Führung
Saudi-Arabiens willkommen, schreibt Alpher, und macht auf einige
Probleme und Widersprüche im Text und in nachfolgenden
arabischen Erklärungen aufmerksam, die sich auf die Regelung des
palästinensischen Flüchtlingsproblems, auf den Ausschluss Israels
bei der Durchsetzung des Friedensplans und auf den fehlenden
Stufenplan beziehen. Israel sollte nach Alphers Auffassung in der
ersten Stufe gemeinsam mit der PLO die territorialen und anderen
Parameter einer Zweistaatenlösung diskutieren, in der zweiten
Phase Geheimgespräche zwecks Einbeziehung Syriens führen und
im dritten Schritt öffentlich in den Friedensprozess mit den
Palästinensern und Syrien eintreten, der schließlich in
Friedensverträge einmünden solle111.
In einem Einsatz tötet eine israelische Einheit in Zivilkleidung in
Djenin den 24jährigen Machmud Abu-Ubayed, der die dortige
Gruppe des „Islamischen Djihad“ gelenkt haben soll. Einen Tag
zuvor waren in Bat Yam zwei Palästinenser festgenommen worden,
die einen Anschlag auf dem Busbahnhof in Tel Aviv geplant haben
sollen und bei der Befragung den Namen Abu-Ubayeds angaben.
Der „Islamische Djihad“, die den in Makka getroffene Vereinbarung
zwischen „Hamas“ und „Fatah“ ablehnen, bekennt sich zu dem
geplanten Anschlag.
Der stellvertretende Ministerpräsident Shimon Peres widerspricht
nach einem Besuch an der libanesischen Grenze Brigadegeneral
Yossi Baidatz, der im Außen- und Sicherheitsausschuss der
Knesset Tags zuvor von der wieder gewonnenen militärischen
Stärke der „Hisbollah“ gewarnt hatte. Gleichzeitig räumt Peres ein,
dass ihr Generalsekretär Hassan Nasrallah die UN-Resolution 1701
durch Waffenschmuggel über die syrische Grenze verletze.
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91 – Chronologie 2007
Irans Präsident Machmud Achmadinedjad bietet in einer landesweit
ausgestrahlten Rede Verhandlungen über das
Urananreicherungsprogramm seines Landes an, wenn die anderen
Atommächte „ihre Programme zum nuklearen Brennstoffkreislauf
ebenfalls ausschalten“. Der UN-Sicherheitsrat hatte am 12.
Dezember 2006 dem Iran in der Resolution 1737 Sanktionen
angedroht, wenn es nicht sofort sein Urananreicherungsprogramm
abbreche. Der jetzige Versuch, einen mäßigenden Eindruck zu
erwecken, dürfte mit einem Brief von 150 Abgeordneten
zusammenhängen, die dem Präsidenten eine galoppierende
Inflation, hohen Preisauftrieb für Lebensmittel, die hohe
Arbeitslosenquote und mangelnde Haushaltskonsolidierung
vorwerfen, nachdem im Dezember 2006 seine Anhänger hohe
Verluste bei den Kommunalwahlen hinnehmen mussten.
19.02.2007:
Das Dreiertreffen zwischen US-Außenministerin Condoleezza Rice,
Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert und Präsident Machmud Abbas in
Jerusalem geht ohne greifbare Ergebnisse zu Ende. Beide Seiten
stimmten darin überein, sich unter US-amerikanischer Beteiligung
bald wieder zu treffen112. Im Interview mit „Haaretz“ lehnt Rice den
Vergleich zwischen Iran und Nazi-Deutschland ab113. Abbas
bezeichnet die Begegnung als dicht und schwierig, aber nicht als
Fehler. Danach reist er zu Konsultationen mit König Abdullah II. nach
Amman – wo sich auch Rice zu Gesprächen mit Repräsentanten des
„Arabischen Quartetts“ aus Saudi-Arabien, den Vereinigten
Arabischen Emiraten, Ägypten und Jordanien aufhält –, um von dort
aus Deutschland, Großbritannien und Frankreich zu besuchen. Der
diplomatische „Haaretz“-Korrespondent Aluf Benn fragt am 22.
Februar, warum sich Rice zu regelmäßigen Besuchen in der Region
entschlossen habe, wenn sie gewärtig sein müsse, mit leeren
Händen und beschädigtem Prestige nach Washington
zurückzukehren. Benn vermutet, dass Rice im Gegensatz zu ihren
kriegsbegeisterten Kollegen in der US-Administration und bei aller
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92 – Chronologie 2007
Widersprüchlichkeit der Politik von George W. Bush im Ende der
israelischen Okkupation und der Schaffung eines palästinensischen
Staates einen moralischen Imperativ sieht, auch weil sie in den
Südstaaten der USA den Rassismus am eigenen Leib kennengelernt
habe114.
Im Vorfeld des Dreiertreffens fordert Condoleezza Rice am 15.
Februar beide Seiten zu „Gesprächen über die Gründung eines
palästinensischen Staates“ auf. Gleichzeitig äußerte sie die
Befürchtung, dass eine neue palästinensische Regierung unter
Beteiligung von „Hamas“, die in der Vereinbarung von Mekka die drei
Grundvoraussetzungen – Anerkennung Israels, Verzicht auf Gewalt,
Bestätigung der von der PLO unterschriebenen Vereinbarungen –
nicht erfüllt habe, die Dinge komplizieren könne. Gleichzeitig lobt
Rice mehrfach Machmud Abbas, der „sein ganzes Leben der
Gewaltlosigkeit gewidmet“ habe. Es wäre ein schwerer Fehler, mit
ihm nicht weiter zu sprechen115. Der diplomatische „Haaretz“Korrespondent Aluf Benn zitiert zusätzlich am 19. Februar in
„Haaretz“ Rice mit den Worten, dass beide Seiten – Israel und die
Palästinenser – ihr Recht auf Existenz gegenseitig anerkennen
müssen116. Die israelische Regierung ließ erkennen, dass sie zwar
über einen „politischen Horizont“ reden, aber die zentralen
Konfliktthemen aussparen wolle. Nach dem Treffen zwischen Rice
und Abbas am 18. Februar berichtete Yasser Abed Rabbo, engster
Berater des palästinensischen Präsidenten, dass die Vereinbarung
von Mekka nicht US-amerikanischen Bedingungen entspreche, dass
Washington jedoch warten werde, bis das palästinensische
Regierungsprogramm vorliege. Abbas entschuldigte sich gegenüber
Rice mit der Bemerkung, die Vereinbarung von Mekka sei die beste,
die er habe erreichen können. Am selben Tag erblickt Zvi Bar’el in
„Haaretz“ in der Politik Washingtons im Nahen Osten alle Leichtigkeit
dieser Erde: Sie beharre auf der „Road Map“ und sehe sich ihr nicht
verpflichtet; sie wünsche Demokratie, könne aber ihre Ergebnisse
von sich weisen; sie sei gegen die Siedlungen – ganz zu schweigen
von ihren Außenlagern –, aber habe sie schon als Fait accompli
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93 – Chronologie 2007
akzeptiert; sie spreche sich für einen Endstatus-Vertrag aus, doch
bevor er erreicht sei, definiere sie seine Voraussetzungen. „Mit
einem Wort: Die Lösung des Konflikts ist nicht wesentlich, sie ist ein
Luxus. … Der Konflikt, der Condoleezza Rice in die Region bringt,
gleicht dem ›Truthahn-Prinzip‹, das davon ausgeht, dass du Flügel
hast, aber nicht fliegen kannst, stattdessen aber frei bist, Lärm zu
verbreiten. “ Des weiteren äußert sich Bar’el höchst kritisch zur
„Road Map“, der er Uneindeutigkeit, mangelnde Fokussierung und
fast Impressionismus vorhält. Deshalb brauche der Konflikt ein
neues Arbeitspapier, zu dem jedoch Washington unfähig sei, weil
der Konflikt – im Gegensatz zu Nordkorea, Libyen, Iran und Irak – für
die USA keine strategische Bedrohung darstelle117.
18.02.2007:
In einem gemeinsamen Kommuniqué fordern der iranische Präsident
Machmud Achmadinedjad und Syriens Staatspräsident Bashar
Assad in Teheran den Rückzug der USA aus dem Irak und die
Schaffung einer atomwaffenfreien Zone in der Region. Gleichzeitig
weisen sie das Verbot der friedlichen Nutzung der Atomenergie als
inakzeptabel zurück und begrüßen die Verständigung zwischen
„Fatah“ und „Hamas“ im saudischen Mekka.
17.02.2007:
Nach ihrer Begegnung treten Außenministerin Tsipi Livni und ihre
US-amerikanische Kollegin Condoleezza Rice in Jerusalem
gemeinsam vor die Presse. Darin betont Livni, dass die
Vereinbarung von Mekka zwischen „Fatah“ und „Hamas“ nach
Auffassung ihrer Regierung nicht den Voraussetzungen für
Verhandlungen entspreche. Rice stimmt ihr prinzipiell zu, betont
jedoch, dass Washington die Bildung der neuen palästinensischen
Regierung abwarten wolle, bevor ein endgültiges Urteil sinnvoll sei.
Außerdem – so warnt sie die israelische Regierung – könne man
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94 – Chronologie 2007
nicht ewig auf einen günstigen Zeitraum für Verhandlungen
warten118.
Im Gastbeitrag „Fremde Federn“ in der „Frankfurter Allgemeinen
Zeitung“ weist der frühere Botschafter Israels in Deutschland, Avi
Primor, darauf hin, dass mindestens zwei Drittel der israelischen
Bevölkerung, wolle man Meinungsumfragen Glauben schenken,
„solide hinter den Prinzipien der verschiedenen bislang entworfenen
Friedenspläne stehen. Alle Friedenspläne – der [„Parameter“]
Clintons vom Dezember 2000, der [Rede] Bushs vom Sommer 2003,
die Genfer Vereinbarung vom Dezember 2003, der Fahrplan
[„Road Map“] des Quartetts oder die erwähnte Rede Olmerts [27.
November 2006]119 – haben die gleichen Komponenten: Sie
sprechen von der Räumung fast aller von Israel besetzten Gebiete
einschließlich der Siedlungen und von der Entstehung eines
überlebensfähigen, unabhängigen Palästinenserstaates.“ Dass aus
den Friedensplänen bislang keine politischen Konsequenzen
gezogen worden sind, begründet Primor mit der Schwäche der
israelischen und palästinensischen Regierung, „um Initiativen zu
ergreifen, an die sie selbst glauben und von denen sie wissen, dass
die eigene Bevölkerung diese unterstützen würde. Doch meist
schweigt die Mehrheit, weshalb militante Minderheiten den Ton
angeben und die Regierungen einschüchtern. Unter solchen
Umständen kann internationaler Druck der einzige Ausweg sein.“ Die
Europäische Union mit der „für alle Seiten glaubwürdige[n
deutschen] Präsidentschaft“ sei „die einzige Macht; die imstande
wäre, nicht nur einen Friedensprozess zu initiieren, sondern auch die
anderen Partner des Nahost-Quartetts (Amerika, Russland und die
UN) davon zu überzeugen, ihre Initiative zu unterstützen, wenn nicht
gar hinzunehmen. Die Vereinigten Staaten sind zwar die bei weitem
einflussreichste Macht im Nahen Osten, es fehlt ihnen aber der
Wille, eine Initiative durchzusetzen.“ Abschließend fragt Primor nach
dem Mut der EU zu einer Führungsrolle hat.
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95 – Chronologie 2007
„Haaretz“ berichtet, dass die Mitgliederversammlung des ältesten
Kibbuz, des 1910 gegründeten Degania A im Südwesten des Sees
Genezareth, einen Antrag auf Privatisierung gebilligt hat. Damit
würden 85 Prozent des restlichen Gemeineigentums verkauft
werden. Bereits jetzt werden unterschiedlich hohe Gehälter an die
Mitglieder gezahlt, auch Wohnungen und anderes Eigentum sind an
sie verteilt worden.
16.02.2007:
In der Wochenendbeilage von „Haaretz“ wendet sich der Tel Aviver
der führende Verfassungsrechtler Amnon Rubinstein, der in der
Vergangenheit verschiedene Ministerämter innehatte, unter der
Überschrift „Was ist mit mir geschehen? Was ist mit euch
geschehen?“ gegen die Einrichtung eines Verfassungsgerichtshofs,
weil das Oberste Gericht dessen Aufgaben wahrnehmen könne,
wenn dort Rechtsanwälte statt Angehörige aus dem Büro des
Generalstaatsanwalts und der Anklagebehörde sitzen würden.
Außerdem gehöre ein arabischer Muslim oder Druse dazu. Dem
früheren Präsidenten des Obersten Gerichts Aharon Barak
bescheinigt Rubinstein zwar, einer der besten Juristen der Welt,
doch in vielen Fällen einem extremen Aktivismus verfallen zu sein.
Das Gericht solle sich nicht in Sicherheitsangelegenheiten
einmischen, gleiches gelte prinzipiell für Interventionen in
Gesetzgebungskompetenzen der Knesset. In den vergangenen
Jahren sei ein Prozess eingerissen, der die Politik beschädige und
das Justizsystem zu einem Diktator habe aufsteigen lassen.
Rubinstein verwahrt sich gegen den Vorwurf, dass er politisch nach
rechts gewandert sei. Richtig sei, dass die Linke ihre Position
verändert habe. Er habe dies bemerkt, als er den Text der „Genfer
Initiative“ gelesen habe: Er habe „Meretz/Yachad“ verlassen, weil er
den Kompromiss in Sachen „palästinensische Flüchtlinge“ und das
Angebot nicht akzeptabel finde, die arabischen Staaten für die
sechzig Jahre lange Aufnahme der Flüchtlinge zu entschädigen,
obwohl diese als Geiseln gehalten und zum Hass auf Israel und
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96 – Chronologie 2007
dessen Zerstörung erzogen worden seien. Mit diesem Angebot seien
seine früheren Parteifreunde „aus den Gleisen gekippt“. In den
israelischen Universitäten habe eine kleine Minderheit von
Antizionisten die Kontrolle über einige Human- und
Sozialwissenschaften übernommen, wobei der Diskurs
„Meretz/Yachad“ links überholt habe. Gleichwohl stimme er mit der
Linken überein, dass es zwei Staaten für die beiden Völker geben,
dass auf die Siedlungen verzichtet und der Konflikt mit den
Palästinensern möglichst umgehend beendet werden müsse.
Unterschiedlich beurteile er allerdings die Frage nach der Stärke
Israels: Für ihn sei Israel trotz seiner Militärmacht schwach,
verwundbar und an einem Faden hängend, weil es von Kräften
umringt sei, die seine Existenz nicht akzeptieren würden. Die Lage
erinnere ihn an 1938/39: Der Westen sehe die Gefahren, tue aber
nichts. Der Antisemitismus sei als starke und dämonische Kraft
zurückgekehrt120. Zwischen der Präsidentin des Obersten Gerichts,
Dorit Beinisch, und dem neuen Justizminister Daniel Friedmann
bahnt sich ein Konflikt an, als Beinisch sich in einem Beitrag am 15.
März dafür ausspricht, das Gericht aus der Abhängigkeit des
Justizministerium zu lösen, und dagegen Einspruch erhebt, dem
Gericht die Befugnis der Kontrolle von parlamentarischen
Entscheidzungen zu nehmen und Veränderungen bei der Ernennung
von Mitgliedern des Gerichts zuzustimmen121.
15.02.2007:
Nach der Verständigung zwischen „Fatah“ und „Hamas“ in Mekka
tritt die palästinensische Regierung unter Ismail Haniyeh zurück.
Haniyeh wird von Präsident Machmud Abbas mit der Bildung des
neuen Kabinetts beauftragt. Dafür hat er gemäß dem Grundgesetz
fünf Wochen Zeit.
14.02.2007:
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97 – Chronologie 2007
Das israelische Büro der „Genfer Initiative“ lädt Diplomaten und
Vertreter internationaler Organisationen zu einer Konferenz unter
dem Titel „The Palestinian Unity Government; The Arab League
Initiative and Israel – Is There a Partner?“ nach Tel Aviv ein. Zu den
Rednern gehören der Leiter der Delegation der Europäischen Union
in Israel, Botschafter Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal, der Generaldirektor des
Büros der „Genfer Initiative“ Gadi Baltiansky sowie Bauminister Meir
Sheetrit („Kadima“), die Abgeordnete Colette Avital (Arbeitspartei),
die zu den Erstunterzeichnern der „Genfer Initiative“ gehört, der
Vorsitzende von „Meretz/Yachad“, Yossi Beilin, und der ehemalige
palästinensische Minister Qadura Faris, ebenfalls Erstunterzeichner
der „Genfer Initiative“. Der Leiter des Tel Aviver Büros der HeinrichBöll-Stiftung, Jörn Böhme, stellt uns freundlicherweise seine
122
Eindrücke von der Tagung zur Verfügung
.
In der iranischen Provinz Sistan-Balutschistan werden bei zwei
Anschlägen elf Menschen getötet. Zu den Terrorakten bekennt sich
die Gruppe „Soldaten Gottes“.
13.02.2007:
Der deutsche UN-Botschafter Thomas Matussek kritisiert als
derzeitiger EU-Ratsvertreter im US-Sicherheitsrat die israelische
Siedlungspolitik und den Bau der Trennungsmauern als „tief
beunruhigend“. Damit würde die Zweistaatenlösung gefährdet,
erklärt Matussek.
Am Vorabend des zweiten Jahrestages der Ermordung des früheren
libanesischen Ministerpräsidenten Rafik Hariri werden bei zwei
Attentaten auf Busse in einem nordöstlich von Beirut gelegenen Ort
drei Menschen ermordet. Am 14. Februar gedenken viele
zehntausend Libanesen in Beirut der Ermordung Hariris. Gleichzeitig
setzen die Anhänger der „Hisbollah“ ihre seit dem 1. Dezember 2006
andauernde Belagerung des Regierungsgebäudes fort.
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12.02.2007:
Im Interview mit der „Süddeutschen Zeitung“ weist der iranische
Chefunterhändler für Atomfragen, Ali Laridjani, Vermutungen zurück,
sein Land strebe Atomwaffen an. In der iranischen
Verteidigungsstrategie sei „kein Platz für Atomwaffen. Aus
islamischer Sicht sind sie unzulässig.“ Würde Iran über Atomwaffen
verfügen, würde ein Wettrüsten in der Region einsetzen. „Deshalb
wünschen wir nur friedliche Atomtechnologie, und wir sind bereit, alle
erdenklichen Garantien dafür zu geben, dass wir damit keine Waffen
entwickeln.“ Seinem Land gehe es um die Technik der Anreicherung
von Uran als Brennstoff für Atommeiler. Bei der Münchner
Sicherheitskonferenz, an der Laridjani Tags zuvor teilnimmt, weicht
er kritischen Nachfragen zur iranischen Leugnung der Shoah und
zum Verhältnis zu Israel aus.
11.02.2007:
Die Chefin des Büros von Ministerpräsidentin Ehud Olmert, Shula
Zaken, wird wegen Korruptionsverdacht für sechs Monate von ihren
Aufgaben suspendiert. Ihr und dem Chef der Steuerbehörde Jacky
Matza – er tritt am 19. Februar zurück – wird vorgeworfen, durch die
Verschaffung steuerlicher Erleichterungen für Freunde und
Verwandte Schmiergelder kassiert zu haben. Ebenfalls am 19.
Februar muss Israels Polizeichef Moshe Karadi zurücktreten, dem
schwere Versäumnisse bei der Untersuchung eines Mordfalles
vorgeworfen werden, bei dem 1999 ein Polizist im Auftrag einer
Mafia-Familie ein anderes Mitglied der Unterwelt getötet hatte.
Karadis Nachfolger Yaacov Granot, bisheriger Leiter der
Gefängnisbehörde, war 2004 von der Anklage der Korruption, des
Machtmissbrauchs und des Betrugs aus Mangel an Beweisen
freigesprochen worden, gleichwohl erhebt Generalstaatsanwalt
Menachem Mazouz gegen die Berufung Einspruch, weil die Vorwürfe
nicht restlos aufgeklärt seien. Die Justiz soll Medienberichten zufolge
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99 – Chronologie 2007
auch gegen Finanzminister Avraham Hirchson („Kadima“) wegen des
Verdachts der Korruption ermitteln.
09.02.2007:
Im Beisein des saudischen Königs Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz
einigen sich nach dreitägigen Verhandlungen die Delegationen
von „Hamas“ unter Führung von Khaled Meshal und „Fatah“
unter Leitung von Machmud Abbas in Mekka auf die künftige
Zusammenarbeit und die Bildung einer gemeinsam getragenen
Regierung123. Die Regierung in Riyadh stellt eine Milliarde US-Dollar
in Aussicht. Wesentliche Streitpunkte bleiben im Dokument offen.
Nach einem Bericht der palästinensischen Zeitung „Al-Ayyam (Die
Tage)“ vom 7. Februar sind drei Punkte zwischen den Delegationen
strittig, 1. Was ist mit „Einhaltung“ und „Respekt“ gegenüber der
Erklärung der Arabischen Liga von Beirut im März 2002 und
gegenüber international gültigen Vereinbarungen gemeint, die die
PLO unterschrieben hat? 2. Welcher von beiden Sätzen komme zum
Zuge – die Einhaltung von Vereinbarungen und Verpflichtungen aus
dem künftigen Regierungsprogramm „in einer Art und Weise, die
nicht den Rechten des palästinensischen Volkes widerspricht“, oder
„in einer Art und Weise, die die Rechte des palästinensischen Volkes
wahrt“? Käme letztere Formulierung zum Zuge, würde sich die
Einhaltung erübrigen, wenn die Vorlagen den Rechten des
palästinensischen Volkes entgegenstehen. 3. Welche
Personalvorschläge präsentiert „Hamas“ für den Posten des politisch
unabhängigen Innenministers, der die Zustimmung der
internationalen Gemeinschaft findet, damit der politische und
wirtschaftliche Boykott aufgehoben werde? Die Bundesregierung
bezeichnet die Einigung aus Schritt in die richtige Richtung.
Russland fordert die Aufhebung der Sanktionen gegen die
Autonomiebehörde. In einer gemeinsamen Erklärung erinnert das
Nahost-Quartett an seine drei Forderungen „Gewaltverzicht“,
„Anerkennung Israels“ und „Akzeptanz früherer Vereinbarungen und
124
Verpflichtungen“
. Israels Außenministerin Tsipi Livni schließt sich
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100 – Chronologie 2007
diesem Votum in ihrem Vortrag bei der Münchner
Sicherheitskonferenz am 09. Februar mit dem Urteil an, dass die drei
Prinzipien nicht verhandelbar seien. Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert
hält sich mit einer Bewertung zunächst zurück. Oppositionsführer
Benjamin Netanyahu beschuldigt Abbas, sich in Richtung „Hamas“
bewegt zu haben. Der Vorsitzende von „Meretz/Yachad“, Yossi
Beilin, schließt nach einem Bericht von „Yediot Achronot“ einseitige
Schritte Israels und sogar eine militärische Operation nicht aus,
wenn es keinen palästinensischen Partner gebe. Bei einem Treffen
mit Repräsentanten von 15 US-amerikanischen jüdischen
Organisationen im State Department bekräftigt Außenministerin
Condoleezza Rice, dass sie sich nicht mit palästinensischen
Ministern treffen werde, die zu „Hamas“ gehören, bezeichnet jedoch
Abbas als Verhandlungspartner. Washington werde Israel nicht mit
eigenen Vorschlägen bedrängen. Der „Haaretz“-Kommentator
erkennt am 11. Februar an, dass „Hamas“ seit ihrer totalen
Ablehnung Israels einen langen Weg zurückgelegt habe: Die
Vereinbarungen mit der PLO würden honoriert, wenn auch noch
nicht akzeptiert, und die Resolution der Arabischen Liga vom März
2002 werde übernommen. Damit könne die Einigung als
Zustimmung zu den drei Bedingungen des Nahost-Quartetts
interpretiert werden. Jetzt komme es darauf an, dass der Beschluss
in eine praktische und maßvolle Plattform für die Regierungsarbeit
umgesetzt werde. Die Beiruter Zeitung „The Daily Star“ sieht in dem
Dokument den Beginn einer neuen Ära diplomatischer Dynamik
unter Führung Saudi-Arabiens und politisch pragmatischer
Palästinenser, auch wenn es einem neuen arabisch-israelischen
Friedensprozess noch nicht zum Durchbruch verhelfe, weil Israel und
die USA mit den Europäern im Schlepptau bislang keine
Eröffnungszüge haben erkennen lassen. Wenn das Nahost-Quartett
auf den drei Voraussetzungen bestehe, sollte Israel ebenfalls
verpflichtet werden, sich an die Regeln zu halten125. Nach
Pressemeldungen vom 24. Februar will sich nach Ägypten und
Saudi-Arabien nun auch Indonesien um eine Vermittlung zwischen
den verfeindeten palästinensischen Fraktionen bemühen. Am 25.
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Februar weist das israelische Außenministerium die Vereinbarung
von Mekka in einer langen Erklärung als politisch unzureichend und
widersprüchlich zurück
126
.
Erstmals seit dem 14. August 2006 – dem Tag der israelischlibanesischen Waffenruhe – kommt es an der Grenze zwischen
beiden Ländern zu einem Schusswechsel. Dabei sollen fünf
libanesische Soldaten verwundet worden sein. Beide Seiten
beschuldigen sich gegenseitig. Die Regierung in Beirut kritisiert die
Verletzung der Souveränität des Landes. Nach israelischen
Armeeangaben sollten zwischen dem Sicherheitszaun und der
internationalen Grenze Landminen zur Explosion gebracht werden.
Viele hundert Palästinenser demonstrieren in der Jerusalemer
Altstadt gegen die Errichtung einer verbreiterten Rampe zum
Mugrabi-Tor von der „Klagemauer“ zum „Haram al-Sharif (Nobles
Heiligtum)“, dem „Tempelberg“, durch israelische Archäologen und
Bauarbeiter. Bei den Zusammenstößen mit der Polizei werden über
dreißig Personen verletzt. In Nazareth demonstrieren rund
zehntausend israelische Palästinenser. In Kairo gehen Polizisten mit
Schlagstöcken gegen Anhänger der verbotenen Moslembrüder vor.
Jordaniens König Abdullah II., der sich als Hüter der heiligen Stätten
des Islam in Jerusalem versteht, zeigt sich besorgt. Nach
Medienberichten soll kurz vor Renovierungsarbeiten, die mehr als
vier Jahre hinausgezögert worden seien, ein enger Mitarbeiter von
Verteidigungsminister Amir Peretz das Amt des Ministerpräsidenten
gewarnt haben, dass der Vorgang bei den innerpalästinensischen
Versöhnungsgesprächen in Mekka neue Irritationen auslösen
könnte. Auf der Kabinettssitzung am 11. Februar bestätigt die
israelische Regierung die Fortsetzung der Ausgrabungen und den
Bau der neuen Rampe zum Mugrabi-Tor. Nach Zeitungsberichten
vom 12. Februar entscheidet Jerusalemer Oberbürgermeister Uri
Lupolianski über einen Aufschub der Arbeiten, bis die Behörden
einen für offene Diskussionen erforderlichen Gesamtplan vorgelegt
haben
127
. Am 16. Februar kommt es in Ost-Jerusalem zwischen
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palästinensischen Jugendlichen und der israelischen Polizei zu
Straßenschlachten. Der Führer der islamischen Bewegung im
Norden Israels, Sheikh Raed Salah, ruft zu einer dritten „Intifada“
auf. In einem Kommentar bezichtigt Uzi Benziman am 18. Februar in
„Haaretz“ Salah, durch Aufhetzung zu einer gezielten bewaffneten
Revolte gegen den Staat arbeiten zu wollen und sich durch die
Verbindung von nationalen und religiösen Gefühlen als zum
fundamentalistischen Islam zugehörig zu bekennen. Gleichzeitig
bezeichnet Benziman die Behandlung der arabischen Staatsbürger
Israels als schamlos, so dass das Land jetzt diese bitteren Früchte
der „eklatanten Diskriminierung“ vorgesetzt bekomme. Staat und
Gesellschaft müssten damit aufhören, den palästinensischen
Bevölkerungsteil gesetzgeberisch und finanzpolitisch als fünfte
Kolonne zu behandeln128. Deutsche Zeitungen berichten am 20.
Februar, dass bei früheren Ausgrabungen israelische Archäologen
auf die Überreste einer Moschee aus der Epoche Sultan Saladins im
11. Jahrhundert gestoßen seien, diese Erkenntnis jedoch drei oder
gar vier Jahre lang geheimgehalten hätten, weil sie islamische
Ansprüche auf das Gelände befürchteten. Der Archäologe und
Jerusalem-Experte Yehuda Ben Meir wirft in einem Gastbeitrag für
„Haaretz“ den Behörden unverantwortliches Verhalten gegenüber
muslimischen Gefühlen vor. Die Grabungen fügten sich in eine
breitere Kampagne mit dem Ziel der souveränen Kontrolle
Jerusalems ein129.
07.02.2007:
Das israelische Kabinett beschließt die Ernennung des 71jährigen
emeritierten Zivilrechtlers Professor Daniel Friedman (Universität Tel
Aviv) zum neuen Justizminister. Nach dem erzwungenen Rücktritt
von Haim Ramon hat Außenministerin Tsipi Livni die Geschäfte
kommissarisch geführt. Friedmann ist ein Kritiker der Unabhängigkeit
des Obersten Gerichts und wirft ihm vor, den Aktionsradius der
Regierung zu stark einzuschränken. Ari Shavit kommentiert in
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103 – Chronologie 2007
„Haaretz“, mit der Ernennung werde erneut der Beweis geführt, in
welchen Abgrund Politiker das Land sinken ließen.
06.02.2007:
Das israelische Außenministerium verwahrt sich gegen die
Einmischung in innere Angelegenheiten durch die Finanzierung der
israelischen Gruppe „Planer für Planungsrecht“ durch die britische
Regierung. Die Gruppe hat vor kurzem einen Bericht über die
Auswirkungen der Trennungsmauern in Jerusalem auf die nunmehr
in Enklaven eingeschlossene palästinensische Bevölkerung
untersucht. Das Foreign Office in London weist die israelische Kritik
als unbegründet zurück.
Nach einem Bericht der israelischen Zeitung „Maariv“ zeigt sich USAußenministerin Condoleezza Rice an der „Genfer Initiative“
interessiert. Außenministerin Tsipi Livni sei nur in der
palästinensischen Flüchtlingsfrage abweichender Auffassung130.
In einem Porträt des früheren Generalsekretärs im israelischen
Auswärtigen Amt, Alon Liel, der über drei Jahre mit Hilfe des
Schweizer Diplomaten Nicolas Lang mit dem amerikanisch-syrischen
Geschäftsmann Ibrahim Suleiman Optionen für eine
Verhandlungslösung zwischen Israel und Syrien ausgelotet hat,
zitiert der Israel-Korrespondent der „Frankfurter Allgemeinen
Zeitung“ Jörg Bremer die Beteuerung Liels, dass anders als bei den
Gesprächen zur Vorbereitung der „Genfer Initiative“ stets
israelische Beamte dabei gewesen seien. Das erkläre, so Bremer,
warum sich das israelische Außenministerium mit Kritik an Liels
Bemühungen zurückhalte, während Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert
das Papier vom Tisch gewischt habe131. In einem Beitrag für das
Internet-Portal „bitterlemons“ vom 22.Februar detailliert Liel noch
einmal seine politischen Vorstellungen zum Ausgleich zwischen
Israel und Syrien
132
.
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104 – Chronologie 2007
In seiner verhaltenen Rezension der politischen Biographie Ariel
Sharons von Gadi Blum und Nir Hefez referiert der IsraelKorrespondent der „Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung“ Jörg Bremer
die Motive des damaligen Ministerpräsidenten, im Sommer 2006 den
Rückzug aus dem Gazastreifen durchzusetzen: „Die Autoren
beschreiben, wie Scharon nicht zufällig genau zwei Wochen nach
der Bekanntgabe der ›Genfer Initiative‹ [im Oktober 2003] seinen
Abkoppelungsplan verkündete. Die ›Initiative‹ füllte ein politisches
Vakuum, das dadurch entstanden war, dass Scharon allein
militärisch und bis zum Verbluten der palästinensischen Seite und
zur Geiselhaft von PLO-Chef Yasser Arafat auf diese ›2. Intifada‹
antwortete. Die Initiative verursachte beträchtlichen Wirbel, der auch
bei der Trauerdemonstration im November 2003 für Rabin auf dem
Rabin-Platz in Tel Aviv sichtbar wurde. Präsident Bush drohte, die
Kredite zu kürzen, wenn weiter in den Siedlungen gebaut würde.
Scharon habe von allen Seiten Druck bekommen, heißt es dann [bei
Blum und Hefez]. Er ›hatte das Gefühl, dass sich die Schlinge um
seinen Hals zusammenzog‹133.“
Erstmals seit 2001 überstellen die ägyptischen Behörden vierzig
Moslembrüder dem Militärtribunal zur Aburteilung. Ihnen wird
Geldwäsche und die Bildung einer Miliz vorgeworfen. Gegen die
Urteile kann keine Berufung eingelegt werden. Dem seit November
2006 inhaftierten Journalisten Abdul Kareem Nabil Suleiman droht
eine elfjährige Haftstrafe wegen der Aufhetzung zum Hass gegen
den Islam. Ägyptens „Nationaler Menschenrechtsrat“ verlangt in
seinem dritten Jahresbericht die Abschaffung der Notstandsgesetze,
die Überarbeitung der Strafgesetze und die Verbesserung der
Haftbedingungen in den Gefängnissen. Der Rat hat im Jahr 2006
nach eigenen Angaben 5826 Beschwerden von Bürgern wegen
willkürlicher Verhaftungen und wegen Folterung erhalten.
05.02.2007:
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105 – Chronologie 2007
Israels Umweltminister Gideon Ezra (Arbeitspartei), der früher
stellvertretender Direktor des Inlandsgeheimdienstes „Shin Bet“ war,
plädiert für die Freilassung des im israelischen Gefängnis
einsitzenden „Fatah“-Führers Marwan Barghouti.
Danny Rubinstein berichtet in „Haaretz“, dass Marwan Barghouti
angesichts der innerpalästinensischen Auseinandersetzungen den
zu den Erstunterzeichnern der „Genfer Initiative“ gehörigen Qadura
Faris nach Damaskus geschickt habe, um mit dem Leiter des
Politischen Büros von „Hamas“ Khaled Meshal Einvernehmen über
die ausstehende Regierung der nationalen Einheit zu erzielen. Faris
sei mit einer Erklärung Meshals zurückgekehrt, in der die nationale
Einheit der Palästinenser beschworen und Ministerpräsident Ismail
Haniyeh aufgefordert werde, die Resolution der Arabischen Liga vom
März 2002, internationale Beschlüsse und die Vereinbarungen zu
respektieren, die von der PLO unterschrieben worden sind.
Gleichwohl zeigt sich Rubinstein skeptisch, ob sich „Hamas“ als
religiöse Bewegung ändern könne, nachdem es auch der Regierung
in Kairo nicht gelungen sei, sie zur Mäßigung aufzufordern. Deshalb,
so Rubinsteins Schlussfolgerung, müsse „Hamas“ isoliert werden.
Dies könne allerdings nicht mit Gewalt geschehen, denn je stärker
Israel, die USA und der Rest der Welt Präsident Machmud Abbas
mit Geld und Waffen helfen, um „Hamas“ zu besiegen, desto mehr
werde sie von der palästinensischen Öffentlichkeit unterstützt. Den
Ausweg bildeten allein dramatisch-politische Fortschritte134.
Die von Saudi-Arabien zu einem Versöhnungsgespräch
eingeladenen palästinensischen Delegationen reisen nach Mekka
ab. Zu ihr gehören von Seiten der „Hamas“ Ministerpräsident Ismail
Haniyeh, Außenminister Mohammed Zahhar, der Leiter des
Politischen Büros in Damaskus Khaled Meshal und sein
Stellvertreter Mussa Abu Marzuq. Zur „Fatah“-Delegation gehören
Präsident Machmud Abbas, Chefunterhändler Saeb Erakat, Abbas’
Medienberater Nabil Amr, der im Gazastreifen agierende
Sicherheitschef Mohammed Dachlan und der Fraktionsvorsitzende
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106 – Chronologie 2007
im Parlament, Azzam Abu Achmad. Die palästinensische
Nachrichtenagentur „Ma’an“ berichtet von unterschiedlichen
Erwartungen beider Teams
135
.
Nach einem Bericht des Londoner „Guardian“ plant eine Gruppe
britischer Juden, darunter der Schriftsteller Harold Pinter und der
Historiker Eric Hobsbawm, unter dem Namen „Independent Jewish
Voices“ die Vorlage eines Offenen Briefes, in dem für eine offenere
Debatte über den Nahen Osten innerhalb der jüdischen
Gemeinschaft des Landes plädiert wird. Ihre Führungen würden die
Politik einer Okkupationsmacht über die Menschenrechte des
okkupierten Volkes stellen. Wie der „Guardian“ weiter berichtet, ist
im „Jewish Chronicle“ über den politischen Kurs der jüdischen
Organisationen in den Leserbriefspalten ein heftiger Streit entbrannt.
Tony Judt, Direktor des „Remarque Institute“ an der Universität New
York, äußert die Befürchtung, dass die Vermischung von
Antizionismus und Antisemitismus nur noch als eine politische
Verteidigung der israelischen Politik verstanden würden136. Am 7.
Februar setzt sich Stanley I. Kutler in der „International Tribune“
unter dem Titel „Über jüdische Kritiker Israels“ damit auseinander,
dass das „American Jewish Committee“ einen Beitrag von Professor
Alvin Rosenfeld (Indiana University) begrüßt habe, wonach
„progressive“ Juden mit kritischen Äußerungen gegenüber der
israelischen Politik das Recht Israels auf Staatlichkeit in Frage
stellen und damit dem Antisemitismus Vorschub leisten würden.
Kutler schreibt dazu, wenn der Vorwurf stimme, schließe er einen
großen Teil der israelischen Bevölkerung ein, der die Okkupation
oder die Bombardierungen in Libanon kritisiere. Die
Berichterstattung über den innerjüdischen Streit reißt nicht ab137.
04.02.2007:
Israels Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert weist das Ansinnen von
Verteidigungsminister Amir Peretz als unzeitgemäß zurück, fünf
winzige Außenlager von Siedlungen in der Westbank aufzulösen.
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107 – Chronologie 2007
Nach Medienberichten müssten solche Unternehmungen mit ihm
abgesprochen werden.
Das israelische Kabinett bestätigt auf seiner wöchentlichen Sitzung
die Ernennung des 54jährigen Gabi Ashkenasi als 19.
Generalstabschef. Ashkenasi tritt die Nachfolge von Dan Halutz an,
dem er 2005 unterlegen war138. Am 14. Februar wird Ashkenasi in
sein Amt eingeführt. Ihm wird zugetraut, dass er sich auf die
Vermeidung eines neuerlichen Krieges besonders im Norden
konzentrieren wird.
Das jordanische Unterhaus beschließt ein neues Kommunalgesetz,
wonach die Bürgermeister und Stadträte künftig gewählt werden,
während in Amman die Hälfte der Stadträte auch künftig von der
Regierung ernannt werden sollen. Seit 2001 galt ein Gesetz, wonach
alle Bürgermeister und die Hälfte der Stadträte ernannt werden. Das
neue Gesetz sieht fern eine Frauenquote von zwanzig Prozent und
die Herabsetzung des Wahlalters von 19 auf 18 Jahre in den
Stadträten vor.
03.02.2007:
„Fatah“ und „Hamas“ nehmen einen den neunten Anlauf, die
gewaltsamen Auseinandersetzungen im Gazastreifen zu beenden139.
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel beginnt eine viertägige Reise nach
Ägypten, Saudi-Arabien, in die Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate und
nach Kuwait. Der israelisch-palästinensische Konflikt soll im
Mittelpunkt stehen, heißt es in Berliner Regierungskreisen. Es gebe
eine „positive Grundstimmung“ für den Neubeginn im
Friedensprozess. Nach ihrem Gespräch mit Präsident Hosni
Mubarak zeigen sich beide davon überzeugt, dass Versuche
fehlschlagen würden, Israelis und Palästinensern eine politische
Lösung aufzuzwingen. Vielmehr müssten die Anstöße zum Frieden
von innen kommen.
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108 – Chronologie 2007
02.02.2007:
Erstmals seit dem 20. September 2006 tritt in Washington auf
Einladung von US-Außenministerin Condoleezza Rice das NahostQuartett zusammen. An den Gesprächen nehmen
Bundesaußenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier als EURatspräsident, von Seiten der EU-Kommission Javier Solana und
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, der russische Außenminister Sergej Lawrow
sowie UN-Generalsekretär Ban Ki Moon teil. Die Abschlusserklärung
kommt über Formeln nicht hinaus140. Ban Ki Moon zeigt sich über
den erneuten Ausbruch der Gewalt tief besorgt. Lawrow wiederholt,
dass Moskau die internationale Isolierung von „Hamas“ für falsch
halte, weil sie keine Probleme löse, und plädiert für die Einbeziehung
Syriens in den Friedensprozess, was Rice ablehnt. Rice selbst
betont, dass die Palästinenser lange auf einen eigenen Staat
gewartet hätten und dass Israel mit einem friedlichen Nachbarn
leben wolle. Präsident Machmud Abbas zeigt sich vom Ergebnis des
Treffens enttäuscht, weil der Boykott gegen die von „Hamas“
geführte Autonomiebehörde nicht aufgehoben worden sei. In einer
Erklärung des in Gaza residierenden palästinensischen
Außenministeriums heißt es, dass die Fortsetzung der Ächtung
weder Sicherheit noch Stabilität und Ruhe in die Region bringe. Das
Communiqué des Quartetts kommt über allgemeine
Absichtserklärungen nicht hinaus. Dass es darauf verzichtet, zur
israelischen Politik in den palästinensischen Gebieten Stellung zu
nehmen, löst bei der israelischen Außenministerin Tsipi Livni
Befriedigung aus141.
Bei Zusammenstößen zwischen rivalisierenden Gruppen werden im
Gazastreifen am 2. und 3. Februar 25 Palästinenser getötet, rund
250 Menschen werden verletzt. In Jenin wird ein islamischer
Geistlicher entführt. „Fatah“ und „Hamas“ vereinbaren neue
Gespräche über eine Waffenruhe. Israelische Soldaten töten
„irrtümlich“ zwei Angehörige der palästinensischen Sicherheitskräfte
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109 – Chronologie 2007
in Betunia bei Ramallah. Der geplante Schulbeginn nach
sechsmonatiger Unterbrechung wird im Gazastreifen abgesagt.
Ziad Asali, Präsident der „American Task Force on Palestine“ – einer
US-Organisation aus Mitgliedern vorwiegend palästinensischer
Herkunft –, beklagt in einem Vortrag in Washington, D.C., den
politischen Stillstand im israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt und ruft
dazu auf, diese Herausforderung in Politik zwischen Israelis und
Palästinensern unter dem Dach der USA unter Nutzung der
Erfahrungen von Taba (Januar 2001), der „Genfer Initiative“, der
Resolution der arabischen Gipfelkonferenz (März 2002) und der
Rede von US-Präsident George W. Bush am 24. Juni 2002
umzusetzen. Die USA seien unverzichtbar, nicht weil sie ein
ehrlicher Makler, sondern weil sie die einzige Macht seien, die mit
den beiden Parteien und anderen Beteiligten mit dem Ziel von
„Guidelines“ und Mechanismen für Partnerschaft und deren Ziele
zusammenarbeiten können. Ohne das Ende der Besatzung bestehe
die apokalyptische Gefahr endloser Kriege. Von Seiten Machmud
Abbas’ brauche es eine Vision für einen verfassungsgerechten
säkularen und pluralistischen Staat auf der Grundlage des Respekts
für die Rechtsordnung142.
J.M. Rosenberg zitiert in dem politisch rechtslastigen „Israel Public
Forum“ aus der Rede von Benjamin Netanyahu auf der diesjährigen
VII. internationalen /Konferenz in Herzliya dessen Worte, dass Israel
gut auf die Gefahr einer Militäraktion Iran vorbereitet sei143.
Kann Politik aus der Geschichte lernen, oder ist sie verdammt,
dieselben Fehler zu wiederholen? fragt Joschka Fischer in einem
Gastbeitrag für „Haaretz“ im Blick auf George W. Bushs IrakStrategie. Nachdem der Bericht der „Iraq Study Group“ ignoriert
worden sei, seien weitere 21.000 US-Soldaten im Irak und ein
weiterer Flugzeugträger im Arabischen Golf stationiert worden – in
Erinnerung an die Planung des Irak-Krieges 2003 die Vorbereitung
des Feldzuges gegen Iran, der die gesamte Region destabilisieren
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110 – Chronologie 2007
und sie in den Abgrund stürzen würde. Doch seien alle politischen
Optionen längst nicht ausgeschöpft, bemerkt Fischer, und die
jüngsten Kommunalwahlen im Iran verpflichteten mehr denn je zum
Einsatz der Diplomatie
144
.
01.02.2007:
Nach einer Meldung der „Jerusalem Post“ nehmen palästinensische
Sicherheitskräfte sieben iranische Waffenexperten in Gaza-Stadt
fest.
Der Dirigent Daniel Barenboim nimmt in Wiesbaden den Hessischen
Friedenspreis 2006 entgegen, der ihm für seine Bemühungen um die
Aussöhnung zwischen Israelis und Palästinensern verliehen wird.
Die Laudatio hält der für den Nahen und Mittleren Osten
verantwortliche Redakteur der „Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung“
Wolfgang Günter Lerch145.
Der Chefredakteur des Magazins „Focus“, Helmut Markwort, verleiht
als einziger Juror den „Ludwig-Börne-Preis“ 2006 an Henryk M.
Broder. Der 1933 mit seinen Eltern nach Frankreich geflüchtete
Politologe Alfred Grosser kritisiert am 3. Februar in der „taz“ die
Entscheidung als Missachtung des Humanismus146.
Januar 2007
31.01.2007:
In einem Interview mit der „Jerusalem Post“ befürwortet der Minister
für strategische Angelegenheiten und stellvertretende
Ministerpräsident, Avigdor Lieberman („Unser Haus Israel“), den
Anschluss Israels an die Europäische Union innerhalb der nächsten
fünf Jahre. Lieberman begründet seine Vorstellungen mit den engen
kulturellen, demokratischen, sicherheitspolitischen und
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111 – Chronologie 2007
wirtschaftlichen Beziehungen seines Landes zu Europa. Rechtliche
Ausnahmebestimmungen könnten es ermöglichen, dass Israel
seinen Charakter als jüdischer Staat bewahrt. Der frühere
Justizminister Amnon Rubinstein begrüßt Liebermans Vorstoß und
fügt hinzu, dass gegebenenfalls einige Aspekte der
Einwanderungspolitik geändert werden könnten, während das
„Gesetz der Rückkehr“ – das jedem Juden die Einwanderung und
die israelische Staatsbürgerschaft garantiert – nicht angetastet
werden müsse. Hohe Beamte in Brüssel reagieren zurückhaltend.
Der ehemalige Botschafter in Bonn und Berlin, Avi Primor, heute der
Direktor der Europa-Abteilung an der Privat-Universität Herzliya,
reagiert auf Lieberman mit einem Lachen147.
Nach israelischen Medienberichten hat Ministerpräsident Ehud
Olmert auf Druck aus den jüdischen Siedlungen Nili und Naaleh die
Verlegung der Trennungsmauer um fünf Kilometer östlich der
„Grünen Linie“ bei Modein Illit („Ober-Modein“) gebilligt, wobei rund
20.000 Palästinenser künftig in Enklaven westlich der Mauern leben
müssen.
Einer der führenden israelischen Demographen, Sergio DellaPergola
von der Hebräischen Universität in Jerusalem, schlägt in einem
Beitrag aus Anlass der verwaltungstechnischen Vereinigung der
Stadt vor vierzig Jahren vor, einen Teil des arabischen Jerusalem –
darunter Beit Hanina und Shuafat – aufzugeben, weil der jüdische
Bevölkerungsanteil in den kommenden vierzehn Jahren von
gegenwärtig 73,5 auf sechzig Prozent sinken werde. Für die Altstadt
und das „Heilige Becken“ – das Gelände bis zum Ölberg – solle ein
Vatikan-Modell in Erwägung gezogen werden.
Joel Greenberg verweist in der „Chicago Tribune“ darauf, dass als
unbeabsichtigte Folge des Baus der Trennungsmauern rund um
Jerusalem Tausende Palästinenser ihre davon betroffenen und
geteilten Dörfer verlassen und den palästinensischen
Bevölkerungsanteil Jerusalems verstärken. Greenberg zitiert in
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112 – Chronologie 2007
diesem Zusammenhang den Jerusalem-Experten der „Genfer
Initiative“ Menachem Klein, der im Gegensatz zu Stimmen aus dem
Verteidigungsministerium die Auffassung vertritt, dass weniger die
Trennungsmauern als die Entscheidung von „Hamas“, keine
Attentate in Israel durchzuführen, für die relative Ruhe in der Stadt
und ihrer Umgebung verantwortlich seien
148
.
Yossi Alpher behauptet in einem Kommentar für die Beiruter Zeitung
„Daily Star“, dass Israel sich nie für George W. Bushs Strategie der
Demokratisierung des arabischen Nahen und Mittleren Ostens habe
erwärmen können149.
30.01.2007:
Israelisches Militär zerstört einen Tunnel nördlich des
Grenzübergangs Karni, durch den vermutlich Waffen aus dem
Gazastreifen nach Israel geschmuggelt werden sollten.
Die renommierte „International Crisis Group“ mit Hauptsitz in Brüssel
weist in ihrem jüngsten Bericht aus Kairo auf terroristische Gefahren
in Ägypten hin, die besonders von der sozial und wirtschaftlich
vernachlässigten Sinai-Halbinsel ausgehen, und wendet sich mit
sieben Empfehlungen an die ägyptische Regierung, an die
ägyptischen politischen Parteien und an die internationalen Partner
des Landes150.
Die US-amerikanisch-jüdische Zeitung „Forward“ berichtet über
heftige Kämpfe im US-Senat zur Bedeutung einer Lösung des
israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikts für die Überwindung des
Krieges im Irak. Die „Iraq Study Group“ hatte im Dezember 2006 in
ihrem Bericht erklärt, dass die USA ihre Ziele im Nahen Osten nicht
erreichen könnten, wenn sie sich nicht direkt mit dem arabischisraelischen Konflikt befassen151.
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113 – Chronologie 2007
In einem vom hauseigenen Fernsehen aufgezeichneten
Studiogespräch diskutieren der Vorsitzende des Auswärtigen
Ausschusses Ruprecht Polenz (CDU/CSU), sein Stellvertreter HansUlrich Klose (SPD), Jerzy Montag (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen),
Wolfgang Gehrcke (Die Linke) und der Vorsitzende der FriedrichNaumann-Stiftung Wolfgang Gerhardt über die Rolle der
Europäischen Union im Nahen Osten und die Chancen der
deutschen EU-Ratspräsidentschaft. Unter den Beteiligten herrscht
insbesondere Einigkeit über die Gültigkeit der „Clinton-Parameter“
vom Dezember 2000152 und die Absage an die israelische
Siedlungspolitik. Gehrcke betonte das Recht der Palästinenser auf
einen eigenen Staat an der Seite Israels, während Montag seine
Hoffnung auf einen Wechsel in der US-Präsidentschaft Anfang 2009
setzte.
29.01.2007:
Bei dem Anschlag des 21jährigen Palästinensers Mohammed alSaqsaq aus dem Gazastreifen – dem ersten seit April 2006 in Tel
Aviv, als zehn Personen starben – werden bei einer Bäckerei im
Industriegebiet des südisraelischen Badeorts Eilat drei Passanten
getötet. Ein „Hamas“-Sprecher, die „Al-Aqza-Brigaden“ von „Fatah“
und der „Islamische Djihad“ rechtfertigen den Mordanschlag, bei
dem auch der Attentäter ums Leben kommt.
In „Haaretz“ berichtet Akiva Eldar, dass am Abend im ArabischHebräischen Theater in Jaffa die erste Zusammenkunft einer neuen
„Nationalen Bewegung für Frieden mit Syrien“ stattfinden soll. Die
Einladungen stammten von dem früheren Generalstabschef Amnon
Lipkin-Shahak, dem ehemaligen Inlands-Geheimdienstchef Yaacov
Peri – er hatte im vergangenen Jahr ein aufsehenerregendes Buch
über Folterpraktiken an palästinensischen Gefangenen veröffentlicht
– sowie den früheren Generalsekretären im Auswärtigen Amt David
Kimche und Alon Liel. Außerdem würden sich Akademiker und
Intellektuelle an dem Forum beteiligen. Zu den Erstunterzeichnern
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114 – Chronologie 2007
gehören unter anderen der Autor Sami Michael, Professor Yoram
Peri, der Geschäftsmann David Sasson, dem ehemaligen
Jerusalemer Stadtverordneten Moshe Amirav, Professor Menachem
Klein – zum inneren Kreis des israelischen Teams der „Genfer
Initiative“ gehörig – und die Professorin Galia Golan. In ihrer
Eingangserklärung verwiesen die Autoren darauf, dass sie lange
nicht an die syrische Friedensbereitschaft geglaubt hätten, dass es
jedoch sträflich wäre, die versöhnliche Initiative aus Damaskus zu
ignorieren, weil sie ein unverantwortliches Spiel mit dem Schicksal
des Staates Israel wäre
153
. Am 31. Januar führt das israelische
Institut „Independent Media Review & Analysis (IMRA)“ ein Interview
mit dem aus Irak stammenden israelischen und in London
arbeitenden Sasson über Aufgaben und Ziele der neuen
Bewegung154.
Russland kündigt für die bevorstehenden Gespräche des NahostQuartetts in Washington am 2. Februar einen Vorstoß zur
Aufhebung des Wirtschaftsboykotts der von „Hamas“ geführten
Autonomiebehörde an.
Die „International Herald Tribune“ berichtet, dass der iranische
Botschafter in Bagdad Hassan Kazemi Qomi Gespräche über die
Vertiefung der wirtschaftlichen und militärischen Zusammenarbeit
geführt hat. Teheran sei bereit, beim Wiederaufbau Iraks zu helfen.
Außerdem solle bald eine iranische Bank ihre Pforten in Bagdad
öffnen. Mit der Realisierung der Planungen würden, so der Bericht
von James Glanz, die Spannungen zu den USA wachsen
155
.
König Abdullah von Saudi-Arabien verwahrt sich entschieden gegen
Berichte, dass das Land eine Allianz mit Iran anstrebe156.
28.01.2007:
Auf ihrer wöchentlichen Sitzung billigt das israelische Kabinett die
Ernennung von Ghaleb Madjadele (Arbeitspartei) als neuen Minister
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115 – Chronologie 2007
für Wissenschaft, Kunst und Sport. Würde er durch die Knesset
bestätigt, wäre er der erste arabische Minister in der Geschichte des
Staates
157
. Madjadele wird am 29. Januar vereidigt. Akiva Eldar
weist am 1. Februar in „Haaretz“ auf die Ironie hin, dass nach dem
Rücktritt von Ophir Pines-Paz als Zeichen des Protests gegen
Lieberman der erste arabische Minister Israels tritt. Madjadele
bezeichnet sich in dem Gespräch mit Eldar als „israelischen Araber
palästinensischer Abstammung“ und weist die rhetorische
Unterstellung als Unsinn zurück, dass er als Wissenschaftsminister
über Staatsgeheimnisse verfüge, die ihn zur nationalen Illoyalität
verführen könnten. In seinem Ministerium gebe es überhaupt keine
Geheimnisse. In der politischen Kulturzeitschrift „Cicero“ äußert sich
der katholische Erzbischof von Galiläa Elias Chacour positiv über die
Ernennung Madjadeles, forderte aber gleichzeitig die Regierung in
Jerusalem auf, ihm politische Kompetenzen, Autorität und
Zuständigkeiten zu übertragen. Chacour zeigt sich aus einer
historischen Perspektive optimistisch über die Friedenschancen
äußert sich positiv zur Rolle der Christen im Heiligen Land158.
Israelische Medien berichten unter Berufung auf US-amerikanische
Quellen, dass das State Department in Washington dem Kongress
einen Bericht mit der Untersuchung zuleiten werde, ob Israel aus
den USA gelieferte Streubomben im Libanon-Krieg entgegen dem
„Arms Control Act“ eingesetzt hat. Das Außenministerium in
Jerusalem hatte ihren Einsatz als völkerrechtlich gedeckt
bezeichnet159. Der israelische Außenamtssprecher Mark Regev
erklärt dazu, dass der Einsatz der Streubomben zum Schutz der
israelischen Soldaten eingesetzt worden seien. Wegen des Streits
befinde sich Israel mit den USA von Anbeginn „im offenen Dialog“,
so dass die jetzigen Meldungen aus Washington nicht überraschend
kämen.
26.01.2007:
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116 – Chronologie 2007
Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert setzt sich öffentlich für die Kandidatur
von Shimon Peres für das Amt des Staatspräsidenten als Nachfolger
von Moshe Katzav ein. Gleichzeitig befürwortet Olmert statt der
bislang üblichen geheimen die offene Abstimmung in der Knesset.
Peres hat sich bisher nicht festgelegt. Bekannt ist hingegen das
Interesse von dem ehemaligen Parlamentspräsidenten Reuven
Rivlin („Likud“), der gegenwärtigen Parlamentspräsidentin Dalia Itzik
(„Kadima“) sowie der früheren Generalkonsulin in New York und
heutigen Abgeordneten Colette Avital (Arbeitspartei), die zu den
Erstunterzeichnern der „Genfer Initiative“ gehört. Der
Innenausschuss der Knesset beschließt am 30. Januar, innerhalb
der nächsten zwei Wochen die Anhörung zur Amtsenthebung von
Katzav abzuschließen. Am selben Tag räumt Katzav den Amtssitz im
Jerusalemer Stadtteil Talbiye.
Beim Treffen zwischen Ministerpräsident José Luis Rodrigues
Zapatero und Präsident Machmud Abbas in Madrid wird
bekanntgegeben, dass Spanien der Autonomiebehörde 17 Millionen
Euro als Soforthilfe zur Verfügung stellen will.
Bei Zusammenstößen zwischen „Fatah“- und „Hamas“-Anhängern in
Gaza-Stadt und im Norden des Gazastreifens sterben 14 Menschen,
in den darauffolgenden Tagen steigt die Zahl der Toten auf über
dreißig. Die Verhandlungen um die Bildung einer Regierung der
nationalen Einheit werden abgesagt. Danny Rubinstein, für die
Berichterstattung über die palästinensischen Politik verantwortlich,
zitiert am 29. August in „Haaretz“ den Chefredakteur die der PLO
nahestehende Zeitung „Al-Hayyat al-Jedida („Das neue Leben)“
Hafez Barghouti mit den Worten, dass sich ein Jahr nach dem
Wahlsieg von „Hamas“ die palästinensische Demokratie in eine
blutige Demokratie verwandelt habe, die an die Stelle der „Herrschaft
des Volkes“ die „Herrschaft des Blutes“ gesetzt habe. Am 30. Januar
kehrt im Gazastreifen eine Waffenruhe ein, obwohl maskierte
Attentäter einen hochrangigen Offizier der „Izzadin-Qassam-
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117 – Chronologie 2007
Brigaden“ von „Hamas“ umbringen. Am 1. Februar leben die
gewaltsamen Auseinandersetzungen mit vier Toten wieder auf.
Der einflussreiche Kommentator der „Washington Post“ David
Ignatius, berichtet aus Gesprächen mit US-Außenministerin
Condoleezza Rice, dass diese in einer ungewohnten Offenheit ihre
Vorstellungen über neue amerikanische Bemühungen zugunsten
einer De-facto-Allianz zwischen Israel und moderaten arabischen
Staaten präsentiert habe, um Iran, Syrien, die „Hisbollah“ und
„Hamas zu isolieren. Dazu bedürfe es der Ermutigung von Israelis
und Palästinensern, Verhandlungen über einen Endstatus zu den
Themen Grenzen, Jerusalem und Recht der palästinensischen
Flüchtlinge auf Rückkehr in ihre Heimat zu explorieren. Arabische
Beobachter, so Ignatius, würden sich zurückhaltend zu den
Vorstellungen äußern, weil Saudi-Arabien eine konservative
islamische Monarchie sei, die vielerorts in der arabischen Welt als
eine Bastion des Status quo betrachtet würde und weil die
Förderung der Spannungen zwischen Schiiten und Sunniten nicht
aufgehen werde. Dennoch plädiert Ignatius dafür, Rice eine Chance
einzuräumen160.
25.01.2007:
In Paris beginnt die von Präsident Jacques Chirac angekündigte
internationale Libanon-Geberkonferenz – zu den Gästen gehören als
Nichtregierungsorganisationen die Weltbank und der Internationale
Währungsfonds –, um die Schuldenlast der Zedernrepublik von 41
Milliarden US-Dollar nach dem israelischen Libanon-Krieg im
Juli/August 2006 zu lindern. Syrien und Iran sind nicht eingeladen.
Frankreich sagt dem libanesischen Ministerpräsident Fuad Siniora
einen Kredit von 500 Millionen Euro „zu besonders günstigen
Konditionen“ zu. Die USA wollen ihre Hilfe auf 770 Millionen USDollar verdreifachen. Saudi-Arabien verspricht 1,1 Milliarden USDollar, Großbritannien 115 Millionen US-Dollar – außerdem 48
Millionen US-Dollar für die palästinensischen Flüchtlinge in Libanon
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118 – Chronologie 2007
–, die Europäische Union 400 Millionen US-Dollar, die Europäische
Investitionsbank 960 Millionen US-Dollar und die Bundesrepublik
Deutschland 103 Millionen US-Dollar. Die Gesamtsumme der
zugesagten Mittel beläuft sich auf 7,6 Milliarden US-Dollar, doch soll
sich ihre Auszahlung, die von der Einleitung von Reformen in
Libanon abhängig gemacht wird, über mehrere Jahre erstrecken.
Ein Ausschuss der Knesset stimmt der Beurlaubung von Präsident
Moshe Katzav zu.
23.01.2007:
Der israelische Generalstaatsanwalt Menachem Mazuz kündigt
Anklageerhebung gegen Staatspräsident Moshe Katzav, dessen
reguläre Amtszeit im Juli 2007 ausläuft, wegen des Verdachts der
Vergewaltigung, der sexuellen Nötigung von vier Frauen, der
Behinderung der Justiz, der Unterschlagung sowie der
Einschüchterung von Zeugen an. Außenministerin Tsipi Livni fordert
in ihrer Eigenschaft als Justizministerin Katzav zum Rücktritt auf. Am
Abend des 24. Januar schließt sich Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert
der Forderung an. Katzav erklärt am 24. Januar in einem Schreiben
an Parlamentspräsidentin Dalia Itzik, dass er seine Amtsgeschäfte
vorübergehend ruhen lassen wolle, bis die Vorwürfe gegen ihn
entkräftet seien. In der anschließenden emotionsgeladenen
Pressekonferenz beschuldigt Katzav die Medien, gegen ihn eine
verschwörerische „Lynchkampagne“ inszeniert zu haben, vergleicht
die israelische Justiz mit der in totalitären Staaten und löst damit
landesweit Schockwellen aus. Zuvor hat die Abgeordnete Zahava
Gal-On im Namen von „Meretz/Yachad“ einen Antrag auf
Amtsenthebungsverfahren ins Parlament eingebracht. Für die
Amtsenthebung ist die Zustimmung von neunzig der hundertzwanzig
Abgeordneten nötig. In Pressekommentaren wird die Frage gestellt,
ob das Amt des Präsidenten abgeschafft werden solle. Katzavs
Vorgänger Ezer Weizman war im Juli 2000 zum vorzeitigen Rücktritt
gezwungen worden.
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119 – Chronologie 2007
In einem Gastbeitrag für die „Jerusalem Post“ hält Gershon Baskin,
gemeinsam mit Hanna Siniora Leiter des „Israel/Palestine Center for
Research and Information (IPCRI)“ mit Sitz in Jerusalem, der
israelischen Regierung vor, keine politische Vision zu haben161. Nach
dem Rücktritt von Generalstabschef Dan Halutz sei ihr einziges Ziel
das politische Überleben. Baskin äußert sich skeptisch zu einem
erneuten Besuch von US-Außenministerin Condoleezza Rice, weil
diese sich damit begnügen werde, Ehud Olmert und Machmud
Abbas erneut zu empfehlen, die wirklichen Konfliktprobleme
anzupacken. Die Administration in Washington werde bis zum Ende
der Amtszeit George W. Bushs in zwei Jahren keinen Politikwandel
vornehmen
162
, erklärt Baskin weiter. Damit sei sie zu einem
Friedenshindernis geworden. In einem dramatischen Appell fordert
Baskin Olmert auf, sofort das Leben von Hunderttausenden
Palästinensern zu erleichtern, und verlangt von Abbas, bei der
Bildung einer neuen Regierung Führung zu zeigen, damit Recht und
Gesetz besonders im Gazastreifen wiederhergestellt würden und der
tägliche „Qassam“-Beschuss auf israelisches Territorium aufhöre.
Der beste Weg in einen neuen und echten Friedensprozess sei die
Beiruter Erklärung der Arabischen Liga vom März 2002163. Am 27.
Januar verlangt der Brigadegeneral der Reserve Yossi Ben-Ari, der
für Sicherheitsangelegenheiten verantwortlich war, in einem Beitrag
für die Zeitung „Yediot Achronot“ ebenfalls das Einschwenken der
israelischen Politik auf die Beiruter Erklärung164.
In der Nacht zum 23. Januar trägt US-Präsident George W. Bush in
einer knapp einstündigen Rede seine „State of the Union Address“
beiden Häusern des Kongresses vor. Im außenpolitischen Teil
– kündigt er dramatische Schritte an, um die Abhängigkeit der USA
von Ölimporten zu reduzieren,
– sagt Maßnahmen gegen den drohenden Klimawandel zu, die
allerdings die einheimische Wirtschaftskraft nicht schwächen dürfe,
– verspricht den physischen Schutz und die Fortsetzung des
ideologischen Kampfes gegen terroristische Angriffe besonders
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120 – Chronologie 2007
schiitischer und sunnitischer Extremisten, die auch gemäßigte
Regierungen bedrohten,
– begrüßt die Vertreibung Syriens aus Libanon,
– verurteilt das Atomwaffenprogramm Irans,
– verteidigt die militärische Verstärkung im Irak und gibt den Krieg
dort nicht verloren und beschwört ein „Alptraum-Szenario“ im Falle
des Scheiterns und
– kündigt die Fortsetzung der Bemühungen für „die Freiheit“ Cubas,
Weißrusslands und Burmas an.
Im Blick auf den israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt begnügt sich
Bush mit dem knappen Hinweis, gemeinsam mit den anderen
Mitgliedern des Nahost-Quartetts die diplomatischen Bemühungen
für den Frieden im Heiligen Land fortzusetzen, damit ein
demokratischer palästinensischer Staat an der Seite Israels
entstehen kann165. Die Demokraten und Teile der Republikaner im
Kongress lehnen vor allem die von Bush präsentierte „neue
Strategie“ im Irak zum Teil scharf ab. Im Entwurf einer Resolution
wird die Entsendung weiterer US-Soldaten verworfen.
Ein „Fatah“-Sprecher präsentiert nach einer Meldung der
palästinensischen Nachrichtenagentur „Ma’an“ einen Bericht, in dem
„Hamas“ Korruption und die Begünstigung von Anhängern
vorgeworfen wird166.
Nach israelischen Medienberichten bemüht sich die Regierung in
Jerusalem, Vollmitglied der NATO zu werden, nicht zuletzt für den
Fall einer Konfrontation mit dem Iran. Auch die NATO-Staaten seien
an Israel als Mitglied interessiert, heißt es. Repräsentanten des
israelischen Verteidigungs- und Außenministeriums würden dazu
Richtlinien und Strategien erarbeiten, die Ende Februar
Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert vorgelegt werden könnten. Nach
Berichten von der Herzliya-Konferenz Ende Januar 2007 warnt der
Herausgeber der ZEIT, Josef Joffe, vor einer Mitgliedschaft, weil sie
das Schicksal Israels von Entscheidungen der 25 NATO-Mitglieder
abhängig machen würde.
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121 – Chronologie 2007
In weiten Teilen Libanons legt ein von der Opposition unter Führung
der „Hisbollah“ ausgerufener Generalstreik zum Sturz der Regierung
Fuad Sinioras das öffentliche Leben weitgehend lahm. Bei
Zusammenstößen mit den Sicherheitskräften kommen fünf Personen
ums Leben. Am 24. Januar beruhigt sich die Lage. Am 25. Januar
kommen bei Unruhen in Beirut erneut drei Personen ums Leben167.
Robert Satloff, Direktor des „Washington Institute for Near East
Policy”, schlägt der Jerusalemer Shoah-Gedenkstätte „Yad Vashem“
den 1997 verstorbenen tunesischen Bauern Khaled Abd al-Wahab
als ersten arabischen „Gerechten unter den Völkern“ vor. Abd alWahab habe während der deutschen Besatzungszeit eine jüdische
Frau gerettet. Zur Begründung fügt Satloff in einem Interview mit
„Haaretz“ hinzu, dass mit der Ehrung die „Konspiration des
Schweigens“ gebrochen werden solle, die in der arabischen Welt im
Blick auf die Rettung von Juden vorherrsche.
22.01.2007:
In einem Vortrag vor dem Auditorium der Siebten Herzliya-Konferenz
vertritt der emeritierte Orientalist Bernard Lewis (Princeton
University) die Auffassung, dass im Nahen und Mittleren Osten nach
dem Ende des Kalten Krieges eine „Veränderung von kosmischer
Dimension“ zu verzeichnen sei: das Ende der Dominanz der
Weltmächte. Damit würden zum einen die alten Modelle
wiederaufleben, denn an die Stelle nationaler oder ethnischer
würden erneut religiöse Identitäten treten. Zum anderen würden mit
dem Ende der „Phase des Bonapartismus“ die inneren Konflikte mit
der Rivalität zwischen Sunniten und Schiiten – in den Worten Lewis’
zwischen „Protestanten“ und „Katholiken“ – an die Oberfläche treten:
Während Ägyptens Präsident Anwar Sadat mit Israel aus rationalen
Überlegungen Frieden geschlossen habe und der Krieg Israels in
Libanon von den sunnitischen Staaten begrüßt und bedauert worden
sei, dass die Schiiten nicht besiegt worden seien, halte Präsident
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122 – Chronologie 2007
Machmud Achmadinedjad in der zweiten Phase der iranischen
Revolution an seiner apokalyptischen Botschaft fest. Dies mache ihn
zur Gefahr. Die „Gewissheit der Zerstörung auf Gegenseitigkeit“ sei
für ihn nicht abschreckend, sondern sporne ihn an
168
.
Im Interview mit „Spiegel“-online vertritt US-Außenministerin
Condoleezza Rice die Auffassung, dass der Krieg im Irak zu
gewinnen sei, und spricht sich gegen einen Waffengang gegen Iran
aus. Zu Meldungen über informelle Gespräche zwischen Israel und
Syrien erklärt Rice, dass die Regierung in Jerusalem keinen Rat aus
Washington brauche, um unter den gegenwärtigen Bedingungen der
syrischen Beteiligung an destabilisierenden Handlungen in der
Region keine Verhandlungen mit Damaskus aufzunehmen.
Nach Beratungen im Kreis der 27 EU-Außenminister in Brüssel wird
Außenkommissar Javier Solana beauftragt, die europäischen
Bemühungen um eine Wiederaufnahme der Verhandlungen
zwischen Israel und den Palästinensern zu verstärken.
21.01.2007:
Nach einer Besichtigungstour durch Teile der Westbank zeigt sich
der EU-Außenbeauftragte Javier Solana in der jordanischen
Hauptstadt Amman schockiert über die Erweiterung der jüdischen
Siedlungen und den Weiterbau der Mauer, die die Schaffung eines
Staates Palästina verhindern würden. Bei der Begegnung mit König
Abdullah II. fordert dieser die Verstärkung der europäischen
Anstrengungen im Friedensprozess.
20.01.2007:
Präsident Machmud Abbas trifft in Damaskus mit Syriens
Präsidenten Bashar Assad zusammen. Nach einem ersten
vergeblichen Anlauf, weil im Vorfeld eine Einigung über die
Zusammensetzung eines neuen palästinensischen Kabinetts nicht
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123 – Chronologie 2007
erkennbar gewesen sei, spricht er auf Damaszener Empfehlung am
21. Januar mit dem Leiter des Politischen Büros von „Hamas“ in der
syrischen Hauptstadt, Khaled Meshal. Danach bezeichnet Abbas
das Gespräch aus fruchtvoll, während Meshal betont, dass der
Dialog fortgesetzt werden müsse. Gemäß einem Vier-PunkteProgramm sollen die innerpalästinensischen Auseinandersetzungen
beendet, der Dialog zur Bildung einer Regierung der nationalen
Einheit fortgesetzt, Schritte zur Aktivierung der PLO unternommen
und an den palästinensischen nationalen Zielen einschließlich der
Ablehnung von Übergangsregelungen festgehalten werden169.
19.01.2007:
Die israelische Regierung überweist in der Nacht zum 19. Januar
hundert Millionen US-Dollar auf ein Konto im Amt von Machmud
Abbas, die aus einbehaltenen Zoll- und Steuereinnahmen
stammen170; die auf israelischen Konten verbuchten Einnahmen
sollen monatlich zwischen fünfzig und sechzig Millionen US-Dollar
ausmachen. Nach Medienberichten soll US-Außenministerin
Condoleezza Rice bei ihrem Besuch in Jerusalem Mitte des Monats
darauf gedrängt haben, um das Leben der palästinensischen
Bevölkerung zu erleichtern.
Im Interview mit „Haaretz” bestätigt der jordanische König Abdullah
II. das Interesse seines Landes am Aufbau atomarer Kapazitäten zu
friedlichen Zwecken. Er fordert, dem israelisch-palästinensischen
Konflikt höchste Priorität einzuräumen, weil nach Beendigung des
Friedensprozesses die Gegensätze zu anderen Staaten in der
Region leichter zu erledigen seien; darauf würde er wetten. Die
Sicherheit und die Zukunft Jordaniens gingen mit der Zukunft der
Palästinenser und der Israelis Hand in Hand. Ein Fehler hier ziehe
Fehler dort nach sich. Die Verhandlungen in Taba im Januar 2001,
die „Genfer Initiative“ und die „Road Map“ bezeichnet er als
politisch wegweisend. Man müsse also nicht ans Reißbrett zurück.
Es müsse im Interesse Israels liegen, nicht nur zu Jordanien, Syrien
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124 – Chronologie 2007
und Ägypten, sondern auch zu Marokko im Westen und zu Oman
am Osten gute Beziehungen zu haben. Doch dafür müsse ein Preis
bezahlt werden: die Zukunft der Palästinenser. Die Araber sagten:
„Wir wollen Frieden, und wir wollen formale Beziehungen.“ Das
Verhältnis seines Vaters König Hussein zu Yitzhak Rabin bezeichnet
171
Abdullah als einzigartig
.
In einem Beitrag für die „Los Angeles Times“ betont der frühere
politische Berater von Präsident Bill Clinton, Aaron David Miller172,
dass für die Regierung in Washington die Zeit gekommen sei, ihre
Machtinstrumente einzusetzen. Die Lage zwischen Israelis und
Palästinensern verlange ernsthafte Aufmerksamkeit. Eine Lösung
des Konflikts werde zwar nicht die Krise im Irak bereinigen oder die
Bedrohung durch den radikalen Islam beenden, aber die USamerikanische Glaubwürdigkeit vermehren, die Freunde Amerikas
stärken und die Chancen der Gegner mindern, Araber und Muslime
gegen die USA zu mobilisieren.
Der frühere Koordinator im Nationalen Sicherheitsrat Israels, Raanan
Eliaz, schreibt in einem Gastkommentar für „Haaretz“ dass die USA
nicht länger allein die Lage im Nahen und Mittleren Osten
stabilisieren können und dafür die Europäische Union brauchen.
Auch wenn in Washington diese Einsicht noch nicht gefestigt sei,
müssten jetzt die Vorarbeiten dafür geleistet werden.
Bundesaußenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier rät vor Journalisten
in Berlin von konkurrierenden Plänen der internationalen
Staatengemeinschaft für den Nahen Osten ab. Für die Europäer sei
es erforderlich, ihre gemeinsame Kraft zu bündeln. Die von der
Bundesregierung betriebene „Revitalisierung" des Nahost-Quartetts
sei „bei einigen Partnern" früher mit Zögern aufgenommen worden,
fügt Steinmeier ohne nähere Erläuterungen hinzu. Inzwischen sei
dieses Vorgehen jedoch zum Konsens geworden.
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18.01.2007:
Israels Verteidigungsminister Amir Peretz stoppt den Ausbau der
Siedlung Maskiot im nördlichen Jordantal. Dort sollten hundert
Wohneinheiten für frühere Siedler im Gazastreifen gebaut werden
173
Dror Etkes, der für „Peace Now“ die Siedlungsszene beobachtet174,
kritisiert, dass die Regierung dem Druck der Siedler oder der
internationalen Gemeinschaft nachgebe, statt eine eigene Politik zu
formulieren.
Dem „Newsletter“ der israelischen Botschaft in Berlin entnehmen wir
zwei Meldungen:
»Die israelische Armee hat gestern (17.01.) mitgeteilt, dass in den
vergangenen Tagen 44 Erdwälle in der Umgebung von Dörfern im
Westjordanland entfernt wurden. Die Armee hatte im
Westjordanland in den letzten Jahren fast 400 Erdwälle und
Dauersperren errichtet. Die Entfernung der Erdwälle ist eine weitere
Maßnahme zur Erleichterung der Lebensumstände der
palästinensischen Zivilbevölkerung, die Israel infolge des Treffens
zwischen Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert und dem Vorsitzenden der
Palästinensischen Autonomiebehörde Mahmoud Abbas am 24.
Dezember verkündet hatte. Zuvor berichtete die Armee über eine
Erleichterung bei den Kontrollen von palästinensischen Fahrzeugen
an 16 zentralen Sperren im Westjordanland. Ministerpräsident Ehud
Olmert besuchte gestern Grenzübergänge und Sperren im
Westjordanland, um sich von der Umsetzung der Erleichterungen,
die er dem Vorsitzenden der Palästinensischen Autonomiebehörde
Mahmoud Abbas versprochen hatte, einen Eindruck zu verschaffen.
Olmert wurde am Übergang von Shaar Efraim in der Nähe von
Tulkarem aufgehalten und bat darum, die Wartezeit der
Palästinenser zu verkürzen. Er erklärte: „Es ist mir wichtig, dass die
Leute, die ihren Lebensunterhalt verdienen wollen, nicht um ein Uhr
in der Nacht aufstehen müssen, um zwischen sechs Uhr am Morgen
und sechs Uhr am Abend den Übergang zu passieren und dass sie
nicht stundenlang an den Übergängen warten müssen. Es gibt eine
große Bevölkerung, deren Lebensqualität von uns abhängig ist und
.
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126 – Chronologie 2007
wir müssen offen und tolerant sein.“ Bei dem Treffen mit Soldaten
des Westjordanland-Regiments sagte Olmert: „Wir möchten eine
gute Nachbarschaft und auf dieser Linie bewegen wir uns.“
Die israelische Armee hat gestern Abend die geplante Verfügung
eingefroren, die es Israelis untersagen sollte, Palästinenser im
Westjordanland ohne Genehmigung in ihren Wagen zu
transportieren. Gegen die geplante Verfügung hatte es in letzter Zeit
Kritik seitens Juristen und Menschenrechtsorganisationen gegeben.
Der Befehlshaber der Zentralkommandantur Yair Naveh, der die
Verfügung initiiert hatte, begründete die Entscheidung mit der
Beurteilung der Juristen, die erklärten, dass zuvor andere Dinge
geregelt werden müssten.«
Bei ihrer Begegnung mit Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel in Berlin
kündigt US-Außenministerin Condoleezza Rice ein NahostGipfeltreffen unter Beteiligung der USA in den kommenden drei bis
vier Wochen an. „Ich habe den Eindruck, es ist Bewegung
gekommen in die Frage des israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikts“,
erklärt Merkel auf der gemeinsamen Pressekonferenz mit Rice. Sie
zeigt sich bereit, „im Rahmen des Quartetts“ politische
Verantwortung zu übernehmen und erwartet von der Regelung des
israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikts beruhigende Auswirkungen für
die gesamte Region. Rice schließt sich dieser Erwartung an und
wiederholt ihre Absicht, alle sechs Wochen in die Region zu reisen.
Hanna Siniora, mit Gershon Baskin gemeinsamer Vorsitzender des
„Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI)“,
räumt politischen Fortschritten beim geplanten Nahost-Gipfeltreffen
geringe Chancen ein. Als erste Schritte der Entspannung zwischen
beiden Seiten schlägt Siniora vor, dass Israel die Erlaubnis erteilt,
das „Orient House“ in Ost-Jerusalem als politische Residenz der
Palästinenser in der Stadt wiederzueröffnen, dass die
palästinensische Handelskammer und andere Institutionen ihre
Arbeit wiederaufnehmen können, dass eine autonome
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127 – Chronologie 2007
Stadtverwaltung in Ost-Jerusalem für kommunale Dienstleistungen
ihre Arbeit eingerichtet wird, dass die wirtschaftliche Infrastruktur im
Ostteil der Stadt gestärkt wird, dass das Fluggelände Atarot seinen
Betrieb für Kurzstreckenflüge in die angrenzenden Länder
aufnehmen und das Gelände für einen von israelischen und
palästinensischen Unternehmern gemeinsam betriebenen
Technologiepark genutzt wird. Der zentrale Status Ost-Jerusalems
als kulturelles und ökonomisches Zentrum des palästinensischen
Volkes müsse wiederbelebt und die Zufahrten nach Bethlehem im
Süden und Ramallah im Norden frei zugänglich sein.
16.01.2007:
Die israelische Zeitung „Haaretz” berichtet über informelle
Gespräche des früheren Generaldirektors im israelischen
Außenministerium Alon Liel mit Syrien in den Jahren 2004 bis 2006
unter Vermittlung von Geoffrey Aronson, dem Leiter der „Foundation
for Middle East Peace“ in Washington, D.C., über die Zukunft der
Golanhöhen und veröffentlicht den dazugehörigen
Vertragsentwurf175. Die israelische und die syrische Regierung
weisen die Behauptung vehement zurück, während sie in
Washington bestätigt wird. Uzi Benziman schreibt zu den Meldungen
in derselben Zeitung am 17. Januar, dass die Regierung in
Jerusalem alles daran zu setzen scheine, die sechzig Jahre lang
andauernde Feindschaft zu Syrien nicht zu beenden, indem sich die
Führung den Siedlern auf den Golanhöhen und der Administration in
Washington beuge. Die Glaubwürdigkeit des amtlichen Dementi
kommentiert der Israel-Korrespondent der „Frankfurter Allgemeinen
Zeitung“ Jörg Bremer mit den Sätzen: „Seit 2003 gibt es einen
Entwurf für einen Vertrag Israels mit den Palästinensern. Die
›Genfer Initiative‹ wurde von dem damaligen PLO-Chef [Yasser]
Arafat und dem jetzigen Präsidenten [Machmud] Abbas mitgetragen.
Auf israelischer Seite waren wie jetzt bei dem Syrien-Papier auch
frühere Regierungsmitglieder, wie der frühere Minister [Yossi] Beilin,
federführend. Die ›Genfer Initiative‹ entstand während der zweiten
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128 – Chronologie 2007
Intifada in einem politischen Vakuum, aus dem heraus Scharon
seinen Plan für einen einseitigen Abzug [aus dem Gazastreifen und
vier Siedlungen im Norden der Westbank] entwickelte, um die
politische Initiative zurückzugewinnen.“ Am 18. Januar bestätigt Liel
in einem Vortrag in Netanya die informellen Gespräche mit dem
amerikanisch-syrischen Geschäftsmann Ibrahim Suleiman, der
Verbindungen nach Damaskus unterhält. Am 25. Januar macht der
frühere israelische Botschaft in Berlin, Avi Primor, in der „Jüdischen
Allgemeinen“, darauf aufmerksam, dass Israel von Anfang an den
Wunsch geäußert habe, mit jedem Nachbarstaat, der dazu bereit
sei, Verhandlungen aufzunehmen, und dass sich heute eine solche
Möglichkeit biete: „Syrien, Palästinenser wie auch die meisten
arabischen Länder erklären offen ihre Gesprächsbereitschaft.“ Am
28. Januar berichtet Akiva Eldar in „Haaretz“, dass auf Antrag von
Zahava Gal-On („Meretz/Yachad“) Liel im Auswärtigen und
Sicherheitsausschuss der Knesset über seine Gespräche mit
syrischen Vertretern berichten soll. Am 1. Februar berichtet Jörg
Bremer in der „Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung“, dass Liel bestätigt
habe, „dass stets israelische Regierungsvertreter bei seinen von
Schweizer Diplomaten begleiteten Gesprächen mit einem offiziellen
syrischen Unterhändler in Bern anwesend waren.“ Auch Washington
wisse, so wird Liel von Bremer weiter zitiert, dass Syrien für das
Zugeständnis syrischer Souveränität über den Golan bereit sei,
seine Bindungen zu Iran, Hizbullah und Hamas zu kappen, um nicht
mehr zur ›Achse des Bösen‹ zu gehören“.
Im Gefolge des militärischen Dramas in Libanon reicht der
israelische Generalstabschef Generalleutnant Dan Halutz bei
Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert noch vor dem nicht absehbaren
Bericht der von der Regierung eingesetzten WinogradUntersuchungskommission seinen Rücktritt ein. In seinem Gesuch
beklagt er sich über die mangelhafte Unterstützung der militärischen
Führung und seitens der Öffentlichkeit176. Politische Kommentatoren
verlangen, dass sich jetzt auch Olmert und Verteidigungsminister
Amir Peretz der Verantwortung stellen.
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129 – Chronologie 2007
15.01.2007:
Im Interview mit der „Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung” streitet der
Chef der „Freien Patriotischen Bewegung (FPM)” Libanons, der
maronitisch-christliche Politiker Michel Aoun, der mit der „Hisbollah“
verbündet ist, die Lieferung von Waffen durch Syrien und Iran nicht
rundheraus ab, betont jedoch, dass die „Partei Gottes“ auch so
ausreichend für einen neuen Krieg mit Israel gut versorgt sei. Damit
bestätigt Aoun eine Aussage von „Hisbollah“-Chef Hassan Nasrallah
gegenüber der libanesischen Zeitung „Al-Manar (Der Leuchtturm)“ –
dem TV-Sender der „Hisbollah“ – vom 21. Oktober 2006. Aoun
kündigt für September oder Oktober die Bekanntgabe seiner
Kandidatur für das Amt des Staatspräsidenten an, wenn die Amtszeit
von Emile Lahoud abläuft. 2004 hatte Damaskus die Verlängerung
der Amtszeit Lahouds gegen innerlibanesische Widerstände
durchgesetzt.
Der stellvertretende israelische Verteidigungsminister Ephraim Sneh
beklagt nach seinem Besuch in Hebron den Zusammenbruch von
Recht und Ordnung, die in der Hand der Besatzung liegen. Der
frühere Justizminister im Kabinett Ariel Sharons, Josef („Tommy“)
Lapid, fordert die Regierung auf, „die jüdischen Barbaren in Hebron
zu stoppen“177.
14.01.2007:
Auf der gemeinsamen Pressekonferenz mit US-Außenministerin
Condoleezza Rice in Ramallah weist Präsident Machmud Abbas
Vorschlage von Israels Außenministerin Tsipi Livni zurück, zunächst
einen palästinensischen Staat in vorläufigen Grenzen zu schaffen;
Abbas befürchtet, dass sich diese nicht mehr verändern lassen. Rice
verpflichtet sich zur Hilfe für eine Lösung, in der Israelis und
Palästinenser „in Sicherheit, Frieden und Demokratie“ leben können:
„Ich versichere Ihnen, Herr Präsident, so wie ich es anderen
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130 – Chronologie 2007
zugesagt habe, dass ich klar und laut den Ruf nach einem tieferen
amerikanischen Engagement in diesen Prozessen vernommen habe.
… Mein Wunsch ist, dass das palästinensische Volk in der Lage ist,
in Würde, Demokratie und Frieden mit einer Regierung zu leben, die
von der internationalen Gemeinschaft respektiert und unterstützt
wird
178
.“ Das anschließende Gespräch zwischen Rice und Ehud
Olmert in Jerusalem geht ergebnislos zu Ende. Bei ihrem Besuch in
Kuwait am 16. Januar schließt sich Rice der Bewertung von Abbas
mit der Einschätzung an, dass schon die Festlegung vorläufiger
Grenzen eines palästinensischen Staates schwierig genug sei. Leslie
Susser zitiert in einem Bericht der „Jewish Telegraphic Agency“ am
selben Tag einen „hohen US-Vertreter“ mit der Aussage, dass Rice
das israelisch-palästinensische Problem während ihrer
verbleibenden Amtszeit zur Chefsache gemacht habe und den
Nahen Osten jeden Monat zu besuchen beabsichtige.
Rund elftausend in israelischen Gefängnissen einsitzende
Palästinenser veranstalten einen Hungerstreik, um ihre
Haftbedingungen zu verbessern.
11.01.2007:
In seiner Ansprache an das US-amerikanische Volk bezeichnet
Präsident George W. Bush die Lage im Irak als unhaltbar. Wenn
Fehler gemacht worden seien, trage er dafür die Verantwortung.
Bush kündigt nach Beratungen mit seinen Teams und unter Nutzung
des Berichts der „Iraq Study Group“ von James Baker und Lee
Hamilton179 einen „Strategiewechsel“ an. Da ein Scheitern im Irak für
die USA eine Katastrophe wären, müsse das Schwergewicht auf die
Lösung von Sicherheitsfragen besonders in Bagdad gelegt werden.
Deshalb fordert Bush die Stärkung der irakischen Streitkräfte, zu
deren Unterstützung weitere fünf Brigaden mit mehr als 20.000 –
tatsächlich 21.500 – US-Soldaten entsandt würden, womit im Irak
knapp 154.000 Mann stationiert wären. Bush droht mit nicht näher
erläuterten Konsequenzen für den Fall, dass die irakische Regierung
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131 – Chronologie 2007
ihren Verpflichtungen nicht nachkommen sollte
180
. Auch US-
amerikanische Kommentatoren äußern sich skeptisch bis ablehnend
zur Rede Bushs
181
. James Dobbins, Direktor bei der der „RAND
Corporation“ und früherer stellvertretender US-Außenminister,
bezeichnet am 17. Januar in der „International Harald Tribune“ die
Rede als „furchterregend“. In einem Interview mit der „Berliner
Zeitung“ am 18. Januar nennt sie der frühere US-Botschafter in
Deutschland, Richard Holbrooke, „fürchterlich“. Einen Krieg gegen
Iran würde der US-Generalstab nicht mittragen. Am 18. Januar
bringen drei Senatoren, die Demokraten Joseph Biden und Carl
Levin sowie der Republikaner Chuck Hagel, einen
Resolutionsentwurf in den Senat ein, wonach die
Truppenverstärkung im Irak nicht im nationalen Interesse der USA
liege. Die „gefährlich unverantwortliche Politik des Präsidenten“
müsse beendet werden, begründet Hagel seine Mitwirkung an dem
Entwurf. Auch die New Yorker Senatorin Hillary Rodham Clinton
unterstützt ihn.
10.01.2007:
Im Interview mit der Nachrichtenagentur „Reuters” bezeichnet der
Leiter des Politischen Büros von „Hamas” in Damaskus, Khaled
Meshal, Israel als eine Realität. Seine Anerkennung komme jedoch
erst nach Gründung des palästinensischen Staates in Frage182. Von
China aus, wo er sich zu einem Staatsbesuch aufhält, verwahrt sich
Ehud Olmert gegen die Aufforderung, das Interview mit Meshal zu
lesen.
Der Vorsitzende der Arbeitspartei, Verteidigungsminister Amir
Peretz, kündigt an, dass an die Stelle von Ophir Pines-Paz, der im
November 2006 als Wissenschafts-, Kunst- und Sportminister aus
Protest gegen die Einbeziehung von Avigdor Lieberman in die
Regierung zurückgetreten war183, der arabische Abgeordnete Raleeb
Madjadele aus Baqa al-Garbiyeh im „Kleinen Dreieck“ treten solle.
Madjadele wäre der erste arabische Minister in einem israelischen
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Kabinett. Kommentatoren werfen Peretz vor, dass er mit dem
Vorschlag vor allem die arabische Bevölkerung Israels erreichen
wolle.
In Madrid beginnt eine zweitägige internationale Konferenz aus
Anlass des 15. Jahrestages der Madrider Friedenskonferenz Ende
Oktober 1991 unter dem Titel „Madrid+15“. In einer Erklärung
sprechen sich die Teilnehmer für eine internationale Intervention zur
Beilegung des israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikts aus und
betonen die wegweisende Bedeutung der der „Clinton-Parameters“
(2000), der Beiruter Erklärung der Arabischen Liga (2002), der
„Genfer Initiative“ (2003) und der „Road Map“ (2003). Zur
palästinensischen Delegation gehören Hanan Ashrawi, Nabil Shaath,
Djibril Radjoub und Mustafa Barghouti, zur israelischen Delegation
Shlomo Ben-Ami, Dan Meridor, Colette Avital, Ophir Pines-Raz und
Gershon Baskin. Von Seiten der „Genfer Initiative“ sind Saman
Khoury und Michal Radoshitzky vertreten. Für Shaath ist von dem
Besuch Rices in der Region nichts zu erwarten. Deshalb sei die Zeit
für die Araber und die internationale Gemeinschaft gekommen, „die
Amerikaner fallenzulassen und einen Prozess einzuleiten, der am
Ende die Unterstützung der USA gewinnt, so wie es mit Oslo
geschah“.
09.01.2007:
Die Kolumnistin Amira Hass wirft in „Haaretz“ der von „Hamas“
geführten palästinensischen Regierung Doppelzüngigkeit vor: Sie
setze die Tradition von „Fatah“ nach innen und nach außen fort184.
Nach zahllosen Beschwerden von Passagieren über ihre
entwürdigende und demütigende Behandlung bei der Abfertigung am
Flughafen Ben-Gurion in Tel Aviv, denen besonders arabische
Staatsbürger ausgesetzt seien, bittet die israelische
185
Frauenorganisation „Machsom Watch“
die Flughafenleitung und
Tourismusminister Shaul Mofaz, bei der Ausbildung der für die
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Sicherheit zuständigen Mitarbeiter zu helfen
186
. Die Flughafenleitung
verspricht Abhilfe.
08.01.2007:
Ohne Berücksichtigung der jüdischen Bevölkerung im arabischen
Teil Jerusalems ist die Zahl der Israelis in der Westbank nach
Angaben des Innenministeriums im abgelaufenen Jahr um 5,8
Prozent auf 268.379 gestiegen; im Jahr 2005 lebten dort 253.748
Israelis. Die Größe der palästinensischen Bevölkerung wird mit 2,5
Millionen angegeben.
Nachdem Bewaffnete mit der Tötung von „Kollaborateuren und
Verrätern“ gedroht haben, erklärt das Exekutivkomitee der PLO auf
seiner Sitzung in Ramallah seine Unterstützung für die Pläne von
Präsident Machmud Abbas, die Militäreinheit („Executive Force“) von
Ministerpräsident Ismail Haniyeh in die allgemeinen
Sicherheitsdienste zu integrieren.
Das „European Human Rights Network“ mit Sitz in Brüssel und
Kopenhagen berichtet unter Berufung auf israelische Quellen, dass
im Jahr 2006 bei Zusammenstößen 660 Palästinenser und siebzehn
Israelis ums Leben gekommen sind.
Der ehemalige israelische Ministerpräsident Ehud Barak, der im
Februar 2001 gegen Ariel Sharon unterlag, kündigt seine Bewerbung
um den Vorsitz der Arbeitspartei an. Die parteiinternen Wahlen
sollen am 24. Mai stattfinden. Zu Baraks Konkurrenten gehört Ami
Ayalon – ehemals Befehlshaber der Marine und Chef des
Inlandsgeheimdienstes „Shin Bet“187 –, der sich am 11. Januar zu
seinen politischen Vorstellungen in der „Jerusalem Post“ äußerte188.
Israels Verteidigungsminister Amir Peretz und sein Stellvertreter
Ephraim Sneh (beide Arbeitspartei) stellen der Presse eine
dreistufige „neue Road Map“ vor, die „eine neue Realität“ in den
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134 – Chronologie 2007
Beziehungen zu den Palästinensern schaffen solle. Einen Rückzug
aus den Siedlungsblöcken der Westbank schließt der Plan aus. Zu
Libanon und Syrien enthält er keine Aussagen. Auch in den eigenen
Reihen der Arbeitspartei trifft der Plan auf Skepsis.
07.01.2007:
Die Londoner „Sunday Times” berichtet von israelischen
Geheimplänen, iranische Uran-Anreicherungsanlagen mit taktischen
Atomwaffen zu zerstören, wenn konventionelle militärische
Interventionen versagen und die USA nicht intervenieren würden189.
Das Außenministerium in Jerusalem dementiert solche Pläne.
04.01.2007:
Israels Ministerpräsident Ehud Olmert und Ägyptens Staatspräsident
Hosni Mubarak treffen im ägyptischen Badeort Sharm el-Sheikh zu
einem vierstündigen Gespräch zusammen. Auch wenn beide sich
ihrer gegenseitigen Hochachtung versichern, lassen die Gespräche
in einer „offenen und konstruktiven Atmosphäre“ keine politischen
Fortschritte erkennen. Mubarak kritisiert auf der gemeinsamen
Pressekonferenz die Tötung von vier Palästinensern durch eine
israelische Armeeeinheit in Ramallah als „Hindernis für den Frieden“.
Im Gegenzug bedauert Olmert den fortgesetzten Waffenschmuggel
an der ägyptischen Grenze in den Gazastreifen und die anhaltende
Gefangenschaft des israelischen Gefreiten Gilad Shalit seit dem 25.
Juni. Mubarak gibt bekannt, dass die Überweisung der Geldsumme,
die der palästinensische Ministerpräsident Ismail Haniyeh in
arabischen Ländern gesammelt hat190, gegen ägyptisches Recht
verstoße und deshalb unterbleiben werde.
Bei ihrem einstündigen Treffen mit Präsident George W. Bush in
Washington verwendet sich Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel für die
Stärkung des Nahost-Quartetts und die Wiederbelebung der „Road
Map“ vom April 2003.
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135 – Chronologie 2007
Der Nationale Sicherheitsberater unter den US-Präsidenten Gerald
R. Ford und George H.W. Bush und heutige Präsident des „Forum
for International Policy“, Brent Scowcroft, ruft in einem
Meinungsbeitrag für die „New York Times“ die Regierung in
Washington dazu auf, sich gegen die Gefahren des internationalen
Terrorismus und der iranischen Drohung der Unterstützung der
arabischen Staaten zu versichern. Dabei würde ein kühner Anstoß
zur Lösung des arabisch-israelischen Konflikts die Dynamik in der
Region und das strategische Kalkül ihrer Führer von Grund auf
ändern, Iran in die Defensive drängen, „Hisbollah“ und „Hamas“ ihres
gemeinsamen Prinzips berauben sowie Ägypten, Saudi-Arabien und
die Golfstaaten dazu anhalten, bei der Stabilisierung Iraks zu helfen,
damit dieses Land in das regionale Sicherheitsnetz einbezogen
werden könne. Scowcroft plädiert außerdem für eine Annäherung an
Syrien, das von einer Regelung mit Israel gewinnen würde. Nur die
USA könnten die arabischen Führer und Ministerpräsident Ehud
Olmert an den Verhandlungstisch zurückbringen. Zur Entscheidung
stehe die Zuverlässigkeit der Vereinigten Staaten als Partner in einer
von tiefem Leid geprägten Welt191.
03.01.2007:
Die Knesset billigt mit der Koalitionsmehrheit von sechzig gegen 31
Stimmen bei sechs Enthaltungen – zu denen die drei „United Torah
Judaism“-Abgeordneten Yaakov Litzman, Meir Porush und Shmuel
Halpert gehören – den Haushaltsplan für 2007 in Höhe von 294,5
Mrd. Neue Shekel (rund 47,4 Mrd. Euro). Yitzhak Galantee („Gil“Seniorenpartei) ist der einzige Koalitionär, der dagegen stimmt. Die
Abgeordneten Shelly Yachimowich (Arbeitspartei) und Marina
Solodkin („Kadima“) enthalten sich der Stimme.
02.01.2007:
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136 – Chronologie 2007
Teddy Kollek, zwischen 1965 und 1993 Bürgermeister von
Jerusalem, stirbt im Alter von 95 Jahren. Der Soziologe Meron
Benvenisti, der zeitweilig Kolleks Stellvertreter war, erinnert am 4.
Januar in einem Gastkommentar für „Haaretz“ daran, dass in dessen
Amtszeit 60.000 Wohnungen in Jerusalem gebaut worden seien,
davon 35.000 im arabischen Teil der Stadt. Die jüdische
Bevölkerung sei von 200.000 auf 400.000 gewachsen, die arabische
Bevölkerung von 70.000 auf 150.000. Die Stadtgrenzen seien nach
dem Junikrieg 1967 von einstigen vierzig Quadratkilometern auf 123
Quadratkilometer erweitert worden. Durch erhebliche
Abwanderungen in die jüdischen Vorstädte sei die Stadt verarmt.
Der Kolumnist von „Haaretz“, Gideon Levy, bezeichnet am 7. Januar
„den aufgeklärten Wiener Liberalen“ Kollek als den „größten Siedler“.
Er habe nach seinem Amtsantritt als Bürgermeister Jerusalems trotz
der enormen Entwicklungsleistungen als geteilte und wunde Stadt
hintergelassen
1
192
.
Barak Ravid. PM to Abbas: Israel won’t undermine final status talks, in
„Haaretz“-online 28.12.2007: Israel will not undermine negotiations toward a finalstatus agreement, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting in Jerusalem on Thursday. "Israel
will take no steps that would undermine the ability to reach a final-status agreement
or that would delay the negotiations," Olmert told Abbas during their first meeting
since the Annapolis conference a month ago.The prime minister made the
statement in response to Palestinian complaints about the announced tender for
the construction of 307 new homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Har
Homa. However, he did not promise that the tender would be halted. According to
one government source, "the sides resolved the differences that had been weighing
on the talks and agreed to proceed with negotiations on the core issues." That is
the term used to describe the thorniest disputes between Israel and the
Palestinians, namely Jerusalem, refugees and borders. "Both sides wanted to
resolve the crisis and recognized that there is no point in stalling the entire process
over such an issue," explained another senior government source. According to
that source, Olmert and Abbas agreed that the matter of construction in the
territories, as well as in Jerusalem, will be discussed during the negotiations on the
core issues. The two also agreed to resume their biweekly meetings, and to have
their negotiating teams meet again next week. At that meeting, the teams will seek
to reach an agreement on a framework for talks on the core issues. The
Palestinians also raised the issue of a prisoner release, and Olmert told Abbas that
Israel intended to "loosen" its definition of "blood on their hands," the euphemism
used in Israel to describe Palestinians who were involved in murdering Israelis. "We
are considering the release of veteran prisoners who we are sure will not go back to
terrorism, but there is still no decision on this matter," the senior government source
said. At the start of the meeting, Abbas expressed the Palestinians' opposition to
further construction at Har Homa and protested the issuance of the tender. In
response, Olmert said that "Israel will not construct new settlements, will not
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137 – Chronologie 2007
confiscate land and will evacuate the illegal outposts." "Israel wishes to conduct the
negotiations with goodwill," the prime minister added. Two earlier meetings of the
negotiating teams, headed respectively by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former
Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qureia, had gone nowhere, as the talks stalled
over the issue of settlement construction. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice telephoned both Olmert and Abbas and asked them to use their
meeting to resolve the impasse. "It is important to me that you progress," Rice told
the two leaders, adding that they must not allow the differences between them to
widen.
2
UN: PA donors’ conference is step towards Palestinian state, in “Haaretz”-online
22.12.2007: The United Nations Security Council called this week's Palestinian
Authority donors conference a "strong signal of support for the Palestinian people"
and an important step toward the creation of a Palestinian state living at peace with
Israel, in a statement released on Friday.
The conference, held Monday in Paris, was the most ambitious fundraising effort in
more than a decade, with 87 countries and international organizations pledging 7.4
billion over the next three years to the Palestinians. The money is aimed at helping
the Palestinians create a viable, peaceful and secure state of their own, and to
promote new peace talks with Israel. A press statement approved by all 15 council
members on Friday reaffirmed the council's commitment to a just, lasting and
comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
"The members of the Security Council welcome the international donors'
conference ... which has provided a strong international signal of support to the
Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority and which constitutes an important
step in a broader process aiming at the realization of the vision of two states living
side by side in peace and security," the statement said.
The council thanked donors and urged that the money be rapidly disbursed. It also
urged all countries and international organizations to assist in developing the
Palestinian economy and help build Palestinian institutions in preparation for
statehood.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN observer, said that while the statement did not
reflect all the elements the Palestinians wanted it to include "we consider it as a
step in the right direction." "It is a modest but important step," he said. "The
significance of it is that the Security Council is determined to remain engaged in the
political process and to help to see the negotiation between the two parties reach its
ultimate conclusion by reaching a peace treaty, hopefully during the year 2008."
"This would put an end to occupation and to allow the Palestinian state to be born
next to Israel on all the areas that Israel occupied in 1967 with East Jerusalem as
its capital and a just solution to the refugee question," Mansour said.
He said this statement, in conjunction with the Paris donors conference, the U.S.sponsored Mideast conference in Annapolis, Maryland, and UN General Assembly
resolutions in support of the Palestinians, indicate that the international community
is determined to continue being engaged and to help the two parties to reach that
peace treaty and allow the Palestinian state to be born.
On Nov. 30, the United States suddenly withdrew a UN resolution endorsing the
agreement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders at the Annapolis conference to
try to reach a Mideast peace settlement by the end of 2008 because of Israeli
objections, even though it had overwhelming support in the Security Council.
Well-informed diplomats said at the time that Israel did not want a resolution
because it would bring the Security Council, which it distrusts, into the fledgling
negotiations with the Palestinians.
The brief statement that the council agreed to did not mention Annapolis.
France's UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, whose country drafted the
statement, welcomed the spirit of compromise in reaching agreement on the text
shown by Palestinian and Israeli diplomats, saying it clearly had its roots in
Annapolis. "It will be in our view a very strong signal, a positive step towards
achieving the goals of the Annapolis conference," he said.
Why did the council agree on Friday's statement and not on the resolution
endorsing the outcome of the Annapolis meeting? "It is very clear that this text is
mainly about the support that was expressed in the Paris conference to the
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138 – Chronologie 2007
Palestinian state and the Palestinian people, but the conference in Paris took place
in the framework of Annapolis," Ripert said.
"So by recognizing the important step and the positive step of the Paris conference,
of course, we are also taking note of the success that was Annapolis," he said.
3
1) Yossi Beilin: Dear friends, As you might have heard, yesterday [16 December
2007] I announced that I shall not seek a second term as chairman of the MeretzYachad Party.
The decision was not an easy one for me, but, I believe, the right one. For the
recent decision by my Meretz Party colleague Haim Oron (“Jumes”) to join the race
meant that I would have to compete with a man who walks the same political path
as I, and who is, moreover, a close personal friend. And this I would not do. I have
held this principle my entire my political life – that I will not run against a comrade
who walks the same political path. And although Oron's decision to run surprised
me, catching me well into my own re-election campaign, my ideological closeness
with Oron dictated my move.
Let me underscore that I joined the Meretz-Yachad party in 2003 not in order to
become its chairman so much as to be a part of it. For Meretz is a unique party in
the Israeli political landscape: a party that privileges values and ideas above being
in power; a party that fights every day for a better and more just Israel; a party that
ceaselessly promotes its positions, even when they are not popular, until they
become adopted by the majority. Next March, I will have served as party chairman
for four years. And although I will no longer serve as party chairman once a new
one is elected, I intend to continue being a full and active member of this party and,
of course, to continue representing it in the Knesset.
Indeed, there are certain advantages to not serving as party chairman, and the
most salient one for me is the greater time that I will be able to dedicate to the
peace process, especially in the coming year. Last month's Annapolis conference
set an ambitious agenda for Israel and the Palestinians of concluding negotiations
on a permanent-status agreement by January 2009. Although not an official
deadline, January 2009 is as real a deadline as deadlines go, since what will not be
achieved during 2008 will not be achieved in 2009. This is both because Abu
Mazen will end his term that month, and because any new American administration
that will be inaugurated that month will take its time before investing itself in the
Middle East peace process.
Given the urgency of completing an agreement in 2008, and the general sense of
skepticism about the feasibility of doing so within one year – the dominant feeling is
that, even if the substantive features of the final deal are already known, the actual
process of reaching an agreement is technically too difficult and procedurally too
intricate for the parties to reach an agreement in 12 months – I am already working
diligently on convening a major conference of experts next month in Tel Aviv. The
experts, who will include key figures from past negotiations between Israel, the
Palestinians and the Syrians, will be asked to respond to the question, "How to
Reach an Agreement in 2008." Needless to say, the overarching thesis of this
conference is that it is possible, and the public, as well as our decision-makers,
need to be convinced that it is.
For now, I thank you all for your steadfast support, and I will continue updating you
on my work as always.
Yours always,
Yossi [Beilin]
2) Eine aktivistischere Meretz-Partei (Leitartikel), in “Haaretz”-online 17.12.2007:
There is probably no one else in Israeli politics like Yossi Beilin – a brave weakling,
a leader who never swayed the enthusiastic masses, and yet who still managed to
carry away the center of the political map and get it to adopt his political path.
Beilin's direction was laid out in the Beilin-Abbas agreement. Its main point was to
aim for a final-status agreement, oppose any unilateral move, and have two
countries for two peoples within borders approximating those of 1967, with East
Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
These are the outlines that the world adopted as the desired solution of the IsraeliPalestinian conflict.
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139 – Chronologie 2007
Some say that an agreement in this vein will be reached only after more blood is
shed; some say it will not be attained until terror has disappeared from the world;
some hope it will never be attained, but in the meantime no more logical a solution
has been presented. These statements are correct even after Beilin stepped down
from the Meretz leadership yesterday.
In contrast to other leftist leaders, Beilin not only demonstrated and charted
ideology, but also initiated and implemented steps, actually spurring on
governments, and never declaring, like Ehud Barak after the failure of Camp David,
that there was no one to talk to. He always sought, on the Palestinian side,
someone with whom he could formulate a new agreement, to move something
ahead, one step and then another, and another, the main thing being to pursue the
way to a solution of the conflict, without giving up Israeli interests or the right of
Israel to use force if necessary.
Beilin went to Meretz for lack of choice; this opposition party never really suited him.
After he was not selected for a realistic slot on the Labor Party list, he looked for a
political home from which he could promote a new agreement. But as the leader of
a small party he did not have the power to make an impact, even if his personal
influence on decision-makers remained significant. All the social issues that made
Meretz what it is – a groundbreaker in civil and human rights, gender equality, civil
marriage and separation of religion and state – remained orphaned during his term
as party leader. Meretz did not retain its status in these areas after Shulamit Aloni,
Dedi Tzuker and Yossi Sarid left. Zahava Gal-On is right when she says that
Beilin's departure is a chance to make Meretz relevant again.
Meretz today also has an important role to play in setting the public agenda and in
fighting for values which tend to be easily neglected because of a too-heavy
security agenda. These include continuing to work for a separation of religion and
state, continued concern for the protection of the rights of minorities, freedom of
information, freedom of expression, protecting the status of the High Court of
Justice in the face of those who would try to limit its influence, unceasing concern to
preserve Israel as a country in which there is also equality before the law for those
who are not Jewish. All these issues are waiting for a more active leadership.
The fact that Beilin supports Haim Oron as his successor should not necessarily
influence Meretz members when it comes to selecting their new leader. Anyone for
whom civil and human rights are important should choose the candidate who has
been seen to have fought for these issues more than others. Perhaps then Meretz
will manage to attract new young voters to its ranks.
4
Yoav Stern: Planned Madrid peace gathering collapses before even taking off, in
„Haaretz“ December 16, 2007: MADRID – An investment of hundreds of thousands
of dollars, loads of time and countless attempts at intensive Spanish-brokered talks
between Israelis and Palestinians went down the drain this past weekend, when a
peace gathering that was supposed to be held here collapsed before it could even
get started. Spanish organizers grew tearful as they realized there was no
possibility of bridging gaps between the various groups and of reaching even
minimal discussion among the hawks – mostly members of the leftist camp in their
countries. The Forum for a Just Peace in the Middle East was supposed to
convene over the weekend in a town near Madrid called Alcorcon, with the backing
of leftist parties and labor organizations. It was meant to be Spain's contribution to
promoting talks between the sides.
Spain, officials emphasize, is very interested in being involved in advancing the
peace process. Its foreign minister, Miguel Moratinos, who is handling the matter
personally, said this week: "We managed to send men to the moon, but not to
resolve this conflict. We must move forward." But it looks like the failure of this
forum will be laid at his door. The background to this failure involves a struggle
between the government and leftist organizations over responsibility for holding the
meeting. Contrary to the usual Mideast scenario, this time the camps did not divide
along national lines. There were Israeli Jews and Palestinians in both, but ones who
hold completely different positions. The conflict between the camps revolves
around the question of a worthy end to the conflict: a two-state solution or one state
for two peoples.
In Israeli political terms, representatives of the Zionist center and left faced off
against radical leftist activists, who were horrified at the prospect of having to talk to
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140 – Chronologie 2007
those they view as "representatives of the occupation." Yael Lerer, founder of
Andalus Publishing and an activist in the Balad party, who was invited to address
the forum, told Haaretz that she views the people from Peace Now and the Labor
Party as another arm of the occupation, and therefore unacceptable for dialog. "It is
a huge problem when the heads of the organization do reserve duty in the
territories and belong to [Labor Party leader Ehud] Barak's camp and then come to
Europe and present themselves as belonging to the peace camp. This is not a
camp that wants a just and genuine peace," she said.
Delegates from the Zionist left said Saturday that they do not rule out talking with
anyone on the other side. The Palestinian side also divided into two groups: those
who boycotted the Israeli presence at the forum and were busy throughout with
internal discussions; and those in the mainstream, who are willing to talk to
delegates from Zionist parties to advance the establishment of a Palestinian state.
In lieu of the forum schedule, the latter went on tours of Madrid along with their
Israeli colleagues. Israeli Arabs played a key role in the Palestinian camp,
spearheading opposition to the official Israeli and Spanish involvement. Amir
Mahoul, general secretary of Ittijah, the umbrella organization of Arab civil groups in
Israel, led the fight against turning the forum into an establishment affair. He called
for an end to the influence of Israel and the Zionist lobby in Europe and the world.
Abd Anabtawi, spokesman for the Israeli Arabs' Higher Monitoring Committee,
accused Israel's Foreign Ministry of sabotaging the event. According to Anabtawi, if
the various United Nations resolutions do not constitute the basis for peace, there
will be only one solution: establishing a secular democratic state in all of Palestine.
He rejected the claim that making peace requires negotiating with centrists in Israeli
and Palestinian societies.
Acknowledging that this forum lacked any force to impact the situation in the Middle
East, Anabtawi blamed Israel for the lost chance to enlist more European support
for the Palestinians. "Israel must not force its position on us and on civil society in
Spain. The forum was liquidated, murdered in fact, by Israel," he said.
5
Study: 1 in 5 employees living in poverty, in “Jerusalem Post”-online 16.12.2007:
While the Israeli economy is continuing to grow, the conditions of an overwhelming
majority of the general public remain grim, according to a report by the Adva
Institute published Saturday evening.
The institute's study shows that the rich are getting richer and the poor remain poor,
while the overall number of poverty-stricken people is constantly growing.
According to the study, the economic growth can be gauged by examining the
country's top earners. The combined wages of managers in the top 25 companies
traded in the stock market averaged four million NIS in 2003; in 2006 this figure
rose to NIS 10.4 million.
In contrast, salaried employees considered poor comprised 18.8 percent in 2006,
an increase from 2004's 17%. Additionally, 32.7% earned minimum or lower than
minimum wage in 2006 as compared with 2001's 29.2%.
The main reason for the growth remaining unfelt in the lower-earning sectors is its
unbalanced character. The sectors that developed most in the past few years were
Hi-Tech and financial and business-related services. The yield of traditional
industries, where most employees earn lower salaries, has decreased. While the
report states that unemployment is diminishing, it points to serious gaps between
the periphery and the financial centers.
Unemployment in the Arab sector remains very high and provides some of the
country's grimmest figures, with one village reaching a 20.9% unemployment rate.
Meanwhile, the highest percentage of unemployment in Jewish communities was
9.4%, reported in Kiryat Malachi. The country's lowest unemployment rate was
measured in the upper-class towns of Savyon and Ramat Efal, both enjoying
unemployment rates as low as 0.5%.
Gaps in the education system were also widening. In 2006, 45.9% of teenagers
were entitled to receive a matriculation degree, a drop from 2004 and 2005's 49.2%
and 46.4% respectively.
Further, 13% of youths who did hold a matriculation degree still did not withstand
the minimal basic requirements of higher education institutions. 56% of
matriculation diploma holders from top earning families were accepted for higher
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141 – Chronologie 2007
education institutions, compared with a meager 10.3% of those in the lowest
earning sector.
Dr. Shlomo Savirsky [Svirsky], the author of the report, said that "the fact that the
fruits of growth are held by only a few is good testimony of the processes at work in
Israel. Wealth grows this drastically only in the United States. In European countries
and in Japan these things don't happen. "Our politicians have abandoned the social
emphasis in their policy, and say that the [economic] growth solves everything. In
fact, the growth increases inequality. We can close gaps only by investing in health,
education, social security and enforcement of labor laws."
Savirsky added that the plight of the poor is unlikely to be solved in the coming
year. "Regrettably, the 2008 budget is of a type that reinforces the [negative]
directions pointed in the report," he said.
6
Zvi Bar’el: Bring us war in Gaza, in “Haaretz”-online 16.12.2007: In the end, we
will enter Gaza. Not because a "major blow" or "wide-scale operation" can really
convince a million and a half people living under siege conditions and poverty that
they have nothing left to lose and it is worthwhile to rebel against Hamas. This
sense of helplessness already exists in any case. For this purpose, unbearable
sanctions have been imposed, which are again based on the same distorted
conception that failed in Lebanon.
According to this conception, if civilian targets are hit – and this time we are talking
about civilians – the people will rebel against Hamas, and everything will be rosy.
But we cannot ignore the contradiction here. If the Israeli sanctions – sharply
reducing fuel supplies, the plan to cut electricity, closing crossing points and
preventing the movement of goods – were really working, there would be no need
for a military attack.
Can a military operation succeed where sanctions have failed? This is precisely the
moment to remember that the Qassam rockets and arms smuggling via the
Philadelphi route tunnels did not start after sanctions were imposed. They were
there when the Israel Defense Forces fully controlled Gaza, when targeted and
non-targeted liquidations were the rule, and when Israeli intelligence knew where
every car was headed. The IDF's reentry to the Strip, with all its armor and aerial
might, assumes that this time the result will be different – without a convincing
explanation.
The IDF knows that Gaza is not Jenin refugee camp, or south Lebanon. Gaza is a
maze of alleyways with thousands of children, women and old people, as well as
ordinary men who do not fire Qassams or set off explosives. According to what the
IDF has fed the media in recent weeks, Gaza also has an abundance of explosives,
weapons of all types, and in particular, plenty of motivation to fight. All this, of
course, should not necessarily deter Israel from attacking targets, buildings or
Palestinian forces that continue to fire Qassams.
But the IDF already makes such attacks every day. It also enters populated areas,
operates unmanned aerial vehicles and fires freely at Qassam squads. What could
a wide-scale operation accomplish that the targeted attacks do not? Can we
understand from this that just as a wide-scale operation makes clear the
ineffectiveness of sanctions, it also attests to the failure of small-scale and targeted
operations?
Or perhaps the only purpose of a wide-scale operation is to satisfy the lust for
prestige because a state cannot allow its people to be attacked every day and
stand idly by. After all, something must be done, and there is nothing wrong with an
occasional showcase operation, which at least would give Sderot's residents
renewed faith in their government and counter the feeling (which apparently has
some basis) that the people of Sderot are considered less important than those of
Tel Aviv or Netanya.
But it turns out that the residents of Sderot are not eager for war in Gaza. They only
sought protection for their homes, protection that would certainly cost less than the
war the IDF is about to wage against Gaza. But there is no prestige in protection;
there is no might and no showcase. Protection is a budget item, while war is a
demonstration of strength. Regarding protection, the prime minister can say, "We
will not protect ourselves to death." But regarding war, one cannot say, "We will not
fight ourselves to death." The latter statement lacks the demagogic ring of the
former. Besides, the trauma of Lebanon must heal, and there is nothing like a
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142 – Chronologie 2007
successful war to heal a failed war. But there is no way to certify that this would
indeed be a more successful war.
In short: a war is needed. We can only guess what the new Palestinian partner,
President Mahmoud Abbas, will say when the IDF accidentally hits a school or
health clinic. Will he still be able to shake Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's hand and
kiss Olmert's wife on the cheek? We could tell him, of course, that he could do us
the honor of wiping out terror himself. Abbas would undoubtedly respond that
negotiations exist to serve this very purpose.
7
Yossi Sarid: Woman of the year, in “Haaretz”-online 14.12.2007: My man of the
year is a woman: German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Yes, Merkel, the leader of a
center-right party, was revealed in 2007 in all her stature as the high priestess of
human rights everywhere. Her partners – her rivals from the Social Democratic
Party – have been exposed in their dwarfishness and turpitude as having closed
their eyes to injustice and villainy. As a social democrat, I am ashamed of their petty
calculations.
Like every country, Germany has economic interests in its relations with other
countries, especially with Russia and China; the former as a key provider of oil and
gas and the latter as a huge and alluring market. Nevertheless, these interests do
not blind the chancellor; she sees very well what is happening in Russia, how an
elected president has become a czar. And she sees what is happening in China,
how economic growth does not affect democracy's growth at all.
Merkel does not remain silent in a selective way because she is not U.S. President
George W. Bush; nor is she Gerhard Schroeder, whom she succeeded and who
has become Russian President Vladimir Putin's lackey. Nor is she President
Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert or Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who
speak or keep silent in accordance with the convenience of the moment.
When she visited Russia recently, Merkel also met with non-governmental
organizations, independent journalists and opponents of the regime, to her hosts'
displeasure. In September she hosted the Dalai Lama in her office despite threats
and protests from Beijing and warnings from her deputy, Foreign Minister FrankWalter Steinmeier, a Social Democrat.
Who would have believed that the head of a country as important as Germany
would tell the Russians and Chinese, in a loud, clear voice, what she thinks of
them, and would say in the Bundestag, without fear or calculation, that "a
government's foreign and defense policy must be based on values and not
interests?" She also said that "it is impossible to demand good behavior at home
and not behave well when you go out. Economic considerations must not contradict
values of democracy, liberty and human rights."
And wonder of wonders: Although Merkel is taking a risk and her moral position is
liable to cost her country dearly, her popularity is rising and her rivals' is dropping.
She has the support of 70 percent of the German public. This is because in
Germany, and not only in America and Israel, the people get fed up with politicians'
double standards, with the unction that fuels the flames. When will our leaders
understand that a more moral policy is a more correct policy that is its own reward,
even if it is slow in coming?
It is possible and necessary to acknowledge the Armenian genocide without the
fear of Turkey becoming an issue. It is possible and necessary to receive the Dalai
Lama as an official guest without being deterred by China's reprimands. It is wrong
to sell weapons to evil countries that slaughter their citizens, Burma included. There
is no need to fawn over Putin, who continues to fawn over Iran and refuses to
tighten the sanctions on it, and it is absolutely wrong to legitimize torture and
commit war crimes on the grounds of self-defense.
Merkel is the opposite of another woman, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, a
mechanized candidate who lives by the opinion polls, which already predict a
pullback by her. It is possible that the Americans also expect a president like
Merkel, who is not the continuation of Bush with different lyrics.
Is the ground being broken here too for a leader who understands the special,
obligatory mission of "the Jewish state?" And if it is uncomfortable to take an
example from the Germans, we can take it from the Americans, if Senator Barack
Obama is elected. Maybe a black president who appears to be a man of values and
not just of realpolitik will infuse the world with a different spirit, a better spirit.
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143 – Chronologie 2007
Perhaps a president who looks like an Ethiopian is the person who will create an
opening for hope for the children of the global kindergarten.
8
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network: Syria must stop repression against
human rights defenders: Syria must release and immediately put an end to all
arbitrary measures against the Al Bunni family and Syrian human rights defenders,
who have been subjected to continuous repression.
In the morning of 11 December, writer and activist Akram Al Bunni, who was once a
political prisoner for 17 years under Hafez Assad’s regime, was arrested by the
Syrian security services. No charges have been notified to him. His family remains
to this day without news from him.
His brother, Anwar Al Bunni, a laywer and an eminent human rights defender, was
sentenced on 24 April 2007 by the criminal court to 5 years of imprisonment
following his denunciation of the practice of torture by the security services and his
call for democratic reform in Syria. Since his arrest, on 17 May 2006, he has been
detained in the prison of Adra, where he has been subjected to mistreatment,
although he was supposed to be hospitalised for rheumatic pains.
Anwar Al Bunni’s wife is also a victim of arbitrary measures, as she was dismissed
in May 2007 from her job in the Ministry of Transports following a decision of the
Prime Minister.
At the moment when the world is about to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, It seems like the Syrian government has
decided to carry out a campaign of arrests against opponents to the regime and
human rights defenders.
These arrests are occurring in the aftermath of the meeting, on 1 December 2007,
of the Committee of the Damascus Declaration, which gathered 163members.
Among the defenders still detained are Jabr Shouffi, member of the Committees for
the Defense of Democratic Freedoms and Human Rights in Syria (CDF), and
Ahmed Tamaa, defender and member of the political opposition.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) requests the Syrian
authorities to respect all obligations contained in the international instruments
ratified by Syria, and consequently to immediately release Akram and Anwar AlBunni, Jabr Shouffi and Ahmed Tamaa.
The EMHRN also urges the Syrian authorities to put an end with no further delay to
acts of harassment, arrests and arbitrary detention of human rights defenders and
opposition leaders and to release the other detainees who were condemned for
having exercised their right to freedom of expression and association.
Finally, the EMHRN calls on the European Union and its member states to take all
appropriate measures of support and assistance to Syrian human rights defenders
under threat.
9
Gamal Essam El-Din: Opposition slams away, in “Al-Ahram Weekly” 13.16.12.20007: Opposition and independent MPs decided this week to intensify their
barrage of interpellations (questions that must be answered by cabinet ministers) at
the government despite the refusal of the speaker of the People Assembly Fathi
Sorour to approve more interpellations even if they are corroborated by newspaper
clippings.
On Sunday, several MPs, mostly members of the Muslim Brotherhood and leftists,
submitted 20 additional interpellations, claiming that they draw on official reports
prepared by state authorities such as the Central Auditing Agency (CAA). This
brings the number of interpellations that have been submitted to a total of 85 in less
than two weeks.
As expected, Sunday's new batch of interpellations tackled thorny, and in some
cases embarrassing, issues mostly focussing on the private monopolies of
business tycoons belonging to the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). Other
questions allege that normalisation of relations between Egypt and Israel is to
blame for the arrest of several Israeli spies working in Egypt.
Mustafa Bakri, an independent MP with nationalist leanings, took the policies of the
government of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif to task for the accumulation of wealth
and riches in the hands of no more than three per cent of all Egyptians, with most of
the businessmen who exploited their membership in the NDP gaining tremendous
wealth. "One of these is multi- billionaire Naguib Sawiris who is on the list of the
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richest people in the world, with his wealth now close to LE120 billion [1 Euro ~ 8
Egypt Pounds]," said Bakri. Although Sawiris is not an NDP member, Bakri alleged
that the close relationship between former and senior NDP officials was behind the
rapid growth in his wealth.
Bakri claimed that the number of multi- billionaires in Egypt now accounts for three
per cent of the population, with their wealth hovering at around LE500 billion. "This
has happened at a time when the number of Egyptians who live on just $2 per day
accounts for 70 per cent of the population," Bakri added.
Bakri also said he believed that the growth in the number of multi-billionaires came
at the expense of the middle class in Egypt. "This class is the source of all
revolutions. Imagine how angry they become when they see how wealthy family
dynasties like Sawiris have become influential centres of power in this country,"
said Bakri who alleged that Sawiris had become so influential that he now can
impose orders on the governor of the Central Bank and the minister of
communications.
In another interpellation directed at Nazif, Brotherhood MP firebrand Saad ElHussein alleged he was in the possession of documents certifying how the former
housing minister Ibrahim Suleiman facilitated the sale of large plots of land to a
handful of businessmen closely associated with the NDP at cheap prices. ElHusseini cited the name of business tycoon Hisham Talaat Mustafa who was able
to get 33 million metres of land around Cairo at a subsidised price. "The
government offered him the land at a symbolic price of LE30 per metre in order to
build housing units at reasonable prices to limited-income classes," said ElHusseini, adding, "instead, Mustafa built luxurious housing units, with a price per
metre as much as LE3,000 (~ while the value of the land as a whole climbed to
LE26 billion." Mustafa is a member of Gamal Mubarak's Policies Committee and a
major financial contributor to the housing projects of Gamal's Future Generation
Foundation.
Mohamed Abdel-Alim Dawoud, a member of the liberal-oriented Wafd Party, cried
foul that his interpellation about the normalisation of labour relations between Egypt
and Israel had been rejected five times. "I have official documents showing that
there are a lot of Israeli workers in Egypt and a lot of Egyptian workers in Israel,"
said Dawoud, adding, "the result of this normalisation in labour relations between
the two countries is that many spies working for Israel have been arrested in the
last five years." The most important of them, added Dawoud, was Azzam Azzam
(Israeli) and Emad Abdel-Hamid (Egyptian) both of who were working for Israel.
Dawoud warned that more normalisation will encourage Israel to recruit more spies
in Egypt at the expense of its national security. Dawoud also claimed that 13 per
cent of Egyptians working in Israel are now members of the Israeli army. "Each one
of them receives $20 a day plus two meals and these could be future spies on their
native country," said Dawoud. He also cited Israeli statistics claiming that 10,000
Egyptians live in Israel and that most of them are married to Israeli women in major
Israeli cities like Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheba. "In Israel, they formed what is now
called the Association of Egyptians in Israel. Its objective is to reinforce their role in
Israeli society," Dawoud said.
Ragab Hilal Hemeida, the sole representative of the Ghad Party, also hit at
businessmen, warning the government not to sell them strategic drug companies.
"In its privatisation drive, the government of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif aims to
sell key drug companies to local and foreign investors. I warn that Israeli
businessmen could line up to buy these companies," said Hemeida.
Mahmoud Amer, another Brotherhood MP, said his interpellation focussed on
private monopolies in cement production. Amer said the policy of the current and
former NDP-supported governments in selling giant cement companies to foreign
investors led to the rise of a strong cartel of producers. "This cartel joined forces to
raising the price per tonne of cement to an unprecedented LE420 although the cost
per tonne does not exceed LE120," said Amer. What is more distressing, said
Amer, is that these companies buy energy from the government at a subsidised
cost of LE500.
In the meantime, opposition and independent MPs stepped up their campaign
against Nazif, accusing his government of offering bribes to NDP MPs. A number of
independent MPs, including political science professor Gamal Zahran and lawyer
Alaa Abdel-Moneim said they have documents proving that unlike what the
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government claims, sums of cash money ranging from LE100,000 to LE250,000
were offered to NDP MPs not to establish local development projects in their
districts but to serve their own personal needs. Abdel-Moneim said 22 NDP MPs
each received LE100,000, while seven MPs received LE250,000 each. Zahran said
most of the money was not used in establishing development projects "but were
offered as bribes to voters supporting NDP MPs in their own districts." Zahran said
the money offered NDP MPs was not disbursed upon the basis of project feasibility
studies as government officials claim. "The fact remains that these bribes were
offered in return for rubber-stamping government-inspired laws and the annual
state budget," said Zahran. Zahran and Abdel-Moneim threatened to lodge a
complaint with the prosecutor-general, requesting him to force NDP MPs to return
the so-called bribe money to the state treasury.
10
Akiva Eldar: Settlers for sale, in „Haaretz“-online 4.12.2007: … Even a few
remarks like those made in the film "A Million Bullets in October" – an investigative
report about how the second intifada came about that was broadcast on Channel 8
last Saturday – would have shaken a normal democratic country to its very
foundation. On the eve of renewing negotiations on a final status agreement,
director Moish Goldberg accused the top military brass of charges unparalleled in
their seriousness. The charge: Deliberately undermining the peace process with the
Palestinians while blatantly violating the political authorities' instructions. The
witnesses: Very senior government officials and army officers. Commissions of
inquiry have been set up, lessons have (or have not) been learned and people have
been fired for less serious, less damaging offenses.
The film claimed the affair was buried under political declarations that there was "no
partner." The serious phenomenon of an army against the spirit of the political
echelon still exists. It is enough to mention the prime minister's repeated
commitments to the Palestinian president that pressure on the West Bank's civilian
population will be alleviated, and to compare that to the actual situation. The main
stars of October 2000 are still active in the decision-making arena: then-prime
minister and defense minister Ehud Barak, and then-chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, who
both are in the political and defense cabinet and aspire to take over the
premiership.
Here are a few especially harsh testimonies from the film (with editing corrections):
Prof. Shlomo Ben-Ami, who was then foreign minister and headed the negotiating
team: "Mofaz said at a cabinet meeting that [Clinton's proposed Middle east peace
plan] endangered the existence of the State of Israel. He also said this on the radio.
In another country, this would almost be called a putsch. What do you say? Do you
have the right to address the public? As chief of staff? And what will be in the next
stage – will he send out the tanks? He was not prepared to provide maps for
diplomatic discussions. We were running around the world and making this
concession, while the army's top brass believed that first and foremost it had to
make an imprint on the consciousness that they had to get a beating. These are
decisive things."
Ephraim Sneh, then deputy defense minister: "I wrote to Barak to say that in the
field, the army – from the chief of staff down to the commanders at the roadblocks
– was carrying out a policy opposed to his policy, and that if he did not take swift
action, the results would be irreversible. Israeli prime ministers do not really
consider themselves the commander in chief of the army, but rather someone who
serves it. There were two parallel lines here – political-diplomatic policy, and military
behavior.
"I told Barak, '[Marwan] Barghouti is the leader of the street, so let's speak to him'.
Barak said, 'I don't mind if you meet with him, but Dichter must approve it.' The
prime minister [was] telling the deputy defense minister to get [an] approval for a
diplomatic meeting from the Shin Bet security service head. Dichter was opposed.
"The OC Southern Command at the time, Yom Tov Samia, told Knesset members,
'No one will tell me how to win this war.' In this kind of confrontation, the
government's policy becomes insignificant. Government policy is set by a platoon
commander, or even by what was once known in the army as 'the strategic
corporal.'"
Gilad Sher, Barak's chief of staff and representative at the peace talks: "There were
people in the prime minister's bureau who pulled their hair out when they
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146 – Chronologie 2007
understood that we in the State of Israel cannot ensure the government's
commitment to the outside world and its instructions to the army, which were not
carried out in the end, or were carried out in a way that was not in accord with their
original spirit. Military secretary Gadi Eisenkot could not believe such a thing was
happening. The prime minister and defense minister had insufficient, unsatisfying
control of how the military carried out his instructions.
"We are talking about a phenomenon – the army sends its representatives to the
negotiations, but is contemptuous of their possible results. It is not an army officer's
job to trample on that political goal, and to broadcast to his subordinates: 'We are
merely heading toward a confrontation and there is no reason to assume any kind
of diplomatic agreement is possible."
Brig. Gen. (Res). Zvi Fogel, who headed the Southern Command staff: "By
February 2000, we had taken very serious moves to prepare the army for a
confrontation. At that moment, I understood a confrontation was unavoidable. I
created all the conditions for it; it was not that we were forced to use force in order
to enable a positive outcome to the political negotiations; the preparations we made
led to a confrontation.
"I want to remind you, this was the beginning of 2000, and we were still in the era of
joint patrols. You create distress on the other side, which makes him want to break
this distress. They called it an intifada. After six weeks of fighting, they had more
than 60 dead and we had zero. For them, that was unacceptable..."
Now, the issue of supplying the Palestinian Authority with armored cars teaches us
that nothing has changed. Despite the fact that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has
made a specific international commitment on this issue, and despite the Israel
Defense Forces' confirmation that the Palestinian policemen are faithfully carrying
out their jobs in Nablus, the IDF is blatantly disregarding that commitment, and
Defense Minister Ehud Barak is keeping mum. And once again, the strongest army
in the Middle East claims that if there is a confrontation, it will have trouble dealing
with armored vehicles equipped with rifles. Once again, the IDF is preparing for a
confrontation that will become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
11
Scott Mcconnell: The Lobby Strikes Back, in “The American Conservative” 3
December 2007:
One prism through which to gauge the impact of John Mearsheimer and Stephen
Walt’s The Israel Lobby and American Foreign Policy is a September incident
involving Barack Obama. His campaign had placed small ads in various spots
around the Internet, designed to drive readers to its website. One turned up on
Amazon’s page for the Walt and Mearsheimer book. A vigilant watchdog at the
New York Sun spotted it and contacted the campaign: Did Obama support Walt
and Mearsheimer?
The answer came within hours. The ad was withdrawn. Its placement was
“unintentional.” The senator, his campaign made clear, understood that key
arguments of the book were “wrong,” but had definitely not read the work himself. In
short, Walt and Mearsheimer had reached a pinnacle of notoriety.
Though The Israel Lobby was on the way to best-sellerdom and has become
perhaps the most discussed policy book of the year, the presidential candidate
touted as the most fresh-thinking and intellectually curious in the race hastened to
make clear he had not been corrupted by the toxic text.
The episode illustrates one of the book’s central arguments: the Israel lobby is
powerful, and American politicians fear its wrath. Any Democrat running for
president—drawing on a donor stream that is heavily Jewish, very interested in
Israel, and perceived as hawkish—would have reacted as Obama did.
In their book’s introduction, Walt and Mearsheimer summarize the consequences
of this power. In an election year, American politicians will differ radically on
domestic issues, social issues, immigration, China, Darfur, and virtually any other
topic. But all will “go to considerable lengths to express their deep personal
commitment to one foreign country—Israel—as well as their determination to
maintain unyielding support for the Jewish state.” The authors find this remarkable
and deserving of analysis, which they provided first in a paper, posted last year on
Harvard’s Kennedy School website and published in the London Review of Books,
and now expanded into a book.
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147 – Chronologie 2007
This is not the first time a prominent American has taken on the subject. George
Ball, undersecretary of state in the Johnson and Kennedy administrations and the
government official most prescient about Vietnam, a bona fide member of the Wall
Street and Washington establishments, called for the recalibration of America’s
Israel policy in a much noted Foreign Affairs essay in 1977, and at the end of his life
co-authored a book on the subject with his son. Eleven-term congressman Paul
Findley, defeated after a former AIPAC president called him “a dangerous enemy of
Israel,” wrote a book that became a bestseller, and there are others.
But no one with the combined skills and eminence of Walt and Mearsheimer has
before addressed the subject systematically. These two are mandarins of American
academia, having reached the top of a field that attracts smart people. They have
tenure, job security, and professional autonomy most journalists’ lack. They have
the institutional prestige of Harvard and the University of Chicago behind them.
Most importantly, they bring first-rate skills of research, synthesis, and argument to
their task.
One might wish that their book had been different in some ways—more literary,
more discursive, more precise in some of its definitions, deeper in some areas,
more (my favorite, from blogger Tony Karon) “dialectical.” But The Israel Lobby is
an extraordinary accomplishment, completed with great speed—a dense, factually
based brief of an argument that is often made but rarely made well.
In public appearances discussing their book, Walt and Mearsheimer are
tremendously effective: measured, facts at their fingertips, speaking with the
fluency of men accustomed to addressing demanding audiences. Most of all, while
treating a subject where hyperbole is common, they are moderate. They are
respectful of Israel, admiring of its accomplishments, and extremely aware that
criticism of Israel or the Israel lobby can turn ugly and demagogic. As might be
expected of top scholars in America, they are fully conscious of what Jews have
suffered in the past and how much anti-Semitism has been a moral blot on the
West as a whole. So while they have none of the excessive deference, guilt
feelings, and reluctance to engage so typical of the remaining WASP elite, they are
very well-modulated. Their detractors would have preferred loose-tongued
adversaries, Palestinians whose words are raw with loss and resentment, a left
wing anti-Zionist like Noam Chomsky, or genuine anti-Semites. Instead, with Walt
and Mearsheimer, they are encountering something like the American
establishment of a vanished era at its calm, patriotic best.
It is obvious that The Israel Lobby, both the article and the book, would be
extremely unwelcome to those pleased with the status quo. Under the current
arrangement, the United States gives Israel $3-4 billion in aid and grants a year—
about $500 per Israeli and several orders of magnitude more than aid to citizens of
any other country. Israel is the only American aid recipient not required to account
for how the money is spent. Washington uses its Security Council veto to shield
Israel from critical UN resolutions and periodically issues bland statements
lamenting the continued expansion of Israeli settlements on the Palestinian land the
Jewish state has occupied since 1967. When Israel violates U.S. law, as it did in
Lebanon by using American-made cluster bombs against civilian targets, a lowlevel official may issue a mild complaint. These fundamentals of the relationship go
unchallenged by 95 percent of American politicians holding or running for national
office.
Walt and Mearsheimer’s goal was to ignite a conversation about the lobby—which
they define expansively as an amorphous array of individuals, think tanks, and
congressional lobbying groups that advocate Israeli perspectives—and its
consequences, which they believe are damaging to America’s core strategic
interests in the Middle East. They support Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, and
while they readily summarize Israeli blemishes, drawing on Israeli sources and the
arguments of the country’s revisionist “new historians,” they are fully aware that no
modern state has been built without injustices. They seek a more normal United
States relationship with Israel, rather like we have with France or Spain, and an
Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement that can start to drain the poison out of
American relations with the Arab world.
At least in a preliminary sense, they have started a discussion. The initial working
paper on the Kennedy School website was downloaded 275,000 times, throwing
Israel’s most ferocious partisans into a panic. Deploying a McCarthyite tactic, the
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New York Sun quickly sought to link the authors to white supremacist David Duke.
The New Republic published a basketful of hostile pieces. Several pro-Israel
congressmen initiated an embarrassing effort—ignored by the institution’s
president—to get the Naval War College to cancel scheduled lectures by the two. In
a column about “the Mearsheimer-Walt fiasco,” neoconservative writer Daniel Pipes
summed up his dilemma: it would have been better, Pipes said, to have ignored the
essay by “two obscure academics” so that it disappeared “down the memory hole”
instead of becoming “the monument that it now is.” Pipes was wrong about this.
Hostile reaction to the piece hadn’t inspired a quarter of a million downloads. With
the United States mired in a quagmire in Iraq, increasingly detested in the Muslim
world, and wedded to an Israel policy that, beyond America’s borders, seems
bizarre to friend and foe alike, Walt and Mearsheimer had touched a topic that was
crying out for serious analysis.
And the book could do more than the article. Arguments could be filled out,
footnotes could be easily read. The 2006 Lebanon War—which saw the American
Congress endorse the Israeli bombardment by the kind of margin that would satisfy
Nicolae Ceausescu, while seeming genuinely puzzled that moderate Arab leaders
did not join their applause—was analyzed as a test case. A book could continue the
discussion and deepen it. But the book’s enemies (how odd that a book could have
enemies, but there is no better word for it) had time to prepare their ideological
trenches, and within a month or two of publication, one could see the shape of the
defense.
By the end of October, two months after The Israel Lobby appeared in stores, there
had not been a single positive review in the mass-market media. For a long time it
seemed that no editor dared trust the subject to a gentile, causing blogger Philip
Weiss to ask cheekily, “Do the goyim get to register an Opinion Re
Walt/Mearsheimer?” By then, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the New York
Sun, and The New Republic between them must have printed 25 attacks on Walt
and Mearsheimer, virtually all of them designed to portray the authors as beyond
the pale of rational discourse.
Anti-Semitism was not a credible charge. The authors make clear that the lobby
isn’t representative of the views of all or even most American Jews, and they
support an Israel within recognized boundaries. Their recommendation that the
United States treat Israel like a normal country is hard to demonize. Ditto their
repeated assertions that lobbying is a perfectly normal part of the American system
and that conflicted or divided loyalties have become commonplace in the modern
world. But what many did was to discuss the book in a context of anti-Semitism, to
convey the impression that The Israel Lobby was a deeply anti-Semitic book
without explicitly saying so. Thus Jeffrey Goldberg, in a 6,000-word New Republic
piece, introduced Walt and Mearsheimer after a detour through Osama bin Laden,
Father Coughlin, Charles Lindbergh, and, of course, David Duke. He eventually
called the book “the most sustained attack … against the political enfranchisement
of American Jews since the era of Father Coughlin.”
Samuel G. Freedman in the Washington Post opened his discussion of the book by
invoking the New Testament concept of original sin, whose burden one can escape
only through acceptance of Jesus Christ. A passage from Romans, Freedman
claims, framed the book’s argument—“if unintentionally.” When was the last time
[that] the Washington Post introduced a serious foreign affairs book with Bible talk
that had no bearing on the work in question?
One of several Wall Street Journal attacks on the work claimed, “it is apparently the
authors’ position that ... [in the face of Arab lobbying efforts] American Jews are
obliged to stay silent.” This statement is more than a misrepresentation of Walt and
Mearsheimer’s argument, it is a flat-out lie. Did the editors who assigned and
published the piece know this? Was discrediting the book so important that normal
American journalistic standards had to be waived?
Another track of the demonization campaign was the repeated effort to cancel the
authors’ appearances or to demand that opposing speakers be invited to “rebut”
their noxious views, a format hardly typical for authors on book tours. Unfortunately,
these initiatives sometimes succeeded, as when the Chicago Council for Global
Affairs cancelled an event at a venue where the two professors had spoken many
times before. Some efforts to marginalize the book were more like parody, as when
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Congressman Elliot Engel complained that Professor Mearsheimer had been
invited to participate in a Columbia University forum on academic freedom.
It would be naïve to think that the campaign waged against the authors had no
impact. It managed to muddy the debate about the book. Even on some of the
wonkier Washington blogs, where there was manifest interest in contending with
the book’s arguments, the focus got shifted to whether The Israel Lobby was antiSemitic. As one frustrated commenter on Ezra Klein’s blog wrote, “[P]art of the
theory is that the power of the ‘lobby’ is to effectively remove certain topics from the
debate. And the closest we come to debating those topics is a meta-discussion of
whether debating those topics is appropriate or some evidence of anti-semitism/self
hating Jewry.” Klein rued that “marginalizing the authors as anti-semitic is more
effective than arguing back their viewpoint.”
The barrage also had an intimidation effect, a sort of “shock and awe” for the
political journalism set. What humble book-review editor could fail to be impressed
by the sheer volume of rhetoric painting the book as disreputable or avoid
wondering what bombs might explode under his own career if he asked former
national security adviser Brent Scowcroft or Palestinian-American professor Rashid
Khalidi to review the book. Television producers took note as well. While
Mearsheimer managed an amiable ten minutes on “The Colbert Report,” the
authors got nowhere near the regular public-affairs discussion shows. Scholars and
writers got the message: if men as esteemed in their field as Walt and
Mearsheimer were subject to the Coughlin/Duke treatment and had their
appearances cancelled, surely those less cushioned by tenure and eminence had
good cause to keep silent. This probably explained the sheer ferocity of the
campaign against The Israel Lobby.
Not all the negative reviews were as egregious as those cited above. But those that
tried to address the substance of the book tended to land weak blows. Les Gelb’s
critique in the New York Times was representative. His central point was that if the
Israel lobby—actually, he incorrectly claimed that Walt and Mearsheimer called it a
“Jewish lobby”—was indeed so powerful, why has every American president over
the past 40 years “privately favored” the return of the Palestinian territories and the
establishment of a Palestinian state, and why has Washington consistently
“expressed displeasure” at Israel’s settlement expansion? This is precisely the
question to which Walt and Mearsheimer provide an answer. If, as is indeed the
case, most American presidents have “privately” sought Israeli withdrawal, and
since Israel is extraordinarily dependent on American largesse, why has the United
States never seriously put pressure on Israel to stop the settlements and give back
the land? How did Israel manage to move 400,000 settlers into the West Bank in 40
years, often using American funds, if this was contrary to the wishes of every
president? Gelb goes on to acknowledge that Walt and Mearsheimer were
prescient in their opposition to Bush’s Iraq folly, but asserts that the Israel lobby had
nothing [to] do with the decision to go to war. Bush and Cheney needed no lobbying
on this point, and they don’t about Iran either.
This last area is easily the most disputed point between Walt and Mearsheimer and
those reviewers who sought to answer their book rather than smear it. The Israel
lobby, the two assert, helped drive the United States into Baghdad. It couldn’t have
done it by itself—that required 9/11 and Bush and Cheney. But, argue Mearsheimer
and Walt, “absent the lobby’s influence, there almost certainly would not have been
a war. The lobby was a necessary but not sufficient condition for a war that is a
strategic disaster for the United States.”
This is a powerful polemical charge, if only because tens of millions of Americans
who could care less who has sovereignty over the West Bank recognize that the
Iraq War has been a painful failure on every level. But is it true? The Economist
says the argument about Iraq “doesn’t quite stand up,” but might make sense if
“neoconservatives and the Israel lobby were the same thing.” Leonard Fein, who
writes on the dovish Americans for Peace Now website, called the charge
“monstrous” and accused the authors of treating the lobby and neoconservatives
“as if the two are interchangeable.” Are they?
On one aspect of the argument, the historical record is clear. The two authors do
valuable service by documenting the near hysterical “attack Iraq now”
recommendations made by various Israeli politicians to American audiences during
the run-up to the war. Benjamin Netanyahu, whom the U.S. Congress customarily
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treats with the kind of deference it might reserve for a Lincoln returned from the
dead, warned senators and congressmen that Saddam was developing nukes that
could be delivered in suitcases and satchels, and Shimon Peres told Americans
that Saddam was as dangerous as bin Laden. The lobbying was so blatant that
some political consultants warned Israel to cool it, lest Americans come to believe
that the war in Iraq was waged “to protect Israel rather than to protect America.”
AIPAC, too, pushed for the invasion. It is clear that the Israel lobby, as everyone
understands it, was part of the rush-to-war atmosphere that swept the capital in
2002.
But the critics do have a point: AIPAC and similar groups played a comparatively
minor part in the frenzy. But what of the neoconservatives, who had openly pushed
for war against Saddam since the late 1990s and who held several key posts in the
Bush administration?
For Walt and Mearsheimer, neoconservatives are an integral part of the lobby, and
indeed, for their argument to make sense, the lobby has to be defined broadly. Of
course there is AIPAC, which exists to influence Congress, and its myriad
associated groups that raise money for candidates. The recent emergence of
Christian Zionism as an electoral force is an important addition, adding ethnic and
social diversity and increased political weight to the lobby. This is a sociologically
and psychologically rich area, which the authors don’t explore as deeply as they
might. What currents in American Protestantism suddenly made Israel so
compelling? It is interesting to learn, for example, that in 1979, Menachem Begin
gave Jerry Falwell a private jet as a gift and soon after bestowed upon him the
Jabotinsky Medal for “outstanding achievement.” (Other recipients include Elie
Wiesel and Leon Uris.) But such facts, intriguing as they are, don’t entirely speak
for themselves. And whatever enhanced political clout Christian Zionism brought to
the lobby, it did not include access and influence to inner decision-making
sanctums of the Pentagon and White House or the ability to start a war.
That required the neoconservatives. The path that took the United States from 9/11
to Iraq has yet to be precisely documented, but it is generally accepted that Bush,
Cheney, and other key policymakers became converts to neoconservative views
after the attack, if they weren’t already sympathetic. This is important because
neoconservatism has a broad gravitational pull that more focused lobbying groups,
no matter how effective, can never match.
It is one thing to motivate a senator or congressman to vote for “pro-Israel”
legislation—and AIPAC does that well. The recent Kyl-Lieberman bill labeling Iran’s
military “terrorist” was reportedly first drafted by AIPAC, and an AIPAC aide’s boast
that he could have the signatures of 70 senators on a napkin within 24 hours was
altogether believable.
But that kind of lobbying has obvious limitations. How many of those 70 senators
would vote the lobby’s way while discretely rolling their eyes, disliking the pressure
they are subjected to but willing to go along because it is the course of least
resistance? People don’t start wars for such reasons.
Neoconservatism is something far more than advocacy of the interests of a foreign
country. It is a full-blown ideological system, which shapes the way people interpret
events and view their own society and its relation to the world. Yes, its foreign-policy
views are strongly pro-Israel. The main shapers of neoconservatism would readily
argue that their foreign-policy positions were good for Israel, while those they
opposed imperiled the Jewish state. No one who has spent time with major
neocons would doubt the centrality of Israel to their worldview or their attachment to
the no-compromise-with-Arabs parts of the Israeli political spectrum. But such
attitudes come embedded in a larger set of viewpoints, which are now fairly
disseminated among the American elite. While it is one thing for a lawmaker to
accommodate the Israel lobby over something like the Kyl-Lieberman bill, it is quite
another for an executive-branch policymaker to see the world through a neocon
perspective, to have fully internalized slogans like “moral clarity” and
“Islamofascism” and “the lessons of appeasement” and elevated them as lodestars.
Neoconservatives did play a crucial role in preparing the Iraq War—in the press, in
generating dubious intelligence conclusions and piping them into the executive
branch, and in framing an argument that George Bush would be “surrendering” to
terror if he didn’t attack Iraq. It was a performance that more conventional lobbying
organizations like AIPAC or the Zionist Organization of America couldn’t match in
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151 – Chronologie 2007
their wildest dreams. Walt and Mearsheimer don’t go into this history deeply. (In
The Assassin’s Gate, New Yorker writer and author George Packer gives one of
the most nuanced portraits of the attitudes of the Bush administration’s
intellectuals, exploring the difficult to pin down matter of how intellectuals’ attitudes
seep into policy choices.) But in view of their convictions and pivotal positions inside
the executive branch and ability to shape policy at the very top, to say that
neoconservatives “overlap” with the Israel lobby hardly does them justice: the
faction might more properly be described as, to borrow the well-known phrase, the
highest stage of the Israel lobby.
Moreover, as an ideological movement, neoconservatism has a reach that more
focused pro-Israel advocacy could never duplicate. Does one call Donald Rumsfeld
a neoconservative? Few do. While obviously quite capable, he isn’t known as an
intellectual, isn’t Jewish (though of course not all neocons are Jewish), isn’t an exliberal or leftist. He is usually described as a Republican “nationalist,” though he
pretty much delegated Iraq policy to men—Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, and
others—who fit most classical definitions of “neoconservative.” But there are
connections: in the 1980s Rumsfeld was enlisted by Midge Decter to chair the
neoconservative Committee for the Free World, so certainly the neocon cast of
mind was not unfamiliar to him. In short, just as the boundaries of the Israel lobby
are blurry, so are those of neoconservatism. The revival of terms like “fellow
traveler” would probably be helpful.
The most striking aspect of the reception of The Israel Lobby was the distance
between the reviews in the U.S. and those abroad. In England, reviewers for the
major papers (including the Murdoch-owned Times) treated the book’s argument as
self-evidently true. Geoffrey Wheatcroft, author of a prize-winning book on Zionism,
noted in The Guardian that it must be obvious to a 12 year old that the Israel
alliance, “far from advancing American interests, gravely damages them and has
hindered every American endeavour in Arab countries or the whole Muslim world.”
Israel’s most influential paper, Ha’aretz, ran a review by Daniel Levy, who was
involved in the last serious round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. He told his
readers that Walt and Mearsheimer’s most shrill detractors either had “not read the
book, are emotionally incapable of dealing with harsh criticism of something they
hold so close, or are intentionally avoiding substantive debate on the issue.” Like
others, Levy draws a line between the neocons and the Israel lobby proper and
explains the Iraq War as a sort of perfect storm: Bush and Cheney, 9/11, many
neoconservatives in the executive branch, and for the first time a Republican
administration with Christian Zionists as a substantial part of its electoral base. He
regrets that mainstream parts of the lobby have been co-opted by the neocons and
closes with a plea for moderate Israelis to take American politics seriously and
devote as much attention to forming American alliances as the Israeli Right does.
This is very welcome advice, for Americans as well, because, as Walt and
Mearsheimer stress (and Levy helpfully repeats), it is not Israel per se but Israel as
an occupier that constitutes a major strategic liability for the United States.
But it should be noted that casual newspaper readers in Israel, in Britain, and soon
in the rest of Europe, where the book is being translated into seven languages, are
being treated to far more nuanced and serious discussion of The Israel Lobby than
Americans have been.
At least there has been the blogosphere. One wouldn’t know it from the major
American newspapers or magazine reviews, but a fresh breeze is beginning to
blow. The Israel Lobby did receive more attention on the serious blogs than any
other book this year. M.J. Rosenberg, the director of policy analysis for Israel Policy
Forum and a prominent “two-state solution” advocate, describes the influence of
the book as enormous: “Capitol Hill staffers are talking about the book, everybody
is arguing about it, people are intrigued. … it has opened up discussion.”
Despite, or perhaps because of, ferocious attacks in The New Republic and the
Wall Street Journal, The Israel Lobby made it onto the New York Times bestseller
list. It remained there only a couple of weeks, soon displaced by Alan Greenspan’s
memoir and Laura Ingraham’s latest. But the book’s influence is still early in its
trajectory. International sales will be large, there will be paperback editions, and the
book will be assigned in course readings. The Israel Lobby will be around a long
time, perhaps longer than AIPAC itself. Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery has already
compared the work to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Philip Weiss to Rachel Carson’s Silent
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152 – Chronologie 2007
Spring. To build upon Tony Karon’s analogy that glasnost is breaking out in the
American Jewish community, and that younger Jews are questioning Israel like
never before, The Gulag Archipelago didn’t receive good reviews in Russia when it
came out either.
Walt and Mearsheimer haven’t written the last word on American-Israeli relations.
Other books, more psychologically probing and more discursive, are in the works or
waiting to be written. But in clearing the first path since the pivotal date of 9/11,
these two authors have done their country a great service.
12
Dokumentation der Botschaft in der Menüleiste „Begleitende Dokumente“ dieser
Homepage.
13
Dokumentation der gemeinsamen Erklärung und Ansprachen Bushs, Abbas’
und Olmerts in der Menüleiste „Begleitende Dokumente“ sowie Kommentar
„Meilenstein Annapolis“ dieser Homepage.
14
Arabisch „Hoffnung“ bzw. Akronym für „Bataillone des libanesischen
Widerstandes“. Militärischer Flügel der 1959 von dem aus Iran stammenden Imam
Musa Sadr gegründeten „Bewegung der Entrechteten“ („harakat al-mahrumin“).
15
•
•
•
Steve Masters and Rob Levy: No Turning Back, in “Brit Tzedek v’Shalom –
Jewish Alliance for Justice & Peace”, Chicago, November 18, 2007:
If we support Annapolis rather than succumb to our skepticism, if we demonstrate
beyond a shadow of a doubt to the White House, to Members of Congress,and to
the presidential candidates that American Jews stand behind genuine peace efforts
– we can change history.
Since our formation five and a half years ago, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom has been
calling for active U.S. engagement to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We
called for an international fund to bring the settlers home. We called for a Mideast
peace envoy. We called for an international peace conference. The past six months
excepted, our response from the Bush Administration has had an undeniable
element of talking to a brick wall.
In response, we've sought out other ways to build political pressure for a two-state
solution – by reaching out to more members of our community, to the media, and to
our Representatives in Washington. While the Bush Administration was asleep at
the wheel, Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace forces have been scoring bigger and bigger
successes – most recently, with 135 Members of Congress signing the AckermanBoustany letter to Secretary Rice in support of Annapolis and with nearly 500
rabbinical signers (and climbing) to our Rabbinic Call on Annapolis and the Next
President. The political climate is changing in our direction.
Now, we find the Bush Administration engaging in the kind of sustained, proactive
diplomacy we've been calling for. We see Secretary Rice traveling back and forth to
the region, meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in genuine shuttle
diplomacy. And we await the convening of an international "meeting" in Annapolis
intended to re-launch serious Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Yet many in the Jewish community, in particular among peace advocates, have
been utterly silent on Annapolis. Understandably, many feel a great deal of
frustration and anger with the current Administration and are frankly doubtful that
anything good can come of Annapolis.
However, if we support this latest effort rather than succumb to our skepticism, if
we demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt to the White House, to Members of
Congress, and to the presidential candidates that American Jews stand behind
genuine peace efforts – we can change history.
Our voices need to ring out with a very clear message:
We fully support the U.S., Israeli, and Palestinian governments as
they launch the Annapolis meeting in an attempt to revive serious Israeli-Palestinian
peace negotiations towards a viable two-state solution.
For Annapolis to be a success, it must be followed by genuine U.S.
diplomatic engagement more intense and more involved than anything that has
preceded it in the last seven years.
Tangible improvements on the ground are vital, if the Israeli and
Palestinian people are to support diplomatic efforts, at Annapolis or after. There
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•
153 – Chronologie 2007
must be an increase in freedom of movement and access for Palestinians, and a
freeze on settlement growth from the Israeli side; and stepped-up security,
financial, and governmental reforms on the Palestinian side, with real efforts to put
an end to the firing of Qassam rockets out of Gaza.
Gaza cannot be ignored. Israel must do everything it can to achieve
a ceasefire with Hamas and bring captured soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit home. The
humanitarian situation of Palestinians living in Gaza must be addressed, and Israel
must stop threatening invasion or the cutoff of electricity.
The Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace grassroots have no choice but to offer one simple
message: There can be no turning back.
There can be no turning back to the previous years of diplomatic neglect. No
turning back to over-simplistic rhetoric that there is no Palestinian partner for
peace. No turning back to the idea of unilateral withdrawal from some territories,
combined with unilateral settlement expansion in others.
And if we’re really serious about there being no turning back – we must give our full
support to this Administration’s efforts to move the peace process forward,
regardless of our disagreements with its actions up till now.
The hard work will start the day after Annapolis. That's when the world will be
watching to see how serious all the parties – Israeli, Palestinian, American – really
are about peace. That's when American leaders will be judging just how much
support they have from their constituencies, especially American Jews, for
continuing down this difficult path.
Because we care about Israel, we must make the peace process that begins at
Annapolis a success.
There is no turning back.
Steve Masters is the President of “Brit Tzedek v’Shalom”. Rob Levy is “Brit
Tzedek’s” Washington Representative.
16
Joint Jordanian-Syrian Communiqué, 18 November 2007
www.petra.gov.jo/nepras/2007/Nov/18/14000.htm;
www.petra.gov.jo/nepras/2007/Nov/18/15000.htm:
His Majesty King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein and his brother His Excellency
President Bashar Al-Assad, president of the Syrian Arab Republic held a summit
meeting today in the Syrian capital Damascus.
The Summit came as part of both leaders' determination to strengthen and deepen
cooperation between the two brotherly countries in all fields, and to reach practical
and concrete solutions to various key bilateral issues. Moreover, both countries
have an important role in strengthening Arab cooperation and protecting higher
Arab interests in the face of regional challenges.
Bilateral issues of significance to both countries were also discussed during the
summit meeting and agreement was reached on serious and effective solutions,
especially on issues related to economic cooperation, water, borders, detainees
and security.
Both leaders emphasized the importance of strengthening economic relations
between the two countries and facilitating trade exchange while underscoring the
importance of increasing bilateral trade towards higher levels. In this respect,
several agreements have been marked for signature including an agreement to
provide Jordan with its needs of wheat from brotherly Syria to be concluded during
the next meeting of the Joint Jordanian-Syrian Higher Committee.
It has also been agreed to expedite the implementation of agreements signed
between the two countries, especially with regards to both countries' shares in the
Yarmouk River basin water.
On the issue of border delineation between the two countries, the two leaders
agreed that the technical committees commence their work immediately to
delineate the border and to continue their work in a serious and expeditious manner
within a specific program and timeline.
Determined to strengthen the basis for security and stability in both countries, it was
agreed that joint security committees immediately start addressing all pending
security issues, and particularly those related to facilitating the flow of people
between the two countries, border security and combating smuggling.
Both leaders issued their directives to their respective governments to convene a
meeting of the Joint Jordanian-Syrian Higher Committee in theJordanian capital
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154 – Chronologie 2007
Amman before the end of the year with the aim of signing bilateral agreements
discussed, and to translate these agreements into programs and actions with
specific timelines.
Determined to prejudice Arab interests in dealing with current challenges, both
leaders expressed their commitment to work and coordinate with Arab leaders to
establish a unified Arab position on Arab and regional issues in isolation of external
interference, and on bases that safeguard higher Arab interests and the interests of
both countries in confronting political and security challenges as well as radicalism
and terrorism.
The two leaders expressed their keenness to intensify cooperation and coordination
with Arab leaders to ensure the success of the Arab League Summit that will be
held in the Syrian capital Damascus in 2008.
Both leaders stressed the importance of reaching a just and comprehensive
solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative and
international resolutions that provide for the return of all occupied Palestinian,
Syrian and Lebanese land.
The two leaders expressed commitment to support Arab, Palestinian and
international efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state on Palestinian soil
with Jerusalem as its capital, within the framework of the peace process and the
two-state solution.
Both leaders emphasized their full support for the Palestinian National Authority in
its efforts to establish the Palestinian State and build its institutions; calling upon the
Palestinian people to overcome their differences and unify their positions in order to
protect the future of the Palestinian cause and the interests of the Palestinian
people.
The two leaders also discussed the situation in Lebanon underlining their full
respect to the sovereignty of Lebanon and denouncing all assassinations
committed against the Lebanese people. Both leaders also rejected all foreign
interference in Lebanon's internal affairs.
The two leaders underscored the need for Lebanon to reach consensus on the
presidential elections within the Constitution and in a manner that would guarantee
Lebanon's stability and preserve its national interests.
Both leaders stressed the importance of the positive role that Syria can play to
ensure Lebanon's stability and security and build normal relations between Beirut
and Damascus based on mutual respect that would serve the interests of both
countries and their stability.
With regards to Iraq, His Majesty King Abdullah II and His Excellency President
Bashar Al-Assad stressed the importance of the Arab role in supporting Iraq's unity,
sovereignty and stability. Both leaders emphasized that solutions concerning the
Iraqi problem should primarily come from within Iraq and in such a way that would
fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the Iraqi people, and in isolation of any external
influence that does not serve Iraqi interests.
Both leaders agreed to intensify their countries' efforts to support comprehensive
national reconciliation in Iraq and to contribute to the success of the political
process and reject all forms of sectarianism, violence and terrorism.
Both leaders reiterated their determination to strengthen coordination and
consultation between Arab states to develop a unified Arab position in dealing with
regional and international challenges. The two leaders stressed that dealing with
these challenges requires major efforts by Arab leaderships to unify their positions,
overcome their differences and agree on the future course of the Arab World, to
ensure that the Arabs decide their own future and destiny.
Both leaders agreed to continue consultation and coordination between the two
countries at various levels in order to ensure implementation of all agreed upon
bilateral issues. They also agreed to maintain regular consultation and coordination
on Arab and regional issues as part of their determination to ensure united Arab
ranks and position.
17
David Grossman’s speech at the Rabin memorial, in „Haaretz“-online
06.11.2007: The annual memorial ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin is the moment when
we pause for a while to remember Rabin the man, the leader. And we also take a
look at ourselves, at Israeli society, its leadership, the national mood, the state of
the peace process, at ourselves as individuals in the face of national events.
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155 – Chronologie 2007
It is not easy to take a look at ourselves this year. There was a war, and Israel
flexed its massive military muscle, but also exposed Israel's fragility. We discovered
that our military might ultimately cannot be the only guarantee of our existence.
Primarily, we have found that the crisis Israel is experiencing is far deeper than we
had feared, in almost every way.
I am speaking here tonight as a person whose love for the land is overwhelming
and complex, and yet it is unequivocal, and as one whose continuous covenant with
the land has turned his personal calamity into a covenant of blood.
I am totally secular, and yet in my eyes the establishment and the very existence of
the State of Israel is a miracle of sorts that happened to us as a nation – a political,
national, human miracle. I do not forget this for a single moment. Even when many
things in the reality of our lives enrage and depress me, even when the miracle is
broken down to routine and wretchedness, to corruption and cynicism, even when
reality seems like nothing but a poor parody of this miracle, I always remember.
And with these feelings, I address you tonight.
"Behold land, for we hath squandered," wrote the poet Saul Tchernikovsky in Tel
Aviv in 1938. He lamented the burial of our young again and again in the soil of the
Land of Israel. The death of young people is a horrible, ghastly waste.
But no less dreadful is the sense that for many years, the State of Israel has been
squandering, not only the lives of its sons, but also its miracle; that grand and rare
opportunity that history bestowed upon it, the opportunity to establish here a state
that is efficient, democratic, which abides by Jewish and universal values; a state
that would be a national home and haven, but not only a haven, also a place that
would offer a new meaning to Jewish existence; a state that holds as an integral
and essential part of its Jewish identity and its Jewish ethos, the observance of full
equality and respect for its non-Jewish citizens.
Look at what befell us. Look what befell the young, bold, passionate country we had
here, and how, as if it had undergone a quickened ageing process, Israel lurched
from infancy and youth to a perpetual state of gripe, weakness and sourness.
How did this happen? When did we lose even the hope that we would eventually be
able to live a different, better life? Moreover, how do we continue to watch from the
side as though hypnotized by the insanity, rudeness, violence and racism that has
overtaken our home?
And I ask you: How could it be that a people with such powers of creativity, renewal
and vivacity as ours, a people that knew how to rise from the ashes time and again,
finds itself today, despite its great military might, at such a state of laxity and inanity,
a state where it is the victim once more, but this time its own victim, of its anxieties,
its short-sightedness.
One of the most difficult outcomes of the recent war is the heightened realization
that at this time there is no king in Israel, that our leadership is hollow. Our military
and political leadership is hollow. I am not even talking about the obvious blunders
in running the war, of the collapse of the home front, nor of the large-scale and
small-time corruption.
I am talking about the fact that the people leading Israel today are unable to
connect Israelis to their identity. Certainly not with the healthy, vitalizing and
productive areas of this identity, with those areas of identity and memory and
fundamental values that would give us hope and strength, that would be the
antidote to the waning of mutual trust, of the bonds to the land, that would give
some meaning to the exhausting and despairing struggle for existence.
The fundamental characteristics of the current Israeli leadership are primarily
anxiety and intimidation, of the charade of power, the wink of the dirty deal, of
selling out our most prized possessions. In this sense they are not true leaders,
certainly they are not the leaders of a people in such a complicated position that
has lost the way it so desperately needs. Sometimes it seems that the sound box of
their self-importance, of their memories of history, of their vision, of what they really
care for, exist only in the miniscule space between two headlines of a newspaper or
between two investigations by the attorney general.
Look at those who lead us. Not all of them, of course, but many among them.
Behold their petrified, suspicious, sweaty conduct. The conduct of advocates and
scoundrels. It is preposterous to expect to hear wisdom emerge from them, that
some vision or even just an original, truly creative, bold and ingenuous idea would
emanate from them.
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When was the last time a prime minister formulated or took a step that could open
up a new horizon for Israelis, for a better future? When did he initiate a social or
cultural or ideological move, instead of merely reacting feverishly to moves forced
upon him by others?
Mister Prime Minister, I am not saying these words out of feelings of rage or
revenge. I have waited long enough to avoid responding on impulse. You will not be
able to dismiss my words tonight by saying a grieving man cannot be judged.
Certainly I am grieving, but I am more pained than angry. This country and what
you and your friends are doing to it pains me.
Trust me, your success is important to me, because the future of all of us depends
on our ability to act. Yitzhak Rabin took the road of peace with the Palestinians, not
because he possessed great affection for them or their leaders. Even then, as you
recall, common belief was that we had no partner and we had nothing to discuss
with them.
Rabin decided to act, because he discerned very wisely that Israeli society would
not be able to sustain itself endlessly in a state of an unresolved conflict. He
realized long before many others that life in a climate of violence, occupation,
terror, anxiety and hopelessness, extracts a price Israel cannot afford. This is all
relevant today, even more so. We will soon talk about the partner that we do or do
not have, but before that, let us take a look at ourselves.
We have been living in this struggle for more than 100 years. We, the citizens of
this conflict, have been born into war and raised in it, and in a certain sense
indoctrinated by it. Maybe this is why we sometimes think that this madness in
which we live for over 100 years is the only real thing, the only life for us, and that
we do not have the option or even the right to aspire for a different life.
By our sword we shall live and by our sword we shall die and the sword shall devour
forever. Maybe this would explain the indifference with which we accept the utter
failure of the peace process, a failure that has lasted for years and claims more and
more victims.
This could explain also the lack of reaction by most of us to the harsh blow to
democracy caused by the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as a senior minister
with the support of the Labor Party – the appointment of a habitual pyromaniac as
director of the nation's firefighters.
And these are partly the cause of Israel's quick descent into the heartless,
essentially brutal treatment of its poor and suffering. This indifference to the fate of
the hungry, the elderly, the sick and the disabled, all those who are weak, this
equanimity of the State of Israel in the face of human trafficking or the appalling
employment conditions of our foreign workers, which border on slavery, to the
deeply ingrained institutionalized racism against the Arab minority.
When this takes place here so naturally, without shock, without protest, as though it
were obvious, that we would never be able to get the wheel back on track, when all
of this takes place, I begin to fear that even if peace were to arrive tomorrow, and
even if we ever regained some normalcy, we may have lost our chance for full
recovery.
The calamity that struck my family and myself with the falling of our son, Uri, does
not grant me any additional rights in the public discourse, but I believe that the
experience of facing death and the loss brings with it a sobriety and lucidity, at least
regarding the distinction between the important and the unimportant, between the
attainable and the unattainable.
Any reasonable person in Israel, and I will say in Palestine too, knows exactly the
outline of a possible solution to the conflict between the two peoples. Any
reasonable person here and over there knows deep in their heart the difference
between dreams and the heart's desire, between what is possible and what is not
possible by the conclusion of negotiations. Anyone who does not know, who
refuses to acknowledge this, is already not a partner, be he Jew or Arab, is
entrapped in his hermetic fanaticism, and is therefore not a partner.
Let us take a look at those who are meant to be our partners. The Palestinians
have elected Hamas to lead them, Hamas who refuses to negotiate with us,
refuses even to recognize us. What can be done in such a position? Keep
strangling them more and more, keep mowing down hundreds of Palestinians in
Gaza, most of whom are innocent civilians like us? Kill them and get killed for all
eternity?
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157 – Chronologie 2007
Turn to the Palestinians, Mr. Olmert, address them over the heads of Hamas,
appeal to their moderates, those who like you and I oppose Hamas and its ways,
turn to the Palestinian people, speak to their deep grief and wounds, acknowledge
their ongoing suffering.
Nothing would be taken away from you or Israel's standing in future negotiations.
Our hearts will only open up to one another slightly, and this has a tremendous
power, the power of a force majeur. The power of simple human compassion,
particularly in this a state of deadlock and dread. Just once, look at them not
through the sights of a gun, and not behind a closed roadblock. You will see there a
people that is tortured no less than us. An oppressed, occupied people bereft of
hope.
Certainly, the Palestinians are also to blame for the impasse, certainly they played
their role in the failure of the peace process. But take a look at them from a
different perspective, not only at the radicals in their midst, not only at those who
share interests with our own radicals. Take a look at the overwhelming majority of
this miserable people, whose fate is entangled with our own, whether we like it or
not.
Go to the Palestinians, Mr. Olmert, do not search all the time for reasons for not to
talk to them. You backed down on the unilateral convergence, and that's a good
thing, but do not leave a vacuum. It will be occupied instantly with violence,
destruction. Talk to them, make them an offer their moderates can accept. They
argue among themselves far more than we are shown in the media. Make them an
offer that will force them to choose between accepting it or prefering to remain
hostage to fanatical Islam.
Approach them with the bravest and most serious plan Israel can offer. With the
offer than any reasonable Palestinian and Israeli knows is the boundary of their
refusal and our concession. There is no time. Should you delay, in a short while we
will look back with longing at the amateur Palestinian terror. We will hit our heads
and yell at our failure to exercise all of our mental flexibility, all of the Israeli
ingenuity to uproot our enemies from their self-entrapment. We have no choice and
they have no choice. And a peace of no choice should be approached with the
same determination and creativity as one approaches a war of no choice. And
those who believe we do have a choice, or that time is on our side do not
comprehend the deeply dangerous processes already in motion.
Maybe, Mr. Prime Minister, you need to be reminded, that if an Arab leader is
sending a peace signal, be it the slightest and most hesitant, you must accept it,
you must test immediately its sincerity and seriousness. You do not have the moral
right not to respond.
You owe it to those whom you would ask to sacrifice their lives should another war
break out. Therefore, if President Assad says that Syria wants peace, even if you
don't believe him, and we are all suspicious of him, you must offer to meet him that
same day.
Don't wait a single day. When you launched the last war you did not even wait one
hour. You charged with full force, with the complete arsenal, with the full power of
destruction. Why, when a glimmer of peace surfaces, must you reject it
immediately, dissolve it? What have you got to lose? Are you suspicious of it? Go
and offer him such terms that would expose his schemes. Offer him a peace
process that would last over several years, and only at its conclusion, and provided
he meets all the conditions and restrictions, will he get back the Golan. Commit him
to a prolonged process, act so that his people also become aware of this possibility.
Help the moderates, who must exist there as well. Try to shape reality. Not only
serve as its collaborator. This is what you were elected to do.
Certainly, not all depends on our actions. There are major powers active in our
region and in the world. Some, like Iran, like radical Islam, seek our doom and
despite that, so much depends on what we do, on what we become.
Disagreements today between right and left are not that significant. The vast
majority of Israel's citizens understand this already, and know what the outline for
the resolution of the conflict would look like. Most of us understand, therefore, that
the land would be divided, that a Palestinian state would be established.
Why, then, do we keep exhausting ourselves with the internal bickering that has
gone on for 40 years? Why does our political leadership continue to reflect the
position of the radicals and not that held by the majority of the public? It is better to
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158 – Chronologie 2007
reach national consensus before circumstances or God forbid another war force us
to reach it. If we do it, we would save ourselves years of decline and error, years
when we will cry time and again: "Behold land, for we hath squandered."
From where I stand right now, I beseech, I call on all those who listen, the young
who came back from the war, who know they are the ones to be called upon to pay
the price of the next war, on citizens, Jew and Arab, people on the right and the left,
the secular, the religious, stop for a moment, take a look into the abyss. Think of
how close we are to losing all that we have created here. Ask yourselves if this is
not the time to get a grip, to break free of this paralysis, to finally claim the lives we
deserve to live. Translated by Orr Scharf.
18
Platform of the 13th Government, July 2007
(Speaker’s office) and PLC members,
Greetings
In accordance with the Basic Law and the applicable Palestinian laws and
presidential decrees, as well as constitutional rules and traditions, I hereby present
the 13th Palestinian government’s platform. This government came about following
the expiry of the state of emergency and the issuance of a presidential decree on
July 13, 2007, in which the Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee, President
of the National Authority, asked that the 12th government continue functioning as a
care-taker government and to carry out the assigned duties.
And whereas the President has tasked us with forming the new government (which
would be the 13th Palestinian government) to work in accordance with a political
platform that shall accomplish the high interests of our Arab Palestinian people, and
based on the text and content of the presidential decree, our government platform
shall be based on the following principles:
•
The government shall abide by President Abbas’s political platform,
which is based on the Palestinian national program, including the Palestinian peace
platform, and the Declaration of Independence in 1988 issued by the Palestinian
National Council in its 18th session, and on the Arab Peace Initiative, as well as all
pertinent international resolutions. The government views peace not only as a
strategic option, but also as a necessity dictated by the current political
circumstances as well as by the current state of international relations and
obligations which determine that the Palestinian people must embrace an open
foreign policy; one that is in harmony with the legitimacies of the Palestinian, Arab
and international stances.
•
To fully abide by the bilateral and multilateral agreements signed by
the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and the
Palestinian National Authority, including those agreements signed with Israel.
•
To enhance democratic practices, and to work on implementing and
exercising them comprehensively by the National Authority, political factions, and
social and economic forces in Palestine.
•
To fully abide by professional criteria and impartiality upon selecting
members of our cabinet, and while filling all other key positions in the Authority, in
accordance with the law.
•
To preserve the unity of the Palestinian people among all its social
and political segments as a prerequisite to enhancing the steadfastness on their
national soil and accomplishing their goals.
•
To abide by principles of good governance and to pursue reforms on
the path of building the state of law and institutions.
The Government’s goals:
•
To end the occupation and to create our independent state – with
holy Jerusalem as its capital – on all the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, based
on the principles and terms of the 1988 Declaration of Independence, and to find a
just and agreed upon solution to the issue of refugees on the basis of resolution
194. To work on ending settlement activities, the separation wall, and to remove all
material and political impediments which constitute real obstacles hindering the
accomplishment of these goals.
•
To work on reinstalling effective control of the legitimate authority in
the entire Gaza Strip, and to restore the unity of the wounded homeland – that
faced conspiracies, aggression and a violent take-over of the Authority and its
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institutions. This matter continues to pose a threat to the unity of the homeland and
the national traditions of the Palestinian people.
•
To support the city of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the
Palestinian people and its economic and cultural status in addition to its sublime
religious standing. Our government shall work to provide all means of support to
revive the political, cultural and economic status of Jerusalem through revitalization
of its institutions and economy by creating jobs, construction of housing units, and
by improving the competitiveness of its services and products. This is liable to
enhance the residents of Jerusalem steadfastness while confronting the schemes
of settlements activities and migration. The government shall seize all opportunities
to preserve Jerusalem, and enable it to restore its historic status as it was
throughout the ages i.e., a city of peace, tolerance and worship open to indigenous
Palestinians, and all human beings without neither walls nor roadblocks.
•
To deliver security and safety as most pressing priorities.
Accomplishing these would be the only way to enhance rule of law, restore
confidence in the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian economy. Therefore, the
government pledges to end the state of security chaos, lawlessness and armed
activities while upholding the policy of “one gun, one authority”; and to enforce law
and order, and to provide security to the Palestinian citizens, foreign workers and
the guests of the Palestinian people.
•
To focus development and economic efforts on combating poverty,
alleviating unemployment and economic recession, and to provide necessary funds
to do so from all possible resources, and to promote the management of
development projects while transparently coordinating and directing assistance
towards our national priorities accomplish our goals; and to coordinate such efforts
with professional syndicates, and economic institutions and representatives of
private sector in order to achieve the objectives of balanced socio-economic
development.
•
To carefully cater for political prisoners in Israeli jails, and to alleviate
their suffering and that of their families. This file will remain a high priority on the
government’s agenda which will seek to secure their release, and to meet their
living needs and to secure decent livelihood for their families while facilitating their
quick integration in society. The government also pledges to meet the needs of the
families of the martyrs and the wounded.
•
To enhance the rule of law and preserve the judicial system’s
independent standing, and to provide all needed human and financial resources to
that end in order to enforce the principle of rule of law and to justice.
•
To combat corruption, nepotism and favoritism and to provide equal
opportunities in filling government positions, away from factional considerations,
and to pay attention to the individuals with special needs in terms of their
entitlement to be employed in government positions.
•
To pay special attention to the situation and needs of the refugee
camps at the economic, health and cultural levels and to provide assistance in
delivering the best level of services while improving their living conditions.
•
To promote agricultural activities and to protect agricultural products
by providing markets; and securing other means of support, including increasing
agricultural lands and protecting these against the ongoing settlement expansion,
and to cater to the needs of the Jordan valley area and lands behind the wall and by
protecting water resources and preventing irrational use of irrigation water.
•
To promote the concept and practice of “good citizenship,” as one
based on responsibility and commitment to the high national interests while
enhancing enfranchisement in the context of a comprehensive development
framework.
•
To preserve human rights, and protect public freedom and individual
liberties. To protect freedom of expression and respect of views and counter views
and to enhance concepts of tolerance, including religious tolerance, principles of
political, cultural and intellectual pluralism while being open towards others people’s
cultures and creativity.
•
To build a clear cut strategy to fight all practices centered on
accusing “others” of atheism and/or treason. To combat the exploitation of religion
to achieve political gains by groups or individuals, and to enhance the status of
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Islam as a religion of tolerance and moderation while preventing the use of Islam to
justify killings, exclusion of others and destruction.
•
To achieve equality between men and women in all domains and to
preserve women's political, social, economic and legal achievements. The leading
role of the Palestinian women in the national struggle compels the government to
fully support women and enhance their participation in all walks of life i.e., political,
social and economic. In this context, the government realizes the significant role of
the Palestinian family and shall work to enhance the role of the Palestinian family in
the process of upbringing of children so as to build a society free of social and
cultural diseases.
•
To double the attention and focus on the youth sector and to provide
job opportunities to this sector inside the homeland to enable the youth to contribute
to the building of the independent Palestinian State.
•
To specially cater to the needs of marginalized groups to enable
them to be involved in the economic, social and cultural activities and to provide
effective social safety nets for these groups.
•
To pay attention to the cultural centers and activities and to support
the role and activities of artists, and journalist based on keen interest in the efforts
exerted by these groups to achieve the national goals of the Palestinian society
while confronting the forces of backwardness and darkness.
•
To enhance relations with civil society organizations and to build true
partnership with them in the various sectors.
•
To preserve the environment and work to protect the cultural and
natural heritage in Palestine.
•
To promote medical and health services in all areas and at all levels.
To focus on promoting primary health care services and promoting the qualitative
productivity of these services. The government shall work on promoting specialized
medical services and providing the needed infrastructure and equipment to
eliminate the use of external hospital referrals for medical treatment.
•
To promote education qualitatively and quantitatively and to provide
the needed funding and human resources to that end. To promote the educational
curricula to meet the modern standards and to confront isolationist tendencies,
primitiveness and backwardness. To support universities and other academic
institutions and research centers in order to develop an enlightened Palestinian
citizen capable of employing knowledge and modern technology in all domains.
•
In order to achieve these goals, the government will put forth and
implement “an Urgent Economic Revival Plan” for the upcoming six moths, and to
delineate a long term vision for the building of the independent state and prepare a
medium term plan for the years 2008-2010. The urgent plan for the next six months
includes the following components:
•
A general budget for the remaining months of the year 2007 and to work on
providing sufficient revenues to pay the salaries regularly and to settle outstanding
dues of the employees and to settle outstanding bills owed by the government to
the private sector to the maximum extent possible.
•
To put forth a plan to provide an emergency / humanitarian relief to our
people in the Gaza Strip which would include food, medications and other essential
needs.
•
The urgent development plan will include completion of all pending and
suspended infrastructure projects i.e., electricity, roads etc. And also to provide
urgently the needs in the health and education sectors. This will include packages
of projects that aim at reviving the private sector, reform oriented projects, including
the judicial system and institutional development of the government ministries and
agencies.
•
On a medium term basis, the government shall put forth a national program
to build the economy and the institutions of the independent Palestinian state
starting with developing a realistic and sound development vision that would
determine the identity and quality of the aspired Palestinian economy and specify its
status regionally and internationally. This program will be implemented on a
medium term basis i.e. 2008-2010 and will be built on integrating the development
plan into the general budget. This will be accomplished through full participation of
all government ministries and agencies along with private sector firms and civil
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161 – Chronologie 2007
society organizations to guarantee consensus and commitment to meeting the
interests of the partners in this development process. This shall be the right prelude
to transform the Palestinian economy to a state of sustainable development which
takes into account the rights of future generations. We shall see to it that this plan
be responsive to the development priorities in all sectors.
Lastly, allow me to stress the importance of strengthening brotherly relations
between the Palestinian people and the Arab and foreign countries. These relations
are real accomplishments that must be preserved and never endangered. The
government pledges not to interfere in the internal affairs of any other country and
not to be part of an alliance or axis against any country. The government will be
keen on expanding the circle of supporters in order to restore our rights. The
government shall work on activating diplomatic work and providing means of
success for such efforts to increase our friends and cement Palestine’s relations at
the Arab, Islamic and international levels and to identify our external priorities based
on our high national interests.
The creation of the State of Palestine is a Palestinian demand as well as an Arab
quest, that enjoys wide international support. The government will work tirelessly
and persistently in all arenas to enhance Arab, Islamic and international solidarity
for our struggle and to achieve international consensus on the necessity to
implement pertinent international resolutions, and to give the Arab Peace Initiative
the ample opportunity in order to be the platform to achieve a comprehensive
peace to end the decades-long bloody conflict and to end the state of war which
exhausted the peoples of the region.
Members of the Council,
While presenting the platform of the new government, I should not fail to highlight
the role of the previous government which was tasked with enforcing the state of
emergency under difficult and complex political and security circumstances due to
the coup against legitimacy in the Gaza Strip and the subsequent aggressions
against the legitimate institutions and employees as well as the destruction of what
was built by the Palestinian people, and violations of all legitimate rights. Despite
this, the government was able to provide for flow of funds, humanitarian needs
including foodstuffs, medication, electricity, water and other essential needs to our
people in the Gaza Strip. The government was also able for the first time in more
than 15 months to pay the salaries in full to all employees. The government settled
part of the outstanding dues to the employees and the private sector which restored
confidence in the government and its ability to function and to meet its
commitments. The government succeeded in ending the political and financial
siege and in resuming the flow of funds and development activities. Finally, the
government embarked on implementing a security plan that should ensure the
capacity of the security establishment in carrying out its main duty in providing
security and protection to the citizens and safeguarding the national program and
aspirations.
As we highlight the content of the letter of designation, I hope that you will approve
giving the 13th government confidence to enable it to carry out its duties under
these critical circumstances.
Thank you for your cooperation and May God bless you;
Ramallah
July 22, 2007
Salam Fayyad
Prime Minister Designate
The 13 Government
19
President Bush Discusses the Middle East, Washington, D.C., June 16, 2007,
via www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/07/print/20070716-7.html:
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. In recent weeks, debate in our country has
rightly focused on the situation in Iraq – yet Iraq is not the only pivotal matter in the
Middle East. More than five years ago, I became the first American President to call
for the creation of a Palestinian state. In the Rose Garden, I said that Palestinians
should not have to live in poverty and occupation. I said that the Israelis should not
have to live in terror and violence. And I laid out a new vision for the future – two
democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security.
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162 – Chronologie 2007
Since then, many changes have come – some hopeful, some dispiriting. Israel has
taken difficult actions, including withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank.
Palestinians have held free elections, and chosen a president committed to peace.
Arab states have put forward a plan that recognizes Israel's place in the Middle
East. And all these parties, along with most of the international community, now
share the goal of a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state – a level of consensus
never before seen on this crucial issue.
The past five years have also brought developments far too familiar in the recent
history of the region. Confronted with the prospect of peace, extremists have
responded with acts of aggression and terror. In Gaza, Hamas radicals betrayed
the Palestinian people with a lawless and violent takeover. By its actions, Hamas
has demonstrated beyond all doubt that it is [more] devoted to extremism and
murder than to serving the Palestinian people.
This is a moment of clarity for all Palestinians. And now comes a moment of
choice. The alternatives before the Palestinian people are stark. There is the vision
of Hamas, which the world saw in Gaza – with murderers in black masks, and
summary executions, and men thrown to their death from rooftops. By following this
path, the Palestinian people would guarantee chaos, and suffering, and the endless
perpetuation of grievance. They would surrender their future to Hamas's foreign
sponsors in Syria and Iran. And they would crush the possibility of any – of a
Palestinian state.
There's another option, and that's a hopeful option. It is the vision of President
Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad; it's the vision of their government; it's the vision
of a peaceful state called Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people. To
realize this vision, these leaders are striving to build the institutions of a modern
democracy. They're working to strengthen the Palestinian security services, so they
can confront the terrorists and protect the innocent. They're acting to set up
competent ministries that deliver services without corruption. They're taking steps
to improve the economy and unleash the natural enterprise of the Palestinian
people. And they're ensuring that Palestinian society operates under the rule of law.
By following this path, Palestinians can reclaim their dignity and their future – and
establish a state of their own.
Only the Palestinians can decide which of these courses to pursue. Yet all
responsible nations have a duty to help clarify the way forward. By supporting the
reforms of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, we can help them show the
world what a Palestinian state would look like – and act like. We can help them
prove to the world, the region, and Israel that a Palestinian state would be a partner
– not a danger. We can help them make clear to all Palestinians that rejecting
violence is the surest path to security and a better life. And we can help them
demonstrate to the extremists once and for all that terror will have no place in a
Palestinian state.
So in consultation with our partners in the Quartet – the European Union, Russia,
and the United Nations – the United States is taking a series of steps to strengthen
the forces of moderation and peace among the Palestinian people.
First, we are strengthening our financial commitment. Immediately after President
Abbas expelled Hamas from the Palestinian government, the United States lifted
financial restrictions on the Palestinian Authority that we had imposed. This year,
we will provide the Palestinians with more than $190 million in American assistance
– including funds for humanitarian relief in Gaza. To build on this support, I recently
authorized the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to join in a program that
will help generate $228 million in lending to Palestinian businesses. Today, I
announce our intention to make a direct contribution of $80 million to help
Palestinians reform their security services – a vital effort they're undertaking with
the guidance of American General Keith Dayton. We will work with Congress and
partners around the world to provide additional resources once a plan to build
Palestinian institutions is in place. With all of this assistance, we are showing the
Palestinian people that a commitment to peace leads to the generous support of
the United States.
Second, we're strengthening our political and diplomatic commitment. Again today,
President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert sat down together to discuss priorities
and resolve issues. Secretary Rice and I have strongly supported these meetings,
and she has worked with both parties to sketch out a "political horizon" for a
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163 – Chronologie 2007
Palestinian state. Now we will intensify these efforts, with the goal of increasing the
confidence of all parties in a two-state solution. And we will continue to deliver a
firm message to Hamas: You must stop Gaza from being a safe haven for attacks
against Israel. You must accept the legitimate Palestinian government, permit
humanitarian aid in Gaza, and dismantle militias. And you must reject violence, and
recognize Israel's right to exist, and commit to all previous agreements between the
parties. As I said in the Rose Garden five years ago, a Palestinian state will never
be created by terror.
Third, we're strengthening our commitment to helping build the institutions of a
Palestinian state. Last month, former Prime Minister – British Prime Minister Tony
Blair agreed to take on a new role as Quartet representative. In this post, he will
coordinate international efforts to help the Palestinians establish the institutions of a
strong and lasting free society – including effective governing structures, a sound
financial system, and the rule of law. He will encourage young Palestinians to
participate in the political process. And America will strongly support his work to
help Palestinian leaders answer their people's desire to live in peace.
All the steps I've outlined are designed to lay the foundation for a successful
Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza – a nation with functioning political
institutions and capable security forces, and leaders who reject terror and violence.
With the proper foundation, we can soon begin serious negotiations toward the
creation of a Palestinian state.
These negotiations must resolve difficult questions and uphold clear principles.
They must ensure that Israel is secure. They must guarantee that a Palestinian
state is viable and contiguous. And they must lead to a territorial settlement, with
mutually agreed borders reflecting previous lines and current realities, and mutually
agreed adjustments. America is prepared to lead discussions to address these
issues, but they must be resolved by Palestinians and Israelis, themselves.
Resolving these issues would help show Palestinians a clear way forward. And
ultimately, it could lead to a final peace in the Middle East – a permanent end to the
conflict, and an agreement on all the issues, including refugees and Jerusalem.
To make this prospect a reality, the Palestinian people must decide that they want a
future of decency and hope – not a future of terror and death. They must match
their words denouncing terror with action to combat terror.
The Palestinian government must arrest terrorists, dismantle their infrastructure,
and confiscate illegal weapons as the road map requires. They must work to stop
attacks on Israel, and to free the Israeli soldier held hostage by extremists. And
they must enforce the law without corruption, so they can earn the trust of their
people, and of the world. Taking these steps will enable the Palestinians to have a
state of their own. And there's only way to end the conflict, and nothing less is
acceptable.
Israel has a clear path. Prime Minister Olmert must continue to release Palestinian
tax revenues to the government of Prime Minster Fayyad. Prime Minister Olmert
has also made clear that Israel's future lies in developing areas like the Negev and
Galilee – not in continuing occupation of the West Bank. This is a reality that Prime
Minister Sharon recognized, as well. So unauthorized outposts should be removed
and settlement expansion ended. At the same time, Israelis should find other
practical ways to reduce their footprint without reducing their security -- so they can
help President Abbas improve economic and humanitarian conditions. They should
be confident that the United States will never abandon its commitment to the
security of Israel as a Jewish state and homeland for the Jewish people.
The international community must rise to the moment, and provide decisive support
to responsible Palestinian leaders working for peace. One forum to deliver that
support is the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee – a group chaired by Norway that includes
the United States and Japan, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,
and Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan. Today I call for a session
of this committee to gather soon, so that the world can back its words in real
support for the new Palestinian government.
The world can do more to build the conditions for peace. So I will call together an
international meeting this fall of representatives from nations that support a twostate solution, reject violence, recognize Israel's right to exist, and commit to all
previous agreements between the parties. The key participants in this meeting will
be the Israelis, the Palestinians, and their neighbors in the region. Secretary Rice
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164 – Chronologie 2007
will chair the meeting. She and her counterparts will review the progress that has
been made toward building Palestinian institutions. They will look for innovative and
effective ways to support further reform. And they will provide diplomatic support for
the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations, so that we can move
forward on a successful path to a Palestinian state.
Arab states have a pivotal role to play, as well. They should show strong support for
President Abbas's government and reject the violent extremism of Hamas. They
should use their resources to provide much-needed assistance to the Palestinian
people. Nations like Jordan and Egypt, which are natural gateways for Palestinian
exports, should open up trade to create opportunities on both sides of the border.
Arab nations should also take an active part in promoting peace negotiations. Relaunching the Arab League initiative was a welcome first step. Now Arab nations
should build on this initiative – by ending the fiction that Israel does not exist,
stopping the incitement of hatred in their official media, and sending cabinet-level
visitors to Israel. With all these steps, today's Arab leaders can show themselves to
be the equals of peacemakers like Anwar Sadat and King Hussein of Jordan.
The conflict in Gaza and the West Bank today is a struggle between extremists and
moderates. And these are not the only places where the forces of radicalism and
violence threaten freedom and peace. The struggle between extremists and
moderates is also playing out in Lebanon – where Hezbollah and Syria and Iran are
trying to destabilize the popularly elected government. The struggle is playing out in
Afghanistan – where the Taliban and al Qaeda are trying to roll back democratic
gains. And the struggle is playing out in Iraq -- where al Qaeda, insurgents, and
militia are trying to defy the will of nearly 12 million Iraqis who voted for a free
future.
Ceding any of these struggles to extremists would have deadly consequences for
the region and the world. So in Gaza and the West Bank and beyond, the
international community must stand with the brave men and women who are
working for peace.
Recent days have brought a chapter of upheaval and uncertainty in the Middle
East. But the story does not have to end that way. After the wave of killing by
Hamas last month, a 16-year-old girl in Gaza City told a reporter, "The gunmen
want to destroy the culture of our fathers and grandfathers. We will not allow them
to do it." She went on, "I'm saying it's enough killing. Enough."
That young woman speaks for millions – in Gaza, the West Bank, in Israel, in Arab
nations, and in every nation. And now the world must answer her call. We must
show that in the face of extremism and violence, we stand on the side of tolerance
and decency. In the face of chaos and murder, we stand on the side of law and
justice. And in the face of terror and cynicism and anger, we stand on the side of
peace in the Holy Land.
Thank you.
20
Talia Sasson: A vow in vain, in “Haaretz”-online 31.05.2007:
A law proposed by Yisrael Beiteinu MK David Rotem, and which has passed its first
reading in the Knesset, ostensibly deals with a minor matter – a change in the
wording of the swearing-in oath elected Knesset members take when taking office.
However, this proposal, if it becomes law, is liable to have serious implications.
The current oath reads: "I swear to be loyal to the State of Israel and to fulfill in
good faith my mission in the Knesset." Under the proposed law, an elected member
would be required to take the following vow: "I swear to be loyal to the Jewish and
democratic state of Israel, its values and its symbols and to fulfill in good faith my
mission in the Knesset."
It appears that the purpose of the proposal is to strengthen the Jewish character of
the State of Israel by preventing the swearing-in of anyone who is not prepared to
commit himself to the State of Israel as a Jewish entity. In fact, its aim is to portray
the Arab members of the Knesset as a group opposed to the existence of Israel in
its current form and to sabotage their ability to function as members of the Knesset.
The result of the proposal could be dangerous to Israel on various levels. Moreover,
it will also miss its original target and weaken Israel's status as a Jewish state.
The proposed vow would likely cause Knesset members who represent the Arab
public in Israel to refrain from taking the oath altogether because of the difficulty
inherent in it for them. The direct legal-constitutional outcome of not taking the oath
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165 – Chronologie 2007
is the denial of the Knesset member's rights. The deprivation of such rights brings
up constitutional questions, but it does not appear that the Knesset member would
be prevented from fulfilling his parliamentary role.
Still, it appears that the main damage this proposal would cause is the sense of
segregation and alienation it is liable to arouse in the Arab public, as it would
contribute to the expansion of the gap between the Jewish and Arab communities
and prevent members of the Arab public from participating in Knesset elections.
And indeed, it is in the interest of every citizen who believes in the importance of
Israel's existence as a democracy that the entire voting public participate in
elections. Abstaining from such, especially in a national-ethnic context, severely
damages the democratic nature of the State of Israel and its image as a
democracy.
Undermining the trust in the Israeli democratic regime – especially because of the
discrimination against Arabs – will lead to Israel's isolation in the world, its
alienation and even hatred of it. It could also encourage those who want to question
its right to exist to do exactly that.
Weakening the public's faith in the democratic character of Israel, both at home
and abroad, will ultimately also damage the legitimacy of its Jewish character,
which will appear to be irreconcilable with Israel's democratic character. The one
will appear to come at the expense of the other, and indeed this has already
happened as is implied by the proposed law.
Anyone who supports this proposal will lose out. The law will not help strengthen
the country's Jewish character, but will raise debate over the legitimacy of its
Jewishness. Anyone who wants to support the Jewish and democratic Israel and to
strengthen its existence as a legitimate and accepted state among the countries of
the world should completely reject this proposed law, which would bring no benefit,
only harm.
The author was the head of the special tasks department at the State Prosecutor's
Office.
21
rd
Aluf Benn: PM mulls resuming Syria peace talks via 3 party, in “Haaretz”-online
31.05.2007:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is exploring, via a third party, the possibility of resuming
peace talks with Syria.
A government source said there was no direct contact between Israeli and Syrian
officials, "but a very serious assessment is underway."
What is being assessed is what Israel would get in return for pulling out of the
Golan Heights, the nature of future bilateral relations and whether Syria would
consider cutting its ties with Iran, Hezbollah and Palestinian terror organizations,
Israel's main enemies in the region.
Olmert has recently referred to the possible resumption of talks with Syria in closed
meetings. "The price is clear. There may be a debate on the payment terms,
discounts etc. but the main question is what Israel would receive in return. Will it
receive peace like [the one it has] with Egypt, peace like Britain and France have,
or a deception: Give us the Golan, and all you'll get is an alliance between Syria
and Iran and Hamas headquarters in Damascus," he said.
Olmert was persuaded to reexamine the Syrian option mainly by the numerous
warnings that Syria's army was gaining strength and the danger of an eruption of
hostilities in the North.
Olmert sent several messages to Damascus, warning Assad of a "miscalculation"
that would lead to an unnecessary clash between the two countries.
However, he also wishes to examine the option of negotiating with the Syrians, to
show in the case of a crisis that Israel had tried to prevent it.
"My duty as prime minister is to examine [the negotiations option] even if
intelligence evaluations say it's a deception and even when Western and other
leaders warn me," Olmert said in the closed meetings.
Publicly, Olmert's attitude toward the Syrians has remained cool. Yesterday he told
a U.S. Congress committee, "I'm interested in making peace with Syria and it
appears that the present Syrian regime, which supports terror, is not interested in
reaching an agreement."
Israel conducted peace negotiations with Syria for about nine years, from 1991 to
2000, under five prime ministers: Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres,
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166 – Chronologie 2007
Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. Israel agreed in the talks to pull out of the
entire Golan Heights, and Syria agreed to hold diplomatic ties and security
arrangements including American observers on the early-warning station on Mount
Hermon.
The talks snagged over the control of the Kinneret's northeastern coastline. Syrian
President Bashar Assad has offered to resume peace talks in recent months, while
at once threatening to take the Golan Heights back by force.
Olmert objected to the talks at first, pinning his position on the American objection
and Syria's support of terror. Later, however, he decided to examine Damascus'
intentions.
22
Quartet Statement, May 30, 2007:
The Quartet Principals – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High
Representative for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, German
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and European Commissioner for
External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner – met today in Berlin to discuss the
situation in the Middle East.
The Quartet expressed its deep concern over recent factional violence in Gaza. It
called for all Palestinians to immediately renounce all acts of violence and respect
the ceasefire. It called upon the Palestinian Authority government, in cooperation
with President Abbas and regional actors, to do everything necessary to restore law
and order, including the release of kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston.
The Quartet strongly condemned the continued firing of Qassam rockets into
Southern Israel as well as the buildup of arms by Hamas and other terrorist groups
in Gaza. It endorsed PA President Abbas' call for an immediate end to such
violence, and called upon all elements of the PA government and all Palestinian
groups to cooperate with President Abbas to that end. The Quartet called for the
immediate and unconditional release of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit. The Quartet
urged Israel to exercise restraint to ensure that its security operations avoid civilian
casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure. It noted that the detention of elected
members of the Palestinian government and legislature raises particular concerns
and called for them to be released. The Quartet noted its support for the May 30 th
Security Council Press Statement on the breakdown of the ceasefire in the Gaza
Strip.
The Quartet welcomed continued dialogue between Prime Minister Olmert and
President Abbas, including bilateral summits, and expressed support for U.S.
efforts to effect progress on security and movement and access issues. The
Quartet agreed that movement and access are essential and in this regard called
on both parties to implement fully the Movement and Access Agreement of 15
November 2005. The Quartet urged the parties to work positively and constructively
in order to build confidence and to create an environment conducive to progress on
the political horizon for Palestinian statehood, consistent with the Roadmap and
relevant UN Security Council resolutions, which should also be addressed in these
bilateral discussions. Palestinians must know that their state will be viable, and
Israelis must know a future state of Palestine will be a source of security, not a
threat.
The Quartet commended the excellent work of the Temporary International
Mechanism (TIM) and endorsed its extension for three months from July until
September 2007. It called on donors to follow through on past pledges of support.
The Quartet noted that the resumption of transfers of tax and customs revenues
collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority would have a significant
impact on the Palestinian economy. The Quartet encouraged Israel and the
Palestinian Authority to consider resumption of such transfers via the Temporary
International Mechanism to improve the economic and humanitarian conditions in
the West Bank and Gaza. In light of increased regional support for the Palestinians,
the Quartet agreed to review where additional donor assistance should be focused,
with particular consideration for infrastructure and development programmes that
can directly improve the daily lives of Palestinians. The Quartet invited concrete
proposals from the parties on specific international support that could be useful at
this stage.
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167 – Chronologie 2007
The Quartet welcomed the extension of the EU Border Assistance Mission at Rafah
(EU-BAM). It reiterated the importance of resuming normal operations at the Rafah
crossing. Taking note of the continuing threat to Israeli and Palestinian security
posed by smuggling, the Quartet welcomed progress in the Quadrilateral Security
Committee and called for greater efforts by all parties to improve security along the
Egypt-Gaza border.
The Quartet welcomed the re-affirmation of the Arab Peace Initiative, noting that
the initiative is recognized in the Roadmap as a vital element of international efforts
to advance regional peace. The Arab Peace Initiative provides a welcome regional
political horizon for Israel, complementing the efforts of the Quartet and of the
parties themselves to advance towards negotiated, comprehensive, just and lasting
peace. The Quartet noted its positive meeting with members of the Arab League in
Sharm al-Sheikh on May 4, and looked forward to continued engagement with the
Arab states. It welcomed the intention of the Arab League to engage Israel on the
initiative, and Israeli receptiveness to such engagement. Recalling elements of the
April 18 decision by the Arab League Follow-up Committee, the Quartet urged all
involved to demonstrate their seriousness and commitment to making peace. In
that context, the Quartet reiterated the need for a Palestinian Government
committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous
agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap, and reaffirmed its willingness
to support such a government. The Quartet encouraged continued and expanded
Arab contacts with Israel, and Israeli action to address concerns raised in the April
18 Arab League decision, including a cessation of settlement expansion and the
removal of illegal outposts, as called for in the Roadmap.
Looking ahead, the Quartet discussed a calendar for the coming months to support
and encourage progress on the bilateral and regional tracks. The Quartet principals
agreed to meet in the region in June with the Israelis and Palestinians to review
progress and discuss the way forward. The Quartet also agreed to meet in the
region with members of the Arab League to follow up on the Arab Peace Initiative
and efforts to advance the regional track. Principals instructed the envoys to meet
beforehand to follow up and explore options for the way forward.
23
Daniel Levy: The Problem with the Boycott, in “Prospects of Peace”, a joint
project of “The Century Foundation” and “The New American Foundation”:
Britain’s University and College Union (UCU) have just voted to boycott Israeli
academic institutions. The motion passed by a majority of 158 to 99.
In so doing they have joined a smattering of other unions and some church groups
from Western and Northern Europe that have also supported boycotts in recent
years. The only really noteworthy equivalent in the US has been the divestment
campaigns conducted by some of the Episcopalian churches, although these it
must be noted were pinpointed against companies directly involved in facilitating
the occupation, and have anyway been partially dropped. The boycott approach is
normally attacked (quite viciously) as singling out Israel for unfavorable treatment,
while ignoring wrong-doing elsewhere in the globe and particularly in the Arab
world. It is even equated with support for terror groups. The most devastating
criticism is to charge the boycott promoters with tactics against the Jewish state
that are reminiscent of the methods used against the Jews during the darkest days
of 20th century Europe. I think these approaches are wide of the mark and
sometimes outright offensive. Undoubtedly, some boycott fellow-travelers and
perhaps even instigators have ulterior and unpleasant motives. Still I think most of
its supporters are making a genuine, humanitarian-based statement of opposition
to the occupation. But I, too, oppose the boycott and here’s why:
Leave aside for the moment the essential ineffectiveness of the boycott policy,
which has zero economic impact. Boycotting Israel to me represents a fundamental
misunderstanding of what it will take to achieve peace in the region, to end the
occupation, and to deliver security for Palestinians and Israelis alike. Of course for
some, this is not the goal and a boycott is part of a broader strategy of delegitimizing Israel and its very existence in the Middle East. They should at least be
told that Israel is not going anywhere, that a new Middle East dispensation without
an Israel is a recipe for generations of bloodshed with plenty of injustice all around,
and that they are taking up a position that is hostile to the aspirations of the vast
majority of Jews around the world. This is probably why most Palestinian leaders
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168 – Chronologie 2007
support a two-state solution and place boycott-promotion pretty low on their list of
priorities (even Hamas is fumbling towards a two-state formula). For that not
insignificant body of international opinion that staunchly opposes the occupation
without being Israel-haters, who believe in human rights for Israelis and
Palestinians alike, and who, in wanting to be helpful, flirt with the boycott idea, the
following might be helpful:
Support for the boycott amongst Jewish Israelis, both at home and in the diaspora,
really is virtually non-existent and there is no nascent movement around which such
support is likely to be built. Ending the occupation and realizing a viable and an
independent Palestinian state alongside Israel will require an Israeli partner. Israelis
will need to either be active partners or at least acquiescent in achieving a realistic
two-state solution based on the ’67 lines. The international community will probably
need to intervene or at least be engaged to achieve such a solution. If Israelis view
the outside world as implacably hostile – and a boycott encourages that thinking –
then the prospective international role fades further into the distance. Of course, the
flip-side to this is that the international community begins to actively push a
resolution to the conflict, including setting out its own parameters for peace.
It is much more effective to be understanding of legitimate Israeli concerns and
aspirations, while not ceding an inch regarding the illegitimacy and counterproductive nature of the occupation. That is the kind of tough-love that takes into
account Israeli psychology and that could actually be of help. The alternative only
encourages the most unhelpful, hunker-down, garrison state mentality amongst an
Israeli public whose self-perception is already one of persecution. The most dovish
Minister in the current Israeli government, Yuli Tamir, who happens to have the
education portfolio, was the first one to come out against the new UK boycott. The
coalition for two-states and against occupation and war should be broad-based
enough to embrace a large Israeli peace-camp, the majority of Palestinian and Arab
pragmatists, and the global peace movement. And quite simply, a boycott-based
agenda cannot do that.
24
Nathan Guttman: Dovish Groups Mull Mega-Merger In Bid To Build Peace
Powerhouse, in “Forward” 30.05.2007:
Washington – Merger talks are heating up among three leading dovish Israel
advocacy groups in a development that proponents hope will produce a new megaorganization with greater political clout and more money to push for a two-state
solution.
Leaders of Americans for Peace Now, the Israel Policy Forum and Brit Tzedek
v’Shalom are weighing the idea and are expected to reach a decision by the fall.
The discussions are being held within each of the groups and between leaders of
the three organizations, under the auspices of several Washington-based activists
who are promoting the idea of a pro-peace Jewish lobby.
The idea of forming a joint left-leaning entity – that some portray as a dovish
counter to the existing pro-Israel lobby — has been bouncing around for six months
and was initially seen as being backed by billionaire George Soros. At this point,
according to organizers, Soros is out, but the talks have reached the final stages
with at least two options on the table.
Some liberal observers are hoping that a new joint entity could emerge as a counter
to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby that doves
have accused of working against efforts to convince the White House to do more to
advance Israeli-Palestinian talks. Organizers of the new initiative are publicly
dismissing any talk of weakening or competing against Aipac; at the same time,
they insist that the goal is to create a new voice for American Jews.
“This is about creating something new, big and bold,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, a main
proponent of the current merger talks. A former Clinton administration aide, BenAmi is now a senior executive at Fenton Communications.
Proponents of the merger aim to raise $10 million – double the combined annual
budgets of the three organizations — to help launch the new initiative. Part of the
money would come from contributors who already back the three existing groups,
but most of the $10 million – if the goal is reached – is expected to come from
donors who currently do not give to Jewish organizations or to other pro-Israel
groups. Among the potential donors being targeted are Jewish figures in Hollywood,
as well as young liberal Jewish philanthropists who currently focus their giving on
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169 – Chronologie 2007
non-Jewish causes Soros attended only one of the first meetings about the
initiative, but he eventually dropped out. Other activists and donors have continued
pushing the idea forward.
In addition to Ben-Ami, the list of organizers includes Daniel Levy, one-time adviser
to then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, and Jim Gerstein, a Democratic
strategist who is active in pro-peace organizations.
According to sources familiar with the talks, the organizations are being asked to
choose between two options: instituting a formal merger that would create a joint
pro-peace organization under which the three existing groups would continue to
operate, or creating a separate new body that would raise funds independently and
provide financial assistance and backing to projects directed by the existing groups.
Originally, Jewish activists behind the new initiative had planned to come up with an
agreed structure and a strong commitment for financial backing by this summer,
but difficulties in fundraising, and drawn-out discussions within the groups, forced a
postponement of the target date for launching the new project.
“Jews like to talk; it takes time,” an official close to the negotiations said. After
initially discussing the idea in small forums, it was recently brought to larger circles
within the leadership of all three groups. The first meeting took place Tuesday
between IPF and APN leaders, without the presence of the initiative’s outside
organizers. The two groups discussed not only the prospects of the new initiative
but also the question of whether it should include a grass-roots organization such
as Brit Tzedek. Many of those involved in the new initiative are remaining tightlipped and have asked their members to keep the negotiations away from the public
eye. When asked about the talks, officials with all three groups refused to discuss
details.
David Elcott, IPF’s executive director, said that “the groups are talking with each
other, and that is a good thing.” Diane Cantor, executive director of Brit Tzedek,
called the situation “fluid” and said that “it is encouraging to see there is such
willingness to work together.” Ori Nir, APN’s spokesman and the Forward’s former
Washington correspondent, said that “APN is taking part in talks about the new
initiative with the hope that these discussions will lead to positive results.”
Despite the general reluctance to delve into details, some officials and lay leaders
involved in the project provided the Forward with Iinformation on the proposed
structure and the obstacles that the initiative is facing.
According to sources close to the talks, the new organization would tap the specific
expertise of each of the member groups: Brit Tzedek would continue to coordinate
its grass-roots operation, IPF would focus on formulating policy proposals and APN
would lead the lobbying efforts. The division of responsibilities would not be rigid,
and APN and IPF are expected to overlap on policy and advocacy work. Each
group would maintain its fundraising operations, with the money raised by the joint
project added on to their respective budgets. Discussions have yet to focus on the
structure of the proposed entity’s joint leadership and its process for hiring staffers
and staking out positions.
Currently, the three groups raise about $5 million a year for their work in America.
APN’s budget nears $3 million, but a third of the money is sent to the Israeli
organization Peace Now; IPF raises $2 million, and Brit Tzedek $1 million.
Ideologically, all three groups agree on the need to strengthen Israel through
promoting the peace process. They all call for stepped-up American diplomatic
efforts on this front. Still, differences exist. APN, for example, focues a more
resources and monitoring and criticizing Israeli settlement policy.
Sources close to the initiative say IPF now seems to be the group most reluctant to
move forward with the merger. These sources say that IPF, with the largest staff of
the three groups, worries that it could lose some of its power by joining a larger
framework. For APN, one of the main problems would be the question of how to
maintain ties with its Israeli mother ship, Peace Now. And for Brit Tzedek, a
significant issue would be maintaining the group’s identity when joining with two
older and more established organizations.
Some participants are also wondering whether a unified structure would end up
weakening the influence of the organizations involved. “Is one voice better than
many voices?” asked one of the activists involved, pointing to the fact that one joint
group might be less visible on Capitol Hill than several smaller ones.
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170 – Chronologie 2007
The new project has yet to be given a formal name. Those involved refer to it in jest
as the “J Street Project.” This is a Washington insider’s joke referencing the fact
that there is no J in the city’s alphabetical street grid, and playing off the name of
the Republican plan to change the political face of the lobbying industry that is
situated on K Street.
This joke also underscores the skepticism with which the new initiative is met by
many in the Jewish community, including some of the activists involved in the
project. The time that has passed since the initiative was first introduced; the
lengthy deliberations within the participating groups, and the difficulty in raising the
core sum needed to launch the project, all have fed this sense of skepticism about
the project’s future. One reason for the delays is the fact that talks with donors were
practically put on hold until the three groups are able to come to a decision on the
proposed merger.
The project got off to a difficult start after being initially portrayed as a challenge to
Aipac. Ever since, those involved in the initiative make it a point not to talk about
Aipac. They also avoid positioning themselves as a counterweight to what is seen
as the hawkish pro-Israel lobby.
Yet in private conversations, the issue of serving as a dovish balance to Aipac is
discussed frequently. One activist involved in the initiative spoke of the need to
send Congress a message that “there are other voices in the community” and that
lawmakers “don’t have to automatically support unnecessary resolutions” about
Israel. Another activist said that many in the Jewish community “are dying” to
present an alternative to Aipac on issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian peace
process. At the same time, all those involved stressed their strong appreciation for
Aipac’s role in supporting and strengthening Israel. They made clear that the new
group — if and when created — would not aim to challenge or replace Aipac as the
leading pro-Israel lobby.
25
Friedman has already failed, in “Haaretz”-online 31.05.2007:
But all the preliminary assessments became irrelevant when it became clear that
Friedmann's agenda was to improve the judicial system only after demolishing it.
It's not important whether some of his criticism is justified. What's important is the
damage he has done to the good name of the system for which he is responsible. If
there is any "accomplishment" Friedmann can already claim, it is serious,
unforgivable damage to public confidence in the prosecution and the courts. If
Friedmann continues his opposition day in and day out to people, appointments,
institutions and decisions, then it won't be long before a criminal tells the judges
that they have no right to imprison him because they serve the gang of the rule of
law and their decisions are based on irrelevant reasons.
Friedmann can explain that his oppositional conduct is based on a legitimate
worldview, which is stringent in its understanding of the separation of powers and
wants to strengthen the Knesset and the government. But in the meantime, he is
destabilizing the building's foundations. Everything he suggests – changing the
composition of the judicial selection committee; reducing the value of seniority in
the selection of a Supreme Court president; changing the makeup of the panel that
selects the state prosecutor, such that the retired judge who serves on it is chosen
by the justice minister rather than the Supreme Court president; changing the way
the attorney general is appointed; changing the way the selection committee is
appointed, such that the court doesn't determine which judge sits on it; expanding
the power of the politicians at the expense of civil servants when it comes to
selecting the state prosecutor, an area the politicians should actually stay away
from – raises the possibility that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will select the state
prosecutor himself from among several candidates, the same prosecutor who will
decide whether to indict Olmert.
The silencing of the attorney general this week, when he tried to warn of the
politicization of the process of appointing the state prosecutor, does not contribute
to good government. The attorney general must be completely independent, in
accordance with the democratic tradition of Israel, and reforms must be made
collaboratively.
Until recently it seemed that the argument between the Supreme Court president
and the justice minister was personal. But it has become increasingly clear that the
dispute is about the independence of the judicial system, which a non-political
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171 – Chronologie 2007
minister is actually making intolerably subordinate to politics. The argument that the
government cannot function due to a fear of criminal investigations resembles the
patricidal son's plea for mercy because he is now an orphan. If there were less
governmental corruption, the intervention of the judicial system would diminish.
Olmert appointed Friedmann in reaction to the indictment of his friend Haim
Ramon. No explanation of principles will cover that up.
26
Luisa Morgantini: Let's recognise our failure: we are complicit in the escalation
of violence Strasbourg, 22 May 2007:
Israelis and Palestinians are paying the price of our lack of capacity to act politically
with responsibility and justice in the Middle East.
Once again, the devastating consequences overwhelm the Palestinian civilians, the
thousands of refugees in Lebanon who are facing the attacks of the Lebanese
army. Once again the Palestinians are subject to collective punishment because of
a group of extremists, enemies of the Palestinian people – Fatah El Islam.
The European Union, the international community must feel morally responsible for
the escalation of violence, morally implicated in the killing of helpless civilians in
Gaza and in the Lebanese refugee camps. The risk of externalisation of the conflict
between Israel and Palestine is the business of us all. It is necessary to maintain
the autonomy of the Palestinian cause and of the rights of the peoples of Israel and
Palestine to have two sovereign states, recognised and secure. The time for words
is past: It is an indispensable duty to recognise our failure, that of the international
community, of the parties, of the movements to uphold international law and put an
end to a military occupation that has lasted forty years. The tragedy of these days
was announced long ago. We've been repeating the slogan "Two peoples and two
states" since 1980, but only one state exist, the Israeli state, an occupying power
without security. On the other side is an occupied people, humiliated and without
freedom.
Humanitarian aid from the European Union is no substitute for what is
indispensable: a political solution and a transparent diplomatic effort, working for
the unity of Palestinians and not for their division and able to impose respect for
international law on the Israeli government.
Why are we helping extremists to undermine the power of the national unity
government? What more must the Palestinian government do?
The steps that are needed now from the EU and from the quartet are the
recognition of the Palestinian national unity government, which in all its complexity
of political representation, responds to the conditions set by the quartet with its own
programme and expresses the will to return to the negotiating table, accepting the
historic opportunity of the Arab League peace initiative. Secondly, it is urgent to
apply pressure on the Israeli government in every possible way so that it ceases the
systematic abuse of international law; the unpunished target killings, the theft of
land with the construction of the Wall, and the Palestinian taxes and revenues
arbitrarily withheld. The military occupation kills every hypothesis of security, every
hope of peace, for both the Palestinians and the Israelis. The Palestinians must
recover their unity and stop their fratricidal fighting and do everything possible to
stop the rocket attacks on neighbouring Israeli cities. Palestine is falling to pieces
and with it the entire Middle East: the consequences of these injustices and for this
violence will come back on us after they have destroyed thousands of innocent
civilians.
27
A kind of military coup, in “Haaretz”-online 21.05.2007: Does Israel still uphold
that proper state of affairs in which the elected government sets policy and civil
servants carry it out? According to an article published in Haaretz yesterday ("The
spirit of the commander prevails" by Meron Rapoport), it seems that with regard to
the army, the answer is negative. While ministers speak about a two-state solution,
a kind of military coup is taking place in the West Bank, in which the Israel Defense
Forces are turning the area into the state of the settlers. While the Palestinian
population is being suffocated, the settlements are flourishing.
It does not make much difference whether the Defense Ministry is headed by a
civilian minister, because the army has its own agenda, and its subordination to the
government is often simulated. For years, Israel was proud of the democratic
miracle of an obedient army that did not accumulate too much power and served
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172 – Chronologie 2007
the elected government loyally, even though the country was engaged in a continual
existential war. During the last war, however, cracks appeared in this faith, when it
turned out that the cabinet had been dragged into approving military plans that were
never even submitted to it. And even worse things happen every day in the
occupied territories. Haggai Alon, an adviser to the defense minister who is
responsible for the fabric of life in the West Bank, says that the army disregards the
government's diplomatic agenda and essentially serves as the settlers' army. Or at
least, that is how it was throughout Dan Halutz's tenure as chief of staff.
One shocking example of this democratic crisis is the army's disregard of court
decisions regarding the route of the separation fence. After years of High Court of
Justice hearings on every meter of the fence, with the goal of striking a balance
between security needs and the needs of Palestinian daily life, it turns out that
along Route 317, which links several settlements in the southern Mount Hebron
area, the army ignored these decisions and built a mini-fence in addition to the one
that was formally approved – and it is located along the original route that the High
Court nixed.
Additionally, a section of the fence near the Trans-Samaria Highway, which was
supposed to be built near the Green Line, was never completed due to the settlers'
objections. The army also stopped conducting security checks on cars with Israeli
license plates due to the protests lodged by settlers, who did not want to stop at the
checkpoints – even though an explosives-laden car with an Israeli license plate
recently entered Israel. The IDF does not report to the government on how many
roadblocks there are in the West Bank; thus the government can talk about making
life easier for the Palestinians while the army refrains from doing so. Similarly,
thanks to assistance from IDF officers, settlers moved into a disputed house in
Hebron; downtown Hebron was closed to Palestinians; and 3,000 demonstrators
reached the evacuated settlement of Homesh in defiance of the government's
decision. Settlements are also expanding in various places because the army has
turned a blind eye, and sometimes even with its active assistance.
In light of all this, Amir Peretz's talk about dismantling West Bank settlement
outposts, like Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni's promises to reach a new agreement on
dividing the land between Israel and Palestine, sounds emptier than ever. It
evidently makes no difference which party is in power, as long as the army serves
the settlers rather than the state.
28
Reuven Kaminer: Mit Baruch Kimmerling aufrecht stehen (Auszug), 23.05.2007:
Wir alle müssen aufrecht und sprachgewandt wie Baruch Kimmerling reden, der
diese Woche in Israel gestorben ist. Niemand von uns erinnert sich an ihn anders,
als wie er sich mit Krämpfen bewegt, in seinem fahrenden Rollstuhl sitzt, in Worten
mit gewaltiger Wirkung spricht und über einen Punkt lächelt, den er in einem
Wortgefecht gewonnen hat. Seine Klarheit des Denkens, seine Hingabe an
Fairness und an die Wahrheit in der Politik und in der Wissenschaft haben Baruch
Kimmerling zu einer heroischen Gestalt gemacht. Jeden Tag und jedes Jahr rollte
er durch den Nebel des Schmerzes und über Barrieren seiner schweren
Behinderung zu seiner wissenschaftlichen Arbeit, wobei er die ganze Zeit einen
klaren und mutigen Standpunkt gegen die moralische Degeneration einnahm, die
dieses Landes besetzt hält. Intellektuelle des Establishments fühlten so etwas wie
Vertrauen, wenn sie Anklagen zurückwiesen, dass Israel einen Genozid begehe,
weil sie auf die überzogene Beschuldigung eine Antwort wussten, doch auf
Kimmerlings höchst analytische Kategorie des Politizids hatten sie keine glaubhafte
Antwort.
29
A Conversation with Zbigniew Brzezinski by Robert Kuttner, in “The American
Prospect” 20.05.2007:
After the failure of adventures based on fantasies, it's time for a big dose of reality
in America's Mideast policy. America's most notable foreign policy realist speaks
with the Prospect.
The premise of this special collection of articles on peace in the Middle East is that
all the major elements of regional conflict and cooperation are linked. These include
U.S. relations with Iran, options for U.S. exit from Iraq, U.S. containment of militant
Islamism, economic development of the region, and a settlement of the IsraelPalestine conflict. In this interview, which frames the issue, Prospect co-editor
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173 – Chronologie 2007
Robert Kuttner discusses with former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski
how the various elements of Middle East peace fit together.
Robert Kuttner: In your view, what are the prospects for some kind of big regional
settlement in the Middle East? And how do the several pieces fit together?
Zbigniew Brzezinski: I think that a regional settlement is possible, provided the
power that is most capable of promoting it engages itself seriously. This is not to
say that it will be easy, but it is not impossible. The overwhelming element of
uncertainty is whether the United States has the will and the gumption to tackle the
issue.
RK: What is the relationship between some kind of tolerable stabilization of Iraq and
a broader regional settlement of the other major outstanding issues, the two
obvious ones being Israel-Palestine and Iran?
ZB: The Israeli-Palestinian issue is ripe for settlement, provided the United States
pursues it, because neither of the two parties on the official level has the will and
the predisposition to seek that settlement. By now we know what the fundamental
parameters of a genuine settlement are, and if they're not implemented, there will
be no settlement.
The Iraqi situation will take time to stabilize itself, but the longer the conflict lasts
and the longer the occupation lasts, the more the civil war and the anti-U.S.
insurgency are going to be intertwined. Therefore, it is important to cut the nexus
and to set in motion a political process that facilitates United States disengagement
and contributes to stabilization. It's hard to say how quickly it could be achieved, but
within two years there could be genuinely significant improvement.
Iran is going to be there forever, and Iran is going to be important in the region
whether we like it or not. And it's in our interest, first of all, to avoid a collision,
because an American-Iranian collision, either deliberately provoked or accidentally
precipitated, would bog the United States down in a conflict that will then span both
Iraq and Iran.
RK: Let's take them one at a time. If we want some kind of lessening of tensions
with Iran, what's the sequence by which we bring that about?
ZB: Well, what seems a good way to begin – which is in fact what is happening right
now, but the outcome of which is obviously uncertain – is the dialogue about
regional security. This is presumably focused specifically on Iraq, but by implication
it involves others. If we are prepared to be serious on this, I think that could in turn
make it somewhat easier to perhaps eliminate the obstacle to more discussion
about the nuclear problem – that obstacle being the U.S. decision, clumsy and
basically stupid, to insist that the Iranians give something up as a precondition for a
serious dialogue on the subject. I frankly don't understand how anyone in his right
mind would make that condition if he were serious about negotiations, unless the
objective is to prevent negotiations.
RK: Is the whole or partial normalization of relations with Iran and a lifting of
sanctions the first step, or the last step?
ZB: I think the first step is the dialogue with Iran, with Syria, and the others, but
particularly with Iran. That could lead to some understanding regarding the nuclear
issue in which, for example, the Iranians voluntarily decide to suspend for a period
of time enrichment, and we suspend some of the sanctions that we have imposed
over the years or very recently. I don't have a particular menu for this process. But it
seems to me it doesn't require the mind of a rocket scientist to figure that this is an
approach that has worked in other cases. And we did, after all, after several painful
years, manage to change our negotiating position toward North Korea. So why
shouldn't we be able to do it also toward Iran?
RK: Well, in light of how the Korean shift came about – how Secretary Condi Rice
and National Security Advisor Steve Hadley had to go directly to the president and
cut Vice President Cheney out of the loop – do you see a shift in who's making
policy and a shift in the ability of the real hard-liners to veto progress?
ZB: I think the real shift is that in the case of North Korea, we had a party to the
talks who was tough-minded and clear as to what ought to be done. And they
weren't particularly hesitant in communicating it cogently to us. I refer to the
Chinese. And on the U.S. side, we're fortunate to have a negotiator, who, while
compliant with the general ideological line of the administration, is tough-minded
and independent. That's Chris Hill. He was able in a sense to foster a serious
dialogue with the Chinese and within the administration at the same time. I don't
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see that yet in our relationship with Iran, but it is to these factors that I ascribe the
change, and not so much to the notion that Rice and Hadley had an epiphany.
RK: Well, let's shift to Israel. You said the terms of the settlement are well known by
now.
ZB: Yes, and if I may say so, I have been advocating them for years. And I think,
not because of my advocacy, they now are more generally accepted, and the
public-opinion polls show that the Israeli public and the Palestinian public will accept
them. I suspect the majority of American Jews, who are predominantly liberal,
would also accept them. They may not be acceptable to the Likudniks and the right
wing in Israel politically. They may not be acceptable to Hamas or some key
elements of it. They may not be acceptable to AIPAC, which tends to be more
catholic than the pope when it comes to Israel.
But the basic elements, in my judgment, are the following. One: no right of return.
That's a very bitter pill for the Palestinians to swallow; I have to emphasize that. It's
a fundamental issue for them. But there cannot be any right of return, unless they
package it as 20,000 Palestine grandmothers over the age of 80 and certified not to
be capable of child bearing, something like this.
Now second, in return for that, there has to be the sharing of Jerusalem. Let me
just be as blunt on this as I can be, even though I know that this is an emotional
issue. There will be no peace if Jerusalem is entirely controlled by Israel. Because
you can see the Golden Dome from the West Bank, and it's a living symbol of what
they all consider to be an unfair peace it has to be shared. The outline is roughly
what Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak were talking about, and the Geneva Accords
actually are the most specific description of how this could be done.
The third is a division based roughly on the 1967 borders, but not mechanically,
because a number of settlements that are near the border and are largely urban
should be incorporated into Israel, in return for which there should be an absolutely
asymmetrical adjustment in favor of the Palestinian state. Otherwise, it's again
perceived as an unfair treaty in a setting in which close to six million Israelis and
roughly five million Palestinians have already divided the previous Palestine
mandate, 78 percent in favor of Israel and 22 percent for Palestine. So you can't
expect the Palestinians to accept any further cuts.
And the fourth element is the comprehensive demilitarization of the Palestinian
state, with a major UN presence. When I first advocated that, some critics called
me crazy, and yet today we have a major presence of military personnel from
NATO countries in southern Lebanon with Israel accepting it. And I think this crazy
idea will probably be actually beneficial to Israel.
RK: This would include not just presence, but explicit security guarantees?
ZB: Yes, absolutely. I would even say that if Israel signs a peace treaty on that
basis with the Palestinians, I would personally favor Israel's membership in NATO.
RK: Do you see an enhanced European role in the region as the American
credibility has been diminished?
ZB: You know, I said that China plays an important role in the Korea negotiations.
But the Europeans haven't played an important role in the Middle East, because
there's no Europe; there's only European countries. And there won't be a European
role until Europe – by which I mean primarily the political leadership of Great Britain,
Germany, and France, maybe supported on the margins by Spain, Italy, and Poland
– comes to us and says, "This is our European policy. We are your allies. We are
willing to work with you, but policy is shared, and responsibilities are shared." That's
in effect what the Chinese said to us. Such a Europe would be important, but we're
not going to have such a Europe for some years to come.
RK: And that being the case, Europe won't be a major player?
ZB: Europe can be supportive, and the Europeans will certainly support us if we do
what I think we should do. But they'll be frustrated and disappointed with us if we
don't act, but unable to do it on their own. And then we'd have an even bigger
mess.
RK: Before the American invasion of Iraq, there was a lot of talk about the road to
Jerusalem leading through Baghdad: Destroy Saddam and you supposedly
strengthen the prospects for peace on terms acceptable to Israel. Some people
now argue that the road runs the other way – that an Israel-Palestine settlement
would reduce tensions in the region because it would remove one of the principal
frustrations in the Arab relationship – and, for that matter, the Iranian relationship –
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with the United States. On the other hand, has so much damage been done now by
the Iraq War and the radicalization of Islam that even a settlement of the IsraelPalestine conflict would no longer be so helpful in bringing greater peace and
stability to the region?
ZB: Prior to the war with Iraq, an Israel-Palestine settlement, with us playing a
creative role in it, would have fundamentally altered Arab attitudes toward the
United States. The United States has been viewed in the region somewhat benignly
as a kind of post-imperial presence, replacing the British and the French, in spite of
its support for Israel. But in recent years, when we shifted from being a mediator
between Israel and the Palestinians, that positive image began to erode and
provoke, among some, intense hostility toward America. Some of that would
disappear if there was such a settlement.
Unfortunately, we have done other damaging things since then. We have destroyed
the most viable and the most modern Arab country in the Middle East. We
destroyed the Iraqi state, loathsome as its leadership was. Now, we are also
destroying the country – 24 million people, two million of whom have been driven
out of the country, one and a half million of whom have been driven out of their
homes, and roughly half a million of whom are not living today because of what
happened. Not that all of them were killed by us, but some children were not born
because of us. Other people died earlier because of us. There's been a general
decline in fertility, and a general increase in mortality, because of what has
happened. That has created a lot of resentment, obviously.
And then on top of it, there is the Islamophobic rhetoric that Bush has fostered, and
the irresponsible plunge of the mass media and the entertainment industry into
terror sensationalism with a strong racist, religious tone to it, resulting in a feeling of
real resentment. Some of these manifestations really, to me, are reminiscent of the
characterizations of Jews in Nazi Germany, the deliberate caricatures of entire
groups of people in a conscious way. I am particularly shocked that some Jewish
student organizations are now promoting that with films and so forth, as if they were
not aware of the fact that the Holocaust was the product of similar hatred; and that
is profoundly disturbing, politically and morally.
RK: But even with all of that, if the United States hopes to get back some of its
moral influence in the world and region, an Israel-Palestine settlement would still
help?
ZB: It would help a hell of a lot. And it would help a lot also toward solving the Iraqi
problem, and then probably thereby facilitate some sort of a reasonable balance in
relations with Iran. And all of that, cumulatively, would have a very profound impact.
But it would no longer have the same close-to-total effect if we had done this when I
think we could have done it.
And we could have done it twice. We could have done it with Bush Senior. If he had
been re-elected, it would have been done, but he wasn't re-elected. And then it
could have been done if Clinton had been more serious and less politically
calculating and had applied himself to it, not just a few months before the elections
but maybe a couple of years before the elections.
RK: Let's turn to Iraq. What is the least bad way out of Iraq, and what is the least
bad scenario for what happens after we leave?
ZB: In a nutshell: a Kurdish/Shiite, somewhat theocratic regime that probably uses
a combination of compromise and brutal violence, resolves the civil strife, is then
nominally friendly toward us, but is not really a reliable friend. But at the same time,
Iraqi nationalism is still somewhat of a barrier to Iran in the region.
RK: A less brutal version of Saddam?
ZB: You're putting it rather brutally yourself, but that's essentially right.
RK: And what do the Sunnis get?
ZB: The Sunnis get what they can get, and that depends on whether they prefer to
accommodate or whether they want to fight. I don't feel that it is America's
responsibility to resolve their civil war – although it is in a sense, unfortunately, a
civil war that we have produced. So we cannot be totally passive, nor indifferent.
Nonetheless, you don't solve civil wars by foreign occupation unless you can make
that occupation totally successful. The fact of the matter is, we're not able; not
physically, but we're not able as a matter of will to end that civil war by force of
arms. That would require a combination of an enormous military effort with
extraordinary brutality, and the country isn't prepared to support either.
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RK: So does that mean – withdrawal by a date certain?
ZB: Well, as you may know, I've been advocating for well over a year now that we
set a date, and I've been using the date of one year. That year has already passed,
because my voice hasn't been heeded.
RK: But what happens? Let's assume we heed your voice, and on June 1st of
2008, the last American troop leaves, and civil war intensifies.
ZB: Well, if people know that we are leaving – first of all, it's not going to be a
surprise. People have to adjust to that reality. And I would imagine some intelligent
Shiite leaders would say, "Let's compromise." Others would say, "Let's fight."
Probably both elements, both aspects will happen. And again, the dust settles.
RK: And do other regional countries play a role, and do we care what that role is?
ZB: Well, not really. I think the Syrians are going to get involved. The Syrians will be
very anxious not to be left out of the peace arrangement between Palestine and
Israel. The Iranians obviously will favor the Shiites, and there's a simplistic
assumption among some here that the Iraqi Shiites are somehow or other willing
sacrifices. The fact is, they fought very well against the Iranians in the eight-yearlong Iran-Iraq war.
RK: And what about the concern that Iraq would be a hotbed for radical Islamist
terrorists?
ZB: I see no reason for that. The Kurds would still need American support in the
part of the Iraq where they are influential. The Shiites would still need some balance
between themselves and Iran, which would require support from us. After all, there
are territorial disputes, which, of course, the Iraqis remember. And the Saudis
would have some influence over the Sunnis. I think we could probably manage that.
It's not going to be "a cake walk" by any means, but I think that scenario is still,
despite its inherent uncertainties, probably preferable to the consequences of
continued civil war with America mixed up in that civil war directly, and perhaps
inching toward some unintended collision with Iran in the process.
RK: Can you articulate a principled basis for when to reach accommodation with
hostile or even odious regimes? Iran is not Nazi Germany. But where do you draw
the line in terms of people whom you can do business with and reach a settlement
of some kind based on mutual interests versus people who are totally abhorrent?
ZB: One reaches a settlement not because one likes the people involved or
because they're good people. But one reaches a settlement because, in at least
some circumstances, a settlement is better than a war. It's as simple as that. Now if
Iran wants a war with the United States, they will certainly get one. But I don't want
America to want a war with Iran, because I think we're better off without a war with
Iran. And it's no comfort to me that some Iranians may want to commit suicide. So I
think one should always give settlement a chance, unless one is attacked.
RK: So you don't believe that the fact that some people in the Middle East do want
to commit suicide makes it a challenge of a whole other order of magnitude?
ZB: Well, some people may, but that doesn't mean that states will. We'll have
problems with groups and terrorists, but if states involved don't want to commit
suicide, then they could become allies in containing these groups, provided there is
some accommodation on outstanding issues.
RK: How do you see the United States regaining moral authority in the region and
the world after these debacles under the Bush administration?
ZB: There's a very simple, very basic answer. The very simple answer is by
surviving the next 20 months without an escalation of war. That automatically
means the situation becomes different at the end of 2008.
RK: But then the hard work begins.
ZB: But then the hard work begins with the new president, who is not encumbered
by the catastrophic judgments of his predecessor, nor with the fanaticism of his
predecessor, not by underestimating the difficulties.
RK: Do you think the more fanatical, paranoid factions of the Bush administration
have been weakened to the point where policy is already changing?
ZB: I think the composition of the group within the administration has been diluted.
The big uncertainty is the disposition at the very top.
30
Gideon Levy: If Gaza survives, Europe must act, in “The Guardian” 19.05.2007:
Gaza is on the precipice.
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177 – Chronologie 2007
This has implications not only for the security of Palestinians and Israelis but also
for further radicalizing the region beyond. As Mogadishu enters its second decade
of chaos and ungovernability there is a cautionary tale for neighbours seeking to
fuel civil wars.
With Gaza collapsing, the key culprits are considered to be the Palestinians, Israel,
the United States, and even the Arab states. The Palestinians have been unable to
hold together a functioning unity government and have too easily resorted to
violence in addressing their internal and external problems.
The gun battles are now often between factions within the factions of Hamas and
Fatah, overlaid by simple criminality and clan-based feuds. The Palestinian public
has understandably lost faith in the political process.
Israel left Gaza but maintains – and even strengthens – its occupation of the West
Bank, and the attempt to de-link the two is always bound to fail. The unilateral
disengagement from Gaza was described by its Israeli architect as an act of
punishment, rather than peace and stability-building. Israeli restrictions on
Palestinian movement continue to be the proximate cause of the dire economic
situation as reported again recently in a World Bank study. The US-led the drive for
democratization in the region only to become prime enforcer of an international
embargo against a democratically elected Palestinian government after the 2006
Parliamentary elections.
For six years, America has provided no political hope and no political horizon to
resolve the conflict, with policy instead meandering between ineffective conflict
management and irresponsible conflict promotion. Most of the surrounding Arab
states, acting in fear of their own Islamist oppositions, have unhelpfully intervened
in Palestinian internal politics. But the withering complicity of Europe in this sad
state of affairs often goes unmentioned.
Gaza is on Europe's doorstep; what goes on there has a ripple effect among
Europe's minority Muslim communities. This is a European interest, and Europe
should know better than America's neocon Neanderthals.
After the Palestinian Legislative Council elections Europe timidly signed up to the
preconditions for engaging the new PA government. The EU became part of the
diplomatic and financial boycott of the Palestinians' elected leadership.
Europe seemed so thrilled to be invited to the Middle East peace process big boys'
table of the international Quartet that being there became an end in itself.
Even with all the difficulties of managing common foreign and security policy in an
EU of 27 nations, the absence of a European position is a damning indictment.
US deputy national security advisor Elliot Abrams is reported to have recently
boasted to a meeting of Jewish Republicans that current American engagement on
Israel-Palestine was "process for the sake of process" intended to silence nascent
European and Arab criticism.
And indeed the European response has been muted. European aid to the
Palestinians has continued while its effectiveness has continued to dwindle. To
circumvent the economic embargo, Europe led in the establishment of a Temporary
International Mechanism (TIM) to channel international aid.
The humanitarian imperative behind TIM is laudable, and it provided a smart
technical-bureaucratic solution; but, as so much in the Middle East, the temporary
has become permanent, and the abnormal and unsustainable has been prolonged.
Rather than reconfiguring its approach when a unity government was established
between Fatah and Hamas, the EU simply continued with TIM.
As the World Bank has pointed out, and Nathan Brown of the Carnegie Endowment
has detailed in his study, “Requiem for Palestinian Reform: Clear Lessons from a
Troubled Record”, this approach is undermining more than a decade of efforts at
Palestinian institution-building. In fact, the EU failed to live up to its own at least
implicit commitment to the Palestinians that, were a Fatah-Hamas unity
government to be agreed, the embargo would be ended and normal aid channels
resumed.
It is indeed informative and deeply distressing that the two European governments
who have pursued engagement are the non-EU member states of Switzerland and
Norway. If and when the situation in Gaza pulls back from the brink, then the
international community should pause to consider its failed policies, and Europe
should take a lead, at least in some areas. The Quartet should take advantage of,
rather than eschew, the use of variable geometry in its engagement with the
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178 – Chronologie 2007
Palestinian Authority. If it is serious and committed, then Europe can do things that
the Israelis and Americans, and even some Arab states, are unwilling or unable to
do.
Israel's lack of appetite for a dialogue with Hamas at this stage may be
shortsighted, but it is certainly understandable, and anyway the feeling is probably
mutual. At the last meeting of European foreign ministers, there was an apparent
willingness to consider resumption of direct assistance to the PA.
EU external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner is apparently eager to
push in this direction, but the reorientation should not stop there. Ideally the new
leaderships in France and Britain will be open to new thinking.
Reaching an accommodation with reformist political Islamists is a crucial part of any
realistic pushback strategy against al-Qaeda. The Palestinian Hamas reality may
not be the ideal laboratory conditions for initiating such an approach, but it is the
one we have. Making a Palestinian unity government work is the best option for
Palestinians, but also for Israel and an international community interested in
stabilizing security and creating the building blocks for a renewed peace process. It
is also the choice of President Abbas and the Marwan Barghouti-affiliated young
leadership faction of Fatah.
Europe should be pushing a three-point agenda – part it can do alone, and part
requires convincing others. First, EU diplomatic engagement with all parties,
including Hamas, to promote a stable PA unity government. Second, resume direct
financial assistance to the PA and encourage Israel to release Palestinian tax
money it is holding. And finally, work with the Quartet and the parties to extend any
future Gaza ceasefire to the West Bank.
31
Gershon Baskin: Answering my critics, in „Jerusalem Post“ 21.05.2007:
Since February 2005, I have been writing this column in the Jerusalem Post every
other week. The talkbacks to my articles which also appear on jpost.com are
consistently angry, aggressive, and opposed to almost everything I write. The
responses to my repeated calls for taking steps toward peace with our neighbors
have been complete rejection.
The basis of opposition comes from those who question the very existence of the
Palestinian people. Others, who might be willing to recognize that Palestinians do
exist, are not wiling to accept the reality of their presence on any part of the Land of
Israel. Others who might be willing to accept the presence of Palestinians in some
part of Eretz Israel are not willing to accept the possibility of equal rights for them
within the State of Israel or even in areas that are under the control of the State of
Israel.
I have been called everything from a self-hating Jew to a post-Zionist. I am neither.
I am and have always been very Jewish and very Zionist. The main motivations
behind all of what I believe are in fact both my Jewish identity and my Zionist one.
For me the existence of State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people is the
ultimate expression of the national strategic interests of the Jewish people. It is an
expression of our liberation and our determination to be a free people in our land.
But Israel cannot fulfill the national strategic interests of the Jewish people if it is a
state built on oppression, persecution and denial of the national rights of another
people.
Like or not, recognize it or not, there is another people living with us on this land. It
does not matter when that people defined itself in national terms. It does not matter
if they did not declare independence before 1967. It does not matter if they (and
we) failed to bring about their independence through the Oslo process. The reality
of their existence and our failure to remove ourselves from ruling over them is the
gravest danger to the continuation of the Zionist enterprise since the very
establishment of the State of Israel.
Many of my critics are celebrating the bloodshed in Gaza caused by Palestinians
fighting other Palestinians. What those in celebration fail to realize is that the
destruction of Palestinian governance in Gaza and perhaps later in the West Bank
is a disastrous situation for Israel. Whether they realize it or not, we need a
Palestinian partner.
FROM ALL of my critics I have yet to understand in practical terms what they
propose as an alternative to serve the interests of Israel and the Jewish people. I
don't believe that there are real Jews who could even think of the possibility of
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179 – Chronologie 2007
removing the Palestinians from here by force. There is the notion of "transfer by
choice" – a ridiculous idea based on the suggestion that if we make their lives so
intolerable, they will chose to pick up and leave on their own.
Could that be done in the name of Judaism? Let's not forget the genius of those
who see the separation walls as the ultimate solution. Let's build walls high enough
and electronic fences sophisticated enough that we can close the gates, lock the
doors, throw away the keys and make believe that what exists on the other side is
not our concern. Those brilliant planners only forgot that we have hundreds of
thousands of settlers on the other side of walls and fences. They also forgot that
those settlements are completely in contravention of international law.
Oh yes, I forgot, we don't have to observe international law because we already
know that they entire world is against us and we are a people "will always dwell
alone." "It doesn't matter what the goyim think or do, it only matters what we do."
It is doubtful if those Palestinians, and there are hundreds of thousands of them,
who truly want to make peace with us, will be able to survive and prevail against the
hatred, anger and extremism of Islamic fundamentalism which is on the rise as a
result of continuing despair.
I must honestly confess, I don't know if we as a state of the Jewish people will be
able to survive either. Our hatred, our fears, our extremism and our arrogance have
helped us to arrive at a place and a time when the possibility of liberating ourselves
from the occupation of the Palestinian people may be too late. I, for one, am at a
total loss of what happens then. Once the possibility of creating a Palestinian state
next to Israel is no longer real, it seems to me that the dream of a democratic state
of the Jewish people comes to an end. Israel can and will continue to exist but it will
no longer be able to claim its commitment to democracy or to prophetic values of
our Biblical teachings.
Once there is no longer a two-state option, Palestinians will divert their and the
world's attention to the demand for full democracy within a singular state. They will
not talk about a bi-national state; that is not what their struggle will be predicated
on. Their demand will be for one man one vote. They will demand to de-Zionize and
de-Judaize Israel.
We in response will dig in deeper. Israel will fight off the international onslaught
which will remove the very legitimacy that the international community granted the
Jewish people's right to a state of their own in November 29, 1947 when the UN
Resolution calling for the establishment of two states in Palestine was first passed.
IN THE end, if we fail to bring an end to the occupation and if we fail to make peace
with our Palestinian neighbors, we will be bringing about our own downfall.
Whatever my critics may think, I am not a prophet of doom – for prophecy, as they
say, has been given to the fools.
I am no fool. It is not possible to simply ignore the problem. It is not possible for us
to simply use our military might to wipe out the problem either. The IsraeliPalestinian conflict is not a military problem and there are no military solutions to it.
This is a political conflict between two peoples fighting for national selfdetermination. There are ways for mutual accommodation, but they require
changing "the disk," because the old logic of mutual destruction is working too well.
We as Jews and as Israelis can not afford to lose anymore. After 40 years of
occupation, it is time for all of us to be liberated.
32
Dan Kurtzer: Washington reassessing its role, in „bitterlemons“ 17.05.2007:
For nearly 40 years, the United States has fancied itself the most important "third
party" in the Israel-Arab peace process. Some administrations have adopted
ambitious approaches to peace-making in which the US president and/or the
secretary of state have involved themselves directly and in detail in negotiations.
Other administrations have adopted less ambitious approaches, often the result of
circumstances assessed to be unpropitious for achieving progress toward peace.
US failures in the peace process during the past decade or more have given rise to
the possibility of a gradual but fundamental reassessment by the United States of
its primary mediating role. If this gradual shift proves real, it will have profound
consequences for Arabs and Israelis.
Several factors accounted for the US role in previous Arab-Israel peace efforts.
First, the US perceived such engagement as being a vital national self-interest, that
is, it was a means of extending US power and prestige and blocking the aggressive
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180 – Chronologie 2007
aims of adversaries such as the Soviet Union or, more recently, Iran. Second, the
US believed that peace was desirable, possible and necessary for the long-term
well-being of the Middle East, a region of significant strategic importance to it.
Third, the US has enjoyed a special relationship with Israel, and always perceived a
strong interest on the part of Israeli governments to reach peace accommodations
with all its neighbors.
In seeking to fulfill these self-interests, the US always brought important assets to
the table in its role as a mediator. US offers of economic and military assistance
often helped seal a deal between the parties. Similarly, US political assurances
were taken very seriously by all the parties, especially those that related to final
status issues such as the question of Palestinian self-determination, the necessity
of a viable and territorially-contiguous Palestinian state, the future of settlement
blocs, the fate of Palestinian refugees, the issue of Jerusalem and the best ways of
enhancing security for Israel and its neighbors. The US also often brought
ingenuity, creativity or muscle to the table, attributes that were no less important
than the tangible economic, military and political commitments it was prepared to
make.
Given this extended period of US primacy in mediation and the panoply of skills and
assets the US mustered in support of its mediating role, the central question now is
why the US no longer seems interested in helping the parties get to negotiations,
implement agreements already reached and bring forth new agreements on the
road to a final peace settlement. Has the US lost interest in the peace process?
Has the US assessment of peace – its desirability, possibility and necessity –
changed? And if the US does not play a key mediating role, can a peace settlement
be reached?
For the current administration, two primary considerations have underpinned a
reticence to get too deeply involved in peace-making. President George W. Bush
believed that his predecessor, President Bill Clinton, had weakened the power of
the presidency through repeated, failed efforts at peace. Bush assessed that
presidents have only so much political capital to spend and from the outset he had
other priorities. In this respect, 9/11 only reinforced Bush's predispositions in that he
saw the Israel-Palestine conflict through the prism of terrorism-counterterrorism.
These considerations could have been subjected to review after the death of
Yasser Arafat, when an opportunity arose to invest heavily not only in stopping the
violence but also in getting the two sides back to the negotiating table. However,
the Bush administration remained on the sidelines, supportive of Israel's
disengagement policy, active in trying to resolve relatively small on-the-ground
problems, but reticent to touch the more important issues, particularly those
associated with final status. It is this reticence – at a time when the parties
themselves and the larger Arab world appeared anxious for a helping hand back to
peace-making – that suggests that the Bush administration is changing the US
strategic outlook, not just hesitating to get involved while the two sides fight.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's latest foray into the Israel-Palestine dispute
initially appeared to counter this strategic shift, but its lackadaisical style and limited
ambition actually reinforce the trend of US policy.
With US elections in late 2008, the parties in the region will need to factor into their
own strategies this evolving but increasingly clear US approach. They will face two
stark choices between now and November 2008: either go it alone in bilateral
engagement and bilateral negotiations, or find an alternative third party to provide
the off-the-table benefits previously provided by the US. Neither of these appears
very realistic, and thus the peace process has a vacancy for a mediator.
33
Der Vertrag von Mekka befindet sich in der Menüleiste „Begleitende
Dokumente“ dieser Homepage.
34
Yoav Stern: New Israeli Arab declaration: Israel must own up to Nakba, in
„Haaretz“-online 15.05.2007:
A group of Israeli Arab intellectuals are calling on Israel to recognize its
responsibility for the Nakba ("The Catastrophe," the Palestinians' term for what
happened to them after 1948) and to act to implement the Palestinian refugees'
right of return and establishment of a Palestinian state.
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181 – Chronologie 2007
These moves will pave the way to a historic reconciliation between the Jewish
nation in Israel and the Palestinian people, says a position paper entitled "The Haifa
Declaration" published in Haaretz for the first time today.
The composers urge Israel to become a democratic state that upholds "national
equality" between Jews and Arabs.
The demands in the Haifa Declaration are similar to those made in previous
position papers and consist first and foremost of abolishing the Jewish state.
"A democratic state based on equality between the Israeli Jews and the Palestinian
Arabs in Israel will ensure both groups' rights in a just and egalitarian way," it posits.
This is the fourth position paper released by leading organizations of the Arab
community in Israel in recent months. It follows the Ten Points of the Mossawa
Center, The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, The Future Vision of the
Palestinian Arabs in Israel of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and the
Democratic Constitution of the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in
Israel.
The declaration distinguishes between Jews who live in Israel and those who are
not Israelis. The Arab minority is defined as a "homeland minority," which is entitled
to many rights according to the international law. Israel is accused in the paper of
trying over the years to "distort" the identity of the Arab s in Israel.
The declaration demands canceling the laws of immigration (Law of Return) and
citizenship (that prevent Israeli Arabs from marrying Palestinians). It demands a
veto right for Arabs in all matters pertaining to their status and to ensure them
cultural autonomy. The resources must be distributed on "principles of justice and
affirmative action."
The paper was written by figures identified with various parties, including Balad and
Hadash, but not with the Islamic movement. Professor Nadim Rouhana, director of
Mada al-Carmel – Arab Center for Applied Social Research, who spearheaded the
initiative to write the document, said yesterday that the project was sparked by the
prevalent feeling that the Israeli Arabs were being overlooked by the Israeli bodies
working on a constitution.
"We are not immigrants. We see ourselves as owners of this place, even if we
recognize the Jewish nation in Israel, and we have reached the conclusion that we
must think of our place in our homeland," he said.
The writers decided to publish the paper on May 15, Nakba Day. It describes the
event as a seminal one that established the negative relationship between the Arab
citizens and the state.
"Following the event we, the remainder of the original homeland residents, became
bereft of real citizenship and especially of equality," it says.
The paper castigates tribalism in Arab society, which it says facilitated Israel's
"divide and rule" strategy, which "strengthened the discourse based on tribal,
parochial zealotry."
35
Der Text des TIM findet sich in der Menüleiste „Begleitende Dokumente” dieser
Homepage.
36
Nicholas D. Kristof: Diplomacy at Its Worst, in “New York Times” 14.05.2007:
In May 2003, Iran sent a secret proposal to the U.S. for settling our mutual disputes
in a “grand bargain.”
It is an astonishing document, for it tries to address a range of U.S. concerns about
nuclear weapons, terrorism and Iraq. I’ve placed it and related documents
(including multiple drafts of it) on my blog www.nytimes.com/ontheground.
Hard-liners in the Bush administration killed discussions of a deal, and interviews
with key players suggest that was an appalling mistake. There was a real hope for
peace; now there is a real danger of war.
Scattered reports of the Iranian proposal have emerged previously, but if you read
the full documentary record you’ll see that what the hard-liners killed wasn’t just one
faxed Iranian proposal but an entire peace process. The record indicates that
officials from the repressive, duplicitous government of Iran pursued peace more
energetically and diplomatically than senior Bush administration officials – which
makes me ache for my country.
The process began with Afghanistan in 2001-2. Iran and the U.S., both opponents
of the Taliban, cooperated closely in stabilizing Afghanistan and providing aid, and
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182 – Chronologie 2007
unofficial “track two” processes grew to explore opportunities for improved
relations.
On the U.S. side, track two involved well-connected former U.S. ambassadors,
including Thomas Pickering, Frank Wisner and Nicholas Platt. The Iranian
ambassador to the U.N., Javad Zarif, was a central player, as was an IranianAmerican professor at Rutgers, Hooshang Amirahmadi, who heads a friendship
group called the American Iranian Council.
At a dinner the council sponsored for its board at Ambassador Zarif’s home in
September 2002, the group met Iran’s foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi. According
to the notes of Professor Amirahmadi, the foreign minister told the group, “Yes, we
are ready to normalize relations,” provided the U.S. made the first move.
This was shaping into a historic opportunity to heal U.S.-Iranian relations, and the
track two participants discussed further steps, including joint U.S.-Iranian
cooperation against Saddam Hussein. The State Department and National Security
Council were fully briefed, and in 2003 Ambassador Zarif met with two U.S.
officials, Ryan Crocker and Zalmay Khalilzad, in a series of meetings in Paris and
Geneva.
Encouraged, Iran transmitted its “grand bargain” proposals to the U.S. One version
was apparently a paraphrase by the Swiss ambassador in Tehran; that was
published this year in The Washington Post.
But Iran also sent its own master text of the proposal to the State Department and,
through an intermediary, to the White House. I’ve also posted that document, which
Iran regards as the definitive one.
In the master document, Iran talks about ensuring “full transparency” and other
measures to assure the U.S. that it will not develop nuclear weapons. Iran offers
“active Iranian support for Iraqi stabilization.” Iran also contemplates an end to “any
material support to Palestinian opposition groups” while pressuring Hamas “to stop
violent actions against civilians within” Israel (though not the occupied territories).
Iran would support the transition of Hezbollah to be a “mere political organization
within Lebanon” and endorse the Saudi initiative calling for a two-state solution to
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Iran also demanded a lot, including “mutual respect,” abolition of sanctions, access
to peaceful nuclear technology and a U.S. statement that Iran did not belong in the
“axis of evil.” Many crucial issues, including verification of Iran’s nuclear program,
needed to be hammered out. It’s not clear to me that a grand bargain was
reachable, but it was definitely worth pursuing – and still is today.
Instead, Bush administration hard-liners aborted the process. Another round of
talks had been scheduled for Geneva, and Ambassador Zarif showed up – but not
the U.S. side. That undermined Iranian moderates.
A U.S.-Iranian rapprochement could have saved lives in Iraq, isolated Palestinian
terrorists and encouraged civil society groups in Iran. But instead the U.S. hardliners chose to hammer plowshares into swords.
37
Avi Shlaim: It is not only God that will be Blair’s judge over Iraq, in “The
Guardian” 14.05.2007:
His cravenly pro-US policy on the Middle East misunderstood Bush's real agenda
and resulted in catastrophic failure.
Tony Blair's opposition to an immediate ceasefire in the Lebanon war last summer
precipitated his downfall. Now that he has announced the date of his departure
from Downing Street, his entire Middle East record needs to be placed under an
uncompromising lens.
Blair came to office with no experience of, and virtually no interest in, foreign affairs,
and ended by taking this country to war five times. Blair boasts that his foreign
policy was guided by the doctrine of liberal interventionism. But the war in Iraq is the
antithesis of liberal intervention. It is an illegal, immoral and unnecessary war, a war
undertaken on a false prospectus and without sanction from the UN.
Blair's entire record in the Middle East is one of catastrophic failure. He used to
portray Britain as a bridge between the two sides of the Atlantic. By siding with
America against Europe on Iraq, however, he helped to destroy the bridge.
Preserving the special relationship with America was the be all and end all of Blair's
foreign policy. He presumably supported the Bush administration over Iraq in the
hope of exercising influence on its policy. Yet there is no evidence that he exercised
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183 – Chronologie 2007
influence on any significant policy issue. His support for the neoconservative
agenda on Iraq was uncritical and unconditional.
Blair failed to understand that America's really special relationship is with Israel, not
Britain. Every time that George Bush had to choose between Blair and Ariel
Sharon, he chose the latter. Blair's special relationship with Bush was a one-way
street: Blair made all the concessions and got nothing tangible in return.
American policy towards the Middle East was doomed to failure from the start, and
the end result has been to saddle Britain with a share of the responsibility for this
failure. The premise behind American policy was that Iraq was the main issue in
Middle East politics and that regime change in Baghdad would weaken the
Palestinians and force them to accept a settlement on Israel's terms. The road to
Jerusalem, it was argued, went through Baghdad. This premise was wrong. Iraq
was a non-issue; it did not pose a threat to any of its neighbours, and certainly not
to America or Britain. The real issue was Israel's occupation of the Palestinian
territories and America's support for Israel in its savage colonial war against the
Palestinian people.
When seeking the approval of the Commons for the war, Blair pledged that after
Iraq was disarmed, he and his American friends would seek a solution to the
Palestine problem. He has utterly failed to deliver on this promise.
True, Blair was the driving force behind the "road map" that envisaged the
emergence of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel by the end of 2005.
But Sharon wrecked the road map. In return for the unilateral withdrawal from
Gaza, Sharon exacted a written American agreement to Israel's retention of the
major settlement blocs on the West Bank. Blair publicly endorsed the nefarious
Sharon-Bush pact. This was the most egregious British betrayal of the Palestinians
since the Balfour declaration of 1917.
Blair and Bush have also betrayed the Iraqi people. To begin with, there was much
brave rhetoric about bringing democracy to Iraq and turning it into a model for the
rest of the Arab world. But the rhetoric was empty. The neoconservatives who
drove American policy were interested in overthrowing Saddam Hussein and in
nothing else.
The allied invasion of Iraq was not an isolated episode but part of the so-called
global war on terror. But the overthrow of the Ba'ath regime in Iraq only
exacerbated the problem of terrorism. The invasion of Iraq has given a powerful
boost to al-Qaida and its confederates by damaging Britain's reputation and
radicalising its young Muslims. The London bombs may not have been a direct
result of the Iraq war – but they are indisputably a part of the blowback.
What we have in Iraq today is chronic instability, an incipient civil war, endemic
violence and anarchy, an upsurge of terrorist activity of every kind, and a national
insurgency to which the allies have no answer. The neocons did not bother to plan
for postwar reconstruction. Occupation was accompanied by devastation and
destruction on a massive scale and a civilian death toll estimated by one source at
655,000.
The allies pride themselves on having brought democracy to the Iraqi people, but
they have failed in the primary duty of any government: to provide security for the
civilian population. The upshot is that America and its pillion passenger in the "war
against terror" are now embroiled in a vicious, protracted and unwinnable conflict.
Blair has the audacity to say that God will be his judge over the Iraq war. This is a
curious attitude for a democratic politician to adopt. History will surely pass a harsh
judgment on Blair. He has the worst record on the Middle East of any British prime
minister in the past century, infinitely worse than that of Anthony Eden, who at least
had the decency to accept responsibility for the Suez debacle.
Avi Shlaim is a professor of international relations at St Antony's College, Oxford,
and author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.
38
Tzipi Livni: „The majority of Israelis agree on targets, and disputes are just
about tactics, Interview in “Al-Ahram” 13.05.2007:
Q: Yesterday you met the Speaker of the Italian Parliament even though he saw
some Hamas members, while PM Olmert did not see him. Does that mean there
are deep differences between you and the PM or was this planned role-playing?
A: Not at all, please don't look for nonexistent differences. As far as relations with
the Palestinians are concerned we agreed that any Palestinian cabinet must comply
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184 – Chronologie 2007
with international demands, so Israel does not differentiate between Hamas and
other cabinet members. Our government decided – and I agreed – that visitors who
meet Hamas will not be welcome in Israel, but in this case the Italian speaker
addressed the Palestinian parliament where there were some Hamas members.
Q: Can one say that arguments about the best way to deal with the Arab peace plan
are part of the reasons for the present political crisis in Israel, and if so what do you
think personally is the best way of dealing with the peace plan?
A: I represent the present government in Israel – and the majority of the country. As
for the peace process with the Palestinians, we all share the same target – that of
two states living in peace side by side, and we see the need to promote the peace
process. As for government policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, we are
agreed on aims. Sometimes there are differences as to the best way of reaching
those aims, but these are tactical. Most Israelis share the same aspirations for a
peace based on two states.
Q: We understand from recent developments that you are running for prime
minister...
A: I came to this meeting to discuss events in the region and bilateral ties but I am
surprised by questions on matters inside Israel.
Q: But this is relevant to what goes on in the region.
A: I came here as Foreign Minister, I like my job, there is much to do as a foreign
minister in the cause of peace.
Q: In your estimation can we expect in the near future an Israeli leadership that, like
the Persian King Cyrus who liberated the Jews from Babylonian imprisonment, will
move to broach a peace process with the Arabs, armed with a new philosophy of
peace?
A: Most of the Israeli people know that peace is needed and that it can be reached
by compromise. In this context I represent the majority view that calls for two states,
one Jewish, the other Palestinian, meaning that the way to a Palestinian state
begins by abjuring terror – which is in the best interest of Palestinians as well as
Israelis. To return to your question, which assumes that such an Israeli leadership
does not exist – I object to such an assumption. Israel has made concessions and
brave steps such as her withdrawal from the Gaza strip and the removal of all
settlements there, thus sending a message to the Palestinians that we mean what
we say.
Q: Whatever,... but Gaza was a burden to Israel...
A: I repeat: The decision to uproot seven thousand settlers from Gaza, many of
whom were born there, was brave, painful and hard. But we wanted to send a
message to the Palestinians and the world that we were serious. We didn't want to
rule the Palestinians nor get into a battle with terror because that is a burden. Our
withdrawal comes out of a conception of peace. If the peace process is delayed it is
not because of Israeli unreadiness, but because the moderate Palestinians who
want a two-state solution are incapable of overcoming violence. As a representative
of the Israeli majority I can assure you that Gaza was not the last step. Setting up a
Palestinian state will oblige us to further withdrawals.
Q: From this vantage point in Cairo it seems that the present crisis in Israel began
with Israeli aggression against Lebanon. Could that crisis lead to further aggression
against Lebanon?
A: Israel supported UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which benefits the
interests of Israel and all countries of the region that seek Lebanese stability and
sovereignty, but we suspect that Hizbullah actually promotes the interests of Iran.
With this in mind we carried out our military operations and supported Resolution
1701 with the aim of seeing Lebanese sovereignty over all its southern territory, and
the dissolution of Hizbullah – which we hope will yet happen.
Q: But if it does not happen could there be renewed aggression against Lebanon?
A: I don't like hypothetical questions. If matters do not develop [as wished], we will
do what is needed to defend Israel.
Q: You have just marked 59 years since the end of British occupation. If occupation
per se is an affront to human rights, what do you have to say about your occupation
of Arab lands?
A: Following the 1967 war we thought that peaceful coexistence with the
Palestinians between the sea and the Jordan River was possible without ruling over
them. Today we see the answer lies in partition between two states. This answers
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185 – Chronologie 2007
the needs of the Jews as well as those of the Arabs of Gaza, the West Bank and
the 1948 refugees. But terrorism compels us to remain in those areas. What we
plan now – unlike in Gaza – is to withdraw after negotiating with the Palestinians,
plus having security arrangements. As for your reference to British rule, we have no
imperialist ambitions but only security needs, and we have to reach agreement.
Q: If the Arabs are offering peace and normal relations while Israel is confiscating
West Bank lands, what can Israel offer the Arabs?
A: I object to your assumptions.
Q: But you are in fact confiscating!
A: Let me say that Israel, moderate Palestinians and Arabs are agreed that there
must be a two-state solution. The borders between Israel and the Palestine state
will be negotiated in future talks. It is not Israeli policy to stall the peace process.
The Camp David talks in 2000 broke down in violence. Had they succeeded, the
Palestinians would be celebrating their 7th anniversary by now.
Q: But on only 60% of the West Bank...
A: You are talking about the future area of the Palestinian state. I am saying that
they could have been celebrating already seven years of independence and liberty.
Note that any solution must be based on compromise by all sides. We will not turn
history back to before Israel was established. Israel is a fact. We look forward to the
day when a Palestinian state will exist based on shared principles and values that
include the end of violence.
Q: Constitutions usually define state borders. Does yours? Does it include the
Golan Heights?
A: Israeli law applies to the Golan.
Q: Meaning that it is inside your borders?
A: We do not have a constitution. There were the post-1948 lines and then came
the 1967 war in which Israel took the territories, which we did not annex. They are
the subject of our dispute with the Palestinians. The eventual borders between
Israel and the Palestinians will be settled by negotiation.
Q: In 2001-2, Minister Avigdor Lieberman made an unprovoked attack on Egypt
and said the Aswan Dam should be destroyed. I recall hearing from Ministers
[Tzachi] Hanegbi and [Ehud] Olmert at that time that the man was an extremist and
was forced out of the cabinet and would never be allowed back. So we were
surprised when last year PM Olmert brought him back as minister with an even
higher rank than before. What then is the nature of the new reshuffle, how do you
expect Egyptians to react, and what would you say if an Egyptian cabinet Minister
said such things about Israel?
A: What matters is the policy of the Israeli leadership that seeks peace with the
Palestinians and Egypt. In joining the cabinet, Lieberman accepted that leadership.
Regrettably there are some Egyptian members of parliament who are against
Israel. But relations are maintained between governments that follow guidelines and
these are binding on coalition members.
Q: There will always be spies, but Egyptians ask: If there is peace between us, why
the espionage?
A: Let me then address the Egyptian public and tell them what the Israeli public
feels. We have a peace treaty and we want to live in real peace with Egypt, whose
role in the Arab world and in peace efforts with the Palestinians is appreciated.
Israel is ready for compromises, more so than in the past. I think that old
stereotypes about Israel must change. There is a huge gap between imagery and
the facts about Israel, and that too is an obstacle to peace. I know that in other
places, too, outside Egypt, Israel is sometimes seen as the enemy, as wanting to
rule the Palestinians – and that is not true. As for your question about espionage, it
has little to do with facts. The important thing is for us to work together and seek
common values.
39
Quelle: www.n-tv.de, 13.05.2007: Kritik an deutschem Botschafter Der Offene
Brief im Wortlaut:
Der Abgeordnete Yoel Hasson von der regierenden Kadimah-Partei hat den
deutschen Botschafter in Israel, Harald Kindermann, heftig kritisiert. Im folgenden
der Wortlaut seines offenen Briefes:
An seine Excellenz Dr. Harald Kindermann, Botschafter Deutschlands, Tel Aviv
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186 – Chronologie 2007
Exzellenz, Ich war erstaunt, kürzlich Ihre Rolle als Vertreter des Rates der EU zu
entdecken, wonach Sie an der Speerspitze einer gemeinschaftlichen ProtestInitiative stehen, gegen eine Sondersitzung der Knesset aus Anlass der 40-jährigen
Vereinigung der Hauptstadt des Staates Israel, Jerusalem.
Die Tatsache, dass Deutschland als Ratspräsident eine Protestinitiative gegen die
Feierstunde aus Anlass der Repatriierung unserer Hauptstadt anführt, halte ich für
respektlos. Jerusalem ist für immer die vereinigte Hauptstadt der jüdischen Nation.
Die Europäische Union, die Regierung Deutschlands und ihr Repräsentant in Israel
wären gut beraten, diese Tatsache anzuerkennen und zu bestätigen.
Falls Sie, als Vertreter der Präsidentschaft der EU, beabsichtigen, die
diplomatischen Beziehungen zwischen unseren Nationen zu verbessern, wieso ist
dann die deutsche Regierung nicht daran interessiert, die delikaten Beziehungen
zwischen den europäischen Nationen und dem Staat Israel zu verbessern. Ihre
Aktionen untergraben vielmehr die guten Beziehungen zwischen unseren Ländern.
Die Europäische Union und die deutsche Regierung könnten eine historische
Gelegenheit wahrnehmen, Fehler der Vergangenheit zurecht zu rücken, indem sie
das Heim für das jüdische Volk mit seiner unumstrittenen Hauptstadt bestätigen, an
der Sitzung der Knesset teilnehmen und andere auffordern, zu folgen. So könnten
Sie der Hauptstadt des Staates Israel und seinem Volk Respekt erweisen. Sie
könnten so einen Beitrag leisten, die Beziehungen zwischen den Europäern und
Israel zu überbrücken, anstatt uns weiter auseinander zu rücken.
Knessetmitglied Yoel Hasson
Vgl. den Beitrag von Judith Bernstein „Holocaust und Nahostkonflikt“ in der
Homepage www.reiner-bernstein.de.
40
Forty years of ‚unity’, in „Haaretz“-online 16.05.2007:
What a pity that we can't convert into shekels the lip service public figures have
been paying for 40 years to the slogan "united Jerusalem." The sea of words that
has been spilled over the biblical reference to Jerusalem as a city that has been
"joined together" could have filled the deep and gaping chasm between East
Jerusalem and West Jerusalem.
As every year, the joy of Jerusalem Day, which is commemorated today, will skip
over a significant portion of the city's residents. All that is left of the annexation of
Palestinian neighborhoods to the western, Israeli part of Jerusalem is a dry Knesset
law, government decisions that lack substance, and the blue national identity cards
that symbolize Israeli residency.
Jerusalem Day reminds a third of the 730,000 residents of the ostensibly united city
that they are second-class citizens – or, worse still, a "demographic problem." Israel
has separated them from their brothers in the West Bank and has made no effort to
give them the feeling that they are wanted here.
After listening to the flowery speeches of the politicians and city leaders about the
removal of barriers between the eastern and western sections of Jerusalem, the
celebrants are advised to cross the line that marked the city's border until the SixDay War. A few hundred meters from the Western-looking areas of West
Jerusalem, they will discover neglected neighborhoods and dilapidated
infrastructure, poverty and overcrowding, unemployment and despair. These are
the outcome of 40 years of deliberate discrimination. In practice, more than 30
percent of Jerusalem's population receives just 10 percent of the city's budget.
In the new neighborhoods established for the Jewish population in the "united
Jerusalem," not one child stays home because of a shortage of classrooms. By
contrast, some 15,000 children in East Jerusalem are not registered with the
education authorities in the city due to a shortage of more than 1,300 classrooms.
It's no wonder that half the high school students in East Jerusalem drop out of
school.
East Jerusalem is also home to 75.8 percent of the poor children in the city. Some
22 percent of East Jerusalem residents – about 31,600 people – are under the care
of the municipality's welfare services, and 62 percent of families there live below the
poverty line.
The construction of the West Bank separation fence has allowed the government to
revise the borders of Jerusalem, which were drawn in the heat of the city's capture,
and separate from hastily annexed Arab neighborhoods. However, the politicians
are sticking to their shallow slogans. Fearing that their rivals will accuse them of
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187 – Chronologie 2007
dividing Jerusalem, they perpetuate the deprivation of a third of its residents; some
55,000 East Jerusalem Arabs who hold blue identity cards and live in the
"Jerusalem envelope" area have found themselves on the other side of the fence,
cut off from the city's municipal center.
Ehud Barak was the first prime minister who suggested dividing the city based on
the principle of what the Jews have the Jews get, and what the Arabs have the
Arabs get. The Clinton plan, the Geneva Accord and the Arab peace initiative also
propose a similar basis for dividing the city. It would befit Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert, who was a senior partner to the failure when he served as mayor of
Jerusalem, to replace the slogan of unity with a reasonable and fair policy for
division of the city.
41
Nadav Shragai: Poll: 96% of Israeli Jews won’t give up Western Wall for peace,
in „Haaretz“-online 13.06.2007:
Ninety-six percent of Israeli Jews are against Israel relinquishing the Western Wall,
even in exchange for lasting peace and ending the dispute over Jerusalem, a new
poll suggests. According to the poll, most Israeli Jews do not believe territorial
concessions in Jerusalem would bring peace.
The poll, performed at the request of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, also
reveals that 89 percent of Israeli Jews are unwilling to give up the Temple Mount for
a similar arrangement.
The poll, which was performed by the Tazpit Research Institute headed by Dr.
Aharon Fein, found that Israeli Jews were far more willing to give up the Arab
neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, as long as Israel keeps the Western Wall and
the Jewish Quarter – an arrangement favored by 43 percent of them.
Forty-three percent of participants said they were opposed to any form of
concession in Jerusalem for real peace and the termination of the dispute. In the
previous survey on the matter, only 37 percent of the participants were opposed to
all forms of territorial concession in Jerusalem.
Religious and ultra-Orthodox participants expressed less willingness for
concessions than their secular and traditional counterparts. For example, the
survey showed that 76 percent of the religious participants were opposed to
territorial concessions, as opposed to 24 percent of secular responders.
Despite the relatively high willingness among participants to give up the Arab
neighborhoods of Jerusalem, most participants nonetheless indicated they did not
believe such concessions would bring peace. In total, 75.7 percent believe peace is
unattainable. Only 20.3 said they believed peace could be reached in return for
territorial concessions in Jerusalem.
In addition, 91.5 percent indicated they believed that maintaining a large Jewish
majority in Jerusalem was imperative. Some 81.3 percent said they believed that a
mostly-Jewish Jerusalem would complement Israel's moral fortitude. Another 62.4
percent said they believed that Jewish settlement in Ma'ale Adumim and Gush
Etzion serve to strengthen Jerusalem.
Sixty-six percent said the same about settlement west of the city. Some 61.3
percent expressed support for prioritizing Jerusalem so as to strengthen its status
and standing.
According to the survey, the majority of Israelis regard Jerusalem as the most
beautiful city in Israel. Some 81.4 of the Jerusalemites who participated said they
perceived it as such, along with 67.5 of non-Jerusalemites. Despite this, 51.8
percent of Jerusalemites define the city as dirty, opposed to only 30 percent of nonJerusalemites.
Some 47.3 percent of the Jerusalemites who participated in the poll defined the city
as impoverished. Another 54 percent said they believed Jerusalem was gradually
becoming more ultra-Orthodox. However, despite their critical approach of their city,
only 5.3 of Jerusalemites said they considered it dangerous to visit.
By contrast, non-Jerusalemites appear to be more wary of visiting the city, with 14.5
percent indicating it as a dangerous place to visit.
42
Text des Berichts in der Menüleiste „Begleitende Dokumente“ dieser
Homepage.
www.reiner-bernstein.de
43
188 – Chronologie 2007
Meir Shalev. Not Only in War You Failed – Also in Peace Making – Address by
Meir Shalev at the Peace rally in Tel Aviv on Thursday, May 3, 2007, in “Yediot
Aharonot”, May 4, 2007, translation by Adam Keller (“Gush Shalom”):
Note of the editor: It was by no stretch of the imagination a peace demonstration.
The only common denominator was wanting to get rid of Olmert (and of [Amir]
Peretz, though that was rather a sideshow). Settlers with their nationalist t-shirts
and orange ribbons were evident in the crowd, and some of the speakers from the
podium wanted Olmert to go mainly “in order to let the next war end with a real
knockout for the enemy”. Yossi Beilin’s having endorsed the rally jointly with the
arch-racist Effie Eitam was not entirely welcome even to members of Beilin’s own
Meretz Party, and quite a few activists felt no inclination to take any part in this
affair. Still, in his keynote speech author Meir Shalev did succeed in momentarily
dividing this false “national unity” rally into roughly equal amounts of clapping and
booing. He said things which rarely get said to such a large audience – the crowd
on the Rabin Square, as well as all those who followed the live radio and TV
broadcasts, and on the following the day the readers Israel’s biggest paper.
Mr. Prime Minister, you said that you are working for us? Well, you are fired. Mr.
Defence Minister, you said that [“Hezballah” Secretary General] Nasrallah will never
forget your name? Neither shall we.
We were not surprised. We were just confirmed in what we felt since the day the
two of you [Olmert and Peretz] took power, both of you taking up the wrong roles.
The Winograd Report just confirmed what we knew without doubt since the day you
took us to the Second Lebanon War: that the jobs you took up were far too much
for you.
You failed, and you must go home. We don’t ask for compensations, nor do we
demand a public “mea culpa”. Not for your lack of rational consideration before
rushing into war, nor for your arrogance. Just go. Headless tyros, you have jumped
into battle without a plan or aim. You have entered history as leaders who were
caught with their trousers down in a war of their own making.
And you did not even learn a lesson. Even today, even after the Winograd Report,
you are spending far more time, far more thought and energy to defending your
political position than you ever gave to the war which you initiated.
Here, in this square, many of the crowd are university students and their parents,
demanding – and rightly – a reduction of the tuition fees [at the universities]. But we
are also paying the tuition fees of you two, and they are exorbitant. They are paid
not only in money, but also in suffering and the loss of hope.
You have failed. You have failed, and we will pay no more of your tuition fees. You
have failed – and unlike in the University, you will not get a chance at a repeated
examination.
Go home. Be gone – for your arrogance, your rashness, your terrible wastefulness.
You have wasted the good will of the citizens of Israel, their willingness to volunteer,
their sacrifice, their strength, their faith, their endurance.
You have wasted Israel’s deterrence.
You have wasted the prisoners’ chances to return home.
Worst of all, you have wasted the lives of soldiers and civilians, and the health of
those who got wounded.
You have taken up, wholly and without any criticism, the faulty strategy offered by
the Army Chief of Staff [Dan Halutz]. You did not make any effort to look for
yourselves at the available forces and see if they could truly implement the
missions assigned, you did not look for any alternatives. You did not understand the
reality in which we live.
The poor people on the home front needed to endure, together with the Katyusha
rockets, also your economic policy of privatization and trodding upon the weakest in
society. No wonder that the war looked as it looked. Every war is terrible – your
addition helped make it even more terrible.
When the leadership is corrupt and ministers spend their time under police
investigation, no wonder that the war looked as it looked. Thank you!
When the army is busy manning checkpoints and conducting detentions [of
Palestinians], and guarding illegal settlement outposts, no wonder that the war
looked as it looked.
You have succeeded to give even politics a bad name. And that is why there is a
message and a demand emanating today out of the Rabin Square [in Tel Aviv]. A
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demand for responsibility and for a vision. Yes, a vision – however outdated and
unfashionable this word sounds. We will not settle for promises of correction and
reconstruction, certainly not when you are the ones making such promises. We
demand a vision of talks and reconciliation which are absolutely unable to deliver.
For you are not only unable to conduct war – also making peace is far beyond your
power.
Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. Defence Minster – this war which you brought upon us
is far from the first indication of our situation after forty years of occupation and
settlement, but it helps us understand the situation better. Forty years of occupation
are forty years of no education, no health, no personal security, no welfare, and
also no proper military training – and the result is all too visible. But the urgent need
for a vision to guide us to a better future is something which your successors will
have to address, not you. From you we expect and demand just this: go home.
Goodbye.
44
Naomi Chazan: Critical Currents: A new peace constituency, in “Jerusalem
Post” 03.05.2007:
The raging leadership crisis, brought to a head by the scathing interim report of the
Winograd Committee, has diverted attention from one of the most significant and
promising developments in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Quietly, persistently and
creatively, a revived peace front is being consolidated. This multifaceted coalition is
securing the civic foundations for a serious effort to resolve the conflict. It is also, in
important respects, a harbinger of its main contours.
The number and diversity of joint Palestinian-Israeli initiatives, put on hold during
the height of the second intifada, have expanded considerably during the past
couple of years. They have gathered momentum in recent months, as new
diplomatic possibilities have emerged and the inability of existing leaders to
capitalize on these opportunities has become more pronounced.
These activities have assumed a variety of forms, from networks of human rights
organizations, think tanks, veteran peace movements and women's groups, to new
formations involving academics, grassroots organizers, local activists, religious
leaders and young people.
Alongside the better known work of the Geneva Initiative, the Peres Center for
Peace, the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), Gush
Shalom and the Jerusalem Link (to mention but a few), it is possible find literally
dozens of associations today. These include not only the International Women's
Commission for a Just and Sustainable Palestinian-Israeli Peace (IWC) and
Combatants for Peace, but also specialized strategic planning units, militant protest
groups and cultural workshops.
The sheer number of Israeli-Palestinian interchanges currently taking place is
startling, given not only the extent of animosity fomented by the ongoing violence,
but also the immense logistical obstacles impeding face-to-face encounters on the
ground. If in the past meetings could be held easily on the outskirts of Jerusalem,
the completion of the municipal wall precludes this possibility. For more than a year,
Gaza residents, with minor exceptions, have been unable to reach the West Bank,
where internal mobility is severely impaired by roadblocks and multiple checkpoints.
For Israelis, in turn, it is illegal to go to these areas.
Nevertheless, some entry permits for Palestinians have been issued and other,
often ingenious, alternatives for communication have been elaborated. These
include a multiplicity of electronic channels (e-mails, video conferences, chat
groups, Skype) as well as the ubiquitous and overused cellphone. When all local
options have been exhausted, meetings are convened abroad. Several such
conferences or consultations have taken place virtually every week during the past
year.
These encounters tend to focus on four main topics. The first is substantive,
centering on developing ideas not only on permanent settlement, but also on the
nature of future relations between Palestinians and Israelis. The second is
procedural, concentrating on generating innovative ways to jump-start and sustain a
viable diplomatic process. The third is organizational, designing means to work
together to expand the ideological and sociological representation of those involved
in peacemaking. And the fourth is humanitarian, dealing specifically with immediate
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190 – Chronologie 2007
measures to alleviate suffering and increase mutual confidence (such as lifting the
economic embargo and expediting a prisoner exchange).
A spate of reports, resolutions, appeals and recommendations has emanated from
these efforts. They are being scrutinized by decision makers and discussed in
various forums locally and internationally. In all probability, they will be widely
disseminated during the coming weeks at multiple events scheduled to mark 40
years of the occupation. Together, they form a sound and crafted infrastructure for
a full-fledged peace process.
These resurgent conflict resolution initiatives possess several novel characteristics
which distinguish them from their 1990s predecessors. Their composition is much
more heterogeneous, involving diverse sectors of each population and a spate of
political actors not previously part of such interchanges. Their range is much
broader, including regional and international components alongside bilateral ones.
Their positions are clearer, focusing squarely on how to bring an end to the
occupation and translate the two-state vision into a reality.
Two features, however, stand out: the fact that Israelis and Palestinians active in
these frameworks are speaking together with one voice, and that they encompass
decision makers alongside civil society activists. Indeed, what is unique to the
contemporary peace landscape is the emergence of a shared constituency which
crosses national divisions and is united in its determination to thwart extremism and
chart a workable course for coexistence.
It is all too easy, in the midst of constant warmongering and deep despair, to
dismiss these organized signs of positive change. It is equally tempting to cynically
ignore their implications as violence continues to flare and elected leaders are
exposed in all their ineptness.
It would be a grave error to do so.
Although this nascent peace coalition cannot replace a committed and functional
leadership, it can lay the building blocks for rational interaction and create a climate
for eventual reconciliation. It also provides what is sorely missing today: the moral
and political impetus to compel whoever is in office to move forward.
Ultimately, once good sense prevails at the apex, this civilian partnership for peace
will offer a much-needed guarantee for the successful implementation of any
durable agreement.
45
Der Wortlaut der Presseerklärung findet sich in der Menüleiste „Begleitende
Dokumente” dieser Homepage.
46
Dear friends, I wanted to send you a brief word describing my position on the
findings of the Winograd Committee and its meaning for the Meretz-Yahad Party,
for the peace camp, and for Israel.
The findings of the report, which is itself a partial report that focuses only on the first
five days of the Second Lebanon War, constitute a harsh indictment of Israel's
prime minister, defense minister, and former chief of staff. The failure of all three
men in managing the crisis that erupted last July with the abduction of two Israeli
soldiers on the Israel-Lebanon war and which turned into a war that lasted 33 days,
is so severe, that the report leaves no question as to what they should do. The
chief of staff has already resigned several months ago, and both Prime Minister
Olmert and Defense Minister Peretz must follow suit.
With their resignation, a new government should be formed. The likely candidates
to head such a government are two senior ministers from within the ruling Kadima
Party - Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Vice Premier Shimon Peres. If consensus
is formed inside Kadima around one of them, they would be able to form a new
coalition and enjoy a majority in the Knesset.
We, in the Meretz-Yahad Party, see our role in fighting for the formation of a better
government than the last one, and I believe that either Peres or Livni would be a
better prime minister than Olmert. Of course, our support for the new government
cannot be taken for granted. The platform of the new government must be in line
with what we believe in, and the peace process must take center stage. To this
effect, we would do our utmost so that the new coalition does not include the ultrarightist Yisrael Beitenu of Avigdor Lieberman.
The failure of Olmert and Peretz does not necessitate early elections for parliament.
The makeup of the current Knesset, which was voted into office only a year ago, is
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191 – Chronologie 2007
a relatively good one. It can offer a stable majority for different political coalitions,
with a clear advantage for a center-left coalition. As far as I see it, the current
Knesset has not let us down, and it must be given a chance to put forward a new
government. There is every reason to believe that a new and better government
can be formed.
The next few weeks will bring change to Israel. Our job is to ensure that the change
will be a good one.
Yours, Yossi Beilin
47
48
Bericht in der Menüleiste „Berichte aus Israel und Palästina” dieser Homepage.
Amir Gilat, Ph..D., Communication and Media Relations, University of Haifa:
Research at the University of Haifa examined the influence of military service on
political stance:
Combat soldiers adopt dovish political views Women soldiers become more
hawkish Over the course of their military service, combat soldiers become less right
wing, adopt more dovish political views and are more open to comprise on security
issues – according to research completed in the School for Political Science at the
University of Haifa by IDF Reserve Colonel Dr. Zvika Barkai who served as
Commander of the Haifa region and head of the Operations Branch of the Home
Front Command. Additional parameters that effect change in political views include
the specific unit served in, gender and service as an officer. "In the opposite of what
would be expected, military service does not cause adopting militaristic views," said
Dr. Barkai.
The research was conducted over three and a half years, under the direction of
Prof. Avraham Brichta, Dr. Daphna Canetti-Nisim and Dr. Ami Pedahzur, surveyed
490 male and female soldiers of every rank and in every branch of the IDF. Soldiers
were asked to respond to the same series of questions at three different times,
before induction, six months into their service and immediately following their
release. The goal of the research was to evaluate whether the army is in actuality
the politically neutral institution that it purports to be and whether it has any effect
on soldiers' political views. "It's a problem when the public is convinced that soldiers
are coerced into adapting specific political views, sometimes against their will, and
to act accordingly. Such a public belief could limit the ability of the government to
use the army for nationalist missions," remarked Dr. Barkai.
The research did indeed find that soldiers' political views change over the course of
their service, and that the type of service, length of service, rank, and gender
influence the change. The initial interviews found that a large percentage of the
soldiers began their service with clear right wing views. Six months into their military
service they were more right wing, but after completing their service they took on
more dovish views and were more willing to compromise on security issues. In
addition, these soldiers adopted more conciliatory views towards minorities in
general, and more specifically towards the Arab minority, and experienced a greater
change in their views about human rights than soldiers who began their service with
less extreme views. Over all, when political views did change during military
service, they reverted back to the original views after release, with the exception of
combat soldiers who maintained more dovish views following their release.
Within the different types of army units, soldiers who served in field units underwent
the greatest change in their political views. The research reveals that no only
combat soldiers in these units undergo a change; all of the soldiers in field units
undergo a change in their political views. Those with hawkish views adopted more
moderate views and a raised consciousness for minority rights.
Those who served as officers also underwent a substantial change in their political
views. Officers adopted much less right wing and more pragmatic views than
enlisted soldiers. In addition, they underwent a greater change in espousing
strongly democratic values, adherence to the rule of law and minority rights.
Women, on the other hand, underwent a change in political views – and became
more rightwing and hawkish. At the same time, they increased their support for
regulation of non-conventional weapons more than male soldiers did.
Women soldiers experienced a greater change in their support of democratic
values while men underwent a greater change in the attitude towards human rights
and minority relations. "It is important to note that although men underwent a
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greater change, their values were almost identical to women's in terms of concern
for human rights at the end of their service, as they began with more extreme
views," explains Dr. Barkai.
While army service did not affect the level of religious observance among the
soldiers, it did improve understandings between religious and non-religious soldiers
and increase willingness to compromise on religious issues.
According to Dr. Barkai, the research findings demonstrate that military service
does influence political views; therefore civilian authorities need to oversee the
values and messages that the army espouses to ascertain that the military works to
assimilate only universal, accepted values. Only then will the military be an effective
agent for the integration and assimilation of positive values and an agent for
bridging and narrowing existing conflicts.
The study results lead the researcher to recommend that minorities and
marginalized populations be encouraged to serve in the military. He recommends a
large-scale draft of Arabs, increased participation of Druze and Bedouins, ultraorthodox Jews and religious women and designing special programs for
marginalized youth (who are often excused from military service). "Even taking into
account that expanding the draft to include the abovementioned groups may have a
marginal or even negative effect on the country's security, the latent national gains
should be weighed against the security issues – not necessarily by the military,"
summarized Dr. Barkai.
49
Amir Oren: U-S. had emergency plan for attacking Israel in 1967, in “Haaretz”online 23.04.2007:
For some time, the United States had had an emergency plan to attack Israel, a
plan updated just prior to the 1967 war, aimed at preventing Israel from expanding
westward, into Sinai, or eastward, into the West Bank.
In May 1967, one of the U.S. commands was charged with the task of removing the
plan from the safe, refreshing it and preparing for an order to go into action.
This unknown aspect of the war was revealed in what was originally a top-secret
study conducted by the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington. The full story
is detailed in Haaretz' Independence Day Supplement.
In February 1968, an institute expert, L. Weinstein, wrote an article called "Critical
Incident No. 14," about the U.S. involvement in the Middle East crisis of May-June
1967.Only 30 copies of his study were printed for distribution. Years later the
material was declassified and can now be read by everyone, although details that
are liable to give away sources' identities and operational ideas have remained
censored.
Strike Command, the entity that was to have launched the attack on Israel, no
longer exists. It was annulled in 1971 for domestic American reasons and
superseded by Readiness Command, which was abolished in the 1980s in favor of
Central Command (CENTCOM) which today includes forces in Iraq, Iran, Syria,
Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Afghanistan; and the Special Operations Command
(SOCOM).
The general who oversaw the planning in 1967 was Theodore John ("Ted")
Conway, then 56 and a four-star general, the head of Strike Command.
On May 20, 1967, according to L. Weinstein's confidential study for the Institute for
Defense Analyses, cable No. 5886 of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was sent to EUCOM
and STRICOM. STRICOM was asked to refresh the emergency plans for
intervention in an Israeli-Arab war: one plan on behalf of Israel and the other, on
behalf of the Arabs.
The basis for the directive was Washington's policy of support for the existence,
independence and territorial integrity of all the states of the region. This translated
into adherence to the Israeli-Arab armistice lines of 1949. The policy was not to
allow Egypt, or any combination of Arab states, to destroy Israel, but also not to
allow Israel to expand westward, into Sinai, or eastward, into the West Bank.
The American pressure in this regard brought the IDF back from El Arish in
Operation Horev in 1949 and from Sinai in 1956. A version of it would appear in
Henry Kissinger's directives after the IDF encircled Egypt's Third Army at the end of
the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
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Conway replied to the Joint Chiefs cable four days after it was sent. He was
doubtful about combat intervention, and preferred an operation to evacuate
American civilians from Israel and from Arab states.
The next day, the Joint Chiefs asked Conway for his opinion about how the United
States should act if the war were to be launched by an Arab action or, alternatively,
by an Israeli strike.
"The ultimate objective would be to stop aggression and insure the territorial
integrity of all the Middle Eastern states," he was informed in cable No. 6365 of the
Joint Chiefs, with a copy to EUCOM.
Conway's reply to this, dated May 28, is described in the top-secret study as "a
strong plea for complete impartiality." The United States was liable to lose its
influence to the Soviets, the general warned, and therefore it must demonstrate
"strict neutrality" and avoid open support for Israel.
The true importance of the Middle East lay in the American-Soviet context of the
Cold War, Conway argued, and the American stance must derive from those
considerations, not from "local issues."
Only as a last resort should the United States take unilateral action – and then only
to put an end to the fighting. In the estimation of the STRICOM commander, the
Egyptian forces were deployed defensively, whereas the Israelis were deployed in
rapid-strike offensive capability.
On May 29, Conway recommended that any U.S. intervention be launched early in
order to ensure the territorial integrity of all the countries involved; restoring the
status quo ante would become more complicated as the attacking army captured
more territory.
It might be difficult to determine which side had launched the hostilities, he noted,
but the American response should be identical in both cases: a display of force,
warnings to both sides, and if that should prove insufficient, "air and naval action to
stabilize the situation, enforce grounding of aviation of both sides plus attacks on all
moving armor or active artillery."
Following the cease-fire, U.S. ground forces would be moved in for peacekeeping
missions. The return of territories would be achieved primarily by diplomatic means,
with military force to be used only if "absolutely necessary."
General Earle Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, barred the distribution
of the planning concept to subordinate levels. A preliminary paper was prepared by
June 5, the day the war erupted, and became outdated even before it could be
used.
On June 6, when the success of the Israel Air Force was known, and as the
divisions under IDF Generals Israel Tal, Ariel Sharon and Avraham Yoffe advanced
into Sinai, the Joint Chiefs sent McNamara top-secret memorandum No. 315-67,
recommending that the United States not intervene militarily, that it continue to work
through the United Nations and bilateral diplomatic channels, including consultation
with the Soviets, to stop the war, and that logistical support for all sides be
suspended.
The American sigh of relief at the demise of the worst-case scenario – the danger
that Israel would be destroyed – was replaced by the fear that the Arab defeat had
been so crushing that the Soviets would intervene on their behalf, or at least would
reap a diplomatic profit.
Because the United States did not know what Israel was aiming at, despite
declarations by Eshkol and by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan that Israel had no
territorial ambitions, the administration "now felt that it was necessary to limit [the
Israeli] success to reasonable bounds."
Two retired IDF major generals, Israel Tal and Shlomo Gazit, who was then head of
research in Military Intelligence, said recently, upon hearing the secret plan of the
U.S. military, that Israel had no knowledge of this.
The IDF fought the Egyptians, the Jordanians and the Syrians without imagining
that it might find itself confronting the Americans as well, in their desert camouflage
fatigues.
50
Shlomo Ben-Ami: From radical jihad to the politics of compromise, in “Haaretz”online 21.04.2007:
It's not surprising that the Mecca agreement and the Palestinian unity government
that arose in its wake are thorns in Israel's side. For some time now, useless last-
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ditch battles have been a hallmark of Israeli policy on the Palestinian issue. But
erosion of the boycott of the Palestinian unity government, perhaps the most
popular government on the Palestinian street since 1993, has become evident in
many Western capitals. The idea that it's possible to isolate Hamas, to deprive it of
its right to govern, to hold a dialogue solely with the "moderates" and to expect that
Hamas will accept all agreements and not use its destructive power to torpedo
them is unrealistic. Paradoxically, Israel and Hamas share more common ground
than is apparent at first glance. The chance of a final status agreement emerging
from a direct dialogue with the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization,
Mahmoud Abbas, is close to nil. When this becomes clear, and Israel starts
searching for a way to return to the idea of withdrawal from the West Bank, it
probably won't find a worthier partner than Hamas. Hamas, like Israel, is not ready
for the compromises entailed by a final status accord. But a long-term interim
agreement is possible only with it, and not with the PLO.
Hamas' transition to parliamentary politics is part of a process many movements
from the mainstream of fundamentalist Islam are undergoing today, as they seek to
disassociate themselves from global jihad founded by Al-Qaida, and instead seek
to integrate themselves in their country's political fabric. In Egypt, this is the
direction being taken by the Muslim Brotherhood, and it is also that of Jordan's
Islamic Action Front, of the Renaissance Party in Tunisia and of the Justice and
Development Party in Morocco.
The United States is winning the war for Arab democracy, but paradoxically, it is
declining to reap the rewards because the new image of Islamic political pluralism
does not match the illusion of liberal democracy in whose name America sought to
change the face of the Middle East. The West, Israel included, and the Arab rulers
it has cultivated need to understand that the struggle between political Islam and
the conservative regimes needn't be a zero-sum game. The Mecca agreement is
not a marginal matter; it is no random, passing event. This was a formative move in
the shaping of a new and revolutionary pattern of a division of power between
political Islam and the secular regimes in the Arab world. Hamas certainly won't be
satisfied with seats in a government under occupation. Its objective is to conquer
the PLO from within and to create a different balance between itself and the powers
of Palestinian secular nationalism.
This could be the approach in other places, too. In Morocco, Mohammed VI made it
clear that he intends to forge "a historic compromise" with political Islam, given the
possibility that the Justice and Development Party will be victorious in the country's
June elections. The model of national unity that was born in Mecca has become the
barrier that is preventing a civil war in the Palestinian Authority. In Algeria, by
comparison, the February 2006 Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation was
formulated as a tool for ending a bloody civil war which was sparked when the
Islamist parties were denied the right to realize their victory in the 1991 elections.
The attempt to crush political Islam, as President Mubarak is trying to do via the
ban he recently imposed on activity by parties with a religious character, will only
increase the anger of the masses, and eventually lead the fundamentalist parties
back to terror and communal activism. The stability of Arab regimes that do not rely
on a democratic consensus is destined to be deceptive and fragile.
A dialogue with political Islam, in the form of Hamas, for instance, is an unavoidable
necessity. Ostracism and banning is a recipe for disaster, as the example of Algeria
shows. Creating a space for legitimate political activity by Islamic parties, including
recognition of their right to govern, is the way to encourage moderation. The
challenge therefore is not to destroy the only Islamic movements that can claim
authentic popular support in the Arab world, but rather to solidify their fragile
transition from radical jihad to the politics of compromise.
51
Uri Avnery: The Bed of Sodom, 21.04.2007:
In Hebrew legend, the bed of Sodom is a symbol of evil.
The Bible tells how God decided to obliterate Sodom because of the wickedness of
its people (Genesis, 18). The legend gives us an example of this wickedness: the
special bed for visitors. When a stranger came to Sodom, he was put in this bed. If
he was too tall, his legs were shortened. If he was too short, his limbs were
stretched to fit.
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In political life, there is more than one bed like this. On the Right and on the Left,
there are people who put every problem in such a bed, cut off limbs and stretch
limbs, until reality matches theory.
From the sixties on, doctrinaire leftists tended to put every situation into the bed of
Vietnam. Everything – be it the murderous tyranny in Chile or the American threats
against Cuba – had to fit the Vietnam example. Applying this model, it was easy to
decide who were the good guys and who the bad, what to do and how to solve the
problem.
That was convenient. It is much easier to draw conclusions when there is no need
to consider the complexities of a particular conflict, its historical background and its
local circumstances.
Lately, a new bed of Sodom has gained currency: South Africa. In some circles of
the radical Left there is a tendency to force every conflict into this bed. Every new
case of evil and oppression in the world is seen as a new version of the apartheid
regime, and it is decided accordingly how to solve the problem and what to do to
achieve the desired end.
True, the South African situation arose in particular historical circumstances that
took centuries to mature. It was not identical with the problem of the aborigines in
Australia or the settlement of the Whites in North America, nor to Northern Ireland
or the situation in Iraq. But it is certainly convenient to give one and the same
answer to all problems.
Of course, there is always a superficial similarity between different regimes of
oppression. But if one is not ready to see the differences between the diseases,
one is liable to prescribe false medicines – and risk killing the patient in the
process.
Now this is happening here.
It is easy to put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the South African bed, since the
similarities between the symptoms are obvious. The Israeli occupation of the
Palestinian territories has been going on for 40 years now, and almost 60 years
have passed since the Naqba – the armed conflict of 1948 in which the State of
Israel came into being and in which more than half the Palestinians lost their homes
and land. Relations between the settlers and the Palestinians are in many ways
reminiscent of apartheid; and even in Israel proper, the Arab citizens are far from
real equality.
What to do? One has to learn from South Africa that there is nothing to be gained
from appealing to the conscience of the ruling people. Among the white minority in
South Africa, there was no real difference between Left and Right, between open
racists and liberals, who were but better disguised racists, with the exception of a
few white heroes who joined the fight for freedom.
Therefore, redemption could only come from the outside. And indeed, world public
opinion saw the injustice of apartheid and imposed a world-wide boycott on South
Africa, till in the end the white minority capitulated. Power in the united South
African state passed into the hands of the black majority, Nelson Mandela was
released from prison and became president, and all this took place – wonder of
wonders – without bloodshed.
If this happened in South Africa, the proponents of this view say, it must happen
here, too. The idea of establishing a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel (the
"two-state solution") must be discarded, and the single state between the
Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River (the "one-state solution") must become
the aim. This must be achieved by the ultimate weapon which proved itself in South
Africa: boycott.
This is how it is going to happen: justice-lovers throughout the world will convince
world public opinion to impose a general boycott on the State of Israel. The state
will collapse and disintegrate. Between the sea and the river there will come into
being one single state, in which Israelis and Palestinians will live peacefully
together, as equal citizens. The settlers can stay where they are, there will be no
problem of borders, and all that remains is to decide who will be the Palestinian
Mandela.
This week I listened to a lecture by Professor Ilan Pappe of Haifa University, one of
the leading spokesmen for this idea. The audience consisted of Palestinian, Israeli
and international activists in Bil'in, the village that has become a symbol of
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resistance to the occupation. He presented a well-structured set of ideas,
expressed with eloquence and enthusiasm. These were the principles:
There is no sense in opposing just the occupation, nor any other particular policy of
the Israeli government. The problem is the very essence of Israel as a Zionist state.
This essence is unchangeable as long as the state exists. No change from the
inside is possible, because in Israel there is no essential difference between Right
and Left. Both are accomplices in a policy whose real aim is ethnic cleansing, the
expulsion of the Palestinians not only from the occupied territories, but also from
Israel proper.
Therefore, everyone who strives for a just solution must aim at the establishment of
a single state, to which the refugees of 1948 and 1967 will be invited to return. This
will be a joint and egalitarian state, like today's South Africa.
There is no sense in trying to change Israel from the inside. Salvation will come
from the outside: a world-wide boycott of Israel, which will cause the state to
collapse and convince the Israeli public that there is no escape from the One-State
Solution.
It sounded logical and convincing, and the speaker did indeed gain applause.
This theoretical structure contains several assumptions with which I have no
quarrel. The Zionist Left has indeed collapsed in the last few years, and its absence
from the field of struggle is a painful and dangerous fact. In today's Knesset, there
is no effective Zionist party that is seriously fighting for real equality for the Arab
citizens. Nobody is able today to call out into the street hundreds of thousands, or
even tens of thousands, in order to pressure the government to accept the peace
proposal of the whole Arab world.
There is no doubt that the real disease is not the 40-year long occupation. The
occupation is a symptom of a more profound disease, which is connected with the
official ideology of the state. The aim of ethnic cleansing and the establishment of a
Jewish State from the sea to the river is dear to the hearts of many Israelis, and
perhaps Rabbi Meir Kahane was right when he asserted that this is everybody's
unspoken desire.
But unlike Professor Pappe, I am convinced that it is possible to change the
historical direction of Israel. I am convinced that this is the real battlefield for the
Israeli peace forces, and I myself have been engaged in it for decades.
Moreover, I believe that we have already attained impressive achievements: the
recognition of the existence of the Palestinian people has become general, and so
has the readiness of most Israelis to accept the idea of a Palestinian state with
Jerusalem as the capital of both states. We have compelled our government to
recognize the PLO, and we shall compel them to recognize Hamas. True, all this
would not have happened without the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and
(sometimes) favourable international circumstances, but the contribution of the
Israeli peace forces, which pioneered these ideas, was significant.
Also, the notion has lately gained acceptance in Israel and other countries, that
peace will be achieved only if we succeed in overcoming the gap between the
Israeli and the Palestinian narratives and in integrating them into one single
historical account, which will recognize the injustices which have been committed
and which are still going on. Nothing is more important. (Our path-breaking booklet
"Truth Against Truth" was the beginning of this process.)
On the surface, it appears that we have failed. We have not succeeded in
compelling our government to stop the building of the wall or the enlargement of the
settlements, nor to restore to the Palestinians their freedom of movement. In short,
we have not succeeded in putting an end to the occupation. The Arab citizens of
Israel have not attained real equality. But beneath the surface, in the depths of
national consciousness, we are succeeding. The question is how to turn the hidden
success into an open political fact. In other words: how to change the policy of the
Israeli government.
The idea of the "One-State Solution" will harm this effort very much.
It diverts the effort from a solution that has now, after many years, a broad public
basis, in favour of a solution that has no chance at all.
There is no doubt that 99.99% of Jewish Israelis want the State of Israel to exist as
a state with a robust Jewish majority, whatever its borders.
The belief that a world-wide boycott could change this is a complete illusion.
Immediately after his lecture, my colleague Adam Keller asked the professor a
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197 – Chronologie 2007
simple question: "The entire world has imposed a blockade on the Palestinian
people. But in spite of the terrible misery of the Palestinians, they have not been
brought to their knees. Why do you think that a boycott would break the Israeli
public, which is far stronger economically, so that they would give up the Jewish
character of the state?" (There was no answer.)
In any case, such a boycott is quite impossible. Here and there, an organization can
declare a boycott, small circles of justice-lovers can keep it, but there is no chance
that in the coming decades a world-wide boycott movement, like the one that broke
the racist regime in South Africa, will come about. That regime was headed by
declared admirers of the Nazis. A boycott of the "Jewish State", which is identified
with the victims of the Nazis, just will not happen. It will be enough to remind people
that the long road to the gas chambers started with the 1933 Nazi slogan "Kauft
nicht bei Juden" ("Don't buy from Jews").
(The obnoxious fact that the government of the "State of the Holocaust Survivors"
had close relations with the Apartheid State does not change this situation.)
That is the problem with the bed of Sodom: one size does not fit all. When the
circumstances are different, the remedies must be different, too.
THE IDEA of the "One-State Solution" can attract people who despair of the
struggle for the soul of Israel. I do understand them. But it is a dangerous idea,
especially for the Palestinians.
Statistically, the Israeli Jews constitute, as of now, the absolute majority between
the sea and the river. To that, one must add an even more important fact: the
average annual income of an Arab Palestinian is about 800 dollars, that of a Jewish
Israeli is about 20,000 dollars – 25 times (!) higher. The Israeli economy is growing
every year. The Palestinians would be "hewers of wood and drawers of water". That
means that if the imaginary joint state did indeed come into being, the Jews there
would wield in it absolute power. They would, of course, use this power to
consolidate their dominance and prevent the return of refugees.
Thus the South African example could come true retroactively: in the Single State,
an apartheid-like regime would indeed come into being. Not only would the IsraeliPalestinian conflict not be solved, but on the contrary, it would move into an even
more dangerous phase.
Pappe put forward an argument that looked a bit strange to me: that a Single State
already exists in practice, since Israel rules from the sea to the river. But that is not
so. There is no single state, neither formally nor in practice, but one state occupying
another. Such a state, in which a dominant nation controls the others, will eventually
disintegrate – as did the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.
The One State will not come into being. Not only the Israelis, but most of the
Palestinians, too, will not give up their right to a national state of their own. They
can applaud an Israeli professor who advocates the dismantling of the State of
Israel, but they have no time to wait for utopian solutions that could be realized in a
hundred years. They need an end to the occupation and to achieve a solution to the
conflict here and now, in the near future.
All who wholeheartedly want to help the occupied Palestinian people would be well
advised to keep well away from the idea of a general boycott of Israel. It would push
all Israelis into the arms of the extreme Right, because it would reinforce the rightwing belief that "All the world is against us" – a belief that took root in the years of
the Holocaust, when "all the world looked on and kept silent". Every Israeli child
learns this in school.
A focused boycott against specific organizations and corporations that actively
contribute to the occupation can indeed help in convincing the Israeli public that the
occupation is not worthwhile. Such a boycott can achieve a specific aim – if it is not
aimed at the collapse of the State of Israel. Gush Shalom, to which I belong, has for
10 years been organizing a boycott of the products of the settlements. The aim is to
isolate the settlers and their accomplices. But a general boycott on the State of
Israel would achieve the very opposite – to isolate the Israeli peace activists.
The “two-state solution" was and still is the only solution. When we put it forward
immediately after the 1948 war, we could be counted on the fingers of two hands
not only in Israel but in the entire world. Now there exists a world-wide consensus
about it. The path to this solution is not smooth, many dangers lurk on the way, but
it is a realistic solution that can be achieved.
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198 – Chronologie 2007
One can say: Okay, we will accept the two-state solution because it is realistic, but
after its realization we shall endeavour to abolish the two states and establish one
joint state. That is alright with me. As for myself, I hope that in the course of time a
federation of the two states will come into being, and relations between the two will
become close. I also hope that a regional union, like the EU, will be established,
consisting of all the Arab states and Israel, and perhaps also Turkey and Iran.
But first of all we must treat the wound from which we are all suffering: the IsraeliPalestinian conflict. Not by patent medicines, certainly not by a bed of Sodom, but
with the medicines that are on the shelf.
The 18th chapter of Genesis tells of Abraham trying to convince the Almighty not to
obliterate Sodom. "Per adventure there be fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou
also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?"
God promised him not to destroy the town if there were 50 righteous in it. Abraham
haggled and brought the Almighty down to 45, then 40, 30 and 20, finally settling for
10. But in Sodom there were no 10 righteous to be found, and so its fate was
sealed.
I believe that in Israel there are many, many more than ten righteous people. All
public opinion polls show that the great majority of Israelis not only want peace, but
are ready to pay its price. But they are afraid. They lack trust. They are shackled by
the beliefs they acquired in early childhood. They must be freed from them – and I
believe that it can be done.
52
Yossi Beilin: Don’t give them arms, in „Ynet“ 17.04.2007:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wishes to boost Palestinian President Abbas. President
George W. Bush also wishes to strengthen him. The approach chosen to achieve
this objective is to send weapons to forces affiliated with Abbas so that they can
fight against forces loyal to Hamas, Fatah's partner in the Palestinian national unity
government.
On the other hand, Olmert maintains his decisive objection to dialogue on a finalstatus agreement.
What we see here are three grave mistakes: First, the last thing we need to add to
the Palestinian Authority is more weapons.
When the PA was established, it had to be allowed to acquire arms, because
without enforcing law and order there would have been no significance to the
creation of such Authority.
Today, arming one element in the PA due to the intention to see Fatah twist Hamas'
arm soon could end up as a terrible boomerang. The historical experience of such
"boosts" is horrifying. Moreover, in this case it would constitute an incentive for
Hamas to arm itself even more, and if clashes between the two sides break out it
would not be much of a gamble to assume Hamas would emerge victorious.
Don't count on Arab Initiative
Secondly, Abbas can only be strengthened through one tool – namely, negotiations
on a final-status agreement. Hamas is unwilling to engage in dialogue with Israel
and prefers that the PLO, headed by Abbas, do that. The latter has espoused for
many years the advancement of a final-status agreement and has shown strong
reservations when it comes to intermediate agreements.
If Abbas succeeds in this move and is able to submit a draft agreement with Israel
to a Palestinian referendum he would be stronger than all his opponents. If all he
can bring to his people is regular bi-weekly meetings with Olmert to discuss the
Karni Crossing's hours of operation, Abbas would lose even more authority and pay
a heavy political price.
Thirdly, Olmert declares that he is willing to engage in dialogue with the Arab
League regarding a diplomatic solution between Israel and the Palestinians, but
there is no chance for such negotiations to take place. The Arab Initiative's bottom
line is that if Israel makes peace with the Palestinians and Syrians, Arab states
would maintain normal ties with it. The Arab world would not be objecting to one
clause or another in bilateral agreements, should such agreements be signed, and
as a result the principles appearing in the Arab Initiative are very general and do not
constitute a substitute for negotiations.
By the way, should the Arab League decide to put itself in the Palestinians' shoes
and engage in dialogue in their place, we can assume that its positions would be
much less compromising than the Palestinian positions.
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199 – Chronologie 2007
Israelis, Palestinians pay price
I fail to grasp the logic that guides the prime minister. Only the plethora of
investigations launched against him may serve to explain why he chooses to fire in
all directions instead of maintaining a consistent policy aimed at reaching an
objective he believes in himself, based on his speeches: Namely, ending the
occupation, which has been lasting for 40 years now, through negotiations, or via a
unilateral move should talks fail.
It is sad to see how figures such as Sharon and Olmert, who reached positions of
influence while holding on to a very hawking worldview, ended up advocating
positions that doves would not even imagine proposing – ranging from withdrawal
without getting anything in exchange to handing over weapons to one Palestinian
group, as pragmatic as it may be, in order for it to undermine another group.
Those who pay the price of these mistakes are Israelis and Palestinians, who see
peace moving further away, and meanwhile are forced to live with lack of security
and concern over the next war, which is facing them from newspaper headlines.
53
Vgl. die Eintragungen am 16.01., 29.01., 06.02. und am 09.03.2007 in dieser
Chronologie.
54
Dokumentation des „Temporary International Mechanism for the Assistance of
the Palestinian People”, Bezug nehmend auf die Erklärung des Nahost-Quartetts
vom 09.05.2006, in der Menüleiste „Begleitende Dokumente” dieser Homepage.
55
Azmi Bishara: Why Israel is after me, in „Los Angeles Times“ 03.05.2007:
Amman, Jordan – I am a Palestinian from Nazareth, a citizen of Israel and was,
until last month, a member of the Israeli parliament.
But now, in an ironic twist reminiscent of France's Dreyfus affair — in which a
French Jew was accused of disloyalty to the state — the government of Israel is
accusing me of aiding the enemy during Israel's failed war against Lebanon in July.
Israeli police apparently suspect me of passing information to a foreign agent and
of receiving money in return. Under Israeli law, anyone – a journalist or a personal
friend – can be defined as a "foreign agent" by the Israeli security apparatus. Such
charges can lead to life imprisonment or even the death penalty.
The allegations are ridiculous. Needless to say, Hezbollah – Israel's enemy in
Lebanon – has independently gathered more security information about Israel than
any Arab Knesset member could possibly provide. What's more, unlike those in
Israel's parliament who have been involved in acts of violence, I have never used
violence or participated in wars. My instruments of persuasion, in contrast, are
simply words in books, articles and speeches.
These trumped-up charges, which I firmly reject and deny, are only the latest in a
series of attempts to silence me and others involved in the struggle of the
Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel to live in a state of all its citizens, not one that
grants rights and privileges to Jews that it denies to non-Jews.
When Israel was established in 1948, more than 700,000 Palestinians were
expelled or fled in fear. My family was among the minority that escaped that fate,
remaining instead on the land where we had long lived. The Israeli state,
established exclusively for Jews, embarked immediately on transforming us into
foreigners in our own country.
For the first 18 years of Israeli statehood, we, as Israeli citizens, lived under military
rule with pass laws that controlled our every movement. We watched Jewish Israeli
towns spring up over destroyed Palestinian villages.
Today we make up 20% of Israel's population. We do not drink at separate water
fountains or sit at the back of the bus. We vote and can serve in the parliament. But
we face legal, institutional and informal discrimination in all spheres of life.
More than 20 Israeli laws explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews. The Law of
Return, for example, grants automatic citizenship to Jews from anywhere in the
world. Yet Palestinian refugees are denied the right to return to the country they
were forced to leave in 1948. The Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty – Israel's
"Bill of Rights" – defines the state as "Jewish" rather than a state for all its citizens.
Thus Israel is more for Jews living in Los Angeles or Paris than it is for native
Palestinians.
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200 – Chronologie 2007
Israel acknowledges itself to be a state of one particular religious group. Anyone
committed to democracy will readily admit that equal citizenship cannot exist under
such conditions.
Most of our children attend schools that are separate but unequal. According to
recent polls, two-thirds of Israeli Jews would refuse to live next to an Arab and
nearly half would not allow a Palestinian into their home.
I have certainly ruffled feathers in Israel. In addition to speaking out on the subjects
above, I have also asserted the right of the Lebanese people, and of Palestinians in
the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to resist Israel's illegal military occupation. I do not
see those who fight for freedom as my enemies.
This may discomfort Jewish Israelis, but they cannot deny us our history and
identity any more than we can negate the ties that bind them to world Jewry. After
all, it is not we, but Israeli Jews who immigrated to this land. Immigrants might be
asked to give up their former identity in exchange for equal citizenship, but we are
not immigrants.
During my years in the Knesset, the attorney general indicted me for voicing my
political opinions (the charges were dropped), lobbied to have my parliamentary
immunity revoked and sought unsuccessfully to disqualify my political party from
participating in elections – all because I believe Israel should be a state for all its
citizens and because I have spoken out against Israeli military occupation. Last
year, Cabinet member Avigdor Lieberman – an immigrant from Moldova – declared
that Palestinian citizens of Israel "have no place here," that we should "take our
bundles and get lost." After I met with a leader of the Palestinian Authority from
Hamas, Lieberman called for my execution.
The Israeli authorities are trying to intimidate not just me but all Palestinian citizens
of Israel. But we will not be intimidated. We will not bow to permanent servitude in
the land of our ancestors or to being severed from our natural connections to the
Arab world. Our community leaders joined together recently to issue a blueprint for
a state free of ethnic and religious discrimination in all spheres. If we turn back from
our path to freedom now, we will consign future generations to the discrimination
we have faced for six decades.
Americans know from their own history of institutional discrimination the tactics that
have been used against civil rights leaders. These include telephone bugging,
police surveillance, political delegitimization and criminalization of dissent through
false accusations. Israel is continuing to use these tactics at a time when the world
no longer tolerates such practices as compatible with democracy.
Why then does the U.S. government continue to fully support a country whose very
identity and institutions are based on ethnic and religious discrimination that
victimize its own citizens?
56
57
Vgl. Reiner Bernstein: Von Gaza nach Genf. Schwalbach/Ts. 2006, S. 32 f.
Bernard Avishai: Driverless, in „Harper’s Magazine“ 01.04.2007:
In late November, I visited the campus of Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, an eastern
suburb of Jerusalem, to attend an international conference on Palestinian refugees.
Numbers are hard to validate, but it is widely accepted that 5 million survivors and
descendants of the 750,000 Arabs who fled (or were chased out) of Israel during
the 1948 war, as well as the 500,000 who were displaced in 1967, remain refugees.
Of those living outside the Palestinian Authority, about two thirds of registered
refugees are in Jordan, where most qualify for citizenship, and 30 percent are
evenly divided between Syria and Lebanon, where they generally do not.
Palestinians will tell you that the right of return to their homes is sacred. As many as
40 percent of the refugee families still live in squalid camps, in leaking houses of
cracked concrete and tin roofs. According to American University of Beirut
sociologist Sari Hanafi, only a small percentage of camp dwellers marry people
from the outside; the camps, he argues, are like bones misplaced in muscle, with
no “connective tissue” to the urban centers where real life happens.
Israelis will tell you the refugee camps are just breeding grounds for Palestinian
revanchist fantasies and should have been integrated into “the Arab states” two
generations ago, the way Israel incorporated 600,000 Jewish refugees from
neighboring countries. The Palestinian claim of a right to “their homes” is
intolerable, even for veteran Israeli peace activists like the writer Amos Oz. Jews
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201 – Chronologie 2007
have resisted being thrown into the sea, so should they now choose to be
swamped? Does not the refugees’ right of return contradict Israel’s right to exist?
The problem would seem intractable.
The drive to Al-Quds University should take no more than fifteen minutes from my
apartment in the German Colony. It is on the next scatter of hills south of the
Augusta Victoria Hospital, where Arab residents of this part of Jerusalem typically
go for medical treatment. But it took almost fifty-five minutes in light traffic, since
Abu Dis is now formally assigned to the territory of the Palestinian Authority and is
just behind the “security fence” that snakes through Jerusalem and the West Bank.
To get to Abu Dis—to find a checkpoint through the fence—we had to drive around
the burgeoning Jewish suburb of Ma’ale Adumim several miles to the north.
Imagine going from Wall Street to NYU via the Upper West Side. Imagine making
the trip to the hospital from Abu Dis when the traffic is heavy, your identity card says
you are no longer a resident of Jerusalem, the checkpoint guard got up on the
wrong side of the bed, and your wife is in labor. It gives a whole new meaning to the
phrase “right of return."
I finally got to the conference building—as it happens, a stone’s throw from the wall
and its defiant graffiti. The two featured speakers of the morning were Saeb Erekat,
the intense, perennial Palestinian “chief negotiator,” still close to (and bringing
greetings from) PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and Nabil Sha’ath, perhaps the
most affable diplomat of the old brain trust around Yasir Arafat. Sha’ath had
managed the Palestinian negotiating team on refugees at the peace summit at
Taba, the Egyptian resort town on the Red Sea, in January 2001. That summit,
undertaken while the Al-Aqsa intifada burned in the background, was the last time
Israelis and Palestinians formally tried to come to a “final status” agreement within
the framework of the 1993 Oslo Accords. At the time, Bill Clinton had just
surrendered the presidency, but his bridging parameters, negotiated in Washington
in December 2000 and meant to close the gap that had emerged between Ehud
Barak and Arafat at the failed Camp David talks six months before, served as the
agenda. Israeli negotiators had reported progress, but the summit was rushed
because of an impending Israeli election, in which Ehud Barak was widely expected
to take a beating from Ariel Sharon.
Erekat spoke passionately. Using Arafat’s marquee phrase, he called for the
“peace of the brave,” the release of prisoners on both sides: “a comprehensive
calm—no Palestinian missiles, no Israeli shells.” He did not consider the refugees
but rebuked “forces that sow division”—namely Hamas, which had accused
Abbas’s Fatah party of having forgotten the refugees. He acknowledged that
Hamas had been democratically elected but warned the party not to bypass the
PLO, the national umbrella, which Fatah still controlls. After almost a year of Hamas
trying to consolidate power in the PA— prompting international financial sanctions,
political isolation, and so on—the PA was now stuck with tens of thousands of
unpaid teachers, police, and other civil servants. Fatah was rising steadily in the
polls and now seemed assured a majority in any new election. The air was buzzing
with talk of a “unity” government, led by Fatah’s own Abbas, and of the urgency of
his meeting with Hamas’s Khaled Meshal to avoid civil war. (They finally reached
agreement on a unity government in Mecca on February 8, but it is not yet clear
whether its terms, including a cautiously worded call to “respect” the PLO’s previous
agreements with Israel, will end Western sanctions.)
Whatever Sha’ath’s real mission at the conference, he seemed to give
encouragement to new negotiations by claiming that the past negotiations at Taba
had almost succeeded and implying that Hamas was only making a bad situation
worse. He did not disappoint.
The refugee negotiations at Camp David got nowhere, Sha’ath said, because the
Israelis had been stalling. But at Taba, he said, refugees were not shunted aside,
and their troubles would have been resolved according to a number of “modalities.”
He roared them out in bullet form: There would be financial compensation for lost
property. There would be paid relocation to the Palestinian state. There would be
contributions by donor countries, and even by Israel, to that state. (One economist
present cheerfully put the amount of reparations at $137 billion.) There would even
be a program of limited family reunification in Israel, up to a number “acceptable to
the Israeli government,” say 10,000 a year over five years. Nobody could say justice
of a kind was not being exacted.
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202 – Chronologie 2007
When Sha’ath finished, however, the applause was merely polite. It was as if
everybody had heard it all before. And, of course, we had. For these “modalities”
were entirely familiar, basically identical to the principles that had been incorporated
into the Geneva Initiative, a document signed by a team of Israeli and Palestinian
politicians, writers (including Oz), and others, in October 2003. Geneva’s
organizers, Yossi Beilin, the former Israeli justice minister, and former PA
Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, had both been at Taba and wanted to
complete its work. Their document amounted to a comprehensive peace deal:
There would be a Palestinian state established in the West Bank and Gaza, joined
by a bridge or tunnel, and using the 1967 borders as the starting point. Land swaps
(e.g., from the Negev to Gaza) would allow densely populated Jewish settlements
around Jerusalem and Hebron, some 150,000 people, to be annexed to Israel, but
Israel would evacuate Jewish settlements on the hills around major Palestinian
cities. (Of all major urban settlements, only Ariel in the north and Qiryat Arba in the
south would be evacuated, since access to them required long fingers of land to jut
into Palestine, making a contiguous state impossible.) Arab neighborhoods of
Jerusalem, including those in the Old City, would be absorbed into the Palestinian
state, with the Haram al- Sharif and its mosques coming under Palestinian
sovereignty. The Jewish Quarter and the Wailing Wall would stay under Israeli
sovereignty. International forces, mainly under U.N. auspices, would help police the
Old City and the shared border. Israel would maintain a three-year security
presence in the Jordan Valley, and security cooperation under U.S. mediation
would continue beyond that date.
That was the deal—that’s still the deal—and Sha’ath could only restate it. The
refugee problem, which was supposed to prompt new study and declarations of
steadfastness, was actually resolved four years ago. The border was resolved.
Jerusalem was resolved. The placement of international forces was resolved. As
King Abdullah of Jordan put it recently, “You have the road map, you have Taba,
you have the Geneva Accord. So, we don’t have to go back to the drawing board.”
According to a December poll, more than half of Israelis and about half of
Palestinians already accept the terms of this agreement. And Abdullah might have
added that we also have the Saudi plan, adopted by the Arab League summit in
March 2002, declaring that all regional states will simultaneously recognize Israel in
return for the 1967 border Geneva calls for. I put the matter point-blank to Sha’ath.
Had the Palestinian Authority formally accepted the terms of the Geneva Initiative?
“Well, that depends who we’re talking to,” he told me. “If I were talking to current
Israeli negotiators and I said I accepted Geneva, they would say, ‘Great, let’s start
from there and negotiate a compromise.’ If I were talking to Beilin, the attitude
would be different. It would be a short negotiation.”
This raises a vexing question: If the framework for a full peace has been
negotiated, why are we still killing each other? The short answer is the vendetta
logic of violence itself: the Oslo process was supposed to yield, first, a period of
confidence building, and second, final status talks to produce an agreement. What
has actually taken place since 2000 is, first, a final status agreement, and second,
the catastrophic erosion of any confidence to implement it: pro settler provocations,
suicide bombings, assassinations, missiles, shells, hollow ultimatums—and then
Lebanon.
But there is a long answer, which is that nothing stands in the way of an agreement,
except for a reciprocal reluctance of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and
Palestinian President Abbas, both openly committed to a twostate peace like
Geneva advanced, to act boldly in the face of righteous domestic opposition.
Fatah’s wariness of Hamas—its shows of force and erratic exploitation of
international pressure to gain the upper hand—is only one side of the equation.
Olmert, too, has an opposition: several hundred thousand settlers in the West Bank
and around Jerusalem, ultraorthodox parties, Russian immigrant hawks, combat
officers nervous about losing “deterrent power.” He is understandably reluctant to
take them on for the sake of a peace process that could at any time be subverted
by either the Palestinians’ weakness or their “unity.”
In any case, given Olmert’s impulsive performance during the Lebanon war, his
political survival is hardly assured. His approval ratings hover somewhere around
15 percent. For most of his career, Olmert has professed an attachment to Greater
Israel, and everybody knows that he favored pulling out of Gaza mainly because he
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203 – Chronologie 2007
thought this would make it easier to unilaterally annex large parts of East Jerusalem
and the West Bank.
Nevertheless, the government Olmert (or his successor) will lead until 2010 is not
resisting a deal like Geneva for ideological reasons. This may be the most
pragmatic government Israel has ever had, for the elites that organized this
government have made a huge bet on Israel’s economic globalization. They are
counting on levels of growth like that of the Asian Tigers to mitigate ugly
inequalities— repair a dysfunctional educational system and integrate Israel’s own
increasingly restive Arab minority, who make up one fifth of the country. The
economy is booming at the moment, but its growth is led by hundreds of software
companies, components companies, and so forth, which need to have open
markets in Europe and Asia, where about half of Israel’s foreign exports go.
Another war or the revival of the intifada— leading to a shunning of Israelis— will
send the economy south and the elite’s children west.
The great challenge is to get each side—Israel and Palestine—to trust in something
without having to trust the other. What the Israeli prime minister needs is a dose of
what the Palestinian president has been getting: great powers forcing the issue,
bringing the sides to an endgame that leaders and majorities will accept and do not
have the courage to “sow division” over. Paradoxically, the last thing Israel needs is
exactly what Olmert has been asking for—the gradualism of the Road Map without
pressure, a free hand to deal with “terror,” more confidence-building measures. The
only thing that will build confidence today is a clear commitment of Americans and
Europeans to a definite plan like Geneva. In the absence of such a plan, Olmert
and Abbas become hostages to every Islamist terrorist or hard-line Israeli officer
who makes the decision to pursue “militants.” Olmert must be able to say what
Abbas has been compelled to say to those who oppose him: “You are alienating the
world. We have to choose between our old dreams and American support. Our
economy cannot survive isolation.”
It need hardly be said that the Bush Administration, friends to the end, do not
subscribe to this view. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has spoken vaguely of
bilateral negotiations moving to a “political horizon.” She is reportedly looking again
at Geneva. But how to get from talk about process to talk about a deal? Rice, like
her boss, seems to believe mostly in evil people being beaten into joining, or in an
ownership diplomacy in which the U.S. speaks best by speaking least. As I write,
she has left Jerusalem after an inclusive Olmert-Abbas summit. “The real value
here was that they sat down to talk with each other,” Rice said. In January,
however, newspapers reported that informal (and, by all accounts, productive)
negotiations between Israelis and Syrians had been curtailed due to administration
disapproval. States that abet terror must stand in the corner.
But as we approach the U.S. primary season, the world-famous fatuousness of the
Bush Administration is not the only danger. What “electable” Democratic
presidential candidate in 2004 even raised the question of West Bank settlements?
American Jews are more dependable contributors to the Democratic Party than
almost any other “demographic,” and elections are still fought largely by brand
managers. What consultant will allow a candidate to prejudge the outcome of
Israel’s negotiations or limit Israel’s freedom of action? Will Barack Obama risk
stories about Jews in New York or Los Angeles questioning his friendliness to
Israel? Will Hillary Clinton risk endorsing “bridging parameters” that carry her own
name? Think of the reaction to Jimmy Carter’s recent book.
Clinton’s statements on the matter are especially unsatisfying, given how far her
husband took the negotiation process in 2000. If she endorsed his proposals, which
yielded the Geneva Initiative, she’d liberate the Democratic field to do the same.
Instead, she told the Council on Foreign Relations in October 2006 that there is “no
reliable partner on the Palestinian side,” that progress depends on Hamas
recognizing Israel, which America must remain in “close coordination with”—in all, a
policy as cunningly opaque as the circles around Richard Perle’s eyes. The point is,
the Road Map leads, if anywhere, to Geneva. With no American driver, the wars
continue. Do we need new refugees to tell us where that leads?
58
Text der TIM in der Menüleiste „Begleitende Dokumente“ dieser Homepage.
www.reiner-bernstein.de
59
204 – Chronologie 2007
Salam Fayyad: Palestinian hope held hostage, in „Los Angeles Times”
31.03.2007:
Two weeks ago, I became the minister of finance for a people whose economy has
all but collapsed. It was the start of business for the new Palestinian unity
government, born after months of tricky on-again, off-again negotiations and amid
economic sanctions, bloodshed and misery.
The government came together after a bad year for the struggling Palestinian
Authority. Our economic difficulties grew much worse during that period, in the
aftermath of a free and fair election that brought Hamas to power. Because Hamas'
political platform did not conform to key elements of the peace process, including
Palestinian recognition of Israel's right to exist and a commitment to renounce
violence, the international community imposed sanctions on the Palestinian
Authority.
Although much of the discussion leading to the formation of the unity government
has focused on these two commitments, their validity should not have been much in
question. After all, these commitments were made by the Palestine Liberation
Organization, the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, in a crystalclear and binding agreement in 1993, and no Palestinian government has the
authority to revoke them. In fact, the unity government's platform explicitly states
that it will honor all PLO agreements, which, to be sure, include these two
commitments.
As someone who has long worked for peace and reconciliation with Israel – a
peace based on mutual recognition of each people's rights – I have always
subscribed to the PLO's political program and all the commitments it embodies,
including the recognition of Israel's right to exist and the renunciation of violence. I
still do. My top priority is to lead the effort to end the economic sanctions and to
restore the integrity of our public finance system.
A harsh and painful year after the onset of the sanctions, staggering poverty and
unemployment rates prevail. Today, almost two-thirds of the Palestinian population
lives in poverty, with per-capita income at 60% of its level in 1999. But as Thomas
Jefferson said: "If we are to dream, the flatteries of hope are as cheap, and
pleasanter, than the gloom of despair." As a Palestinian, I have a duty to hope and
to work tirelessly to make the dreams of my people a reality.
We Palestinians dream of living normal lives. We dream of an end to the days
when Palestinian farmers in the West Bank watch their crops destroyed to make
way for Israeli-only roads, an end to the days when Palestinian children must brave
Israeli military checkpoints to get to school and an end to the days when Gaza's 1.4
million Palestinians are sealed inside their territory, cut off from the rest of the
world. Like all people, we deserve freedom in our own land. We deserve
democratic, transparent and accountable institutions. And we deserve to live in
peace and economic cooperation with all our neighbors, including Israel.
Over the years, the international community has encouraged and supported
Palestinians in building democratic institutions to serve as the foundation of our
future state. Donor assistance helped pay for the building of schools, hospitals and
roads in addition to supporting good governance and providing the know-how to
create a functioning administration.
In my previous term as finance minister, from June 2002 to December 2005, I
played a leading role in establishing transparency and accountability in government
finances through the introduction of a series of deep, wide-ranging reforms that
helped bring our public finance system up to international standards. These
included the consolidation of all government revenues in the Ministry of Finance,
the elimination of extra-budgetary spending and the regular publication of detailed
financial statements.
Since the international sanctions were imposed, aid has continued to flow, which
has helped prevent starvation. But by channeling funds so that they bypass the
Ministry of Finance, donors have unintentionally contributed to reversing these
institution-building gains. The money coming in can no longer be traced, and we
cannot ensure that it is not being misappropriated.
Also, our dependence on foreign-aid handouts is increasing while our economic
development is stifled. In 2005, for example, only 16% of European Union aid to
Palestine was classified as humanitarian. Last year, that figure rose to 56%.
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205 – Chronologie 2007
We do not aspire to be a beggar nation, dependent on the world to feed our people.
We have the capacity, education and talent to build a thriving economy and a
strong democracy. But we cannot do so while Israel seals our borders and
withholds tax revenue it owes us, or while U.S. banking regulations prevent banks
from handling government business.
In order that we may begin again to develop the institutions and systems that will
make us self-reliant and that will buttress the foundation of our future state, the
sanctions must be lifted.
The U.S. has long acknowledged – as has the entire world community – that the
formation of a viable, independent Palestinian state on the West Bank (including
East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip is the way out of this nearly 60-year-old
conflict. But until the international community demonstrates the political will to help
bring about a comprehensive settlement – one that will grant Palestinians the
freedom to build our own economy and institutions in our own land – we will all
continue to pay the price. Despair will continue to erode hope. And, lest we forget
the words of Jefferson, hope is indeed "as cheap, and pleasanter."
60
Vgl. Reiner Bernstein: Von Gaza nach Genf. Die Genfer Friedensinitiative von
Israelis und Palästinensern. Schwalbach/Ts. 2006, S. 30 f.
61
Text der Erklärung von Riyadh in der Menüleiste „Begleitende Dokumente”
dieser Homepage.
62
Israeli statement on the Arab Summit in Riyadh, 29 March, 2007:
Israel believes in peace, and seeks to establish peaceful and neighborly relations
both with the Palestinian people and with all the states of the region.
Israel is sincerely interested in pursuing a dialogue with those Arab states that
desire peace with Israel, this in order to promote a process of normalization and
cooperation. Israel hopes that the Riyadh Summit will contribute to this effort.
Israel's position with regard to the peace process with the Palestinians is founded
upon fundamental principles, the most central of which is the existence of two
nation-states, with each state addressing the national aspirations of its own people
– Israel for the Jewish people and Palestine for the Palestinian people – and with
both states coexisting in peace, free of the threat of terrorism and violence. For this
purpose, a direct dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians is necessary.
Israel also believes that moderate Arab states can fill a positive role by encouraging
regional cooperation, and supporting the Israel-Palestinian track. A dialogue
between these states and Israel can contribute to this end.
63
Yossi Beilin: Wanted: a sane coalition, in „bitterlemons“ 26.03.2007:
The Riyadh Arab summit presents an important opportunity for Arab countries: to
strengthen a pragmatic coalition capable of confronting extremism in the Arab
world, recommitting to the Arab peace initiative and advancing regional peace
processes.
The new Quartet, comprising Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, is now
recognized and encouraged by the rest of the world; witness the meeting just held
between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and leaders of the four states.
The veteran Quartet made up of the UN, US, Russia and the EU functions on the
basis of the lowest common denominator and generates more paralysis than new
initiatives. In contrast, the new Quartet is likely to be more active, if only because it
is acting on the basis of an egotistical but legitimate concern for the survival of its
member regimes. Having concluded that in order to save themselves they must
make a supreme effort to bring peace and stability to the Middle East, these leaders
are likely to surprise us with their readiness to lead in directions where hitherto
none had dared to venture.
I well remember a conversation with President Anwar Sadat that took place
between the Camp David agreements of autumn 1978 and the Israeli-Egyptian
peace pact signed in March 1979. I asked him which Arab state would be the
second to make peace with Israel and he replied without hesitation, "Saudi Arabia".
It was a bad mistake. The Saudis linked up with other Arab countries that resolutely
opposed the agreement with Israel and lent a hand in boycotting Egypt, expelling it
from the Arab League and moving the League's headquarters from Cairo to Tunis.
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206 – Chronologie 2007
The Saudi initiative of March 2002 is the most far-reaching change in Saudi policy
since those Camp David agreements. It constitutes a total reversal of the "three
nos" of the September 1967 Khartoum Arab summit and reflects both the Saudi
response to the events of 9/11 and the emergence of King Abdullah – even when
he served as crown prince while his brother, the king, was effectively neutralized
due to health problems. Now that Abdullah is king in his own right, he is initiating
striking political moves like the Mecca summit, where he compelled Hamas and
Fateh to form a national unity government. Anyone seeking to promote regional
stability must recognize the positive nature of Abdullah's activities; we have been
awaiting them ever since Sadat offered his assessment of the future Saudi role.
Undoubtedly, the situation we have found ourselves in since late 2000 is to a large
extent the antithesis of the sense of diplomatic progress that characterized the
1990s. The failure of talks between Israel and Syria and Israel and the Palestinians,
the outbreak of the second intifada, 9/11, the Iranian nuclear threat, the Hamas
electoral victory –all these developments reversed our course, yet also generated a
positive counter-reaction.
One of the more encouraging aspects of that counter-reaction has been the Arab
League's response to the al-Qaeda phenomenon and the Iranian nuclear threat.
Now, the establishment of a Palestinian unity government conveys a chance to
create the unified Palestinian partner that we have long sought. Our attitude toward
the new government must be determined by its performance rather than its
composition or guidelines, problematic as they are.
If the new government succeeds in preventing any and all violence against Israel in
accordance with a ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank; if it brings about the
release of Gilad Shalit; if it enables the PLO led by Mahmoud Abbas to manage
diplomatic negotiations with Israel--then it will be fitting for the world to recognize it.
At that point, it will also be possible to interpret the new government's guidelines in
a more liberal manner, transfer aid funds to it and maintain normal contacts with it.
Meanwhile, it would be a serious mistake to boycott those members of this
government who for years have been committed to peace with Israel and who have
made serious efforts to end terrorism and violence.
Recent events – the return to the Arab peace plan, the new Quartet, the Mecca
summit, the establishment of a Palestinian unity government and the approaching
Arab summit--all convey a new hope. That hope can be realized if we don't all
repeat the mistakes of the past, and in particular if we don't perpetuate the mistake
that for so many years has characterized all the regional and international actors:
missing most of the opportunities.
64
Dina Ezzat: The Riyadh factor, in „Al-Ahram Weekly“ 29.03.-04.04.2007:
It has become almost impossible not to find Saudi Arabia in any story reported on
the Middle East for the regional or international press. Saudi Arabia has been
increasing its volume, pace and depth of intervention in regional issues that it once
dealt with only indirectly through regional or sub-regional forums like the Arab
League or the three-way alliance that brought Riyadh, Damascus and Cairo
together for the best part of the 1990s.
Today, things are taking a completely different shape: Saudi Arabia is intervening in
the Palestinian issue, Lebanese developments, the situation in Sudan and the crisis
in Somalia. Saudi Arabia is also talking to Iran about its relations with the West and
the rest of the Arab world and is talking with Iraqi factions about the chances of
reconciliation and ending internal Shia-Sunni fighting. The Saudis are making
proposals to upgrade the quality of Arab regional regime and are criticising the
failure of Arabs to take destiny into their own hands. And now, as the newlycrowned leader for the Arab summit, Saudi Arabia seems set to make 2007 the
year of Saudi diplomacy in the Middle East.
"The regional order cannot continue the way it has been ... And we cannot blame
the Arab League for the current situation since the league is only a reflection of our
performance," Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah – otherwise known as the Custodian of
the Two Holy Shrines – told Arab leaders during an inaugural speech before the
Arab summit last week in Riyadh.
The message that Abdullah hinted at came as no surprise to any Arab leader or
other delegate who convened at the heavily-secured and extravagantly decorated
Palace of Conferences in Riyadh. Arab diplomats who listened to Abdullah's down-
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207 – Chronologie 2007
to-earth and clearly confrontational – "transparent" as Saudi Foreign Minister Saud
Al-Faissal qualified it – speech have been seeing a shift of dynamics across the
Arab region for some while. "There is hardly a file that the Saudi are not involved in.
They are talking to Palestinians about the future of their struggle for independence
and they are listening from the Moroccans about their views on settling the Shara
conflict. They are talking to the Iranians and Americans – maybe even mediating.
They have involved themselves in every crucial regional issue," commented one
Cairo-based Arab diplomat.
According to this and other Arab diplomats who attended the Riyadh summit, the
picture was very clear. Saudi Arabia is now in the driving seat, even though it may
not wish to get too much attention for it. "Look at who was talking to whom during
the summit. Everybody was talking to the Saudis and this is not just because they
chaired the Arab summit. This is because these delegations that approach the
Saudis know very well that Saudi Arabia can deliver," commented one diplomat
who requested anonymity. He added that this is not just the approach of Arab
delegations but is equally the attitude of foreign leaders who have been showing
greater interest in communicating their views to Riyadh.
"It is true that they will stop in Cairo or some other Arab capital but it is in Riyadh
that they tend to think that business could be done," argued another Arab diplomat.
Indeed, this week Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert singled the Saudi monarch
from other Arab heads of state when he made statements asking for meetings with
Arab leaders. After all, it was the Saudi King who proposed the Arab peace initiative
that was adopted by the Arab summit in 2002. Today, King Abdullah has given his
aides, especially chief of intelligence Bandar Bin Sultan, a green light to explore
with all parties the chances of reviving this initiative and a clinically moribund ArabIsraeli peace process. "This is not just because the Americans have asked for help
from Riyadh to move things forward," commented one Saudi source on condition of
anonymity, "it is also because Saudi Arabia believes it in the interest of the stability
of the region to see an end to the chronic Arab-Israeli struggle." According to this
source, the Saudis were content for a while to provide moral and financial support
to others to worry about the stability of the region but recently felt this stability
increasingly challenged. "This king is different from previous kings. He is direct. He
decided that he would interfere and he did," the source added.
One indicator of the growing role of Saudi diplomacy was the Mecca Accord struck,
in February, that gave rise to a Palestinian national unity government. The Mecca
deal alerted Americans to a Saudi diplomacy that appears slowly to be parting ways
with the US agenda in the Middle East. But it is not only in the US and Israel that
eyebrows are being lifted. In Egypt, too, there was a certain sense of shock among
the intelligentsia that Saudi Arabia is now managing the situation in Egypt's
immediate backyard "in the absence of Egyptian intervention".
From official Cairo, the reaction was contained, but some Egyptian officials
expressed a sense of unease over the Mecca deal, especially in view of the fact
that the Egyptian security delegation based in Gaza for close on two years was not
invited to take part, even as an observer, in the Mecca talks, or at the signing
ceremony. Some were, and are still, sceptical that the Mecca Accord will hold,
arguing that without clear support from the Egyptian security delegation in Gaza,
Hamas and Fatah fighters are bound to clash again.
But the score Saudi Arabia registered with the Mecca Accord was not a one-off.
Only a few weeks before, Saudi Arabia – who had asked Egypt last year to host the
2007 Arab summit in its capacity as the seat of the Arab League – backtracked and
asked to host the summit in Riyadh "in view of the complexity of the regional
situation". A few weeks later, it was Saudi Arabia – now described by the Western
press as the strongest Arab Sunni regime – who was intervening in the Lebanese
crisis and trying to mend fences between the Sunni minority government and a Shia
majority opposition.
Indeed, last December King Abdullah hosted an unprecedented meeting with
representatives of the Shia Lebanese resistance group Hizbullah. Prior to this,
Riyadh was closely monitoring the efforts of Arab League Secretary-General Amr
Moussa in mediating a settlement in Lebanon. And last week in Riyadh, it was with
the Saudi monarch that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, who still carries
considerable political weight in Lebanon, spent four hours attempting to mend
fences, after having angered Arab leaders with statements indicating that some of
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208 – Chronologie 2007
them were "half men". At the end of the meeting, informed sources say, Bashar
promised Abdullah that he would use his influence over the pro- Syria camp in
Lebanon to show flexibility to reach a settlement on power sharing in the country.
In the coming weeks, Saudi Arabia is also planning to host meetings on
developments in Darfur, an issue discussed at length during a meeting hosted by
the Saudi king on the fringe of the Riyadh summit with the presence of Sudanese
President Omar Al-Bashir and the chiefs of the UN, African Union and the Arab
League. Saudi Arabia is also planning a meeting on Somalia. And as Saudi Foreign
Minister Al-Faissal told the US weekly magazine Newsweek, Saudi Arabia is also
trying to convince Tehran to meet the US half-way on a settlement of the Iranian
nuclear standoff.
Speaking to the Weekly, American diplomats based in the Middle East said it is the
belief in Washington that the role of Riyadh is likely to increase rather than to
decrease as some Arab capitals may wish to see. "There is a certain kind of
sensitivity in some Arab capitals, but it is a fact that the Saudis are now assuming a
bigger regional role than ever before." This is not necessarily something that the
Americans mind, especially that the US is now looking for a force, preferably Sunni,
to balance against Tehran. Indeed, in support of the Saudi role, sources say,
Washington has lowered the volume of its criticism of Saudi Arabia's human rights
and women's rights record.
Meanwhile, there is a consensus among Arab and American officials that the real
test for Saudi regional influence is the Iraq file. American diplomats say that while
they would appreciate any Saudi diplomatic effort that could lead to a breakthrough
on the Palestinian front, the Americans are soliciting Saudi influence on – or rather
to get out of – Iraq. What the Americans have asked of Saudi Arabia, as the nowacknowledged Arab- Muslim lead state, is to contemplate ways to allow for SunniShia reconciliation in Iraq to contain sectarian bloodshed there. The Saudis,
American sources say, can do it, if anybody can. The rationale is simple: the Saudis
have influence, moral and financial, over Sunni groups in Iraq if they have contacts
with Iran that could influence Shia groups. If Saudi diplomacy passes the Iraq test it
would indeed have earned the recognition of regional players as the new heart of
regional leadership.
65
Text des Interview-Berichts in der Menüleiste „Erklärungen, Interviews,
Anzeigen“ dieser Homepage.
66
Shimon Peres: By air, land and see, in “Haaretz” 26.03.2007:
About two weeks ago, the Israeli government made an important and precedentsetting decision to declare the Peace Valley project a "national project" with all the
implications of such a decision: advancement in the government's list of priorities, a
shortening of bureaucratic procedures and overall government enlistment to
implement it. Such is the culmination of an effort to change viewpoints, to overcome
prejudices and to operate by modern means to bring about a genuine diplomatic
change in the region.
Every important event that has taken place since World War II was implemented by
means of modern economics, which promotes the use of science and technology
instead of simple adherence to territory. This major revolution, which changes longstanding practices, is taking place and continuing before our eyes. The world is
changing, and its point of gravity is moving from diplomacy and strategy to science
and technology, which are not limited to a specific area and are not controlled by
governments.
In the face of the weakness of governments, the global non-governmental sector is
becoming stronger. The transition from a territorial economy to an economy of
science and technology does not change borders, but it does change relationships.
The global companies create their own capital, and have adopted a culture of risktaking and of exploiting new opportunities. Since they have no army or police force,
they operate through the force of competition. Even countries that fear the
penetration of foreign countries, or a foreign army, welcome investments by nongovernmental companies, while the companies are seeking new opportunities.
The Middle East has relied greatly on strategy and diplomacy, and has not taken
sufficient advantage of economics. Had we invested properly in the construction of
a modern regional economy, we could have reduced poverty and formed practical
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209 – Chronologie 2007
trusting relations with our neighbors. And so, although the Middle East is rich in
possibilities and opportunities, possible changes have yet to take place here. The
Peace Valley plan offers an initial and fascinating part of a vision to promote peace,
regional stability in the Middle East and social advancement by means of economic
cooperation, both regional and global.
Relations, not borders
The diplomatic track deals with borders, whereas the economic track deals with
relations. It is easier to reach an agreement about relations than about borders.
Good economic relations will at the end of the day make it easier to reach an
agreement about borders. The Peace Valley plan is the first attempt to adopt the
modern outlook: to use global levers, to take chances, to deal with the future, to
develop new markets and to be open to new relationships. The project will be
based on funding by extra-governmental factors that are interested in developing
new markets and new technologies.
The Peace Valley plan covers the route of the African Rift, which stretches along
520 kilometers of the Israel-Jordan border, from the Red Sea in the South to the
Yarmuk River in the North. Of them, 420 kilometers are shared with Jordan, with
which we enjoy peaceful relations. Ten percent of the route passes along the future
border with the Palestinians, who are in need of economic encouragement as well
as financial assistance.
The Peace Valley vision is arousing a great deal of interest, and already now
economic initiatives based on private investment and the support of institutions and
countries are beginning to sprout. The economic initiatives will promote regional
development, providing a wide array of advantages for countries in the region and
their inhabitants.
The first projects will include the digging of the Peace Conduit, which will channel
water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea; joint development of agriculture and
tourism; the construction of a joint Israeli-Jordanian airport; the creation of a rail link
between Jordan and Israel; the construction of an industrial zone in Jenin and an
agro-industrial region in the Jericho-Damya area with the assistance of the German
and Japanese governments; and the construction and development of
technological incubators.
The Dead Sea-Red Sea Canal. The Dead Sea is undergoing serious upheaval. It is
losing its water and the sinkholes are threatening tourism in the region. This is too
great a problem for one country, and therefore there is a need for cooperation
between countries that share a sea, and global involvement interested in preventing
ecological dangers and promoting peace.
Economic-business ventures will be set up along the Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal,
including man-made lakes, energy-producing installations, modern agriculture,
desalination facilities and hotels and tourist sites on both sides of the border.
Compensating for a loss of water
The canal project will turn the Arava into a blossoming garden and a center of
attraction for tourists from all over the world. It will also compensate the Dead Sea
for the loss of its water, and will create desalinated water for our Negev on the
western side and for Jordanian agriculture on the eastern side. It will greatly
strengthen Israeli-Jordanian relations and will help the Palestinians generate
economic growth.
A joint airport. A joint airport for Israel and Jordan will foster future touristic
cooperation between the two countries. It will have a Jordanian terminal for
passengers traveling to Jordan and an Israeli terminal for passengers traveling to
Eilat. Coordinated activity at a renovated airport will lead to streamlining and
savings, more air traffic security and an improvement in service. The construction
of the joint airport will make it possible to develop Eilat, freeing areas for
construction in high-class areas of the city. It is preferable to invest in a developed
city and an existing airport than to build another airport that will cost hundreds of
millions of dollars – money that could be invested in city development.
A rail and transportation link. The plan takes into account a rail and transportation
link between Jordan and Israel, which will shorten distances, reduce costs and
develop new transportation from Europe and America to the Middle East. The
Europeans are also proposing a future installation of two railroad lines that will link
the Middle East and Europe. It is possible to add a northern line between Irbid in
Jordan and Haifa in Israel, and a southern line in the direction of the Red Sea,
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210 – Chronologie 2007
which will link Aqaba, the Red Sea and the Ashdod Port in one railway network.
These lines are likely to create integration of the Middle East and Europe and to
lead to economic momentum.
An industrial zone in Jenin. The West Bank is crying out for jobs. The financial
assistance of the donor nations has not achieved its goal. The major
unemployment and the poverty line in the areas of the Palestinian Authority demand
serious attention by Israel, as well. In the area of northern Samaria there is potential
for an industrial zone. The German government has agreed to allocate about $30
million to build such a zone, and other countries are willing to encourage their
private firms to transfer branches to the area. The communities of the Jezreel
Valley are also showing an interest. In the zone, industry dealing in textiles, wood
and food products can be set up, with a network of logistical services to support this
industry constructed on the Israeli side. Such an industrial zone can create
thousands of jobs for the entire area. As happened in the industrial zone in Jordan.
Agricultural-industrial development in Jericho. The Jericho area can serve as an
agricultural center for the entire Middle East. The Japanese government has
decided to assist in the development of industrial agriculture in Jericho, to include a
high-tech industrial agricultural park, along with an airport on the Jordanian side,
which will be capable if delivering agricultural produce to the entire region. This
project will enable the West Bank to send produce to markets all over the Middle
East, and raise the standard of living in the West Bank.
The Peace Valley therefore opens the door to new opportunities. It is likely to be a
bridge among three partners that are required both by nature and by peace to
cooperate. It will take time, it will encounter difficulties, but every major initiative
creates a major quarrel both with nature and human nature. The Peace Valley is an
exceptional opportunity for a change in the atmosphere, for an improvement in
relations, for a joint experience.
The Peace Valley is the beginning of economic hope, which will serve the
diplomatic negotiations that will take place at the same time. Israel, Jordan and the
Palestinians have already agreed to this project. The United States, the European
countries and Japan have declared their support for it. This is the first economic
agreement among the three partners, and the first that will be supported through
global involvement. The Peace Valley project can promote the peace process, and
it can get underway immediately.
67
Der Text des Beiruter Friedensplans findet sich in der Menüleiste „Begleitende
Dokumente” dieser Homepage.
68
Remarks With Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, Secretary Condoleezza
Rice, Joint Press Availability, Aswan, Egypt., March 25, 2007:
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: (Via interpreter.) Good morning. Of course, Dr. Rice
spent almost 24 hours in the city of Aswan and we expressed our deep welcome
and appreciation to this historic city. The Secretary had a meeting with President
Mubarak that lasted for almost 90 minutes. We have seen many positive elements
during that meeting and we were able during the discussions to cover the situation
in the region generally and specifically a number of regional issues, in particular the
Palestinian issue.
Regarding the Palestinian issue, Dr. Rice shared the American approach and the
American thinking and how to deal with both sides, the Palestinians and the Israeli
sides, as well as the mission of the Quartet and the international community as well
as (inaudible) the regional countries and how the regional countries can advance
these steps forward.
Regarding Egypt, there is no doubt that we support the American efforts and we
hope that the United States and Dr. Rice will succeed in achieving a breakthrough.
And in this regard, there is also a fact that there is a Palestinian Government and a
Palestinian Authority today on the ground that it is capable, and a Palestinian
Authority from our point of view should be supported – this is Egypt's point of view –
because supporting the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Government
there's no doubt that will open the roads before and after peace process.
Also we have, as I said, discussed the regional issues and among on the top of the
list the situation in Iraq, the issue of Darfur, the Lebanese issue as well as the
nuclear Iranian issue. And we had brief discussions on the issue of nonproliferation
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211 – Chronologie 2007
in the Middle East. This is regarding the meeting between President Mubarak and
Dr. Rice.
Last night, also we had the group of the Arab foreign ministers and the head of
intelligence from four Arab countries. It was two meetings and followed by a
working dinner. We continued to discuss the same points. And I believe that the
discussion was useful because it allowed each one the opportunity to be
acquainted with the various points of views regarding how to move and push the
peace process forward.
This is briefly what I wanted to share with you, and then there will be questions and
answers that could shed more lights. Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister, for inviting me here and
thank you very much for the hospitality here in Aswan. It's my first time in Aswan
and it looks like an extraordinary place. And the next time I hope to have a chance
to go out and see some of this extraordinary part of Egypt. I'm very pleased to be
back in Egypt, where we are consulting with our friends about how to build a more
prosperous and peaceful Middle East. It is obviously a challenging time here in the
region, but President Bush has never been more committed to pushing forward an
agenda for a new Middle East that will be more democratic and more secure and
therefore more fully stable. We had an opportunity – I discussed with President
Mubarak this morning the full range of regional issues. The Minister has noted
everything from the Israeli-Palestinian issues, where I appreciate very much the
support of Egypt as we go forward to try and achieve a vision of a two-state
solution, two states living side by side in peace and in freedom. We talked also
about Iraq and support for the young democracy in Iraq against extremist forces. As
the Minister said, we talked about nuclear issues, including those concerning Iran;
about the situation in Sudan and again the efforts of Egypt to help to bring stability
to Sudan so that individuals there, innocent people there, can face a more stable
future. And that was a very important part of our discussion. We also talked about
the internal reform issues here in Egypt, and I appreciate the atmosphere of mutual
respect in which we are able to do so.So all in all, it was a very good meeting today
and I want to thank the Minister also for last night, when I had an opportunity to
meet with some of our Arab colleagues to talk about how the Arab community, the
Arab states, might join in support for a more peaceful Middle East, including in
support of the Palestinian-Israeli track. And so thank you very much for hosting us
here last night and today, and I look forward to returning to Egypt again, perhaps in
another wonderful part of Egypt.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: I think the Secretary is coming back for the Quartet.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, we will be back for the Quartet. We haven't set a date
yet, but I look forward to that as well.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: Anytime.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: If we would sort of organize the press conference,
would you accept two or three questions from each side?
SECRETARY RICE: (Off-mike.)
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: Very nice.
QUESTION: This is a question from (inaudible) magazine for both ministers and
especially the first question for you, Madame Secretary. Since the Bush
Administration in June 2002 and until now all the American movements are still a
process without substances, there is nothing concrete going on. We feel it's not
built on anything. So in this visit do you have new ideas to help to start a real
negotiation? And the second part, please, it's about why you don't tackle the Israeli
nuclear power in the Middle East. Are there any efforts to convince Israel to go and
join the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty]? Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Well, first of all, I would have to say that this has
been a President that since he came into office has faced a very difficult situation in
the Middle East. He came into office at the time that Camp David had failed and we
were in the middle of the beginning of these second intifada. And he has worked
patiently since then to try and lay a better foundation for peace, including being the
first American President to make as a matter of policy the establishment of a
Palestinian state. The two-state solution which we now talk about as if it were just
always the case that everyone accepted a two-state solution is now – it is now the
case that people accept the need for a two-state solution. That was not so in 2000.
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212 – Chronologie 2007
There were large parts of the Israeli political spectrum that did not. There were
elements of the Palestinian spectrum that did not. And so the President, I think, has
helped to lay the foundation now on which we can build to try to finally bring about a
Palestinian state, and he has made very clear that in his last year and a half in
office, two years in office, that this will be one of our highest priorities. It is true that
this is a difficult time between the parties, made more difficult by changing
circumstances on the ground, including changing circumstances concerning the
establishment of the Palestinian unity government. But as I said before, there's
never an uncomplicated time in the Middle East and so I will work with the parties
this time to try to establish a common approach toward resolving these
longstanding differences. But I suppose if it had been easy to do, it would have
been done before, and so we'll just have to work. In terms of nuclear-free zone,
we've long said we hope that the day will come when there is no need for any state
to contemplate the need for weapons of this kind in the Middle East.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: May I respond as well?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: (Via interpreter) Regarding the question, we have
heard the point of view from the U.S. Secretary of State and her intentions in how to
move forward, and we believe that the upcoming phase will witness going into both
the practical aspects and the substance in order to formulate the council and how to
move towards the objective of two states. And we have full confidence in the
Secretary's and her ability to work with the parties to achieve that goal. The goal is
difficult, but I believe that plenty of determination and preparation and consistency
would hopefully lead to results that will be positive. Regarding the issue of nonproliferation, we know that there is a resolution for a decision came out of the NPT
in 1995 related to the Middle East and how to deal with the issue of nonproliferation in the Middle East. That decision was enhanced and all parties in the
region were asked to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty through another decision in
2000. Now there is an upcoming meeting in 2010. This is the – there will be the
seventh conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and we are working with the
American side in order to reach an understanding that would lead to enhancing the
idea of asking all parties and region to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty and we will
continue our efforts in that regard.
QUESTION: A question for both of you, starting with Madame Secretary. Would
you like to see a stepped-up, more public role for Saudi Arabia in Mideast
peacemaking, perhaps including a face-to-face visit between the Saudis and the
Israelis? And for both of you, do you think that Saudi Arabia has in any way usurped
Egypt's former role as a central actor in Mideast peacemaking?
SECRETARY RICE: Look, there's plenty of work for everybody to do. And Egypt is
a leader in the search for peace, a longtime leader in the search for peace, whose
leaders took risks and have taken risks in order to promote peace. And that gives
Egypt a central role that will always be a central role in the peace process. It is also
the case that the King of Saudi Arabia, first in the Crown Prince initiative and then
what became the Arab initiative, laid out a kind of vision of how there might be an
Arab-Israeli reconciliation or a full reconciliation, and we think that that is a useful
step as well. And we talked about how the Arab-Israeli side of this may indeed help
to promote a comprehensive peace, might help to promote an Israeli-Palestinian
end to the conflict and therefore the establishment of a Palestinian state, and I
would hope that every state will search very deep to see what it can do at this
crucial time to finally end this conflict. The Palestinian people have waited long
enough to have a state of their own and the Israeli people have waited long enough
to have the kind of security that will come from the establishment of a stable and
democratic neighbor to live in peace with them. And so it is not the – it is our role,
all of us, to do whatever we can in order to promote the two-state solution at this
time.
QUESTION: (Off-mike.)
SECRETARY RICE: There may be many different ways to achieve this, but for now
I think we just need to have every state look to see what it might be able to do to
support the process.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: May I respond?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, please. I think it was to you as well.
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213 – Chronologie 2007
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: (Via interpreter) The Middle East and the settlement
in the Middle East should not be monopolized by one country. As Dr. Rice said, the
U.S. Secretary of State, Egypt is a central country and Egypt carries out and
discharges responsibilities over decades of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Today, there
are more than Arab countries who would like to play a role in building peace. This is
a collective responsibility. The Arab League is not Egypt. The Arab League is a
collection of Arab countries that work together in order to achieve the objective of
establishing peace in the region. Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia work hand
in hand and very closely and with a great deal of coordination, and anyone who
follows the Egyptian-Saudi work can easily detect many meetings. Many of them
are open and public and many of them are unannounced, but there is a
continuation of meetings. The responsibility is a collective responsibility, and
anyone who can exert efforts, we should support that party and promote them
forward.
QUESTION: Thank you. The question is for both foreign ministers. My name is
Nuhamtad (ph). I'm from Egyptian television. My first question is to Dr. Rice.
Secretary of State, before coming here to the region, you talked to your reporters.
You said that the Arab initiative must be offered again and offered in a way that
suggests a follow-up. As far as we all remember when the Arab initiative was
offered back in 2002, it was ignored by the United States, let alone rejected by
Israel. So what is the kind of follow-up that you are expecting from, and from who,
and particularly that the Arab heavyweights – Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria – said
that they are not going to do any amendments required by Israel in the Arab
initiative. And the question also to Minister Aboul Gheit. My question is a follow-up
on what you said that you heard from Secretary Rice's vision of the U.S.
Administration of how to move ahead in the next phase. Really, we don't exactly
know what are these specific steps that are going to be taken or what is this vision
in order to get to the two-state solution. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. On the Arab initiative, let me be very clear: I have
not suggested and the United States Government has not suggested amendment
of the Arab initiative. It is the Arab initiative and the Arab League has the right to
offer it as the Arab League wishes to do. What I have said is that I hope that there
will be a way of making it a basis for active diplomacy. We are in a period of time in
which we believe that despite the difficulties, the possibility of pushing forward
toward a two-state solution is now before us and all states, including the Arab
League, those in the Arab League individually as well as the Arab League as a
whole, to push forward at this time. So it is up to the Arab League, up to the Arab
states, how they might use the Arab initiative for more active diplomacy. But in
terms of amendment, it has not been the position of the United States that
amendment is needed.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: (Via interpreter) Regarding the thinking that's going
through the minds of Secretary Rice, I am not going to reveal what kind of
conversations that we had together and it's not right for me to talk about her
intentions or how she intends to move forward for the elements of talking about
this. We cannot reveal what she has discussed. This is her property to talk about.
Regarding the Arab initiative – (laughter). Am I to speak on your behalf while you
are standing here? Of course not. May I also speak on the Arab initiative, if I may?
(via interpreter) Regarding the Arab initiative, of course Egypt is committed to this
initiative and we hope that the other side, the Israeli side, also will deal with this
initiative positively and to move in order to resume negotiations on the basis of their
logic. The initiative is a tool in order to start negotiations. It is presented in order for
the Israeli to take it, deal with it, and then we launch negotiations. And we hope and
we assume that in order to achieve peace, you have to negotiate peace because
there are so many issues that goes to the heart of everything, which is land-forpeace. This is the heart of the negotiations that leads to borders, leads to dealing
with all the elements that are on the table for the upcoming phase. Regarding the
talks about amending the initiative, but of course natural that it's illogical that the
Arab side would propose something and then revise it or amend it before we even
hear anything from the Israeli side. So we need to hear from the Israeli side, then
we launch the negotiations.
SECRETARY RICE: Helene. Helene Cooper of the New York Times.
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214 – Chronologie 2007
QUESTION: Thanks. I'd like to ask both of you a question about democracy.
Secretary Rice, before coming here, you said that you were disappointed in
tomorrow's upcoming referendum and that you intended to raise the issue with
President Mubarak. Has your talk with him allayed your concerns and have your
views now changed about tomorrow's referendum? And to Mr. Aboul Gheit, many
backers of the constitutional changes in Egypt have likened it to the U.S. Patriot
Act. Do you agree with that? And if so, what exactly are those similarities? Thank
you.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, Helene, we have had a discussion. I've made my
concerns known as well as my hopes for continued reform here in Egypt. I think
what I said is that the process of reform is one that is difficult; it's going to have its
ups and downs. And we always discuss these matters in a way that is respectful,
mutually respectful. But I've made my concerns known and we've had a good
discussion.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: (via interpreter) Regarding the question of the Patriot
Act and the relationship between the Egyptian constitutional amendments and the
relationship to the Patriot Act in the United States, I believe we have to confess that
Egypt has been subjected to terrorist acts over – for a period over 80 years and
with the end of the Second World War, since 1945, there are and there has been
extremist views on the Egyptian territories since that time in order to shake up the
political structure and the economic and the social structure of the Egyptian society.
The Egyptian state stood over the years and decades in order to be determined in
protecting internal peace and achieve the stability of the Egyptian society. This is
the responsibility of the society towards itself before it is its responsibility towards
the region or the international community. Egypt has reaffirmed many times it is a
central country in this part of the world, and if Egypt is shaken, the region will be
shaken. Therefore Egypt's determination and capability not only to establish internal
stability and achieve social and economic development through laws and legislation
with vision and objectives, the Egyptian stability has its own positive impact on the
regional policies. Therefore Egypt adheres to all the laws that allows the state to
achieve its own security and the security of the region. Therefore any procedures to
secure the American citizens and facilitate life, this is something we will adhere to.
Regarding the details of the Patriot Act, I am not familiar with many of the elements
of that law and I will not be able really to comment on something and compare
between it and between Egyptian laws.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. My question is for you, Ms. Madame Secretary.
Here in Egypt and maybe in the Arab world we were expecting that before you
launched your visit this time to Egypt and to the region that you will declare more or
you will tell us more about the steps or the vision that the United States will take to
realize the Palestinian and the Israeli peace. Instead of criticizing something which
is maybe an internal affair to Egypt, this is something, an internal effort to Egypt
which is concerned with the constitution and there are really at the same time some
concerns in the Arab and Egypt press the democracy and security in Iraq are not
happened till now. What's your comment about it?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, the President has made very clear that he is
very committed to democracy in the Middle East. President Bush gave a speech in
his Second Inaugural that was very clear about that, and that this is a conversation
we would have with all of our friends. We recognize that states do this in their own
way and that they do it in a way that is consistent with their own cultural
circumstances and others, but the President is committed to this vision of
democracy in the Middle East and we're going to remain committed to it. And Egypt
is very special. Egypt is a leader in the Arab world. And so it's not surprising that
people are interested in what is going on internally in Egypt. It's not a matter to try to
dictate to Egypt how this unfolds, but it is a matter to say that Egypt is an extremely
important country; that when Egypt leads, people listen. And so that's the spirit in
which the democracy agenda has been followed by the United States. We know
that democracy is not easy and it takes time. The United States has had its own
struggles. Forty years ago in the United States, it was still not the case that every
American could be assured the right to vote. I grew up in the South where the
Voting Rights Act in 1965 made that possible. And so it's a long struggle and it's a
long journey, but it's important that that journey be begun and the President has
made very clear that he believes that it's no different in the Middle East than
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215 – Chronologie 2007
anyplace else. Now, as to Iraq, it is a struggle for the Iraqis. They have been able
with the help of the United States and the coalition to overthrow one of the bloodiest
tyrants of 20th century and the early 21st century, someone who put 300,000 of its
people in mass graves, who used chemical weapons and who terrorized the region
and pulled the United States into war in 1991. He is now gone. But the fact is that
it's time to build a stable, democratic system where people of very longstanding
differences come together to resolve their differences through politics, not through
violence. It's hard. It's a struggle. And it is a struggle that is being made more
difficult by extremists on very many sides of their conflict who want to prevent Iraqis
from doing exactly that. And these are people who don't have a political agenda that
is a positive agenda for Iraq, but they blow up innocent school children or they blow
up Iraqis standing trying to get a job in line. So there is no doubt that it's difficult, but
the Iraqi people have a chance to do something very special, which is in a very
complex state in the Middle East to solve their differences through political
institutions that are democratic. And the United States is going to be a strong
supporter of that effort. I said to the Minister earlier we appreciate the efforts of
Egypt, which frankly has been one of the leaders in the Arab world in reaching out
to the Iraqis, to affirm Iraq's position in the Arab world. I want to remember the
sacrifice of Egypt, who lost an ambassador in Iraq. So Egypt has been committed
to trying to help the Iraqis in this cause, but it's hard. It's really hard to build a
democracy when extremists are trying to prevent it from happening.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: (via interpreter) As you say, as you hear, the U.S.
Secretary of State talks about the Egyptian role and the centrality of the Egyptian
role to move the achievement of peace in that part of the world. As far as Egypt is
concerned, we seek to work very actively not only on the regional scene but also in
order to develop socially and economically this country and this society. President
Mubarak in his own election platform and program talked about the Egyptian efforts
in order to modify the constitution and the Egyptian laws in a way that would allow
for more democracy, more Egyptian democracy. I would like to say to Dr. Rice that
if you look through the window of your street here, you will see groups of granite
rocks, a whole mountain of granite. This is the Egyptian spirit. The Egyptian spirit is
as solid as granite. It's capable of going through the journey with solid steps forward
in order to achieve the objective.
SECRETARY RICE: I believe that very strongly. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you called for everyone to search deep to see
what they could do to promote things. From your conversations last night, did you
get any sense from particularly the two nations that do not have peace agreements
with Israel that there is a willingness, notably on the part of the Saudis, to dig deep
to do more? And Mr. Foreign Minister, could you explain why the Egyptian
Government decided to schedule the vote on the referendum only one week after
its passage in the parliament? And could you directly address the criticism of many
human rights groups that it is, in fact, pushing back or taking a step backward on
democracy, particularly by enshrining in the constitution powers of arrest,
surveillance, referring prosecutions to special courts?
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: (Via interpreter.) Sir, I would like to be very blunt with
you. With all frankness, the responsibility of security in the Egyptian society is an
Egyptian responsibility and will remain as an Egyptian responsibility. There is a
direct threat to the Egyptian state and the Egyptian society through terrorist acts. I
doubt you know the details. We know the details. An Israeli prime minister was
assassinated in 1944 or 1945[?]. An Israeli prime minister was assassinated in
1946 [?]. An Egyptian president was assassinated in 1981 [Anwar Sadat]. Many
and numerous attempts took place against Egyptian presidents and prime ministers
and against Egyptian ministers and against Egyptian officials. One of the great
characteristics of Egypt is security in the society and Egypt's capability to provide
security to its sons and daughters. This is the responsibility of the Egyptian society.
And when the issue is related to terrorism, I trust that Egyptian laws and through
the framework of the Egyptian constitution will achieve security to this society under
very difficult circumstances for the entire region. Regarding what some might say or
some of the opposition and the voices from opposition groups regarding
accelerating the referendum date, this is an issue of timing. There was an approval
on the amendments and there are different dates and calendars in the Egyptian
thinking that must be taken into consideration. Perhaps you don't know much about
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216 – Chronologie 2007
an event called Moulid an-Nabi or the spring day vacation which is called Sham ElNessim. There are many holidays in Egypt where the entire country really
disappears and people go into their vacations. Therefore seeing that this particular
timing is an appropriate time, this is a way to make sure that people will be able to
enjoy their life and their vacation, especially that the referendum and the
amendments have been approved by the Egyptian parliaments.
The Egyptian internal developments see a leap forward unprecedented in Egyptian
history, and we mean but [?] by the end of all these reform steps, we hope that we
will reach a phase that would allow the Egyptian citizen and Egyptian society more
democracy and open more and more for the region.
SECRETARY RICE: And as to the question of what other states might do, it is a
time to search deep. I found the discussion last night extremely fulfilling because I
think people were talking about how to solve problems, how to move forward. It was
an excellent discussion also because it was open and candid, and that is the only
way that we're going to make progress. It's the only way that all states are going to
do their part in the search for peace. And I hope we'll have many more like that. It
was a very good discussion.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.
69
Text der „Road Map“ in der Menüleiste „Begleitende Dokumente“ dieser
Homepage.
70
Remarks With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Secretary Condoleezza
Rice, Joint Press Availability, Ramallah, March 25, 2007:
PRESIDENT ABBAS: (via interpreter) In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the
Compassionate, once again we welcome Dr. Rice and her visit here. This visit, like
other visits, comes within the framework of the efforts, continuous efforts, made by
the American Administration and President Bush and Dr. Rice as well to seek a
political solution to explore the horizons for a political settlement in order to
implement President Bush's vision which we all know and which speaks of two
states, the state called Palestine living side by side with the state of Israel. And
today we discussed all these issues. We talked about all of the developments that
took place since Dr. Rice's last visit to date. We can tell the relationship with the
Israelis as well as the meeting I had with the Prime Minister – Israeli Prime Minister
and the agenda for other meetings which will take place with the Israeli Prime
Minister. All of these meetings come within the framework of bilateral relations
between us and the Israelis, of course, in addition to the vision of the future which
we all aspire for and endeavor to achieve. We talked today as well of issues related
to settlement expansion which are continually taking place and impeding the peace
process. We talked of Israeli Corporal Shalit and Israel's need to release him. Of
course we talked about Palestinian (inaudible) and the – a cooling-down in general
in the areas in the areas of the West Bank and Gaza and a mutual calm between
us and the Israelis. Finally, we addressed the expected prospects of the Arab
summit and the issues that has been entered on its agenda, particularly issues
related to the Roadmap which includes the Arab initiative, from our point of view, of
course, and we do not have (inaudible) on this. The Arab initiative needs to be
reactivated and we must seek different ways to activate not only the Arab initiative
but also the peace process as a whole. We will proceed with our meetings with
Madame Secretary from time to time for this effort and we do appreciate her efforts
and we thank her for giving a lot of her valuable time to the Palestinian cause.
Welcome, Dr. Rice.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. And thank you, Mr. President. Thank
you very much for welcoming me here again and for your continued leadership and
integrity in this process of trying to come to a two-state solution where Israelis and
Palestinians can live side by side in peace. The President and I discussed the
efforts that I will be making here in the region. I will meet with Prime Minister Olmert
tonight. I will then, of course, meet with the President again tomorrow and then
before I leave again with the Israelis because I think it's extremely important to
begin to establish in parallel a common agenda to move forward toward the
establishment of a Palestinian state, and in order to do that we have to begin a
discussion of the political horizon so that we can show to the Palestinian people as
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217 – Chronologie 2007
well as to the Israeli people that there is indeed hope for the kind of peace that will
come when the Palestinians have their own state, their own democratic and
peaceful state, and when the Israeli people have the peace and security that can
only come from having a democratic and stable neighbor. And so we have had a
good discussion of that. And we've also discussed, as the President said, the Arab
initiative. I was very interested in his ideas concerning the Arab initiative because
perhaps it does offer an opportunity and a way to also have a prospect for ArabIsraeli reconciliation, all of which together with the establishment of a Palestinian
state would make for a much more peaceful and hopeful and prosperous Middle
East. Thank you very much, Mr. President, for our good discussions and I look
forward to continuing them.
PRESIDENT ABBAS: (via interpreter) Thank you.
QUESTION: (via interpreter) Madame Secretary, is there any (inaudible) that you
have (inaudible) regarding the implementation of the Arab initiative and resumption
of the peace process?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, on the peace process, we are talking a great deal about
how we can resume the peace process. But on the Arab initiative, I've made very
clear that it is not the position of the United States that the Arabs need to make
changes to their initiative. I hope that it will be reactivated in some way. I hope that
it will become a platform, a way for active diplomacy. But it is an Arab initiative;
others will have other views and other proposals. But the important thing is to get a
conversation started about how we have the prospect of a political horizon for the
Palestinian people and a political horizon of peace for Arabs and Israelis in general.
QUESTION: Secretary Rice, we all know what the Clinton parameters looked like.
We have all read the Roadmap. The questions are pretty well known and the
contours of a Palestinian state are relatively evident. Can you explain what is
different about this "in parallel" approach you are trying to develop? And then for
President Abbas, Prime Minister Olmert said you have repeatedly promised that
Corporal Shalit would be released before the unity government was formed, and
you even made that promise in front of Secretary Rice last month. How can you
build trust with the Israelis on a broader peace deal when you're unable to free a
single soldier after nine months? Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Glenn, every effort is different and we are in a different
situation than in 2000. I've said very often in some ways it's more complicated than
2000; in some ways it's better than 2000. We have established a basis among a
broad array of states – Arab, all of the Arab states, as well Palestinians and Israelis
– that a two-state solution is the way to peace. That had not been established in
2000. And so I think we now are dealing from a framework that is different. The
Roadmap is really a kind of framework. It has a very important status because it is
accepted by all the parties as a reliable guide to a two-state solution. But obviously
we need to be able to, in a sense, fill in some of the details about how we're going
to use the Roadmap to get to the end state. I've always believed that it is extremely
important that the conditions of the Roadmap be fulfilled. There's a natural
sequence in the Roadmap that needs to be fulfilled. But it doesn't prevent us from
discussing the destination to which we're going, and that really is what I hope the
parallel process will begin to move us toward as I discuss this with both parties. We
did this in a trilateral [way] the last time that I was here. It was a time of some
considerable uncertainty given that the Mecca agreement [of February 8, 2007] had
just been signed. Now we are in a situation in which I think a bilateral approach in
which I talk in parallel to the parties from a common approach is the best way. We'll
use many different geometries, I'm sure, as we go through this process, but the key
is to continue down this road toward a two-state solution. The President has been
very clear. He was very clear just a couple of days ago that he considers the
establishment of a Palestinian state and peace in the Middle East to be among one
of his highest priorities, and as his Secretary of State I intend to pursue that.
PRESIDENT ABBAS: (Via interpreter.) Regarding the Israeli corporal, we sense
that he was kidnapped or held back. We tried to release him alive and it is our
responsibility to preserve his life and to have him released alive. And this took us
such a long time which has lasted so far and he's still not acquitted. However, we
are (inaudible) and he is in a good condition and he's alive and we want him to
return to his family alive. And continuously when we speak of the Israeli corporal,
we must speak of Palestinian prisoners and we discussed this lengthily with Prime
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218 – Chronologie 2007
Minister Olmert and in my last meeting with him we discussed in detail this issue
and we laid down some joint ideas which could contribute to releasing him. We
keep this idea until we make sure that things are moving ahead.
QUESTION: (via interpreter) Mr. President, there are demands by certain entities to
amend the Arab initiative, especially the articles related to refugees. Secretary Rice,
actually, I have two questions for you. Do you have any action plan to energize the
peace process? Especially we have some Palestinian officials who say that until
now your trips have achieved thus far nothing. On the other hand, the other
question, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert is saying that his future dealing with
President Abbas will be on the grounds of issues related to security and
humanitarian issues. How you're going to kick-start peacemaking and you have Mr.
Olmert saying that he will not be basically dealing with peacemaking when it comes
to President Abbas?
PRESIDENT ABBAS: (Via interpreter.) Regarding your first question, you know that
the Arab initiative when it was launched, it was highly welcomed in different Arab
and international circles and also in the Israeli circles. This initiative has become an
important part of the Roadmap plan adopted by the Quartet. The Roadmap has
become a resolution of the Security Council with the number 1515. I didn't hear
anybody saying that you need to amend or change or alter any of the articles of the
Arab initiative.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, let's see. I've been here four times in four months, but of
course this conflict is decades old; so I assume that if somebody could have
resolved it before me, they would have done it by now. What I am doing is I'm
devoted to trying to bring about the President's two-state solution. I think we
sometimes underestimate how much progress really has been made over these
decades. We are a long way from where we were when this conflict started. There
have been a number of efforts for peace that have been resolved, for instance, the
Egyptian-Israeli conflict, the Jordanian-Israeli conflict, indeed the efforts after
Madrid that led to Oslo, giving us the basis on which really I'm standing here talking
to the President today. The President's speech in which he said that a Palestinian
state should exist – I think he even called it Palestine – as policy for the United
States moved this clearly forward, as did the speech of Prime Minister Sharon
which talked about the need for painful compromises on the part of Israel to divide
the land and to share the land. I think sometimes we don't recognize that we have
been through a steady series of steps forward. Sometimes there have also been
steps backward. That is always the case with big historical changes. But it is really
the obligation of each and every one of us who finds themselves in a position like I
now find myself to try and push forward, to try and move the ball forward, to try to
move the Palestinian state forward. And one day, I certainly hope soon, we're going
to fully succeed. But this is a hard problem. There are a lot of difficult issues, a lot
of emotional issues, a lot of practical issues as well. And what I hope to do is to
take some of the lessons of the past, and one of those lessons is that you need to
prepare the ground well, you need to spend time with the parties, you need to
understand what is tolerable for each side, and then you have to have a
commitment by the President of the United States, the international community, the
Arab states which have to be committed to this process and have to be willing to do
what it will take to get a Palestinian state. And I think if we all search very deep now
and ask ourselves to look back and to say what has not worked, and now to look
forward and to say what can we do to succeed this time, then we have a real
chance. But I am optimistic that with a real effort by all parties we can succeed.
QUESTION: (Off-mike.)
SECRETARY RICE: The other part was? Yes, can you remind me?
QUESTION: The other part was – has to do with Mr. Olmert's remarks.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, yes. Well, I think that it is extremely important that there
be a political horizon for the Palestinian people. I understand fully that this comes in
the context of the Roadmap, that there are obligations in the Roadmap that anyone
can see [that it] will have to be met before there can be the establishment of a
Palestinian state. You would have to have a renunciation of violence as a
foundational principle for peace. Obviously you would have to recognize the right of
the other party to exist. It would be important to build on past agreements. That
goes without saying, and the Roadmap has a series of obligations that will have to
be met. But I think it can help all of us to have a destination in mind to which we're
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219 – Chronologie 2007
going, and that is really what is meant by political horizon. I think this time it is best
to talk about that political horizon in parallel, but I sincerely hope that in the future
the parties themselves can talk about that political horizon among themselves.
David, yes.
QUESTION: President Abbas, Secretary Rice has again tonight outlined her new
approach of parallel discussions with Israelis and Palestinians to define a common
approach to your problems and differences. Would you like to see a more forceful
U.S. role in bringing Israel back into full and direct negotiations to resolve those
problems, and would you welcome Secretary Rice's own ideas for how to advance
the peace process? And for Secretary Rice, you said you want to come up with a
set of issues to raise with both Palestinians and Israelis. Has President Abbas
given you such a set of ideas to take to the Israeli side?
PRESIDENT ABBAS: (via interpreter) I think that we agree with Dr. Rice on the
approach to deal with both parties and therefore we say that we are fully satisfied
with this way of action which we hope will be fruitful and with tangible results in the
future.
SECRETARY RICE: President Abbas and I are going to have a number of
discussions over, I think, an extended period of time. And what I don't intend to do
is to always go to the press and say exactly what he said to me. I think that would
not help to build confidence between us, it will not help to build confidence between
me and Prime Minister Olmert were I to do that. I do think that it is now important
that we have discussions in which the President and the Prime Minister can be as
open and as candid as they would like to be about what in this longstanding conflict
it will take, what issues have to be resolved, in order to resolve this longstanding
conflict. And so I can tell you that the commitment of the United States to using this
approach now, but to using various approaches as we go along so that we can
realize the President's vision of two states living side by side –and it's not just the
President's vision. It has long been the vision of the international community as
recorded in multiple UN Security Council resolutions. It has long been the vision of
the Palestinian people and I think the Israeli people that they can live in peace. And
so we're going to pursue that goal as vigorously as possible. Thank you.
71
Thomas Friedman: Abdullah’s Chance, in “New York Times” 23.03.2007:
Is Saudi Arabia becoming the new Egypt?
That’s a question you hear more and more these days in Arab circles, as Saudi
Arabia’s King Abdullah becomes more diplomatically active and Egypt, the
traditional leader of the Arab world, becomes more diplomatically passive.
In recent months, we’ve seen Saudi Arabia publicly blast Hezbollah for launching an
unprovoked war on Israel; we’ve seen King Abdullah forge a cease-fire between
Hamas and Fatah in Gaza; we’ve seen him try to tame Iran’s president, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, and there are rumors that a top Saudi official met with Israel’s prime
minister, Ehud Olmert. That meeting was apparently in preparation for the Arab
summit in Riyadh, March 28-29, which King Abdullah will be hosting to revive his
February 2002 peace overture to Israel of full normalization of relations in return for
full withdrawal from the occupied territories.
Since Egypt, for now, seems to be adrift, and the Saudis seem to be afloat in oil
revenues, it’s not surprising to see Saudi Arabia becoming more assertive. It could
have real benefits —given the Saudis’ standing in the Muslim world — provided that
the leader of Saudi Arabia is ready to do what the leader of Egypt did when it
comes to making peace with Israel.
What the moribund Israeli-Palestinian talks need most today is an emotional
breakthrough. Another Arab declaration, just reaffirming the Abdullah initiative,
won’t cut it. If King Abdullah wants to lead — and he has the integrity and credibility
to do so — he needs to fly from the Riyadh summit to Jerusalem and deliver the
offer personally to the Israeli people.
That is what Egypt’s Anwar Sadat did when he forged his breakthrough. If King
Abdullah did the same, he could end this conflict once and for all.
I would humbly suggest the Saudi king make four stops. His first stop should be to
Al Aksa Mosque in East Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam. There, he, the
custodian of Mecca and Medina, could reaffirm the Muslim claim to Arab East
Jerusalem by praying at Al Aksa.
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From there, he could travel to Ramallah and address the Palestinian parliament,
making clear that the Abdullah initiative aims to give Palestinians the leverage to
offer Israel peace with the whole Arab world in return for full withdrawal. And he
might add that whatever deal the Palestinians cut with Israel regarding return of
refugees or land swaps — so some settlements might stay in the West Bank in
return for the Palestinians getting pieces of Israel — the Arab world would support.
From there, King Abdullah could helicopter to Yad Vashem, the memorial to the six
million Jews killed in the Holocaust. A visit there would seal the deal with Israelis
and affirm that the Muslim world rejects the Holocaust denialism of Iran. Then he
could go to the Israeli parliament and formally deliver his peace initiative.
Of course, I have no illusions about this. But is it any more illusory than thinking that
the incrementalism of the last seven years is going to get anywhere? Now that’s a
fantasy. Yes, Al Qaeda would denounce King Abdullah. What else is new? The
Saudi ruling family is going to have to decide: Is it going to spend the rest of its
days tiptoeing around Al Qaeda, or is it going to confront it — ideologically — head
on? Many more Muslims would applaud the Saudi king for such an overture. And I
have no doubt that Israel’s majority, which was ready to evacuate Gaza for nothing,
would demand that the Israeli government respond positively to an Abdullah
initiative delivered in this way.
This would also be a vehicle to tell Hamas to put up or shut up. It is one thing for
Hamas to reject the Oslo peace accords. But how could it reject a peace overture
to Israel presented by Saudi Arabia?
King Abdullah first unveiled his peace proposal in an interview he and I did in his
home in Riyadh in 2002. As we sat by his desk, he told me he was motivated to
propose full peace for full withdrawal to the Israelis because “I wanted to find a way
to make clear to the Israeli people that the Arabs don’t reject or despise them. But
the Arab people do reject what their leadership is now doing to the Palestinians,
which is inhumane and oppressive. And I thought of this as a possible signal to the
Israeli people.” Well, it is time to go beyond signals. If the Saudi king just wants to
score some points, he will hold the Arab summit, re-issue the peace plan and go
home. If he wants to make history and make peace, he will hold the Arab summit,
re-issue the peace plan and deliver it in person.
72
Quartet Principals Discuss Establishment of Unity Gov't, vi:
BRUSSELS, MARCH 21, 2007 (WAFA – PLO news agency) The Quartet Principals
discussed on Wednesday by telephone the situation in the Middle East, and in
particular the establishment of a Palestinian National Unity Government.
The Principals- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High
Representative for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, German
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and European Commissioner for
External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner – reiterated their respect for Palestinian
democracy and the agreement reached in Mecca on 8 February 2007, which laid
the foundation for Palestinian reconciliation.
The Quartet expressed hope that the establishment of a new government on 17
March 2007 would help end intra-Palestinian violence and ensure calm. It also
reaffirmed its previous statements with regard to the need for a Palestinian
government committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of
previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap, and encouraged
progress in this direction, agreeing that the commitment of the new government in
this regard will be measured not only on the basis of its composition and platform,
but also its actions.
The Committee expressed its expectation that the unity government will act
responsibly, demonstrate clear and credible commitment to the Quartet principles,
and support the efforts of President Abbas to pursue a two-state solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, thereby achieving the peace, security, and freedom the
Israeli and Palestinian people desire and deserve.
"The Quartet reiterated the continuing need to coordinate and mobilize international
assistance in support of the Palestinian people, and endorsed the continuation of
the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) for a three-month period while it
evaluates the situation and the international community works to develop a more
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221 – Chronologie 2007
sustainable international mechanism for support to the Palestinians," said a
statement by the Committee.
The Quartet expressed its strong support for Secretary Rice's efforts to further
facilitate discussions with President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert with the aim
of defining more clearly the political horizon for the establishment of a Palestinian
state and an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Quartet also agreed to meet in the region soon to review developments and
discuss the way ahead.
73
Egypt: Proposed constitutional amendments greatest erosion of human rights in
26 years: Egypt: Proposed constitutional amendments greatest erosion of human
rights in 26 years, 20.03.2007:
Amnesty International today called on Egyptian members of parliament to reject
proposed amendments to the country's constitution, which the organisation
described as the most serious undermining of human rights safeguards in Egypt
since the state of emergency was re-imposed in 1981.
The appeal came as the Egyptian Parliament prepared to approve this Sunday
amendments to 34 articles of the constitution, including Article 179. The
amendments to this Article would give sweeping powers of arrest to the police,
grant broad authority to monitor private communications and allow the Egyptian
president to bypass ordinary courts and refer people suspected of terrorism to
military and special courts, in which they would be unlikely to receive fair trials.
"The proposed constitutional amendments would simply entrench the long-standing
system of abuse under Egypt's state of emergency powers and give the misuse of
those powers a bogus legitimacy. Instead of putting an end to the secret detentions,
enforced "disappearances", torture and unfair trials before emergency and military
courts, Egyptian MPs are now being asked to sign away even the constitutional
protections against such human rights violations,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui,
Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa
programme.
The amendment of Article 179 would pave the way for the introduction of a new
anti-terrorism law that would undermine the principle of individual freedom [Article
41(1)], privacy of the home [Article 44] and privacy of correspondence, telephone
calls and other communication [Article 45(2)]. The amendments would also grant
the president the right to interfere in the judiciary by bypassing ordinary courts,
including by referring people suspected of terrorism-related offences to military
courts.
If approved by parliament, the amendments to Article 179 will be put to a popular
referendum on 4 April along with amendments to 33 other articles of the
Constitution. Egyptian NGOs and others have also expressed grave concerns
about these other amendments including those which would ban the establishment
of political parties based on religion and reduce the role of the judges in supervising
elections and referendums. The first is seen as part of a government strategy to
undermine the opposition Muslim Brotherhood following its improved showing in the
2005 elections. The second is seen as an attempt to prevent any repetition of
events last year, when two leading judges denounced the government's failure to
take action in response to evidence of electoral fraud during the presidential and
parliamentary elections in 2005.
The amendments are being presented to MPs as a package on which they must
vote yes or no. They cannot accept some and reject others, nor can they open up
any of the proposed amendments for further parliamentary review.
"Amnesty International recognises the threat posed to Egypt by terrorism, but
respect for and protection of fundamental human rights cannot simply be swept
away by a majority vote," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
"By pushing through these amendments, the government will write into the
permanent law emergency-style powers that have been used to violate human
rights over more than two decades, so that when it then bows at last to international
criticism and lifts the state of emergency the impact will be no more than cosmetic.
The parliament should not rubber stamp this. Instead, it should reject the
amendments and insist that Egypt's national law adequately safeguards the
universal rights enshrined under international law which Egypt has committed, but
so conspicuously failed, to uphold."
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Amnesty International firmly believes that the current constitutional reform must be
seized as an opportunity to further strengthen human rights protection and to break
with the practices of the past. None of the provisions of the emergency legislation
should be entrenched in the new law or protected by the constitution.
Background
The proposed amendment of Article 179 stipulates the following: “The State shall
work to safeguard the general discipline and security in the face of the dangers of
terror. The law shall regulate the provisions related to the measures of conclusion
and investigation necessary for combating those dangers under the supervision of
the Judiciary in a way that the measure stipulated in the first paragraph of Article 41
and Article 44 and the second paragraph of Article 45 of the Constitution not to
hinder putting those provisions into effect. The President of the Republic may
submit any crime of terror crimes to any judicial body stipulated in the Constitution
or the law.”
Demonstrators calling for rejection of the constitutional amendments were
dispersed by police in Cairo on Friday. Scores were arrested and detained; most
were quickly released but some 23 have been charged with public order offences.
74
List of the 25 ministers in the new Palestinian government, according to the
official Palestinian news agency WAFA:
Prime Minister: Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas;
Deputy Prime Minister: Azzam al-Ahmed, Fatah;
Foreign Minister: Ziad Abu Amr, Independent;
Finance Minister: Salam Fayyad, Independent;
Interior Minister: Hani Kawasmeh, Independent;
Information Minister: Mustafa Barghouti, Independent;
Telecommunication and Technology Minister: Yousef al-Mansi, Hamas;
Waqf and Religious Affairs Minister: Mohammed Tartouri, Hamas;
Planning Minister: Samir Abu Eisha, Hamas-backed Independent;
Local Governments Minister: Mohammed Barghouti, Hamas;
Youth and Sports Minister: Bassem Naim, Hamas;
Economics Minister: Ziad Zaza, Hamas;
Justice Minister: Ali Sartawi, Hamas;
Education Minister: Nasser al-Shaer, Hamas-backed Independent;
Agriculture Minister: Mohammed al-Agha, Hamas;
Minister for Women's Affairs: (Mrs.) Amal Siyam, Hamas;
Tourism Minister: (Mrs.) Khouloud Ihadeb Deibas, Independent;
Health Minister: Radwan al-Akhras, Fatah;
Transportation Minister: Saadi al-Krunz, Fatah;
Labor Minister: Mahmoud Aloul, Fatah;
Public Works Minister: Samih al-Abed, Fatah;
Minister for Prisoner Affairs: Tayseee Abu Sneineh, Fatah;
Culture Minister: Bassam Salhi, Peoples Party (Communist);
Social Affairs Minister: Saleh Zidan, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine;
Minister without portfolio: Wasfi Kabaha, Hamas.
75
Text of the National Conciliation Documents of the Prisoners, 28.06.2006:
In the name of God, the Compassionate and the Merciful, "Abide by the decree of
God and never disperse"
Based on the high sense of historical national responsibility and in light of the
dangers facing our people and based on the principle saying that rights don’t fall by
law of limitations, and on the basis of no recognition of the legitimacy of occupation
and for the sake of reinforcing the internal Palestinian front and maintain and
protect the national unity and the unity of our people in the homeland and in the
Diaspora and in order to confront the Israeli scheme that aims to impose the Israeli
solution and to blow up the dream and right of our people in establishing their
independent state with full sovereignty; this scheme that the Israeli government
intends to execute in the next phase based on concluding the apartheid wall and
the Judaization of Jerusalem and expansion of the Israeli settlements and the
seizure of the Jordan Valley and the annexation of large areas from the West Bank
and blocking the path in front of our people in exercising their right in return.
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223 – Chronologie 2007
…towards safeguarding the accomplishments of our people throughout this long
struggle and out of loyalty to our martyrs, prisoners and our injured and given that
we are still in the a phase of liberation, this necessitates that we formulate a political
strategy. Therefore, with the goal of making our comprehensive national dialogue a
success, based on the Cairo Declaration and coupled with the urgent need for unity
and solidarity, we put forth this document (the national conciliation document) to our
people, President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the PLO leadership, Prime
Minister Ismail Hanieh, the Council of Ministers, the Speaker and members of the
PNC, the Speaker and members of the PLC, all Palestinian forces and factions, all
nongovernmental and popular organizations and institutions and to the popular
leadership of the Palestinians in the homeland and in the Diaspora.
This document is being put forth as a complete package and the introduction is part
of it:
1. The Palestinian people in the homeland and in the Diaspora seek and struggle to
liberate their land and remove the settlements and evacuate the settlers and
remove the apartheid and annexation and separation wall and to achieve their right
to freedom, return and independence and to exercise their right to selfdetermination, including the right to establish their independent state with al-Quds
al-Shareef as its capital on all territories occupied in 1967, and to secure the right of
return for refugees to their homes and properties from which they were evicted and
to compensate them and to liberate all prisoners and detainees without any
discrimination and all of this is based on the historical right of our people on the
land of our forefathers and based on the UN Charter and international law and
legitimacy in a way that does not affect the rights of our people.
2. To speed up efforts to achieve that which was agreed on in Cairo in March 2005
pertaining to the development and reactivation of the PLO and the participation of
all forces and factions to it according to democratic principles that reinforce the
status of the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people
wherever they are in a manner that meets with the changes on the Palestinian
arena and in a manner that consolidates the authority of the PLO to assume its
responsibilities in leading our people in the homeland and the Diaspora. The PLO
should also be the body that mobilizes the people in defending their national,
political and humanitarian rights in the various fora and circles and in the
international and regional arenas. Furthermore, our national interest stipulates the
formation of a new Palestinian National Council before the end of 2006 in a manner
that secures the representation of all Palestinian national and Islamic forces,
factions and parties and all sectors of our people through elections, where possible,
according to proportional representation, and through agreement where it is not
possible to hold elections according to mechanisms set up by the Higher
Committee resulting from the Cairo Dialogue. The PLO therefore, will remain a
broad front and framework and a comprehensive national coalition and the higher
political reference for all the Palestinians in the homeland and in the Diaspora.
3. The right of the Palestinian people to resist and to uphold the option of resistance of
occupation by various means and focusing resistance in territories occupied in
1967 in tandem with political action, negotiations and diplomacy whereby there is
broad participation from all sectors in the popular resistance.
4. To formulate a Palestinian plan aimed at comprehensive political action; to unify
Palestinian political discourse on the basis of the Palestinian national goals as
mentioned in this document and according to Arab legitimacy and international
legitimacy resolutions that grant justice to the Palestinian people maintaining their
rights and constants to be implemented by the PLO leadership and its institutions,
and the PNA represented in president and government, the national and Islamic
factions, the civil society organizations and public figures. This is aimed at
mobilizing Arab, Islamic and international political, financial, economic and
humanitarian support and solidarity with our people and the PNA and to gain
support for the right of our people to self-determination, freedom, return and
independence; furthermore, it is aimed at confronting Israel’s plan to impose any
unilateral solution on our people and to confront the oppressive siege.
5. To protect and support the PNA since it is the nucleus of the future state and was
born of the struggle and sacrifices of the Palestinian people; to stress that higher
national interests call for respecting the "Basic Law" of the PNA and the effective
laws and for respecting the responsibilities and authorities of the president elected
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according to the will of the Palestinian people through free, honest and democratic
elections. It also calls for respecting the responsibilities and authorities of the
government granted by a vote of confidence from the PLC which came through free
and honest and democratic elections and stress on the importance and need for
creative cooperation between the presidency and the government; there should be
joint action and regular meetings between them to achieve and reinforce
cooperation and integration according to the provisions of the Basic Law and the
higher national interests and for the need for comprehensive reforms in PNA
institutions, especially the judiciary whereby the judiciary authority should be
respected at all levels, its rulings implemented reinforce the rule of the law.
6. To work on forming a national unity government that secures the participation of
parliamentary blocs and political forces interested in participating on the basis of
this document and the joint program to upgrade the Palestinian situation at the
local, Arab, regional and international levels. Their goal is also to implement the
reform program and develop the national economy and encourage investment and
fight poverty and unemployment and provide best possible care for the sectors that
carried the burden of steadfastness, resistance and the Intifada and who were the
victims of the Israeli aggression. In particular, this refers to the families of martyrs,
prisoners and injured and the owners of demolished homes and properties,
destroyed by the occupation, and the unemployed and graduates.
7. Administration of the negotiations falls within the jurisdiction of the PLO and the
President of the PNA, which will be on the basis of adhering to Palestinian national
goals as mentioned in this document on condition that any agreement must be
presented to the new PNC for ratification or a general referendum to be held in the
homeland and the Diaspora through organizing the referendum.
8. Liberation of the prisoners and detainees is a sacred national duty that must be
assumed by all Palestinian national and Islamic forces and factions, the PLO and
the PNA represented in President and government, the PLC and all resistance
forces.
9. Stressing on the need to double our efforts to support and care for the refugees and
defend their rights and work on holding a popular conference representing the
refugees that would create commissions to carry out duties towards the refugees
and to stress on the right of return; the international community should also be
pressured to implement Resolution 194 which stipulates the right of refugees to
return and to be compensated.
10. To work on forming a unified resistance front called the "Palestinian Resistance
Front" to lead and engage in resistance against the occupation and to unify and
coordinate resistance action and work on defining a unified political reference for
the front.
11. To cling to the principles of democracy and to hold regular, general, free and
honest democratic elections according to the law for the presidency, the PLC and
the local and municipal councils and trade unions and federations and to respect
the principle of a peaceful and smooth transfer of authority and to stress on the
principle of separation of authorities; the Palestinian democratic experience should
be protected and any democratic choice and its results respected; furthermore,
there should be respect for the rule of the law, public and fundamental freedoms,
freedom of the press and equality among the citizens in rights and duties without
discrimination; the achievements of women should be respected and further
developed and promoted.
12. To reject and denounce the oppressive siege on the Palestinian people being led
by the US and Israel and to call on the Arabs at the popular and official levels to
support the Palestinian people, the PLO and the PNA and to call on the Arab
governments to implement the political, financial, economic, and media decisions of
the Arab summits that support the Palestinian people and their national cause; to
stress that the PNA is committed to the Arab consensus and to joint Arab action
that supports our just cause and the higher Arab interests.
13. To call on the Palestinian people to strive for unity and solidarity, to unify their
ranks and to support the PLO and PNA represented in president and government;
to endorse the people’s steadfastness and resistance in the face of Israeli
aggression and siege and to reject any interference in internal Palestinian affairs.
14. To denounce all forms of division that could lead to internal strife; to condemn the
use of weapons in settling internal disputes and to ban the use of weapons among
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225 – Chronologie 2007
the people; to stress on the sanctity of Palestinian blood and to adhere to dialogue
as the sole means of resolving disagreements. There should be freedom of
expression through the media, which also applies to any party in opposition to the
authority and its decisions in accordance with the law; adherence to the right to
peaceful protest and to organize marches, demonstrations and sit-ins on condition
that they be peaceful and unarmed and do not attack the property of citizens or
public property.
15. The national interest necessitates the need to find the best means of allowing our
people and their political forces in the Gaza Strip to participate in the battle for
freedom, return and independence while bearing in mind the new situation in Gaza
strip as true elevation and power for the steadfastness of our people and on the
base of using the struggle methods of resisting the occupation while taking into
consideration the higher interests of our people.
16. The need to reform and develop the Palestinian security system in all its branches
in a modern manner that allows them to assume their responsibilities in defending
the homeland and people and in confronting the aggression and the occupation;
their duties also include maintaining security and public order, enforcing laws,
ending the state of security chaos and lawlessness, ending the public show of arms
and parades and confiscating any weapons that harm the resistance and distort its
image or those that threaten the unity of Palestinian society; there is also a need to
coordinate and organize the relationship between the security forces and the
resistance and organize and protect their weapons.
17. To call on the PLC to continue issuing laws that regulate the work of the security
apparatus in its various branches and to work towards issuing a law that bans the
exercise of political and partisan action by members of the security services
whereby they are required to abide by the elected political reference as defined by
law.
18. To work on expanding the role and presence of international solidarity committees
and peace-loving groups that support our people in their just struggle against the
occupation, settlements and the apartheid wall both politically and locally; to work
towards the implementation of the International Court of Justice ruling at The
Hague pertaining to the dismantlement of the wall and settlements and their
illegitimate presence.
76
The Program of the national Unity Government, March 2007, via
www.jmcc.org/politics/pna/nationalgovprog.htm:
In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate,
The Program of the national unity government,
The Palestinian people have lived for more than 60 years under the yoke of
dispersion, deprivation and eviction and suffered due to occupation all kinds of
suffering and oppression and aggression while our people marked a long process
of struggle, resistance, perseverance, and resilience through which they sacrificed
hundreds of thousands of martyrs and injured and prisoners and gave the best
examples of sacrifice and self denial and giving and clinging to their rights and
constants moving through important historical phases until we reached the phase of
the national unity government (the eleventh government).
This government was born after many efforts exerted by the loyal members of our
people who worked day and night to reach a reconciliatory vision and common
denominators that gather all Palestinians under one umbrella.
This government came as a fruit of the positive spirit and mutual confidence that
resulted in solving all issues in the various fields and this government is one of the
major and leading results of the blessed Mecca Agreement under the sponsorship
of the Saudi King Abdul Aziz. The national unity government is the culmination of a
long series of Palestinian dialogues where Egypt and Syria had a leading role in
sponsoring these dialogues and following them up with appreciated efforts by
several brotherly Arab countries and the Arab and Islamic organizations. It also
reflects the devotion and loyalty to the long process of martyrs and the pains of the
prisoners and injured, mainly the major martyrs the late president Yasser Arafat
and Sheikh Imam Ahmad Yaseen and Leader Abu Ali Mustafa and leader Fathi alShiqaqi and leader Abdul Abbas.
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226 – Chronologie 2007
Based on the national conciliation document and in light of the letter of
commissioning, the national unity government will work at all levels in a manner that
achieves the higher interests of the Palestinian people in the following manner:
First: at the political level
1. The government affirms that the key to security and stability in the region depends
on ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and recognizing the
right to self determination of the Palestinian people; the government will work with
the international community for the sake of ending the occupation and regaining the
legitimate rights of the Palestinian people so that we can build a solid basis for
peace, security and prosperity in the region.
2. The government shall abide to protect the higher national interests of the
Palestinian people and protect their rights and preserve and develop their
accomplishments and work on achieving their national goals as ratified by the
resolutions of the PNC meetings and the Articles of the Basic Law and the national
conciliation document and the resolutions of the Arab summits and based on this,
the government shall respect the international legitimacy resolutions and the
agreements that were signed by the PLO.
3. The government shall abide by rejecting the so called state with temporary borders
because this idea is based on taking away from the legitimate rights of the
Palestinian people.
4. To cling to the right of the Palestinian refugees and right of return to their lands and
properties.
5. To work diligently for the sake of liberating the heroic prisoners from the Israeli
occupation prisons.
6. To confront the measures of the occupation on the ground in terms of the
assassinations, arrests, and incursions. The government shall grant special
importance to the city of Jerusalem to confront the Israeli policies pertaining to the
people, lands and holy sites of Jerusalem.
7- To consolidate the relations with the Arab and Islamic countries and open up and
cooperate with the regional and international surrounding on the basis of mutual
respect.
Second: at the level of the occupation
1. The government affirms that peace and stability in the region depends on ending all
forms of occupation of the Palestinian territories and removing the apartheid wall
and settlements and halt of the Judaization of Jerusalem and policies of annexation
and restore the rights to their owners.
2. The government affirms that resistance is a legitimate right of the Palestinian
people as granted by the international norms and charters; our Palestinian people
have the right to defend themselves in face of any Israeli aggression and believes
that halting resistance depends on ending the occupation and achieving freedom,
return and independence.
3. Despite this, the government, through national conciliation, will work on
consolidating the calm and expanding it to become a comprehensive reciprocal
truce happening at the same time between both sides and this should be in return
for Israel halting its occupation measures on the ground in terms of assassinations,
arrests, incursions and home demolition and leveling of lands and the digging
works in Jerusalem and it should work on removing the check[points and reopening
the crossings and lifting all the restrictions on movement and the release of
prisoners.
4. The government affirms what came in the national conciliation document on the
issue of the administration of the negotiations which is the jurisdiction of the PLO
and the President of the PNA on the basis of clinging to the Palestinian national
goals and towards achieving these goals, so that any offer on any final agreement
should be presented to the new Palestinian National Council for ratification or to
hold a general referendum to have the Palestinian people inside and abroad and to
have a law that organizes this referendum.
5. The government shall support the exerted efforts and shall encourage the relevant
parties to accelerate and end the case of the Israeli soldier in the context of an
honorable prisoners exchange deal.
Third: at the security level
The national unity government realizes the internal difficult conditions and believes
that its top priority at the coming phase is to control the current security conditions
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and in order to achieve this, the government shall depend in its program on the
following:
1. to form a higher national security council that represents the terms of reference to
all security services and the framework that organizes their work and define their
policies, and request from the PLC to finalize the law pertaining to the national
security higher council.
2. to structure the security services and build them on professional basis and work to
provide their needs and reduce the partisan considerations and move them away
from political polarizations and conflicts and consolidate in them the loyalty to the
homeland and to have them abide by executing the decisions of their political
leadership and to make sure that the personnel working in these services commit
themselves to the tasks commissioned to them.
3. To work on activating the laws that have been ratified by the PLC with regards to
the security institution.
4. to set up a comprehensive security plan to end all forms of chaos and security
chaos and aggressions and protect and prevent any bloodshed and honor of
families and funds and public and private properties and control the weapons and
provide security to the citizen and work on ending the oppression inflicted on the
people through the rule of the law and support the police to perform its duties in the
best manner.
Fourth: at the legal level
1. The government shall work in full cooperation with the judicial authority to secure
the reform and activation and protection of the judicial apparatus with all its
institutions in a manner that can enable it to perform its duties in the context of
achieving justice and fighting corruption and abiding by the rule of the law and
implement the law with transparency and integrity on everybody without any
interference from any party.
2. The government affirms that it work according to the Basic Law which organizes the
relations between the three authorities on the basis of separating between the
authorities and respect the authorities granted to the Presidency and to the
government according to the law and order.
3. The government shall assist Mr. President in performing his various duties and will
make sure to cooperate fully with the Presidency institution and the constitutional
institutions and work with the PLC and the juridical authorities towards developing
the Palestinian political system on the basis of having a unified strong national
authority.
Fifth: At the level of the Palestinian values system
1. The eleventh government shall abide by consolidating national unity and protect
social peace and consolidate the values of mutual respect and adoption of the
language of dialogue and end all forms of tension and consolidate the culture of
tolerance and protection of the Palestinian blood and ban internal fighting.
2. The government affirms the unity of the Palestinian people inside and abroad and
shall work to have the participation of the Palestinian people abroad in all matters
pertaining to the Palestinian affairs.
3. The government shall seek to consolidate national conciliation and towards
achieving comprehensive national conciliation through forming a higher national
commission under the sponsorship of the presidency and the government to be
formed from the PLC and the factions and the well known figures and legal experts
and scholars. The aim of this commission is to end the blood problems between the
factions and families and assess the damage caused to the properties and
institutions and work on solving these problems.
4. The government shall work on reinforcing the principle of citizenship through
equality in rights and duties and equal opportunities and consolidate social justice in
appointments and recruitments in the various ministries and institutions and end all
forms of political favoritism in civil and security recruitments.
5. The government affirms its respect to the principle of political pluralism and
protection of public freedoms and reinforce the values of Shura and democracy and
protect the human rights and consolidate the principle of justice and equality and
protect the free press and freedom of expression and abide by peaceful transfer of
power and authorities and conclude the elections at the local councils within the
next six months God willing.
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6. The government shall abide by providing a dignified life to the Palestinian citizen
and provide the requirements of life and social welfare and meet the health needs
and develop the health facilities and expand health insurance and improve the
situation of the hospitals and clinics and work on tackling the phenomena of poverty
and unemployment through providing job opportunities and development projects
and social securities and the social welfare program; the government shall grant
special care to the education and higher education and shall encourage scientific
research and provide its needs.
7. To care for the sectors of laborers, farmers, fishermen and the sectors of youths
and women so that women can assume the status they deserve based on their
sacrifices and to secure to them participation in the decision making process and to
contribute in the building process in all institutions and ministries and at the various
fields.
Sixth: the economic situation
1. The government shall work on ending the siege imposed on our Palestinian people
through the programs and relations and to activate the regional and international
frameworks to alleviate the suffering of our Palestinian people.
2. The government shall give priority to upgrade and advance the national economy
and encourage the economic and trade sectors with the Arab and Islamic world and
encourage economic and trade relations with the European Union and the rest of
the world.
3. to move to protect the consumer and encourage the private sector and provide the
proper climate for its activities and lay down the sound rules for government work
and its official institutions and the institutions of the private sector and end
monopoly. The government shall work on providing the proper climate and
protection and stability of investment projects.
4. The government shall work on respecting the principles of free economy in a
manner that meets with our values and norms and in a manner that serves the
Palestinian development and protect the private sector and encourage investment
and fight unemployment and poverty and reinforce the productive economic sectors
and reconstruct the infrastructure and develop the industrial zone and the housing
and technology sectors.
Seventh: the field of reform
1. The government which adopts the reform strategy affirms to your respectful council
and to the people who granted us their esteemed confidence that we will remain
faithful and the citizen shall feel this in the work of the government – God willing –
through real achievements on the ground in the areas of administrative and
financial reforms and cooperate with the PLC on issuing the laws that reinforce
reform and that fights corruption and to look into the structures and methods of
work in a manner that guarantees efficacy of work and performance in the
ministries and their abidance by the law.
2. The government shall work on meeting the urgent needs of the citizen in the
various fields through planning and initiatives and in defining the priorities of
spending and rationalize spending and in launching initiatives and innovative ideas
and maintain the highest degrees of credibility and transparency.
3. within the context of reform, the government shall seek to fight corruption and
reinforce the values of integrity and transparency and refrain from abusing public
funds and we will give the matter of administrative development a social dimension
and societal culture that establishes for a new concept and formulate a Palestinian
societal strategy for administrative development and to develop a sound working
mechanism based on the principles of modern administration which can assist in
implementing this strategy according to the requirements and needs of the
Palestinian society.
Eighth: International relations
At the time when our government stresses on its Arab and Islamic depth, it shall work
on establishing sound and solid relations with the various world countries and with
the international institutions, including the UN and the Security Council and the
international regional organizations in a manner that assists reinforcing world peace
and stability. The European Union has offered lots of assistance to our Palestinian
people and supported our people's right in freedom and independence and the EU
has had serious standpoints in launching criticism to the Israeli occupation policies;
therefore, we are interested in solid ties with the EU and we expect from it a larger
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229 – Chronologie 2007
role in exerting pressure on the occupation authorities to respect the human rights
as stipulated by the international charters to withdraw its troops from the occupied
Palestinian Territories and halt all and repeated aggressions against our people.
The government seeks to develop the relations with the countries with permanent
membership in the Security Council, mainly Russia and China and Japan and the
African and Asian countries in a manner that secures the just rights of our people
and at the same time, the government calls on the United States Administration to
reconsider its unjust positions towards the Palestinian cause and calls on the need
to respect the option of the Palestinian people as realized and translated in the
national unity government.
77
The State of Israel Policy Towards the Palestinian Government Approved ON,
18.03.2007:
1. In light of the fact that the new Palestinian Government, based on the platform
formulated and approved by it, does not accept the principles of the international
community: recognition of Israel's right to exist, elimination of terror and the
dismantling of terrorist infrastructure, and recognition of the agreements signed with
Israel including the Roadmap. Israel will not be able to work with the Government or
any of its ministers.
2. Israel will continue to work with Mahmoud Abbas in order to advance issues of
security and issues pertaining to improving the quality of living of the Palestinian
population.
3. The Palestinian Government's platform, which include, inter alia, the use of terror
as a legitimate right, the acceptance of previous agreements with Israel based only
in accordance with Palestinian interests, as well as limitations the Chairman of the
Palestinian Authority took upon himself, including bringing any agreement with
Israel to the authorization of the new Palestinian National Council and the
Palestinian Diaspora, gives, in essence, a veto right to Hamas and other terrorist
organizations over any agreement that would be reached with Israel, and limits the
possibilities and range of topics which Israel can discuss with the Chairman of the
Palestinian Authority.
4. Israel will continue to demand that the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority
implement his obligations: to bring about the unconditional release of the abducted
soldier Gilad Shalit to stop Kassam missile attacks to dismantle the terrorist
organizations and their infrastructure in the Palestinian Authority and to fully
implement the first stage of the Roadmap.
5. Israel expects the international community to maintain the policy it has taken over
the past year of isolating the Palestinian Government, until it recognizes the three
principles of the Quartet.
6. Israel has not changed its position; Israel is for peace with the Palestinians
according to the Roadmap. Israel stands for a two state solution. Israel is ready to
initiate contacts with any government in the Palestinian Authority, whatever the
composition of it may be, which fulfills the conditions of the international community,
and will be willing to discuss all issues with it.
78
Dokumentation des „Temporary International Mechanism for the Assistance of
the Palestinian People”, Bezug nehmend auf die Erklärung des Nahost-Quartetts
vom 09.05.2006, in der Menüleiste „Begleitende Dokumente” dieser Homepage.
79
Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Washington, DC, 19.03.2007:
Steinmeier (via interpreter): ... Condoleezza Rice pointed to the fact that now that a
national unity government has been formed by the Palestinians we have entered a
stage where we are very carefully watching the declarations, the statements made
by that new government, but also the first decisions and actions to be taken by that
new government. And of course this is going to have an influence on the readiness
of the Europeans to cooperate with that government. It's clear, ladies and
gentlemen, that we stand by what we've said in the past, in the framework of the
Quartet, we stand by the expectations that we've expressed there. And the Quartet
has not really invented these matters on its own, but it's part and parcel of the
roadmap process. ...
Ferrero-Waldner: ...I think on Israel-Palestine, it is very important that in this
delicate moment, we at least can go on with our temporary international mechanism
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230 – Chronologie 2007
and that we prolong this for another three months in order to see that the
Palestinian people will not suffer in this period where we have to, of course, make a
judgment on the national unity government…
Question: First, to the Higher Representative. Mr. Solana, to give this new
Palestinian government the best chance of success, do you think it's now time to lift
the international aid embargo and if not, do you have a timeline for when you would
like to see that happen? And to Secretary Rice, the coalition government platform
includes a reference to the right of resistance. Do you read that as a code for
terrorism and if so why?
Solana: Should I start? As you know, we have been following from the very
beginning the formation of this government and we have made already several
statements in different meetings of the Quartet. We want to praise, once again, the
efforts of the King Abdullah and the Saudis for mobilizing this effort. We hope very
much that when the government is established and is already there that it will
contribute no doubt first to the peace among the Palestinians, but we have to say
also that the government does not comply fully with the principle that the Quartet
had so many times said publicly they would like to have in this government. In any
case, we expect very much that this government in the process will be taking the
positions of the Quartet as much as possible and at the end take completely and
they will have a total normalization of the relation with the government. And I think
not only that, we will have the possibility of moving in the peace process at much
faster rhythm. We'd like to say that once again that we would like to continue
working with the Palestinian people. We are not going to let the Palestinian people
down and we hope very much to follow in great detail the facts – the deeds – that
this government behaves is much more important what they do than what they say
at this point in time. We are going to follow that. In any case, we will never let the
Palestinian people down.
Rice: Well, I would put the question to the Palestinian government because after all
for a generation now – well, a political generation, the Palestinian leadership has
adhered to the principles that would undergird a two-state solution, including
renunciation of violence and the willingness to live side by side with Israel. It's in the
roadmap. It is the foundation really of Oslo. And so I'm not going to try to interpret
what the right of resistance means, but I'll tell you, it doesn't sound very good to me,
when one talks about all forms of resistance. So I would put the question to the
Palestinian government and to its prime minister: Do you mean the right of
resistance by violence and let's get an answer. ...
Question: (Inaudible) for Secretary Rice and Mr. Solana, President Abbas has
publicly and repeatedly appealed to the Quartet to lift its aid embargo. Do you not
worry that if you refuse or if this drags on, that his inability to deliver despite his
close relationship with the United States and the European Union will undermine his
standing and that of other moderates among the Palestinian people?
Rice: Well, let me start by repeating something that Benita said and that Javier said
as well. We are going to continue to help the Palestinian people. We've been
helping through humanitarian assistance. We have the temporary international
mechanism. I think if you look at the numbers, you'll see that actually, the amount
of assistance going into the Palestinian people has – it's gone up over the last year.
And so we're going to continue to help the Palestinian people and we're going to
continue to deal with Abu Mazen. I'm going to the region at the end of the week. I
intend to see him, to talk with him, and to continue to try to work on bettering the
lives of the Palestinian people as well as trying to push forward on a political
horizon so that the Palestinian people can see the pathway to the establishment of
a Palestinian state. Now the Quartet principles are there not to be obstructionists,
but because they are the foundational principles for peace. You cannot have a
peace agreement or a peace process when one party does not recognize the right
of the other party to exist or will not renounce violence. And that's why there has
been so much concern in the international community that any government of the
Palestinian people would reflect those principles, because those principles are
critical to getting to a two-state solution. And I should add they have been at the
foundation of where Palestinian leadership has been since Oslo. And so we will
continue to insist that those principles be respected. We're going to continue to help
the Palestinian people. And we're going to continue to deal with Abu Mazen. And I
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231 – Chronologie 2007
think that that is the right place to be so that Palestinians understand what is before
them in order to gain full acceptance for their government.
Solana: Well, I have a little to add – to say once again that the Palestinian people
will never be let down by us and for the European Union. As has been said, we
have been increasing our contribution the last three years. We will continue in the
future. And we see the government people that we trust and we know well, that we
have been working with them. And as I said before, we hope very much that this will
be a process that will lead to the acceptance of all the principle, because it would
be beneficial for them, beneficial for us, for the peace process. As we have said
many, many times, we will continue, the Quartet will continue to engage in trying to
define the political horizon so that the peace process can move forward.
(Inaudible.) ...
80
Joharah Baker: Farewell Tanya, Palestine has Lost a Friend, in “Media and
Information Programme at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global
Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH”) 21.03.2007: Most people hope that after they
are gone, there will be something, however miniscule, that others will remember
them by. Linguist, researcher and Palestinian rights advocate Tanya Reinhart far
surpassed this goal, because for many, the Palestinians in particular, she has left
behind a legacy larger than life. She will never be forgotten.
Tanya Reinhart passed away in New York City on March 17. Born an Israeli citizen
who lived most of her life in Israel, Reinhart lived her final days in the United States,
not by chance but by meticulous design. After years of exposing Israel’s policies
against the Palestinians in her articles, lectures and two major books, Reinhart
became one of the precious few in this world who truly practices what she
preaches. Feeling she could no longer live in the place she called home because of
the injustices it perpetrated against another nation, Reinhart made the painful
decision in 2006 to leave the prestigious position of emeritus professor at Tel Aviv
University, and to leave her home, forever.
It was not only this act of courage that made this woman so remarkable. It was the
fact that, as an Israeli speaking out against the atrocities of her own people,
Reinhart knowingly placed herself in a constant line of fire. It goes without saying
that she endured blinding hatred by some of her own countrymen, sentiments that
only someone as strong-willed and with such a high moral compass could ever
endure.
Primarily a linguist, Reinhart studied with the best, working in close collaboration
with famed linguist Noam Chomsky. Of her passing, Chomsky wrote, “She was on
the front line of direct resistance to intolerable actions, an organizer and a
participant, a stance that one cannot respect too highly. She will be remembered
not only as a resolute and honorable defender of the rights of Palestinians, but also
as one of those who have struggled to defend the moral integrity of her own Israeli
society, and its hope for decent survival,”
In addition to her contributions to the field of linguistics, Reinhart also wrote several
articles and two books on the conflict: Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948
(2002), and The Roadmap to Nowhere; Israel/Palestine since 2003 (2006). One of
Reinhart’s noted positions, which also brought her stinging criticism from many
fellow Israelis, was in 2002 when she signed a European petition calling for a
moratorium on European support of Israeli academicians in protest of Israel’s
politics against the Palestinians.
Reinhart wrote tirelessly about Israel’s true intentions in the West Bank, about the
Israeli war on Lebanon and the so-called Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip,
insisting that nothing less than a full withdrawal to all Palestinian land occupied in
1967 would be acceptable. However, perhaps one of the “straws that broke the
camel’s back”, which ultimately drove her to leave Israel for good was the
construction of the West Bank separation wall. In October, 2006 as the wall’s
construction continued in full force, Reinhart said the wall was the “first attempt in
history to imprison a nation with a wall that cut off villages from their farmlands.”
Two months later, she moved to New York permanently.
For the Palestinians, Tanya Reinhart will be sorely missed. Not only was she a
staunch advocator of Palestinian rights but she was an Israeli, which made her
testimony that much stronger.
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232 – Chronologie 2007
Reinhart dedicated her life to dispelling fallacies and exposing Israel’s measures at
a time when so much of the world has fallen into the black hole of blind loyalty to
Israel. “Palestinians should not have to pay the price for the Holocaust,” she once
said. The fact that she was an Israeli Jew gave such a powerful and true statement
exponential proportions.
In her life, Reinhart embodied what it meant to truly fight what you believe in. In
death, she has left behind some valuable lessons for both Palestinians and Israelis.
To the Palestinians, she has shown us not to compromise on our principles, what
we believe is right, just and true. Reinhart sacrificed her home, perhaps friends and
family and put her reputation on the line in order to follow her passion, to enlighten
the world about what she believes.
To the Israelis, Reinhart has left behind an even more valuable lesson, which could
be applied to all nations and peoples. It is not enough to know that your country is
doing wrong. As Reinhart painstakingly espoused throughout her life, when
injustices are perpetrated by your government and army, it is your duty, your
responsibility as a citizen, to do something about it. She believed the change must
come from within Israeli society, not only to do justice to the Palestinians but for
Israel’s own moral salvation.
Reinhart’s passing is a loss for us all, Palestinians and Israelis alike. Although her
time on this earth may have been less than expected, it is our duty now not to let
her message perish. For the Palestinians, she was a comrade-in-arms, so to
speak, waging our war for justice, independence and a dignified life, right alongside
us. It is our hope that the inner strength Reinhart possessed and portrayed so
fiercely will emanate throughout her own society, touching the consciousnesses of
those Israelis who know in their hearts and minds that something must be done.
Ultimately, Reinhart’s message was one of justice, human rights, and above all
peace. This is how she should be remembered.
81
82
Volltext unter www.nybooks.com/articles/20030,
Remarks of Secretary Condoleezza Rice with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni,
Washington, DC, 14.03.2007:
SECRETARY RICE: Buenos tardes – oh, wrong place. I'm just back from Latin
America, so I was delighted to come and to visit for just a brief time with the
Foreign Minister of Israel, Tzipi Livni. We've had a chance to discuss a few issues
concerning the Middle East and to talk about preparation for my trip to the Middle
East at the end of next week. You're welcome here always, Tzipi.
FOREIGN MINISTER LIVNI: Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: It's good to see you again and why don't you say a few words
and then we'll take a question from each side.
FOREIGN MINISTER LIVNI: Okay, yeah, thank you. Like always, never a dull
moment in the Middle East. We are facing new challenges, some old challenges,
but I believe that we are facing some threats that are also windows of opportunity.
And this was an opportunity for me before, because this is the end of my trip to the
United States, I'm going back home and will be seeing you in Israel in ten days from
now. And we discussed, of course, all the issues, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the
situation in Lebanon, and to be continued.
SECRETARY RICE: To be continued – (laughter) – right. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, the Saudi peace initiative has attracted some
positive comments in Israel (inaudible) Foreign Minister Livni. Do you see any
particular interest now in seeing this revised and do you see any reason why the
Arabs might modify it, for example, on (inaudible) borders in a way that might be
more powerful to the Government of Israel? And if you could say a couple words on
President Bashir's latest letter? Andrew Natsios says that it brings you closer to
possible (inaudible) sanctions on corporations (inaudible) dollars in Sudan. Are you
any closer to sanctions given Sudanese intransigence?
SECRETARY RICE: … In terms of the Arab initiative, I hope that this speaks to the
clear need for an Israeli-Arab reconciliation to accompany the Israeli-Palestinian –
the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I don't want to speak to the specifics
of the initiative because obviously, it's an initiative by the Arabs. We think – a very
good thing that this initiative was put forward. We have to remember that it started
as the Crown Prince initiative when Saudi now-King Abdullah put forward this idea.
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233 – Chronologie 2007
And obviously, the Israelis would have their own ideas about how an Israeli-Arab
reconciliation could take place. But I always think that it's a favorable matter when
people are talking about resolution of longstanding conflicts. And I just want to
emphasize, we believe very strongly that as we are working to resolve the IsraeliPalestinian conflict we need also to work toward Israeli-Arab reconciliation.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, I would like to follow up on this question. Did you
express any desire to Arab moderate leaders that they will amend the plan in a way
that will be more acceptable to the Israeli Government, especially of the refugee
question?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the Arab initiative is not a negotiating document. It is a
document that sets forward a position. And as I said, I think very favorably about
the idea that the Arab League starting as the Crown Prince initiative would, as a
whole, set forward a position on which perhaps reconciliation could take place
between Israel and the Arab states. But obviously, it is not a negotiating position
and I am sure that Israel would have its own views of how that reconciliation could
take place. So I have not talked to people about modification. I think it's a favorable
thing that they are putting forward something, but it's – again, it's not a negotiating
position as I understand it, but rather a framework, a vision for how Israel and the
Arabs might reconcile.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Do you wish to say anything?
FOREIGN MINISTER LIVNI: Oh, yes. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY RICE: You've been talking about this for a week while I've been in
Latin America.
FOREIGN MINISTER LIVNI: No – I mean, I believe that there's a need for an
historical reconciliation between Israel and the Arab world. And when the Saudi
initiative was at first, of course, a Saudi initiative – it was first, I think, something
that was published in The New York Times by Tom Friedman and it was very
positive because it was based on the idea of two-state solution when it comes to
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a historical reconciliation and normalization
between the Arab world and Israel. But then in Beirut they added – the Arab League
added articles which refers to the refugee issue, which I believe is against the
concept of two-state solution in which Israel is only for the Jewish people and
Palestine is and should be the answer to the Palestinians. So – but in order to send
a clear message also to the Arab world, we said that some parts of this initiative
are, of course, positive, talking about reconciliation, normalization and such. And
the Arabs also – those parts referring to the refugees as we see it are against the
concept of the two-state solution. But maybe you would like to take this opportunity
– as I said before, I would like to see Arab – pragmatic Arab leaders normalize their
relations with Israel without waiting for the peace between Israel and the
Palestinians to be completed. But maybe if – they will take these kinds of steps that
can help the moderates in the Palestinian Authority to take other steps in order to
achieve peace. So this is something that we are waiting for.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER LIVNI: Thanks.
83
Danny Rubinstein: Losing Jerusalem, in “Haaretz”-online 14.03.2007:
If we examine the headlines in the Palestinian media in recent years, there is hardly
any doubt that Jerusalem is the key issue on the agenda. Sometimes there's talk of
restrictions on Muslims worshiping at the Al-Aqsa Mosque; sometimes there's talk
of the purchase of more Arab houses by associations of religious settlers. And at
the end of last week there were more reports of Muslim protests against the work at
the Mugrabi Bridge, and violent demonstrations at the Qalandiya checkpoint in
northern Jerusalem as well as at the crossing point to Bethlehem in the south.
Newspaper photos showed agile young men climbing the ("racist," in the
Palestinian version) separation wall and flying a Palestinian flag on it.
From the Palestinian perspective, it would appear, the main problem is not
recognition of Israel, the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the violence and the
terror or even the problem of the refugees and the right of return. The problem is
Jerusalem. Just as the State of Israel would not be able to exist if the right of the
1948 refugees to return were to be recognized, it can be said that a Palestinian
state could not exist without East Jerusalem as its capital.
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234 – Chronologie 2007
It is in this context that the protest to the Israeli work at the Mugrabi Gate – both by
Muslims in general and the Palestinians in particular – must be viewed. It is true
that this work does not involve the Al-Aqsa compound itself, that the Israeli plans do
not endanger anything sacred to Islam and that these demonstrations exploit the
sensitivity surrounding religious issues to launch another attack on the Israeli
government. This was the case in the Western Wall tunnel affair in 1996 and when
Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in September 2000, and this was the case in
a long series of other incidents in which Israel disrupted the status quo in
Jerusalem.
Every action that Israeli spokesmen define as a measure of strengthening the
Israeli hold in the capital of Israel is defined in Palestinian and Arab terms as a
continuation of the efforts to Judaize Jerusalem.
The Palestinians have reason to be sensitive about Jerusalem, because they are
losing it. Work toward the completion of the separation fences and the walls around
East Jerusalem is nearly finished. The reason for the separation is security. And
while Israel is claiming that this is not a political border, the crossing arrangements
at the walls are looking more and more like border crossing points between
countries. At Betunia and Qalandiya to the north, at Hizma and the Mount of Olives
in the east, and at Rachel's Tomb in the south, border control installations have
transformed primitive roadblocks into modern terminals.
The Palestinian protests on the Jerusalem issue have not stopped, but from Israel's
perspective they have become tolerable. It is possible, with great caution, to say
that there are signs of Israeli-Jordanian cooperation on Jerusalem. In the peace
agreement between the two countries, Israel promised to give Jordan priority in
guarding the city's Islamic holy sites, and this agreement has been kept. The
governments of Israel and Jordan are careful not to give positions of power to the
Palestinian Authority in the control apparatus at Al-Aqsa, and are jointly working to
undermine the status of the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Ra'ad
Salah, who is trying to become the patron of Al-Aqsa.
Can Israel's reinforced grip on East Jerusalem advance the peace process? The
answer is no. Without East Jerusalem, a Palestinian state will not arise and the
waning dream of "two states for two peoples" will come to an end.
84
Israel’s existence is not in question, in „Haaretz“-online 13.03.2007:
"Defending Israel's right to exist will continue to stand at the center of German
foreign policy," declared German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at the opening of the
"Europe-Israel Dialogue" conference held during the weekend in Berlin, adding that
she was sorry she had to repeat this over and over. Former foreign minister of
Germany, Joschka Fischer, expressed his revulsion at the comments made by
German bishops, who compared the Warsaw Ghetto to what is taking place in the
occupied territories.
The erosion of Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state is particularly difficult for
supporters of peace and democracy in Israel, who recognize its own dubious
contribution to the attitude toward Israel.
All Israeli governments have missed – and continue to miss – opportunities to
reconcile with neighboring states, have broadened settlement in the territories and
have entrenched a destructive rule of occupation, oppressive and corrupting. Since
1967, under government auspices, a small and unruly group has assumed a
belligerent monopoly on the Land of Israel and on Jewish identity. The liberal
Zionism of Herzl was booted outside the fence and replaced by the messianic,
separatist, anti-humanistic Judaism of muscle.
Through this dialogue the real reason for the establishment of the State of Israel,
whose powerful expression echoes in the Declaration of Independence, was
forgotten: the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people and its
shaping into a member of equal rights and obligations in the family of modern
nations. Instead, Israel has opted to make use of the Holocaust as the sole
justification for its existence and has bequeathed generations of youth born in Israel
a mix of blaming the entire world and hating the "gentiles." Israel is of course not to
blame for everything. Its neighbors contributed more than once to the deepening of
the conflict, and even now its leaders are dragging them toward an impasse.
The statements heard in Europe, stemming from the academia and extreme left
there, are not legitimate criticisms of Israel's policies, but efforts to undermine, on
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235 – Chronologie 2007
principle, its right to exist as a Jewish state. Behind the simple question, "Does
Israel have a right to exist" (as a Guardian editorial read three years ago), hides a
definitive stance, which regards Israel as a passing colonial phenomenon and the
Jewish people as an ethnic-religious group different from any other people and all
other nation-states. However peripheral and radical this tendency may be, it has
successfully influenced many people. A familiar stench, hundreds of years old, rises
from it, even when it is framed in contemporary terminology.
It is good to witness enlightened liberals like Merkel and Fischer, and many others,
rejecting this tendency completely. Israel's policies are worthy of severe
condemnation; but its right to exist is absolute.
85
Address by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni's to
the AIPAC Conference in Washington D.C., 12 March 2007:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,
It is a great honor for me to be here today. I believe that we are defined – as
individuals, as leaders and as nations – by our values and by the choices we make
to defend them.
The American-Israeli strategic alliance is a partnership built on common values and
not just common interests. In a world where so much is based on narrow interest,
an alliance that is founded on shared ideals is unique. This alliance transcends
politics.
Here, in the U.S., it enjoys bipartisan support. And in Israel – where we love to
argue about almost everything – I can assure you that on the American-Israeli
relationship you will hear only one voice.
We, the people of Israel, cherish this friendship. Our governments are partners; our
peoples are friends – in good times and in bad. We must never take this for granted
and – because of that – we will never take AIPAC for granted. Let me say loudly
and clearly on behalf of the government and people of Israel: Thank you, AIPAC.
The U.S.-Israel relationship is of utmost importance, especially now. We are in the
midst of a struggle for the future of the free world. The outcome of this struggle will
shape this century and the kind of world we – Americans and Israelis – pass on to
our children. The cost has already been painful and our hearts go out to those
families who lost their loved ones in this struggle.
Dear Friends,
There are moments in history where the threats are clear and prevention is
possible, but only if we work together. In order to confront threats, we must first
identify and understand them. Our world is changing and being divided between
moderates and extremists.
Extremist forces seek to transform national conflicts, which are resolvable, into an
endless religious war. The extremists are not fighting for their own rights – they are
fighting to deprive others of their rights. The extremists use mass media, like Al
Jazeera and the Internet, not to promote co-existence but to spread hate. The
extremists want to exploit our values – our desire to resolve conflicts peacefully and
our tolerance for others.
The Middle East is also changing. Yes, there are threats. We can see the
extremists headed by Iran, with its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the
Palestinian Authority. But there are also new opportunities. We can see the old
divisions of the Middle East being replaced. Israelis, moderate Palestinians, and
pragmatic Arab and Muslim leaders are moving into the same camp – sharing the
same interests for a peaceful and stable Middle East. We need a dual strategy that
empowers the moderates while, at the same time, weakening the extremists.
Ladies and gentlemen,
To address extremism is to address Iran. This is a regime which calls for the
destruction of a State, a member of the United Nations, Israel – my home. This
alone should deny it a place in the community of nations. It is a regime which
denies the Holocaust, while threatening the world with a new one. It is a regime
driven by a radical religious ideology with the goal of dominating the region,
exporting terror, and preventing peace.
The Iranian threat is clear not just to Israel and the Western world. Many Arab and
Gulf States feel it too. They also cannot afford a nuclear Iran and, believe me, love
for Israel has nothing to do with it.
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They know, as we do, that even if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict magically
disappeared, Iran's radical ideology would remain. And they know, as we do, that
there is no path to a stable world, or a peaceful Middle East, that does not involve
addressing this threat. The international community must not close its eyes. It must
defeat this danger not for Israel's sake, but for its own – for the sake of its own
security and for the sake of the values it claims to hold dear. We know that there is
much more that needs to be done and time is of the essence.
The initial sanctions on Tehran have had an impact and, as part of our collective
effort, they must be strengthened and expanded without delay. And to those States,
who know the threat, but still hesitate because of narrow economic or political
interests let me say this: History will remember. The free world is being watched.
The Middle East is a tough neighborhood. And when there is a bully in this
neighborhood there are only two choices, to beat it or to join it.
If States in the region feel that the world will not stop Iran, they may feel the need to
appease it. We live in a region where images matter, and where the perception of
weakness can have far-reaching consequences. If we appease the extremists – if
they feel that we are backing down – they will sense victory and become more
dangerous not only to the region, but to the world. This applies to the decisions
made on Iran, it is true for Iraq; and it is true across the Middle East. And it is why it
is so important for the international community, with American leadership, to project
strength, to demonstrate absolute determination in achieving its objectives and
absolute commitment to its values.
The international community is also being tested in Lebanon. The goals are clear:
to establish an independent Lebanon, which exercises sovereignty over its territory,
dismantles militias and enjoys peaceful relations with its neighbors. But Syria, Iran
and Hezbollah are determined to prevent this.
Security Council resolutions are clear on the actions that need to be taken. The
international forces in Lebanon have brought changes on the ground – but other
parts of these resolutions must be implemented fully. The immediate task is to
enforce the arms embargo and prevent the ongoing efforts of Syria and Iran to
rearm Hezbollah. These illegal weapons destabilize Lebanon, endanger UNIFIL,
and threaten Israel. They must not and will not be tolerated.
Most painful for every Israeli is that the hostages Eldad Regev and Ehud
Goldwasser remain in captivity. Israel is one family. Eldad and Udi are our sons,
and we will do everything, but everything, in our power to bring them home. Our
enemies see this desire as our weakness. They are wrong. It is our greatest
strength.
Dear Friends,
When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, our vision for peace is drawn from
the ultimate goal of Israel, the reason for its existence – to be a Jewish and
democratic State, secure in our ancient homeland.
We want to live in peace.
We have no desire to control Palestinian lives.
We deserve security.
Our children deserve a future, free of hate and full of hope.
Based on these core principles, the vision of peace is clear.
Two States, two homelands, for two peoples – Israel, homeland for the Jewish
people wherever they may be. And Palestine, the homeland, the national answer for
the Palestinian people, wherever they may be, including the refugees. Two States
living in peace and security – the meaning of this is also clear. The future State of
Palestine cannot be a terror State. And that is why President Bush's vision and the
Roadmap insist that the road to statehood goes through the elimination of
terrorism. This is not a zero sum-game. This vision is not pro-Israeli or proPalestinian. It is pro-peace.
Israel has made its choice. Across Israeli society we have embraced this vision,
and accepted the sacrifices that come with it. The disengagement plan proved this.
With great pain, we uprooted families from their homes in order to create an
opportunity for peace. Sadly, we received terror in return. And yet, we have not
stopped hoping that the Palestinians will make their choice for peace.
Unfortunately, in the last elections they chose Hamas, a terrorist organization driven
by an extreme religious ideology. Hamas's goal is not to create a Palestinian State,
but to destroy the Jewish one.
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237 – Chronologie 2007
The international community, through the Quartet, has repeatedly insisted that any
Palestinian government must fully commit to three core principles: renunciation of
terror, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements. These
requirements are not obstacles to peace, but fundamental principles for peace.
I believe in dialogue – but there are some things that are not up for negotiation.
We cannot and we will not negotiate our right to exist. No-one has the right to do so
in our name.
We cannot and we will not negotiate about the need to accept former agreements.
They are the outcome of tough negotiations and mutual concessions – they are not
a menu to choose from.
And, of course, we will never negotiate over terror. Israeli lives are not bargaining
chips.
This is the test for the Palestinian government as a whole, regardless of its
members. We expect the international community to defend the requirements for
peace. We expect it to stand against terror, not compromise with it.
Ladies and Gentleman,
Stagnation is not in our interest and is not our policy. This is the reason that despite
our disappointment from the Mecca agreement, we have not closed the door to
dialogue with the moderates. Just yesterday, Prime Minister Olmert met with
Chairman Abbas. But we must understand that the chance for peace depends on a
clear distinction between the moderates and the extremists. Being a moderate is a
title that has to be earned. A moderate is someone who is ready to confront terror;
someone who believes in the two State vision and accepts its true meaning. Israel
remains willing to work with the moderates, if they are willing to empower
themselves and distinguish themselves from the enemies of peace. This includes
undertaking genuine efforts to release of Gilad Shalit – who is in our prayers every
day. It includes bringing an end to daily attacks on Israeli homes and the smuggling
of weapons across the Gaza-Egypt border. And it includes preparing the
Palestinian people for the compromises and historic reconciliation that any true
peace will require from both sides.
Dear Friends,
All of us are eager to see peace in the Middle East. Nobody wants it more than
Israel. This is about our lives and the future of our children. Lasting peace is
possible if it is built on solid foundations and shared values.
Despite all the challenges, I am optimistic – I can see new opportunities emerging.
Moderate and pragmatic leaders are beginning to see Israel not as an enemy of the
violent past, but as a partner in a common and peaceful future. The challenge we
all face, as leaders in the Middle East, is to say this publicly to our people and to
teach it to our children. We are ready to do our part, and we hope our neighbors are
ready to do theirs.
And today – from this podium – I call on Arab and Muslim States – those who
condition their relations with Israel on the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – not
to wait any more. You have the power to change reality, and to encourage
Palestinians to embrace co-existence. Do not wait for peace to come before you
normalize relations with us – normalize now and peace will come.
Ladies and Gentleman,
As we say in Hebrew "Ein li eretz acheret" – we have no other homeland. We also
have no other values. For 60 years we have fought for our existence without
compromising our principles, our vision, or our dream for peace. We are moderates
by definition – we are not threatening to turn into extremists.
I believe in Israel and am proud to represent it.
I am proud of the strength and vitality of our economy.
I believe in the courage and innovation of our people.
And I believe in the U.S.-Israeli partnership and the values on which it is founded.
I know that you feel the same.
And the future depends on us.
Thank you.
86
Pastor John Hagee: Speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference, 11.03.2007:
Good evening, dear friends of Israel; thank you for the privilege and pleasure of
speaking to this distinguished AIPAC gathering. May I begin by thanking Melvin
Dow for his friendship and wisdom that have been a guiding light for me personally
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238 – Chronologie 2007
and in all our endeavors on behalf of Israel over the years. I also want to thank
AIPAC and each of you for being Israel's defender in the halls of the US Congress.
You are the finest and most efficient advocacy organization in Washington, DC.
On September 10, 1981 we conducted our First Night to Honor Israel in San
Antonio and there are two people with me tonight that made that First Night to
Honor Israel possible – my wife Diana, the love of my life and Rabbi Aryeh
Sheinberg without whose courage there would never have been the First Night to
Honor Israel nor the birth of Christians United for Israel. There to my left, would you
please stand; I'd like you to be welcomed by this great group of people.
We meet tonight at dangerous and difficult time in world history. To anyone with
eyes to see and ears that hear, it is clear that Israel is in the gravest danger she
has faced since six Arab armies tried to strangle the Jewish state in the birth canal
in 1948. I know that during difficult days such as this when it seems that the whole
world is against Israel many in the Jewish community nervously scan the globe
searching for friends. You look toward the United Nations which Dore Gold calls
The Tower of Babble.
You look at Europe where the ghost of Hitler is again walking across the stage of
history. You open your newspapers and read about American universities where
Israel is being viciously vilified by students taught by professors whose Middle
Eastern chairs are sponsored by Saudi Arabia. You look to America's mainline
churches and their initiatives to divest from Israel. You go to the bookstore and see
slanderous titles by the former President of the United States [Jimmy Carter] and
you feel very much alone.
I came here tonight to speak about Christians United for Israel and millions of
evangelicals in America who have a deep-seated faith-based belief to love Israel, to
speak up for Israel, to standup for Israel, to pray for Israel and to financially support
Israel until Israel achieves a just and lasting peace.
I came here tonight to deliver a message to you from those millions of evangelicals
in America and I want to say this as clearly and plainly as I can possibly say it –
Israel, you are not alone.
There are millions of evangelical Christians across America who consider the
Jewish people the apple of God's eye, who see you as the chosen people, a
cherished people and a covenant people with an eternal covenant that will stand
forever. Ladies and gentlemen of AIPAC it's a new day in America. The sleeping
giant of Christian Zionism has awakened; there are 50 million Christians standing
up and applauding the State of Israel.
If a line has to be drawn, draw the line around both Christians and Jews; we are
united; we are indivisible; we are bound together by the Torah – the roots of
Christianity are Jewish. We are spiritual brothers and what we have in common is
far greater than the things we've allowed to separate us over the years.
As you know, Iran poses a threat to the State of Israel that promises nothing less
than a nuclear holocaust. I have been saying on national television, in churches and
auditoriums across America, it is 1938; Iran is Germany and Ahmadinejad is the
new Hitler. Ladies and gentlemen we must stop Iran's nuclear threat and stop it
now and stand boldly with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. The only
way to win a nuclear war is to make certain it never starts. Iran's President has not
limited his maniacal threats to Israel. He has also asked his fellow Iranians to
imagine a world without America. This is a clear threat to destroy the United States
of America. I have something to say to Iran's President or Iran: Mr. Ahmadinejad,
don't threaten America.
Do not threaten Israel by saying they will pass away in a sudden storm. In the Bible
when Pharaoh threatened the Jewish people of Egypt he became fish food in the
Red Sea. When Haman threatened the Jews in Persia in modern-day Iran he and
his sons hung from the gallows that he built for the Jews. Mr. Ahmadinejad's threats
against Israel have a way of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy; you may be well
speaking about your own demise when you talk about passing away with a sudden
storm, but you are not talking about Israel's future.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is watching you. King David wrote that thou
that keepeth Israel neither slumber nor sleeps. The Christians of America are not
going to sit by in silence this time and watch you plod and plan a nuclear holocaust.
There will never be another holocaust – not on our watch and never again.
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Beyond that threat from Iran there's another more subtle threat that concerns me. I
am concerned that in the coming months yet another attempt will be made to parcel
out parts of Israel in a futile effort to appease Israel's enemies in the Middle East. I
believe that misguided souls in Europe, I believe that the misguided souls in the
political brothel that is now the United Nations and sadly – and sadly even our own
State Department will try once again to turn Israel into crocodile food. Winston
Churchill said and I quote: An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile in the futile
hope that it will eat him last – end of quote. In 1938 Czechoslovakia –
Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland was turned into crocodile food for Nazi Germany.
The Nazi beast smelled the weakness in the appeasers, ate the food and marched
and devoured most of Europe and systematically slaughtered 6,000,000 Jewish
people.
We are again hearing calls to appease the enemies of Israel.
Once again those who would appease seek to do so at the expense of Israel. They
tell us that if we want the Sunnis and the Shiites to stop massacring each other in
Iraq then Israel must give up land. They tell us that if we want the Syrians to stop
murdering the leaders in Lebanon, then Israel must give up land.
They tell us if we want the Saudis to permit women to drive and to vote, Israel must
give up land. If we want the sun to rise in the east and set in the west, Israel must
give up land. Let me be clear; Israel is not the problem here.
Scapegoating Israel will not solve the problem; the problem is the Arab rejection of
Israel's right to exist.
The problem is that Israel has no partner for peace; the problem is radical Islam's
blood – blood-thirsty embrace of a theocratic dictatorship that believes they have a
mandate from God to kill Christians and Jews. The problem is the failure of the
moderates in the Arab and Muslim world to stand up and rein in these Islamic
extremists.
If the moderate Arabs believe that murdering Christians and Jews is wrong then
standup and say so – this is America. We welcome your participation in free
speech, but your silence is deadly. Appeasement is not the answer, my friends. To
quote the great evangelical abolitionist William Wilberforce: Appeasement is
nothing more than surrender on the installment plan – end of quote. America
should not pressure Israel to give up land and America must never pressure Israel
to divide the City of Jerusalem.
Dore Gold in his latest book “The Fight for Jerusalem” said and I quote: Turning
part or all of Jerusalem to the Palestinians would be tantamount to turning it over to
the Taliban – end of quote. I agree. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish
people now and forever. Jerusalem is united under Jewish control and must always
remain under Jewish control.
Why do Christians support Israel? Truth is not what I say it is. Truth is not what you
think it is. Truth is what the Torah says it is; there's the Torah way and the wrong
way. Genesis 12 and 3 [?] says I will bless those who bless you and curse those
who curse you. We believe those blessings are very real and those judgments are
very real.
Where are the nations that have persecuted the Jewish people? Where is Pharaoh
and his army? Where are the Babylonians? Where are the Greeks? Where is the
Ottoman Empire? Where are the Romans? Where is that goose-stepping lunatic
Adolf Hitler and his Nazi hoards? All are historic footnotes in the bone yard of
human history. Where are – where are – where is Israel? Where are the Jewish
people? They're alive and well; they're thriving; they're prospering; they're growing –
even on a day of adversity they're still going forward.
Where is Israel? Where are those who are scattered throughout the Diaspora? The
mighty right hand of God has gathered them from the nations of the world and
Israel was miraculously born [on] May 15, 1948. Israel lives! Shout it from the
house top – Israel lives! Let every Islamic terrorist group hear it – Israel lives! Let
every tin horn dictator in the Middle East hear it – Israel lives! Let it be heard in the
halls of the UN – Israel lives! Let it echo down the marble halls of the Presidential
Palace in Iran – Israel lives! Let it ring in the terrorist camps of Osama Bin Laden –
Israel lives! Israel lives! Israel lives!
Jews have suffered pogroms and persecution; they have outlasted Pharaoh's
slavery and Hitler's final solution and I have no doubt that long after Hamas and
Hezbollah have been buried in the bone yard of human history, long after the crisis
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240 – Chronologie 2007
with Iran has been resolved, the Flag of Israel will still be flying over the ancient
walls of the sacred city and Jerusalem and Israel will be the praise of all the earth.
Why do Christians support Israel – because Christians deeply believe we owe a
debt of gratitude to the Jewish people; you gave us the word of God, you gave us
the patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; you gave us the Prophets, Ezekiel,
Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zachariah, Amos, Josiah, Joel – not a Baptist in the
bunch. The first family of Christianity – Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, the Apostles,
John [in] the fourth chapter says salvation is of the Jews; that's a New Testament
verse. You don't hear many sermons that preached on that but that's a real verse.
Salvation is of the Jews; the point is if you take away the Jewish contribution from
Christianity there would be no Christianity. Judaism does not need Christianity to
explain its existence, but Christianity cannot explain its existence without Judaism.
Therefore I have been saying for 26 years over national television, it's time for
Christians to stop praising the dead Jews of the past – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
– while avoiding the Jews who live across the street. That's anti-Semitism and antiSemitism is sin and as sin it damns the soul. As Christians tonight on this historic
occasion we ask God's forgiveness and yours for every act of anti-Semitism in our
past. The crusades, the inquisition, Martin Luther's Concerning the Jews and Their
Lies; the final solution of Adolf Hitler carried out by baptized Christians in goodstanding with their church; the fact that the Roman Church was silent during these
atrocities and did not share – we did not share their theology. They did not share
our appreciation for the great contribution the Jewish people have given to
humanity and to Christianity. Tonight I humbly ask forgiveness of the Jewish people
for every act of anti-Semitism and the deafening silence of Christianity in your
greatest hour of need during the Holocaust. We were not there; we cannot change
the past, but together we can shape the future. Think of our potential future
together; 50,000,000 evangelicals joining in common cause with 5,000,000 Jewish
people in America on behalf of Israel is a match made in heaven.
Let the word go forth from Washington, DC tonight. There is a new beginning in
America between Christians and Jews. We pledge to God and to the Jewish people
to fulfill the words of the Prophet Isaiah; for Zion's sake we will not hold our peace
and for Jerusalem's sake we will not rest. You who make mention of the Lord do
not keep silent and give the Lord no rest until He makes Jerusalem the praise of all
the earth. We have organized Christians United for Israel. We have 13 Regional
Directors; we have 40 State Directors; we have 80 City Directors and they're
growing. We're organizing Congressional District by Congressional District, so that
as body we can standup and speak up for Israel every year in Washington, DC and
Congress will know that the matter of Israel is no longer just a Jewish issue; it is a
Christian-Jewish issue from this day forward.
In closing – in closing, I believe 2007 is the year of destiny. America and Israel are
at war with a common enemy. It is a war of good versus evil. It is a war of life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness versus the culture of death. I close with the
words of Winston Churchill, who is my favorite statesman of all time. Spoken during
the dark days of World War II when Hitler seemed unbeatable and victory seemed
impossible, Churchill said: You ask what is our aim; I can answer in one word – it is
victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of the terror, victory however long and
hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival – end of quote.
Ladies and gentlemen, as Christians and Jews, our aim is victory – victory for Israel
and victory in our time. May God bless Israel; God bless America; and God bless
each of you.
87
The Goy Who Cried Wolf – The Israeli lobby gives America’s leading Christian
right warmonger a warm welcome, 13.03.2007 www.prospects.org:
Delegates at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference
were treated to an air-brushed John Hagee last night, primed with his most innocuous
talking points and stripped of his most outlandish Armageddon rhetoric. Hagee, the founder
of the America's leading Christian Zionist lobby, Christians United for Israel, left his clumsy
exegeses of Biblical prophecy back home in San Antonio. He is well-versed in bringing an
audience of several thousand people to its feet, and he knew he didn't need his slide show of
mushroom clouds and world-ending wars to work this crowd.
Hagee's set-up man was the historian Michael Oren, who recited the history of
restorationism, a Protestant movement dating back to the first settlers at Plymouth Rock that
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sought to return the Jews to Palestine and create a Jewish state. In Oren's telling, you would
have thought that before Mearsheimer, Walt, and Carter came along, Jews and American
Christians had spent the last several centuries in an idyllic, carefree frolic together, and that
George W. Bush's forebearers were Jew-loving Zionists rather than arms-dealing tycoons so
intent on consolidating power that they were willing to transact business with the Nazis. The
placement of Oren's speech laid the groundwork for Hagee by insinuating that the warmongering fundamentalist is nothing more than an innocuous heir to a quintessentially
American love-fest between apocalyptic Christians and displaced Jews.
In anticipation of Hagee's appearance at AIPAC's conference, there has been much
discussion about whether Hagee is actually an anti-Semite who blames Jews for the
Holocaust yet anticipates their conversion at the Second Coming – and another debate over
whether it's actually good for Israel or the world's Jews when groups like AIPAC ally
themselves with him. But judging from the crowd's reaction, and that of delegates I spoke
with afterwards, none of that mattered. Like other Jewish leaders I've talked to about Hagee,
the attitude is simply that Israel has very few friends, and it needs all the friends it can get.
If Hagee is willing to mobilize hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of
conservative Christians to the cause, then they're willing to overlook his eagerness for the
Second Coming (when we'll all become Christians), because it's just a silly fantasy that
won't come to pass, anyway.
Had Hagee come to Washington with his usual spiel, perhaps these delegates would have
been mortified to learn that Hagee calls the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah "the
Prophecy of the Trumpets," and says it represents the regathering of the church in
anticipation of the Second Coming. He says the feast of Sukkot is significant because it will
be the time of the Second Coming, and that the tallis, the Jewish prayer shawl, is a clear
indication that there will be a Second Coming. You see, says Hagee, Jesus would not have
left his tallis neatly folded up when he went off to his crucifixion if he didn't have plans to
come back.
Perhaps the AIPAC crowd would have dismissed all these strange distortions of their faith
as an amusing but largely irrelevant sideshow to their single-minded mission of making
more friends. But they never had to confront the issue because Hagee's speech was stripped
of the most damning details.
Whether Hagee is good for Israel is beside the point. The real problem is that he represents
a catastrophe for the United States and its standing in the world – not because he might love
the Jews too much, or might in fact secretly hate them, but because he is leading a growing
political movement completely lacking in a substantive understanding of world affairs. At a
time when the Middle East faces seemingly intractable conflicts with dire geopolitical
consequences, the notion that Hagee – whose status is only elevated by invitations like
AIPAC's – is leading a political movement based on nothing more than a supposedly literal
reading of his Bible only reinforces the view that the United States is being led by messianic
forces at odds with world peace and stability. Young Americans should have a deeper
understanding of Middle East politics in order to fully participate in civic discourse as
American troops are fighting a seemingly unending war. But Hagee worries not about troop
deployments, instead focusing on teaching the Bible in public schools. While religious
fundamentalism is causing untold bloodshed around the world, Hagee frets about secularists
who are "destroying America."
When he does speak to actual Middle East politics, it's only to encourage the further
destabilization of the region. Hagee has been agitating for a war with Iran for well over a
year now, certainly not a single-handed effort on his part, nor one for which he would
deserve sole blame should it happen. But if it does happen (and some think it already has
begun), Hagee most certainly should be blamed for something else: convincing his minions
that war is not only palatable, but required by God.
Hagee's speech, laced with charged comparisons of Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad to men like Pharaoh, Haman, and Hitler, as well as countless Churchillian
references, brought the crowd to its feet. "He's A-OK," said one AIPAC delegate who had
never heard of Hagee before, adding that he wanted to get one of Hagee's DVDs for his
grandchildren to watch. "I love him," enthused another delegate, a woman who had already
learned of CUFI through conservative talk radio and had donated money to the cause. "Who
else cares about Israel?"
88
Vgl. die Eintragungen vom 16.01., 29.01. und 06.02.2007 in dieser Chronologie.
www.reiner-bernstein.de
89
90
242 – Chronologie 2007
Vgl. die Eintragung vom 11.12.2006 in dieser Chronologie.
Aluf Benn: Surging toward a comeback (interview with Benjamin Netanyahu), in
“Haaretz”-online 09.03.2007:
On Wednesday, a few hours before flying to Washington, Benjamin Netanyahu
remembered his job as head of the opposition and rattled off some comments
about Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. "We have to hold elections," Netanyahu
declared. "The prime minister has lost the public trust."
This was a rare public criticism from the Likud leader, who has been trying to
appear statesmanlike over the past few months and generally avoids frontal
assaults on the government. He apparently figured it wasn't worth kicking a dead
political horse that enjoys negligible support in the polls, and that it's better to keep
quiet until the government collapses on its own.
But something has changed over the last few days.
"I'm convinced that the government will not live out its days," Netanyahu said in an
interview with Haaretz, in which he accused Olmert of being helpless in the face of
the Iranian threat. "The nation is searching for leadership, and if the government
doesn't gain its composure, the change will come," he added. "Time will tell whether
it happens in a parliamentary or electoral process, but I am convinced that it is not
just the will of the opposition, but the will of the nation."
Although it is possible for the government to recover, there's "no sign" of that
happening, Netanyahu said. "On the contrary: There is a reverse process of
maneuvers, delays, futile exercises and dealing with unimportant and political
exercises, rather than with changes that must be initiated in the country."
Netanyahu also identified his political target this week: Kadima's stockpile of MKs
and voters. The crowning of the Likud leader as Olmert's successor during the
current Knesset will require that at least 11 members of the prime minister's faction
return to the Likud. And if the elections are held early – something that Netanyahu
doubts will happen – the Likud will need votes that it lost to Kadima and to Yisrael
Beiteinu in 2006.
Perhaps because of this, and perhaps due to the upcoming Winograd Commission
report on the war in Lebanon and its potential ramifications, Netanyahu is signaling
a move to the center, and is making surprisingly optimistic statements about the
chances of a political process with the Palestinians.
"I see a unique opportunity for progress in the peace process with moderate Arab
partners, for a simple reason: There is identification of a shared threat," he
explained. "Even if Iran's nuclear program is stopped, the extremist Islamic threat
exists, and that allows for the creation of alliances with various elements in the Arab
world as well as in Palestinian society."
And would you agree to withdraw from territories as part of such a peace process?
"If I knew that I had a genuine partner. I have already proved that I am prepared to
make certain concessions, not sweeping or unlimited, but I demanded mutuality
and as long as I received it, I was able to progress."
Would you accept the Saudi initiative (withdrawal from all territory in exchange for
fully normalized ties between Israel and the Arab world, and a "just and agreedupon" solution to the refugee problem) as the basis for negotiations?
"The Saudi initiative cannot be implemented in terms of its details, but we have to
aspire to an arrangement in which it is clear that if Israel is required to make
additional concessions, it knows from the start that there will be no more demands
and that the conflict is reaching an end. That did not exist in the negotiations that
we conducted until now. We have to make an arrangement, get to the end, and
then go backward."
Head of the Majlis
Despite the optimistic statements, Netanyahu does not currently see a Palestinian
partner for an agreement, and demands that the peace partner will recognize
Israel's right to exist. He is also not enthusiastic about the renewal of the Syrian
negotiations channel, and says he tends to accept the assessment of Mossad
espionage agency head Meir Dagan, that Syria is not heading toward peace.
Netanyahu quotes intelligence assessments that the Syrian military-acquisitions
budget has increased tenfold. On this matter, his position is no different from
Olmert's.
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243 – Chronologie 2007
Netanyahu has long been acting like the opposition head of the Majlis, Iran's
parliament, rather than that of the Knesset. His public criticism is directed toward
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Netanyahu goes around the world and
calls for Ahmadinejad to stand trial for incitement to genocide. His upcoming trip to
the United States will also center around the struggle against Iran and its nuclear
program. He will speak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
lobby's annual conference next week, and meet with U.S. Vice President Dick
Cheney and the leading candidates for president.
"The Iranian regime is more vulnerable than it seems," said Netanyahu. "It's
possible to act against it in a firm and focused way, to destabilize it, or stop the
nuclear program, or both. Its major weakness is in the economic sphere."
The idea of imposing a "secondary boycott" on the Iranian economy is at the center
of Netanyahu's campaign. It involves convincing the managers of pension funds for
civil servants in every state in the United States, which hold assets worth hundreds
of billions of dollars, to pull their investments from some 400 companies, from
European and other countries, conducting business with Iran. Such a boycott would
threaten the Iranian economy and the stability of its government. Netanyahu also
wants to send AIPAC activists to governors and state legislatures in a bid to get
them to order the pension funds to impose the boycott. This week, he submitted a
similar bill in the Knesset, which, if passed, would ban Israeli investment in
multinational companies active in Iran.
"All who feared military efforts against Iran should welcome an economic means
that can render military activity unnecessary," Netanyahu said.
In his latest travels in Europe, he presented this idea to members of the French
National Assembly's foreign affairs committee and to members of the British
parliament. He tells doves to support the boycott so as to prevent an attack on Iran;
the hawks will support pressure on the Iranians anyway. "It's not certain that the
effort will succeed," Netanyahu admitted. "But even if it doesn't, at least public
opinion will be prepared for tougher action."
Same 1938 analogy
In a speech before the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities in Los
Angeles in November, Netanyahu made a chilling analogy between present-day
Iran and 1938 Germany. Since then, he has continued to draw this analogy. In his
talks in Washington next week, he will suggest the establishment of a "coalition
against genocide" that would act against the genocide in Darfur – an issue that is
important to the Democrats – and against Ahmadinejad, the Holocaust denier who
has called for Israel's destruction. The coalition would be "against a genocide that is
carried out, that which is denied, and that which is planned," Netanyahu explained.
Is Israel facing a holocaust?
"I think it's possible to stop this holocaust, these threats. The situation is identical to
1938, in that an extreme ideology is present that is arming itself with weapons, with
the declared attempt of destroying a significant portion of the Jewish people. The
situation is different, in that there is a State of Israel that can and must elicit
international pressure, and also because there is [now] a historic perspective.
When [U.S. Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice said that we are not in 1938, she
was not referring to a change in the intention to destroy, but to the application of the
historic lesson. On the contrary: Let us see the application, but it depends on
actions carried out in the exhaustible time [that's left]."
Netanyahu quoted the Mossad chief's assessment that Iran will achieve nuclear
capability within about three years. "That's not a lot of time, 1,000 days," the Likud
leader said.
Aren't you concerned that your talk of a holocaust will lead to demoralization and
will encourage young Israelis to flee just in order to be saved?
"The right thing that generates hope is not repressing the threat, or blurring it and
concealing it, but the readiness to face it and to muster the many forces we have,
and to lead the world to understand and stand up against it. There is a future, there
is the capacity to halt this, to stop Iran and, if necessary, to build a massive
deterrence."
Is the Olmert government doing enough?
"Unfortunately not. I would like to see a greater effort, and I said so to the prime
minister. An all-out effort, which tries to use all the available tools to generate
economic, political and public-relations pressure to isolate Iran, destabilize the
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244 – Chronologie 2007
regime or freeze the nuclear program. A master plan is needed, with the direct
involvement of the prime minister."
Netanyahu advocates significant investment in development of defense and
deterrence methods. When he was prime minister, he increased the budget for
that, and today notes that Israel "will be required over the coming decades to build
capabilities of a much larger scope than what there is." He said the necessary
technology exists, and that if Israel continues along the right economic path, it will
be able to fund the development on its own.
"On these matters," he said, "the person in opposition, and certainly the opposition
head, faces a genuine dilemma. In the internal realm, things must be said and must
be subject to discussion, argument and criticism, but they cannot be part of the
public discourse. There is a paradox concerning everything related to
nonconventional matters. This discussion takes place, and I take an active part in it
as the opposition chairman, in subcommittees, and I think that to a large extent [I
am] also an expediting factor on certain matters. But I cannot go into it in public."
'A responsible opposition'
Benjamin Netanyahu loves to quote Winston Churchill, whose warnings concerning
Hitler's arms buildup in the 1930s were not heeded. So, why shouldn't Netanyahu
act like Churchill, who became the first lord of the admiralty in the government of
his rival, Neville Chamberlain? When such an existential threat is at hand, why
shouldn't Netanyahu boost Olmert and run his public campaign around the world as
a cabinet member instead of from the opposition?
"My colleagues and I acted as a responsible opposition," said Netanyahu. "We
supported the government from day one, including during the war and afterward."
Why drag the country into an election campaign when time is running out and the
Iranian bomb is ticking? After all, Ahmadinejad won't wait.
"A vast majority of the public wants elections precisely for this reason, [because]
there need to be rapid changes of leadership. Elections can be held in a few short
weeks and a government can be brought in to take care of the problem. How will it
help you for time to pass like sand between your fingers without any action and
without the necessary steps being taken for our defense, to recruit the world
against Iran? In such situations, it's desirable for the public to give a renewed
mandate to deal with these threats, which didn't happen in the previous elections,
which were conducted on the basis of completely different assumptions that in the
meantime proved to be false. In a democracy, a government that is chosen on a
platform that turns out to no longer be valid needs to go back to the public and ask
for a renewed mandate. That's why in a parliamentary democracy, there are ways
to replace a government in mid-term, as a result of deficient functioning or a
change in mandate."
The Prime Minister's Bureau said in response to Netanyahu's comments that the
prime minister was directing a "complex operation" to deal with the possibility of a
nuclear Iran.
"Management of the Iranian problem is being coordinate by the prime minister, and
involves hundreds and thousands of people in the security branches, intelligence
and political bodies of the State of Israel," the bureau said in a statement. "This is a
complex operation, more sensitive than any other, to which the prime minister is
dedicating long hours of his schedule every week.
"Just recently, the prime minister held a meeting with subcommittee members of
the [Knesset] Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, in which he provided them
with a summary of Israeli activity on the matter. All the members of the committee –
apparently excluding Mr. Netanyahu – received a completely different impression
[from the picture he portrays], and even made the effort to point this out repeatedly
to the prime minister. There is no subject or topic that Mr. Netanyahu does not try to
enlist in an effort to damage the government, even if it will entail damage to the
State of Israel's most crucial interests. Thus, he proves once again that there is
nothing like scare tactics to serve his political goals."
91
Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council. 8/9 March 2007:
IV. International relations
41. The European Council welcomed the fact that an agreement has been reached
in Mecca on 8 February on the formation of a Palestinian national unity
government. It expresses its appreciation for the role of Saudi Arabia and Arab
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245 – Chronologie 2007
leaders in bringing about Palestinian reconciliation. The EU stands ready to work
with a legitimate Palestinian government that adopts a platform reflecting the
Quartet principles. It encourages the Quartet to continue its active contribution to
the Middle East Peace Process.
42. The European Council recalls its determination to reinforce Lebanon's
sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. It reaffirms its call for the full and
speedy implementation of resolution 1701 and all other relevant resolutions of the
Security Council. It reaffirms its commitment to the establishment of the Special
Tribunal for Lebanon in accordance with resolution 1664 of the Security Council,
and urges all members of the international community to lend their support. It
commends all constructive international mediation efforts, in particular those of the
SG [Secretary General Amr Mussa] of the Arab League and Saudi Arabia, aiming
at a solution to the current political crisis in the country. It underlines the necessity
of implementing the commitments entered into at the "Paris III" international
conference [February 25, 2007].
92
Hebräisch lesende Nutzer seien auf die Homepage der Winograd-Kommission
unter www.vaadatwino.co.il verwiesen.
93
Al-Haq: Impunity for Violence Against Palestinian Women and Girls Must End,
08.03.2007:
Al-Haq takes the occasion of International Women’s Day, under the theme of
‘Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls,’ to highlight the alarming
situation of Palestinian women who not only live under the yoke of an oppressive
military occupation that denies them the fundamental protections of international
human rights and humanitarian law, but who, like women in countries across the
globe, also suffer the denial of their basic rights within their own society.
This year International Women’s Day is commemorated as Israel’s ongoing
occupation of the West Bank; including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, enters
th
its 40 year. Over these 40 years, the Israeli authorities have consistently violated
the rights of the Palestinian people as enshrined under international law. Like all
Palestinians, Palestinian women and girls are regularly subjected to harassment,
intimidation and even violence at Israeli checkpoints scattered throughout the West
Bank, as well as being the victims of arbitrary arrest and detention, and having
severe restrictions placed on their freedom of movement. Furthermore, Palestinian
women have not been exempt from extreme violence at the hands of Israel, the
Occupying Power. Since the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000,
the Israeli military has killed 264 Palestinian women, including 100 girls.
The few military investigations into these killings, and judicial proceedings that take
place, are not pursued in a prompt, effective and impartial manner and are
accordingly plagued by severe shortcomings in the execution of justice. The
infamous example of 13-year-old Iman al-Hams, wilfully killed when she unwittingly
entered an Israeli military zone in Gaza in October 2004, is a case in point. The
Israeli soldier concerned was acquitted of all charges against him by a military
court, despite clear evidence that he had "confirmed the kill" by repeatedly firing at
the already wounded girl from close range.
On International Women’s Day, Al-Haq is equally mindful of failures by the
Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in respect of protecting and promoting
women’s rights. The legislative and institutional framework recognising and
enforcing the equal status of women in the enjoyment of all rights must integrate all
relevant international human rights standards, especially those relating to nondiscrimination.
One of the most deplorable forms of violence that continues to be perpetrated
against Palestinian women and girls is violence within the family, which is not
effectively punished by Palestinian societal or judicial bodies. The steep decline in
the Palestinian economic situation over the past year has further increased the
pressures within Palestinian households, rendering female members of the family
more vulnerable. Of massive concern is the apparent impunity from which the
perpetrators of so called ‘honour-killings,’ more appropriately described as
femicide, benefit as a result of inadequate procedures law enforcement and judicial
procedures.
Upon this day Al-Haq therefore calls for:
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246 – Chronologie 2007
– the international community to compel Israel to cease all acts that violate the
fundamental protections guaranteed to women and girls under international human
rights and humanitarian law.
– the international community to shoulder its legal responsibilities and prosecute
those who have committed grave breaches of international humanitarian law, such
as the wilful killing of Palestinian women or girls.
– the PNA to ensure that all legislation contains provisions for the protection and
promotion of the fundamental human rights of women and girls.
– the PNA to effectively investigate and, where necessary, prosecute and implement
appropriate penalties for individuals found to have committed acts of harassment,
violence and/or femicide against women or girls.
– the PNA to adopt a formal declaration stating that it will adhere to all provisions of
the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women, and be held accountable for breaches thereof.
94
Charlie Charalambous: Separation wall demolished in Cyprus capital, in “Middle
East Times” 09.03.2007:
A concrete wall in Nicosia symbolizing the decades-old Cyprus conflict was
demolished by Greek Cypriots early Friday to make way for a crossing point in the
heart of the world's last divided capital.
The move was welcomed by the Turkish Cypriots, the European Union, the United
States, and the United Nations, whose troops have for decades patrolled a buffer
zone between the two sides.
Ledra Street, a pedestrian shopping area inside the Venetian walls of the old city,
was cordoned off late Thursday as the barrier between the Greek Cypriot south and
the Turkish-occupied north was dismantled.
This is a show of goodwill on our side to contribute positively to opening Ledra
Street," Cypriot government spokesman Christodoulos Pashardes said.
In Brussels, EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn urged Greek and Turkish
Cypriots to build on the momentum.
I urge all parties concerned to use the momentum created by this courageous
decision and ... to rapidly take the next necessary steps to effectively open the
Ledra Street crossing in the center of Nicosia," he said in a statement. "The longwaited opening of the crossing point ... would also encourage the necessary efforts
aiming at a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem under the UN
auspices."
Washington and London also hailed the development.
We consider the opening of Ledra Street as very much desired to end the division
of Europe's last divided city," US Ambassador Ronald Schlicher told reporters in
Nicosia.
British High Commissioner Peter Millett said: "We would like to believe that the wall
being demolished will create a climate of mutual trust and serve as a catalyst to
achieve progress."
The surprise move came nearly four years after the opening of an initial crossing
allowed unprecedented movement across the buffer zone for the first time in three
decades.
Nicosia's first woman mayor, Eleni Mavrou, said "the important thing now is for
Ledra to open, to have communication, and the city to come to life."
But Pashardes said that people could not start crossing as long as Turkish troops
remain in the city's northern sector – "This doesn't mean Ledra is open yet."
Cyprus has been divided along ethnic lines since 1974, when Turkey seized its
northern third in response to an Athens-engineered Greek Cypriot coup in Nicosia
aimed at uniting the island with Greece.
Turkey, which still maintains around 42,500 troops in northern Cyprus, had no
immediate reaction.
Pashardes said that the government had invited the Turkish Cypriots to discuss
outstanding issues "if they really want Ledra Street to be opened."
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said in Brussels "the obstacle is not the
wall but the Turkish troops. If the troops pull back and allow the UN to check for
landmines, as we believe there are, then the crossing can open, but troops must
withdraw."
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247 – Chronologie 2007
Opposing troops are at their closest in Ledra Street, and the government would like
to see Turkish and Cypriot National Guard troops pull back some 100 meters
(yards) from positions that separate them by only about 50 meters.
House of Representatives Speaker Demetris Christofias, acting president while
Papadopoulos is abroad, said "the National Guard are fully prepared to move back.
If the other side ... responds then it will happen soon; if not, it won't."
Ferdi Sabit Soyer, prime minister of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern
Cyprus, welcomed the demolition as a "positive development."
He said that his administration, recognized only by Turkey, would soon begin work
on opening a passage in the area.
The UN chief of mission, Michael Moller, called the demolition a "very welcome and
positive contribution of great symbolic significance."
The peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is "assisting both sides with practical
arrangements to move this much anticipated process forward" and "expedite
progress," Moller said.
Before a normal crossing point can operate, crumbling buildings will need to be
shored up and the area swept for landmines.
Once the sides are in agreement as to the way ahead, UNFICYP will immediately
move, with EU funded support, to ensure the area's overall safety," Moller said.
A makeshift partition has replaced the wall in the meantime. UNFICYP estimated
that it could take six weeks to make a viable crossing once both sides agree.
A crossing there was mooted in 2005, but a dispute over an elevated walkway
erected by the Turkish Cypriots halted proceedings until it was dismantled in
January.
Ledra Street is where barricades were first erected in Nicosia during intercommunal
violence in 1963. A year later, UN peacekeeping troops arrived and have remained
ever since.
Cyprus joined the EU in May 2004 but there has been no major progress in
reunification despite UN-sponsored talks between Papadopoulos and Turkish
Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in July 2006.
95
The speech by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan before a joint meting of the
U.S. Congress, Washington D.C., 07.03.2007:
"In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
Madam Speaker,
Mr. Vice President,
Honorable Senators and Members of Congress,
My friends,
Thank you for such a warm welcome. It is an honor to stand, as my father did,
before this historic institution. Allow me to thank you, on behalf of all Jordanians.
Jordan and the United States have had a long friendship. It is a special privilege to
be here in the year that the American Congress welcomes its first woman Speaker,
and its first Muslim-American member of Congress. These milestones send a
message around the world about the America I know so well, a place where
individuality is nurtured, a place where hard work is rewarded, a place where
achievement is celebrated. The America I know so well believes that opportunity
and justice belong to all.
In my days in Massachusetts, I also learned something of New England virtues.
There wasn’t actually a law against talking too much, but there was definitely an
attitude that you didn’t speak unless you could improve on silence.
Today, I must speak; I cannot be silent.
I must speak about a cause that is urgent for your people and for mine. I must
speak about peace in the Middle East. I must speak about peace replacing the
division, war, and conflict that have brought such disaster for the region and for the
world.
This was the cause that brought my father King Hussein here in 1994. With Israeli
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin beside him, he spoke of a new vision for the Middle
East. Their courageous work for peace received bipartisan support from your
leaders. And there was tremendous hope for a new era. There was tremendous
hope that people would be brought together. There was tremendous hope that a
final and comprehensive settlement of all the issues would be achieved.
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248 – Chronologie 2007
Thirteen years later, that work is still not completed. And until it is, we are all at risk.
We are all at risk of being victims of further violence resulting from ideologies of
terror and hatred. It is our greatest and most urgent duty to prevent such dangers to
our region, to your country and to the world. The choice is ours: an open world full
of promise, progress and justice for all; or a closed world of divided peoples, fear,
and unfulfilled dreams. Nothing impacts this choice more than the future of peace in
the Middle East.
I come to you today at a rare, and indeed historic, moment of opportunity, when
there is a new international will to end the catastrophe. And I believe that America,
with its enduring values, its moral responsibility, and yes, its unprecedented power,
must play the central role.
Some may say, ‘Peace is difficult, we can live with the status quo.’ But, my friends,
violent killings are taking place as part of this status quo. Palestinians and Israelis
are not the only victims. We saw the violence ricochet into destruction in Lebanon
last summer. And people around the world have been the victims of terrorists and
extremists, who use the grievances of this conflict to legitimize and encourage acts
of violence. Americans and Jordanians and others have suffered and survived
terrorist attacks. In this room, there are representatives of American families and
Jordanian families who have lost loved ones. Thousands of people have paid the
highest price, the loss of their life. Thousands more continue to pay this terrible
price, for their loved ones will never return. Are we going to let these thousands of
lives be taken in vain? Has it become acceptable to lose that most basic of human
rights? The right to live?
The status quo is also pulling the region and the world towards greater danger. As
public confidence in the peace process has dropped, the cycle of crises is spinning
faster, and with greater potential for destruction. Changing military doctrine and
weaponry pose new dangers. Increasing numbers of external actors are intervening
with their own strategic agendas, raising new dangers of proliferation and crisis.
These are groups that seek even more division: faith against faith, nation against
nation, community against community. Any further erosion in the situation would be
serious for the future of moderation and coexistence, in the region and beyond.
Have we all lost the will to live together in peace celebrating one another’s strengths
and differences?
Some may say, ‘But there are other, urgent challenges.’ How can there be anything
more urgent than the restoration of a world where all people, not only some people,
all people have the opportunity to live peacefully? This is not only a moral
imperative, it is essential to the future of our world, because long-term, violent crisis
is the enemy of all global prosperity and progress.
Certainly, our era faces critical issues. There is great public concern here, just as in
our region, about the conflict in Iraq. The entire international community has vital
decisions to make about the path forward, and how to ensure Iraq’s security, unity,
and future. But we cannot lose sight of a profound reality. The wellspring of regional
division, the source of resentment and frustration far beyond, is the denial of justice
and peace in Palestine.
There are those who say, ‘It's not our business.’ But this Congress knows: there are
no bystanders in the 21st Century, there are no curious onlookers, there is no one
who is not affected by the division and hatred that is present in our world.
Some will say: ‘This is not the core issue in the Middle East.’ I come here today as
your friend to tell you that this is the core issue. And this core issue is not only
producing severe consequences for our region, it is producing severe
consequences for our world.
The security of all nations and the stability of our global economy are directly
affected by the Middle East conflict. Across oceans, the conflict has estranged
societies that should be friends. I meet Muslims thousands of miles away who have
a deep, personal response to the suffering of the Palestinian people. They want to
know how it is, that ordinary Palestinians are still without rights and without a
country. They ask whether the West really means what it says about equality and
respect and universal justice.
Yes, my friends, today I must speak. I cannot be silent.
Sixty years of Palestinian dispossession, forty years under occupation, a stop-andgo peace process, all this has left a bitter legacy of disappointment and despair, on
all sides. It is time to create a new and different legacy, one that begins right now;
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249 – Chronologie 2007
one that can set a positive tone for the American and Middle East relationship; one
that can restore hope to our region’s people, to your people, and to the people of
this precious world. Nothing can achieve that more effectively, nothing can assert
America’s moral vision more clearly, nothing can reach and teach the world’s youth
more directly, than your leadership in a peace process that delivers results not next
year, not in five years, but this year.
How do we get there? Not by a solution imposed by one side. A lasting peace can
only be built on understanding, agreement and compromise.
It begins with courage and vision. We, all of us, must take risks for peace. The Arab
states recognized that reality in 2002, when we unanimously approved the Arab
Peace Initiative. It puts forward a path for both sides, to achieve what people want
and need: a collective peace treaty with Israel and normal relations with every Arab
state, collective security guarantees for all the countries of the region, including
Israel, an end to the conflict, a dream every Israeli citizen has longed for since the
creation of Israel, and an agreed solution to the refugee problem, a withdrawal from
Arab territories occupied since 1967, and a sovereign, viable, and independent
Palestine.
The commitment we made in the Arab Peace Initiative is real. And our states are
involved in ongoing efforts to advance a fair, just, and comprehensive peace. His
Majesty King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia initiated the 2002 proposal;
today, he continues to rally international support. Momentum is also building among
Muslim countries outside the Arab world. Ten days ago, in Islamabad, the foreign
ministers of key Muslim states met. They came together to assure Palestinians and
Israelis that they are not alone, that we back their effort to make and build peace.
The goal must be a peace in which all sides gain. It must be anchored in security
and opportunity for all.
It must be a peace that will free young Palestinians to focus on a future of progress
and prosperity.
It must be a peace that makes Israel a part of the neighborhood, a neighborhood
that extends from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, across the breadth of the
southern Mediterranean, to the coast of the Indian Ocean.
It must be a peace that enables the entire region to look forward with excitement
and hope, putting its resources into productive growth, partnering across borders to
advance development, finding opportunities, and solving common challenges.
This goal is visionary, but my friends, it is attainable. History shows that longtime
adversaries can define new relationships of peace and cooperation. The
groundwork for a comprehensive, final settlement is already in place. At Taba, as in
the Geneva Accords, the parties have outlined the parameters of the solution.
But we need all hands on deck. The international community, especially the United
States, must be engaged in moving the process forward to achieve real results.
Above all, we must make our process serve our purpose. We must achieve an
agreed solution to the conflict.
Madam Speaker,
Mr. Vice President,
Honorable Members,
Your responsibility today is paramount. Your potential to help Palestinians and
Israelis find peace is unrivalled. This is because the people of the region still regard
the United States as the key to peace, the one country most capable of bringing the
two sides closer together, holding them accountable, and making a just settlement
reality.
Time after time, there has been progress towards peace when Americans have
actively engaged. Camp David, Madrid, Wye River: nearly every breakthrough was
accomplished when America was determined to help the parties succeed.
On behalf of all those who seek and strive for peace in my part of the world, I ask
you now to exert that leadership once again. We ask you to join with us in an
historic effort of courage and vision. We ask you to hear our call, to honor the spirit
of King Hussein and Yitzhak Rabin, and help fulfill the aspirations of Palestinians
and Israelis to live in peace today.
Let me reaffirm that Jordan is committed to playing a positive role in the peace
process. It is part of our larger commitment to global co-existence and progress.
Ours is an Islamic country with a proud record of diversity, moderation, and shared
respect.
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250 – Chronologie 2007
Allow me to say, we thank the Congress and the Administration for supporting
Jordan’s progress and development. I deeply value the partnership between our
peoples, and the contributions of so many Americans to the future of our country.
My friends,
“A decent respect for the rights and dignity of all nations, large and small.” That’s
how President Roosevelt – the great F.D.R. – described the basis of American
foreign policy. He pledged American support for the four freedoms, freedom from
fear, freedom from want, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, everywhere
in the world.
The Four Freedoms speech was given right here, before Congress. And that’s
entirely fitting. Because it is here in the People’s House, that the voices and values
of America have made hope real for so many people.
Today, the people of the Middle East are searching for these four freedoms. Today,
the people of the Middle East are searching for new hope, hope for a future of
prosperity and peace. We have seen the danger and destruction of violence,
hatred, and injustice. But we have also seen what people can achieve when they
are empowered, when they break down walls, when they commit to the future. And
we know that Middle East peace can be a global beginning, creating new
possibilities for our region and the entire world.
We look to you to play an historic role. Eleven American presidents and thirty
American congresses have already faced this ongoing crisis. For not the future
generation, but the generation alive today, let us say together: No more! Let us say
together: Let’s solve this! Let us say together: Yes, we will achieve this!
No Palestinian father should be helpless to feed his family and build a future for his
sons and daughters. No Israeli mother should fear when her child boards a bus.
Not one more generation should grow up thinking that violence and conflict are the
norm.
As Roosevelt also said, “the justice of morality must and will win in the end.” But he
knew that it was up to responsible nations to stand up for justice when injustice
threatens.
This is our challenge as well. And we must not leave it to another generation to
meet this challenge.
Thirteen years ago, my father was here to talk about his hopes for peace. Today,
we are talking about a promise that is within our reach.
We can wait no longer and that is why I am here before you. We must work
together to restore Palestine, a nation in despair and without hope. We must work
together to restore peace, hope and opportunity to the Palestinian people. And in so
doing, we will begin a process of building peace, not only throughout the region, but
throughout the world. How much more bloodshed and how many more lives will it
cost for this grave situation to be resolved?
I say: No more bloodshed and no more lives pointlessly taken!
The young boy, traveling to school with his brother in Palestine, let him have a life
of peace.
The mother, watching with fear as her children board a bus in Israel, let her have a
life of peace.
The father in Lebanon, working hard to provide an education for his children, let him
have a life of peace.
The little girl, born in Iraq, with her wide eyes full of wonder, let her have a life of
peace.
The family, together eating their evening meal, in Asia, Africa, North America,
South America, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East, let them all have a life of
peace.
Today my friends, we must speak; we cannot be silent.
The next time a Jordanian, a Palestinian, or an Israeli comes before you, let it be to
say: Thank you for helping peace become a reality.
Thank you very much."
96
Botschaft des Staates Israel in Berlin, 06.03.2007:
Mit Entsetzen und Empörung reagiert Shimon Stein, Botschafter des Staates Israel in
Berlin, auf Presseberichte mit Äußerungen einiger katholischer Bischöfe während ihrer
Reise nach Israel und zur Palästinensischen Behörde in der vergangenen Woche.
www.reiner-bernstein.de
251 – Chronologie 2007
Man kann zur israelischen Politik unterschiedliche Meinungen haben, man kann sie auch
kritisieren – aber es kommt auf die Wortwahl, auf die Begriffe und die historischen
Vergleiche an, die man verwendet. Wenn man Begriffe wie „Warschauer Ghetto“ oder
„Rassismus“ im Zusammenhang mit der israelischen beziehungsweise palästinensischen
Politik benutzt, dann hat man alles vergessen oder nichts gelernt und moralisch versagt.
Anstatt sich in Demagogie zu üben, hätten sich die Bischöfe über die Ursachen informieren
müssen, die israelische Regierungen veranlasst haben, die erzwungenen und notwendigen
Sicherheitsmaßnahmen zu ergreifen, um Israelis vor Terror zu schützen. Darüber hinaus
hätten die Bischöfe sich auch mit Angehörigen der Familien von über 1000 Israelis treffen
können, die – nur weil sie Juden waren – in den vergangenen sechs Jahren dem
palästinensischen Terror zum Opfer fielen. Das Erhalten des Lebens hat Vorrang vor der
Qualität des Lebens, das sollten selbst Bischöfe nicht vergessen – auch wenn sie anders
sozialisiert wurden.
Zaun oder Mauer, die als Sicherheitsmaßnahmen von Menschen gebaut wurden, können,
wenn die politischen Bedingungen sich ändern, wieder abgebaut werden. Die Opfer von
Terroristen kann man nicht wieder ins Leben zurückrufen.
Eine Seite des Konflikts zu dämonisieren und doppelte Maßstäbe anzulegen, kann nicht der
Weg derjenigen sein, die einen Beitrag zum Frieden leisten wollen. Die israelische
Regierung ist jederzeit bereit, mit den Kräften auf der palästinensischen Seite, die das
Existenzrecht Israels anerkennen, dem Terror abschwören und Verträge, die unterschrieben
wurden, erfüllen, in Verhandlungen zu treten über die Realisierung der Vision von zwei
Staaten, die friedlich nebeneinander leben.
Wir sind auf Hilfe und Rat angewiesen, aber wenn Bischöfe sich so äußern wie während
dieser Reise, tragen sie nicht zu Aussöhnung und Frieden bei, sondern erzeugen bei uns das
Gegenteil. Darüber hinaus leisten sie auch keinen Beitrag zu einem sachlichen katholischjüdischen Dialog.
97
Stellungnahme des Sekretärs der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, P. Dr. Hans
Langendörfer SJ, zu den Äußerungen von Botschafter Shimon vom 6. März 2007,
06.03.2007:
In einer Pressemitteilung vom heutigen Tage hat der Botschafter des Staates Israel
in Deutschland, Shimon Stein, auf Presseberichte über die Reise des Ständigen
Rates der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz ins Heilige Land reagiert. Dazu stelle ich
fest:
1. Der Besuch der deutschen Bischöfe in Israel und in den palästinensischen
Gebieten war durchgängig von einer hohen Sensibilität für die Belange beider
Konfliktparteien bestimmt. In allen Ansprachen, aber auch in den Gesprächen mit
dem stellvertretenden israelischen Ministerpräsidenten Shimon Peres und dem
Präsidenten der Palästinensischen Autonomiebehörde, Mahmud Abbas, hat der
Vorsitzende der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, Karl Kardinal Lehmann, das von
bestimmten Seiten immer noch in Frage gestellte Existenzrecht des Staates Israels
nachdrücklich unterstrichen und auf die Bedrohung seiner Einwohner durch den
Terrorismus hingewiesen. Es kann deshalb keine Rede davon sein, die deutschen
Bischöfe hätten bei ihrem Aufenthalt vor Ort eine Seite des Konflikts dämonisiert
und doppelte Maßstäbe angelegt. Das Gegenteil ist richtig.
2. Anlässlich des Besuchs in Bethlehem, d. h. unter dem Eindruck der
bedrückenden Situation, die an diesem Ort herrscht, sind aus der emotionalen
Betroffenheit Einzelner heraus einige wenige sehr persönliche Bemerkungen
gefallen, die bereits selbstkritisch richtiggestellt wurden. Dies gilt vor allem für eine
Nebenbemerkung, die auf das Warschauer Ghetto anspielte.
3. Kardinal Lehmann hat die Haltung der deutschen Bischöfe in der Gedenkstätte
Yad Vashem und in seiner Abschluss-Presseerklärung verbindlich zum Ausdruck
gebracht. Nachdrücklich bedauere ich diesen Missklang, der sich in die Reise
eingeschlichen hat. Er sollte jedoch nicht dazu verleiten, den überaus positiven
Impuls in Frage zu stellen, den die Bischöfe mit ihrer Visite sowohl auf israelischer
wie auf palästinensischer Seite, bei den Vertretern der Regierungen wie der
Bevölkerungen gesetzt haben.
98
Statement des Vorsitzenden der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, Karl kardinal
Lehmann, zum, Abschluss der Pilgerreise des Ständigen Rates der Deutschen
Bischofskonferenz ins Heilige Land vom 26.02.-04.03.2007:
www.reiner-bernstein.de
252 – Chronologie 2007
Wenn wir heute Nachmittag zurück nach Deutschland fliegen, liegen ereignisreiche
und intensive Tage im Heiligen Land hinter uns. Viele Eindrücke werden sich erst
mit etwas Abstand richtig setzen und verarbeitet werden. So möchte ich heute nur
ein erstes Resümee ziehen.
Es war das erste Mal, dass der Ständige Rat der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz,
also die Ortsbischöfe der 27 deutschen Diözesen, eine Pilgerreise ins Heilige Land
unternommen hat. Es war überhaupt die erste Zusammenkunft des Ständigen
Rates im Ausland, sieht man von einem Treffen in Rom einmal ab. Und ich glaube
auch für meine Mitbrüder sagen zu dürfen: Wir haben dieses Experiment nicht
bereut. Im Gegenteil, wir sind froh, dass wir uns auf diesen Weg gemacht haben.
Es ist auch für die deutschen Bischöfe wichtig, ihre Verantwortungsgemeinschaft
lebendig zu erfahren und zu erneuern. Das gibt neuen Schwung und neue Kraft im
Alltag unseres Wirkens.
Ins Heilige Land sind wir in erster Linie als Pilger gekommen. Wir wollten zu den
Quellen des biblischen und zumal des christlichen Glaubens gehen. Es ist für uns
Bischöfe bereichernd, nicht nur als Einzelne, sondern auch gemeinsam unseren
Glauben und unsere Aufgabe von den tiefsten Gründen her zu erneuern. An
bedeutenden christlichen Wallfahrtsstätten haben wir die heilige Messe und das
Stundengebet der Kirche gefeiert: in der Brotvermehrungskirche und der
Primatskapelle in Tabgha, in Nazareth vor der Verkündigungsgrotte, in der
Grabeskirche in Jerusalem, in der Katharinenkirche bei der Geburtsgrotte in
Bethlehem und heute hier mit den deutschen Benediktinern in der Dormitio-Basilika
auf dem Zionsberg in Jerusalem. So kamen wir nicht nur mit den Heiligen Stätten,
den geschichtlichen Zeugnissen des Christentums, in Berührung, sondern haben
die heilbringende Gegenwart Gottes auch in unserer Zeit erfahren.
Besonders herausstellen möchte ich, dass wir gleich zu Beginn unserer Reise in
Tabgha an der Grundsteinsegnung für einen Neubau des Benediktiner-Klosters
teilnehmen durften. Es freut uns, dass die benediktinische Gemeinschaft immer
wieder Novizen aufnehmen kann.
Ebenso wichtig wie der Besuch heiliger Stätten waren für uns die Begegnungen
und das Gespräch mit den Christen vor Ort und der Besuch ihrer sozialen
Einrichtungen und Schulen. Wir haben unserer Verbundenheit mit den Christen
hier im Heiligen Land Ausdruck gegeben, die nur knapp zwei Prozent der
Bevölkerung ausmachen. Oft leben sie unter schwierigen Bedingungen. Besonders
in Zeiten gewalttätiger Konflikte erfahren Minderheiten besonders stark ihre
gesellschaftliche Randlage. In Israel sind sie als Christen und Araber in einer
doppelten Minderheitenposition. In den palästinensischen Gebieten sind sie durch
einen wachsenden Islamismus herausgefordert. Nach wie vor bedrückend ist die
hohe Zahl derer, die das Land verlassen.
In Galiläa, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Ramallah und Jerusalem sind wir Christen und
christlichen Gemeinden begegnet, die uns an ihren Alltagserfahrungen haben
teilhaben lassen. Unsere bischöflichen Mitbrüder, Erzbischof Elias Chacour
(griech.-kath.), Bischof Paul Sayah (maronitisch), Bischof Giacinto Marcuzzo,
Erzbischof Antonio Franco (Apostolischer Nuntius in Israel und Zypern und
Apostolischer Delegat in Jerusalem und Palästina), der Lateinische Patriarch von
Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, aber auch viele Priester und Ordensleute haben uns
anschaulich von der Situation der Christen berichtet.
Wir haben erfahren können, dass es im Heiligen Land eine sehr vitale katholische
Kirche gibt, die sich nicht nur durch ihr gottesdienstliches Leben, sondern auch
durch ihre soziale Arbeit auszeichnet. In der Schule der Salvatorianerinnen in
Nazareth, in der Schmidt-Schule in Ost-Jerusalem und in der Katholischen
Bethlehem-Universität konnten wir erleben, wie Christen und Muslime gemeinsam
lernen. Ein Beispiel für das soziale Engagement der Kirche ist das Babyhospital der
Caritas in Bethlehem, wo unter schwierigen Bedingungen versucht wird,
palästinensischen Familien und ihren Kindern wirkungsvolle medizinische Hilfe
zukommen zu lassen. Es ist insgesamt beachtlich, in welchem Maß die Kirche im
Heiligen Land durch Schulen und soziale Einrichtungen aller Art einen Beitrag zum
gesellschaftlichen Leben leistet.
In diesem Zusammenhang sind die rechtliche Stellung der Kirche und die
Besteuerung kirchlicher Organisationen und kirchlichen Besitzes von hohem
Belang. Dies haben wir auch im Gespräch mit Shimon Peres, dem
stellvertretenden Ministerpräsidenten des Staates Israel, deutlich herausgestellt. Es
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253 – Chronologie 2007
ist erfreulich, dass Peres unserer Delegation zugesichert hat, sich persönlich dafür
einzusetzen, dass die Verhandlungen zwischen Israel und dem Vatikan zügig
abgeschlossen werden.
Wir werden weiterhin das in unserer Macht Stehende tun, um unsere Solidarität mit
der christlichen Minderheit vor Ort zum Ausdruck zu bringen. Wir wollen mit dazu
beizutragen, dass die Christen hier eine Zukunft haben. Das Heilige Land darf kein
Freilicht-Museum des Christentums werden. Der freie Zugang zu den Heiligen
Stätten muss für die Angehörigen aller Religionen gewährleistet sein. Wir
ermutigen ausdrücklich alle Gläubigen, ins Heilige Land zu pilgern.
Eine der wichtigsten Stationen unserer Reise war der Besuch in der HolocaustGedenkstätte Yad Vashem. Für uns alle war dies ein bewegender und auch
erschütternder Moment. Wir haben an diesem Ort unterstrichen, dass es für alle
Deutschen – letztlich auch für die ganze Menschheit – unerlässlich bleibt, sich dem
Völkermord an den Juden auch in Gegenwart und Zukunft zu stellen. Dies habe ich
auch in meiner Eintragung in das Gedenkbuch zum Ausdruck bringen wollen:
„Niemand kann frei sein, der frei sein will vom Gedenken an die Shoa.“
Vor diesem Hintergrund bin ich besonders dankbar für den herzlichen
Willkommengruß des aschkenasischen Oberrabbiners von Israel, Yona Metzger,
der am Mittwoch eine Delegation mit dem Vorsitzenden unserer Unterkommission
für die Beziehungen zum Judentum in Jerusalem empfangen hat. Dies zeigt, dass
wir in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten neue Kapitel des christlich-jüdischen Dialogs
haben aufschlagen können.
Natürlich war es auch ein wichtiges Ziel unserer Reise, uns über die politische
Situation im Heiligen Land zu informieren. Was die israelische Seite betrifft, dienten
dazu Gespräche mit dem stellvertretenden israelischen Ministerpräsidenten
Shimon Peres und dem ehemaligen israelischen Botschafter in Deutschland Avi
Primor. Daneben gab es eine Begegnung mit dem palästinensischen Präsidenten,
Mahmud Abbas, und leitenden Mitarbeitern der Autonomiebehörde. In all diesen
Gesprächen ist deutlich geworden, wie verfahren sich die politische Situation im
Augenblick darstellt und wie wenig Hoffnung auf eine tragfähige Lösung auf beiden
Seiten besteht. Die Israelis betonen beständig ihr Interesse an Sicherheit, die durch
Terroristen nachhaltig bedroht wird. Die Palästinenser wiederum sehen den
alleinigen Grund des Konfliktes in der Besetzung palästinensischer Gebiete durch
Israel. Das ohnehin geringe Vertrauen zwischen beiden Konfliktparteien scheint –
so haben wir bei vielen Begegnungen erfahren – immer noch weiter abzunehmen.
Der Vertrauensverlust wird von Vielen als geradezu irreparabel gesehen. Das ist
eine gefährliche Sackgasse. Dies hat uns gerade in den letzten Tagen trotz einiger
Lichtblicke, vor allem in der Begegnung mit jungen Menschen, bedrückt.
Unter den Palästinensern hat sich darüber hinaus der Eindruck verdichtet, dass mit
dem Ausbau der Siedlungen, dem Bau von Sicherheitszäunen und Mauern, der
Schaffung getrennter Straßennetze und dem System der Check-Points zunehmend
Tatsachen geschaffen werden, die auf eine Verfestigung des Status Quo
hinauslaufen. Wir haben den Eindruck gewonnen, dass all diese Maßnahmen
zusammengenommen zwar einen aktuellen Gewinn an Sicherheit für die Israelis
bedeuten, dem Frieden auf lange Sicht aber nicht dienen können.
Als Bischöfe können wir keine politischen Vermittler sein und keine politischen
Auswege aus der Misere vorzeichnen. Wohl aber können und müssen wir immer
wieder auf das Leiden der Menschen aufmerksam machen. Wir wissen um die
Angst der Israelis, die von Terrorismus bedroht sind und deren staatliches
Existenzrecht von manchen immer noch in Frage gestellt wird. Bei unseren
Besuchen in der Westbank haben wir aber auch die erschreckende, geradezu
katastrophale Situation kennen gelernt, der die Palästinenser ausgesetzt sind: eine
Arbeitslosigkeit von bis zu 60%, drastische Behinderungen der Bewegungsfreiheit,
die manche Familien auf Dauer voneinander trennen, eine Praxis an den
Kontrollpunkten, die viele Palästinenser als demütigend empfinden – all dies lässt
viele in Hoffnungslosigkeit versinken und befördert auch eine politische und
religiöse Radikalisierung. Besonders schlimm haben wir die Lage in Bethlehem
erlebt, wo sich die Menschen angesichts des Verlaufs der Sicherheitsanlagen
geradezu als eingeschlossen empfinden.
Immerhin verbinden viele, auch in den Kirchen, eine gewisse Hoffnung mit den
wieder aufgenommenen Bemühungen des Nahost-Quartetts und mit der deutschen
Ratspräsidentschaft in der Europäischen Union. Angesichts der Realitäten wird
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254 – Chronologie 2007
man in seinen Erwartungen aber bescheiden bleiben müssen. Dies gilt auch für
alles, was die Kirche vor Ort und weltweit unternehmen kann, um zur Lösung des
Konflikts beizutragen. Dennoch gehört es zur Grundstruktur unseres Glaubens,
Hoffnung gegen alle Hoffnung zu bewahren. Anlass dafür bietet ganz sicher auch
das mutige Zeugnis der Kirchen im Heiligen Land, nicht zuletzt der Orden, die
wichtige Beiträge für eine Aussöhnung leisten.
Ein besonderer Dank für mannigfaltige Hilfe gilt an dieser Stelle dem Deutschen
Botschafter in Israel, Dr. Harald Kindermann, und dem Leiter der Ständigen
Vertretung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in Ramallah, Jörg Ranau. Auch der
Deutsche Verein vom Heiligen Lande hat Vieles zum Gelingen unserer Pilgerreise
beigetragen.
99
100
Vgl. Reiner Bernstein: Kontraproduktive Empörung, in www.reiner-bernstein.de.
Yakob M. Rabkin: Gap among Jews widens on question of Zionism, in
“Baltimore Sun” 08.03.2007:
A profound division has developed between Zionist advocates of Israel and Jews,
secular and religious, who reject or question Zionism and actions taken by the state
of Israel.
Public debate about Israel's place in Jewish continuity has become open and
candid.
Many Jews try to come to terms with the contradictions between the Judaism they
profess to adhere to and the Zionist ideology that has taken hold of them. This
coincides with serious concerns expressed across Israel's political and religious
spectrum about the future of Israel.
Quite a few Jews now publicly ask whether the chronically besieged ethnic nationstate in the Middle East is "good for the Jews." Many continue to be concerned that
militant Zionism destroys Jewish moral values and endangers Jews in Israel and
elsewhere. This debate has entered pop culture as well: The recent film Munich by
Steven Spielberg sharply focuses on the moral cost of Israel's chronic reliance on
force.
The Israel lobby in the United States, aligned with the nationalist right in Israel,
viciously attacked the Jewish director and his film even before it was released. It
also lashed out at several books published over the past few years – Prophets
Outcast, Wrestling With Zion, The Question of Zion, The Myths of Zionism – all
authored by Jews who are concerned about the same essential conflict between
Zionism and Jewish values.
A few weeks ago, the Israel lobby (through its constituent American Jewish
Committee) issued a report alleging that Jews who criticize Israel endanger its
"right to exist" and foment anti-Semitism. This provoked a number of prominent
Jews in Britain, Canada and the United States to speak out, moving candid debate
about Israel into mainstream, even conservative, publications. In January, the
eminently pro-establishment Economist published a survey of "the state of the
Jews" and an editorial that called on rank-and-file Diaspora Jews to move away
from the "my country, right or wrong" attitude adopted by many Jewish
organizations.
Making a stand for Jewish emancipation from the state of Israel and its policies has
bridged some old divides and created new ones. Thus, an ultra-Orthodox critic of
Israel, usually antagonistic to Reform Judaism, commended a Reform rabbi for
saying that "when Israel's Jewish supporters abroad don't speak out against
disastrous policies that neither guarantee safety for her citizens nor produce the
right climate in which to try and reach a just peace with the Palestinians they are
betraying millennial Jewish values and acting against Israel's own long-term
interests."
Their relationship with the state of Israel and with Zionism has polarized the Jews.
The axis along which this polarization has taken shape does not correspond to any
of the habitual divisions: Ashkenazi/Sephardic, observant/nonobservant,
Orthodox/non-Orthodox.
In each of these categories are Jews for whom national pride, even arrogance
(chutzpah), is a positive value, and who give their enthusiastic support to the state
that incarnates what they identify as a life force, a triumph of the will and a
guarantee of Jewish survival.
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255 – Chronologie 2007
But each of these categories also includes Jews who believe that the very idea of a
Jewish state, and the human and moral price that it demands, undermines all that
Judaism teaches, particularly the core values of humility, compassion and
kindness. They, along with Israel's staunchest supporters, point up the paradox that
has seen Israel, often presented as an ultimate haven, become one of the most
precarious places for Jews. Israeli media report unprecedented levels of concern
not only for the future of the state but also for the physical survival of its inhabitants.
Some attempt to redefine "Israel's national purpose" as a means to revitalize
Israel's largely demoralized society.
Divisions about Israel and Zionism are so acute that they may split Jews as
irremediably as did the advent of Christianity two millennia ago. Christianity, which
embodies a Greek reading of the Torah, eventually broke away from Judaism. Like
Christianity, Zionism, reflecting a nationalist, romantic reading of the Torah and
Jewish history, has come to fascinate many Jews.
It remains to be seen whether the fracture between those who hold fast to Jewish
moral tradition and the converts to Jewish nationalism may one day be mended.
However fateful for Jews and Judaism, this fracture may not necessarily affect
Israel, which nowadays counts many more evangelical Christians than Jews among
its unconditional supporters.
101
Joint Press Conference on the Israel-European Union Association Council
Meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, EU External
Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi
Livni Brussels, 5 March 2007, transmitted by the Information Department, Israel
Foreign Ministry, Jerusalem:
FM Steinmeier: [Translation] I want to welcome in particular, the Israeli delegation.
We have already had a first meeting discussing the state of European Union and
Israel relations. This is the seventh meeting of the Association Council, and it is the
second time that my Israeli colleague has participated in such a meeting – and it
was my first so I have had, if you like, to learn the ropes.
It think that it is fair to say that, over recent years, we have been able to step up and
intensify our relations, not just economic relations, but certainly economic relations.
Europe remains, and we hope that Europe will remain in the future, a most
significant economic partner of Israel, as far as imports go – second most
significant for exports, and over recent years, we have been able to intensify our
trade relations and also our exchanges.
I think, for example, of the scientific field where Israel has joined Galileo. It has
been possible to integrate Israel into the Sixth Framework Research Program and
we are working on the Seventh. So, there are many areas where already, we enjoy
very close cooperation, and think that it is true that we have been able to develop
our relations and our mutual trust over recent years. Our Israeli colleague will
probably say something about being more specific in producing results from our
mutual relations, and we are going to set up a reflection group with the Commission
and with Council Secretariat, and with Israel participating. Benita will talk about
specific areas, that we can envisage for a future cooperation, with a view to
producing tangible results.
We will be moving on to dinner shortly and over dinner we will be discussing the
current status of the Middle Eastern peace process and we will be talking about
discussions between important representatives from the Palestinian and the Israeli
side.
FM Livni: Thank you so much. We are now between the discussion of our bilateral
relationship and dinner, when we will discuss the situation in the region. I would like
to be honest and to say that there is a kind of a relationship, or a connection
between the situation in the region and between the relations of Israel and the
European Union.
It was clearly said in Essen in 1994 that the relations between Israel and the
European Union are of a special nature, but it is up to us to explore and to find a
way to enhance the relationship and what kind of ways we can find to in order to
enhance it and to explore it. For me, the decision that was taken today should give
expression to the Israeli special relations status, with relations of the European
Union that was recognized in Essen, both through full implementation of the ENP
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256 – Chronologie 2007
and also by establishing a special working group in order to examine how to go
beyond the existing framework and to upgrade our special relationship.
Israel and Europe share the same values, the same goals, the same interests, so
clearly we can work together – not only in terms of the bilateral relationship, but
also when it comes to different and more complicated issues of our region. I come
from a very troubled region. But I do believe that the world is now divided between
the moderates and the extremists. And Israel and Europe, like moderate
Palestinians and Lebanese and other Moslem and Arab states, share the same
goals and the same interests. So it is of crucial importance to see, not only the new
threats in the region, but also to see whether there are new windows of opportunity
and to work together.
It is also important to say that in the last few years, there has been a change in the
relationship between Israel and Europe – a good change. In the past, we talked
about special relations – when it comes to economic relations, it works for us and
for Europe, but sometimes we have had some differences when it comes to the
situation in the region.
Israel now is more open to Europe. We have the EU BAM [Border Assistance
Mission] in the Rafah passage, UN Resolution 1701 regarding the conflict in
Lebanon, and part of the outcome is European involvement as part of the
international forces in Lebanon. And the European Union is now a part of the
Quartet, which also refers almost on a monthly basis to the situation in the region.
I believe that it is crucial to us not only to see what we can share as ideas as
values, as vision, but also how to translate it into actions together, in an
understanding that the situation is complicated. But yet when it comes to the
conflict, Israel adopted a vision of a two state solution and Israel would like to work
with the moderates in order to create a better future for the region.
When it comes to the bilateral relationship, I would like to thank Frank for the
Presidency, and Benita Ferrero-Waldner, with whom we had our fruitful talks only
last week in Israel, and I do believe that we have a lot also to achieve, but we are in
the right direction, and it depends on us basically.
EU Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner: Thank you very much, both Frank and Tzipi. I
think that it was a very fruitful Association Council until now, and it shows indeed
that in the last two years, we have already achieved quite a bit. I would say that,
indeed, Israel was the first country of the Neighborhood Policy with which we
introduced the Action Plan and I think you are among the first again that would like
to go further within the framework of the Neighborhood Policy.
This is a very comprehensive policy. I think that it is very important to say that there
is this possibility, the element of differentiation. That means: each and every
country has a chance to go further in the framework of the neighborhood policy
according to its own achievements, its own objectives, and our common
understanding.
We have already done a lot. It is not only research and development. Israel is also
now participating fully in the navigation satellite program, in Galileo, there are
negotiations on the way on the liberalization of trade in services and agricultural
products, and, indeed, we have just concluded the participation of Israel in the
Seventh Framework for Research and Development – thus, making Israel an
integral part of the European research area.
But our relationship can become much broader and deeper, and I think the
communication on the Neighborhood Policy Action Plan that we have just made in
general is, of course, also an offer to Israel and this reflection group, where the
Commission of course, will have an important part, will certainly, exactly see where
there are interests from both sides and where we can enhance and in the future
then also make a decision for next steps to be done. I am very happy about that
and I hope that we can go on, on this very fruitful path. Thank you.
Q: Foreign Minister Livni, how do you view the European position towered the
hopefully soon to be named Palestinian unity government? Are you satisfied with
the European view that it is a hopeful sign; a moment of real potential forward
movement? And also, how did you feel when you saw the pictures of President
Ahmed Ahmadinejad being welcomed in Saudi Arabia? How does Israel view the
engagement of Saudi Arabia now with Iran?
FM Livni: It is clear that after the Hamas won the elections in the Palestinian
Authority the international community – the Quartet – including the European Union,
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257 – Chronologie 2007
decided that the way to get legitimacy from the international community is to meet
the requirements: to accept the right of Israel to exist, to accept the former
agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and of course, to renounce
violence and terrorism.
These requirements are not obstacles on the way towards peace; these are crucial
elements on the way towards peace, because, any kind of idea of a two state
solution is based on recognizing the other's right to live, accepting former
agreements and, of course, to renounce violence and terrorism. So we believe that
the right thing to do, after the internal agreement between the different Palestinian
factions in Mecca, is to stick to the decisions that the European Union made, and
the meaning of sticking to the requirements, is to demand – as it was said – that
any Palestinian government meet these requirements, fully and completely.
Now, of course, everybody is hopeful and we do not want to lose hope either. We
would like to see a change, but it is also important to understand that only
determination by the international community can change the situation on the
ground. Because Hamas, which is a terrorist movement – a designated terrorist
organization – can change only if they understand that the policy of the international
community is to embrace the moderates – to support and to strengthen the
moderates, while delegitimizing, or keeping the pressure on the extremists and the
terrorists.
This is the only way that, maybe, we can see a change on the ground and we can
create a better future for generations to come in the Middle East. So compromise is
something that will not help, it is against the interest of the moderates, including, if I
may say, the interest of the moderates among the Palestinians.
When it comes to Ahmed Ahmadinejad, I think that a leader who denies the
Holocaust, who calls for the Jews to go back to Europe, who talks about his vision
of wiping Israel – a state – off the map – a state which is Israel, which is my home –
should not be accepted as a member of the international community. Now he is
being received in Saudi Arabia, and last year, and only a few months ago, he was
received in the United Nations. The United Nations is an organization that was
formed after the Second World War, on the understanding of "never again". So,
even if we set aside his horrific ideas, plus the idea of trying to get the weapons to
do so, I think that this kind of statement is unacceptable and I think that it is
important that he understands that the international community is not going to live
with this kind of statement. And this is, of course, in addition to the need to stop his
nuclear program to get the weapons to implement these horrific ideas.
I would like to say something else. I know that Iran is not only a threat to Israel, and
these kind[s] of statements are not only the business of Israel. It is about the
international community, it is about the international community's values; it is about
the way the free world would like to promote, or to live with its own values.
Q: Just to follow up of those questions, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, what concerns
do you have that, perhaps some countries in the European Union might be over
eager to resume some sort of direct aid to the Palestinian Authority before the as
yet unformed unity government complies with all of the conditions?
FM Livni: You know, I can understand the eagerness to see a process. Believe me,
there is no one more than the Israelis who would like to see a peace process and
the end of the conflict, but the real question is what is the best way to achieve this
goal.
I do believe that compromising with terror is something that will not lead to a
process – or to a real process – of ending the conflict. It will lead to more terror – to
an understanding by these terrorist organizations that they can win legitimacy
without any kind of compromise on their side. So our expectations from the
international community is to stick to their own demands, to keep the pressure on
the terrorists and on the extremists, while working with the moderates. This is the
only way that we have. This was our policy before the Mecca agreement, and I think
that this is the right thing to do.
The international community is being watched by all the extremists, not only by
Hamas. Nobody wants the Hamas to win, not only in Israel; this is a threat to the
moderate Palestinians, and to other moderate states in the region whose
leadership faces other radical elements like Hamas. So I believe this is the mutual
interest of the international community. I hope also that European member states
understand that this is not a zero sum game in which supporting Israel means being
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258 – Chronologie 2007
against the Palestinians – not any more. Supporting the moderates, meaning
supporting the three requirements, supporting Israel, plus the moderates among
the Palestinians, plus some other moderates of Moslem and Arab states – this is
the real situation and if this is understood, I am sure that Europe will stick to the
requirements.
Q: Still on the subject of the new government: There are many that are saying, not
only among the Palestinians but even among the Europeans that in the Mecca
agreement, it is clearly stated that the whole previous agreement, signed by the
PLO are accepted and these agreements already include clear acceptance for
Israel and there is also reference to the exchange of letters between Mr. Arafat and
Mr. Rabin, so why can you not also accept this? Do you want to have clear and new
declaration of that, although this agreement already implicitly accepts Israel?
FM Livni: The three requirements are clear and simple. Recognition of the right of
Israel to exist – it is so simple, it is so existential, I mean, it is part of the way we
see our role. We understand that the Palestinian needs their own horizons. So you
said, and so we say that the vision of the two state solution is part of our vision and
they have the right to a state of their own. We are talking about a political
movement which is based on religious, ideological ideas that cannot accept the
right of Israel, or of Jews, or of others to live in the Middle East. It is not a political
movement which is based on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And it is crucial – and I
think that this is something basic – to ask them to say publicly that Israel has the
right to exist.
When it comes to former agreements, these requirements are not negotiable, and I
will explain why. The right of Israel to exist is not negotiable. What kind of
agreement can we reach in negotiating our right to exist? If we say that we have the
right to exist for the next ten years, twenty years – what kind of negotiations can we
make on our right to live?
And the other is former agreements. Former agreements are the result of tough
negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Nobody should be in love with all
of the articles of the former agreements; even in Israel you can find people who say
that maybe the agreements could have been different. But they were signed by an
Israeli government and by an authorized organ of the Palestinians, and they should
be respected fully and completely.
And the third one is to renounce violence and terrorism. Israel is being attacked on
a daily basis. So, this is the only basis for future negotiations and future
development between the Israelis and the Palestinians. If somebody wants to say
that he wants to compromise on the requirements, then I wish it would be possible
to say something like: in accordance with the Palestinian national interests, we will
accept the agreements or something like that. Something that hints that they will
accept only that part of the agreement which reflects the Palestinian interest – this
is not in accordance and it does not comply with the requirements.
I can assure you that even the Palestinians are not suggesting that it meets their
requirements; not even the Hamas members, or the Hamas leaders. They do not
say that the meaning of the Mecca agreement is that they meet or that they intend
to meet the requirements. So, these basic requirements should be met completely,
clearly and fully.
Q: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, if now the unity government did adopt all the
conditions of the Quartet, would you recognize this government; will you work with
them as a real partner, including the members of Hamas and the prime minister?
And I would like to ask the President and the Commissioner if now the unity
government will accept all the conditions, will you start working with them
immediately, or will you take a long time to start working with them?
FM Livni: I would like to say that we are not playing games. For us the fact that the
Hamas won the elections is not an excuse not to promote a process. For us this is
a reality. I can say clearly that if a future Palestinian government meets the
requirements, fully and completely, it will be legitimized also by Israel. We are
looking at the government as an organ, a complete organ, and we will look into the
guidelines and the platform of the government to see whether the government, as a
whole, meets the requirements. It is so simple.
FM Steinmeier: [Translation] On behalf of the European Union, at least the
Presidency, all I can say is to refer you to the three criteria. They did not come out
of the blue. They are not an end in themselves either; they were a part of the
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259 – Chronologie 2007
Roadmap. They have been repeated and reworked now as the Middle East Quartet
criteria. We stated our expectations and if they achieve something, if they mean
that a future Palestinian government gives a clear consent to these three criteria,
then there is no obstacle to cooperation with such a government. . I cannot tell how
long it would take to put the instruments in place, but perhaps Commissioner Benita
Ferrero-Waldner can elaborate.
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner: You know very well our position; you know that we
said at this very moment we cannot judge, because we do not yet see either a
program or actions of a national unity government. First it has to be formed, and
then we have to see, of course, what the actions, the declarations, what the
program will be.
We already have started thinking about some preliminary ideas that could be there,
on the one hand. But on the other hand, maybe saying what more can be done on
governance, on institution building, maybe on the questions of economic
development and of course, free movement of people and goods. This is
preliminary thinking. Some things could be done even if such a national unity
government would not respond to the Quartet principles, but many more things
could be done if this were the case.
Now I think that have to use these moments and wait, but start already the concrete
action on it.
102
Giora Eiland: Renewed Negotiations with Syria: Currently Not in Israel’s
Interest, in “Strategic Assessment” vol. 9(March 4, 2007)4:
I am among those who believe that a political settlement is a good thing. Rafael
(Raful) Eitan was once asked if he supported a peace settlement between Israel
and Syria based on the principle of land for peace, and he said, "Certainly. If they
give us more land, I will be happy to go toward them in peace. . . "
A peace treaty is better than a situation without peace. It is certainly better than war,
but one must determine what kind of peace is offered versus the alternatives. In
fact, doesn't the peace agreement on the Syrian agenda create a reality that is
liable to lead to war more quickly than the absence of an agreement?
One of the issues most commonly raised in Israeli public discourse is: is Basher
Asad serious? is he interested? is he willing? This is followed by: is he capable?
These are important questions, but not the most important ones. The most
important question is: what do we want? Answering this question requires a brief
look at Israel's interests in this situation compared with other alternatives. My
conclusion differs from the common assumption that if Asad is serious we should
initiate peace talks with Syria.
There are five reasons why Israel should not engage now in negotiations with Syria
over a peace treaty similar to the one discussed seven years ago, and especially if
there are chances that the negotiations might succeed.
What the Agreement Lacks
The first reason concerns what cannot be obtained through an Israeli-Syrian peace
settlement. First, a treaty with Syria will not remove the Iranian threat, which is
mainly a nuclear threat. Syria needs Iran but Iran does not need Syria, and certainly
not on the nuclear issue. Whether or not Iran pursues its nuclear ambitions
depends on matters in which Syria plays practically no part or none at all. Thus, this
threat is talked about – with some justification – as a viable and growing threat, and
it will continue irrespective of a peace treaty with Syria or lack thereof.
A peace treaty with Syria does not solve the Palestinian problem. The dispute
between Israel and Syria is ultimately a territorial dispute between two countries.
There are dozens of such disputes around the world. Some have been going on for
decades and even centuries. There are conflicts that are solved, some that are not
solved, and some will never be settled.
Not only would a solution to the Israeli-Syrian conflict not help solve Israel's
problem with the Palestinians; it even exacerbates almost every aspect of the
problem. If Israel advances on one axis, it is unlikely to be able to advance on
another. Yet to the Palestinians, a resolution of the Syrian dispute would be a kind
of slap in the face and would likely prompt a new and growing intifada. In addition, if
there were any thoughts of reaching a peace agreement at some time with the
Palestinians based on borders that are not identical to the June 4, 1967 borders,
reaching an agreement with the Syrians that validates the borders of June 4, 1967
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260 – Chronologie 2007
will make it very difficult to effect the changes needed in a resolution with the
Palestinians.
A peace treaty with Syria will not solve the problem of Lebanon, and herein lies the
big difference from the past. Had Israel reached a peace settlement with Syria six
or seven years ago, it could have done so with Lebanon as well. As such, the
Lebanese would have been forced – together with Hizbollah – to swallow the bitter
pill and agree to a Syrian dictate, including disarmament of Hizbollah. That was
then, while Syria was in control in Lebanon. Today the situation is different. Now
Israel could reach a peace agreement with Syria without its impacting in any way –
and certainly not decisively – on the situation in Lebanon. The Syrian withdrawal
from Lebanon bolstered Hizbollah and reinforced Iranian intervention in Lebanon.
Thus, if there is a peace treaty with Syria, Hizbollah will remain unaffected, and the
Lebanese problem will be aggravated.
Peace with Syria will not lead to any comprehensive agreement vis-à-vis Israel's
relations with the Arab world, as the root of the hostility between Israel and the Arab
states that have not signed a peace treaty with Israel is the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. Thus if this problem is not solved, another peace treaty with an additional
country – Syria – will at best be like the treaty with Jordan; in other words it will not
impact measurably and certainly not solve any significant problem.
Finally, an agreement would not solve the problem of Israel's standing in the world,
as in this area as well, a kind of myth has evolved, namely, the real problem is the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a treaty with one more country will not enhance
Israel's international standing at all.
These five interests will not be achieved or advanced through a peace agreement
with Syria. It remains to be seen, therefore, whether the give and take of direct
negotiations with Syria is in Israel's interest. In this context, there are four more
reasons why Israel does not currently have any interest in peace talks with Syria.
The American Factor
Of lesser importance though not irrelevant is the fact that right now, the United
States has no interest in encouraging a peace treaty between Israel and Syria. This
is a secondary consideration, since if peace with Syria had immediate value for
Israel, Israel would try to persuade the US to change its mind on the matter. But as
of now, the clear American approach – both the official approach and the behindthe-scenes one – is that the United States has no interest in Israel arriving at a
peace agreement with Syria. Would it be right to "confront" America over this
particular issue? And if so, would an agreement with Syria earn us all the potential
America rewards, compared with the benefits bestowed by the United States
following agreements it was eager to promote?
The Agreement's Lifespan
At issue is the potential stability of such an agreement and what would happen if it
did not last. Syria is a minority-ruled country. The minority is the Alawi sect, which
comprises only 14 percent of the country's population and is looked upon by the
Sunni majority as inferior and not genuinely Muslim. In a situation of this sort there
is no certainty with regard to the fate of such a treaty once the rule of the country is
removed from the Alawis. Since Basher Asad assumed the presidency, two main
factors have kept the Alawi minority in power. The first is the support of Iran, though
this could be withdrawn at any point. This support is not only military and political,
but also of a religious nature in the sense that the Shiite establishment in Iran
recognizes the Alawis as legitimate Muslims and therefore does not challenge the
Islamic authenticity of the regime.
The second factor is that Syria is ruled by an emergency regime that enables the
government to intervene anywhere where there is commercial, financial, or political
activity. All this is based on the argument that an Israeli attack is expected and that
emergency laws are essential for defense of the country. Once there is peace
between Israel and Syria and thousands of Israeli tourists begin swarming into
Syria, this argument will no longer be relevant. The Sunni majority, with a
considerable degree of justification, will demand its share of power and will
ultimately assume control in Syria.
The Sunnis' strength will increase dramatically with the collapse of their great
enemy, the Alawi regime. There is no guarantee that a Sunni government of the
Muslim Brotherhood in Syria would honor a peace treaty signed by "the non-
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261 – Chronologie 2007
legitimate heretics of the Alawi minority." In other words, Israel may sign a peace
treaty whereby the chances of its longevity are highly doubtful.
Security Issues
Even if it is possible to reach a security agreement between Israel and Syria, I
believe such an agreement would be unreasonable, and I would even define it is as
dangerous. There are two explanations for this: the deterrence concept, and
erosion of capabilities and deterrence.
What is deterrence? What is the model of the security agreement? The model is
based on the sufficient eastward withdrawal of the Syrian tanks. If Syria decided to
breach the peace treaty and move its tanks to the Golan Heights, Israel would have
sufficient time to dispatch its forces, which would be stationed to the west of the
Jordan River, and be able to repossess the Golan Heights. This would mean that
the battle between Israel and the Syrians would once again take place on the Golan
Heights. However, this approach is based on four assumptions that are problematic
at best, if not outright unlikely.
The Syrians will adhere religiously to the agreement and the demilitarization and will
not undermine the treaty. This seems to me highly unlikely, if not impossible.
If there is any Syrian movement or there is a Syrian decision to engage in military
action, Israel's intelligence will identify and interpret this correctly. The world,
including the Middle East, has witnessed dozens of examples of intelligence errors
in understanding the other side's intentions. This is aggravated by an element of
deceit, whereby the other sides tries to "convince" you that the real story is
otherwise. It is very risky to formulate a security concept on faith in perfect
intelligence.
The Israeli government, as soon as it identifies any intention of war, will make the
right decisions, including mobilizing the reserve forces and instructing the IDF to
move into Syrian territory on the Golan Heights. The "game" between us and the
Syrians is not balanced. The Golan Heights can be demilitarized on both sides, but
it would be Syrian. Entry there by the Syrian army would only be an infringement of
a treaty; Israeli entry there would a declaration of war. Thus, taking such a decision
quickly and in real time is problematic.
Israel can comfortably contend with a new military reality on the Golan Heights. In
fact, the relatively simple current reality (an area that is mostly uninhabited, without
irrigation channels and other "civilian obstacles") would probably change and the
military difficulties would increase accordingly.
Any peace agreement will naturally impact on capabilities and deterrence. Assume
that the terms of the settlement in question are the same ones we would have
reached in 2000. This settlement offers a solution for one security problem but does
not solve two far more serious security problems. The settlement provides a
solution for the issue of Syrian tanks. Assume that the Syrian tanks will move back
to an adequate point, and that deterrence – despite its four (problematic)
assumptions – will be maintained. Even this optimistic scenario does not solve the
two more serious problems.
The first is the arsenal of surface-to-surface missiles in Syria, including missiles
with chemical capabilities that can strike any location in Israel. The second is that
as soon as the Syrians control the whole of the Golan Heights, a large number of
towns like Bint Jbail will be established along the Jordan River. This will enable
them to maintain many "civilian" soldiers with advanced anti-tank or anti-aircraft
weapons. No demilitarization will be able to supervise such a development. Then,
even if Israel succeeds in maintaining deterrence and had enough time to take the
Golan Heights (before the Syrian tanks get there), it would have to break through a
line of towns like Bint Jbail built along the Jordan River. There is no appropriate
military answer to this situation, and again, a demilitarization settlement does not
provide a total solution.
In terms of security, agreeing to such a treaty would mean taking an unreasonable
risk unless Israel changes its security concept relating to warfare on the Golan
Heights. This means that from now on, Israel understands that should war break
out with Syria it will not be waged along the Golan Heights ridge and eastward;
rather, it would start from the Jordan River and proceed towards Safed and
Tiberias, "and we will somehow manage."
While it is true that Israel encountered this challenge in 1948 and 1967, I would not
advise revisiting this situation a third time. Today Israel's security concept vis-a-vis
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262 – Chronologie 2007
Syria is based on the fact that as long as the IDF is stationed on the Golan Heights,
the military result will be attained through Israel's ability to create an immediate
threat to governmental assets, including IDF forces reaching Damascus. As the
Syrians are aware of this, an effective deterrence has been maintained over the
years.
Israel's solution to the Syrian threat, including the threat of surface-to-surface
missiles and non-conventional weapons, is thedeterrence capability, meaning that
the Syrians are aware of the price its government is liable to pay if its starts a war.
When the military reality changes, Syria's temptation to attack will increase.
A stable reality, with or without a treaty, is maintained (particularly in the Middle
East) only when the cost of breaching it is greater than the expected benefit. It is
not maintained only because there is an agreement or because there is
international supervision. I do not see how such a mechanism can be generated if
Israel withdraws from the Golan Heights.
The Ethos
Ethos is also a subject that should be addressed. The question is in what sort of
country we in Israel want to live. Israel may be able to reach a peace agreement,
and assume that solutions can be found on the Golan Heights and elsewhere. The
question is whether we want to live in a country that within thirty or forty years will
be full of concrete, with all that that entails.
The Israeli people have a genuine need to live in an area with space, views, water,
and agriculture and, yes, rich in Jewish history.
In this respect the Golan Heights is more than a security requirement. It is part of
the ethos of the Israeli and there is no need to apologize for it. I was asked about
this in a radio interview: "Wait a minute, so what are you saying?" the interviewer
asked me, "are we doomed to stay on the Golan Heights forever?" – as if we were
talking about some form of punishment.
What Then?
These five reasons indicate to me that even if there are seemingly positive
conditions, in the sense that Basher Asad is willing and possibly able, it would not
be right to reach a peace agreement based on such substantive, tangible Israeli
concessions for such poor returns.
At this point, the necessary question is: Will Israel be in this situation forever? And
does this eternity likely guarantee more wars? The answer goes beyond the issue
addressed here and touches on the general challenge of settling the Israeli-Arab
conflict – and whether it can be solved only in accordance with the Arab dogma
whereby Israel returns all the occupied territories in return for peace. In other
words, there can only be peace if Israel gives up all the territories and returns to the
1967 borders. I think this is the wrong narrative.
This incorrect version is not ours. Unlike others, I do not believe that this is or has
to be the only narrative.
Postscript: The Lebanon Issue
My last point concerns the issue of Lebanon. It seems that one of the parameters
that has changed in the last seven years, even if there is disagreement over other
aspects to the argument presented here, is Syria's ability to compel Lebanon, all its
forces there notwithstanding, to honor an agreement between Syria and Israel.
About two and half to three years ago there was debate in Israel about whether
Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon was a positive development. The decided position
of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was that it was good for Israel that the Syrians
leave Lebanon. This position was adopted by Prime Minister Sharon and became
official policy.
There were others who thought differently. It wasn't as if Israel was the main factor
and certainly other parties decided on Syria's withdrawal of its forces from Lebanon,
but Israel undoubtedly encouraged them as much as it could. I believe that was a
serious historic error. It would have been better for Israel had Syria remained in
Lebanon. The Syrian interest in Lebanon was at least on a par with its interest in
the Golan Heights. It would have better for the Syrians to be engaged in
maintaining their assets in Lebanon. Now, having lost them, what remains is to fight
for the next asset – the Golan Heights.
There is another issue here, and I will inject a personal angle at this point. I did not
participate in any negotiations with Syria, but I was part of the team that, as a
secondary effort, prepared a possible treaty between Israel and Lebanon. In other
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263 – Chronologie 2007
words, in 2000, talks were progressing with Syria at the same time that a draft of a
treaty with Lebanon was being prepared. At the time I was head of the IDF's
Operations Branch, which addressed the security implications. The position was
approved by the political leadership. We believed that Syrian presence in Lebanon
was referred, or at least, Israel had no interest in insisting on the opposite. We said:
as long as the status quo in Lebanon is maintained and the Syrians stay there and
move no further south and do not introduce their air force or missiles, the situation
is tolerable end even desirable.
Syria's withdrawal about two years ago started a process that is, of course, bad for
the Syrians. However, this does not necessarily mean it is good for us. This shows
that when it comes to interests, there are sometimes strange convergences. The
withdrawal of the Syrians from Lebanon did not match Syria's interest or Israel's.
The sum-zero thinking that if it is bad for our enemies it is good for us is not
necessarily correct. Israel's enthusiasm two years ago in encouraging the
Americans, the French, and the UN to pressure the Syrians to withdraw from
Lebanon was a mistake.
103
Saudi Arabia to support any Arab decision on peace plan: Saud Arab News.
05.03.2007:
Saudi Arabia said yesterday that it would support any Arab decision to change or
develop the Arab peace plan, which was passed by the Arab League summit that
was held in Beirut in 2002.
"The peace plan is the property of Arabs, not Saudi Arabia. If they want to change
or develop it, it's totally an Arab decision," Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal
told reporters here.
Referring to Libya's decision not to attend the Arab summit in Riyadh following a
change in the conference venue, Saud said, "It is the discretion of the host country
to decide whether the summit be held in Arab League headquarters or in its
country."
He said Saudi Arabia had never considered Iran as an enemy. "If the Kingdom had
considered Iran its enemy, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah
would not have received President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in Riyadh." However, he
advised Tehran to avoid confrontation with the US to reinforce the stability of the
region.
Earlier, the Libyan foreign minister had said that Libya won't attend the upcoming
Arab summit in Saudi Arabia, adding that the Arab world "is not serious" and that
"joint Arab action is dysfunctional."
"Arab joint action is marred by disorder," Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman
Shalqam said at Arab League headquarters in Cairo yesterday. "Libya is insisting
on a real Arab mechanism – not policies of axes, groups and unilateral changes to
decisions," an angry Shalqam said.
Arab foreign ministers convened yesterday to prepare the agenda for the summit,
which is scheduled for March 28-29 in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Late Saturday, Shalqam announced that his country's "seat at the summit will be
vacant." Libya will not attend due to "procedural errors," he said.
Shalqam disputed that the shift of summit venue from the Egyptian Red Sea resort
of Sharm El-Sheikh to Saudi Arabia had been done according to Arab League
procedures. The 2006 summit had agreed that the 2007 gathering would be held in
Egypt after Saudi Arabia, which chairs the summit in 2007, had requested this.
But in January, Saudi Arabia asked that the event be held in Riyadh. "Our relations
with Saudi are brotherly and good," Shalqam told reporters yesterday. "But the Arab
world is not serious," he said criticizing the way Arab countries manage their
political affairs.
"Iran has become the enemy (of Arab countries) – not Israel. What nonsense this
is," Shalqam added.
104
Der Text des Beiruter Friedensplans findet sich in der Menüleiste „Begleitende
Dokumente” dieser Homepage.
105
Aluf Benn and Amiram Barkat: Livni: Israel can't accept Arab peace plan in
current form, in “Haaretz” 01.03.2007:
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264 – Chronologie 2007
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a Palestinian newspaper in an interview published
Thursday that Israel could not accept a 2002 Arab League peace initiative in its
current formulation.
In her first interview to the Palestinian media, Livni told Al-Ayyam that Israel's
stance on the new Palestinian unity government would be determined by on its
diplomatic plan. She also said the Israeli stance would depend on the extent to
which the new government meets the three demands of the Quartet.
The foursome of international peace brokers – the United States, United Nations,
Russia and the European Union – has demanded that the PA government
recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by previously signed peace
agreements in order to lift the sanctions imposed in the wake of the 2006 Hamas
election victory.
"We are demanding that the government meet these three conditions," Livni
stressed. The Arab initiative, drafted at a March 2002 meeting of the Arab League
in Beirut, calls for the full normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world in
return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from all lands captured in the 1967 Six-Day
War. …
106
Adalah proposes draft democratic constitution for a multicultural state of Israel,
28.02.2007:
On the tenth anniversary of its founding, Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority
Rights in Israel issues `The Democratic Constitution,` as a constitutional proposal
for the state of Israel based on the concept of a democratic, bilingual, multicultural
state. This proposed constitution draws on universal principles and international
conventions on human rights, the experiences of nations and the constitutions of
various democratic states. The following is the introductory chapter to the draft
constitution:
1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, which enshrined the human
rights lessons of the evils committed during World War II, and the international
human rights covenants, which were subsequently ratified, state that: All human
beings are equal; anti-discrimination is an absolute principle which cannot be
compromised; all peoples have the right of self-determination; no nation possesses
rights that are superior to those of another nation; and it is essential to ensure the
personal liberty and economic and social rights of the individual for freedom,
equality and justice to be achieved.
2. After the end of World War II, and as a result of their long and just struggle against
colonial regimes, many nations succeeded to attain their independence and realize
their right of self-determination. In the last two decades, historic processes have
taken place in states where policies of repression and discrimination had reigned.
The end of the apartheid regime in South Africa is the most prominent example.
These states have derived lessons from the past and promoted historic
reconciliation, based on recognition of the historical injustice these policies inflicted
on groups that were repressed and discriminated against, and ensured the effective
participation of these groups in the process of constitution-making.
3. Based on universal principles, international human rights covenants and the
experience of nations, we – as a human rights organization – seek to propose a
constitution, which contains provisions on the governing regime and on rights and
liberties, as detailed below. We believe this constitutional proposal should be
incorporated in the laws and/or the future constitution of the State of Israel.
4. In order to build an equal and democratic society, free of repression and violence,
and as a basis for historic reconciliation between the State of Israel and the
Palestinian people and the entire Arab nation, the State of Israel must recognize its
responsibility for past injustices suffered by the Palestinian people, both before and
after its establishment. The State of Israel must recognize, therefore, its
responsibility for the injustices of the Nakba and the Occupation; recognize the right
of return of the Palestinian refugees based on UN Resolution 194; recognize the
right of the Palestinian people to self-determination; and withdraw from all of the
territories occupied in 1967.
5. The Palestinian Arab citizens of the State of Israel have lived in their homeland for
innumerable generations. Here they were born, here their historic roots have grown,
and here their national and cultural life has developed and flourished. They are
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265 – Chronologie 2007
active contributors to human history and culture as part of the Arab and Islamic
nations and as an inseparable part of the Palestinian people.
6. Since their political status has been changed against their will, making them a
minority in their homeland; since they have not relinquished their national identity;
and since the rights of a homeland minority must include, inter alia, those rights
which should have been preserved and developed as much as possible had they
not become a minority in their homeland, thus, the legal starting point of this
constitutional proposal is: The Arab citizens in the State of Israel are a homeland
minority.
7. The policies and practices of Israeli governments have caused severe injustice to
the Palestinian Arab minority since 1948, some of which continues today, including
this minority`s physical detachment from its people and nation, the uprooting and
destruction of villages, the demolition of homes, the imposition of military rule until
1966, the massacre of Kufr Qassem in 1956, the killing of young people during the
first Land Day in 1976 and in mass protests of October 2000, the confiscation of
properties from the Muslim Waqf, the expropriation of land, the non-recognition of
Arab villages, the separation of families, policies of institutional discrimination in all
fields of life, and the exclusion of the Arab minority based on the definition of the
state as Jewish. Therefore, the following constitutional proposal determines that the
basic rights of the Arab minority include: the return of land and properties on the
basis of restorative justice, effective participation in decision-making, the fulfillment
of the right to cultural autonomy and the recognition of the Arabic language as an
official language in the State of Israel.
8. The dignity and personal liberty of the individual constitute the basis for maintaining
a society founded on human rights. However, the realization of these rights is
conditional upon the existence of a society based on equality. Therefore, this
constitutional proposal determines the duty to guarantee and protect the economic
and social rights of all residents and citizens, especially the most needy.
9. In a state that does not control or occupy another people and that is based on full
equality between all of its residents and between all of the different groups within it,
Jewish and Arab citizens shall respect each other`s rights to live in peace, dignity
and equality, and will be united in recognizing and respecting the differences
between them, as well as the differences that exist between all the groups in a
democratic, bilingual and multicultural state.
107
Open Letter on the occasion of the Association Council between EU and Israel,
27.02.2007:
Dear Ministers,
Dear High Representative,
Dear Commissioner,
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) expresses concern
about the situation of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian
Territories (OPT). It is our hope that the European Union will take this letter into
account in view of the meeting of the Association Council between the European
Union (EU) and Israel, to be held on 5 March 2007.
As a network of more than 80 human rights NGOs based in Europe, North Africa
and the Middle East, we have monitored and condemned violations of human rights
and international humanitarian law in the past months and years. Therefore we
welcome initiatives for a political dialogue between the conflicting parties.
We would like to remind of the responsibility of the international community, and
especially the EU, towards a just, lasting and peaceful solution to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict, based on international law, including international human rights
and humanitarian law. This is part of the obligations of all UN members as well as
the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and was confirmed
by the International court of Justice Advisory Opinion on “Legal Consequences of
The Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” rendered on 9
July 2004. For the EU and its Member States, the EU Association Agreement with
Israel and the interim Association Agreement with the Palestinian Authority place
the protection of human rights at the centre of the relationship.
It is our great common concern that all efforts, including any initiative started or
supported by the EU or its Member States, are not in conflict with international law.
Furthermore, we would like to emphasise that this body of international law must be
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266 – Chronologie 2007
applied not only to processes aimed at achieving a peaceful, durable and just
solution by the parties, but also during the ongoing conflict.
We are deeply convinced that a peaceful, durable and just solution in the Middle
East cannot be reached outside the framework of the protections afforded under
international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.
Fostering and defending international human rights now and in a future political
solution to the conflict would, at the same time indispensably support democracy
and the rule of law in the region. Failures to protect human rights can only play into
the hands of national or religious extremists.
We are concerned about the economic sanctions against the Palestinian National
Authority since March 2006. In light of our monitoring of the human rights conditions
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), we believe that the sanctions have
had grave implications on the human rights of the Palestinian civilian population.
Some of these have long-term, possibly irreversible, effects. We therefore call upon
the EU to review its decisions concerning these sanctions, which have proven to be
counterproductive as they primarily punish the civilian population and contribute to
spreading poverty and radicalism in OPT.
The EU’s Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) does not present a solution. It
is rather an extension to the prolonged practice of providing humanitarian aid
whereas the only sustainable solution would be to eradicate the sources of
violations.
Additionally, in light of the effects of Israel’s systematic discriminatory treatment of
its Palestinian Arab citizens, the EU should ensure that the commitments included
in the EU/Israel Action Plan in this regard are respected. For instance, the jointly
agreed action ‘to promote and protect rights of minorities, including enhancing
political, economic, social and cultural opportunities for all citizens and lawful
residents’. The EU should therefore take steps to ensure that its cooperation with
Israel is contingent on Israel making moves to end all discriminatory state practice
and rectifying its effects.
We have identified the following key areas of conflict to which the international
standards of human rights and humanitarian law must be fully applied:
– Restrictions of movement of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
– he humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip,
– The Wall, most of which is built inside the OTP,
– Torture and ill treatment of Palestinians in interrogation and detention by the Israeli
authorities,
– Settler violence against the Palestinian population in the West Bank.
– The continued expansion of Israeli settlements and infrastructure in the West Bank.
Long term issues within the framework of a political solution to the conflict in the
region:
– End of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory (the Gaza Strip and West
Bank, including East Jerusalem) since 1967 and the right of Palestinians to selfdetermination,
– The dismantling of Israeli settlements on occupied territory, prohibition of
annexation of land, including the construction of the wall on occupied territory,
– The recognition of the plight of Palestinian refugees and an agreement by all
parties on a just and durable solution to this issue that would be acceptable to all
sides, and
– The right of all people[s] of the region to the right set in international law and
conventions, with an emphasis on the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, Convention against Torture, and the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights.
Defending and fostering human rights successfully, as in our mandate, cannot be
reached without the active support of the international community on all levels.
We are looking for a more active role on the part of the EU in the building of a
peaceful, durable and just solution to the conflict. We ask the EU to implement and
activate relevant EU instruments and initiatives, such as the Association Agreement
and the European Neighbourhood Policy’s Action Plan that both stress the
importance of respect for international law and human rights.
We trust that the concerns expressed in this letter will receive the attention they
deserve.
Yours faithfully,
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267 – Chronologie 2007
Kamel Jendoubi, EMHRN President
Marita Roos, EMHRN Coordinator in Copenhagen
Sandrine Grenier, Representative in Brussels
108
Mash'al: The key to the Palestinian issue is Israeli recognition of Palestinian
rights, 25.02.2007:
Bethlehem – Ma'an – Head of the Hamas political bureau, Khalid Mash'al, has
declared that the key to any solution to the Palestinian issue is Israeli recognition of
Palestinian rights; to withdraw from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and comply
with Palestinian demands.
Speaking to the London based daily, Al Sharq Al Awsat, during his visit to Egypt;
Mash'al added that the Saudi king is trying to preserve Palestinian blood.
Mash'al expects the Mecca agreement to be successful for a period of time, as long
as the Saudis and Egyptians are supporting it. He said that the deal did not cover or
achieve everything. He denied that there is a Saudi initiative to improve relations
between Hamas and Jordan.
The paper asked Mash'al about the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas,
meeting with Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, he said "we don't care what the
Israelis say, we made an agreement in Mecca and we will stick to it, despite the
challenges we are going to face." Mash'al added "Israel should recognize
Palestinian rights and withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip."
Mash'al also said "we have agreed in Mecca that external negotiations should be
the responsibility of the Palestine Liberation Organisation chairman [Abbas] and
when he is offered any settlements he should present them to the legislative
institutions."
When Mash'al was asked about his expectations of the Quartet (the United
Nations, United States, European Union and Russia) meeting with United States
secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, he said "regardless of what the USA wants, I
believe that there is a level of understanding among the Arabs and the Palestinians,
this will give us the margin to move and become closer to national goals. The Arabs
will be supporting the Palestinians and that satisfies me, as this will form an Arab
unity which can protect the Palestinians."
With regard to the differences between Fatah and Hamas and to the political
partnership he said "this subject will be dealt with seriously, we will discuss it and I
believe that we will overcome any obstacles, there are many steps that we are
going to take to reach a real partnership in the government."
About the internal fighting he said "we have made some mistakes and we
courageously admit that, but these are limited and were committed as reactions, we
don't feel proud of this and hope that it will be omitted from history, we are
steadfastly against the shedding of Palestinian blood."
When asked about the United States categorising of Arab nations as 'moderate'
and 'extremist' he said "our relationship with the Arab countries does not reflect this,
we have maintained good relations with the Arab countries, regardless of how the
USA portrays or classifies them."
With regards to the aid embargo on the Palestinian authority, he said "the Arabs
can break it, at least partially, even if the US refuses to lift it, but we notice that
there are cracks in the position of the Quartet and Russia takes a positive position,
I am sure that the siege can be partially broken."
Mash'al concluded by saying "the Mecca deal will succeed and continue, it will be
successful for a period of time because of the objective circumstances. I am
convinced that the deal did not achieve all of our ambitions but at least it ended the
internal fighting."
109
Al-Haq’s Intervention to Diplomatic Representatives Regarding the Travel
Restrictions Imposed on Al-Haq’s General Director, 22.02.2007:
As a Palestinian organisation dedicated to the protection and promotion of human
rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Al-Haq would like to call your
attention to the severe travel restrictions that have been imposed on its General
Director, and longstanding human rights defender, Shawan Jabarin. Mr. Jabarin’s
case is illustrative of the numerous difficulties faced by human rights defenders who
volunteer or work with non-governmental organisations in the OPT.
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268 – Chronologie 2007
On 23 March 2006, having unsuccessfully attempted to cross from the West Bank
to Jordan via the Allenby Bridge, Mr. Jabarin was issued with an Israeli police order
requesting that he present himself at the ‘Atsion Liaison Office, between Bethlehem
and Hebron, at noon on Sunday, March 26. On the specified day, Mr. Jabarin
arrived at ‘Atsion as requested and handed over his ID and the police order. After
being forced to wait outside the compound’s gate for four hours, Mr. Jabarin was
informed that before he could be granted access he would have to lift up his shirt.
After refusing to submit to this humiliating treatment, Mr. Jabarin was told by an
Israeli official, “We have your ID and you can go home.” Thus, Mr. Jabarin was
forced to leave without proper identification or any kind of document attesting to the
fact that his ID had been confiscated. Without his ID, Mr. Jabarin was prevented
from travelling within the West Bank. This severely hindered his right to freedom of
movement, enshrined in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, and consequently disrupted his professional duties and activities for
Al-Haq. After repeated efforts to secure its return, Mr. Jabarin finally received his ID
in July 2006 following an intervention by the Israeli human rights organisation
HaMoked to the Israeli legal advisor’s office.
Since the events described above, the Israeli authorities have refused to grant Mr.
Jabarin permission to travel abroad. In October 2006, Mr. Jabarin’s request to
travel to a conference in Spain was refused. Similarly, Mr. Jabarin was denied
authorisation to travel to Egypt to participate in a conference organised by Christian
Aid from 10-15 December 2006. Mr. Jabarin’s appeal against the latter refusal was
rejected by the Israeli High Court, which upheld the ban on his travel, based on
classified material shown in the presence of one side.
Israel’s practices in regard to Mr. Jabarin violate his fundamental human rights. The
Israeli authorities failed to provide Mr. Jabarin with any opportunity to challenge the
exit prohibition prior to its coming into force. Also, the decision to prohibit Mr.
Jabarin from leaving the OPT is all-encompassing and unlimited in time. It is not
limited to a specific place, city or country, and fails to take into consideration the
purpose of Mr. Jabarin’s travels abroad, namely the promotion of human rights. It is
worth noting that the Israeli authorities have allowed Mr. Jabarin’s exit in the past.
Since 1999, Mr. Jabarin has travelled abroad on eight separate occassions. Indeed,
as recently as February 2006, the Israeli authorities twice permitted Mr. Jabarin’s
exit from the OPT. On one of those occassions, involving travel to a conference in
Morocco, Mr. Jabarin’s request was answered in the following terms: “according to
the inspection we have conducted … we have no comments concerning permitting
the above to exit … according to accepted procedures.” Since then, there has been
no change in circumstances that would justify Mr. Jabarin being prevented from
travelling to participate in human rights activities outside of the OPT. Consequently,
one must question the motives behind the denial of Mr. Jabarin’s right to freedom of
movement.
According to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation
of human rights defenders, Hina Jilani, human rights defenders in the OPT operate
under conditions that are absolutely incompatible with international norms and
standards of human rights. One of the biggest obstacles to the work of human
rights defenders in the OPT is restrictions on freedom of movement. In this regard,
it should be noted that Mr. Jabarin’s case is not an isolated incident. Several other
human rights defenders have been prevented from travelling to participate in
human rights activities outside of the OPT. It is submitted that these Israeli travel
restrictions are aimed at preventing the revelation of human rights abuses by Israel,
and are used against human rights defenders to deter the defence of human rights.
Such restrictions infringe upon the rights of defenders to report human rights
violations at the international level. They negatively impact upon the ability of
human rights defenders to travel abroad to attend international conferences and
other events that would strengthen their knowledge and skills and allow them to
raise the issue of human rights abuses in the OPT before a wider audience. On an
organisational level, they severely hinder Palestinian human rights organisations’
capacity to use international networks to advocate for the respect of human rights in
the OPT.
Human rights defenders play a vital role in promoting and striving for the protection
and realisation of human rights at the national and international levels. In the
context of Israel’s almost 40-year-old occupation of the Palestinian territory, and the
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269 – Chronologie 2007
continuing violations of the rights of the Palestinian population, any attempt to
impede the ability of human rights defenders in the OPT to function cannot be
tolerated. It is only through respecting human rights that a just and durable solution
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be found. With this in mind, Al-Haq calls on
you to intervene with the Israeli authorities on Mr. Jabarin’s behalf, requesting that
the prohibition on his travel abroad be lifted.
110
Quartett Statement, Berlin, 21.02.2007:
The Quartet Principals – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, High
Representative for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, German
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and European Commissioner for
External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner – met today in Berlin to discuss the
situation in the Middle East.
Secretary Rice reported on her recent February 18 meetings with PM Olmert and
President Abbas, the February 19 trilateral and U.S. efforts to facilitate discussions
between the parties. The Quartet welcomed these efforts and expressed the hope
that the result-oriented dialogue initiated between Israeli and Palestinian leaders will
continue in the framework of a renewed political process, with the aim of defining
more clearly the political horizon and launching meaningful negotiations. The
Quartet reaffirmed its determination to promote such a process, in cooperation with
the parties and other regional partners. The Quartet urged the parties to refrain
from measures that prejudge issues to be resolved in negotiations.
The Quartet reaffirmed its statements regarding its support for a Palestinian
government committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of
previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap, and encouraged
progress in this direction.
The Quartet discussed efforts underway for a Palestinian national unity
government, pursuant to the agreement reached in Mecca on February 8. The
Quartet expressed its appreciation for the role of King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia and
the cessation of violence among Palestinians. The Quartet concluded with a
discussion of possible further steps by the international community in the context of
a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
It welcomed preliminary ideas put forward by the European Commission to meet
the need to better coordinate and mobilize international assistance in support of the
political process and to meet the needs of the Palestinian people.
The Quartet reaffirmed its commitment to meet regularly and asked envoys to
monitor developments and actions taken by the parties and to discuss the way
ahead. It was agreed to schedule a meeting in the region soon.
111
Yossi Alpher. How to make the Saudi plan work, in “bitterlemons” 20.02.2007:
In recent months, Israel has increasingly recognized the interlocking nature of the
multiple conflict zones--Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and the Israel-Arab conflict--that
characterize today's Middle East. Not that one is the cause of the others, or that
solving one will necessarily render the others easier to alleviate. Rather, the factor
that links these conflicts is the expansion of radical Islam and the Iranian
hegemonic drive, facilitated in part by disastrous American policies in the region.
This has led Israelis as well as moderate Sunni Arabs to recognize that history has
brought them together, however uncomfortably, on the same side of a broad
regional confrontation. It has provoked the Saudi leadership to take unusual steps
that contradict American policy: threatening to intervene on the side of the Iraqi
Sunnis, and most recently brokering the Mecca unity government agreement
between Hamas and Fateh.
Now Saudi King Abdullah is reportedly planning to use next month's Arab League
summit as a vehicle for expanding and improving upon his 2002 comprehensive
Arab-Israel peace initiative, which was approved by an earlier League summit in
late March 2002. And justifiably so. The Arab League/Saudi peace plan with its
comprehensive regional nature is increasingly emerging as a possible vehicle for
dealing with the Arab-Israel conflict and thereby leveraging regional cooperation
against Iran and radical Islam. Saudi leadership is welcome here, especially in view
of the Bush administration's mistaken regional policies and lack of energetic
commitment to Arab-Israel peace.
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270 – Chronologie 2007
From Israel's standpoint, in order for the plan to be more appealing Saudi
strategists should consider enhancing it in a number of ways.
First, the original plan demands that Israel return to the 1967 borders as a condition
for peace. Yet even the late King Hussein of Jordan and the PLO's Yasser Arafat
recognized that territorial swaps and compromises have over the years become
necessary. The plan should recognize and accommodate this factor with regard to
both the Palestinian and the Syrian peace fronts.
Second, the plan offers Israel peace, normal relations and--perhaps most important
given present conditions in the region--"security for all the states of the region". But
what does this mean? It would be very helpful to present Israel with a more detailed
description of the mutual security arrangements the plan contemplates, as an
incentive for territorial concessions that might otherwise endanger Israel.
Third, the plan calls for "a just solution of the Palestinian refugee problem to be
agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194". Back in
March 2002 this was touted as an Arab concession, insofar as the plan recognizes
the need for all sides to agree and does not demand the right of return (in fact,
neither does 194 if read carefully in its original context). Yet that same Beirut Arab
League summit that approved the plan then went on to pass three successive
resolutions reaffirming its demand for the right of return, as if no significant change
in Arab positions had just transpired. Israel, which would be committing national
suicide if it accepted the right of return even at the symbolic level, needs to hear
clarifications on this issue.
Particularly troublesome for Israel is the concluding operative paragraph of the
2002 plan, which calls upon the League secretary general to recruit support for it
from the United Nations, the United States, Russia, the Muslim states and the
European Union--everybody but Israel. The objective seemed to be to compel
Israel to accept the plan without discussion, debate or negotiation. This approach
has to change. The Saudis and the Arab League have to address Israel directly.
They have to come to Jerusalem to present their revised plan to the government
and public of Israel. If they do so in the tradition of Anwar Sadat and King Hussein,
they will be amazed at how forthcoming the Israeli public can be.
Finally, the plan has to be broken down into workable stages and integrated into the
new and threatening regional context. Israel can be asked to make the first move,
but there must be Arab initiatives, too. And both sides need to perceive that there
are incentives to progress toward Arab-Israel peace and regional security
cooperation.
Phase I should involve two Israeli steps. First, discussions with the PLO to clarify
the territorial and other parameters of a successful two-state solution. This
corresponds with recent "diplomatic horizon" proposals made by US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni for jump-starting the
peace process. The Rice-Abbas-Olmert summit of Feb. 19 was a problematic
beginning, but nonetheless a beginning.
In parallel, Jerusalem should enter into preliminary back-channel negotiations with
Damascus concerning the possibility of bilateral peace talks that would satisfy
Israel and the United States' (and the Arabs') needs regarding cessation of Syrian
support for terrorism and strategic collaboration with Iran, if and as an Israeli-Syrian
territories-for-peace deal is reached. This reflects the inclination of many within the
Israeli security establishment to test President Bashar Assad's invitation to Israel to
renew negotiations. If, however, the Saudis share American reservations about
rewarding the problematic Assad with even exploratory talks at this juncture, then
they should amend their peace plan accordingly, so that Israel is not held to a
hypocritical regional peace standard.
Assuming one or both of these moves begin to generate momentum and lay the
foundations for full-fledged negotiations, phase II would bring Israel together with
the two "quartets" – the Saudi, Egyptian, Jordanian and Gulf leaderships along with
the UN, US, EU and Russia--to begin discussing normalization of Israel-Arab
relations, including security cooperation. Just as the Arab public wants to see
progress toward Israel-Arab peace, the Israeli public needs to witness serious Arab
gestures in the context of normalization and security cooperation against common
enemies, and to be reassured that successful peace processes are rewarded by
the Arab world.
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271 – Chronologie 2007
Phase III witnesses Israeli-Palestinian and possibly Israeli-Syrian peace processes,
either in parallel or in sequence, supported by international and Arab incentives and
ultimately culminating in (phase IV) bilateral peace agreements and multilateral
normalization and security coordination.
Whereas the first two phases could take six months to a year, phases III and IV
would, in the best case, stretch out over years. Indeed, even to begin this process
requires a degree of Israeli, Palestinian and American resolve and energy that
appears to be sadly lacking. Yet the interactive nature of today's Middle East crises,
and their gravity, demand nothing less than a major push for peace by the
moderate Arab countries led by Riyadh.
112
a) Statement After Meeting of Secretary Condoleezza Rice With Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Jerusalem,
19.02.2007:
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas,
and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met today, February 19. It was a useful and
productive meeting.
The leaders affirmed their commitment to a two-state solution, agreed that a
Palestinian state cannot be born of violence and terror, and reiterated their
acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap.
The President and the Prime Minister discussed how to move forward on mutual
obligations in the Roadmap in regard to the implementation of Phase I.
The participants called for respecting the ceasefire declared in
November.
The President and the Prime Minister also discussed issues arising from the
agreement for a Palestinian national unity government, and the position of the
Quartet that any Palestinian Authority government must be committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and
obligations, including regarding the Roadmap.
The President and the Prime Minister discussed their views of the diplomatic and
political horizon and how it might unfold toward the two state vision of President
Bush.
The President and the Prime Minister agreed that they would meet together again
soon. They reiterated their desire for American participation and leadership in
facilitating efforts to overcome obstacles, rally regional and international support,
and move forward toward peace.
In that vein, Secretary Rice expects to return soon.
b) PM Olmert: "Any Palestinian Government That Arises Must Meet the
International Community's Conditions." Communicated by the Prime Minister's
Media Adviser), Excerpts, 19.02.07, at the Knesset:
"The meeting was divided into two parts. First, US Secretary of State Dr.
Condoleeza Rice, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Abu Mazen and I met alone.
Then we were joined by Foreign Minister Livni, Vice-Premier Shimon Peres and
Defense Minister Amir Peretz. Senior PA officials – from Fatah, of course – joined
on the Palestinian side. We made it clear, as simply and as plainly as possible, it
being completely evident that our demand, like that of the international community
and the US, is that a Palestinian government that accepts the Quartet principles
thereby recognizes all of the agreements that have been signed between the state
of Israel and the PA, and will carry them out.
This does not mean recognition via some sort of empty statement, but carrying out
all of these agreements, recognizing the right of the State of Israel to exist as a
Jewish state and, of course, an absolute halt to terrorism in all its expressions –
Kassam fire and attempts to perpetrate other attacks. Moreover, it is clear that all
other commitments – including that to release Gilad Shalit immediately – must be
upheld.
I presented the foregoing at the meeting. I also added that we will not recognize any
government that does not honor these commitments. Neither will we cooperate with
it or its ministers. We decided, I decided, that in any case, but I also said so to the
Cabinet and I think it reflects the views of all ministers that we must continue to
keep a communications channel with the Palestinians. The only possible channel
is PA President Abu Mazen, who was directly elected by the public and, therefore,
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272 – Chronologie 2007
does not derive his authority from this or that agreement. His status is a result of
elections by the Palestinian people. It was agreed contacts between us will continue
and will mainly focus on improving the quality of life of Palestinians in the various
areas and – of course – on the continuation in practice of the PA's war on terrorism
in order to halt it completely.
I must say that the Americans made a great effort in order to cope with the complex
reality in which we find ourselves in order to open a channel of communications
between us and the Palestinians. I greatly appreciate and thank President Bush
and also Secy. of State Rice, who met in the past days with Foreign Minister Tzipi
Livni, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and myself. I am also thankful for the
unambiguous position expressed by the US that it will not recognize a government
which does not accept the Quartet principles. It is clear that this position helps the
international community to form a common stance.
There will be discussions. We will continue the communications channel with Abu
Mazen. We are not willing to create a situation in which no channels of
communications exit with the Palestinian public. I think that would be a grave
mistake.
Abu Mazen is different; therefore we will continue our contact with him. And we will
make efforts also to attain a significant improvement in the quality of life of the
Palestinians.
I thank our American friends, who are uncompromising in their values and continue
to take interest in what happens here."
c) Kommentar – Reiner Bernstein: Jerusalem: Außer Spesen nichts gewesen
(abgeschlossen am 20.02.2007):
Die Vorbedingungen beim Dreiertreffen in Jerusalem waren schon in der
Planungsphase nicht gerade günstig. Ehud Olmert hatte klargestellt, dass er nicht
gewillt sei, die zentralen Probleme des Konflikts zu diskutieren, Machmud Abbas’
Autorität war durch die Vereinbarung mit „Hamas“ in Mekka nicht gerade gestärkt
worden, und Condoleezza Rice hatte zwar bekannt, dass sie nicht nur wegen
schöner Fotos nach Jerusalem reisen werde, doch von präzisen Vorstellungen über
die Zukunft der israelisch-palästinensischen Beziehungen war sie weit entfernt.
Zudem konnte sie auf dem Weg von Bagdad nach Jerusalem aus Olmerts Mund
vernehmen, dass er und George W. Bush in der Bewertung der Ergebnisse von
Mekka vollkommen übereinstimmten. So verabschiedeten sich die drei nach
zweistündigem Gespräch im „David Citadel Hotel“ ohne eine gemeinsame
Erklärung – und versprachen einander, sich bald wiederzusehen.
Jedes konstruktive Ergebnis hätte verwundert. Olmert ist nicht nur durch interne
Skandale sowie durch divergierende Kräfte und persönliche Rivalitäten in seinem
Kabinett geschwächt, sondern ihm fehlt auch der Wille zum politischen Durchbruch:
Er erweist sich mehr denn je als Gefangener einer Ideologie, die zwar die
Zweistaatenregelung im Munde führt, aber durch Mauerbau tief in der Westbank
und Siedlungserweiterung das Gegenteil anpeilt. Israelische Kommentatoren
fürchten seit langem, dass Olmert den Staat an die Wand fahren werde. Abbas
kämpft um sein politisches Überleben, nachdem er durch die divergierenden
Elemente in der palästinensischen Gesellschaft zermürbt worden ist. Die
Vereinbarung mit „Hamas“ dürfte nicht einmal eine Halbwertzeit erreichen. Worauf
sich das Prestige der USA in der gesamten Region noch stützen will, ist eh ein
Rätsel. Washingtons Option, zu Mitteln einer militärischen Konfrontation gegen Iran
zu greifen, wäre nur der Schlusspunkt im Niedergang des Anspruchs auf
weltpolitisch einzigartige Geltung. Wäre es anders, hätten Pjöngjang und Teheran
längst einlenken müssen.
So wird sich die Spannung in Grenzen halten, mit der Rice gegenüber ihren
„Quartett“-Kollegen in Berlin aufwarten kann. Moskau befindet sich auf dem Wege
zu neuer regionaler und internationaler Bedeutsamkeit mit eigenen Vorstellungen
auch im Nahen und Mittleren Osten. Jacques Chiracs und Tony Blairs Amtszeit
nähert sich dem Ende, so dass ihre Handlungsfähigkeit kaum mehr ins Gewicht
fällt. Die deutsche Bundesregierung hält sich bedeckt, obwohl sie sich als
gegenwärtige EU-Präsidentschaft einiges zutrauen wollte. Doch von politischer
Führung ist einstweilen weit und breit nichts zu erkennen. Wenn auch in diesen
Tagen mit großer Regelmäßigkeit von notwendigen Konsultationen über den
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273 – Chronologie 2007
Atlantik zu Rede ist, so versteckt sich dahinter nicht mehr und nicht weniger das
Eingeständnis politischer Mutlosigkeit.
Also steht nichts anderes zu erwarten als die Fortsetzung des israelischpalästinensischen Patts auf der Grundlage der tiefgreifenden Unebenbürtigkeit. Die
drei vom „Quartett“ postulierten Prinzipien an „Hamas“ haben diese in die Hände
von Khaled Meshal getrieben, der als Leiter der Politischen Abteilung der
Islamischen Widerstandsbewegung mit Sitz in Damaskus und mit kapitalen
Verbindungen nach Teheran ihre Delegation in Mekka leitete und den nominellen
Ministerpräsidenten Ismail Haniyeh aufs Abstellgleis schob. Deshalb wird es gar
nicht darauf ankommen, welche Ministerriege der wieder mit der
Regierungsbildung beauftragte Haniyeh präsentiert – ob schon morgen oder erst in
der vom palästinensischen Grundgesetz vorgegebenen Fünf-Wochen-Frist. Denn
da eine „Regierung der nationalen Einheit“ ohne die in der palästinensischen
Gesellschaft nach dem einstigen Vorbild von „Fatah“ breit verankerte „Hamas“ nicht
zustande kommen kann, behält sie das Heft in der Hand. So kann sie mit einer
gewissen Gelassenheit der Abbas’schen Drohung mit Neuwahlen entgegensehen.
Der Vorwurf der Korruption und Günstlingswirtschaft hat zwar auch „Hamas“
erreicht, ohne dass ihr jedoch von der Mehrheit der Bevölkerung die
Regierungsfähigkeit abgesprochen wird.
Was übrig bleibt, sind zwei Aspekte: Welche Rolle kann und will die sogenannte
internationale Gemeinschaft zur Beilegung des Konflikts spielen? Nachdem es
weder Kairo noch Riyadh gelungen ist, die palästinensischen Kontrahenten
miteinander zu versöhnen, und nachdem die grundlegende Abkehr vom USUnilateralismus in der Region wegen des einsetzenden
Präsidentschaftswahlkampfes nicht erwartet werden kann, scheint diese Frage
entschieden zu sein.
Ohne eine auf die nationale Koexistenz in Augenhöhe verpflichtete Annäherung
zwischen Israelis und Palästinensern wird sich andererseits die Hypothese
erledigen, dass der Druck Olmert/Livni und Abbas/Meshal dazu zwingen werde,
das Ruder herumzureißen. Dazu bedürfte es allerdings israelischer Vorleistungen,
die weit über das hinausgehen, was der Ministerpräsident jüngst zugesagt hat: die
Lebensbedingungen der palästinensischen Bevölkerung zu erleichtern.
113
Rice to Haaretz: This is not 1938, Iran is not Nazi Germany, in “Haaretz”-online
19.02.2007:
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday rejected any comparison
between the international community's handling of Iran's nuclear program and its
policy of appeasement toward Nazi Germany in 1938.
"I am fond of historical analogies, but not that fond," Rice told Haaretz in an
interview, responding to a question about the analogy frequently cited by opposition
leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
However, she did lambaste Iran's behavior. "We clearly face a country that is
pursuing policies in an assertive way that are contrary to the interests of the United
States and are contrary to the interests of all people who want a peaceful Middle
East," she said.
However, she did lambaste Iran's behavior. "We clearly face a country that is
pursuing policies in an assertive way that are contrary to the interests of the United
States and are contrary to the interests of all people who want a peaceful Middle
East," she said.
In the interview, Rice said Israel's relationship with Palestinian Authority Chairman
Mahmoud Abbas should remain intact, as he is committed to the conditions set
forth by the Quartet of Middle East mediators. She also lowered expectations for
Monday's trilateral summit in Jerusalem, saying: "What I would consider a success
tomorrow is that we have gotten started."
Steps to contain Iran
Referring to Iranian moves she said were contrary to a peaceful Mideast, Rice said
"We are seeing [this] in Iraq, where the Iranians continue to support destabilizing
activities, including the transfer of technologies that are killing our soldiers. We see
it in Lebanon; we see it in the Palestinian territories. Unfortunately, Syria has
decided to be Iran's sidecar in all of these activities ... [And] of course, the Iranians
are seeking nuclear technologies that could lead to a nuclear weapon. This, with a
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president in Iran who says things that should never be said by the president of any
nation, that 'Israel should be wiped off the face of the map.'"
Rice detailed the steps that Washington has taken to contain Iran, including
securing the unanimous passage of a UN Security Council resolution on sanctions,
which "was a shock, I think, to the Iranians," sending an additional aircraft carrier to
the Persian Gulf, and
initiating various activities that target Iran's banking system and foreign investment
in Iran.
Can we Israelis rest assured that it is not 1938?
Rice: "I can't speak to that historical analogy, but I can tell you that the one thing
that we do know is that when the international community does not come together
early to address aggressive behavior, that it never turns out well, and that's why it is
important to address Iranian behavior now, not later."
Diplomatic horizons
"The two parties have not talked about a horizon for a very long time. And we have
now the complications of being in an uncertain time, in an interim time before the
Palestinian [unity] government is formed," Rice said in the interview with Haaretz,
the day before her summit with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Abbas.
Rice said the dialogue with Abbas should continue, but also stressed that the new
Palestinian unity government, in which his Fatah movement will participate, must
abide by the Quartet's conditions – recognizing Israel, renouncing terror and
honoring previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements – in order to obtain American
recognition.
Although the Mecca Accord, which forms the basis for the new unity government,
does not include these elements, Rice nevertheless justified her decision to go
ahead with the summit. "There are people who said to me, 'Why don't you wait?
Wait until the government is formed and then at least you will know what you are
dealing with.' I said that I thought this was an especially important time to talk so
that we can talk about what has happened and how we deal with the current
situation, so that we can talk about the importance of continuing to make progress
on some of the agreements that are already there."
"It is a complicated time, but as I said last night [Saturday], if I waited for an
uncomplicated time in the Middle East, I am not sure I would ever get on an
airplane," she said. "Even in this complicated time, it is important to deal with those
Palestinians who do accept" the Quartet's conditions. Abbas, she noted, "not only
accepts them, he just reiterated them a couple of days ago, and I think it is a good
time to reiterate that that relationship is going to remain intact."
Asked whether the United States was surprised by the Mecca agreement, Rice
said: "Well, we were continually saying to the Palestinian leadership that it was
important for the Quartet principles to be respected. We are not going to make any
judgments about whether or not this government will be a government that we can
support or not, until we see the government and we see its program and we see
what it says, but thus far I haven?t seen anything that suggests that it will be in
accordance with the Quartet principles."
Are you disappointed with Abbas or with the Saudi king [under whose auspices the
agreement was signed]?
"I think and fully understand that the desire to have peace among Palestinians, so
that you didn't have innocent Palestinians being killed, was very important. But let's
wait and see what happens with this government. When I meet with Prime Minister
Olmert and with President Abbas we will discuss the current situation, we will
review and I hope recommit to existing agreements, and then I think we will have
an opportunity to probe the diplomatic horizon as well, and it is time to start all that
work or to engage in all of that work."
U.S. President George Bush spoke with Olmert last Friday. President Abbas only
got a visit from Assistant Secretary [David] Welch. Is that the appearance of an
"honest broker?"
"The president doesn't need to always make calls to everybody at any given time.
The prime minister and the president haven't talked for a while – in fact for quite a
long time – and it was a good thing to have a chance to talk to the prime minister
and to say that this was an important meeting, that it was important to go ahead
with this meeting, and to reaffirm America's commitment to the Quartet principles."
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275 – Chronologie 2007
Talking about the political horizon, we have two very different points of view here.
President Abbas has been talking about final status or nothing ... while the Israelis
have been saying ... no talk about Jerusalem, the refugees or the 1967 borders.
How can you reconcile that?
"When you have different views it is probably a good thing to get everyone in the
same room so that we can talk about the views. We do have some guidance. We
have a road map that it important, and one of the things that I am going to want to
talk to the parties about is reaffirming and in fact carrying out their mutual
obligations under the road map, including under the first phase [which requires the
PA to dismantle the terrorist organizations and Israel to dismantle settlement
outposts]."
Do you think that, given the current political realities on both sides, where both
leaders appear too weak for their own good, is it possible for them to make any
compromises on these hard issues, talk about Jerusalem?
"I am not going to ask anyone to run when we really need to walk for a while,
because, as I said, I think if we ask everybody to run somebody is going to fall
down. So let's just take this one step at a time. The road map has all of the issues
that need to be resolved before a Palestinian state can be established. But the road
map does not say that it is not possible to talk about the destination even if you
have many, many conditions on both sides that need to be fulfilled before you can
get there. The Palestinian people, I think, could benefit from knowing that there is in
fact a destination and that the Israelis and Palestinians are prepared to talk about
that destination."
Rice said it was important for each side to reaffirm its commitment to existing
agreements such as the Sharm el-Sheikh cease-fire agreement and the Rafah
agreement on border crossings, "and it is important to begin to scratch the surface
of how we would move forward toward a Palestinian state by talking about a
political horizon."
Is there a carrot ... here for Hamas? If they accept the Quartet principles, will you
take them off the list of terrorist groups?
"The issue of how we deal with terrorists is long and in fact a statutory process in
the United States. But clearly, a Palestinian government, no matter who is in it, that
accepts the Quartet principles and says, 'We will recognize the right of Israel to
exist, we will renounce violence, we will accept all international agreements,' and
then acts on those principles, is going to be a government that the United States,
and I think the international community, is going to want to take a very hard look at
supporting. But those principles are foundational for peace."
Many Israeli politicians and officials are saying that it is all your fault by imposing
[Hamas's participation in last year's Palestinian] election on Israel ... If Hamas
would not have participated, all these complications and problems would not be
there.
"The United States has more faith in the democratic process than that. Yes,
elections produced an outcome that was complicated. Perhaps even an outcome
that we might not even have liked. But you know we don't have a policy in the
United States that says you only get to have an election if you elect people that the
United States agrees with. That is not our policy. And this is a long process of the
Palestinians coming to terms with the multiple factions in the Palestinian territories.
The multiple views in the Palestinian territories of how to relate to Israel, the
multiple views on how to get to a two-state solution."
"I don't regret for a moment giving the Palestinian people or supporting the
Palestinian people in making an electoral choice. But with electoral choice comes
responsibility, and what we have been saying since the day that the elections took
place is that election is one thing and it was free and fair and we acknowledge that.
But the responsibility then is to have a government that can actually govern, a
government that can be responsive to the needs of the Palestinian people. And
those needs are going to be best met in a two-state solution. And to have a twostate solution you simply must recognize the right of the other party to exist."
"The Palestinian people, I think like the Israeli people, recognize that a normal life
would be a life in which there are two states living side by side in freedom and in
peace. I am convinced that the great majority of Palestinians, the great majority of
Israelis want exactly that. Now, eventually, I think a democratic process will reflect
that underlying desire for peace. But we can't shortcut that process. The desire for
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276 – Chronologie 2007
peace has to be underpinned by some fundamental principles, and those
fundamental principles include a renunciation of violence, the recognition of the
right of both parties to exist, and adherence to international agreements. That's why
the Quartet principles are still important. That is why we are continuing to reaffirm
them."
114
Aluf Benn: A kind word for Condoleezza, in “Haaretz”-online 22.02.2007:
People who spoke to United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her
visit this week were impressed by her determination to invest the remainder of her
tenure in promoting a "two-state solution" for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The
triple handshake she produced with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian
Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, which was reminiscent of the old peace
ceremonies at the White House, says something about the magnitude of her
aspirations. Like her predecessors, Rice has been captivated by the strange
enchantment of Middle Eastern diplomacy, and according to her acquaintances she
too is frustrated by the abyss that gapes between the obvious solution and the
tremendous difficulty of achieving it.
There is no doubt that Rice has personal, political and strategic interests in her
frequent trips to the Middle East. She wants an achievement that can be chalked up
to her credit. It's good for her to get away from the troubles in Iraq and to appear as
a peacemaker at a time when her colleagues in the administration are busy with
war. She has to show that she is doing something for the Palestinians, in order to
placate Saudi Arabia and Egypt and harness them to the front against Iran. And
even though she does not talk about this in public, she sees putting an end to the
occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state as a moral imperative. In
closed conversations, Rice has used imagery from the racist American South
where she grew up.
But with no connection to her motivations, Rice's activity is welcome. She is
demonstrating that even after years of intifada, and in face of political complications
in the PA and a shaky government in Israel, America has not yet despaired of the
chances of resolving the conflict. And even if the final-status solution seems to be
beyond imagining, and neither Israelis nor Palestinians have even the strength for a
partial deal, there is value to the American secretary of state's babysitting. Had it
not been for her visit, Olmert would have found it even harder to stand up to
Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the
Israel Defense Forces' top brass, who are trying to drag him into an extensive
military operation in the Gaza Strip.
Contrary to popular opinion, which accuses the administration of U.S. President
George W. Bush of shoulder-shrugging, if not neglect, Bush has done a great deal
to create conditions for a future agreement. His critics may be nostalgic for his
predecessor, Bill Clinton, who knew every alley in Jerusalem by heart. But Clinton,
with all his efforts, did not achieve anything and the summit he ran at Camp David
led to disaster. The bleeding reality he bequeathed to Bush left zero space for
diplomatic entrepreneurship.
The Bush administration's main contribution, under Rice's leadership, has been to
root the idea of the Palestinian state in the international mind, and in the shaping of
that state's future borders. The previous administrations tended to grumble about
the Jewish settlements in the territories as "an obstacle to peace," but did very little
to stop them. Bush and Rice forced former prime minister Ariel Sharon to freeze
construction in the settlements beyond the separation fence in the West Bank and
pushed him to withdraw to the Green Line (the pre-Six Day War border). Their
close supervision has prevented Israel from building the controversial E-1
neighborhood near Ma'ale Adumim, and only recently the Americans stopped
Peretz's new settlement in the Jordan Valley.
The Bush letter of April 2004 presented the outline of a future agreement on two of
the three core issues: The border will be approximately congruent to the separation
fence, with exchanges of territory, and the refugees will be absorbed into Palestine
and not by Israel. The cessation of the pressures against the fence and against
construction within the settlement blocs has translated the vague language of the
Bush letter into physical reality.
The greatest failure of Bush and Rice has been in the marketing of their policy to
the world, where they have been depicted as blind supporters of Israel and as
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277 – Chronologie 2007
unfair mediators. They have also failed in their attempt to persuade Israel to soften
the economic siege on the Palestinians and in having pushed for the Palestinian
elections that brought Hamas to power.
Rice believes that in the long term the participation of Hamas in the political fray will
soften the movement and strengthen the public base of the Palestinian regime. In
the present reality, however, the outcome of the elections has stalled any progress.
This week Rice learned that in the Middle East there aren't good guys and bad
guys, and that any alliance is good for its moment. The moderates of yesterday join
up with extremists today, as in the Mecca agreement between Abbas and Hamas
leader Khaled Meshal. One can guess that Rice was angry at Abbas, but she wiped
the spit off her face and promised that she would be back soon for another round of
visits. And if only for this, she deserves a kind word, even if it is hard for her to
show real results.
115
Remarks of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Secretary
Condoleezza Rice, Ramallah, February 18, 2007:
Abbas: (Via interpreter) As usual, I would like to welcome very much Dr. Rice. She
is visiting us these days. As usual, we always maintain a direct contact with her
either through visits or by phone calls. And as you all know, she said during her last
visit that I will be back in three weeks, and sure enough in three weeks she is back
in order to discuss very important political issues that are taking place these days.
And among the most prominent issues that we will be discussing today, the
upcoming trilateral meeting that will take place tomorrow with Mr. Ehud Olmert, the
Israeli Prime Minister. In that meeting, we will be exploring the political horizon, we
will be discussing the Israeli-Palestinian issues, and most importantly we will be
discussing issues of peace between the two parties.
And of course, we will also be discussing the Mecca agreement, that agreement
that took place in the Holy Land of Mecca under the sponsorship of His Majesty, the
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. And there will
be other additional details that will be the subject of our conversations today.
At the end, I would like once again to express my admiration for the activities of
Secretary of State Rice and I would like to take this opportunity to convey my
warmest regard to President Bush and his interest in Middle East issues as well as
our issues and peace in the region.
Rice: Thank you very much, Mr. President, for welcoming me here yet again and for
offering me lunch yet again. I look forward to it very much. (Laughter.) We are here
to discuss issues of Palestinian life and issues of peace. And it is, of course, an
interesting, even complicated time. And I have been saying, Mr. President, that a
number of people said it's a complicated time and I said that if I waited for an
uncomplicated time to come to the Middle East, perhaps I would never get on the
airplane. (Laughter.)
So I look very much forward to discussing the current situation with you, hearing
more about your discussions in Saudi Arabia. I look forward to discussing with you
the trilateral that we will have with Prime Minister Olmert tomorrow. I hope that this
meeting with the three of us will be an opportunity to examine the current situation,
to commit to – recommit to existing agreements, but also to begin to explore and
probe the political and diplomatic horizon. And I very much look forward to that
meeting.
I want to thank you for your personal commitment to peace, a commitment that is
longstanding and that has led the Palestinian people to international agreements
that recognize the importance of the two-state solution and all that goes with it. And
so I look forward to working with you and I look forward to our discussions today
and tomorrow.
Abbas: Thank you.
116
Aluf Benn: ‘Don’t give up on Abbas’: On eve of summit, Rice urges continued
dialogue, in “Haaretz”-online 19.02.2007:
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday lowered expectations for
today's trilateral summit in Jerusalem, saying: "What I would consider a success
tomorrow is that we have gotten started."
"The two parties have not talked about a horizon for a very long time. And we have
now the complications of being in an uncertain time, in an interim time before the
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278 – Chronologie 2007
Palestinian [unity] government is formed," Rice explained in an interview with
Haaretz yesterday, the day before her summit meeting with Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Rice said the dialogue with Abbas should continue, but also stressed that the new
Palestinian unity government, in which his Fatah movement will participate –
recognizing Israel, renouncing terror and honoring previous Israeli-Palestinian
agreements – in order to obtain American recognition.
Although the Mecca agreement, which forms the basis for the new unity
government, does not include these elements, Rice nevertheless justified her
decision to go ahead with the summit. "There are people who said to me, 'Why
don't you wait? Wait until the government is formed and then at least you will know
what you are dealing with.' I said that I thought this was an especially important time
to talk so that we can talk about what has happened and how we deal with the
current situation, so that we can talk about the importance of continuing to make
progress on some of the agreements that are already there.
"It is a complicated time, but as I said last night, if I waited for an uncomplicated
time in the Middle East, I am not sure I would ever get on an airplane," she said.
"Even in this complicated time, it is important to deal with those Palestinians who do
accept" the Quartet's conditions. Abbas, she noted, "not only accepts them, he just
reiterated them a couple of days ago, and I think it is a good time to reiterate that
that relationship is going to remain intact."
Asked whether the United States was surprised by the Mecca agreement, Rice
said: "Well, we were continually saying to the Palestinian leadership that it was
important for the Quartet principles to be respected. We are not going to make any
judgments about whether or not this government will be a government that we can
support or not, until we see the government and we see its program and we see
what it says, but thus far I haven't seen anything that suggests that it will be in
accordance with the Quartet principles."
Are you disappointed with Abbas or with the Saudi king [under whose auspices the
agreement was signed]?
"I think and fully understand that the desire to have peace among Palestinians, so
that you didn't have innocent Palestinians being killed, was very important. But let's
wait and see what happens with this government. When I meet with Prime Minister
Olmert and with President Abbas we will discuss the current situation, we will
review and I hope recommit to existing agreements, and then I think we will have
an opportunity to probe the diplomatic horizon as well, and it is time to start all that
work or to engage in all of that work."
U.S. President George Bush spoke with Olmert last Friday. President Abbas only
got a visit from Assistant Secretary [David] Welch. Is that the appearance of an
"honest broker?"
"The president doesn't need to always make calls to everybody at any given time.
The prime minister and the president haven't talked for a while – in fact for quite a
long time – and it was a good thing to have a chance to talk to the prime minister
and to say that this was an important meeting, that it was important to go ahead
with this meeting, and to reaffirm America's commitment to the Quartet principles."
Talking about the political horizon, we have two very different points of view here.
President Abbas has been talking about final status or nothing ... while the Israelis
have been saying ... no talk about Jerusalem, the refugees or the 1967 borders.
How can you reconcile that?
"When you have different views it is probably a good thing to get everyone in the
same room so that we can talk about the views. We do have some guidance. We
have a road map that it important, and one of the things that I am going to want to
talk to the parties about is reaffirming and in fact carrying out their mutual
obligations under the road map, including under the first phase [which requires the
PA to dismantle the terrorist organizations and Israel to dismantle settlement
outposts]."
Do you think that, given the current political realities on both sides, where both
leaders appear too weak for their own good, is it possible for them to make any
compromises on these hard issues, talk about Jerusalem?
"I am not going to ask anyone to run when we really need to walk for a while,
because, as I said, I think if we ask everybody to run somebody is going to fall
down. So let's just take this one step at a time. The road map has all of the issues
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279 – Chronologie 2007
that need to be resolved before a Palestinian state can be established. But the road
map does not say that it is not possible to talk about the destination even if you
have many, many conditions on both sides that need to be fulfilled before you can
get there. The Palestinian people, I think, could benefit from knowing that there is in
fact a destination and that the Israelis and Palestinians are prepared to talk about
that destination."
Rice said it was important for each side to reaffirm its commitment to existing
agreements such as the Sharm el-Sheikh cease-fire agreement and the Rafah
agreement on border crossings, "and it is important to begin to scratch the surface
of how we would move forward toward a Palestinian state by talking about a
political horizon."
Is there a carrot ... here for Hamas? If they accept the Quartet principles, will you
take them off the list of terrorist groups?
"The issue of how we deal with terrorists is long and in fact a statutory process in
the United States. But clearly, a Palestinian government, no matter who is in it, that
accepts the Quartet principles and says, 'We will recognize the right of Israel to
exist, we will renounce violence, we will accept all international agreements,' and
then acts on those principles, is going to be a government that the United States,
and I think the international community, is going to want to take a very hard look at
supporting. But those principles are foundational for peace."
Many Israeli politicians and officials are saying that it is all your fault by imposing
[Hamas's participation in last year's Palestinian] election on Israel ... If Hamas
would not have participated, all these complications and problems would not be
there.
"The United States has more faith in the democratic process than that. Yes,
elections produced an outcome that was complicated. Perhaps even an outcome
that we might not even have liked. But you know we don't have a policy in the
United States that says you only get to have an election if you elect people that the
United States agrees with. That is not our policy. And this is a long process of the
Palestinians coming to terms with the multiple factions in the Palestinian territories.
The multiple views in the Palestinian territories of how to relate to Israel, the
multiple views on how to get to a two-state solution.
"I don't regret for a moment giving the Palestinian people or supporting the
Palestinian people in making an electoral choice. But with electoral choice comes
responsibility, and what we have been saying since the day that the elections took
place is that election is one thing and it was free and fair and we acknowledge that.
But the responsibility then is to have a government that can actually govern, a
government that can be responsive to the needs of the Palestinian people. And
those needs are going to be best met in a two-state solution. And to have a twostate solution you simply must recognize the right of the other party to exist.
"The Palestinian people, I think like the Israeli people, recognize that a normal life
would be a life in which there are two states living side by side in freedom and in
peace. I am convinced that the great majority of Palestinians, the great majority of
Israelis want exactly that. Now, eventually, I think a democratic process will reflect
that underlying desire for peace. But we can't shortcut that process. The desire for
peace has to be underpinned by some fundamental principles, and those
fundamental principles include a renunciation of violence, the recognition of the
right of both parties to exist, and adherence to international agreements. That's why
the Quartet principles are still important. That is why we are continuing to reaffirm
them." recognizing Israel, renouncing terror and honoring previous IsraeliPalestinian agreements –- in order to obtain American recognition.
Although the Mecca agreement, which forms the basis for the new unity
government, does not include these elements, Rice nevertheless justified her
decision to go ahead with the summit. "There are people who said to me, 'Why
don't you wait? Wait until the government is formed and then at least you will know
what you are dealing with.' I said that I thought this was an especially important time
to talk so that we can talk about what has happened and how we deal with the
current situation, so that we can talk about the importance of continuing to make
progress on some of the agreements that are already there.
"It is a complicated time, but as I said last night, if I waited for an uncomplicated
time in the Middle East, I am not sure I would ever get on an airplane," she said.
"Even in this complicated time, it is important to deal with those Palestinians who do
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280 – Chronologie 2007
accept" the Quartet's conditions. Abbas, she noted, "not only accepts them, he just
reiterated them a couple of days ago, and I think it is a good time to reiterate that
that relationship is going to remain intact."
Asked whether the United States was surprised by the Mecca agreement, Rice
said: "Well, we were continually saying to the Palestinian leadership that it was
important for the Quartet principles to be respected. We are not going to make any
judgments about whether or not this government will be a government that we can
support or not, until we see the government and we see its program and we see
what it says, but thus far I haven't seen anything that suggests that it will be in
accordance with the Quartet principles."
Are you disappointed with Abbas or with the Saudi king [under whose auspices the
agreement was signed]?
"I think and fully understand that the desire to have peace among Palestinians, so
that you didn't have innocent Palestinians being killed, was very important. But let's
wait and see what happens with this government. When I meet with Prime Minister
Olmert and with President Abbas we will discuss the current situation, we will
review and I hope recommit to existing agreements, and then I think we will have
an opportunity to probe the diplomatic horizon as well, and it is time to start all that
work or to engage in all of that work."
U.S. President George Bush spoke with Olmert last Friday. President Abbas only
got a visit from Assistant Secretary [David] Welch. Is that the appearance of an
"honest broker?"
"The president doesn't need to always make calls to everybody at any given time.
The prime minister and the president haven't talked for a while – in fact for quite a
long time – and it was a good thing to have a chance to talk to the prime minister
and to say that this was an important meeting, that it was important to go ahead
with this meeting, and to reaffirm America's commitment to the Quartet principles."
Talking about the political horizon, we have two very different points of view here.
President Abbas has been talking about final status or nothing ... while the Israelis
have been saying ... no talk about Jerusalem, the refugees or the 1967 borders.
How can you reconcile that?
"When you have different views it is probably a good thing to get everyone in the
same room so that we can talk about the views. We do have some guidance. We
have a road map that it important, and one of the things that I am going to want to
talk to the parties about is reaffirming and in fact carrying out their mutual
obligations under the road map, including under the first phase [which requires the
PA to dismantle the terrorist organizations and Israel to dismantle settlement
outposts]."
Do you think that, given the current political realities on both sides, where both
leaders appear too weak for their own good, is it possible for them to make any
compromises on these hard issues, talk about Jerusalem?
"I am not going to ask anyone to run when we really need to walk for a while,
because, as I said, I think if we ask everybody to run somebody is going to fall
down. So let's just take this one step at a time. The road map has all of the issues
that need to be resolved before a Palestinian state can be established. But the road
map does not say that it is not possible to talk about the destination even if you
have many, many conditions on both sides that need to be fulfilled before you can
get there. The Palestinian people, I think, could benefit from knowing that there is in
fact a destination and that the Israelis and Palestinians are prepared to talk about
that destination."
Rice said it was important for each side to reaffirm its commitment to existing
agreements such as the Sharm el-Sheikh cease-fire agreement and the Rafah
agreement on border crossings, "and it is important to begin to scratch the surface
of how we would move forward toward a Palestinian state by talking about a
political horizon."
Is there a carrot ... here for Hamas? If they accept the Quartet principles, will you
take them off the list of terrorist groups?
"The issue of how we deal with terrorists is long and in fact a statutory process in
the United States. But clearly, a Palestinian government, no matter who is in it, that
accepts the Quartet principles and says, 'We will recognize the right of Israel to
exist, we will renounce violence, we will accept all international agreements,' and
then acts on those principles, is going to be a government that the United States,
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281 – Chronologie 2007
and I think the international community, is going to want to take a very hard look at
supporting. But those principles are foundational for peace." Many Israeli politicians
and officials are saying that it is all your fault by imposing [Hamas's participation in
last year's Palestinian] election on Israel ... If Hamas would not have participated,
all these complications and problems would not be there.
"The United States has more faith in the democratic process than that. Yes,
elections produced an outcome that was complicated. Perhaps even an outcome
that we might not even have liked. But you know we don't have a policy in the
United States that says you only get to have an election if you elect people that the
United States agrees with. That is not our policy. And this is a long process of the
Palestinians coming to terms with the multiple factions in the Palestinian territories.
The multiple views in the Palestinian territories of how to relate to Israel, the
multiple views on how to get to a two-state solution.
"I don't regret for a moment giving the Palestinian people or supporting the
Palestinian people in making an electoral choice. But with electoral choice comes
responsibility, and what we have been saying since the day that the elections took
place is that election is one thing and it was free and fair and we acknowledge that.
But the responsibility then is to have a government that can actually govern, a
government that can be responsive to the needs of the Palestinian people. And
those needs are going to be best met in a two-state solution. And to have a twostate solution you simply must recognize the right of the other party to exist.
"The Palestinian people, I think like the Israeli people, recognize that a normal life
would be a life in which there are two states living side by side in freedom and in
peace. I am convinced that the great majority of Palestinians, the great majority of
Israelis want exactly that. Now, eventually, I think a democratic process will reflect
that underlying desire for peace. But we can't shortcut that process. The desire for
peace has to be underpinned by some fundamental principles, and those
fundamental principles include a renunciation of violence, the recognition of
the right of both parties to exist, and adherence to international agreements.
That's why the Quartet principles are still important. That is why we are continuing
to reaffirm them."
117
Zvi Bar’el: Rice’s road map is full of holes, in “Haaretz”-online 18.02.2007:
How easy it is for the United States to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: It is
both sticking to the road map and not committed to it; Washington seeks
democracy but can also dismiss its results; it is opposed to settlements, not to
speak of outposts, but has already accepted them as a fait accompli; it is in favor of
a final accord, but before this is achieved, it has defined its prior conditions.
In short, solving this conflict is not essential, it's a luxury item – from Washington's
point of view. The conflict that brings Condoleezza Rice to the region conforms to
the "turkey principle," which stipulates that if you have wings, this does not mean
you can fly, but you can feel free to make noise.
For example, that noise about the road map. There is no document that is more
vague and more unfocused; it's almost impressionistic: Everyone can find what he
wants in it. Resolutions 242 and 338, the Arab initiative, the Arab League decisions
of 2002, an end to terror and a functioning democracy in the Palestinian Authority
and even, believe it or not, an Israeli commitment to enable Palestinians to lead
normal lives. This entire salad is spread over the map, which is like a lacy tablecloth
and has the pretension of resembling a work document only because it includes
stages and a timetable. A timetable, by the way, which already ended in 2005.
Even if Rice declares that she is committed to the road map, it would be good if
someone asks her to which part of it she is committed? To the longed-for
Palestinian democracy? The same democracy that brought Hamas to power? Or,
perhaps, the section that requires Israel to enable the Palestinians to conduct
normal lives? Or could it be the first section of the document, in which the
Palestinian Authority commits to take effective steps to dismantle the infrastructure
of terror? Ah, but the terror infrastructure of 2003 is the same Hamas that is now
running the government after winning the democratic battle Washington so wished
to see.
Many other sections in the initial stage of the road map need to be realized, the first
of which is that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel's right to exist in peace,
while declaring a complete cease-fire. But a cease-fire already exists between the
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282 – Chronologie 2007
PA and Israel and, in the meantime, the Mecca agreement was also signed. But
this, as we know, is an odious agreement, one designed to deceive the world, only
to bring about a lifting of the embargo on the Palestinian Authority.
For a long time now, the road map has not been a suitable mold in which to pour
the contents of a diplomatic process. It was written and approved on the basis that
Arafat would live forever; that Hamas would not want or be capable of participating
in political life in Palestine; and that Fatah would always be Israel's contrarian
interlocutor and thus eliminate the need to make concessions. Despite these
assurances, Israel took the trouble of submitting countless reservations about this
map, as if it really were about to become a work plan.
We have said nothing yet about the section in the map that requires Israel to
demolish illegal outposts built since March 2001 and to freeze all settlement activity.
Rice can say what she wants about the road map, but besides words, Washington
has really done nothing to demonstrate this commitment.
This conflict needs a new working paper, one the current administration in
Washington is incapable of producing. Primarily this is so because it does not think
a strategic threat is involved, because the administration knows how to deal with
real strategic threats, rather than imagined ones: When necessary, it conducts
practical negotiations with the head of the axis of evil, North Korea; it conducts
effective talks with Libya; it is ready to talk with Iran about Iraq and to conduct a
dialogue in Iraq with terror gangs that are accorded the title of "rebels" or
"insurgents." Because when there is a real threat, one does not get bogged down in
the fine points. Instead, one talks with everyone and pays in legal tender. In
Palestine, from Washington's perspective, it is possible to continue to market
values, to aspire for a utopian state with a utopian regime, and to compose
documents in its honor, because there is no immediate danger if they are not
implemented.
118
Remarks With Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Secretary Condoleezza Rice,
Jerusalem, February 17, 2007:
Livni: Yes, hello. It's a pleasure to welcome Secretary Rice to Israel. This meeting –
we're going to have a meeting which will be more of a preparatory meeting before
the trilateral summit this week. This is a very sensitive point in time after the
agreements between the Fatah and Hamas. Unfortunate and before the formation
of the future Palestinian government, the understandings doesn't meet the
requirements of the international community. It is crucial to understand that Israel
with the international community expects any Palestinian government to meet these
requirements fully and completely. These requirements are not obstacle for peace,
but they are the basic conditions and foundation for any kind of – for the vision of
two-state solution. I think that also the moderates in the Palestinian side need to
understand that the path toward a Palestinian state goes through renunciation of
violence and terrorism and not by compromising with terror. So we are going to
discuss all these matters and next week we are going to – this is going to be part of
the trilateral meeting next week.
Rice: Well, thank you very much for welcoming me again to Israel. I look very much
forward to our dinner tonight and we will have a chance to have preparatory talks in
advance of both my bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Olmert tomorrow and then
also the trilateral meeting. And I look forward to that meeting. As I have said, it is, in
fact, a complicated time because we are between the announcement of the
intention to form a government and the actual formation of the government. The
Quartet has, of course, reiterated the importance of its principles because they are
foundational principles for peace. It only makes sense that you have to renounce
violence. It only makes sense that you have to recognize the right of your partner to
exist and to respect international agreements. And so those principles remain the
foundational principles for the formation of two states and, in fact, for the formation
of leadership that can lead to that two-state solution. We, of course, have said that
we will await the formation of the government before making any decisions about it,
and I think that is generally the view that is held in the international community as a
whole. But I have said that if one waited for the perfect time to come to the Middle
East, perhaps you wouldn't get on an airplane; and so despite the complications, it's
an important time to have these discussions, it's an important time to talk about
how we advance the vision of two states living side by side in peace and in
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283 – Chronologie 2007
freedom. And I look forward to exploring, probing the political horizon with Prime
Minister Olmert and with President Abbas. And so thank you very much for
welcoming me here and I look forward to dinner tonight.
Livni: Thank you.
119
Vgl. dazu Reiner Bernstein: Neue Bewegung in Nahost, in der Menüleiste
“Bestandsaufnahmen und Perspektiven” dieser Homepage.
120
Vgl. Art. 7 Ziff. 3 des Textes in Reiner Bernstein: Von Gaza nach Genf.
Schwalbach/Ts. 2006, S. 144.
121
Yugal Yoaz: Beinisch: Make courts independent, in „Haaretz“-online
15.03.2007:
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch said yesterday she wants to turn the court
system into a completely independent authority, with no administrative or financial
dependence on the Justice Ministry. Currently, the Courts Administration is a unit of
the Justice Ministry, and the ministry therefore has some input into both
appointments and budgets. The idea of complete independence was first promoted
by Beinisch's predecessor, Aharon Barak.
"Only in the last few months, since becoming Supreme Court president, has it
become clear to me how severe the courts' administrative lack of independence is,"
Beinisch said, speaking at a rare press conference. "The dependence on [the
justice minister] is enormous. We are dependent on outside parties in matters of
budgeting, construction and logistics."
For instance, Beinisch has drafted a plan to make the courts' management more
efficient, but parts of it require legislation – which means cooperation from the
justice minister.
"For years, a campaign has been waged to undermine public faith in the court, and
all kinds of people are engaged in this campaign," she continued, without
elaborating. "We have no time for conflicts with a minister or anyone else. I want to
get things moving."
Beinisch was careful not to directly attack the current justice minister, Daniel
Friedmann, but the platform she outlined clearly contradicted his at several key
points.
"What is happening now is undermining the attractiveness of being a judge," she
declared. "Scrutinizing the candidates has become the fashion, and every judge is
considered suspect in advance. A judicial candidate knows he is embarking on
hard labor. He will not earn what people earn in the private sector, he will sit in a
tiny cell, and every day he will read in the paper about the mistakes he made. The
fact is that private-sector lawyers don't want to go this route. We are not managing
to find suitable candidates among [private] lawyers. Instead of this being the most
desirable job, we are undermining it."
Regarding Friedmann's bill to restrict the Supreme Court's power to overturn
Knesset legislation, Beinisch said that while she does not object to the provision
limiting this power to nine-justice panels, she does oppose the provision that would
enable the Knesset to reinstate laws overturned by the court. The Canadian
constitution, on which this proposal is based, was the result of a political
compromise unsuited to Israel's situation, she said. She also said that any such law
should be part of a constitution, and not enacted separately.
Beinisch also opposes any change in the Judicial Appointments Committee's
composition, such as the addition of politicians or professors. "You don't do this
overnight; this is part of our constitution," she said. "The committee, in my view, is
critical to the [judicial] system's character and independence. It is no accident that
the system was built with a professional majority on the committee, with
respectable representation for the political sector. Many countries are envious of
our model. The question is which concept you prefer – professional appointments
or political ones. That's the heart of the matter."
Regarding Friedmann's idea of replacing two of the committee's three Supreme
Court justices with lower court judges, she demanded: "If Professor Friedmann or
others were appointing university professors, would the appointments be made by
doctoral students?"
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284 – Chronologie 2007
Beinisch also objected to Friedmann's idea of canceling the seniority system, under
which the Supreme Court president is always the longest-serving justice on the
court, and said that while one or two professors or private-sector lawyers on the
court would be acceptable, most justices should come from either the lower courts
or the state prosecution.
Explaining her recent letter to the Judicial Appointments Committee, in which she
urged it to appoint new judges immediately and postpone discussion of ways to
improve the screening of candidates, she said the shortage of judges had reached
crisis proportions, and if not dealt with now, was liable to become so great that "we
won't be able to catch up."
"I hope the justice minister will study the system's needs and understand that his
plans, precisely because they are revolutionary, are long-term and require serious
examination," she said. "It is very important to appoint new judges quickly ... The
percentage of errors is not sufficient to justify halting the appointments."
She also denied that the committee needs more information than it has to screen
candidates, saying, "There are not many civil service positions where as much is
known about the candidates as in the judiciary." Friedmann argues that the
committee often has too little information to make intelligent choices.
122
Jörn Böhme, Tel Aviv: „The Palestinian Unity Government; The Arab League
Initiative and Israel – Is There a Partner?”
– Conference on the different developments as viewed by the Israeli Government,
the Opposition and the Palestinians:
The hall in the ZOA (“Zionists of America”) House was packed – just few young
people, but many representatives of the diplomatic and international community to
which the conference was addressed.
In his opening word, Ambassador Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal, Head of the Delegation of
the European Commission to the State of Israel, pointed to the fact that the EU has
declared it a strategic interest that the Israeli-Arab conflict be settled. He quoted
Antonio Gramsci who talked about the pessimism of the intelligence, but the
optimism of the will.
Gadi Baltiansky, the Director-General of the Geneva Initiative, pointed to two polls,
according to which 41% of the Israeli public supports the Saudi Initiative as a basis
for a settlement of the conflict and 47% of the Jewish population of Israel say yes to
negotiations with a Palestinian unity government.
Minister of Housing and Construction Meir Sheetrit (“Kadima”) spoke of a stalemate
and deadlock. During the times of Arafat at least there had been some kind of
address. But today there were the radical forces that don’t accept Israel, and the
moderate forces are weak. He said he wants a Jewish state with a large Jewish
majority, but that not enough efforts for peace are made. The only way to achieve
peace would be through peace. He had advocated in the past to take the Saudi
Initiative and talk about it. It could be a basis, even though he didn’t agree with all
the ingredients and proposals. For example, he said that he is against the
withdrawal to the 1967 borders. According to Sheetrit, it is possible to achieve
peace with the Palestinians without any mediators. He referred to mistakes of past
governments. Arafat told him that in Camp David in 2000 there had been just one
eye to eye meeting between him and Ehud Barak. It was a mistake not to focus on
the final outcome first, but to proceed in phases. There is no point in interim
agreements, disengagement, realignment and unilateral steps. If there is no
agreement, the Arab Initiative should be accepted. Iran should be isolated by
creating peace through talks and negotiations. A draft for a permanent agreement
should be put on the table. Without an agreement with the Palestinians there would
be no agreements with the Arab states. Israel should stop running around trying to
grab its tail. Also he said, it was wrong to use security as an excuse not to deal with
the pressing internal problems of Israel like social issues, crime, etc.
Qadura Faris pointed to the new direction inside “Hamas” that came with the
decision to participate in the elections in January 2006. He was critical of “Fatah” by
saying that we didn’t miss a mistake. He said that a Palestinian state in the borders
of 1967 now has a mandate from “Hamas.” Gaza needs to be rebuilt as an example
for the Palestinian people. In view of the upcoming summit meeting on February 19,
Faris said that the Palestinians are tired of handshakes and words and then nothing
happening. He criticized the presence of Israeli military units in Palestinian towns
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285 – Chronologie 2007
and the roadblocks. He also expressed the hope that Marwan Barghouti would be
the new leader of the Palestinian people.
Colette Avital (“Labour Party”) said that the Saudi Initiative expresses a true and
dramatic change. Time is of great importance and 40 years after the start of the
occupation there is no excuse anymore. She said that the current government is
without an agenda and that it needs one, because she doesn’t know what “Labour”
is doing in the government if there is no agenda.
Yossi Beilin also said that never before the Arab Initiative in March, 2002 the Arab
world had said to Israel: Give up territories and we will accept you. He expressed
his fear that after the summit on this coming Monday, February 19, there would be
again nothing more than a commitment to the “Road Map” which he called an idiotic
paper. He referred to the fact that Israel has not even evacuated the illegal outposts
on the grounds that it was not the right time. According to this view there would
never be a right time. There would be no peace, if there would be not withdrawal to
more or less to the 1967 border. He referred to the opportunity that lies in the fact
that “Kadima”, “Labour”, “Meretz” and the Arab parties have 70 mandates in the
Knesset and referred to things, which he heard Tsipi Livni, Shimon Peres and Ehud
Olmert say, which were acceptable to him. Something needs to be done all the time
– not just words, Beilin said.
In the discussion people criticized the Israeli government as a refusal government,
because of the lack of initiative, the expansion of settlements and asked if Corporal
Gilad Shalit will be freed and what could be done about suicide bombers.
Meir Sheetrit rejected the notion of a “refusal government” and pointed to partners
he discovers in “Kadima.” Qadura Faris demanded that Gilad Shalit should not be
used for political gains. He pointed to the fact that he was a soldier and not
kidnapped when being on the beach in Gaza and said that he was alive and well.
He said there is no justification for suicide bombings, but that they would only stop if
peace is achieved. Colette Avital demanded negotiations with the Palestinian
government.
123
“Jerusalem Media & Communication Centre”: Text of Mecca Accord for
Palestinian Coalition Government:
MECCA – Under the Palestinians' Mecca Accord, the mainstream Fatah movement
and the militant group Hamas agreed on forming a new coalition government that
will respect previous peace deals with Israel.
The accord came in the form of a letter from Palestinian Authority Chairman
Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, designating Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas to
form the government.
a) The following is a text of Abbas' message to Haniyeh:
In our capacity as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation
Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority and after reviewing the
Basic Law and based on the authorities vested in us:
First: I commission you to form the next Palestinian government within the set
period as stiputaled in the Basic Law [five weeks].
Second: After concluding the formation of the government and presenting it to us,
the government will be presented to the Palestinian Legislative Council to get the
confidence vote.
Third: I call upon you as Prime Minister of the next government to abide by the
interests of the Palestinian people and to preserve its rights and to maintain their
accomplishments and develop them and to work on achieving their national goals
as ratified by the resolutions Palestine National Council meetings and the Basic
Law articles and the National Reconciliation Document and the Arab Summit
resolutions and based on this, I call upon you to respect the Arab and international
legitimacy resolutions and the agreements signed by the Palestine Liberation
Organization.
May God help you in your steps and duties.
b) The Mecca Agreement, read out by Nabil Amr, media adviser to the Palestinian
Authority president, in Mecca:
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,
"Glory to God who did take His servant for a journey by night from the sacred
mosque to the farthest mosque whose precincts we did bless."
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286 – Chronologie 2007
Based on the noble initiative announced by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
King Abdallah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz, king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and under his
majesty's generous auspices, Palestinian dialogues of accord and agreement were
held in holy Mecca between Fatah and HAMAS 19-21 Muharram 1428 Hegira,
corresponding to 6-8 February 2007. And with God's help, these dialogues
achieved success, as agreement was reached on the following:
First, stressing the sanctity of Palestinian blood and taking all steps to prevent
bloodshed, while emphasizing the importance of national unity as a basis for
national steadfastness and resistance against the occupation, in addition to
achieving legitimate national aims of the Palestinian people and espousing the
language of dialogue as the sole foundation for resolving political disagreements on
the Palestinian scene. In this context, we offer our profound gratitude to the
brothers in sisterly Egypt and the Egyptian security delegation in Gaza, who exerted
great efforts to pacify the situation in the sector recently.
Second, agreeing on forming a Palestinian national unity government in accordance
with a detailed agreement approved by the two parties, and urgently take the
constitutional procedures to bolster it.
Third, proceeding with developing and re-forming the PLO and speeding up the
preliminary committee's work in accordance with the Cairo and Damascus
understandings. And agreement was reached on detailed steps between the two
sides in this connection.
Fourth, stressing the political partnership principle on the basis of the laws applied
by the Palestinian National Authority and political pluralism, based on an agreement
endorsed by the two sides. While we announce this agreement to our Palestinian
masses, the masses of our Arab and Islamic nation, all friends worldwide, we
emphasize our commitment to it, in letter and spirit, in order to focus on achieving
our national aims, getting rid of the occupation, restoring our rights, and focusing on
the main issues, first and foremost the Jerusalem and refugee issues, Al-Aqsa
Mosque issue, the prisoners issue, the detainees issue, and tackling the [security]
fence and settlement issue.
It is God who grants success.
Holy Mecca, 21 Muharram 1428 Hegira, corresponding to 8 February 2007.
May God's peace be upon you.
124
Quartet Statement on the Agreement to Form A Palestinian National Unity
Government, Washington, 9 February 2007:
The Quartet Principals – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High
Representative for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, German
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and European Commissioner for
External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner – discussed by telephone today the
situation in the Middle East.
The Quartet welcomed the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in reaching the
agreement to form a Palestinian National Unity government. The Quartet
expressed hope that the desired calm would prevail.
While awaiting formation of the new Palestinian government, the Quartet reaffirmed
its statement of February 2 regarding its support for a Palestinian government
committed to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous
agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap.
Quartet members will meet February 21 in Berlin to continue their consideration of
these developments, and to review formation and implementation of the agreement
on the government. They welcomed the upcoming February 19 trilateral meeting
between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert, and Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The Quartet
will discuss the way ahead at the February 21 meeting.
125
Rami G. Khouri: Where to, after the Mecca agreement?, in “The Daily Star”
10.02.2007:
The most significant thing about the national unity government agreement signed
Thursday by Hamas and Fatah in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, under Saudi auspices was
that it was signed in Mecca under Saudi auspices. This is probably more important
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287 – Chronologie 2007
for what it tells us about Saudi diplomatic stirrings than what it says about
Palestinian-Israeli issues.
If this is the beginning of a new era in which diplomatically dynamic Saudis and
politically pragmatic Palestinians assert themselves more forcefully on the regional
stage, we might be on the threshold of better days ahead for the Middle East. I
would not bet the family savings on it, but neither can we ignore the potential that is
there.
Nobody should expect this accord to jumpstart a new Arab-Israeli peace process,
mainly because Israel and the United States – with Western Europe increasingly in
tow – have not seriously explored real openings for a negotiated peace in the past
decade. The most forceful move ever made by the Quartet – the US, the United
Nations, the European Union, and Russia – that is supposed to shepherd the
peace-making process, was to slap sanctions and tough demands on the Hamasled Palestinian government, without making equal demands of Israel. As such, the
Quartet looks more and more like a legitimizing cover for Israeli-American positions
that have killed any chance of a peace process.
Israel and the US are likely to repeat the Quartet's three demands: that the new
Palestinian government explicitly renounce terrorism, honor all existing Palestinian
agreements with Israel, and recognize Israel's right to exist. These are reasonable
and legitimate demands – but only if Israel is required to abide by the same rules,
which is not the case. The Quartet must demand, simultaneously, that Israel stop
its colonization of Arab lands, its expansion of settlements, and its routine killings or
assassinations of Palestinian militants.
The key to a breakthrough is for Israel, the US and other Western countries to give
to the Palestinians as much as what they demand the Palestinians give to Israel. In
this respect, the Palestinian accord in Mecca will not meet Quartet demands, and is
unlikely to advance peace talks. However it could mark a positive turning point if the
Israeli-American-Quartet camp were to see peace-making as a win-win situation, in
which progress took place on the back of mutual gains by both sides, rather than
through enforcement of Israel's unilateral demands.
The Palestinian national unity government has offered Israel two significant but
symbolic olive branches: respect for all previous Palestinian agreements (such as
the Oslo Accords and the Palestinian Liberation Organization's recognition of
Israel's right to exist); and acceptance of the 2002 Arab peace plan, which offers
Israel full peace in return for full withdrawal from occupied lands and a negotiated
resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue. This same government, though, also
recommitted itself to other Palestinian documents and Arab positions that make
armed resistance against Israeli occupation both legitimate and noble. Which path
defines Palestinian policy will largely reflect how Israel and the West respond to the
Mecca agreement.
Those who truly seek peace should see this Palestinian gesture as an opportunity
to explore serious means of negotiating a comprehensive, permanent peace
agreement. Israel must make an important choice in the coming months: Will it
reciprocate the Palestinian-Saudi gesture in kind and make equally broad but wellintentioned declarations of intent to coexist in peace and equality? Or will it hold fast
to its ironclad policy of refusing any diplomatic probes and persisting in its
colonization, strangulation and military assaults on the Palestinians?
The agreement comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is also actively engaged with
Iran in defusing tensions in Lebanon and in the standoff between Iran and the
international community over Tehran's nuclear industry. Saudi Arabia affirmed its
clout within the region in fostering the Palestinian accord, which Syria and Egypt
both tried but failed to do. If Saudi Arabia is more willing to use its considerable
moral, religious, and financial power to help broker conflict resolutions in the Middle
East, we should all welcome that. But we must also respond to Saudi gestures,
rather than let them wither on the vine, as happened with the 2002 Arab-Israeli
peace plan that Israel and the US never breathed life into.
It is important to recognize the significance of a diplomatically stirring Saudi Arabia
that can have a positive impact in Iran, Syria, Palestine-Israel, and Lebanon, for
starters. As in 2002, Saudis and Palestinians have made a sincere, constructive
gesture for peaceful coexistence. A return gesture of equal magnitude could
change history. Snubbing this Arab gesture would only exacerbate existing tensions
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and conflicts in the region, and probably push them toward levels of suffering and
destruction that would make the past five years look like a picnic.
126
Israeli Foreign Ministry: Hamas-Fatah Agreement does not meet requirements
of the international community, 25.02.2007:
The Hamas-Fatah agreement reached at Mecca does not meet the requirements
set out by the Quartet for any Palestinian government. To the contrary, this
agreement, as well as Hamas' statements and actions, indicates that Hamas
continues to seek to gain international legitimacy without compromising on its
fundamentalist ideology, including its goal of the destruction of Israel.
It was the clear statements of the Hamas advocating violence, opposing a two-state
solution, and denying the right of Israel to exist, as well as its direct involvement in
terrorism, which prompted the international community to set out three clear
conditions for any Palestinian government to attain legitimacy and international
cooperation. The burden of proof that it has changed is on the Hamas, a
designated terrorist organization. But in fact, as detailed below, express statements
by Hamas leaders following the agreement leave no room for doubt that there has
been no movement by Hamas towards accepting these foundational principles for
peace.
The Quartet has demanded that any Palestinian government must be committed to
these three conditions and that "it should contain no member" who has not
committed to them. Participation in a government, the policy of which is not based
on a commitment to these principles, can clearly not be considered to satisfy the
Quartet's demand.
There is currently no agreed platform or binding agreement regarding the policy of
a future government. The letter of appointment from Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas included in the Hamas-Fatah agreement invites Hamas leader
Ismail Haniyeh to form a government, but cannot in itself constitute the political
platform of the future government and cannot be considered to represent fulfillment
of any conditions that government is required to fulfill.
But even were the letter a binding commitment representing the policy of the new
government, it would not meet any of the three fundamental requirements
repeatedly set out by the Quartet: to recognize Israel, to renounce terrorism and
violence, and to accept previous agreements and obligations, including the
Roadmap.
1. Recognition of Israel: The Quartet's requirements recognize that there can be no
hope of a two-state solution, unless each recognizes the right of the other to a
state. Recognition of the right of Israel to exist is en essential precondition for any
Palestinian partner in peace. The Hamas-Fatah letter of appointment contains no
recognition of the State of Israel. In fact, the word "Israel" does not appear in the
document. Even the PLO-Israel agreements are referred to merely as "agreements
signed by the PLO". The fact that Hamas has not changed its intransigent position
on this issue in the slightest was emphasized by Ismail Haniyeh's adviser, Ahmed
Youssef just a few days after the conclusion of the agreement: "The issue of
recognition was not addressed at all in Mecca. In the platform of the new
government there will be no sign of recognition (of Israel), regardless of the
pressures the United States and the Quartet would exert." (Reuters 10 Feb 2007)
Similarly, Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan, emphasized that the agreement
marked no change in Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel: "The agreement reached
at Mecca does not mean recognition of the Israeli entity... The position of Hamas is
firm and well known and it is one of non-recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist
entity...." (Interview to French News Agency 9 Feb 2007)
2. Renunciation of terrorism and violence: 'Two states living side by side in peace and
security' can never arise if one side still advocates the use of terror. For this reason,
the Quartet has repeatedly insisted that any Palestinian government renounce
terrorism and violence. The letter of appointment contains no undertaking to refrain
from terrorism and violence. To the contrary, the letter calls on the new government
to commit itself to the National Conciliation Document. This document, it will be
recalled, explicitly legitimizes the use of violence and terrorism, calling on the
parties "to uphold resistance. in tandem with political action (Article 3) and "to lead
and engage in resistance against the occupation" (Article 10). Such calls are, of
course, in direct contradiction to Palestinian obligations in previous agreements,
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including the Roadmap, which call, inter alia, for an immediate end to "armed
activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere." Hamas' refusal to
renounce violence was clearly stated by Hamas' representative in Lebanon, Usama
Hamdan: "Everyone knows that one of the conditions for recognition of the
government and opening the flow of money to it was to be the end of violence and
resistance. We said the resistance would continue and we have carried out actions
such as capturing the Israeli soldier Shalit, as well as other actions against the
aggressive occupation. Hamas still sees resistance as a strategic option and will
not make any concessions until – if Allah wills it- we shall be victorious in
Palestine." (Interview on Al-Manar radio station 14 Feb 2007) In practice too,
Hamas has given no indication of any intention to renounce violence. It continues to
hold Gilad Shalit hostage, to smuggle illegal weapons and explosives into the
territories, and to glorify terrorism and violence. In addition, it has taken no
measures to implement Palestinian obligations to prevent acts of violence by other
Palestinian groups, including the firing of Kassam missiles on Israeli towns and
villages. To the contrary, Hamas government spokesmen have made clear that
they support such attacks and have no intention whatsoever of preventing them.
3. Acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap: The
Quartet has repeatedly insisted that any Palestinian government is required to
accept previous Palestinian obligations and agreements, including the Roadmap.
These agreements reflect the result of painstaking negotiations and compromises
by both sides. There can be no value in working to new agreements with a partner
who reneges on previous ones. The letter of appointment calls on the new
government "to respect the agreements signed by the PLO", but this falls far short
of the Quartet's requirement for several reasons:
a. The respect for the agreements is stated to be 'on the basis' of the Palestinian
higher national interests and other documents, including the National Conciliation
Document which, as noted above, legitimizes and calls for acts of terror. A
provision which makes respect for the agreements subject to these other
considerations amounts to little more than a willingness to selectively accept those
parts of the agreements which do not contradict Hamas' longstanding extremist
goals. The fact that the so-called 'respect' for agreements has no meaning in
practice was explicitly noted by Khalil Abu Leila, of Hamas' political bureau. When
asked whether Hamas has committed itself to respecting the PLO agreements, he
replied: "Only as concerns matters that do not contradict the higher interest of the
Palestinian people. That is important. We as Palestinians can negotiate with the
help of our Arab brethren and say: "Where then is the higher Palestinian interest? If
we can agree, we shall act according to that agreement. I say that the way of the
previous government, based on Palestinian unity, was in the right direction, for the
higher Palestinian interest. If we can find that interest in the agreements (signed by
the PLO) we shall abide by them. But if the interest lies elsewhere we must get rid
of them (the agreements) and return to jihad (war) with the oppressive Zionist
enemy." (Interview to BBC Arabic Service 16.2.2007, emphasis added)
b. While the word 'respect' seems to indicate a commitment to the agreements, the
insistence of the Hamas leadership on not using the words 'accept' or 'commit', as
required by the Quartet, suggests that they intend to mean something far less
binding. Moussa Abu Marzouk, Deputy Head of Hamas Political Bureau
emphasized the importance of this distinction in the days following the agreement:
"There were detailed discussions on this issue, regarding the words 'respect' and
'commit' and it was clear to all that Hamas could not commit to something which is
not included in the political positions it has presented on this issue. The fact that
Abu Mazen accepted the word 'respect' in the letter of appointment made an
important contribution to the breakthrough."(Interview on Hamas website 17 Feb
2007) The distinction between the terms 'respect' and 'commit' is all the more
apparent since, in the same letter of invitation, the word 'commit' is used – in
relation to the commitment of the new government to the 'higher interests' of the
Palestinian people and to other documents, including the National Conciliation
Document. Additionally, it will be recalled that the Quartet called for respect not just
for agreements, but also other obligations, "including the Roadmap", since the
Roadmap is not a formally singed agreement between the parties. The omission of
any reference to the Road Map raises troubling questions as regards the scope of
the provision.
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c. Statements by Hamas leaders make it clear that Hamas' fundamental opposition to
the Israeli-Palestinian agreements remains unaltered. Usama Hamdan, Hamas'
representative in Lebanon, restated its uncompromising position: "All the
agreements with the occupation were historic errors because they implied
recognition of the legitimacy of occupation and opposition to further resistance."
(Interview on Al-Manar Radio station 14 Feb 2007)
d. Hamas' actions similarly disprove any suggestion that it is prepared to comply with
the provisions of the agreements reached between the PLO and Israel. These
agreements set out obligations, inter alia, requiring the Palestinian side:
– to take action against all expressions of violence and terrorism (see e.g. Interim
Agreement, Annex I, Article 2; Wye River Memorandum paragraph A; Roadmap,
Phase 1)
– to restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on
Israelis anywhere (e.g. Roadmap, Phase 1)
– to confiscate all illegal weapons and ammunition (e.g. Sharm e-Sheikh
Memorandum, Para. 8; Roadmap, Phase 1)
– to respect internationally-accepted norms and principles of human rights (e.g.
Interim Agreement, Article XIX)
– to foster mutual understanding, abstain from incitement, and ensure that its
education system contribute to peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples
(e.g. Interim Agreement XXII) Any suggestion that Hamas respects these
agreements contrasts starkly with its continued smuggling of illegal weapons, its
glorification of violence and terror, its vicious incitement against Israel, and its
persistent violation of the fundamental human rights of the Palestinians it claims to
represent.
In conclusion, the evidence indicates that Hamas has not changed, neither in
principle nor in practice, in order to comply with the international community's
requirements set out by the Quartet, or to acquiesce to the political platform of a
Palestinian government which is committed to these principles. To the contrary,
Hamas' outright rejection of these requirements was stated clearly by Khalil Abu
Leila, of Hamas' political bureau, just days after the agreement was reached: "I
believe that Mecca was a success, because the aim was reached, but as far as the
principles of Hamas are concerned, Hamas maintains its positions for the higher
Palestinian interest. It continues not to agree to surrender and obey the conditions
of the Quartet." (Interview on BBC Arabic Service 16 Feb 2007, emphasis added)
The conditions set out by the Quartet, which Hamas continues to reject, are not
obstacles to peace, but rather the basic tests by which the international community
can determine whether any Palestinian government is capable of being a partner in
peace. As such, they are not subject to negotiation and cannot be satisfied by
vague formulations or hopeful interpretations. Were any government which refuses
to meet these basic foundational principles for peace to receive international
legitimacy and support, this would be a grave setback for prospects of peace, and a
betrayal of the genuine moderates, on both sides of the conflict, who truly believe in
a two-state solution to the conflict and seek to make it a reality.
127
Jonathan Lis: J’lem Mayor postpones Temple Mt. construction, in “Haaretz”online 12.02.2007:
Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski announced late Sunday night that he has decided
to postpone construction of the walkway at the Mugrabi Ascent until zoning
authorities complete plans for the area.
"The Mayor of Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski, together with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz,
Rabbi for the Kotel and Holy Places, decided last night to allow public discussion of
the plans to construct the Mugrabi Bridge at the planning and construction
committees," city spokesman Gideon Schmerling said in a statement.
"This is due to the sensitivity of the plan and following meetings and discussions
with representatives from eastern Jerusalem who requested to look over the plans
and voice their opinions."
Schmerling added that the archeological work conducted by the Antiquities
Authority at the site would continue.
Over the past several days, Lupolianski held meetings and discussions with various
representatives from eastern Jerusalem, together with Rabbi Rabinowitz, and
Lupolianski assured them that he will allow open discussion with full disclosure in
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291 – Chronologie 2007
order to make it clear that there is no intention to enter the Temple Mount or cause
any damage to it.
Lupolianski and Western Wall rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich drafted the decision
Sunday following conversations with Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, municipal
planning authorities, Muslim community leaders and other representatives of the
Arab population of East Jerusalem, in order to allow the general public to review
plans for the bridge and submit opposition.
Lupolianski announced that the measure reflects a desire for transparency and to
foster a sense of cooperation with residents in the construction process. He also
wanted to avoid the feeling among the public that the work constitutes some sort of
an Israeli ambush.
In practice, the decision means that approval of the plan will be postponed until a
hearing of all the letters of opposition filed by city residents. The salvage excavation
being conducted by the Antiquities Authority is expected to continue at this stage,
parallel to the public discussion of the zoning plan.
Jerusalem municipal sources said Sunday that the decision could in fact be
postponed for months, and that there is no certainty the zoning authorities that hear
the arguments of those opposed will actually approve the plan in the end.
Settlers to gov't: Don't give in to threats
The Yesha settlers council voiced support of continued work at the site, urging the
government not to "surrender to threats" and to open the Temple Mount to Jewish
worship, Israel Radio reported Monday.
It quoted the Rabbinical Committee of the Yesha settlers council as saying "The
violent events on the Temple Mount are the rotten fruit of the weakness that Israeli
governments have demonstrated since the liberation of the Temple Mount in the
Six Day War.
"This is a direct result of the negation of the rights of the Jews at the site.
The council announced that it "backs the government, which is not surrendering to
threats and fabrications," the radio said.
Many rabbis have ruled the Temple Mount site off-limits to Jews, citing prohibitions
on entering the area where the Temple courtyard once lay, and the difficulty of
fulfilling the ancient ritual requirement of cleansing with the ashes of a red heifer.
'Plan engendered wave of rumor
Lupolianski told associates Sunday that "the plan to construct the walkway
engendered a wave of rumor and speculation about Israeli intentions regarding the
[Al-Aqsa] mosque."
"We therefore decided to be totally transparent with all residents about the walkway
construction plan, so they will know clearly where it is to be built and to allow
members of the public to express their positions to the zoning board," Lupoliansky
continued. "The move is slated to help people understand that the walkway is in no
way injurious and does not enter the Temple Mount. It is important to us that there
is no feeling that this was done covertly or sneakily."
The decision to draft a zoning plan for the walkway is controversial: City Hall has
sufficed until now with issuing permits – a rapid process – rather than demanding a
broad plan, since the walkway is intended to replace an existing bridge and does
not involve construction of a new structure.
The city's legal counsel has said in recent months that a building permit is
sufficient, but after the mayor's discussions with Mazuz and representatives of East
Jerusalem, it was decided to create a zoning procedure and allow all residents to
file reservations about the project.
128
Uzi Benziman: A la intifada comme à la intifada, in “Haaretz”-online 18.02.2007:
When the leader of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah,
calls for launching an intifada against Israel, he is defining the state of which he is a
citizen as the enemy. Salah is urging Israeli Arabs to begin an armed revolt against
their country. He thus leaves the state, and its Jewish majority, no choice but to
defend themselves against him, in the spirit of the old saying "a la guerre comme a
la guerre."
It could well be that this was the sheikh's intention: He wants to worsen majorityminority relations and bring them to the point of an explosion, and he has chosen to
do so, predictably, by using a religious pretext. He is cynically fanning the flames of
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the false accusation that Israel is harming the Temple Mount mosques, and in this
way, he hopes to crown himself the guardian of Islam's holy sites in Israel.
Salah appears to be the local emissary of fundamentalist Islam; his Israeli identity is
a mere fig leaf. He also has a personal score to settle with the state: Two years
ago, it sent him to jail for 42 months for having been in contact with a foreign agent
(after withdrawing charges of more serious security offenses that it had initially
leveled against him).
From a Jewish perspective, Salah's worldview is a dangerous threat: He is
harnessing popular religious sentiment to the national struggle that is still being
waged between Israel and the Palestinians. His behavior joins the uncompromising
"future vision" that was recently published by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee
and the appeal to United Nations organizations, lodged by the Adalah organization,
to protect Israel's Arab minority. These moves reflect a genuine radicalization of
both Arab Israelis' demands and their representatives' modes of action, and they
arouse the Jewish reflex of self-defense. In the eyes of most of the state's Jewish
citizens, Israel is a place of refuge, God's little acre that was granted to them to
enable them to exist as a nation – and they have no intention of giving it up.
Thus far, most of the state's Muslim citizens have refrained from following the
sheikh to his demonstrations near the Mugrabi Gate. But even if Salah's call for
starting an intifada goes unanswered, the state would be making a grave mistake if
it continued to rely solely on deterrent power in its relations with the Arab sector.
Israel must cultivate a strong motivation among its Arab citizens so they will see
themselves as part of it, and thereby neutralize the foundation of bitterness and
frustration on which Sheikh Salah and his ilk build their incitement.
All Israeli governments have treated the Arab sector shamefully, and now the state
is reaping the bitter fruits. Master plans are not enough to eliminate the blatant
discrimination against Arab citizens, and this is all the more true of vague promises.
What is needed is genuine, large-scale action, in order to instill Israel's Arabs with
the feeling that the state is shaking off the inertia of the past and redefining its
relationship with them, with the goal of seeing them as citizens with equal rights.
This vital change must occur, first and foremost, at the conceptual and
psychological level – namely, by getting rid of the view that the Arab minority is a
fifth column and by accepting it as a community with its own national, organizational
and cultural needs. This would naturally lead to a new practical policy with a new
purpose, which would be implemented, inter alia, via legislation and budgetary
allocations. Israel needed 40 years to understand that it must change its
fundamental ideas in order to contribute to solving the Palestinian problem; 60
years have not sufficed for it to formulate a correct approach to the Arab minority
that dwells within it.
Nevertheless, the way to respond to Salah's verbal rebellion is not by shutting his
mouth. Freedom of expression is everyone's right, and aside from rare cases of
blatant incitement that entail a clear and present danger of public disturbances, no
one's freedom of speech should be restricted. Just as Salah's views, and lies,
outrage Israel's Jewish citizens, the racist views of Avigdor Lieberman and Esterina
Tartman scorch the ears of its Arab citizens. As long as Salah's fiery theories do
not cross the line into a clear violation of the law, the appropriate way to handle
them is through public discourse: Israel's citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, should
hold a public discussion of this matter and draw their own conclusions from the
state of mind this exchange of views reveals.
129
Yehuda Ben Meir: Safeguarding Jerusalem, in „Haaretz“-online 20.02.2007:
It's become very clear that the clash over the construction work near the Mugrabi
Gate is not a struggle against the archaeological excavations or the construction of
a bridge, but part of a broader campaign for the control of Jerusalem. After all, this
construction work has no connection to the Al-Aqsa Mosque nor any effect on it.
Indeed, even among some of the Arab MKs – those same leaders mobilizing the
war and the incitement against the construction – there were those who admitted,
some through winks and nods and others more directly, that whether the work
really threatens the mosque does not matter. In their view, Israel has no
sovereignty in the Old City and has no right to carry out any sort of construction
work in the Temple Mount environs.
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At the root of this war is the intensifying effort by the Palestinians and their
supporters, from within and without Israel, to deny any link or rights of the Jewish
people to the Temple Mount or to Jerusalem, and thus to undermine not only our
right to sovereignty in Jerusalem, but also Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
We have no choice but to succeed in this struggle, and possess all the possible
elements for such an outcome. The way to succeed is to show and prove, by
means of complete transparency, that the deceiving claims and baseless
incitements are nothing more than false propaganda.
The government acted along these lines, launching a Web site with real-time,
round-the-clock video footage of the excavations. Israel has finally learned to utilize
the Internet. And indeed, the disorderly conduct of Sheikh Ra'ad Salah and the
remonstrations of Khaled Meshal and the Islamic organizations are not having any
significant effect in the broader world, and their anti-Israel campaign has failed to
take off.
As part of this important effort, the prime minister agreed, during an official visit to
Turkey – a large Muslim country, with strategic ties of utmost importance to Israel –
to meet the request of the Turkish prime minister and allow a delegation from there
to evaluate the conditions on the ground. This was a smart, wise and appropriate
move on the part of the prime minister, and there is no justification for the criticism
against him.
One needn't be a former deputy foreign minister or a seasoned diplomat to
appreciate the diplomatic significance and the implications of such a move; let's not
forget that the real dispute is over the sovereignty of Jerusalem.
The fact that the Turkish prime minister is sending a delegation to this site – near
the Western Wall and the Temple Mount – following an invitation by the prime
minister of Israel, is a clear expression of support of Israel's position. After all, this
is not a United Nations delegation nor one imposed on Israel by an international
body, but an authorized delegation of Turkey to Israel (and not of the Palestinian
Authority or Jordan).
Israel really has nothing to hide. So there should be no surprise that the Arab MKs
responded with anger and frustration, demanding: "What business does Turkey
have with this issue?" They understood what many MKs on the right have not: that
this is a diplomatic gain for Israel and a wise way of conducting an important
campaign.
130
Ben Caspit: Rice Interested in the Geneva Accord, in “Maariv”. 06.02.2007:
Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are planned to shortly resume,
after a lengthy period in which the sides met away from public and media attention.
The initiative is to be regional, under American patronage, and will include
upgrading relations between Israel and Arab and Muslim countries in the region.
There is also a possibility that new relations will be forged between Israel a