The face of the senior Civil Administration officer expressed sincere anger at the terrorist who blew himself up at the entrance to the liaison and coordination office in Tul Karm. The officer complained of the Palestinians' ingratitude in targeting the good will of "the State of Israel to provide them with solutions." In other words, taken from the lexicon of classical colonialism, the enlightened ruler is the solution and the naughty natives, who bite his kind hand, are the problem.
The "solutions" that the Israeli government is producing (very sparingly, it should be noted) for the Palestinians are aimed at overcoming problems that are created by the Israeli occupation. Where else does a cancer patient have to stand for many long hours in line and plead with a foreign soldier to give him a transit permit to a hospital in a neighboring city?
The remarks of the Civil Administration official express the Israeli approach, which, since September 11, has acquired currency in the White House as well: The terrorists are the root of the problem. Only after root-canal treatment of this problem will it be the turn of other problems, like the humiliation and the economic distress that derive from the Israeli occupation. Even the illegal outposts and the fence will have to wait until terror is eliminated.
U.S. President George W. Bush told King Abdullah of Jordan that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat is "a loser" because he is not fighting terror. Therefore, he said, it was not his intention to invest his political capital in him.
Indeed, the premeditated murder of people who go out to eat in a restaurant is not morally identical to the evils of the occupation; however, the leader of the free world is not in charge of the morality department. Bush is obligated to diplomatic documents that, even if they turn out not to be a safe political investment, do bear the signature of the United States. In the prologue to the road map it is clearly stated that the occupation, like terror, is part of the problem and that ending the occupation, like ending terror, is part of the solution.
According to the document: "A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism (when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty) and through Israel's readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement."
According to this map, in the first stage the government of Israel "immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001," and in addition, in accordance with the Mitchell Report, "freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements)."
If it were not enough that the government of Israel is not dismantling outposts and is publishing tenders for new construction in the settlements, the latest State Comptroller's Report reveals a phenomenon of approval and funding of projects, including the positioning of new mobile homes, on private Palestinian land.
The way out that is proposed by the Israeli government of the right and its friends in Washington is that the Palestinians make an Altalena for themselves. If the Altalena is a model worth following, why don't Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Housing Minister Effi Eitam and Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman, settlers both, lead the Israel Defense Forces into the outposts of which the Comptroller's Report (as well as as an official Defense Ministry document) says that the inhabitants trespassed on land that is not their own?
On the principle of the Altalena, the United States can formulate a precise key and a detailed timetable for implementing the road map. Thus, for example, at the end of the first week, the Palestinian Authority will arrest five murderers of Israelis and at the same time Israel will release 50 administrative detainees; at the end of the second week, the PA will arrest 10 heads of the military arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and Israel will dismantle five outposts; in the third week, the PA will confiscate 1,000 rifles and Israel will remove 50 roadblocks from the roads of the West Bank; in the fourth week, the Palestinians will declare an end to the violent intifada and Israel will withdraw to the lines of September, 2000.
A basic condition for the success of the plan is that each side, jointly and severally, together with the American mediator, internalizes the causal (though, it must be stressed, not moral) connection between the violence and the occupation. As long as the Palestinians do not internalize the fact that the violence is a problem and not a solution, its cessation will be perceived as a submission to the occupation, and thus the violence will continue - and with it, the occupation. As long as the Israelis do not accept the basic assumption that the occupation is a problem and not a solution, its cessation will be considered a submission to the violence and the occupation will continue - and with it, the violence.
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