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Quartet Peace Making

19 September 2002

By Yisrael Ne’eman

The Quartet for the Middle East (the UN, the US, Russia and the European Union) has decided on a three point program for advancing peace between Israel and the Palestinians:

Stage 1 – By mid-2003 the criteria for security arrangements will be determined, the Palestinians will hold elections (by the end of the year), and Israel will withdraw to the lines it held before the Palestinian terror onslaught of September 29, 2000.

Stage 2 – The Palestinians will attain a state with temporary boundaries during 2004 –05 while designing a new constitution.

Stage 3 – Israel and the Palestinians will come to a permanent status agreement including “secure and recognized” final borders based on UN Res. 242.

This is essentially the Bush Plan of this past June, which was heavily influenced by the Sharon Plan, first enunciated a year ago with specifics emphasized since the winter of 2001 – 02.  The Israeli Left, the European Union, the UN, the Arab world and especially the Palestinians rejected such thinking when originally suggested by Sharon.  He emphasized the end to Palestinian violence and incitement, much to the annoyance of those mentioned above.  This condition is only inferred but not emphasized by the Quartet.

Left wing Meretz leader Yossi Sarid was asked about the program on Voice of Israel radio and agreed it was in the correct direction, but pointed out that Sharon and  finally realized the only way to a Middle East peace was through negations, a position he claims has only now been adopted by the Right.  Sarid’s stance is certainly justified, today’s world conflicts are generally settled around the conference table.  But he and the Left continue to miss one major point.

Only when violence of all types, terrorism and incitement (including antisemitism) are no longer options on the Palestinian side will they negotiate in good faith.  The diplomatic option will only be available after the Israeli Army does the dirty work and physically uproots the terror infrastructure.  Such military activities have been going on since the ‘Passover Massacre’ and will take quite a bit longer.

Sarid and the Israeli Left know this, and so does the Quartet.