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Middle East Peace Report Vol 4, issue 3
Last uploaded : Wednesday 31st Jul 2002 at 19:29
Contributed by : Americans for Peace Now



July 29, 2002
New Peace Now Survey Shows Settlers Would Leave Quietly:
According to a new and extensive survey from the Israeli Peace Now movement, more than two-thirds (68%) of settlers recognize the right of Israel’s democratic institutions to evacuate the settlements and would comply with such a decision without a fight. Another 26% said they would ultimately comply with such a decision, but would first try to combat it by legal means. Only 6 percent said they would also fight the decision by illegal methods, while a mere 2% (some 4,000 people) said they would wage an armed struggle against such a move. The survey, conducted between April and July 2002, included interviews with a representative sample of 3,200 families from 127 settlements, while another 800 families inside the Green Line were questioned as a control group. The margin of error was 2%. The survey also found that should settlements be evacuated, 59% of settlers think they should receive monetary compensation, while some 10% would prefer new housing inside Israel, and 23% prefer housing in another settlement. Just 9% would reject any solution. Further, some 77% of settlers chose their homes primarily due to reasons of quality of life. Only 20% cited religious reasons and just 3% cited security reasons for living in the occupied territories. Peace Now concluded that “most of the settlers are not an obstacle to peace, as their positions are realistic and pragmatic, and in the event of an agreement, most of them are willing to be evacuated.” The Settlers Council reacted angrily to the study and questioned its accuracy, citing data showing that, since September 2000, the settler population has grown 7.7%. However, that argument was undercut when the Interior Ministry released new numbers on the same day showing that since June 2001, the settler population has grown just 5.21%, with most of the increase due to natural growth. The rate of internal migration to the settlements was almost negligible over the last year. (Ha’aretz, 7/25/02)

Peace Now, Yesh Gvul Petition High Court Against Illegal Outposts: The Israeli Peace Now movement, Yesh Gvul, and Knesset Member Mossi Raz petitioned the High Court of Justice to force the government to immediately remove illegal settlement outposts from the occupied territories. Their petition noted that, of 93 illegal outposts established in the West Bank since 1996, more than half have been built in the past two years alone. The petitioners also charged that the settlers did not fulfill an agreement with former Prime Minister Ehud Barak in which some of the outposts would be removed in exchange for some of the others being retroactively approved. According to the figures, six illegal outposts were established in 1996, two in 1997, 12 in 1998, 14 in 1999, two in 2000, 21 in 2001, and 30 in 2002. The petitioners could not date the other six. The petitioners also found that at least 51 of the illegal outposts were built outside the municipal boundaries of the settlements established since 1967. “The overwhelming majority of the outposts are made up of a small number of buildings inhabited, at best, by less than ten families and in most cases by no more than five,” wrote the petitioners. “Eighteen of the outposts are not inhabited at all at this time and 22 of them have one or two buildings.” The petitioners noted that the difference between this petition and others that have been submitted in the past against settlement construction is the fact that in this case, the building of the outposts violates Israeli, rather than international, law. In related news, the Defense Ministry amended the original plan for the long-touted security fence separating Israel from the West Bank, curving the fence three kilometers eastward to include the settlements of Sha’ar Tikva, Etz Ephraim, and Elkana. (Jerusalem Post, 7/25/02)

Settlers Build Permanent Homes In Outposts Barak Dismantled: Construction has begun on several outposts in the occupied territories that were dismantled during the Barak era, according to a report in the latest issue of Amanah, the settler movement’s journal. At the Pelgei Maim neighborhood near Eli, formerly the Shuna outpost, groundwork has been completed for the construction of permanent housing for 15 families currently living in mobile homes in the area. At Mitzpeh Keramim on the Alon Road—another outpost disbanded under the terms of an agreement between Barak and the Settlers Council—infrastructure is being prepared for construction of another five mobile homes, while groundwork has begun for preparing homes for six of the eleven families currently living in mobile homes in the area. At the Amuna outpost near Ofra, which was frozen under the Barak deal, work has begun to prepare construction of 19 homes. At Adei Ad near Shvut Rachel, groundwork has begun on six homes and work is also under way at the nearby outpost of Mitzpeh Achiya. According to the report, the settlement of Beruchim is being expanded by six mobile homes, bringing the number to 22, while work is under way to prepare for the building of 25 permanent homes. Work has been completed on the South Nablus bypass road, which goes from Kedumim to Yitzhar and continues to Itamar and Eilon Moreh. (Ha’aretz, 7/22/02)

A Measure Of Wisdom: The IDF’s Operations Branch reported that the number of violent incidents in the occupied territories has risen 300% since the assassination of Salah Shehade. Before the assassination, July was one of the quietest months since the start of the Intifada in terms of the number of incidents involving gunfire and bombs. On July 18th, there were only eight incidents in the occupied territories; on July 19th, there were 9; on the 20th , there were 7; on the 21st , there were 11; and on the 22nd , there were 13. On the Tuesday immediately after the assassination, the number of incidents rose to 35, the next day it stood at 29, and this past weekend there were also dozens of such incidents. In the aftermath of the terror attack on Friday, security sources noted that the southern Hebron hills area had been relatively quiet and that the Shehade assassination was what woke the area up from its sleep. (Yedioth Ahronoth, 7/28/02)

Mitchell Offered New UN Palestinian Role: The Financial Times reported that former Senator George Mitchell is being considered for the new post of UN humanitarian aid envoy to the Palestinian territories. It is understood that his name was put forward after Ariel Sharon appealed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for help in dealing with the plight of Palestinians, many of whom are still under curfew in the wake of Israel’s incursions in the West Bank. The UN has approached Mitchell about the post, but he has not made up his mind. The exact job description is still being debated by the U.S. and the UN. Putting such a senior figure in such a prominent job is a sign that the international community is determined to play a significant role in solving the Middle East crisis. The post would put Mitchell above existing UN officials in the region, including UN coordinator for the territories, Terje Roed Larsen. But there are concerns among some aid officials that the appointment of a high-profile figure like Mitchell to a humanitarian role could take the emphasis away from developing a political solution. In addition, aid officials are concerned that they would end up paying the bill for the humanitarian strife. (Financial Times, 7/22/02)

IDF Worried About Deserters: A rise of tens of percent in the number of IDF deserters in recent months is causing senior army officials great concern. The common denominator to the deserters, according to official figures, is the economic situation of the deserters’ families. “We come across good soldiers, with high motivation, but when this soldier has to decide whether to run away from the army to help his family or to remain on the base and think at night how his parents have no food, the soldier opts to go AWOL. He works at odd jobs, helps his parents for three-four months, and then turns himself in and is given a trial, knowing that he managed to give his family a few shekels,” according to an army official who works on this issue. Another source said he was worried that this phenomenon could affect entire units. The figures show that in one unit there was a 50% rise in the number of deserters, from 350 to 491; there was a 40% rise in the Southern Command and a 13% rise in the Air Force. Army officials believe that this will rise even higher by the end of the year. (Ma’ariv, 7/23/02)

Democrats In The Gulf: Qatar is emulating Bahrain and is set to become the region’s second quasi-democracy. A 32- member committee has just completed a draft of a new constitution under which a 45-member council would be established to legislate, vote on the state budget, monitor the government’s performance and question ministers. The council would have a four-year mandate and 30 of its members would be elected, with the rest appointed by the amir, Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. All Qataris over age 18—including women—would be eligible both to vote and to stand for office. The 150-clause draft constitution also provides for freedom of association, expression and religious practice and for an independent judiciary. Kuwait has perhaps the most effective parliament in the Gulf. It plays a real part in decision-making and is the scene of often-heated debate, but its legitimacy is restricted by the tiny electorate. Women cannot vote, and voting rights are reserved for adult males who lived in Kuwait before 1920 and their male descendants aged 21 and over and for adult males who have been naturalized for at least 30 years. The result is that only 14% of citizens (never mind expatriates) can vote. (Jane’s Foreign Report, 7/24/02)

Ayalon & Nusseibeh Sign Plan To End The Conflict, Part I: Former GSS director Maj. Gen. (res.) Ami Ayalon and Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, the top PLO representative in Jerusalem, signed a plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on Israeli recognition of a demilitarized Palestinian state in the 1967 borders with land swaps and slight border revisions, in exchange for a Palestinian concession of the right of return. The text of the document, which was obtained by Al-Ayyam, is as follows: “1. Two states for two peoples: Both peoples shall declare that Palestine is the sole state of the Palestinian people and Israel is the sole state of the Jewish people; 2. Borders: Agreement on the permanent borders between the two states shall be on the basis of the 4 June 1967 lines, UN resolutions, and the Arab initiative (known as the Saudi initiative). Border adjustments shall be made on the basis of equal exchange of territories (1:1) in line with the pressing needs of both sides, including security needs, geographical contiguity, and demographic considerations. The Palestinian state will have a connection between its two parts, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. No settlements shall remain in the Palestinian state after the establishment of the agreed borders.” (Ma’ariv, 7/23/02 & IMRA, 7/25/02)

Ayalon & Nusseibeh Sign Plan To End The Conflict, Part II: The Ayalon/Nusseibeh plan continued: “3. Jerusalem: Jerusalem shall be an open city, the capital of the two states, and shall guarantee freedom of worship and full access to all to the holy places. The Arab quarters in Jerusalem shall be under Palestinian sovereignty, while Jewish quarters shall be under Israeli sovereignty. Neither side shall have sovereignty over the holy places. The state of Palestine shall be called Guardian of Al-Haram al-Sharif for the Islamic nation. Israel shall be called Guardian of the Western Wall for the Jewish people. No excavations shall be carried out under the holy places; 4. Israel shall open its gates to Jews all over the world. The Palestinian state shall open its gates to the Palestinians of the diaspora and refugees. The international community, Israel, and Palestine shall set up and contribute to an international fund for compensating the Palestinian refugees. The international community shall offer to absorb those refugees willing to immigrate to third countries; 5. The Palestinian state shall be demilitarized, and the international community shall guarantee its security as a viable state; 6. End of conflict: All mutual demands and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict shall come to an end with the full implementation of these principles.” (IMRA, 7/25/02)

Ziyad Abu Zayad Offers Palestinian Declaration of Principles, Part I: Meanwhile, at a conference in Belgium sponsored by the UCLA Forum on the Middle East in which Israelis, Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Iranians, and Americans took part, another set of peace principles was presented. Ziyad Abu Zayad, former Minister for Jerusalem Affairs in the Palestinian Authority and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, put forth a plan that would abandon the concept of sovereignty over the Harm al-Sharif. The text of the Abu Zayad document is as follows: “The continued conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis regarding the national claims on Palestine/Eretz Israel has caused a heavy loss of lives, suffering and properties on both sides. The experience of the past and the present has proved that only by negotiations and peaceful means can this conflict be solved, by achieving a historical compromise that would lead to full peace and conciliation between the two peoples, based upon the following principles: 1. Two states for the two peoples: Palestine/Eretz Israel will be shared between the two peoples. The Jewish state of Israel with the borders of the 4th of June 1967 as its borders, and an Arab state of Palestine in the Palestinian territories occupied in the war of June 1967, alongside the state of Israel. Permanent borders between the two states will be the borders of the 4th of June 1967, with limited mutually agreed upon swaps and border amendments on both sides, in accordance with the vital security and territorial contiguity of the two states. The settlement between the two sides will be based upon the UNSC resolutions 242, 338 and 1397 and the Arab peace initiative (known as the Saudi initiative). The international legitimacy for the creation of the two states is embodied in UN General Assembly resolution 181. Safe land and air passage and linkage between the West Bank and Gaza will be agreed and guaranteed by the two sides; 2. Settlements: All settlements will be evacuated from within the final borders of the State of Palestine.” (Ha’aretz, 7/23/02)

Ziyad Abu Zayad Offers Palestinian Declaration of Principles, Part II: The Abu Zayad document continues as follows: “3. Jerusalem: Jerusalem will be an open city; the capital of the two states. All Arab neighborhoods within the municipal borders of Jerusalem will be under Palestinian sovereignty and the Jewish neighborhoods under Israeli sovereignty. No man’s sovereignty will be practiced on Al-Haram Al-Sharif or the Wailing Wall. Al-Haram Al-Sharif will come under Palestinian administration for the benefit of the people of Islam, and the Wailing Wall will come under Israeli administration for the benefit of the Jewish people. No excavations will take place in the above-mentioned holy sites. An international body will be established and mandated to insure this. Freedom of worship and access to all the holy places in the two states will be assured and guaranteed for all believers. The status quo in the holy places must be observed; 4. Right of Return: The Palestinian refugee problem will be addressed in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 194, but any solution or settlement to this problem must be negotiated and agreed upon by the two sides. Israel will initiate an international fund to compensate the Palestinian refugees of 1948. Israel recognizes its moral responsibility for the Palestinian refugee problem. The Palestinians’ right of return will be practiced to the state of Palestine; 5. The International Community: The Palestinian State shall be demilitarized and the international community shall guarantee its security, integrity and safety of its borders. The international community will contribute to the refugee fund, offer any possible assistance to facilitate the implementation of this agreement, and provide the needed guarantees according to its relevant provisions; 6. End of Conflict: All acts of belligerency must be halted by the signing of these principles by the legitimate authorized representatives of the two sides. By the full implementation of all these principles, the parties will declare the end of the conflict. By declaring the end of the conflict, the two sides confirm that all their claims have been settled.” (Ha’aretz, 7/23/02)

Abu Zayad Comments On Israel Army Radio: In an interview about his document on Israel Army Radio, Ziyad Abu Zayad was asked if the plan suggests that the Palestinians concede their sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Abu Zayad replied, “That is not correct. The document is not a declaration of principles by Abu Zayad. The document is the product of talks held between a group from the Palestinian intelligentsia and Israel figures. The document is the last formulation the Palestinians were prepared to accept, while the Israelis had reservations about the document.” With regard to the Temple Mount, he continued, “We propose that no one have sovereignty over the Temple Mount and that the Moslems have control over the Haram al-Sharif compound and the Israelis over the Western Wall compound. We deliberately did not discuss the question of sovereignty.” When asked about the right of return, Abu Zayad noted that, “Negotiations have been conducted about the refugee problem in the spirit of UN resolution 194. The right of return will be realized to the Palestinian state.” Finally, Abu Zayad was asked who in the Palestinian Authority leadership accepts these positions. He answered, “Listen, there are a lot of people who are prepared to accept those ideas. The important principle is how can we return to negotiations, how can we return to the political track and put an end to the rampant violence.” (Israel Army Radio, 7/23/02)

Marshalling Support For Aid: U.S. House International Relations Committee Chair Henry Hyde last week called on the Bush Administration to initiate a “Marshall” Plan to rehabilitate the Middle East. He said that a concerted U.S. economic aid program would improve the lives and livelihoods of millions in the region. He urged the U.S. to set up a special agency for private sector investment in the region, which would be channeled towards job creation. The investments should be conditional on a commitment to open economics, including free trade within the Middle East to guarantee continued growth. (Globes, 7/25/02)

Dissenters’ Ad Questions IAF Pilots: Israeli refusenik soldiers asked some pointed questions to the F-16 pilots who participated in the assassination of Salah Shehade and 14 other Palestinians last week, including numerous children. In a large advertisement taken out in Ha’aretz, they asked: “Are you familiar with the term ‘a patently illegal order?’ Will you recognize such an order if you encounter one? Did you attempt to find out during the briefing before embarking on the mission if innocent civilians were in the house you were about to blow up? If you knew that there were, did you hesitate, even for a brief moment, before squeezing the trigger? Is the death of children and babies justified in your eyes because of their father’s acts, with you being the executioner? Are you not the best of soldiers? Are pilots not meant to be [the] spearhead of the army and of Israeli society, on a moral level as well? Do you remember the days when we would cancel an operation if there was any concern that innocent civilians would be hurt? Because these are the values we were raised on, and because these were norms of the IDF that we enlisted in. And these were the norms we took pride in. Almost without noticing, the State of Israel is turning into a state that does not recoil from any means to achieve its political goals. We hide the faces of our soldiers due to fear of the International Court for War Crimes, just as criminals hide their faces due to fear of the police. The Fighters Letter, The Courage to Refuse, and www.seruv.org.il.” (Advertisement Text, 7/24/02)

Indictment Adheres To Bumper Sticker Distributors: The State Attorney’s Office decided to indict the distributors of the bumper sticker that reads, “No Arabs, No Terror Attacks.” The distributors will be charged with publishing material that incites to racism and with supporting a terror organization. (Ma’ariv, 7/29/02)

JewishComment is grateful to
Lewis Roth, Assistant Executive Director
Americans for Peace Now for permission to publish this Report in its entirety.



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