today's setting, it is hard to recall that just a few years ago, only some
fringe lunatics demanded Israeli control of 'Mount-temple'. Every time they
tried to enter the place and pray, Israeli police would be there to block their
entrance or drag them out. Even the word 'mount temple' was perceived as
belonging to the bizarre vocabulary of religious fanatics. Today it is the
Israeli government that launches the holy war. Israel's foreign affairs minister
- the ex-liberal Shlomo Ben-Ami - declares day and night that "no nation
can give up its sacred sites" and the world nodes and accepts. Sharon could
not have entered the site without approval of Barak and the government. His
visit has been carefully planned, with a thousand soldiers securing it and
taking shooting positions on the roofs in advance. It is not Sharon who is
responsible for the present massacre, but Barak, Ben Ami, the Israeli
government, and Israel's "peacenicks" who have been supporting them
all the way through.
claim on 'mount temple' is completely new (brought up only since the recent Camp
David negotiations). In 1995's Beilin-Abu Maazen plan for the final agreement,
which is the basis for the present 'negotiations', it was still stated that the
area will be in 'exterritorial Palestinian sovereignty'(1). The more Arafat
gives in, the more new demands are brought up by Israel.
Beilin Abu-Mazen document, itself, is a shameful document, which leaves all the
settlements untouched, and acknowledges Israeli sovereignty over most of the
central West Bank. It was agreed that Arafat will renounce, on behalf of the
Palestinians, any claim on Jerusalem, and the Palestinian institutions will move
to the village Abu-Dis, bordering with Jerusalem. In return, Arafat will be
allowed to call Abu-Dis the capital of the Palestinian state. The verbal trick
was that Abu-Dis will be named Al-Kuds, so it can be presented like the city is
divided to the Jewish part 'Jerusalem' and the Palestinian part 'Al Kuds'.
Arafat has agreed to this long time ago. E.g. in 'Haaretz' 5.5.98 (Akiva Eldar)
it is reported that "Yaser Arafat accepts the idea that the capital of the
Palestinian state will be Abu-dis, neighboring Jerusalem, and sees the
understandings included in Beilin-Abu maazen agreement as a realistic option for
the final agreement with Israel." "In a meeting with the Middle East
section of the foreign affairs council whose center is in New-York... Arafat was
asked if it is possible to reach an agreement with Israel also on the question
of Jerusalem. Arafat: 'Certainly, it is possible to accept the idea of Abu-Dis,
which belonged to Al-Kuds also under Jordanian rule."
that was not good enough for Barak. In the original Beilin Abu-Mazen plan, only
the land with the Jewish settlements of the central WB (labelled
"Jerusalem") was to be annexed. - So they prepared a rather windy map
that surrounds these settlements but includes no Palestinians. Israel's interest
in doing it this way was to avoid the need of giving these Palestinians Israeli
citizenship including social rights - health etc, or political rights of voting.
Barak 'straightened' the maps. The annexation proposed in Camp David will
include also the areas with Palestinian residents. But these residents will not
be given Israeli citizenship, since "they will vote for the Palestinian
state." So this enables annexing the land without giving any rights to the
annexed Palestinian residents (2).
appears that the Palestinian negotiators in Camp David have also agreed to this
proposal. Or at least we have never heard otherwise. But then Barak came up with
the new demand that the Palestinians will also renounce their hold in Al Aksa
(Mount Temple). Even a collaborator like Arafat cannot accept such a demand and
rational account could tie these facts together. It is hard to avoid the
conclusion that Barak is not interested now in any formal agreement with the
Palestinians, not even in the full surrender that Arafat was willing to accept.
Barak and Sharon, who may soon join him in power, see only one solution to the
'Palestinian problem' - elimination! It is not at all impossible that in their
sick general's mind they believe that if one applies sufficient force, it may be
possible to drive more and more Palestinians out of Jerusalem and the central
bank, and get this land Arab-free. And it won't be confined to the occupied
Palestinians. For several weeks now, Israeli Palestinians have been subject to
vicious attacks, and more and more voices in the media (orchestrated, as always,
from above) complain about how they have too many rights. Israel has become the
land of apartheid.
Newsweek 17.9.00; 'Haaretz 18.9.00.
Nahum Barnea "Yediot Aharonot" 30.6.00: "The Arabs living in the
settlement blocks which will be annexed to Israel will have the same rights as
the Israelis living in Palestine: They will vote to the Palestinian state and
will live by its laws."
Reinhart Tel Aviv University and the university of Utrecht.