Opinion Editorials, November 2006, To see today's opinion articles, click here: www.aljazeerah.info
The Olmert Peace Stunt: Blackmailing Palestinians to Give Up their Inalienable Right of Return to their Homeland
By Hassan El-Najjar
Al-Jazeerah, November 28, 2006
After five months of shedding blood of the Palestinian people, killing hundreds and injuring thousands of them, kidnapping them from their homes, destroying their utilities and houses, starving them in a tight embargo regime enforced by the US and the EU, the Israeli occupation government prime monster is announcing to the world that he is offering peace to his victims.
Basically, Olmert is offering Palestinians to stop killing them, release their teenage sons and daughters from his occupation prisons, release their money he has been withholding, withdraw from parts of the West Bank, dismantle some of the illegal Israeli settlements, and even help them establish their dream of an independent Palestinian state.
What a great offer!
In return, all what Olmert wants from Palestinians is just a statement containing three sentences.
The first sentence should say that they "renounce violence."
The second sentence should say that they recognize Israel's right to live in peace and security.
The third sentence should say that they give up their demands to return to their homes and property, which they were evicted from by Israelis in 1948.
The PLO has already met the first two of Olmert's demands.
Late President Arafat did that in Geneva, in 1988, as a pre-condition by the Reagan administration to deal with him. He even read a peace of paper written for him renouncing violence and terrorism. It was a humiliating acknowledgement by him that Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation, a right guaranteed by international law, was violence and terrorism. The objective was to please Israeli occupiers and their Zionist supporters.
The 1993 Oslo Accords, signed in Washington by Abbas and Peres in the presence of Arafat and Rabin together with their host, Clinton, represented a mutual recognition between the PLO and Israel. However, there has never been any reference to what Israel is, simply because Israel cannot be defined until Palestine is defined.
The most important reference defining the borders of Palestine and Israel in the international law is the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 181, known as the Partition resolution, which divided Palestine into two states, one for Muslims and Christians and the other for Jews. Then came the armistice agreements in 1949, which recognized de facto borders.
The Israeli war of aggression in 1967, enabled the Zionist state to control all of Palestine together with Sinai (liberated in 1982) and the Syrian Golan Heights (still under Israeli occupation).
The Arab League peace initiative recognizes Israel within the 1967 borders. The Palestinian leaders have accepted it.
Thus, the Israelis and their supporters have got the first two of the Olmert demands. A ritual repeat is expected to happen.
However, the third demand is not going to be met until the ten million Palestinians worldwide agree. It's not in the hands of Abbas or Fateh or Hamas.
UNGA Resolutions 181 and 194 have guaranteed the right of return and compensation for the Palestinian refugees and their descendants. If they wish to return to their homeland, whether it is called Israel or Palestine, they should be allowed to do so.
The core of the conflict is the refugee problem. Without solving it in a satisfactory way, the conflict will continue. Arabs and Muslims will continue supporting Palestinians. Zionist-controlled governments in the West will continue their support for Israel. More invasions and wars will be launched to secure Israel, like the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. More death and destruction will occur on all parties. It's crazy. It has to stop.
If there's a genuine thinking about peace in the minds of the leaders of the Zionist Empire, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has to be resolved on basis of justice. Only then, there will be peace.
For Olmert to demand that Palestinians relinquish their inalienable right of return, he is either an ignorant and stupid person, or he is just presenting a stunt for the Zionist media machine worldwide to distract the American people away from the war disaster of Iraq.
If Zionists are trying to salvage their Empire, they need to leave the Palestinians alone. Israeli occupation forces and settlers should leave the Palestinian territories, allowing Palestinians to establish their own VIABLE state. When this happens, and several years of friendly relations pass, then the refugee problem can be addressed.
To demand the Palestinians to give up their right of return is no starter.
At best, it's stupidity.
But, it may be just another excuse to blame the victims.
It's a cheap media stunt to give President Bush a nice reception in Jordan. Then, things go back to business as usual after the visit:
Death, destruction, assassinations, air strikes, collective punishment, kidnapping people from their homes, butchering entire families, demolition of homes, air raids on electricity and water supplies, while starving the population under occupation.
These have been the Zionist contributions to the world, so far.
AP Headline: Olmert Urges Palestinians to Seek Peace
By AMY TEIBEL Associated Press Writer
Nov 27, 2006, 8:05 PM EST
JERUSALEM (AP) --
Israeli occupation government Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, reached out to the Palestinians on Monday in one of his most conciliatory speeches yet, saying he was prepared to grant them a state, release desperately needed funds and free prisoners if they choose the path of peace.
Olmert's remarks sealed a dramatic policy shift and built on a day-old truce meant to end five months of violence in the Gaza Strip. But new killings by Israeli occupation forces and retaliatory rocket attacks by Palestinian resistance fighters threatened the latest rapprochement.
"I hold out my hand in peace to our Palestinian neighbors in the hope that it won't be returned empty," Olmert said.
"We cannot change the past and we will not be able to bring back the victims on both sides of the borders," he said. "All that we can do today is stop additional tragedies."
Olmert appealed to the Palestinians to form a new, moderate Cabinet committed to carrying out a U.S.-backed peace plan and securing the release of a captured Israeli soldier.
Once such a government was established, Olmert said, he would call for an immediate meeting with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, "to have a real, open, honest, serious dialogue between us."
Palestinian legislator Saeb Erekat, a top Abbas aide, said the Palestinians were ready to negotiate a final peace deal.
"I believe Mr. Olmert knows he has a partner, and that is President Abbas. He knows that to achieve peace and security for all, we need to shoot for the end game," Erekat said.
But the Palestinian Cabinet, led by Hamas accused Olmert of posturing.
"This is a conspiracy. This is a new maneuver. Olmert is speaking about the Palestinian state without giving details about the borders," said Ghazi Hamad, a government spokesman.
Olmert's speech raised the diplomatic stakes ahead of President Bush's scheduled trip to neighboring Jordan this week for talks with Iraqi leaders.
Erekat said it was possible Abbas would meet with Bush there, but Israeli officials denied that Abbas and Olmert might meet on the sidelines of the Bush visit.
Olmert was elected in March promising to set Israel's final borders with the Palestinians by uprooting isolated communities dotted all over the West Bank while holding on to major illegal Israeli settlement blocs. Israel, Olmert said, would act unilaterally without a Palestinian peace partner.
But a summer war with Lebanese guerrillas, which many Israelis blamed on their unilateral pullout from southern Lebanon six years ago, left Israelis cool to ceding more territory, and Olmert shelved that plan.
His speech Monday signaled a final break with that program - and an attempt to entice the Palestinians back to the negotiating table by outlining likely Israeli concessions under a future peace deal.
"We, the state of Israel, will agree to the evacuation of many territories and the settlements that we built there. This is extremely difficult for us. We will do it for real peace," he said.
Israel would pull out of West Bank land and uproot (illegal Israeli) settlements under a peace deal, Olmert said.
In return for a serious Palestinian push for peace, he said, Israel would be prepared to reduce checkpoints that have severely restricted movement in the West Bank; release hundreds of millions of dollars in funds frozen after Hamas took power in March; and free some of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners Israel holds if Hamas-linked resistance fighters release - alive and healthy - an Israeli soldier they captured in June.
The freezing of funds has created great hardship in the Palestinian territories by rendering the Hamas government unable to pay full salaries to its civil servants, who provide for one-third of the Palestinian people.
A significant prisoner release would be a major confidence-building gesture because prisoners hold great weight in Palestinian society.
Israeli government officials said they had not ruled out releasing Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Al-Barghouthi, who is serving five life sentences for Israeli allegations of masterminding deadly attacks.
In exchange for Israeli concessions, Olmert said, Palestinians would have to renounce violence (violence is the word used by Israeli occupiers and their supporters to describe resistance to foreign occupation), recognize Israel's right to live in peace and security and give up their demands to allow refugees from the 1948 Mideast War to return to their homes in what is now Israel.
This Olmert demand was also published by the Palestinian newspaper, Al-Ayyam, as the link below shows:
(This is the mother of all Zionist Israeli dreams. Taking the homes of the Palestinians and their property by force then blackmailing them to relinquish their property rights, contrary to UN Resolution 194 guaranteeing the right of Palestinians to return to their homeland).
Hamad, the Palestinian government spokesman, said Palestinians would not abandon the rights of refugees.
"It is a main part of the Palestinian cause," he said.
Olmert's offer to revive stalled peace talks came a day after the two sides began observing a cease-fire in Gaza, raising hopes new peace efforts would follow.
Erekat said he was working with the Israelis to expand the cease-fire to the West Bank and hoped to have an agreement within days. Israeli officials said they would wait to see what happens in Gaza first.
"If the cease-fire in Gaza works, I hope it will be possible to transfer that more positive reality to the West Bank as well," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.
Olmert: Israel agrees to the formation of a contiguous Palestinian state free of settlements
Date: 28 / 11 / 2006 Time: 09:34
Bethlehem - Ma'an -
Israeli occupation government prime minister, Ehud Olmert, announced yesterday that his government has made a deal with Hamas in which Israel accepts the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state and the release of a large number of Palestinian prisoners, even those sentenced to long-term imprisonment, according to a report aired on Israeli television Channel Two last night.
Channel Two added that, with the approval of Olmert, a secret channel was opened with the imprisoned Fatah leader, Marwan Al-Barghouthi, to discuss the details of the Israeli plan, aimed at establishing an independent Palestinian state.
Channel Two described Olmert's speech as "reconciliatory" in which he promised the Palestinians to establish a state with continuous borders and free of settlements.
Olmert's plan brought harsh criticism from the extreme right.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was speaking during a memorial ceremony for the formed Israeli prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, in the southern kibbutz of Sde Boker on Monday. He addressed his speech to the Palestinians.
Excerpts from his speech are below, according to the Israeli daily 'Haaretz':
"I extend my hand in peace to our Palestinian neighbors, hoping that it will not be rejected."
"If a new Palestinian government is established - a government which will be committed to the principles of the Quartet, implement the road map and bring about the release of Gilad Shalit, I will invite Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] to meet with me immediately, in order to conduct a real, open, genuine and serious dialogue between us.
"In the framework of this dialogue, and in accordance with the road map, you will be able to establish an independent and viable Palestinian state, with territorial contiguity in Judea and Samaria (Israeli expansionist occupiers use this biblical term to refer to the Palestinian territory of the West Bank) - a state with full sovereignty and defined borders.
"In this framework, the borders of the State of Israel will be defined, in accordance with President Bush's April 14th, 2004 letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
"These borders will be different from the territories currently under Israel's control.
"I understand the importance which the Palestinian society attributes to the issue of prisoners.
"I hereby declare that when Gilad Shalit is released and returned to his family, safe and sound, the Government of Israel will be willing to release numerous Palestinian prisoners - including ones who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms - in order to increase the trust between us and prove that our hand is truly extended in genuine peace."
"We will significantly diminish the number of roadblocks, increase freedom of movement in the territories, facilitate movement of people and goods in both directions, improve the operation of the border crossings to the Gaza Strip, and release Palestinian funds for the purpose of alleviating the humanitarian hardship which many of you suffer.
"We can assist you in formulating a plan for the economic rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip and areas in Judea and Samaria.
"We can assist you in the establishment of industrial zones - in cooperation with the international community - to create places of employment and the means of earning a decent living, and to relieve you of your ongoing dependence on employment infrastructures in Israel.
"We will seek the assistance of those neighboring Arab States which strive for a peaceful solution to the conflict between us, including: the Kingdom of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, in order to benefit from their experience and receive backing for direct negotiations between us."
"We, the State of Israel, will agree to the evacuation of many territories and communities which were established therein. This is extremely difficult for us, akin to the Parting of the Red Sea, but we will bear it, in exchange for true peace."
"Do not put us to another test, which will involve many casualties and destruction, and which will lead to total hardship and despair."
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