Following the publication on April 30, 2003 by the U.S. State Department of their roadmap to a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a group of Israeli and Palestinian public figures have produced a Draft Permanent Status Agreement to resolve that conflict. This agreement became known as the Geneva Accord.
In the table below we consider how the Geneva Accord proposes to resolve the issues behind the conflict.
|Analysis of the The Geneva Accord to Solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict|
|Issue||Significance||The Geneva Accord Solution||Comments|
At the time of the creation of the State of Israel some million Palestinians were expelled from the coastal Palestine, which became the State of Israel. These refugees, having been unable to find redress against this injustice by any peaceful means began an armed struggle for the return to their land. This struggle became known as the Palestinian Terrorism.
The issue of the Palestinian refugees is the primary cause of the "Middle East Crisis". Without resolution of this issue it will be impossible to establish permanent peace in the Middle East.
The international community largely ignores this issue. This is because as per UN Resolution 194, and the demands of some of the Palestinian Organizations, the Palestinians should be allowed to return to their places of origin in the present day Israel. Such solution is seen as threatening the existence of the State of Israel as an ethnic Jewish State.
It is possible, however, to achieve justice for the Palestinian refugees by compensating them monetarily for the loss of their properties and the loss and suffering caused by their expulsion. Such solution will not threaten the existence of the State of Israel and will redress the injustice which is the primary cause of the conflict.
Such solution is not financially unfeasable. One could see from the news clips of Gaza and Jenine, that substantial amounts of American and international money had been invested in steel and concrete during the past 30 years. In the early 1970's there were mud huts, not multistory concrete buildings.
Had this money been given to the Palestinians as compensation for the expulsion, rather than as charitable aid, it would have had the effect of redressing the injustice, which charitable aid does not.
Article 7 - Refugees
The Geneva Accord recognizes the importance of the refugees issue, and seeks to provide practical solutions. These solutions are capable of becoming the basis for resolving this issues.
In 1967 the Israelis occupied the Gaza strip and the West Bank and established military control of these areas. They also began building settlements in these areas. These settlements also involved seizures of Palestinian private and communal lands.
This settlement activity is seen by the international community as illegal, but is continuing at the present time.
This is the secondary cause of the conflict, which was subject to negotiations and was intended to be resolved by the creation of the Palestinian state and agreeing its borders. Resolving this issue alone would still have left the issue of the Palestinian Refugees unresolved.
Article 4 - Territory
The Geneva Accord recognizes the importance of the settlements issue, and seeks to provide practical solutions. These solutions are capable of becoming the basis for resolving this issues.
Destruction of Palestinian Property by the Israelis
Following the proclamation of the American War on Terror, the Israelis have intensified destruction of Palestinian property and killing of Palestinians. This in itself became an issue and a cause of the continuation of the hostilities. The current state of the Palestinian territories is such that a major reconstruction effort will be required to bring the area to a habitable state.
This issue is ignored.
The fact that the authors of the Geneva Accord chose to ignore this issue, shows that violence by established governments is at present accepted as a 'normal' phenomenon against which there is no redress. Governments can get away with anything they do. But this leaves victims of crimes by governments with a feeling of injustice and desire to redress this injustice by any means available to them. And this is what leads to 'terrorism'.
Release of Palestinian Prisoners by the Israelis
Following the proclamation of the American War on Terror, the Israelis have been conducting a campaign of mass arrests of Palestinians. This in itself has become a major issues fueling the hostilities.
|Article 15 - Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees|
The Geneva Accord recognizes the importance of the prisoners issue, and seeks to provide practical solutions. These solutions are capable of becoming the basis for resolving this issues.
Although withdrawal of the Israelis to the pre-1967 lines would have meant that East Jerusalem would have reverted to the Palestinians, the Wailing Wall, which is believed to be a remnant of an old Israeli Temple is situated in East Jerusalem under the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
This Wailing Wall has an important religious significance for the Jews, and the Israelis want to have access to that wall. Some Israelis also advocate annexation of the whole of East Jerusalem to Israel, and some plan demolition of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which has special religious significance for the Muslims, and building on its place a replica of an ancient Jewish Temple. For these reasons the access to the Wailing Wall and the ownership of East Jerusalem have become an issue in its own right.
Article 6 (East Jerusalem) of the Geneva Accord contains detailed provision for resolving the issue of East Jerusalem.
The Parties shall have their mutually recognized capitals in the areas of Jerusalem under their respective sovereignty.
The Wailing Wall shall be under Israeli sovereignty.
For the details see the Geneva Accord.
The Geneva Accord recognizes the importance of the issue of East Jerusalem, and seeks to provide practical solutions. These solutions are capable of becoming the basis for resolving this issues.
Creation of a Palestinian State in the East Bank and Gaza
Creation of a Palestinian state is not an issue in itself. It is a possible way of resolving the conflict.
Originally the Palestinians had no aspiration for a separate state. They lived in Palestine which was part of the Ottoman Empire and the issue of a Palestinian state did not arise.
When the British took over and were about to leave, then the Palestinians were agreeable to a Palestinian state shared by all its residents, Arabs and Jews, and where the communities would be represented in the government in proportion to the population.
After establishment of the State of Israel and expulsion of the Palestinians from the coastal Palestine some Arab refugees settled in the West Bank which was part of Jordan and was later donated to the Palestinian refugees by the then Jordanian king.
It was only when the Israelis occupied the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, that Yasser Arafat agreed to abandon claims of the refugees to the coastal Palestine in exchange of the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, which were to become a Palestinian state existing alongside with Israel.
This agreement proved to be unstable, because it failed to resolve the issue of the Palestinian refugees, and some Israelis had ambitions to annex all of East Jerusalem and not to leave the settlements. Some Israelis claimed the right of Israel to all of Palestine.
Article 4 (Territory) provides for the International Borders between the States of Palestine and Israel to be based on the June 4th 1967 lines with reciprocal modifications on a 1:1 basis.
It also provides for establishing a corridor linking the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This corridor is to be under Israeli sovereignty, permanently open and administered by the Palestinians.
For the details see the Geneva Accord.
The 1967 border lines have been accepted by all the Arab states as part of the Saudi Plan. Together with the resolution of the issue of the Palestinian refugees this could form the basis for the resolution of these main issues in the conflict.
Reform of the Palestinian Authority
This issue was introduced by the Israelis as part of their use of the War on Terror ideology to shift the blame on the present hostilities on Yasser Arafat and to allow them to continue with their war against the Palestinians until they "reform the Palestinian Authority".
The Accord does not deal with the issue of "reform of the Palestinian Authority". But contains detailed provisions for security for the parties in Article 5 (Security).
For the details see the Geneva Accord.
Once the causes of the conflict are eliminated, the issue of security will be reduced to normal policing. The proposals on security in the Geneva Accord can become the basis of the security arrangements, once all the other issues are resolved.
Negotiations are not a suitable way of resolving disputes involving issues of right and wrong. Such disputes require imposition of judicial decisions.
It is like a thief stealing $1,000 and when caught red-handed saying: "Ok, let us negotiate! I give you back $500, and you don't call the police."
But politicians do not want to submit themselves to the rule of law - they prefer either wars, or negotiations leading to nowhere.
Article 3: Implementation and Verification Group
Unlike the 'roadmap', which leaves resolution of most of the issues to 'negotiations', the Geneva Accord provides detailed solutions to the issues and has proposals for enforcement of the agreement by the parties by an 'Implementation and Verification Group' (IVG).
The problem which the authors of the Geneva Accord face in this area is that the entities whom the authors seek to make responsible for the implementation of the Geneva Accord, namely the U.S., the Russian Federation, the EU, and the UN are not under control of the authors of the Geneva Accord. These entities do not represent a single unit and can be unwilling or unable to implement the Geneva Accord, due to various 'political' reasons. And, if there will be no mechanism to implement the Geneva Accord, then it will not be implemented.
Making the Geneva Accord work
The Geneva Accord is a sincere attempt to resolve the Middle East conflict. The authors provide detailed guidelines how the issues involved in the conflict can be resolved. The authors, however, are not the parties to the conflict. Nor are they acknowledged by the parties as the parties' representatives.
The present Israeli government has dismissed the Geneva Accord, as unworkable. And without its acceptance by the Israeli government, acceptance or rejection of it by the Palestinians becomes irrelevant. Nor is there at present any workable supranational mechanisms for forcing the parties to accept the agreement against their will.
The authors of the Geneva Accord could, however, send copies of the accord to the Israeli government, the PLO, and the other Palestinian resistance groups (Hamas, etc.) with a questionnaire requesting them (a) to accept or reject, point by point, the proposals of the Geneva accord, (b) to give reasons for their rejections, and (c) to provide their own proposals of how they would wish to resolve the issues. Failure to answer this questionnaire will be a clear indication that the parties do not want to resolve the conflict.
And, if the US Government say that they want to resolve the conflict, they could take the task of preparing this questionnaire and sending it to all the parties involved. Otherwise all their statements about resolving the conflict will be seen as nothing but political posturing.