President Mahmoud Abbas will be visiting Washington soon to discuss with President Bush the complicated situation in Palestine, which become more complicated since the Sharm Al-Sheikh summit and the London Conference because of a lack of commitment by the Israeli government, and its Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, to the signed agreements.
President Bush asked Abu Mazen and the Palestinian Authority to fulfill the pledges made by the Palestinians, especially those related to security and reform within the security institutions and combining them into one service. This was done without the Israeli government taking a single step towards fulfilling its commitments and obligations.
We heard President Bush call on Israel to commit to halting settlement expansion but on the ground we saw no Israeli commitment, instead we saw an acceleration in the expansion, the annexation of Palestinian land , and the construction of the expansionist annexation wall.
The Israeli government is not dealing with Washington’s demands seriously, as it knowing that this does not go beyond words, free from any real pressure.
What will President Bush say to President Mahmoud Abbas?
It is expected that President Bush will ask Abu Mazen to be patient until the Israelis begin withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, using the excuse that withdrawal from the Gaza Strip would constitute a precedent that could be followed in the West Bank in the framework of the road map.
It is also expected that Bush will repeat his support for reform and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, he will declare that a return to the borders of 1967 was unrealistic, and that this necessitates making modifications relating to the large settlement blocs.
Abu Mazen knows however that the Israeli government, which is stalling and delaying the implementation of agreements, is seizing land and creating four settlement blocs in Jerusalem, Hebron, Nablus and Al-Latron in order to seize 52% of the West Bank to control the Jordan Valley.
If President Bush knows that this is what the Israeli government is doing under the cover of the Gaza strip withdrawal plan and is doing nothing about it, then this is a major disaster.
Abu Mazen is facing a very difficult situation. What to do?
Work begins with a strong conviction that without mass resistance by the people against the annexation and expansion plan the Israeli government will not be stopped and the US administration will not be forced to make an effective move.
Yes to negotiations and the political process in a serious manner, but negotiations will not begin seriously unless the peaceful mass resistance by the people against the annexation, the expansion and the wall.
The equation is very clear. The Palestinians are hoping for effective US support for the peace process based on the existence of two states on the historic land of Palestine –” the state of Israel and the independent Palestinian state on lands occupied by Israel in 1967.
They have however gone through bitter experiences because of the split between the verbal US position and the practical US position. They are hoping that President Bush will put an end to this split.
The Palestinians are hoping that Washington will take decisions and stands similar to those taken by President Eisenhower regarding Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip in 1956 –” 1957.
Hoping and wishing is a beautiful thing, but a beautiful thing that might not become implemented practically unless a mechanism is created to turn it into practical steps.
Let the Palestinian stand become effective, influential and encouraging for Washington to take practical stands regarding the Israeli expansion and annexation.
President Abu Mazen is capable of making this happen just as he is capable of moving forward in the reform process. President Abu Mazen can rally national groups and unite the Palestinian people to move in a wide scale people’s uprising that will stand up to the wall, and to the annexation and settlement expansion.
Israel will undoubtedly counter with terrorist force and organized terrorist fire –” Israel’s state terrorism.
This will bring back the international momentum that condemns Israel and isolates it, and embarrasses Washington if it remains in its verbal position. Indeed it will gradually stir up embarrassment with Israeli public opinion and (international) Jewish public opinion.
At the same time a popular uprising like this is guaranteed to swell the spirit of confrontation and hope for the establishment of peace based on international legality, after this hope had almost disappeared under the fast pace of the annexation, the construction of the expansion wall, the rush to build the four settlement blocs, and Israel’s refusal to abide by its commitments, even the minor ones.
President Abu Mazen is required to be direct with President Bush and inform him that resisting the Israeli expansion is a must, and that it will take place if the Israeli government continues in its terrorist expansion operations.
He is required to remind President Bush of his responsibilities and to have him fulfill his declared and undeclared pledges.
He is also required to explain to President Bush that any word he says regarding the current reality is used by the Israelis to the maximum for colonial expansion, and that any current reality that contradicts with international legality must be stopped and removed.
The peaceful Palestinian uprising will rally Palestinian forces again under the leadership of Abu Mazen, will add to the influence of the Palestinian position, and will provide the Palestinian Authority with advantage points for exerting pressure that are missing in light of the current circumstances.
The dialogue on the continuation of the calm is necessary, but it must coincide with a dialogue to draw up a plan to begin a peaceful palestinian uprising against the expansion and against the annexation of the West Bank.
The US administration is in need of Palestinian and Arab pressure to enable it to take practical steps that go along with its new direction in Bush’s second term, a direction which desires to achieve a victory in the Middle East. There will be no victory for it in the Middle East except with the establishment of a viable, geographically continuous independent Palestinian state.
There will be no stability in the Middle East unless this solution, which will lead to peace, is reached, because it will be a prelude to a comprehensive peace in the entire region.
Egypt signed a peace agreement with Israel, and so did Jordan, but that did not achieve stability and peace in the Middle East, because the core of the problem is the Israeli occupation and the continued organized Israeli terrorism, and the continued expansion.
Unless the occupation ends, and Israel’s organized terrorism stops, there will be no peace and there will be no stability in the Middle East.
Washington needs Palestinian and Arab pressure to stand up to Congress and to stand up to pressure from powers whose interests are tied to Israel.
Sharon is afraid of such steps. In fact he is afraid only of such steps. Therefore he decided for the first time in four years to attend the AIPAC conference and to meet the leaders of the Jewish American community in May in order to stir up these groups because he knows that the Bush administration is now capable of moving in a direction that is different from that of Bush’s first term.
American decision-making now stems from the interests of the major economic cartels in the US; that is, it stems from the interests of America and not from the positions of neoconservatives as was the case in the past.
Be decisive and you will see an active US position –” the way to this is a peaceful uprising.