Sharon’s visit to the US – Palestinian Prison state

On 04/12/05 Sharon at the invitation of the US government visited President George Bush at his Crawford ranch in Texas. Speaking to the press after their meeting both leaders spoke on a variety of issues concerning Sharon’s disengagement plan, the road map and Israel’s security. Regarding Sharon’s disengagement plan, American officials were keen to emphasize that it was a positive step that would eventually lead to the resumption of the road map, as set out by Bush in April 2003. At a joint press conference, Bush said, "The road map has been accepted and endorsed by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority along with virtually the entire international community. The prime minister [Sharon] and I share a desire to see the disengagement from Gaza and part of the West Bank serve to re-energize progress along the road map.”

Since January 2005, America has been working patiently with Sharon and President Abbas to make Sharon’s disengagement plan a reality. America in conjunction with the EU and specifically with Britain has been working to reform the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its security apparatus, as a pre-condition to the commencement of the roadmap. Bush reiterated this when he said," The United States will continue working with the international community to help Palestinians develop democratic political institutions, build security institutions dedicated to maintaining law and order and dismantling terrorist organizations, reconstruct civic institutions and promote a free and prosperous economy."

To facilitate this America has pledged millions of dollars in aid, appointed a general to co-ordinate security issues between the Palestinians and the Israelis, launched a campaign to purge Arafat loyalist (pro-EU) from the PA, brokered a temporary ceasefire and has involved Egypt to guarantee the security of the Israel. On the last point, the Israeli Army radio recently reported that ‘The Knesset may have to approve amendments to several clauses of the peace agreements signed between Israel and Egypt in Camp David in 1979. The intended modifications will permit Egyptian forces to enter the peninsula in order to secure the Philadelphia Route in the southern Gaza Strip.’ Egypt and Israel have also agreed that as part of the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, Egypt will deploy some 850 troops along its border with the Strip. In addition, America has thrown its weight behind European efforts to reform the PA. The presence of Condoleeza Rice at the London Conference in March 2005 signaled a new resolve in the Bush administration to find a long lasting solution to the protracted conflict. The New York Times reported that the EU was willing dispense $6 to $8 billion dollars of aid provided that the PA reformed itself. Till then, the Bush administration had given the Israelis a carte blanche to unilaterally push ahead with the disengagement plan and derail EU efforts to see the roadmap through.

By inviting Sharon to the US, the Bush administration has not only given a fresh bout of confidence to the disengagement plan, but also given a measure of assurance to the steps leading to the re-engagement of the Palestinians in the peace process. Tony Blair first outlined these steps during his visit to the US in December 2004, as part of a joint Anglo-American initiative to solve the Palestinian issue. The steps included: reaffirmation of a two-state solution, support for Palestinian elections, support for new Palestinian institutions, and implementation of the Israeli Gaza disengagement plan and resumption of the road map.

Sharon on his part has also spent the previous six months paving the way for a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and some of the settlements in the West Bank. He has formed a new coalition government with Shimon Peres the leader of Labor, and has pressed ahead with the removal of 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank-about 9000 settlers in total. Sharon has also succeeded in winning the backing of the Knesset to approve the disengagement plan as well as the passing of the state budget – $1billion of which will be used to finance the withdrawal from Gaza and some West Bank settlements. As a further sign of Sharon’s seriousness in implementing the disengagement plan is that he has already signed an evacuation order to evict settlers and this is due to come into force on July 20th. Speaking at the press conference Bush expressed America’s willingness to support the relocation of settlers and said, “Today, we discussed ways to expand cooperation of our economies. The prime minister believes that developing the Negev and the Galilee regions is vital to ensuring a vibrant economic future for Israel. I support that goal, and we will work together to make his plans a reality."

All of this indicates that the US is eager to see Sharon implement the disengagement plan and then recommence negotiations with the Palestinians according to the conditions of the road map. However, in typical Zionist fashion, Sharon not only wants to delay the resumption of the road map but also wants to change it beyond all recognition. Sharon has demanded an expansion to West Bank settlements and for the Palestinians to do more to stop the attacks. Speaking at the press conference Sharon said, “The situation in order to move forward must be full cessation of terror, hostilities and incitement. So some initial steps were taken. More steps should be taken.” This is in addition to the assurances he got from President Bush last year, that the Palestinian demands of right to return was impractical and that the settlements in West Bank were not illegal. On the latter, Bush reaffirmed his promise to Sharon and said,” As I said last April, new realities on the ground make it unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return on the armistice lines of 1949. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will be achieved only on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities. " But on the issue of further expanding the West Bank settlements in Maale Adumim he warned Sharon and said, “Israel has obligations under the road map. The road map clearly says no expansion of settlements. And we’ll continue to work with Israel on their obligations.”

Once again the Israelis have succeeded in tearing up the original road map, adding new facts as realities and then demanding that the US acquiesce to them. The Israelis have also managed to shift the debate from illegal outposts from the West bank to whether they should have more settlements or not. The so-called international community designates all the settlements in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, as illegal, but no one including the PA is willing to challenge American and Israeli interpretation of the reality. The PA has already succumbed to accept a part of this reality by agreeing to forego the right of return of Palestinian refugees and after having made so many compromises on West Bank it is not surprising to find President Abbas adopting an indifferent tone on this issue.

Furthermore, the Israelis are also aware that America has committed itself to a two state solution and after the disengagement from Gaza wants to cajole the Israelis into concluding a final settlement with the Palestinian. Within this context the Israeli demand for an expansion of settlements in Maale Adumim is designed to force the outcome of Jerusalem in Israel’s favor, when future talks with the Palestinians take place. Having conceded on the concept of ‘Greater Israel’ Sharon wants to build a ‘Greater Jeruslam’. Mr. Sharon intends to build new housing in order to establish an unbroken presence from Jerusalem to the settlement of Maale Adumim, a community of 30,000 people. The planned expansion cuts most north-south links between Palestinians in the West Bank and makes it extremely difficult for Palestinians to gain access to East Jerusalem, which PA hopes to make the capital of their eventual state. This would leave Israel with 7 per cent or so of the West Bank, full ownership of Jerusalem and a concrete "fence" between Israel and the Palestinian-controlled areas. The result would be a Palestinian territory consisting of Gaza and pockets across the West Bank, instead of the viable, mostly contiguous state envisaged by the "road map". Moreover, Israel will retain control of Gaza’s airspace, reserve the right to conduct incursion under the pretext of disarming militants and control the water supply to the Palestinian population. Simply put the peace process since its inception has been geared towards delivering a prison state, where the Palestinian population will become permanent prisoners in their own land.

In conclusion America wants to press ahead with Sharon’s disengagement plan and then encourage the resumption of talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians according to the road map. Israel realizes this, and wants to impose new conditions before the resumption of the road map and even to delay its commencement, as she realizes that a two state solution will severely hamper her ambition to stand-alone in the region and out of America’s shadow. The Arab rulers for their part in this grand conspiracy are undertaking the implementation of America’s plan which is to have a strong Jewish state side by side a weak Palestinian state (Prison state), but both under American dominion. Their treachery will be in full view during the upcoming PA parliamentary elections and Israeli’s withdrawal from Gaza. If it were not for the betrayal of these rulers, both Israel and America would not be able to exploit the situation to realize their evil plans and ambitions towards the Muslims of Palestine.