Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post -- November 8, 2000
THE INTIFADA UNDER
By Moshe Zak
Yesterday the American people elected a new president, and tomorrow the serving president will open his last chapter as an "honest broker" between Israel and the Palestinians.
On the last day of his term, 70 days after the elections, president Lyndon Johnson signed the order to supply Israel with Phantom warplanes, and his successor, Richard Nixon, was in no hurry to fulfill his predecessor's commitment. In its last days in office, in the middle of December 1988, the Reagan administration announced its readiness to inaugurate a dialogue with the PLO following Arafat's promise to denounce terrorism. But the dialogue was unsuccessful.
President Bill Clinton intends to present a bridging plan between Israel and the Palestinians during the time left for him in the White House, and it's not yet clear whether the new president is in any hurry to adopt it: the Palestinians don't want negotiations with Israel.
At the most, Palestinians are striving to shove a wedge between Israel and the US.
Arafat objected to the statements prepared by the Americans at the end of the Camp David and Paris conferences, and not just because of their contents. He didn't want to openly admit to any agreements with Israel. A declared agreement would likely quench the fire of the intifada, which he needs until the declaration of Palestinian independence.
Israel waited in vain for Arafat to keep his commitment to Regional Cooperation Minister Shimon Peres and broadcast a personal statement to his people asking them to stop the violence and cooperate with Israeli forces to restore order. Internal inhibitions prevented Arafat from admitting the existence of the "Gaza agreement," as well as from signing the "Paris agreement."
This is why the Palestinian Authority's statement described Arafat's trip to Washington as a concession: he is now willing to renew negotiations with the US, not with Israel. Arafat will not negotiate with Israel because the intifada must continue until the Palestinian flag flies over east Jerusalem.
ARAFAT IS going to Washington with a carefully laid out plan in his mind: to resist the American opposition to sending UN observers to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These observers will provide the Palestinians with immunity while the PA makes illegal land conquests. He has to maintain the intifada against Israel in order to close the ranks of the
Arab world around him before the determination of the borders of the Palestinian state.
Arafat will be in Washington tomorrow, and not to forge an agreement with the US. If he wanted an agreement, he wouldn't have had the insolence to reject ex-secretary of state Warren Christopher as chairman of the team investigating the source of the past month's violence.
Arafat is going to Washington to clear away any possible obstacles to declaring his Palestinian state. Arafat is not summoning the UN forces to defend the Palestinian population, but as a means of delineating the borders according to the June 5, 1967 armistice lines. At the same time, Arafat is trying to catch Israel off guard by meeting in Cairo with the heads of the Israeli and Palestinian security services. On the face of it, this meeting suggests a "return to normality," and creates the illusion that the PA is ready for a compromise agreement.
In fact, this is to camouflage Arafat's illegal intentions. Arafat's plan is to organize mass marches of thousands of Palestinians armed with stones, knives, and Molotov cocktails on IDF positions and settlements, all under UN protection.
The investigation of the terrorist attack perpetrated in Aden harbor against the American warship revealed that the sailors on the deck of the huge destroyer actually waved a greeting at the little boat which approached them in order to attach an explosive device to the hull. The sailors never guessed that the tiny vessel had villainous intentions.
We must not be deceived by the little Palestinian boat floating opposite the strong army of Israel. We must not be fooled by the camouflage of a so-called non-violent intifada.
(c) Jerusalem Post 2000