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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Peace versus the Hamas

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/03/peace-versus-hamas.html

This release from The Israel Project sums up the current situation pretty well.
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 27, 2007
Contact:
Calev Ben-David: 011-972-2-6236427, calevbd@theisraelproject.org

Leah Soibel: 011-972-2-6236427, leahs@theisraelproject.org

While Israel Seeks Peace Through Two-State Solution,
Hamas Hardliners Continue to Embrace Terror


Israel renewed its efforts to find a peaceable solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict this week, with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreeing to meet regularly for talks with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas after both held discussions with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

According to a senior U.S. official, "The issues [to be discussed] would be security, humanitarian and the political horizon." [1]
The Olmert government has already said that its political horizon is a negotiated settlement for a Jewish and Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace.
Rice and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stopped in Jerusalem this week prior to the Riyadh Summit, which is to take place March 28-29 in Saudi Arabia.
Both Rice and Ban refused to meet with Hamas members of the new Palestinian unity government, noting that Hamas has still refused to meet the three conditions laid down by the so-called Middle East Quartet (the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia): renunciation of violence and terror, recognizing Israel's right to exist and honoring past Israeli-Palestinian agreements. [2]
The political platform adopted by the new Palestinian unity government last week specifically approved "resistance in all its forms," [3] which includes continued terror attacks on Israelis, the firing of Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, and the continued holding of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, kidnapped from Israeli territory into the Gaza Strip on June 29, 2006.
Following the Feb. 19 trilateral summit between Rice, Olmert and Abbas, the U.S. Secretary of State returned to the region this week to garner support among the 'Arab Quartet'- Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - for reviving Saudi Arabia's 2002 peace initiative.
The Saudi Initiative, a basis for normalized relations between Israel and the Arab world, was scripted by Saudi's Crown Prince Abdullah - first as an interview with Thomas Friedman in The New York Times in Feb. 2002 and again one month later at the March 2002 Arab League summit in Beirut, Lebanon. [4]
At the time, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that the initiative was "an interesting idea." [5]
More recently, Olmert and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni both spoke of "positive elements" in the Saudi plan as a basis for negotiations. [6]
"We sincerely hope that at the summit of the Arab leaders in Riyadh, the positive element in the Saudi initiative will be emphasized and would maybe allow an opportunity to strengthen the chances for negotiations with the Palestinians on its basis," said Olmert. [7]
The Saudi Initiative, Based on the 2002 Model
The three key clauses for Israel, outlined by the Arab League in the 2002 Saudi Initiative adopted at the Beirut summit are: [8]

I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.

II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.

III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In return, Arab leaders guaranteed a cessation to the Arab-Israeli conflict, to negotiate a peace agreement with Israel and to fully normalize relations with the Jewish state.

On March 24, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon landed in Israel and was met by Israeli Minister of Defense, Amir Peretz. Ban and Peretz discussed a range of political and security matters. [9]
Threats emanating from Iran, Syria and Lebanon were also on the agenda.
Ban met with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday, March 25.
The Middle East is the U.N. chief's second international tour since becoming Secretary-General. [10]  His first trip was to several African countries.
As a member of the international Quartet Commission (United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia), Ban said on March 24 in Cairo, "We [U.N.] expect that the national unity government will meet the expectations of the international community for peace and security in the region." [11]
The Quartet requires that the PA government fully recognize the State of Israel, comply with former peace agreements and renounce terror.
However, the Hamas-led PA unity government, comprised of Fatah, Hamas and independent technocrats, still has not accepted all three of the Quartet's conditions. [12]
Shortly after the Secretary-General landed in Israel, the 15-member U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a new resolution against Iran, which will halt all military exports to the Islamic Republic and freeze 28 Iranian personal and institutional financial accounts. After Iran failed to comply with the U.N.'s 60-day deadline for halting all nuclear enrichment activity, the Security Council voted for harsher sanctions against Tehran. [13]
On Saturday, March 24, Secretary-General Ban and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with foreign ministers from the 'Arab Quartet' to discus Arab opportunities for negotiations with Israel. [14]
Statements by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
March 27

In a joint-press conference with PM Olmert, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "The Quartet would like to see this government clearly committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of existing agreements and it will be assessed by its actions in the future. A vital first step would be for the new government to take action against the firing of rockets from Gaza and to secure the release of Corporal Shalit."[15]

March 15

U.N. spokesperson Michele Montas said Secretary-General Ban "hoped that the Palestinian government [sic] would respect all existing agreements and reflect principles outlined by the diplomatic Quartet, the international grouping that includes the U.N. as well as the European Union, Russian Federation and the United States." [16]

February 27
"Both Palestinians and the wider regional and international community are keen to see this agreement implemented in a positive manner. I hope that a national unity Government will take positions and actions that help to facilitate renewed international support," said Ban at the 2007 session of the Committee on the Exercise of Inalienable Rights of the Palestian People. [17]

Hamas's Intransigence
On March 26, Israel Radio quoted Hamas' Syrian-based political chief Khaled Mashaal as saying that Hamas has not ceased its armed struggle against Israel and militants are waiting to set in motion another Intifada (popular uprising). [18]
Hamas is calling for the 'persecution' of Nemr Hammad, a political advisor to Abu Mazen, for his "unwarranted" and "erred" statement of a resumption of cooperation between Israeli and P.A. security forces. Hamas fears that a joint Israel-P.A. security force would lead to the disbandment of all militant cells. [19]
According to the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson's office, between March 5 and March 19 a total of 13 Qassam rockets and mortar shells were launched from the Gaza Strip. Six of the rockets and shells landed in Israel.



Footnotes

[1] Arshad, Mohammed, "Israel, Palestinian leaders agree to regular talks," Reuters, March 27, 2007, http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSL2711123320070327

[2] Al-Mughrabi, Nidal, "Palestinian PM says new cabinet backs 'resistance,' " Reuters, March 17, 2007, http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2007-03-17T105834Z_01_L16527358_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-PALESTINIANS-COL.XML
[3] Ibid.
[4] Usher, Graham, "The Saudi initiative," Al-Ahram Weekly Online, Feb. 28-March 6, 2002, Issue No. 575, http://weekly.ahram.org,eg/2002/575/fr3.htm
[5] Ibid.
[6] Erlanger, Steve, "2002 Saudi plan revived as spur to Arab-Israeli talks," The New York Times, March 23, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/world/middleeast/13mideast.html?ex=1331438400&en=93dd7ffe8010b7ff&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
[7] Ibid.
[8] "The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002," Al-Bab.com, http://www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/league/peace02.htm
[9] Sofer, Ronny, "UN Secretary-General lands in Israel," YnetNews, March 24, 2007, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3380504,00.html
[10] "UN chief announces Mideast visit," published in YnetNews via Associated Press, March 10, 2007, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3374561,00.html
[11] News Agencies, "UN chief urges PA government to meet expectations of the international community," Haaretz, March 23, 2007, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/841355.html
[12] Department of Public Information  " Statement by Middle East Quartet," United Nations, Secretary -General, SG/2125, PAL/2071, March 21, 2007, http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2007/sg2125.doc.htm
[13] Lynch, Colum, and Branigin, William, "UN Security Council unanimously approves Iran sanctions," The Washington Post, March 24, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/24/AR2007032400576.html
[14] News Agencies, "Rice discusses peace efforts with foreign ministers of 'Arab Quartet,'" Haaretz, March 24, 2007, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/841348.html
[15] "Joint press conference by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 26, 2007, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Spe
eches+by+Israeli+leaders/2007/Joint+Press+Conference+by+PM+Olmert+and+UN+Secy-Gen+Ki-moon+26-Mar-2007.htm
[16] "Secretary-General welcomes new Palestinian government," United Nations News Centre, March 15, 2007, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=21876&Cr=Palestin&Cr1
[17] Department of Public Information, "World community must take advantage of 'political opportunities at hand,'" United Nations, Secretary-General SG/SM/10892, GA/PAL/1039, Feb. 27, 2007, http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2007/sgsm10892.doc.htm
[18] JPost.com Staff, "Mahaal: Hamas has not abandoned armed struggle," The Jerusalem Post, March 27, 2007, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1173879183952&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
[19] "Hamas: Hammad's call tantamount to national treason," Palestine Information Center, March 26, 2007,
 


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