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sexta-feira, julho 14, 2006

The Prisoner's Peace Plan

Chuck Missler

On July 31, 2006 the Palestinian people will vote in a referendum on a proposal that has come to be known as the "prisoner's peace plan." The proposal has the support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and it is popular among the Palestinian people. However the terrorist organization Hamas, which currently controls the Palestinian government, is vehemently opposed to the plan and has attempted to block the referendum.

Some members of the media have applauded the plan as a key step forward in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. They describe the 18-point plan as one which recognizes Israel, renounces terrorism, and abandons the Palestinian's claims to land beyond the 1967 borders. They imply that the plan is meant to bring peace with Israel. However nothing could be further from the truth.

What Does It Really Say?

The Palestinian referendum is not about making peace with Israel. It does not represent a willingness to compromise on the part of the Palestinian people, nor does it explicitly recognize the right of Israel to exist. The primary goal of the plan is to unite warring Palestinian factions under the banner of the PLO. Thus strengthening the PA and curtailing the outbreak of civil war.

The demands of the Palestinian people have not changed. They insist upon the complete withdrawal of Israel from all the occupied areas back to the 1967 border, the dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a Palestinian capitol in Jerusalem, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants. They have also called for the removal of Israeli roadblocks, the release of some 8,000 Palestinians being detained in Israeli jails and military prisons, and the dismantling of the controversial security barrier.

The proposal begins with the following statement: "The Palestinian people at home and in exile seek to liberate their land and realize their right of freedom, return and independence, and their right to self-determination, including their right to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital on all the land occupied in 1967, guaranteeing the right of return for the refugees, liberating all the prisoners and detainees, drawing upon our people's historic right in the land of our ancestors..."

Furthermore, the document does not disavow violence as a means of achieving these goals. It upholds the "Palestinian people's right to resistance by all means" and "rejects and condemns the unjust siege on [the Palestinian] people led by the United States and Israel." The plan states that one of its goals is to "form a united resistance front called the 'Palestinian resistance front' to lead and carry out the resistance against occupation and to unify and coordinate the resistance action..." In other words, the plan is to unite the PLO, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad so they can carry out better coordinated attacks against Israel.

The Signatories

The press has dubbed the proposal the "prisoner's peace plan" because it was drafted by Marwan Barghouti, Sheik Abdel Khaliq al-Natsche, Sheik Bassam al-Saadi, and Abdel Rahim Malouh. All of whom are currently locked away in Israeli jails. Marwan Barghouti is serving five life sentences for murder plus an additional 40 years for attempted murder. Barghouti is one of the leaders of the Fatah movement and coordinated terrorist attacks during the Palestinian Intifadas. Sheik Abdel Khaliq al-Natsche is a senior Hamas leader who operated a network of charities that funded terrorist activities. Sheik Bassam al-Saadi lead the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Jenin and Abdel Rahim Malouh was a key leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Malouh recruited DFLP members to carry out attacks against Israeli civilians and military targets. These men, although they are convicted terrorists, have been described by the press as a "moderate and influential force."

If the "prisoner's peace plan" is successfully implemented the Palestinian people will eventually stop fighting each other and unite against Israel. However, so far, the plan has done more dividing than uniting. Hamas is against it and some experts believe its passage could lead to new parliamentary elections. Meanwhile the Palestinian territories continue to spiral out of control.

For most Westerners it is difficult to understand why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has continued for so long or why it has resulted in so much violence. The fundamental problem is that the Palestinian leadership has ardently resisted making any concessions toward Israel and have maintained an all-or-nothing approach to peace negotiations. Too few Palestinians truly desire peace. Palestinian children are consistently taught in school to hate Israel. Most Arab nations have yet to officially recognize the right of Israel to exist, and many Muslim groups, like Hamas and Hezbollah, will not allow peace unless it comes in the form of Israel's destruction.

from the June 20, 2006 eNews issue