Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Promises and Realities

After my morning coffee I began my usual routine of perusing the internet. I came across an article on Ynet where Fayyad, the PA prime minister, states that Israel has not kept its promises in regards to a few of the issues discussed by Abbas and Olmert in their presummit meetings. His statement was made to the Arab press who has been very occupied with the meetings between Abbas and Olmert. I think Fayyad is the best leader to come along for the Palestinians in a long time. I did not as I read the article automatically dismiss what he had to say.

His first point had to do with checkpoints. We need to give Palestinians the ability to move around as they wish and we need to keep our citizens safe from terrorist attacks which originate in the West Bank. Two months ago Olmert gave the task to Barak. In this mornings Haaretz I find that Barak has not been a slacker. He has been working on plans to replace permanent checkpoints with mobile ones. This would give the Palestinians freedom of movement and would let us focus on security issues. If we know an attack may be coming from area x we can spot check that area. In the mean time areas y and z are open. The reason for the delay in implementation is a training issue. Troops need to be trained in this new method. This overall seems better than removing a few check points here and there. In addition the army is focusing on removing some of the unmanned checkpoints. These are used to channel traffic making it easier to spot the light blue Peugeot with the terrorist inside. If there is only one way in and out of Qualqilya for instance then life is easier for the men in charge of our security. I know that the Palestinians are tired of waiting. I think a few more months is a reasonable time table to implement these plans. As Barak said he favors improving the Palestinians lives but his overriding commitment is to Israel's security.

Next on the list was raids and assassinations. I am for an amnesty deal between Israel and Fatah. They will put their weapons down and stop committing terrorist attacks. We in turn will not hunt them down. They will become members of a government security force. This is a large responsibility on the shoulders of the PA. If their security force attacks Israel all bets are off. As far as other terrorist groups are concerned we have the right to go after murderers of innocent civilians. When he mentions Gaza it is a bit disingenuous since we are doing the dirty work for the PA. They want Hamas gone. We can't give them that but we can weaken them so that the PA will be able to regain control of Gaza. Fayyad didn't want fuel from the EU to reach Gaza. He is willing to let his people suffer a bit so he can remove Hamas.

His last issue was settlements. Illegal ones should all be removed. It will be easier now than in any final agreement stage. Legal settlement should remain intact until a final deal where we can see what land swaps will be implemented and we can see what we are able to save. Settlement however has never been the equivalent of terrorism. It is a stumbling block but not the root of the problem.

In closing I would like to forgo the typical conclusions and summary of my statements. Instead I would like to offer my thanks to the PA security officers who saved the life of an Israeli soldier in Jenin. Shukran.

Submitted by Carol