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How Bush Could Have Resolved the Middle East CrisisPublication date: 2002-04-07
On 4 April 2002 President Bush delivered speech on the Middle East from the White House.
The speech was supposed to put an end to the present hostilities and outline steps towards a permanent resolution of the crisis.
It has failed to do either.
The call to stop the Israeli activities immediately added later had no effect either.
In view of the urgent need to stop the present violence and to set the course of further developments towards a total and permanent peace in the region through the implementation of the Prince Abdullah proposal, I shall not go into the reasons why President Bush's speech fails to resolve either immediate crisis or to move the events towards a future permanent peace. Instead I shall present an alternative speech, which, if delivered by President Bush, would have achieved the desired objectives.
The Model "Peace in the Middle East" Bush Declaration
- The present crisis is the result of the following events:
- In 1948, following the establishment of the State of Israel, Palestinian Arabs were expelled from the territories on which the State of Israel was established and became refugees in the neighboring Arab countries.
- In 1967 the State of Israel occupied further Palestinian territories: the West Bank of the River Jordan, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and Southern Lebanon.
- The Palestinians residing in the territories occupied by the State of Israel in 1967 have been waging a resistance war, killing Israeli military and civilians. The resistance war was waged by different organisations.
In 1988 the Government of the United States of America recognized one of the resistance organizations, PLO as a de facto representative of the Palestinian people and began diplomatic negotiations with it.
In 1993 the Oslo Agreement is signed in Washington between Israel and PLO, whereby the power over Gaza and West Bank is to be transferred to the Palestinians and in 1996 the PLO recognised the right of the State of Israel to exist.
While the PLO recognised the right of the state of Israel to exist, other resistance organizations continued with the resistance, their declared aim being the destruction of the State of Israel and return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes on the territories in the present State of Israel. The resistance often took form of "suicide-bombings". Acts of resistance were also performed in retaliation for Israeli military raids which took place after the Oslo Agreement.
At the end of March this year Prince Abdullah put forward a proposal which could satisfy all the parties to the dispute and result in a total and permanent peace in the region.
On the next day after the Prince Abdullah plan was accepted by the Arab States in Beirut the Israeli army entered the Palestinian territories and began a military campaign against the Palestinians explaining it by the need to stop terrorism. This campaign has been expanded in the first week of April to a full-scale invasion and occupation of the West Bank. The Israeli military campaign was conducted with massive destruction of people and property and is continuing at present.
- There are two objectives to be achieved to resolve the crisis:
- The immediate objective - to stop the present hostilities.
- The longer term objective - to achieve total and permanent peace in the region.
- To achieve theses objectives I request the parties to the conflict as follows:
- I request the Government of the State of Israel to stop all military activities in the Palestinian territories and
- to begin orderly withdrawal of its troops from these territories immediately from the time of this proclamation.
- The Israeli military withdrawal must be completed within 72 hours from the time of this proclamation.
- Any damage to people or property caused by the Israeli troops after the time this proclamation comes into effect will be considered as war crimes and all those responsible for such acts will be tried by a United Nations War Tribunal which will be set up for such purpose.
- Failure by the Israeli troops to complete their withdrawal within 72 hours will be considered as a war crime committed by the government of the State of Israel and the key members of the Israeli Cabinet will be tried by the UN War Tribunal for that crime.
I request all Palestinians whether private individuals or organizations both in Palestine and outside of it to suspend all form of attacks against the Israelis or anybody else, so that the present conflict would be finished and a just and peaceful solution can be implemented in accordance with the Abdullah Plan.
I understand that
And for that reason I propose that a meeting be convened in Beirut within 14 days from this proclamation to which the Palestinian Authority, all the organizations which represent the Palestinian refugees (Hamas, Hizbullah, and others) as well as the neighboring Arab states (Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon) and the Government of the State of Israel send delegates for discussing the practical details of implementation of the Prince Abdullah Plan, and that Prince Abdullah or his representative act as chairman and moderator of that meeting.
- the Palestinians who were expelled from the territories constituting the present State of Israel suffered an injustice,
- that this injustice is at the root of the conflict,
- and that without justice being achieved for the Palestinians no permanent solution to the conflict is possible.
- I understand that the Palestinian Authority and the Arab States are in agreement with such peaceful resolution of the dispute, and I warn the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestinian Organizations that now that peace in the region is a practical possibility, they must take part in the peaceful resolution of the dispute, and no act of violence from either side is justified. And if, anybody from either side commits an act of hostility against the other side, such act will be considered as war crime, if committed by a government, or ordinary crime, if committed by a private person, and that members of such government, or private individuals be brought to trial for such crimes.
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