The Guardian August 2, 2000


Camp David:
The long war against the Palestinians

Following the Isareli-Arab war of 1967, the UN Security Council adopted 
resolution No 242 which required Israel to return to the borders it 
occupied before the war. This meant evacuation of the occupied Palestinian 
lands, the Golan Heights (Syria) and the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt). The Sinai 
Peninsula was returned to Egypt a number of years ago but instead of 
returning the Palestinian lands or the Golan Heights, Israel has 
systematically seized Arab lands and set up Israeli settlements. Its 
intention is to permanently annex these lands to Israel.

Despite the continuing struggle of the Palestinians and other problems 
Israel, with the assistance of its ally the United States who has provided, 
arms, money and diplomatic backing, has pushed ahead with the expansion of 
settlements in an attempt to consolidate its occupation.

The most recent summit meeting called by US President Clinton, while being 
sold to the world as part of a "peace process" was nothing more than a 
further opportunity to force the Palestinian negotiators to accept whatever 
sort of "peace" the Israeli and US Governments dictated.

It was to be a final surrender.

Breakdown

The Camp David negotiations broke down when the Palestinian negotiators 
refused to accept an agreement which would result in the complete 
emasculation of the remaining Palestinian lands which have been effectively 
divided up into isolated cantonments by illegal Israeli settlements.

Furthermore, East Jerusalem would be annexed as Israeli territory and be 
denied to the Palestinians as the capital of the State of Palestine.

During the summit, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat came under 
intense pressure from the Americans to give and give. On his return to 
Palestine, Arafat was greeted as a hero for his steadfast refusal to bow to 
the US pressure.

Not surprisingly, Israeli Prime Minister Barak, and less directly, US 
President Clinton have blamed Arafat for the failure of the summit. In 
remarks following the breakup of the talks, Clinton praised Barak for 
moving much farther from his initial positions than Arafat during the 
negotiations.

But the Palestinians had made their principal concessions at the time of 
the 1993 Oslo agreements. They agreed then to abandon armed struggle 
against Israel and recognise a Jewish state occupying about 78 percent of 
the historic homeland of the Palestinians  stretching from the Jordan 
River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Refugees

In exchange, they expected that Israel and the US would recognise a 
Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East 
Jerusalem, and acknowledge some measure of responsibility for the hundreds 
of thousands of Palestinian refugees.

Subsequent negotiations have been aimed to deny these Palestinian 
expectations, giving time for the creation of more and more Israeli 
settlements while sustaining the pretense that genuine "peace" negotiations 
are taking place.

Both the US and Israel have ignored the many UN resolutions dealing with 
Israel and the Palestinians.

UN resolutions called for the recognition of the right of Palestinians to 
statehood, censuring Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem, affirming the 
Palestinian refugees' right of return and condemning Israel's illegal 
actions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since 1967.

The US and Israel continued to ignore these UN resolutions at the recent 
Camp David meeting.

The Israeli terms, fully backed by the US were spelt out: no right of 
return for the refugees, Arab (East) Jerusalem to be permanently annexed to 
Israeli West Jerusalem, no return of the Jordan Valley, no dismantling of 
most of the Zionist settlements in the occupied territories and no 
genuinely independent Palestinian Arab state.

In the occupied territories Palestinians are demonstrating against any 
surrender of Arab and Muslim religious rights to East Jerusalem and against 
any retreat on the rights of the millions of Palestinian refugees to return 
to their homes in what is now Israel.

Arafat has only one card left  the threat to unilaterally declare 
Palestinian independence (as previously announced) in September coupled 
with the warning that unless there is some attempt to meet Palestinian 
demands a violent backlash will follow. The next Intifada may be fought 
with guns, not stones.

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