Abbas spoke at a joint news conference with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is touring the region this week on what she bills as an effort to listen to ideas to rekindle the stalled peace process. Rice said she wants to "accelerate" a three-stage U.S.-backed 2003 peace plan known as the "road map" but has been vague about what she means. "When I say accelerate, we want to look at it and see how fast you can move," she told reporters traveling with her.The WaPo doesn't bother to illuminate its readers as to what is in the "first stage" of the roadmap that everyone now seems to want to skip.
So far, Rice has been hearing conflicting advice: the Israelis have touted the idea of jumping to the second stage, an interim state, and the Palestinians have pressed for going to the third stage, a permanent state.
So let me fill in some of that gap. Here are the first couple of paragraphs of Phase I of the Roadmap:
In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below; such action should be accompanied by supportive measures undertaken by Israel. Palestinians and Israelis resume security cooperation based on the Tenet work plan to end violence, terrorism, and incitement through restructured and effective Palestinian security services. Palestinians undertake comprehensive political reform in preparation for statehood, including drafting a Palestinian constitution, and free, fair and open elections upon the basis of those measures. Israel takes all necessary steps to help normalize Palestinian life. Israel withdraws from Palestinian areas occupied from September 28, 2000 and the two sides restore the status quo that existed at that time, as security performance and cooperation progress. Israel also freezes all settlement activity, consistent with the Mitchell report.So not only are the Palestinian Arabs trying to get around the obligations of stopping terror - so are the current Israeli leaders! Olmert et.al. are ready to give the Palestinian Arabs a state, right now, with seeming no preconditions and temporary borders.
At the outset of Phase I:
- Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.
- Israeli leadership issues unequivocal statement affirming its commitment to the two-state vision of an independent, viable, sovereign Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel, as expressed by President Bush, and calling for an immediate end to violence against Palestinians everywhere. All official Israeli institutions end incitement against Palestinians.
- Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.
- Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.
And Abbas, true to form, is rejecting this absurd gift, proving once again that peace and statehood is not the goal of the "moderate" Fatah. Building a state, with an effective police force and judiciary, with the responsibility for job creation and tax collection and all the myriad parts of a real, functioning government is the furthest thing from Abbas' mind. An entity that now has almost nothing continues to bargain as if it holds the upper hand.
And who suffers because of the famous "moderate"'s unyielding position? The people that he supposedly is leading!
Meanwhile, Rice and Olmert and Abbas ignore that pesky little fact that the current elected leadership of the PalArabs is even more extreme and even less interested in running a state than Abbas is!
We are watching the supposed leaders of three countries just pretend that terror doesn't exist, that Hamas doesn't exist and that Abbas has some power, all in a rush to reward a people who explicitly support terror with a state. They are all closing their eyes to the reality that is splashed on the front pages of papers for months - that terror still exists, that Hamas and Fatah can't cooperate, that statehood is not the desired end-state for the majority of Palestinian Arabs.
It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic.