Sharon Moving Slowly
Here is the full text of the speech that Ariel Sharon gave today concerning The Israeli government's honoring of the "roadmap to peace" (read the full text) worked out by "the Quartet" mediators - the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia.
The Roadmap calls for both sides of the issue to stop the violence. It also calls for Israel to freeze all settlement activity.
Prime Minister Sharon said today
Israel will fulfil the commitments taken upon itself. I have committed to the President of the United States that Israel will dismantle unauthorized outposts. It is my intention to implement this commitment. The State of Israel is governed by law, and the issue of the outposts is no exception. I understand the sensitivity; we will try to do this in the least painful way possible, but the unauthorized outposts will be dismantled. Period.
The emphasis above is mine. The Israeli Peace group Gush Shalom website points out that according to the roadmap the truth is (scroll down in link) that ALL settlements created after January 2001 are to be removed. And that all building activity among the settlements be stopped.
The maps in the hyperlinks show that the settlements or colonies that are in contention riddle the West Bank and Gaza, along with Israeli military bases. Look to see the few slated to be removed; as well as the many that will remain fixed in place.
Look at a map of the manned checkpoints, the roadblocks and the gates inside the West Bank. See the proposed four section "Palestinian state" that Sharon offers.
It seems clearly impossible that a just peace can be reached in this manner. Each of the many settlements (there are said to be at least 103) in Palestinian territory requires both access roads and property. On confiscated land. They also require military presence. Israel spends 560 million dollars a year on subsidies, infrastructure and education in these illegal outposts. That is exclusive of military presence.
Israel, whose population is 0.1% of the total world population, gets roughly one-third of all US foreign aid. Annually this amounts to more than $3 billion in US taxpayer dollars going to Israel. $2.04 billion of that is military aid.
Your tax dollars support Israeli militarism in the occupied territories, find out more.
"The Lie of the Land", an article from Haaretz posted at the Israeli peace group Peace Now website can offer you some understanding on illegal settlement activity as land grab. It also serves to show the Sharon policy for promoting this process. You can here a really instructive radio piece(RealAudio streaming format) that was first featured on the show "This American Life", Dror Etkes speaks of his attempts to document the spread of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. A reluctant activist for peace, his story is compelling from a personal angle as well as from what you learn. Mr Bush and his administration are in good company with Mr Sharon and his when it comes to lying for political expediancy. New illegal settlements have been built up in the last week.
If Sharon honors international law, the roadmap, he is in hot water with the religious extremists in his governing coalition.
Uprooting settlements violates the coalition agreement and the ideology of the Likud.
As a good politico, his speech walks the thin line of talking about doing what is just and doing what his extremist religious supporters want. His speech has angered many people among them Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia:
"The language of threats that was evident in the speech -- that ... if things don't work, we will take unilateral steps, draw lines -- these are ultimately dangerous words, and this type of talk is simply not acceptable."
If Palestinian violence occurs Sharon can appease the extremist Israelis. He speaks of a unilateral "Disengagement Plan". So the ball is in his court. There is no specific time frame offered. He needn't take away the settlements which would be political suicide for him, if he can just generate some Palestinian violence. Knocking some houses down, shooting some unarmed civilians can get the familiar rhythm of violence going again. Then he can justify his unilateral action.
But the people of Israel want peace.
Surveys and public opinion studies that were commissioned by the group were sent to Sharon. The findings clearly showed that the majority of the public in Israel supports a move of evacuating Jewish settlements in the territories, and a sweeping majority supports the evacuation of settlements in the Gaza Strip.
President Bush has cautioned Mr Sharon not to take any unilateral steps that would frustrate the aims of the roadmap.
Christian and Jewish conservatives in the US warn Bush not to "push" Israel.
Gary Bauer, a former GOP presidential contender who now heads the conservative group American Values, said he is “uncertain” about the Bush administration’s Mideast policy in the wake of the Hussein capture, but cautioned against using the president’s new political and diplomatic clout to pressure Israel.
“I expect to work enthusiastically for the president’s re-election,” he said in a veiled warning to the White House. “But even exceptional presidents make mistakes.”
The context for the above quote deals with the Geneva Accords. The Roadmap for Peace seems to have supplanted this effort, and may well be what is getting Sharon "moving", the boundry set would be the Green Line as spelled out in UN Resolution 242...
It should come as no surprise that Right-Wing Religious extremist Pat Robertson has spoken out out against Justice for Palestinians and peace in the Middle East.
What would Jesus say, Pat?
People on the whole are people and want a better world. The religious fundamentalists, the extremists of whatever persuasion stand in the way of our progress.
US Army War College Quarterly
There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing.
Presidential Dissembling on 9/11 Warnings
The problem for the president and the administration is that the White House has previously admitted that the president had personally received such specific warnings. As ABC News reported in May of 2002, "White House officials acknowledge that U.S. intelligence officials informed President Bush weeks before the September 11th attacks that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network might try to hijack American planes." As Condoleezza Rice said at a hastily called press conference to spin these revelations, the President specifically received an "analytic report" on August 6th, 2001 at his Crawford mansion that "talked about Osama bin Laden's methods of operation" and "mentioned hijacking." According to Reuters, that report was congruent with "intelligence since 1998 that said followers of bin Laden were planning to strike U.S. targets, hijack U.S. planes.".
In an interview with ABC tv Mr Bush cavalierly deals with Saddam Husseins lack of WMD's and the Bush Administrations rush to war.
Bush: Iraq intelligence was sound
US President dismisses any difference between whether Saddam had WMDs or planned to acquire them.
WASHINGTON - US President George W. Bush on Tuesday dismissed any distinction between whether former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein actually had weapons of mass destruction or planned to acquire them.
"So what's the difference?" he asked
The difference? You lied to America and the world, Mr Bush.
Read the full articles...