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Jerusalem's judgment day

By David Singer - posted Wednesday, 23 July 2008


President Bush's Road Map to create a new Arab state between Jordan and Israel is in terminal tatters following the bloody events in Jerusalem on July 2, 2008 when an east Jerusalem Arab commandeered a bulldozer and went on a rampage through Jerusalem's busy streets trying to kill as many people as he could before being killed himself.

Another East Jerusalem Arab had previously murdered eight Jewish religious seminary students on March 5 as they sat at their desks where tens of thousands of others had done so before them since its establishment in Jerusalem in 1924 under the British Mandate.

The Arab response to President Bush's Roadmap had embraced the uncompromising demand that millions of Arabs be allowed to emigrate to Israel - a position totally opposed by Israeli negotiators. That demand had been at the centre of Arab proposals to settle the Arab-Israel conflict since 1967 - long before the Roadmap finally saw the light of day in 2003.

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President Bush made it clear as long ago as April 14, 2004 that he supported Israel's rejection of that demand when he wrote to then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon:

It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.

One may well ask then why the Roadmap negotiations have been allowed to run on since 2004 when this clear rejection of the Arab demand was in the public place. Surely no reasonable prospects of settling this intractable dispute could ever eventuate from the Roadmap negotiations unless this Arab demand was dropped.

Yet despite this clearest signpost leading to a complete dead end in the negotiations, they continued on amid statements of ever growing optimism - fuelled perhaps even by desperation - that continued to be made in inverse proportion to what was being achieved in those negotiations.

The Quartet - America, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia - refused to believe that their combined clout could ever hit a brick wall in bringing President Bush's vision to reality and finality. They did not count on the continued Arab intransigence they were to encounter.

All unequivocally supported the right of the Jewish people to a Jewish State. How could this support be possibly reconciled with supporting the demand that millions of Arabs be given the right to flood Israel and destroy its Jewish character?

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No doubt neither Jews nor Arabs wished to be seen as the ones to have ended the negotiations and have upset an American President who had intervened to try and settle a dispute that had escaped the best efforts of the League of Nations and the United Nations for the last 88 years.

There were some - especially among the Israeli negotiators - who believed and hoped the Arab demand was a lot of hot air, and that a combination of compensation and a limited entry of perhaps 100,000 Arabs into Israel could satisfy this intransigent and entirely irrational Arab demand and bring about the longed for peace. This proposal had been suggested in negotiations in 2000 but was categorically rejected by the Arabs.

One million four hundred thousand Arabs are presently Israeli citizens; 250,000 Arabs reside in east Jerusalem and are the holders of Israeli blue identification cards that allow them access throughout Jerusalem and the West Bank.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

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All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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