Shimon Peres, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, told reporters that one must be honest and fair when dealing with the prevailing situation between Israel and Palestine.
I intend to be honest and fair with Israelis through this call. We realize that Israelis nowadays have strong convictions about the following:
First- That the Palestinian Authority had rejected a "generous offer" that was submitted by the Prime Minister of Israel General Ehud Barak. This is in reference to the Camp David talks, that were attended by Barak, President Arafat and sponsored by the U.S Ex-President Bill Clinton. This impression among the Israeli public might have led them to believe that the Palestinian Authority and President Yasser Arafat donít want a solution, nor do they want peace.
Second: The Israeli public is under the impression that the insistence of the PA to implement the right of return of Palestinian refugees, means that the PA is planning to flood Israel with four million Palestinians. This in turn would mean diluting the State of Israel by creating a situation quite similar to a bi-national State, in place of the Hebrew State of Israel.
Third: The Israeli public is also under the impression that the Intifada of 28 Sept. 2000 was a planned activity, and that its aim is to destroy the State of Israel.
Fourth: The Israeli public does not know what really is going on in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. That is why they are under the impression that the Palestinians are the aggressors, and that the Israelis are the victims.
These are very serious and dangerous impressions. If these impressions continue to influence public opinion in Israel, the repercussions will be catastrophic. Violence begets violence, and escalating violence will mean that there will be a counter-escalation.
The result will definitely
be: More Palestinians and Israelis killed.
The Palestinians recognize the right of Israel to live behind safe and secure boundaries, and they expect the Israelis to recognize the same for the Palestinian state.
The Palestinians aim at establishing peace with Israel, on the basis of a political solution and through negotiations (not through fighting), with the direct aim of implementing the international resolutions leading to:
Ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands that has been strangling the Palestinians for the past 34 years.
Establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the land of Palestine occupied on 5th June 1967, according to international resolutions.
Signing a peace agreement with Israel that will define the future cooperation in relations between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine.
Palestinians have no
intention (now or in the future) to call for or strive for the
destruction of Israel.
Specifically, we think that through targeting civilians both sides have destroyed their image in the world and have turned the Holy Land into a bloody one.
The impression that President Arafat rejected the " generous offer" of Barak, at Camp David, was denied vehemently by the special advisor of President Bill Clinton on Middle Eastern affairs. This is documented in his article that was published in the New York review of books.
Israelis can ask Minister Shahak, Ben Ami and Yossi Belen about that too. Arafat was asking for the implementation of the agreements signed between Israel and Palestine before getting to the final status which is the full implementation of Security Council resolution 242.
Barak had preconditions and conditions that would have made the agreement practically impossible. In Taba, things moved forward to a great extent, but Barak ordered a stop to negotiations for purely electioneering purposes.
The Palestinians did not plan the Intifada, nor had it prepared. It was a spontaneous reaction to provocation, mistrust, indignation, confiscation of Palestinian land and the construction of more colonialist settlements on their land. The provocative visit of Sharon to Al Haram Al Sharif was the last straw.
The strategy of the Intifada is in fact its declared aim: to put an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands occupied in 1967; not to destroy Israel.
The Israelis are invited to come to the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem to see with their own eyes the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinians.
We are not listing these practices for the sake of argument, but to inform the Israelis of the actions of their soldiers and officers on our land.
This we do in order
to move to the important and main point:
The Palestinians do not want them on their soil. They want them to leave and go back to their homes and families in Israel.
Can the Israelis understand that the Palestinians have the right to freedom, self-determination and independence as much as they themselves have these rights?
No nation on earth will
accept to be occupied and enslaved, not even the Israelis themselves.
Letís exert pressure
on both the Israeli Government and the PA to move to final status