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Op-Ed: Palestine - and the World's Collective "Amnesia"

Collective amnesia spells collective disaster
Published: Monday, February 03, 2014 8:28 AM


US Secretary of State John Kerry has missed his own deadline of 31 January by not releasing his eagerly anticipated framework agreement designed to help end the 130 years old Jewish-Arab conflict. It will now be released by 21 February according to US Envoy Martin Indyk.

While speculation is rife as to its contents - it appears certain that there will be one crucial omission – that any Palestinian State created must be democratic – which could doom any further negotiations.

A democratic Palestinian state finds its genesis in the 2003 Bush Roadmap – the foundation which underpins the current negotiations. The Roadmap stated:

“A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved … through Israel's readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, 

“A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours.”

The full text of the Roadmap was presented to Palestinian and Israeli leaders by the Quartet mediators - the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia – indicating strong international support for a democratic Palestinian State as the end game to success.

By 27 November 2007 – when negotiations under the Bush Road Map were non-existent – President Bush assembled the following star-studded list representing their designated countries and organisations to announce that negotiations were set to commence in December:

Description                    Delegation                          Title of Head of Delegation                   Name

Parties                             Israel                                     Prime Minister                                         Ehud Olmert

                                        Palestinian Authority             President                                                 Mahmoud Abbas

Quartet                            United States                        President                                                 George W. Bush

                                        EU Commission                    Commissioner for External                       Benita Ferrero-Waldner

                                                                                     Relations and European                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Neighbourhood Policy

                                       EU High Rep                        High Rep. Common Foreign                     Javier Solana

                                                                                     and Security Policy, Sec. Gen.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              of the Council of the European Union

                                       EU President (Portugal)        Min. of State and of Foreign Affairs         Luis Amado

                                       Russia                                   Minister for Foreign Affairs                      Sergey V. Lavrov

                                       UNSYG                                 Secretary General                                   Ban Ki-moon

                                       Quartet Rep.                         Middle East Envoy                                   Tony Blair

Arab League                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Follow-up Committee      Algeria                                  Min. of State for Foreign Affairs               Mourad Medelci

                                       Bahrain                                 Minister of Foreign Affairs                        Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa

                                       Egypt                                     Minister of Foreign Affairs                       Ahmed Aboul Gheit

                                       Jordan                                   Minister of Foreign Affairs                       Salaheddin Al-Bashir

                                       Lebanon                                Minister of Culture                                   Tarek Mitri

                                       Morocco                                Min. of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation  Taieb Fassi Fihri

                                       Qatar                                     Minister of State for Foreign Affairs         Ahmed bin Abdulla Al-Mahmoud

                                       Saudi Arabia                         Minister of Foreign Affairs                        Saud Al-Faisal

                                       Sudan                                   Ambassador                                             John Uk

                                       Syria                                     Dep. Min. of Foreign Affairs                     Fayssal Mekdad

                                       Tunisia                                  Minister of Foreign Affairs                       Abdelwahab Abdallah

                                       Yemen                                  Min. of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs     Abu Bakr al-Qirbi

                                       Arab League SYG,               Secretary General                                   Amre Moussa

G-8, P-5                         Canada                                 Minister of Foreign Affairs                       Maxime Bernier

                                       China                                    Minister of Foreign Affairs                       Yang Jiechi

                                       France                                  Min. of Foreign and European Affairs      Bernard Kouchner

                                      Germany                                Minister of Foreign Affairs                       Frank-Walter Steinmeier

                                      Italy                                        V.P. Council of Min. and Min. of                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Foreign Affairs                                        Massimo D’Alema

                                      Japan                                     Special Envoy for the Middle East          Tatsuo Arima

                                      United Kingdom                      Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs      David Miliband

and many more representatives of countries and organization, including the Vatican.

They all heard President Bush state the following:

“We meet to lay the foundation for the establishment of a new nation -- a democratic Palestinian state that will live side by side with Israel in peace and security…

… Today, Palestinians and Israelis each understand that helping the other to realize their aspirations is key to realizing their own aspirations -- and both require an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state…

No democratic State – no solution.

By 19 May 2011 Bush’s successor - President Obama - had started to vacillate:

“The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.”

If Obama and the Annapolis participants have conveniently forgotten that creating a  “democratic Palestinian State” is fundamental to the conflict being ended – then they only have themselves to blame for the chaos and violence that will surely follow should Israel refuse to negotiate within a Kerry framework agreement that omits any reference to a democratic Palestinian State.

International treachery and duplicity would surely have triumphed over international diplomacy.