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