All the following citations are derived directly from the third (and to the best of our knowledge the most recent) Draft of the Road Map, formulated by the four powers known as ?the Quartet? (the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia), whose publication had been postponed at Israel?s request pending the January 28 elections and the formation of a new Cabinet.

The following are the main points of this document, whose full name is: A Performance-Based Road Map to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Establishment of a Palestinian State

As is evident from the Road Map?s title and text, the key objective is establishment of ?an independent and viable Palestinian state with sovereignty? and ?a maximum extent of geographical continuity? (the Road Map makes no mention of Sharon?s conditions, e.g. that this state be demilitarized, that it not be granted authority to control borders or airspace or contract international agreements, etc.).

The Palestinian State will be established in two phases:

A. ?The option of establishing a Palestinian state with temporary borders? following general elections in 2003. The Road Map states explicitly that ?the members of the Quartet Committee will push towards an international recognition of the Palestinian state, including the possibility of membership in the United Nations.?

B. A Palestinian state with permanent boundaries, to be established ? after solution of issues concerning borders, Jerusalem, refugees and settlements ? in 2005 (disregarding the Israeli Prime Minister?s well-known stipulation that the process extend over at least ten years).

Internationalization of the Conflict

A. Two International Conferences.

B. The Quartet.

The First International Conference will convene in 2003 after the Palestinian elections to ?launch a process that leads to the establishment of a Palestinian state with temporary borders.?

The Second International Conference will convene in 2004 ?to ratify the agreement reached on the state with temporary borders and to launch a process ? that leads to a final solution ?? [and a permanent Palestinian state].

All governments of Israel, right-wing and left-wing alike, have avoided international conferences like the plague. The reasons for their decision, so obvious that even a child could understand them, remain unchanged during Sharon?s term of office. In fact, the situation may well have worsened, considering the extensive international support expressed for the Arabs, along with overt hostility towards Israel and even Jews as a whole.

The Quartet is the chief instrument applied to wrest freedom of sovereign behavior from Israel and grant it to the Palestinians. The following are a few of its functions and authorities:

A. Convening International Conferences (although it may ?consult? with the parties involved). In other words, International Conferences will be forced on Israel against its will;

B. Deciding based on ?the collective ruling of the Quartet Committee whether the conditions are appropriate for progress taking into consideration the performance of all parties.? This means that transition to the Palestinian state phase will be determined by foreign elements, contravening Sharon?s stipulation that any such activity be dependent on Israeli assessment of elimination of terror, confiscation of weapons, cessation of incitement and the like. In brief, we have been denied the right to conflict management;

C. Establishing a means of monitoring implementation of the Road Map by Israel and the Palestinians. We recall that Sharon avoided any substantive military activity for a year and a half just to keep international observers out of the area. Now, he has consented to institutionalized international supervision that will essentially undermine our sovereignty in managing the conflict from the outset, even before a Palestinian state is established;

D. The Quartet will ensure that both sides ?perform their commitments in a parallel manner.? This proviso contravenes Sharon?s insistence that any measure taken by Israel must be preceded by the Palestinian side?s having carried out its commitments to the fullest. For example, the Palestinian undertaking to eliminate terror will be rendered parallel to Israel?s commitments regarding settlements (see below). The very apposition of these two issues is outrageous. Moreover, it is obvious that the Palestinians will perceive themselves as exempt from the obligation to halt terror simply because construction is taking place or some prefabricated structure or other has been set up on the Israeli side, including eastern Jerusalem. Adjudication of such disputes will be vested in the Quartet, which will hear these claims of Israeli violations. The Quartet?s involvement thus largely vitiates Israeli sovereignty; and

E. The Quartet plays a decisive role in other respects as well:

* Intervening ?whenever the need arises? in direct negotiations between the parties, thereby nullifying another principle that Israel held sacred for decades: Direct negotiations;

* Determining ?a realistic timetable? for progress;

* Offering ?effective and practical support? at each stage of transition towards Palestinian rule; i.e., intervention in all spheres of activity ? finances, administration, security and the like. Such intervention is already taking place;

* Intervening in the achievement of a ?final solution,? including all that concerns Jerusalem, refugees and settlements; and

* International efforts to facilitate reform and stability of the Palestinian institutions and the Palestinian economy?; i.e., intervention in all spheres of activity.

[Part 1 of 2]


Elyakim Haetzni is a lawyer and former Knesset member who resides in Kiryat Arba.