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Part 2 Document: Complete text of Barak Government “white paper” on PA/PLO non-compliance

21 November, 2000

Part 2 Document: Complete text of Barak Government “white paper” on PA/PLO non-compliance

A Stake in the Welfare of the Governed?

Another assumption which sustained the process was the hope that as the P.A. became an established "government", its choices in the future would be colored by the need to provide for the best interests of the governed - even if the evolution of democratic politics in the P.A. was far from complete.

This assumption, too, has been brought into question over time, and shattered by recent events. In addition to broader problems arising from the P.A.'s mismanagement of public and economic affairs, specific aspects of its policy towards Israel - above all, the failure to deliver on the restraint of terrorism and terrorist infrastructure - obliged Israel to apply restrictions on the freedom of movement and employment of Palestinians. It is particularly young people who are easily mobilized by the Hamas and its likes, within Israel.

It was easy enough for the P.A. to blame Israel for the consequences of these restrictions; but at their root was Arafat's persistent ambiguity on his security commitments (and indeed, when these were more strictly adhered to - under pressure from outside - economic life in the Palestinian governed areas improved significantly, as in 1998-1999).

The Palestinian leadership's disregard for the welfare of the governed has now risen to a new level. The thrust of Palestinian propaganda in recent weeks is unmistakable: suffering, particularly the death of children, has become instrumental as its rallying cry to its own people and the Arab world. Thus, it has systematically exploited the tragic death of the child Muhammad al-Durra at Netzarim junction - where he was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle, the P.A. deliberately misrepresenting his death as a "cold-blooded execution", often several times an hour throughout its television broadcasts.

In effect, this strategy feeds upon further suffering and disruption - including self-induced economic hardships, while Israel actually seeks to ensure supplies to the P.A. areas. The tactics of the Fatah "Tanzim" (militia) are also apparently designed to bring about further suffering upon civilian populations - as made evident by their use of Beit Jala – a Christian community - to fire on Gilo in Jerusalem, with the full knowledge of the consequences for the (unwilling) residents.

Give and Take at the Bilateral Table?

At the core of the present strategy, as clearly stated in Arafat's speech at the Emergency Arab summit in Cairo (October 21), is the threat that there will be no regional nor international stability unless Palestinian demands are met; and the call upon the international community to replace the current structure of the process (the U.S., according to Arafat, having failed to impose "International Legitimacy" in its Arab interpretation) with a mechanism of coercion.

Palestinian suffering is thus made the focus of an 'appeal to the U.N. - including an abuse of the "Uniting for Peace" procedure (which enables the UN General Assembly to overrule the Security Council), and a spurious call for the Security Councilto send forces, Kosovo-style, to "protect the Palestinian Territories" - all in an obvious effort to walk away from the negotiating table and avoid the tough choices involved.

Evidence for such concepts of "Internationalization" being worked on by Nabil Sha'ath, the P.A. Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, has been available for well over a year (e.g. his statement to al-Ayyam, an official P.A. organ, on May 9, 1999); the current drive for an international commission of inquiry is part and parcel of this design.

The Root Causes

What has led Arafat and the P.A. leadership to opt for violence and incitement as an instrument of policy? A consistent pattern of behavior over several weeks, with a clearly defined set of goals ("Internationalization" of the conflict) and with the means (televised Palestinian sacrifice and suffering) apparently well-tailored to achieve them, cannot be simply dismissed as a passing aberration or a "caprice". Within the limits of what modern political science calls "bounded rationality", Arafat's gamble is risky, but not irrational.

Still, to understand the root causes for this choice – or rather, the Palestinian refusal to choose, once and for all, the path of peace - it is necessary to point out, albeit briefly, some of the recurrent themes in Arafat's political conduct over the years.

Arafat's Strategy of Avoiding Choices

Throughout his tenure as a leader of Fatah movement and the P.L.O., Arafat attached particular importance to the principle of maintaining "Istiqlal al-Qarrar", i.e. his ability to avoid becoming anyone's "agent" (and there were many in the Palestinian arena identified as working for some Arab or foreign interests...).

A key element in his ability to do so, at least until a major crisis forced a choice or a decision on him, was the constant manoeuver between the poles of any regional or international system in which he worked - Egypt and her rivals in the Arab world; the Cold War protagonists; the Syrians and their enemies in Lebanon.

In recent years, this pattern of "fence-sitting" and indecision evolved around two polarities:-

* Playing the U.S. (with which he established a dialogue in December 1988) vs. Iraq (which he came to see as a heroic Arab counter-balance to U.S. power). To some extent, this lactic is still at work. While speaking favorably of Clinton (as distinct from the U.S. Congress...) at the Emergency Arab Summit in Cairo, Arafat also endorsed the call for the lifting of sanctions on the Suffering Iraqi People. Pro-Iraqi sentiments, including the fervent call of demonstrators for Saddam Hussein to "hit, hit Tel Aviv" (with chemical warheads) are indeed rife among Palestinians even now, despite the lessons learned from the disastrous choice in 1990-1991.

* Playing the dialogue with Israel (and the formal obligations detailed above) - vs. an ambivalent attitude towards the Hamas, terrorism, and the use of violence: the consequences of this way of keeping his options open, and avoiding any implication that he now "belongs" to Israel (like the former S.L.A. in Lebanon...) have become manifest in the recent crisis.

Diverting Attention from Domestic Failure

In recent months - well before the Camp David Summit, and not necessarily in connection with Arafat's positions in the negotiations - a broad body of evidence (albeit vague and circumstantial, given the lack of reliable tools to analyze Palestinian public sentiment under an authoritarian power structure) indicated that much of the P.A.'s initial credit with its own "constituency" has been spent: Khalil Shikaki's surveys of Palestinian opinion found that Arafat's approval rates have been falling steadily - well bellow 40% - and that a vast majority of respondents thought of the P.A. institutions as venal, corrupt and incompetent.

At the core of the problem is the system of centralized economic monopolies, dominated by Muhammad Rashid (Khalid Salam) and his PCSC - with a monopoly Of several basic commodities ("Guardian", April 27, 1997); the al-Masri family and their holding company, PADICO; and the varied economic interests of the Security "bosses", Dahlan and Rajoub.

The results are clear to see: in a climate hostile to real competition and to transparent free market practices, blatant disregard for personal property, bribery, corruption and mismanagement of domestic and aid funds, as well as the lack of compliance with commitments to refrain from those customs have been well documented by the PA'S own public monitoring department, the "Donor countries" and numerous NGO's.

[Graph: The development of the Palestinian Real Product per capita
1993 = 100 (shows peak in 1994 with decline until 1997 followed by partial recovery up to first half of 2000]

The most striking proof of the PA'S mishandling of its population can be found in the lack of care for its most needy population - the refugees. Not only does the PA insist on not using any portion of its budget towards improving their living standards, it is demanding 'that the international community increases its support for them.

Calls upon Arafat, by some of his best friends - such as the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) team, which examined Palestinian governance - - went unheeded, and calls for change from within were roughly repressed. Given this bleak prospect (which reportedly led even Jerusalem's Palestinian residents, let alone Israeli Arabs, to resist the notion of being transferred to P.A. governance...)

It is not surprising that Arafat may have felt more comfortable igniting a nationalist struggle - and pinning the blame for future deprivations on Israel - than focusing on the urgent need to reform the Palestinian system.

Conspiracy Theories and Miscalculations

Another recurrent pattern which does color Arafat's judgement, at times - and was certainly evident in the manner in which he "explained" the current crisis to the Emergency Session of the Arab Summit - is his tendency to weave conspiracy theories (Mu'amarat) and use them, with a thin line separating fact from fiction.

Thus - as an example - in a series of interviews in March and April 1995, including a fascinating meeting with a sympathetic Israeli and American audience, Arafat raised the argument that a secret Israeli organization - an "O.A.S." within the GSS... - working through the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was in fact responsible for a series of terrorist attacks such as the bombing in Beit Lid (in which 22 Israelis died). It should be noted that this fantastic argument came (already then) in conjunction with a warning: any attempt by Israel to stall on the peace process - because of the security "excuse", as he saw it - would have a terrible affect on Israel's standing in the world:-

"King Hussein will not go on with you, the Egyptians will not, Senegal will not, Mandela will not, if the process with us fails ...not with the whole of Africa, and the five Muslim states in Central Asia, not with all of them, not even with China. You know how strong our links are with all of these states..." (Gid'on Levi in "Haaretz", April 28, 1995; see also "al-Hayyat l-Jadidah", March 22, 1995).

This mixture of wild conspiracy theory, and the threat that Israel, the region and the world will know no stability - unless his demands are met - was central, more recently, to his speech in Cairo, where he blamed Israel and the I.D.F. for having conspired for more than a year to prepare the "butchery" of the Palestinian people: hence the urgent need for international protection to be introduced into all "Palestinian Territories".

The danger implicit in such manipulative assertions and "claims on reality" is that they can easily develop into a major misreading of the situation and a harmful miscalculation – as was the case in 1995, when Arafat absolved himself in this manner from any serious effort to curb terrorism; and might be the case now.

[Illustration: The map of "Palestinian Territory" in an official PA document including all of Israel]

Appendix A; The key commitments undertaken by the P.L.O./ P.A.

"In light of the new era marked by the signing of the Declaration of Principles, the PLO encourages and calls upon the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to take part in the steps leading to the normalization of life, rejecting violence and terrorism, contributing to peace and stability and participating actively in shaping reconstruction, economic development and cooperation".
(Arafat to the then Foreign Minister of Norway, Johan Jorgen Hoist, September 9, 1993 - in a letter which preceded and enabled the DOP).

This letter to Hoist, and many other formal commitments made since, -were in fact kept at times', but in a haphazard fashion, and only when it was expedient to do so. All of this contradicts key commitments asked for - and obtained – from the Palestinian negotiating partner over the years:

Combating Terror and Violence

* Renunciation of the use of terrorism and other acts of violence (Arafat's Letter toRabin, September 9, 1993).

* Recognition of the right of Israel to exist in peace and security (Arafat's Letter to Rabin, September 9, 1993).

* Commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict and that outstanding permanent status issues will be resolved through negotiations (Arafat's Letter to Rabin, September 9,1993).

* Adoption of all necessary measures to prevent acts of terrorism, crime and hostilities and taking of legal measures against offenders (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Article XVIII; Interim Agreement, Article XV).

* Establishment of a strong police force in order to guarantee public order and internal security for Palestinians (Declaration of Principles, Article VIII; Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Article VIII; Annex I, Article III; Interim Agreement, Article XII, Article XIV).

* The Palestinian Police will act systematically against all expressions of violence and terror (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.1).

* The Palestinian Police will arrest and prosecute individuals who are suspected of perpetrating acts of violence or terror (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.1).

* Immediate, efficient and effective handling of any incident involving a threat or act of violence or incitement (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.2).

* Apprehension, investigation and prosecution of those directly or indirectly involved in acts of terrorism, violence and incitement (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.3).

* Security arrangements concerning planning, building and zoning (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Annex I, Article VI; Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article XII).

* Reaffirmation of commitment to fight terror and violence (Note for the Record on Hebron - January 1997).

* Reaffirmation of commitment to systematically and effectively combat terrorist organizations and infrastructure (Note _for the Record on Hebron – January 1997).

* Reaffirmation of commitment to apprehend, prosecute and punishment of terrorists (Note for the Record).

* Recognition that it is in their vital interests to combat terrorism and fight violence (Wye River Memorandum, Article II).

* Israeli-Palestinian cooperation to combat violence and terror (Wye River Memorandum, Article II).

* Comprehensive, continuous and long-term struggle against terror and violence with respect to terrorists, terror support structure and environment conducive to the supportof terror (Wye River Memorandum, Article II).

* Palestinian side will make known its policy of zero tolerance for terror and violence against both sides (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.Ia).

* Palestinian work plan to ensure the systematic and effective combat of terrorist organizations and their infrastructure (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.Ib).

* US-Palestinian committee to review the steps being taken to eliminate terrorist cells and terror support structure (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.Ic).

* Apprehension of individuals suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror and establishment of US-Palestinian committee to review such matter (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.Id.e).

* Act to ensure immediate, efficient and effective handling of any incident involving a threat or act of terrorism, violence or incitement. Exchange of information and coordination of policies and activities in this regard(Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, Article 8.a).

* Immediate and effective response to the occurrence or anticipated occurrence of an act of terrorism, violence or incitement and shall take all necessary measures to prevent such an occurrence (Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, Article 8.a).

Prevention of Incitement

* Abstention from incitement, including hostile propaganda and adoption of legal measures to prevent such incitement (Interim Agreement, Article XXII).

* Non-introduction of motifs into educational systems (Interim Agreement, Article XXII).

* Immediate, efficient and effective handling of any incident involving a threat or act of violence or incitement (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.2).

* Active prevention of incitement to violence (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.3).

* Apprehension, investigation and prosecution of those directly or indirectly involved in acts of terrorism, violence and incitement (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article 11.3).

* Reaffirmation of commitment to prevent incitement and hostile propaganda (Note for the Record).

* Issuance of a decree, comparable to existing Israeli legislation, prohibiting all forms of incitement to violence or terror and establishment of mechanisms for acting against all expressions or threats of violence or terror (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.3a).

* Establishment of a US-Palestinian-Israeli committee to monitor cases of possible incitement to violence or terror and to make recommendations and reports on how to prevent such incitement (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.3b).

* Immediate and effective response to the occurrence or anticipated occurrence of an act of terrorism, violence or incitement and shall take all necessary measures to prevent such an occurrence (Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, Article 8 .a).

Prohibition of Illegal Weapons

* No manufacture, sale, acquisition, importation or introduction of any firearms, ammunition, weapons, explosives, gunpowder or related equipment into the West Bank or Gaza Strip, except for those of the Palestinian Police (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Article IX.3; Interim Agreement, Article XIV).

* The Palestinian Police will prevent the manufacture of weapons as well as the transfer of weapons to persons not licensed to possess them (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article X1.2).

* Limitations on arms and ammunition for the Palestinian Police (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Annex I, Article III.5, Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article IV; Hebron Protocol, Article 5).

* Reaffirmation of commitment to confiscate illegal firearms (Note for the Record).

* Ensuring an effective legal framework to criminalize any importation, manufacturing or unlicensed sale, acquisition or possession of firearms, ammunition or weapons in areas under Palestinian jurisdiction (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.2a).

* Establishment and implementation of a systematic program for the collection and appropriate handling of illegal weapons etc. (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.2b).

* Establishment of a US-Palestinian-Israeli committee to assist and enhance cooperation in preventing the smuggling or unauthorized introduction of weapons or explosive materials into Palestinian areas (Wye River Memorandum, Article ILA.2c).

* Continuation of the program for the collection of illegal weapons, including reports (Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, Article 8.b). Security Cooperation with the Israeli Side

* Establishment of a Joint Security Coordination and Cooperation Committee and District Coordination Offices (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Article VIII; Annex I, Article II; Interim Agreement, Article XII).

* Establishment and operation of Joint Patrols and Joint Mobile Units (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Annex I, Article II; Hebron Protocol, Article 4).

* Establishment of Joint Aviation Committee and Maritime Coordination and Cooperation Center (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Annex I, Article XI, XII; Interim Agreement, Annex I Articles XIII, XIV).

* Arrest and transfer of individuals suspected of, charged with or convicted of an offense falling under Israeli criminal jurisdiction (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Annex III, Article 11.7; Interim Agreement, Annex IV, Article 11.7).

* Requests for arrest and transfer of individuals to be submitted to the Joint Legal Committee must be responded to within a twelve-week period (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.B.3)

* Full and comprehensive bilateral security cooperation (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.B.I).

* Exchange of forensic expertise, training and assistance (Wye River Memorandum, ArticleII.B.2).

* Establishment of high ranking US-Palestinian-Israeli committee to assess current threats, deal with impediments to effective security cooperation and address steps being taken to combat terror and terror organizations (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.B.3).

Undertaking to implement its responsibilities for security and security cooperation (Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, Article 8).

Appendix B

Implementation Of The Sharm E-Sheikh Understandings (17-29 October)

29 Oct. 2000

Public statements unequivocally calling for an end of violence
Israeli side: Unequivocal Palestinian side: Vague

Opening of international passages
Israeli side: Completed

Opening of the Gaza Airport
Israeli side: Open and operational

Opening of internal closure
Israeli side: Completed

Ensure an end to violence and maintain the calm
Palestinian side: Continuation of live-fire from automatic weapons and use of explosive devices (~24 incidents per day)

Renewal of security cooperation
Israel initialed 3 meetings which were convened at the RSC level

Renewal of cooperation towards the prevention of terrorism
Palestinian refusal to participate in Israeli initiated meetings; very low level ad hoc cooperation

Eliminating points of friction
Palestinian side: No reduction

Reimprisonment of released terrorists and security fugitives
Palestinian side: Hardly any activity- ~30 from over 100; almost all of the 30 were arrested before the Summit; 5 have since been released after their arrest

End of incitement
Palestinian side: Continuation of incitement on official Palestinian broadcasts





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