The Jordan Times
April 11, 2002
WHEN THE dust of the savage Israeli onslaught on the innocent
civilian occupied Palestinians settles, if it does at all soon, a
big question is likely to emerge: What next?
One possibility, probably a certainty, is that the "peace makers"
will ignore the harsh lessons of this devastating war and quickly
rush to the vicious cycle of futile "negotiations", which
precipitated this mounting escalation in the first place.
Israel will undoubtedly insist on trading every meaningless step it
may agree to take with further humiliating concessions from the
Palestinian leadership. The Israelis will claim that they were not
allowed to finish the job of destroying "terror" and dismantling the
"terrorist" infrastructure and, therefore, the PNA will have to
comply with endless new demands of arrests, weapons collection and
dismantling of what they view as "terrorist" organisations.
In short, Israel will demand a comprehensive and total stripping of
the Palestinians of any means of defending themselves, their very
survival, and their legitimate struggle to achieve freedom from
Unquestionably, the US, which at the highest level has been
regularly and repeatedly blaming Arafat for not condemning terror
and stopping it, will endorse and support such Israeli positions, by
putting further pressure on the Palestinian side. Should this be the
case, and there are no indications that it should not, the region
should brace itself for the next round of an even bloodier and more
cruel war which may spread beyond the most pessimistic predictions.
The reality, which one hopes should be taken into very serious
consideration particularly by the US administration, is that Israel
is steadily destroying any chance for resuming the "peace process"
or the little left of it.
The Israelis have been arrogantly and recklessly demonstrating utter
contempt for international law, world opinion, human dignity and
even the peace which they falsely claim they have been pursuing.
The ongoing Israeli attack on Palestinian refugee camps, towns and
villages, and the use of the heaviest and most advanced military
means against unarmed, occupied, besieged, impoverished, destitute
Palestinians, have inflicted so much injustice, humiliation and
destruction on Palestinian life and property that the return to the
old, exhausted outdated methods would be wrong and
The Israelis have succeeded all along, with American support, in
making a mockery of the so-called peace process. They have the
ability to let negotiations drag on endlessly while, at the same
time, they continue to create facts on the ground, committing
illegitimate, outrageous atrocities against the rightful owners of
Israel should not be allowed any longer to dictate the agenda and
the substance of any future negotiations. It should not be permitted
to continue with its deceit, its disrespect for agreed arrangements,
and its despicable delaying tactics while continuing with the
frenzied implementation of its Zionist colonialist aggressive
Israeli behaviour, all along, the savagery and the barbaric
atrocities its army has been constantly committing, and the recent
unprecedented war of destruction and racist genocide have deepened
the wounds of hatred and distanced the chances of reconciliation and
The task of dealing with the resulting damage requires much more
than the fruitless effort to implement the Mitchell and Tenet
understandings, in their original or amended forms, to suit the
The Palestinians have been hit hard and they may brace themselves
for more. In addition to the physical and painful harm inflicted
upon them by the Israeli warplanes, rockets and tanks, they have to
cope with the deeper pain of a world ruled by hypocrisy, injustice
and double standards.
Such a catastrophic tragedy would leave no Palestinians in the mood
for anything less than a direct and daring jump to tackle the
problem. If peace is to prevail, if violence is to end, and if the
Israelis will get the security they want, then the occupation should
go, the settlements, all the settlements, should go, the refugee
problem should be resolved and the Palestinians should determine
their future on their own.
Any attempt to deal with this historic conflict short of that will
only prolong the agony and the war.
The writer is former ambassador and permanent representative of
Jordan to the UN. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times www.jordantimes.com.