December, 11, 2003

At meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, people begin testimonials by reaffirming self-awareness of their addiction:

“Hello, my name is Bill, and I’m an alcoholic.”
“Hi, Bill.”
“It’s been three says since I last had a drink.” (Applause) etc. …

There are other well-known addictions, like drugs and gambling, but too much of a good thing can also lead to pathological behaviour.

An irrational preoccupation with avoiding armed conflict in the name of peace, for example, actually breeds more conflict. This “peace addiction,” or “appeasement,” amounts to pre-emptive surrender in the face of real or threatened violence.

The most infamous example of appeasement was the Sept. 29, 1938, Munich Agreement, in which Adolf Hitler agreed to limit his territorial annexation of Czechoslovakia to the bordering Sudentenland. Six months later he invade the whole of Bohemia and Moravia.

Hitler’s promise wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on, and what was true of the Nazi Reich is even more true of the Zionist Reich’s “promises” to Palestine. This ethnocentric garrison state exists only to destroy the native Arab population in the name of Jewish Lebensraum. Time and again, Israel has signed treaties promising to halt settlement expansion and construction, and each time has betrayed them. Such consistent contempt for international law should disabuse any Palestinian leader of the notion that Israel can be trusted to keep its word on anything, much less become a peaceable neighbour.

Yet here we have Yasser Abed Rabbo, the Palestinian Minster of Culture, helping to draft and promote the Geneva Accord, a monstrous “Munich-style” pre-emptive capitulation. Rabbo is a modern example of a “negotiaholic”—a politician who believes that signing an ignoble treaty is preferable to standing up for principles and risking conflict.

If this assessment sounds harsh, look at some of the articles in this agreement, which Rabbo called the only possible solution “that satisfies the basic aspirations of the people on both sides.”

• “[Israel and the PLO] Reaffirming their determination to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, and to live in peaceful coexistence, mutual dignity and security based on a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace and achieving historic reconciliation;… have agreed on the following:” (“Preamble,” Para 2)

This is almost a verbatim copy of the preamble to the Sept. 3, 1993, Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government, which ushered in the equally duplicitous Oslo Accords. During this period, which saw the end of the first Intifada, zionist colonies in Occupied Palestine doubled as did the colonial populations. Coincindence? I think not.

Even if by some perverse happenstance, a treaty were signed, Rabbo has no guarantee that Israel would honour it.

The Parties recognize that, in the context of two independent states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace, an agreed resolution of the refugee problem is necessary for achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace between them. (Article 7.1 (a))

The entire article is an abomination of law and history, and Rabbo’s support of it typifies the blindness and moral weakness of a negotiaholic. An agreed resolution of the refugee problem already exists—UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (Dec. 11, 1948):

“[The General Assembly] resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid or the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible…” (Para. 11)

These rights of return and compensation are clearly vested in the refugees, not governments, and as such may not be bargained away. Nevertheless:

• The Parties recognize that UNGAR 194, UNSC Resolution 242, and the Arab Peace Initiative (Article 2.ii.) concerning the rights of the Palestinian refugees represent the basis for resolving the refugee issue, and agree that these rights are fulfilled according to Article 7 of this Agreement [which states]: This agreement provides for the permanent and complete resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem. No claims may be raised except for those related to the implementation of this agreement. (Article 7.2; 7.7)

Clearly, the point of this article is to absolve Israel of having to meet its international obligations, yet Rabbo appears not to realize that the abovementioned resolutions are legally binding and not negotiable. He has adopted the negotiaholic’s submissive posture and accepted certain defeatist misperceptions; namely, that total zionist withdrawal from the Occupied Territories according to UNSC Res. 242 should lead to a two-state solution.

Withdrawal is not an either/or proposition. Compelling Israel to retreat behind the 1967 borders does not prejudice the claims of Palestinians for return or compensation. To make matters worse, the Geneva Accord states that the right of Palestinians to live in “Israel” is subject to the “sovereign discretion” of that government. (Article 7:4). Just what benefits the Palestinian people derive from all this isn’t clear.

By no stretch of the imagination does this accord meet “the basic aspirations” of the Palestinian people. “What can I tell my grandchildren?” asked Hikmat Adwan, 60, a Gaza resident who said his family was driven from its village in 1948. “That I gave up my rights? That I gave up my land?” (New York Times, Dec. 3)

The odd thing is, Rabbo is in a stronger position than he realizes. Jewish emigration from Israel is rising, immigration is in freefall, and Palestinian births out number Jewish births six to one. Very soon Jews will be minority in the Zionist Reich, and the demand for real democracy in a single state will become irresistible.

Time is on Rabbo’s side, but his addiction impairs his ability to understand this. If Palestinians ever expect to have justice, they need intelligent, clear-headed leaders—not capitulationists. Rabbo, needs to recognize his addiction and join Negotiators Anonymous:

“Hello, my name is Yasser, and I’m a negotiaholic.”
“Hello, Yasser!”