TO: Distinguished Recipients
> FM: John Whitbeck
> One of the most depressing aspects of today's proceedings in
> the emphasis placed on reviving and perpetuating the odious "Road Map",
> which was launched in the spring of 2003 (and due, by its own terms, to
> terminate in 2005) and which, as should always have been clear to anyone
> who actually read it, had from the start two primary objectives -- (1)
> ensuring that there would be absolutely no progress toward peace for so
> long as this roadblock could be propped up as the "only game in town"
> successful on the first score and partially successful on the second.
> If the parties at Annapolis were genuinely interested in ACHIEVING
> rather than simply killing time, the "Road Map to Peace", if mentioned at
> all, would have been given a decent burial and the focus of attention
> would have been on the DESTINATION of peace and what it would look like.
> Instead, the "joint understanding" read out by President Bush concluded
> with the hope-destroying statement that any peace treaty which might
> eventually be concluded would not actually be implemented unless all the
> obligations in the "Road Map" were fully complied with AS DETERMINED BY
> THE UNITED STATES (which, of course, means as determined by Israel). The
> Bush and Olmert speeches also emphasized this. Among the many numerous
> impossible obligations piled on the Palestinians in "Phase I" of the
> Map" are an "unconditional cessation of violence" and "sustained,
> and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in
> terrorism and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and
> What, precisely, is "dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and
> infrastructure" supposed to mean? Israel and the United States consider
> the party which won the most recent Palestinian elections to be
> "terrorist". Is a majority of the Palestinian electorate to be torn limb
> from limb and Gaza to be bulldozed to the ground and salted over as
> ancient Cathage was by the Romans?
> It almost too grotesque for words.
> In this regard, I am recirculating below an analysis of the "Road Map"
> which Ambassador Robert Keeley circulated in May 2003, when it first
> appeared, as prefaced then by a few contemporaneous thoughts of my
> retrospect, I think that we were both too kind to the "Road Map".
> I still have the text of the "Road Map" on my computer and would be
> pleased to forward it to anyone who would like to read it.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "John Whitbeck" <email@example.com
> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>>
> Sent: Saturday, May 03, 2003 10:03 PM
> Subject: Keeley on the "Road Map"
>> TO: Distinguished Recipients
>> FM: John Whitbeck
>> I have previously circulated articles on the "road map" for Middle East
>> peace by Uri Avnery and Henry Siegman. Transmitted below for your
>> consideration is a very interesting, unpublished analysis of the "road
>> by retired U.S. Ambassador Robert Keeley, former President of The Middle
>> East Institute in Washington.
>> If one reads this "road map", it is apparent that it builds on a false
>> premise to reach a fantastic (in the literal sense of "fantasy")
>> The premise is that the problem in Israel/Palestine is Palestinian
>> resistance to the 36-year-long occupation, not the occupation
>> conclusion is that, IF the Palestinian leadership will first suppress
>> completely all forms of resistance to the occupation and make the
>> continuation of the occupation totally cost-free to Israelis, THEN (and
>> then) Israel will choose, of its own free will, to end the occupation,
>> withdrawing to (essentially) its internationally recognized pre-1967
>> borders, vacating the settlements, sharing Jerusalem and agreeing to a
>> settlement of the refugee issue.
>> The Holy Land may, in theory, be a land of miracles, and the "road map"
>> in practical fact, be the "only game in town" for the time being, but,
>> if the "IF" were possible at the start of the road (which strains
>> credulity), it is difficult to believe that anyone not smoking a
>> substance could genuinely believe that the "THEN" would follow. (By
>> contrast, if the "THEN" were announced at the start of the road, there
>> no longer be any need for resistance.)
>> When I first read the Oslo Declaration of Principles, I felt that it
>> conceivably, lead to a decent peace -- IF both sides sincerely sought
>> and approached the process (and all the ambiguities in the document) in
>> faith and with a genuine desire for the process to succeed. Each time I
>> read the "road map", I have felt that that it has been consciously
>> so as to ensure that it leads nowhere and that its failure is
>> Like Ambassador Keeley, I am astonished that the UN, the EU and Russia
>> have signed on to such a document.
>> Of course, my moderate optimism with respect to Oslo proved unfounded.
>> Perhaps my immoderate pessimism with respect to the "road map" will also
>> prove unfounded. Perhaps the Holy Land is truly a land of miracles. One
>> hope so -- but not count on it.
>> If any recipients have not read the text of the "road map" and would
>> to, let me know and I will send it to you.
>> Ambassador Keeley's analysis follows:
>>> Yesterday I circulated the text of the "Road Map" as published in
>>> the NYTimes. It has supposedly been widely available since last
>>> December, but I read it for the first time yesterday. I have just
>>> it, and wish to share my disappointment. At first blush it is something
>>> to welcome, for it means that after a long hiatus the U.S.
>>> again engaged with the problem. If it serves only to reduce
>>> level of violence on both sides, that would be most welcome, even if
>>> progress toward a final settlement is slow and halting. I am mystified
>>> that the UN, EU and Russia signed on to it, for it is a most lop-sided
>>> road map, 80% or more of which levies requirements on the Palestinians
>>> to reform lots of things, while demanding very little of Israel (whose
>>> behavior also needs reform) in the first two stages. Any realistic
>>> prognosis cannot be very optimistic when its delivery was greeted with
>>> another Palestinian suicide bombing in Israel and a major IDF
>>> assassination assault in Gaza that resulted in a large number of
>>> Palestinian deaths. The Road Map basically hinges on an end to violence
>>> by the Palestinian side. But, as Michael Tarazi, a legal adviser to the
>>> PLO, is quoted in the front page article in this morning's Post, the
>>> abilities by the two sides to quell violence are quite asymmetrical. He
>>> said: "Our extremists are opposition groups, but the Israeli extremists
>>> are operating the government. We cannot control our extremists, but
>>> is going to control the Israeli government?" The latter can halt its
>>> violence tomorrow; the PA cannot end Palestinian violence until
>>> a final settlement. The spokesman for Sharon put it bluntly that
>>> has no intention of ordering a cease-fire.
>>> One very positive element of the Road Map is that it forthrightly
>>> addresses the problem of violence on both sides, based on the unstated
>>> conviction that there can be no military solution to the conflict: it
>>> cannot be solved by force, by terrorism, by violence. But the Road Map
>>> suffers from the same two major defects that made Oslo unworkable.
>>> First, it required the PA to police the West Bank and Gaza to eliminate
>>> violence by Palestinians, when Israel, with its overwhelming military
>>> assets, its intelligence capabilities, its command and control,
>>> mostly unarmed civilian populace, could not suppress the first
>>> and for the past two years it has been unable to suppress the second
>>> intifada. If it could not do so, how could the PA do so, especially
>>> that its security forces have been decimated, their infrastructure
>>> mostly destroyed, and their having to deal with a thoroughly frustrated
>>> populace that has suffered 36 years of humiliating and debilitating
>>> occupation, with no end to it in sight?
>>> The second major defect of both Oslo and the Road Map is that it
>>> delays to the end, to the last stage, any resolution of the most
>>> critical and difficult issues, the "final status issues": borders,
>>> Jerusalem, refugees, settlements. And it requires the two sides to
>>> negotiate these issues and come up with a solution to the whole
>>> No progress has been made on any of these issues during the decade
>>> half of the "peace process." And no just and viable solution can emerge
>>> from such negotiations, because the asymmetry between the two sides is
>>> immense. Israel, based on its own military power and backed by the sole
>>> superpower, can refuse to make the concessions (which are not true
>>> concessions, since they are fundamentally obligations imposed by
>>> in the key resolutions mentioned in the Road Map--242, 338, 1397) that
>>> will be necessary for a viable Palestinian state to come into
>>> Palestinian side is too weak to obtain what it needs through such a
>>> In Phase II an independent Palestinian state with provisional
>>> borders is supposed to come into being. This formula is quite
>>> transparent; since at this stage nothing will have been done about the
>>> Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank and Gaza, and
>>> the annexations of land around Jerusalem. This state with provisional
>>> borders will not be viable in any real sense. The single most
>>> obstacle to a permanent solution are the settlements, which are
>>> have always been illegal, and must be vacated in any viable and just
>>> solution. The Post's reporting article had as a sub-head "Calling for
>>> action to dismantle Israeli settlements and end Palestinian violence."
>>> This is very misleading, for in the text of the Road Map one finds only
>>> that in Phase I "Israel immediatelty dismantles settlement outposts
>>> erected since March 2001" and "Consistent with the Mitchell Report,
>>> Israel freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of
>>> settlements)." This merely stops the continuation of the illegal
>>> actions, but does not reverse any of the past. There is only the
>>> mention of settlements in the Phase II section ("including further
>>> action on settlements"), with no specific actions required of Israel.
>>> This means that they will continue to exist as is, with over 400,000
>>> inhabitants, and no doubt protected by the IDF and having their own
>>> exclusive access roads, thus creating Bantustans in the rest of the
>>> terrorities under eventual Palestinian control within those provisional
>>> borders. Israel can be expected to do everything possible to preserve
>>> those settlements, or at least most of them, in any final status
>>> One final point: All of those illegal settlements should be
>>> but not "dismantled," the term that is often used. Why? I would here
>>> like to reiterate the wise and imaginative proposal by Mark Heller, the
>>> distinguished Israeli academic, in his gloss on the Saudi Crown
>>> offer in a March 2002 article. Heller estimated that 80 per cent of
>>> some 250,000 settlers in the non-Jerusalem settlements in the West Bank
>>> and Gaza are not religious-nationalist diehards and would be willing to
>>> leave if they could buy equivalent homes inside Israel proper. He
>>> estimated the cost of buying them out at 10 billion dollars (and
>>> Saudi money might be made available for this purpose). Furthermore, he
>>> proposed that to preempt Arab criticism that Arabs shouldn't be paying
>>> Israelis to undo what they shouldn't have done in the first place, the
>>> deal could be that the empty houses would be held in escrow for
>>> Palestinian refugees, e.g., from Lebanon, to be resettled in the
>>> Palestinian state as part of the peace agreement. "What the Saudis
>>> really be doing," he wrote, "was financing the cost of housing for
>>> refugees, with Israel contributing the infrastructure (roads, sewage,
>>> electricity grid, etc.)." This would be a brilliant way of solving two
>>> of the final status issues in combination: the issues of the illegal
>>> Israeli settlements and the fate of (many of) the Palestinian refugees
>>> in Lebanon and Syria, who would have to give up the "right of return"
>>> that is anathema to Israel.
>>> If the settlements issue can be settled, peace is possible. The
>>> Palestinians have already agreed to accept only 22 per cent of mandate
>>> Palestine for their state. Turning that land over, as required by
>>> resolutions, is the only thing that will bring peace to Israel and to
>>> the region as a whole. Oslo, though flawed, was essential because it
>>> established mutual recognition by the two sides. If the road map can
>>> lead to a solution of the final status issues, which were never
>>> seriously addressed under Oslo, peace is possible. At the moment,
>>> flawed as well, it is the only game in town