Monday, April 09, 2007

Arab "peace plan" is PR strategy

Arab "peace plan" is PR strategy
to receive aid and isolate Israel

Goals of Arab peace initiative: Gain support for unity government, international blockade of Israel

by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook - March 29, 2007

While the world sees the Arab Summit peace initiative as a serious proposal, for the Palestinian Authority (PA) it is a well-orchestrated PR strategy that has nothing to do with bringing about peace. By proposing conditions it knows Israel can never accept, the PA hopes to renew international political and financial support for itself while isolating Israel as intransigent.

According to the new PA Foreign Minister Ziyad Abu Amr, the goals of the Arab Summit include "lifting from it [the PA] the international blockade.” In exchange, he says, "Israel must be put under an international blockade."

A cartoon in today's official PA daily stresses that the goal is to receive foreign money. The words "Arab Summit" are written in the shape of a key to release a Palestinian Authority imprisoned by the financial blockade.

At the heart of the Arab plan are three demands that every Israeli government and the overwhelming majority of Israelis have rejected repeatedly:

- Israel’s moving from its current borders to the 1949-1967 ceasefire lines
- Israel’s giving away parts of Jerusalem
- Israel’s absorbing millions of Arab residents of refugee camps

The Arab world is presenting these demands as a take-it-or-leave-it proposal: “[PA] Information Minister, Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghuthi…reiterated the Palestinian stance, which opposes any change in the Arab initiative.”

By packaging the plan as the first sincere peace offer from the Arab world, the PA hopes the plan will appeal to the international community – even though PA leaders know full well that Israel cannot accept it.

As part of the strategy to paint Israel into a diplomatic corner, PA leaders are praising this plan as the last and only chance for peace. Even though he knows the plan is a non-starter, for example, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas called it the “only chance for peace,” and said, “I think the Arab initiative is the most precious and important [plan] proposed since 1948 for a solution of the Palestinian problem and the occupation.” [Palestine Times, March 28, 2007]

The purpose of this public relations initiative, therefore, is to gain international economic aid and political recognition for the Palestinian Authority government. It also cleverly camouflages the fact that this government is partnered with Hamas, which still presents the destruction of Israel and the genocide of Jews as God's unchanging imperative. According to the PA plan, Europe will accept this deal and Israel will be isolated as the spoiler of peace.

Below are further translations related to the Arab League proposal:

Palestinian Authority Information Minister, Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghuthi:

"[PA] Information Minister, Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghuthi expressed his opposition to any Israeli attempt and to any pressure for change in the Arab initiative in the Riyadh summit. Al-Barghuthi reiterated the Palestinian stance, which opposes any change in the Arab initiative, and in particular, the pressures put forth for a change in the initiative’s clauses related to the Palestinian refugees’ return. He confirmed the adherence to the refugees’ right of return to their land and their property, which they were banished from, and to grant them their rights, as was established in the UN resolution 194."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 23, 2007]

Dr. Ziyad Abu Amr, PA Foreign Minister. First he speaks of it as a chance for peace, and then he talks about all the political benefits of accepting the plan. He also says he knows Israel will ruin this chance for peace, and international isolation will be result:

‘For the first time, the Arabs here are united on a practical and applicable peace initiative. The Arab initiative has the benefit of a consensus, and now it has gained the world’s attention, and even the Israelis are talking about the important foundations of a peace initiative.… The Arab Summit can give a great support to the national unity government, not only on the economic level, but also political support, so that it will have a significant voice in international circles and especially in Europe… and that the Palestinian issue will receive the necessary support, and that the summit will succeed in promising cooperation and recognition in the national unity government and lifting from it the international blockade… The Arab efforts to achieve just and inclusive peace in the region must continue, and Israel must be put under an international blockade, if it insists on rejecting what is being generally accepted by the Arabs and the international community… From our experience, Israel avoids and tries to destroy any effort that has a chance of succeeding.’ [Al-Ayyam, March 28, 2007]

Editorial in today's Al Quds:

"The Arab capitals… have no illusions about the intentions of the Israeli government who oppose peace… When the Riyadh summit throws the ball to the Israel’s side, then this state will be exposed to the international community, following ten years of putting the blame on the Arab side, and especially the Palestinian side."
[Al Quds, March 29, 2007]

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