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Yasser Arafat is the Big Winner

Arthur Cohn- Thursday 20th Nov 2003

Yasser Arafat is the one who gains the most from the so-called Geneva peaceplan. The State of Israel is its prime loser.

During the last few months, and especially after the acceptance of the road map, Arafat was urged to finally take concrete and serious steps against terror. Has he done anything to fulfil his obligations? What is happening now, in reality, is exactly the opposite: while he and his accomplices continue to praise suicide bombers as martyrs, they are hailed as partners for peace.

Yossi Beilin and his friends ignored, during the Oslo years, all signs of Palestinian refusal to honor their commitments. Arafat never used the word peace in Arabic; he said explicitly (Johannesburg, Stockholm) that Mohammed himself did not honor agreements. He educated a new generation to hatred of Israel and the Jew; and he misused enormous amounts of funds from many sources -- funds that were meant as a contribution to the well-being of the Palestinians -- for the creation of a terror infrastructure. He and his followers have learnt that regardless of their breaches of promises and agreements, nothing will happen. In fact, they are soon even rewarded, despite their frightening disregard of formal understandings. Even the terrorists who killed dozens of Israeli civilians in Israel -- against the explicit agreement in the Oslo treaty -- are to be freed in the framework of a new proposed agreement. It is almost an invitation to terrorize Israel now, with release sure to follow.

Arafat was urged to introduce democratisation of his government. Now, he can show the world how the democracy of the State of Israel works. The very same public figures who lost in three different elections (Burg against Ben Eliezer, Mitzna against Sharon, while Beilin was not even elected to the Knesset) are negotiating a peace plan. And the government of Switzerland
- a proud democracy on its own - supports this totally undemocratic process financially and politically, thus willfully bypassing the democratically elected Israeli government.

Arafat rejected all peace proposals and never made any concrete counter offer. Instead, in reaction to the far-reaching Ehud Barak/Bill Clinton proposals, he started the second genocide-terror Intifada. Now, again, Israeli politicians have made new proposals. Of course, Arafat doesn't officially endorse them. He just looks on, while official government sources in Israel reject them and, as a result thereof, are accused by the Arab countries, the UN and the EU of undermining the peace process. Again, Israel is the bad guy, accused of unbearable stubbornness.

The Israeli society, which was united in its stand against the arch-terrorist Arafat, is being divided again because of different reactions to the Geneva document. In the war against inhuman terror ("Kill the Jews wherever you find them."), the Geneva plan succeeded to divide the Israelis and weaken their strength. Another success of Arafat, who built his strategy on the inner decay of Israel.

Arafat always described Israel as the last colonial power. He denied the historic roots of Israel in this area and ignored even the deep connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. Now it is suggested that the Jews give up all their rights to the holiest site of their tradition, the Temple Mount, which was, for thousands of years, the center of their prayers and longings. Let us remember: Anwar Sadat prayed in Jerusalem towards Mecca, while Jews around the world are always Jerusalem-oriented.

Now, for the first time in history, Israel is requested by Israelis to give up willingly their rights in the heart of Jerusalem, the basis of their Zionism, thus justifying Arafat's claim; he has historic bonds with Jerusalem, while Israel and the Jews are colonialists.

There is an additional irony in the Geneva proposal, in that Jewish worship in holy places will again depend on the Palestinians. Don't we know how they respect religious rights? From 1948 until 1967, we didn't even get access to the Wailing Wall (despite Arab commitments). And who doesn't remember what happened since Oslo to the synagogue of Jericho and the tomb of Joseph in Nablus?

The proposed plan includes - so we are told - a formal retreat from the Palestinians' right to return. However, there is no such clear paragraph in the agreement (Palestinian participants denied such an understanding).

Tens of thousands of refugees will have to be absorbed by Israel. The moral responsibility of Israel for the refugee problem is not waived. As usual, in such Beilin documents, this very central issue is dealt with in an unclear and ambiguous manner, posing a frightening danger to any true understanding in the future.

What an irony: Israel has to retreat from its historic places (like Hevron, where Jews have always lived) and make the Palestinian State judenrein, while Israel with its one million Palestinian Arabs has to absorb many more.

The new plan will automatically become the basis for further negotiations; like the Barak plan, which was the starting point of the present Beilin initiative.

The expectation of the Palestinians in regard to a peace agreement with Israel are increasing in a dangerous manner with every peace proposal of this kind. Who is the Palestinian leader of the future who can bargain for less than what irresponsible Israeli politicians agreed to in this Geneva document?

Consequently, the Geneva document is not bringing peace closer but just the opposite: Peace is being put off to a very distant future!

Arthur Cohn is an international film producer whose productions include 'The Garden of the Finzi-Continis', 'Central Station', and 'One Day in September.'



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