The changing Road Map narrative

The Road Map has been awakened from its moribund state and bandied about a lot lately, particularly in the wire service reports about the upcoming mideast peace conference in Annapolis. For instance, the AP writes:

Israel continues to expand many of the 122 settlements in the West Bank, where 267,500 Israelis lived as of last month, according to government statistics.

Peace Now, an Israeli settlement-watchdog group, issued a report Wednesday saying building is going on in 88 of the settlements, though most of the work is in the areas Israel hopes to retain in a peace deal.

The Palestinians said Monday that they received assurances from Washington that Israel would meet its short-term obligations under the “road map,” a U.S.-backed peace plan being revived in hopes of boosting confidence between the two sides ahead of a peace conference later this month.

The plan’s initial stage called for Israel to freeze West Bank settlement construction and dismantle dozens of settlement outposts scattered across the territory. But the road map foundered after its introduction four years ago, with each side accusing the other of not meeting obligations.

And that is all you get about Palestinian obligations until you get to this paragraph:

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said this week that Israel is willing to meet its road map obligations. He also urged the Palestinians to fulfill their commitment under the plan to crack down on militant groups that stage attacks on Israelis.

The story, mind you, is all about settlements. The headline alone is biased: “Israeli Settlements Burden Peace Push.” Funny how rockets are falling on Sderot nearly every day, and that’s not burdening the “peace push.” Terrorists are trying to kill Israelis every day, but that’s not burderning the “peace push.”

And it’s interesting also how the Road Map is being applied only to Israel, not to the Palestinians. Because the Road Map was absolutely explicit about the Palestinians’ responsibility to end violence, incitement, and terrorism.

Phase I: Ending Terror And Violence, Normalizing Palestinian Life, and Building Palestinian Institutions — Present to May 2003

In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below; such action should be accompanied by supportive measures undertaken by Israel. Palestinians and Israelis resume security cooperation based on the Tenet work plan to end violence, terrorism, and incitement through restructured and effective Palestinian security services. Palestinians undertake comprehensive political reform in preparation for statehood, including drafting a Palestinian constitution, and free, fair and open elections upon the basis of those measures. Israel takes all necessary steps to help normalize Palestinian life. Israel withdraws from Palestinian areas occupied from September 28, 2000 and the two sides restore the status quo that existed at that time, as security performance and cooperation progress. Israel also freezes all settlement activity, consistent with the Mitchell report.

At the outset of Phase I:

  • Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.
  • Israeli leadership issues unequivocal statement affirming its commitment to the two-state vision of an independent, viable, sovereign Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel, as expressed by President Bush, and calling for an immediate end to violence against Palestinians everywhere. All official Israeli institutions end incitement against Palestinians.

Note that there is nothing ambiguous about the Road Map. The Palestinians must end violence and incitement. There is no exception clause for “resistance.” Done. Finis. End. The thing is, while you hear constant reproaches towards Israel for not freezing settlement construction, you hear not a word about ending Palestinian violence, terrorism, and incitement. Why is that, exactly? When did the Palestinian obligations cease to be obligations? If Condi Rice is being honest, why is she not demanding a cessation of all Palestinian violence and incitement? Why does she not demand the Palestinians stop teaching their children to hate the Jews? Why is she only demanding that Israel meet the obligations of the Road Map, while insisting only on “confidence-building measures” by the Palestinians?

I have no real answer for that, other than the standard answer: Apparently, the Palestinians have no obligations to do anything but demand a homeland, a “Palestine” that never existed on the land that was the Jewish homeland for thousands of years—except, according to Palestinians, that never happened, either.

You have to wonder why it is that only Israel is held up to any kind of Road Map standard, and only Israel is criticized for violations of a document that was never approved by the Israeli government, and is, quite frankly, about as non-binding as a document can get—because it was perfectly clear that in order for the Road Map to work, both sides had to implement responsibilities simultaneously.

A quick look around Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI show that the Palestinians have never ceased teaching their children to hate Jews. Incitement has never ended. Nor has terrorism, nor have the rockets.

Why, exactly, is only Israel expected to fulfill her obligations? The only answer I can see is the soft bigotry of lowered expectations. Or perhaps that other reason, the one that makes the world so much more difficult for Jews: The Exception Clause.

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7 Responses to The changing Road Map narrative

  1. Ed Hausman says:


    All official Israeli institutions end incitement against Palestinians.

    WHAT official Israeli incitement? That was another throw-away line tossed in for “balance”.

    Remember the Road Map inauguration in Jordan — US, Jordanian, and Palestinian flags. No Israeli flag. No seat on the podium for the Israeli Foreign Minister.

    Israelis aren’t nazis, but every conference seems more and more like Germany at Versailles after WW I — except the Israelis are the ones who won!

    Time for the victor to claim the spoils. Ship all the non-citizen Arabs out of Eretz Yisrael.

  2. John M says:

    When I was in the service, I had a course on “Foreign Internal Defense”. Basically a class on how to help allied nations fight insurgencies. One of the first principles they drilled into us was that we were not there to help the allied country for its own sake, but to advance US interests. Interests of the allied state were fine, but only insofar as they also advanced US interests. Allied interests that had no bearing on US interests were to be ignored.

    Similarly, Rice’s job as SecState, is to advance the interests of the United States FIRST, without regard to the moral rightness of the issue or how it impacts other nations. The US gets maximum political benefit by pressuring Israel because we know that Israel will at least respond reasonably. Pressuring the Palestinians is futile and would make us look silly if we tried. Abbas is useless and we know it. Rice sitting down with some Hamas wacko and “urging him to stop violence” would just legitimize the guy. That avenue being closed, we do the only other thing possible to make it appear that we’re engaged – we pressure Israel.

  3. Ted says:

    And what happens if Israel decides that enough is enough? That the $3 Billion a year bribe they get from the United States isn’t worth endangering their existence?

    Russia, China and France are no doubt salivating over the prospect of Israeli genius helping THEIR national interest instead of that of my United States.

    Losing Israel would be a disaster of unprecedented scale. Which is, of course, why the America Haters of the Left will do anything they can to encourage it.

    It is amazing that the Israelis have put up with so much with such little response. Imagine, if you will, how Russia would react to repeated criminal acts by one of their neighbors. Actually, you don’t have to imagine. Check out the ‘disproportionate response’ the Russians meted out against the Chechens.

  4. Alex Bensky says:

    Russia and/or China could decide to swing support to Israel, Ted, but only in the sense that Lucy Lawless could be about to ring my doorbell and ask if she can come upstairs and get out of these wet clothes. On the other hand, yes, the Russians killed hundreds or thousands of Muslims without much stirring from the Muslim street. For that matter, not many weeks ago the Lebanese Army killed dozens or hundreds of Palestinians and destroyed their homes and as far as I can call in the msm and the halls of the UN no one lost any sleep.

    On the main point, Meryl, you’re forgetting what you insist on calling the Exception Clause but is properly called the Bensky Corollary to Everything–in this case, its application means the world demands words from the Arabs but deeds from the Jews.

  5. Ed:

    That comment of yours is why Arabs are applying for Israeli citizenship in unprecedented numbers. They regard being forced to actually live under the PA as a disaster.

  6. John M says:

    Ted, you’re thinking about this the wrong way. The primary leverage that Israel has over the world community is not “Israeli genius helping … national interests”, although this should not be dismissed. Her primary leverage is, in all candor, the wrath of God. As the only divinely-ordained nation on earth, Israel can (and does) depend on his protection. “I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you”. I support Israel partly because I admire the Jews as a people, but mostly because God says it’s the right thing to do.

  7. David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the – Web Reconnaissance for 11/09/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

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