The following is an edited version of the proceedings of a symposium sponsored by the Middle East Policy Council on March 9, 1995, in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Former Senator George McGovern, president of the Middle East Policy Council, introduced the panel. The organizer and moderator was Thomas R. Mattair, the councils director of research and policy analysis.
DAVID SATTERFIELD, director, Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, National Security Council.
For those in this room, and the many others who have followed the Middle East peace process over the past decades, events of the past year and a half have been full of extraordinary drama. The pace of peace in the Middle East, which was all too glacial for so many years, suddenly moved with an astounding rapidity. The historic handshake on the White House lawn of September 13, 1993, was followed by many more such extraordinary events. The president's trip to the Middle East last October and the succession of visits to the region by Secretary of State Christopher reflect this progress and are very much a part of our effort to continue the forward movement.
The treaty of peace between Israel and Jordan, continued work on implementation of the Israel-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, and substantive-albeit slow progress on the critical Israel-Syrian negotiations have indeed made this a time of promise and growing expectations. Political leaders engaged in these negotiations have started the region's transformation of an era of conflict. And they recognize that continued movement towards peace and normal relations is imperative.
But, as is clear to all those present, this will necessarily be a rough road. The obstacles that the process has experienced, and those to come, are not just related to the intrinsic difficulties of the issues under negotiation. As the prospects for peace grow brighter, they also include the growing efforts by extremists to do what they can to sabotage the process. Terror poses an enormous challenge to all that we have worked for. But the goal President Clinton has pledged all possible efforts to achieve, the realization of a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, truly remains within our grasp.
I want to talk to you this morning about where we stand on that road, how we see the peace process moving forward in the time ahead.
The historic Jordan-Israel peace treaty, a milestone on the road to a regional settlement, represents the triumph of direct negotiations, and a shared vision of a newer, better Middle East. Commencing with the meeting between Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan and Israeli Foreign Minister Peres, hosted in October 1993 by the president, and the subsequent establishment of the U.S.-Jordan-Israel Trilateral Economic Committee, the United States has actively supported efforts by the parties to enter into cooperative agreements on resource development and economic initiatives. These have ranged from aviation and tourism to a master plan for development of the Jordan Rift Valley. These have established a context for cooperation which made the conclusion of a peace treaty possible, and they provide a basis now for transforming that treaty into a genuinely warm peace, a genuinely warm relationship between two neighbors. The United States will continue to provide concrete support and assistance within our trilateral framework to sustain and promote this process.
On the bilateral level with Jordan, the president has pledged to help Jordan deal with the process of economic restructuring now underway through forgiveness of Jordan's official debt. He has also pledged to help the king meet the requirements which peace imposes in terms of Jordan's defense needs. King Hussein has taken real risks for peace, and we're committed to standing with him. But our support must be concrete. We welcome the assistance which the Congress has already extended for Jordan debt forgiveness, and we hope that further aid will be provided. Those who make peace must know that they can count on the United States. Jordan and Israel's accomplishment is but part of a larger process which must be encouraged and must be sustained.
Just as the current dramatic progress in the peace process began with the handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and PLO Chairman Arafat, so continued progress in the peace process depends upon the successful implementation of the Israel-Palestinian Declaration of Principles. We are committed to working with all the parties concerned to help assure that the ambitious objectives towards which Israelis and Palestinians are striving are achieved. No one should underestimate the stakes involved for both sides. Success in forging a new relationship of dialogue and conciliation will enable both peoples to enjoy what the president has called "the quiet miracle of a normal life," which has so long been denied them. And it will provide a positive context for the other difficult decisions affecting the future of Israel and its relations with its neighbors which must be made.
For this very reason, the enemies of peace have not been silent. But they must not and will not be allowed to succeed. The murderous assaults launched by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and others, are attacks aimed at the peace process itself, as surely as they are targeted against innocent Israelis. It is essential to both Israel and the Palestinians, and to the very peace process itself, that every possible action be taken to help ensure that negotiations take place in an atmosphere of security.
The Israel-Palestinian track is based on a fundamental agreement, a fundamental mutuality, embodied in the Declaration of Principles and the Cairo Agreement. The Palestinian Authority will exert every possible effort on security and, in return, will get control over the political and economic decisions that most affect Palestinian lives.
Israel must see that sustained and systematic measures are in place to ensure security. The Palestinian Authority must confront the extremists, must apprehend those who are planning and conducting terrorist operations in areas under its control, and take judicial action against them. This is neither a prescription for civil war nor a demand for the impossible. It is a recognition of the duties and responsibilities incumbent upon the Palestinians. The Israelis are not asking the Palestinian Authority to guarantee their security, but they do require actions which demonstrate beyond doubt that the Palestinians are doing everything they can to deal with violence against Israel, against the Palestinian Authority and against the peace process itself.
On the Palestinian side, they must see that the Declaration of Principles continues to be implemented. Agreement has been reached on implementing the process of early empowerment, the transfer of areas of responsibility, including taxation, to the Palestinians in the West Bank. Discussions are now underway on the issues of elections for an interim Palestinian self-government, and the related question of Israeli military redeployment. We believe elections are extremely important. They will provide increased legitimacy for the Palestinian Authority, and contribute to the process of democratic-institution building.
These discussions are not simple. They deal with complex and sensitive issues on both sides, and they have been conducted against the tragic background of terrorist atrocities. But Israel and the Palestinians, at the very highest levels, are clearly working for a resolution.
But political steps alone are not enough. There must be economic benefits for the Palestinian people. And those benefits must be made real as rapidly as possible. We are committed to helping make this possible. The Donors Conference to Support Middle East Peace, which we organized and hosted in October 1993, raised more than $2 billion in commitments from 46 participants for projects that would demonstrate to the Palestinians the tangible benefits of peace. It must be understood that if the value of peace is not apparent to the average Palestinian, then the peace process itself will falter. The United States has pledged to provide $500 million in aid over the next five years. Of our '94 and '95 fiscal year pledges of $200 million, $90 million has been released and is now engaged in a variety of projects, ranging from new housing to rehabilitation of inadequate shelter and improvements to the Palestinian infrastructure in key areas such as health care. We have also provided direct assistance and additional non-lethal equipment for the Palestinian police force, as well as medical supplies. In cooperation with other participants in the donor effort, we created the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee and a World Bank-led consultative group to coordinate worldwide donor efforts and delivery of assistance.
But this extraordinary effort by the world community to support long-term infrastructure development has been complicated by the more immediate need to meet the current budget shortfall in the Palestinian central administration. These start-up costs of the Palestinian authority must be addressed. We have redirected $28 million in assistance to the Holst Fund, established by the World Bank for this purpose. And we have led efforts to obtain similar commitments from other donors to meeting this urgent requirement.
There has been much criticism of failures on all sides to do enough to improve the economic situation of the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza. Donor assistance has all too frequently been slow in coming, and not all pledges have been met. As noted, the need to divert development resources to Palestinian authority administrative costs has reduced the contribution we have been able to make to infrastructure development. And there have been too few efforts which have made a real impact on the critical problem of unemployment. For our part, we are now reprogramming $40 million in FY95 aid funds for employment generation and quick-dispersing projects to help address this need. And while private-sector development-encouraged by groups such as Builders for Peace, which my colleague Jim Zogby is involved in-has begun, much more work is needed.
On the Palestinian side, the building and empowerment of economic institutions has been a slow and a painful process. Accountability for funds and a coherent decision-making process are needed, both by the donor community and by the Palestinian authority and the Palestinian people themselves.
We must not minimize what has been accomplished, nor the commitment of the United States and the donor community to continue all possible efforts to help prove the value of peace through a transformation in Palestinian lives. The experience of Gaza-Jericho, in which authority was transferred without adequate provision for revenue generation, has been valuable for both sides. As the Palestinians and Israelis now enter into implementation of the first phase of early empowerment in the West Bank, they have agreed upon an orderly scheme for the transfer of taxation responsibilities over a six-month period to end this spring. The parties have also worked closely with the World Bank and with us to develop solid budget projections which can be used as a basis for fundraising by the donor community. Agreement has been made on budget numbers, mutual responsibilities of Israel, the Palestinians and the donors to meet the remaining and final shortfalls in the Gaza-Jericho budget, and the initial six months of West Bank early empowerment. On this basis, we can perceive a more stable and self-sufficient Palestinian Authority in the future.
The road has not been easy. It will not grow easier, as Israel and the Palestinians begin to grapple with the final status questions, including Jerusalem, which lie before them. But the challenge now is to find the best way to enable the parties themselves to move forward and to enhance their mutual confidence that a lasting peace through negotiation is possible.
Central to the achievement of a comprehensive peace is progress on the Syrian negotiating track. The president's decision to meet with President Asad in Damascus last October was based on his judgment that this would contribute to such progress. From the time of their first meeting in Geneva in January of last year through the Damascus visit, and in the many conversations and exchanges of correspondence between them since, President Clinton has emphasized his commitment to achieving a breakthrough on the Syrian track as rapidly as possible.
In Damascus last October, President Asad reaffirmed Syria's strategic decision for peace and spoke openly for the first time of the objective conditions for peace, for normal peaceful relations with Israel. Over the past months of talks with Secretary Christopher and in the December meeting between the Israeli and Syrian chiefs of staff here in Washington, progress has been made on the key issues confronting the parties. The interrelationships of the depth and timing of Israeli withdrawal, the timing and character of Syrian normalization measures, and the nature of security arrangements are now under discussion.
These are critical issues for both parties, and a resolution will not be simple. Significant differences exist. But what is important is that the negotiating process continue and that the pace of progress be accelerated. Movement in private negotiations must be matched by progress in changing the attitude Syrians and Israelis hold regarding each other. There must be movement on the public-diplomacy track as well. Steps which make clear the commitment each side has to a genuine peace will build confidence and establish a greater degree of trust. They will impact positively, or by their absence negatively, on the scope of private negotiations. In this regard, explicit public condemnation of terror directed at innocents and public elaboration of what peace means for Syria will be of critical importance in shaping the atmosphere for peacemaking, in shaping the atmosphere for making the hard decisions which lie ahead on both sides.
While such progress as we have witnessed on other tracks has not taken place in recent months on the Lebanon negotiations, it is our hope that with movement on the Syrian track, Lebanon will be able to engage with Israel in serious discussions. We have made clear to all parties that we are committed to Lebanon's political independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. In particular, we have affirmed the importance of full implementation of the Taif Accord and the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon.
The president began his visit to the Middle East last October by meeting with President Mubarak of Egypt. This was entirely appropriate. It is important, as we consider the progress made in bilateral negotiations, to underscore the timely and positive role of Egypt by its example, its thoughtful advice, its energetic involvement in helping the parties overcome obstacles and apparent impasses. Egypt has made a unique contribution to broadening the peace.
Along with Egypt, the efforts of Tunisia and Morocco to expand ties with Israel have been valuable in making a supportive regional context for peacemaking take form. We have emphasized to all of the participants in the process begun in Madrid that it is extremely important that the bilateral talks proceed in an environment of growing acceptance and reconciliation. For this reason, we have welcomed the increasing routineness of Arab-Israeli contacts at the government and commercial level throughout the region, including the Gulf. The Casablanca economic summit was an extraordinary manifestation of the new Middle East taking shape before us. And more developments lie ahead. We are committed to establishment of a properly structured regional development bank. In conjunction with the World Bank, such an institution can play a key role in promoting the types of regional private-sector development projects which have marked the Jordan-Israel-U.S. trilateral process. A Middle East business conference will be held this fall in Amman, following up on the progress begun at Casablanca.
The future is bright. But relics of the past era of confrontation and rejection still remain. Above all, the Arab boycott must be ended now. This is a priority for the administration, and we are hopeful that progress can be made on comprehensive termination of the secondary and tertiary aspects of the boycott in the immediate future. As the Gulf Cooperation Council states have formally recognized, the boycott has no place in the new Middle East. It harms the Palestinians as they enter into a new economic relationship with Israel, and it harms U.S. companies.
In conclusion, our diplomacy is engaged to advance the day that a just and a lasting Arab-Israeli peace is achieved and to maximize the prospects that when such a peace arrives, prosperity and cooperation can grace the region.
JAMES ZOGBY, president of the Arab American Institute.
The peace process, despite the great hopes that it engendered and its much-celebrated achievements, I believe is at a tragic impasse. And I say an impasse rather than a collapse because I believe some aspects of the process are irreversible. But instead of moving forward, I think we must be honest in understanding the internal dynamic of both Israeli and Palestinian society and their relationship with each other and say that they have entered a new stasis. And within this new stasis, the dynamic is that of a downward spiral. In this situation, the Palestinians are the big losers, because once again they become the victims of an asymmetry of power that has marked their entire political history and, I would add, an asymmetry of concern and an asymmetry of pressure-pressure imposed upon them almost exclusively to move the process forward.
There's a great deal of irony in this, because the signing on the White House lawn a year and a half ago was to have been so different. It was to have marked such a different future for the region. And, in fact, David Satterfield was correct in noting that so much has happened since then. Today Israelis can travel more freely throughout the region. Their isolation has ended. The number of Muslim nations that recognize Israel has expanded from two to fourteen. Israelis can go to Casablanca and Oman, to Qatar and Bahrain and Tunisia. Multilateral talks happen on a regular basis. Yet today Israelis are afraid to walk down the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The fact is that while we've been focusing on our victories on the seventh and eighth stories of this edifice of Middle East peace, the foundation is crumbling. Even that part of the foundation that was laid early on was not complete. The edifice of Middle East peace is like an inverted pyramid. The seventh and eighth stories are big and promise great amounts of hope. It's been interesting to focus on the possibilities of Casablanca or on regional water cooperation or regional tourism projects and the like. But this little foundation, this space in Gaza on which the entire edifice rests, is not complete. And if, in fact, the building collapses-and I do not believe it will tip over; I believe it will implode-it will collapse on itself and fissures will appear throughout, as a result of the betrayal of hope that so many in the region held for Palestinians finally achieving their rights.
To return to the original metaphor, the handshake on the White House lawn, Palestinians held the door open. Understand, none of the accomplishments that have taken place since the handshake, from the peace with Jordan to Casablanca to Oman to all of the talks that are taking place in the region today, none of them would have happened had Yasser Arafat not held the door open. But the door was opened, others walked through, and Palestinians are still outside waiting to get in. The promise of peace has not been realized by them.
The centerpiece of the Israeli-Palestinian accord was a mutuality of regard for each other's rights. The words were recognition of the mutual and legitimate political rights of both, to strive and to live in peaceful coexistence with mutual dignity and security and to achieve a just and lasting comprehensive peace settlement and a historic reconciliation.
It's in the implementation of these mutual rights that the process has been lagging. Israelis fully expected and had a right to expect that the process would create greater security and regional acceptance for them. Palestinians fully expected that the process would yield the same benefits to them as well: economic prosperity and political life; their independence would move forward, and they too would have security and recognition within the region.
The problem is that on entering into the implementation phase, we experienced the difficulty of asymmetry. To some extent the negotiations appear more as dictation than negotiation. And the problem of mutuality is a victim of the fact that both leaderships suffer from an internal weakness. What is asked of Arafat, he seems at times too weak to accomplish. In fact, I would add an additional note, and that is that some of what is being asked of him to accomplish is plainly against international law and against human-rights law.
I find it tragic that today Palestinians are criticized for violating the human rights of their own people when, in fact, in each instance the violations that they commit are violations that have been imposed upon them by the negotiating partners-holding people under administrative detention, cracking down on dissent, arresting people for what they believe and for groups they belong to rather than for allegedly having committed specific acts.
This is precisely what Israel has been held accountable for by the international community for the past 27 years, and today we're asking the Palestinians to do the same thing. The problem of terror and violence cannot be resolved at the expense of human rights, because the pressure that is imposed upon peaceful dissent is one of the spurs that move violence and opposition forward. In fact, the Israeli quest for security is linked not to quashing dissent but to creating economic prosperity and to helping Palestinians achieve political rights that have for too long been denied them.
Look at the statistics on Gaza. We had a Kerner Commission document the root causes of urban violence in America two decades ago. By applying that same model to Gaza, we find that 65 percent of the population is under 18. Thirty percent of the males of Gaza over the age of 18 have been imprisoned in the last five years for at least one to five years. Unemployment is 52 percent on a good day. And poverty is enormous and widespread. Israel boasts a per capita income for Jews-they keep separate statistics-of $13,800; for Arabs, a little over $8,000. In the West Bank, the per capita income is $1,600, and in Gaza it's $800 and dropping. It's gone down 20 percent since the signing of peace.
A trip to Gaza makes clear the circumstances under which Gazans live: 75 percent of Gazans are not Gazans; they're refugees. They live in some of the most densely populated areas in the world. Most of the arable land in Gaza today has not been returned to the Palestinians. Today, 850,000 Gazans live on about 70 percent of the land, most of it uninhabitable; 3,500 Israelis control the rest. Eighty-five percent of the water of Gaza is not available to Palestinians; it is used by Israelis.
One of the most frequent sights seen in the city of Gaza is a puddle that looks like one in Washington after a rainstorm, except it's not rain-it's sewer water. Gaza has no sewage system. Whatever happened to Gaza in its 27 years of occupation, paving roads and building sewers, providing power, providing water, providing phone lines was not a part of the occupation. The fact is that Gaza today is ripe for violence and becoming more so every day.
If there's peace, nobody told people at the checkpoint. The daily experience at the checkpoint, be it open or closed, is a circumstance ripe for violence. I was in Gaza on a day when the border was closed. It was the same scene I'd witnessed before during occupation: young men with guns barking orders at older men holding cards before their faces, seeking entrance, some pulled aside for questioning and rough treatment, others securing access. The scene was one of pain and anger. The young men expressing anger, hiding fear and pain. The older men showing fear but hiding anger and pain. It was ripe for confrontation. It was no surprise to me two days after I left that some Palestinians murdered a young Israeli soldier at the border. The daily humiliation of the checkpoint is ripe for creating that kind of violence and antagonism. And the tragedy is not only that some Palestinians, in an act of anger or despair and motivated by some ideology, commit an act of violence, but that 20,000 Palestinians support that action in a demonstration, because the pain is that widespread.
We cannot view terrorism and security as some artificial implant in the region. But that is how it is talked about all too frequently. One of the most interesting things of my most recent discussion with Israelis when I was there just a few weeks ago is that they talk about terrorism the way some in America used to talk about violence in the 1960s. When there would be an uprising in a ghetto, people would talk about agitation-outside agitators came in, because of course "we" aren't responsible, "we" had nothing to do with it. I mean, everything was going along so nicely until "they" committed acts of violence.
There was a song back in the forties, that asks the question, "Is you is or is you ain't my baby?" We need to look at violence and understand its parentage. I'm not here to defend terrorism, but I want to explain not only it, but the support for it. It's not a popular thing to talk about, but unless we do, it will go on. If we don't understand it and do something about it, it will remain on the map of the Middle East for a long time to come. The simple fact is that these are young men killing themselves, and Israelis as well. Given the choice between a family and a home, education for their children, hope and opportunity in their future, and killing themselves, they would choose the former. But to read what they say, to hear what they say, to understand what they do, is to understand that the former option has never, and as far as they can see will never, exist for them.
Gaza has been hit by an earthquake. Gaza has been hit by a hurricane and a tornado. We responded with business as usual. We can reconstruct southern Florida in three months. We can do South Central Los Angeles in a month. But in Gaza, 18 months later the conditions, economically speaking, are worse than they were when the handshake took place. To expect Yasser Arafat to control the circumstances he did not create, without the tools of legitimacy in his hand first, is really to expect too much. It's to expect the peace process not to succeed. It's a recipe for failure.
The problem today is not episodic violence or the dangerous signs of civil conflict. The problem is that both Israelis and Palestinians are losing hope that this process will ever succeed. We need to move forward and address as concretely and in as balanced a manner as possible the needs of both. To do so means that we have to do things that I'm afraid are not on our agenda, because the problem is not only an asymmetry of power, but an asymmetry of concern and an asymmetry of how we apply pressure.
Today to some extent the process is distorted, because the pressure has been one-sided. There is a connection between the delegitimizing of Arafat and his leadership and continued Israeli settlement building in the areas around Jerusalem and in the rest of the West Bank. There is a connection between the inability of the Palestinian leadership to exercise control and the fact that land and water rights have not been returned to them. There is a connection between the inability of the authority to collect revenues and the fact that impediments to economic development are as real today as they were during occupation. When the borders close, not only are workers kept out; goods are kept out and goods cannot come in. It is difficult to promote economic development and investment in Gaza when you can neither import nor export on any given day; when you can't get what you need to develop.
I'm used to situations in this country where as you go into an inner-city area you see the phenomenon of what I call waiting-like being in the eye of a storm: young men on street corners, no jobs. You see that in Gaza. But not only the men wait in Gaza; Gaza itself waits. The mud roads wait for paving. There's a construction boom in Gaza, but the buildings wait too, because there's no power, no water, no sewers, no phones. A hotel opens in Gaza, but since there are no phone lines, no one stays in the hotel. New houses are built, but no one can move in because there's no power, no water, no sewers, no phones.
These issues need to be addressed in a far more concentrated and energetic manner, but it is beyond the capability of the leadership. I'm not here as an apologist for the Palestinian leadership and the mistakes that they have made and are still making, but it is beyond their ability to correct the difficulties of 27 years of deprivation that they did not create. The fact is that we must somehow balance the score in terms of the power relationship and how we apply pressure and provide benefits.
I think the process can be salvaged, but it requires an external party. It requires not only American commitment, but American engagement, and a balancing of the power equation. I'm not confident we can do it, but I know that if we don't provide for both Palestinians and Israelis what they cannot provide for themselves, then this process cannot succeed. In fact we already have Israeli institutions studying what will happen not only to Israeli society and Israeli Palestinian peace, but the region as a whole, if this current government in Israel is not reelected.
The picture does not look bright. Both leaderships are in need. Neither leadership can do for itself what it needs to do. Both need an external party to assist them in doing what they need to do to move this process forward. I understand that Yitzhak Rabin has a difficulty in stopping settlement building. I understand that Yitzhak Rabin has a difficulty in addressing Palestinian concerns about Jerusalem. I understand that Yitzhak Rabin has a difficulty in dealing with the security threat. Israel has a series of real problems as a result of its internal political debate, which is driven by the right wing. The question is: Is there an external force that can help balance that debate so that Rabin can do what he needs to do to move the process forward? I understand that Yasser Arafat must deal with the problems of ail opposition and violence, and he must provide greater security for this process to succeed. But can he do what he needs to do, unless an external force provides him with legitimacy, provides the process itself with the legitimacy that it requires for him to do the difficult things?
So the role of the United States in this entire process is much more than commitment. It must be engagement, and it must be to provide not only a stronger vision of the future, but incentives and some measure of corrective action indicating that when people move forward there are rewards, and when they move backward there are sanctions.
We will witness in the next few months here in Congress another debate on PLO compliance. I believe that every time we give foreign assistance we ought to have compliance. But there will be no debate on Israeli compliance or the lack of it. We will have a lengthy report by the Department of State on PLO compliance. We will have no debate on whether Israel has complied. The asymmetry of pressure does not help the process move forward.
I'm committed, and I find as I go around the country that my community is committed, to a new day. Palestinians, in the main, do not see a future based on continued conflict with Israel. They prefer the option of peace. But to be real, peace must be translated into benefits, and a future that people can see in front of them. It must be a vision so attractive and compelling that they are driven to accept it. That vision does not exist at the present time; it is being denied on a daily basis by the reality that people see in front of them. I never thought 18 months ago that we would be talking about this today. We should by now have created a new paradigm. In shaking each other's hands, both leaders invested in each other; each invested in the success of the other. For Arafat to succeed, Rabin must succeed; for Rabin to succeed, Arafat must succeed. For Israelis to have peace, security and economic benefits, Palestinians must have peace, security and economic benefits. Then-President George Bush, speaking in this building just four years ago, gave eloquent testimony on what was required for peace to work. He called it the twin tests of peace. We must pass both tests. The fact is that we have not passed both tests. That is why the process at this point is in trouble, requiring some teacher assistance to provide the pupils, if you will, in the region with the help they need so desperately to move it forward.
IAN S. LUSTICK, professor of political science, University of Pennsylvania; author of Unsettled States, Disputed Lands: Britain and Ireland, France and Algeria, Israel and the West Bank/Gaza (Cornell University Press, 1993).
Before I start my own remarks I would like to make one comment on Mr. Satterfield's. In general I can share the lofty sentiments and politically correct endorsement of the process that we've heard. And I would love to share the optimistic conclusion, but I fear that that conclusion reflects an official policy line, and not what appears in the reports your analysts are writing about what's actually happening in the Middle East.
I would like to draw your attention to a recent study by Joseph Alpher, former head of the Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies, on settlements and borders. It has attracted considerable attention in Israel. The recommendation of the study can be called the 11- percent solution. In good policy-analyst fashion, it sets out three options for the Rabin government. One, Israel could keep large chunks of the West Bank, including almost all of the settlements and divide those chunks up with narrow strips of Palestinian land. Another option is to get out of all the territories, including East Jerusalem and give the Palestinians a state. The first option is presented as obviously bad because it absorbs too many Palestinians into Israel. The second option is presented as obviously bad because too much is given away, and attempting to do so would cause a terrible political problem in Israel that would threaten the fabric of the country. So the obvious solution, suggests Alpher, is a middle one: Keep 11 percent of the West Bank, including expanded East Jerusalem, greater Jerusalem, the Gush Etzion block, a strip of land along the northern bulge of the West Bank, some bits in the Jordan Valley and Kiryat Arba-altogether 11 percent.
I want to note a couple of things about this proposal. First of all, in considering whether it will work and advancing it, Alpher gives no explicit consideration whatsoever to whether the Palestinians can accept it or to what it would do to the Palestinian Authority. Second, the decisive factor for what Israel can do is the internal political disruption that would be precipitated by whatever Rabin does. This is considered to be the critical element, not what Israel actually needs for security, what the ideological requirements of the Jewish state are in Jerusalem or anywhere else, but simply a judgment about the internal political carrying capacity of the Israeli system. My point is that Alpher ignores this very same question as it applies to the Palestinian side. Now let's take this argument that Alpher makes in his book and compare it to another study which Alpher wrote on behalf of a larger group for the Jaffe Center back in 1989, which had a very great impact and can be considered, more than anything else, a public presentation of the Rabin government's policy toward the Palestinians once it came into power. In fact Rabin still sits officially on the governing board of this institution.
In that document, the Jaffe Center presented a plan which was actually a gloss on a previous plan by Shmuel Toledano promising a Palestinian state at the end of a long transition period in which Israel would relinquish the whole West Bank and Gaza, except maybe Jerusalem. What the Jaffe Center group said was, "We'll do that but we won't say there will be a Palestinian state at the end; we' II only say maybe there could be a state, but we won't promise it." If you read that plan closely (I analyze it in my book), the authors knew very well that in the end there would be a Palestinian state. The Jaffe Center group's thinking was to implement a two-state solution without calling it that until it would be too late to stop it. In 1989, in other words, Alpher and the Jaffe Center had already determined the final fate of the West Bank. In their minds it was not a security problem, not an ideological problem, just a question of how to get the solution past the Israeli public. Certainly there was nothing in that original plan about this 11 percent of the West Bank that, according to Alpher now, absolutely must be held by Israel for security, ideological and economic reasons.
There are two possible interpretations of this current Alpher plan. On the one hand, it can be interpreted as a conclusion that it's too tough to use a salami-slicing strategy, moving slowly until it is too late to stop, toward a Palestinian state in all the territories. Instead a version of the Allon plan is being substituted, to actually carve up the West Bank and Gaza, keeping the parts that are most sensitive so as to avoid a real political crunch in Israel, and letting the Palestinians have what's left. That's one way to look at it, as a retreat to the Allon plan. Another way to look at it is the plan is just another political smoke screen, another trial balloon, sent up by a government that knows in the long run it will have to negotiate a Palestinian state in the territories, but which is trying to deflect criticism from what it's doing, and that in a few months, this plan will also be abandoned, and a new one will come forward, moving in the direction of a Palestinian state.
My argument is that neither version of the Alpher plan-as tactic or as strategy will work at this point, 18 months after Oslo, about 14 months before new elections have to take place in Israel. The peace process is going to collapse before that election-if not, certainly afterward, if the Likud wins-because of the factor that the Alpher plan and the Rabin government do not consider: the political carrying capacity of the Palestinian side.
This peace process is a partnership, as my colleagues have referred to it, and that means that the same questions you ask about one side have to be asked about the other. The same kinds of risks that one side takes must be taken by the other. Just as Yasser Arafat put on the line not only his own career and his own political organization, Fatah, he put the fabric of the Palestinian polity on the line by embracing a process which was open-ended and which did not have a legal, fixed commitment to a Palestinian state in all the West Bank and Gaza.
That is the scale of the risk that Rabin also must take. He can't do what he wanted to do from the beginning, which is to slide through this period risking only his own personal political hide and reputation. In fact, much larger risks must be borne by the Israeli polity, the same kind of risks that the Palestinians are running. The same kind of deep divisions, even involving the risk of violence, that the Palestinian polity is experiencing, will have to be run by Israel in order to make it through to a peaceful settlement of this problem.
Arafat may certainly not be the ideal sort of political partner, but one has to remember that the nature of the PLO, as the partner that Israel has, was powerfully shaped by the Israelis. The Israelis allowed certain kinds of political activity by Palestinians since 1967 and banned most others. The result was a Palestinian political force, mainly outside the country and mainly oriented toward violence, that reflected the kind of political opportunities Israel allowed.
In my book I go to great lengths to show that the British government in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, by allowing the Irish Nationalists to be legal in Britain and build up their own network of institutions, ended up with the IRA as a partner in 1920, with whom the British could negotiate a very painful deal. The pro-treaty wing of the IRA accepted partition of their country, executed 77 leaders of the opposition in the Irish civil war, killed thousands more with British ammunition and British guns in order to enforce their "Oslo" agreement. But that was because the Irish national movement, from which the IRA emerged, was a much more well rooted political organization-one that had been legal in Britain for decades and had been permitted to build a substantial record of reformist achievement.
When France finally sought to deal with the FLN, France paid the cost for being even rougher toward the Muslims in Algeria than Israel has been toward the Palestinians. The French never allowed any political activity for Muslim nationalists in Algeria. The result was that when de Gaulle went to negotiate, to use the FLN as a partner, he found the FLN couldn't do anything but sign a paper agreeing that France would get out of Algeria completely. The FLN was too weak to do anything but be absolutely intransigent regarding demands for the complete independence of Algeria.
Rabin came up against that same problem when he negotiated with Haider AbdulShafi during the Madrid process. He wanted Abdul-Shafi to do what Arafat did. But he found, after a year of hearing expert advice to this effect, that Abdul-Shafi and the internal delegation did not have what Rabin needed: the political-carrying capacity to make the compromise and enforce it. That's why Rabin went to Arafat. But now Rabin is demanding more than Arafat can deliver.
Most people blame the failure of international aid to flow in large quantities to the West Bank and Gaza to the lack of accountability on the part of the Palestinian Authority. The fundamental reason why that accountability is absent is not only because Arafat, socialized as a leader in the diaspora, has been squirreling away money in various accounts, but also because the only way he can keep his political head above water is through graft, corruption and patronage. If he had a declaration by the Israelis that this process was going to end in a Palestinian state-that the West Bank and Gaza in total would be evacuated, that settlements would stop, that public land would be available to Palestinians, that East Jerusalem would not be closed but open to Palestinians-this would give Arafat the political capital he needs to run the Palestinian authority on a political basis and not on the basis of patronage.
Only with the political capital that Rabin can give Arafat by experiencing the kind of pain in Israel that Arafat is experiencing on the Palestinian side, can aid flow, the economic situation improve, and support be drained from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Only then can the peace process, threatened almost monthly with collapse, be transformed into a dynamic engine of change and mutual accommodation.
What do I suggest then for Rabin? He's got to do things that create the kind of political capital that would allow Arafat to fight terrorism just as the IRA cracked down after 1922 on the anti-treaty forces. Arafat will not and cannot do what the Free State did without the knowledge that there will be an independent country. He has to be able to say to the people of the West Bank and Gaza and the other Palestinians: "Look at what we've got: Only these extremists are standing in our way; follow me, we'll have our state, we'll have a return of hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians, and we'll have an end to settlements."
What can we expect Rabin to do? How can someone who so often seems so weak, so rudderless, at this point take such strong measures? I think the easiest thing that he could do, and the most obviously necessary thing for him to do at this point, is to declare that the end of this process is a Palestinian state, pure and simple. He's talked obliquely about a Palestinian state and Gaza and implied he would not rule it out for the West Bank. But now he must say it, as they say in Hebrew, duqri-plain and simple. You find this argument increasingly now in the Israeli press. Inside the Cabinet, of course, people like Shulamit Aloni, Yossi Sarid and Yossi Beilin have been making this argument for a long time.
But this is not enough. Rabin must transform the political situation into the kind of exciting, history-making period that the United States and the Israelis experienced in 1993, so that he has the agenda in his hand instead of arguing day by day where the street lights are going to be in Jenin and where the bypass roads will run. He cannot survive and the peace process won't survive on that kind of discourse. He can and should declare that, yes, in the end there will be a Palestinian state once the transition period is accomplished properly.
There must also be an end to the closure of East Jerusalem to Arabs, at least on the basis that all the holy places must be open to Muslims as well as to Jews. There must be an end to the thickening of settlements as well as to the expansion of settlements, an end to government subsidies of all kinds for so-called private building, which would effectively put an end to most of the construction.
There must be elections. Elections are crucial in order for the peace process to revive itself, for Arafat to legitimize himself and to have an opportunity-whether he will take it or not I cannot guarantee-to draw the ex-prisoners into the political process in the West Bank and Gaza. They are the future of that society politically, and they have really not been allowed to be a part of this enterprise up to now.
For those elections to take place, Israel cannot make control of terrorism and the threats to the settlers the crucial criteria. These are not aspects of the Oslo agreement. That the Palestinians provide for Israeli security before a genuine redeployment is not part of the agreement. Redeployment and free elections-including Hamas, if Hamas will participate-are necessary in order to create a momentum so that even if the Likud wins the next Israeli election, there will be an authentically, democratically elected leadership on the Palestinian side that will stand in the way of continued annexation and allow the process to resume five or six years down the road, however horrifying it may be to contemplate that kind of delay.
I say that Hamas will have to be included if it is willing to be, or something that will spring out of Hamas or the Muslim Brothers, even though their groups may not explicitly endorse the peace process, just as I would insist that Tsomet, the Likud and the National Religious party be allowed to participate in Israeli elections even though they do not explicitly endorse the peace process and, in fact, have rejected it regularly and declare that they will suspend it if they come into power.
I would also make public land available to Palestinians as a sign that the future of the West Bank is open for development for them and not for Jews.
What's going to happen if Rabin takes some of these steps? It will certainly make the situation more exciting. The government will once more have the initiative. There will be furious reactions from the Right, but this reaction can serve the government's purpose and the cause of peace. That is the argument I want to make most explicitly. I make it in my recent article in Middle East Policy (vol. III, no. 3, 1994) and in my book. One has to understand that the political problem Israel has constructed for itself in the West Bank and Gaza is of a distinctive kind. It's the kind that France created for itself in Algeria after a hundred years. It's the kind that Britain experienced with regard to Ireland at the beginning of the twentieth century. It's the kind that you cannot solve without facing up to a society shaking crisis. But those crises can be managed, and even exploited.
Churchill was in charge of how to manage real threats from Irish Protestants, the army and the Unionist/Conservative party in 1914 to overthrow the British government-threats made in response to Parliament's passage of a bill to grant home rule to all of Ireland. The policy Churchill devised and sought to implement was to bring the fleet to Belfast, order the army into Ulster, disarm the militias that the Loyalists had created and wait for them to fire on the British army. Once they did, the government would declare that the issue was no longer Ireland but the sanctity of the army and the stability of the British state and of the British pound sterling. But when the army was ordered into Ulster, 58 officers resigned their commissions and Prime Minister Asquith, nothing like Churchill, backed down, telling Churchill to bring the fleet back home and scuttle the whole idea. The result of Asquith's weakness, his failure to take the risks that Churchill was ready to run, was that Britain ended up getting out of most of Ireland but being saddled with Northern Ireland for 70 years. The Irish themselves were forced to endure a compromise.
What de Gaulle did when faced with a similar question over Algeria, and a similar array of opponents-the settlers, the rightwing nationalist party, a very important element in the army-was to run greater risks to accomplish greater things, as Churchill had wanted to, to build support by goading the settlers and their extremist supporters into premature attacks on the state-the Barricade Rebellion and the putschists in 1961-and then rally the French people, who even at that time were opposed to getting out of Algeria. Indeed, had de Gaulle relied on the public-opinion polls of that time and decided to frame his policy according to them, France might still be in Algeria. But instead, de Gaulle redefined the issue as the future of France, playing on the fear that Frenchmen had of turmoil in France because government orders weren't being followed and crazy OAS people were blowing up their country.
What I am suggesting is that the Rabin government is actually in a much better position than either Churchill or de Gaulle to do the same kind of thing that Churchill sought to do and which de Gaulle did. Unlike the situations in Britain and France, the Israeli army high command is fully with Rabin. He doesn't have to worry about the army not following his orders to evacuate the territories or evacuate Jewish settlements.
The settlers in the West Bank and Gaza are better organized, more sophisticated, better armed in some ways than the settlers in Algeria, but not nearly as well-armed, as well-organized, as well-disciplined or as numerous as the Protestants were m Northern Ireland.
Geography also helps. One reason so many settlers in Algeria and Ireland were willing to violently resist withdrawal, is that they knew their entire way of life would be destroyed if they were forced to move over the sea to England or to France. In Israel, however, 60 percent of the settlers went to the West Bank, five kilometers eastward, to get a better standard of living, a nicer neighborhood. With the kinds of conditions that will result after a policy like this, those 60 percent will, perhaps even gladly, move five kilometers west for the same reason. Still there will be left a hard core of 20,000-30,000 adult settlers ready to resist the government and able to mobilize 10, 20, 25 percent of the Israeli population in one way or another-not all violently-behind such measures.
Many of those people are completely out of control, and they will do things-assassination attempts, bombings of Jewish installations, attacks on Muslim shrines, murderous provocations against Arabs that will allow the government to redefine the issue dramatically. For the issue that will come to dominate the political scene will be the rule of law and order, the sanctity of the IDF and the future of democracy in Israel. In this contest the Rabin government will rally mass support and prevail. Such a strategy will not only sustain the peace process and create the political capital that the Palestinians need, it will also insure a Labor party victory in the next election.
DR. MATTAIR: Mr. Satterfield, you have stated what the Palestinians, the Syrians and the Arab League could do to create an environment that would make Israel more comfortable about going forward, but some of the other speakers, Dr. Lustick in particular, spoke about settlements. Is there not something that the U.S. government can say or do on the matter of settlements to create a better environment? Some of the Palestinian voices argue that they are provocations, that they do contribute to the terror that you and all of us are so concerned about, terror that delays the redeployment and the elections.
MR. SATTERFIELD: We have stated that settlements are a problem. They create difficulties, complications for the negotiation process with the Palestinians. That is very clear. They are not, however, the only problem nor are they the most significant problem confronting these negotiations. Terror is a far more immediate and a far more real problem with a direct impact on the ability of the negotiating process to move forward, but settlements do complicate negotiations.
We believe the parties themselves, through a dynamic negotiating process, a process that is underway, have within their hands the ability to address the fundamental issues between them. We do not believe that discussions by external parties of the socalled final-status issues, whether settlements or the question of Jerusalem, are productive or will contribute to advancing these talks. The talks themselves directly between the parties contain the seeds for resolution. The parties themselves, despite the difficulties which the speakers have very correctly identified here, have been able to achieve tremendous things. They have done it on their own; they have done it with the facilitation and the assistance and the support of the United States and others; and they will continue to have that support, facilitation and assistance, but in the end, these are negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. They must be the parties to resolve these questions.
DR. MATTAIR: Dr. Zogby, what, in your view, could the United States do that would facilitate the peace process and perhaps motivate the Rabin government to halt the expansion of settlements? Could we, for example, begin deducting from the loan guarantees the amount of money Israel is spending on private construction and then offer that money to compensate any settlers leaving settlements that are particularly difficult to defend or provocative? And could you also amplify what the United States can do to get its pledged aid into the territories more quickly, perhaps not to the Palestinian authorities, but rather to non-governmental organizations on the ground.
DR. ZOGBY: I have never held that pressure, of necessity, ought to be negative or sanction-oriented. And the fact is that the real politics of this country indicate that that will not occur. The administration simply will not use and cannot use that kind of pressure. There would be no congressional support for it. I don't expect, therefore, that Congress will require a study on Israeli compliance with its commitments to the Declaration of Principles, as they have done with the Palestinians, but all of this should not negate the role of pressure or struggling to find ways to use pressure.
It is interesting that there is a debate in Israel over this issue of pressure, as well. In a November 1992 Haaretz article, Israeli columnist Ron Kisler wrote on the question of moving Israel towards a peace settlement: "A government moving in such a direction will have to face tremendous domestic pressure not only from the settlers, who are threatening civil war, or the Likud, which is ready to lead thousands into the streets, but pressure from within the government and Labor's lively hawkish camp. The government will need counterpressure-not necessarily of the kind inherent in the empty threats of Peace Now what is needed is pressure from a position of strength. That is, U.S. pressure."
An adviser to the president, Michael Mandelbaum, who in '92 was part of the Clinton transition team on foreign policy, wrote an interesting article in Orbis back in the late eighties, in which he described the role of U.S. pressure during critical periods of Israel's relationship with Arabs. Specifically in describing the resistance on the part of Israel to move forward toward full disengagement with Egypt after the '73 war, Mandelbaum wrote, "The U.S. applied pressure....lsrael's leaders were not altogether unhappy with the pressure; they wanted an agreement with their neighbors. But this required concessions, and the Israeli public was wary of surrendering territory. The government found it convenient to blame American pressure, which, they said, left them no choice." In the absence of pressure, such an agreement would not have been realized.
The fact is that when the administration does not apply pressure, we leave Rabin defenseless in the face of the right wing and force him to take the option he has taken, which is to move further to the right in an effort to accommodate the pressure coming from the right wing.
What kind of pressure could we use? I don't think that deducting aid, which has more of a congressional dynamic than an administration dynamic, is about to occur. But certainly there are positive incentives we can offer. For example, we can offer Arafat legitimacy. Arafat has not been invited here, even though he has requested on a number of occasions to meet with the president, to be treated, in other words, in a way that would enhance his legitimacy.
The issue of the way we use Palestinian aid more effectively to create jobs would also be important. I think Ian has laid out a number of those tracks as well.
I also don't think it's helpful to apply continued pressure, focusing on the terrorism issue without a discussion of the root causes-as if there were no root causes, and all one had to do is stop it. I also think this continual harping on the Arab boycott, as if it were unrelated to the regional political dynamic, doesn't serve the purpose of the peace process. It's just domestic politics. We need to take some risks on this score as well.
There must be greater fulfillment of Palestinian aspirations and some firm commitment to Israel that, if they take the risks we want them to take, we'll be with them. People need to know there are choices in life. And you have to make choices to get what you want.
I think Ian described the process well. The Palestinians have been asked to make choices. The Israelis have been asked to make very few. Rabin, in fact, has a process that is ideal-a peace process in which he has gained regional acceptance, but he's had to give up very little on the ground. The fact is that, today, land may have been given up in the abstract, but compensation for it is bridges and roads being constructed over the land to connect the settlers with Israel proper. The land has not been returned to the Palestinians.
The problem is not only settlement building, it's that the land continues to be controlled, the land that has roads carved through it. Today the West Bank is not only an area in which settlers populate throughout, but roads cut the territory into several tiny cantons. Even if you wanted to do economic development, it's difficult to imagine how to achieve economies of scale. Not only do you still not have border access for Palestinian goods going to Jordan, or Palestinian goods from Gaza to Egypt, but you don't have access for Palestinian goods from the north of the West Bank to the south of the West Bank, or from parts of the north of the West Bank to other parts of the north of the West Bank. Or consider Jericho, which achieved autonomy but found itself in the unique position of being cut off from the rest of the West Bank, so that produce, which was one of the marketable commodities available in Jericho, rots in the market, because its natural market, it's only market, was other West Bankers, who cannot get into Jericho to purchase the goods.
There are so many things that can be done to help provide corrective measures that do not require deducting money, that do not require being negative, that could provide the firm insistence that this process be fair and provide the kinds of opportunities that it was supposed to provide.
One last comment on economic issues. We could take four or five projects like the kind that Builders for Peace were promoting-that got stuck within the bureaucracy-and trail-blaze. We could say, for example, to the agricultural growers in Gaza, "We know you want to export directly to the United States. We will help you make it happen. And we will go to AGREXCO," the Israeli agricultural cooperative that refuses to release the infrastructure that they control. You see, according to the Israeli-Palestinian economic agreement, Palestinians have the right to export, but since they do not control the border or access or ports or the refrigeration at the ports to be able to do it, in effect, the agreement to allow them to export was for naught.
People have the right to invest now in Gaza. But everything that they would do in Gaza requires imports and exports, because there are no raw materials, only cheap labor. And so, what does it amount to in reality? A guy wanted to put a furniture factory in Gaza. But he can't bring in raw materials, because the border is closed. He can't get the product exported to eastern Europe, where he wanted to sell it-so he can't do it. We should trail-blaze, put the full force of the United States behind this project and say, "We will make this factory happen." And say to the Israelis, we want these things to happen; and we will move to get expediters to open the border for goods, to open the ports for shipment, to open and deal fairly with import and export. Or say to American franchisers who want to move into Gazarebut the Israeli who has the franchise won't release Gaza and the West Bank from its jurisdiction, so the product can't get into the West Bank and Gaza unless it's done with an Israeli label, which makes it unmarketable in that area that the United States doesn't recognize West Bank/Gaza as part of the jurisdiction of an Israeli franchise. These are forms of pressure that we can apply that we have not found a way to do at this point.
DR. MATTAIR: Dr. Lustick, you have described how Rabin can help Arafat and the room Arafat has to accept help. Could you talk about the room the U.S. government might have to help Rabin?
DR. LUSTICK: I think that there are things the United States can do and there are things we can avoid doing, such as playing the terrorism game, which is politically very useful in this country, but which supports the wrong discourse in Israel. It plays into the hands of the opponents of the peace process by defining the issue as measuring terrorism and then determining from that how much progress can be made.
In any case, terrorism is likely to peak just when the most progress is being made. So to take terrorism-whether Jewish or Arab-as a sign that the process must slowdown is absolutely wrong. It was true in South Africa, in Algeria and in Ireland. In the entire Anglo-Irish War, there were 700 people killed. In the Irish civil war, around implementation of the agreement, 5,000 people were killed. So we should stop playing the terrorism game.
But I don't think the United States now has the same role to play as it did when President Bush and Secretary of State Baker, through the loan-guarantee issue, helped frame the problem in Israel and helped bring the Labor government to power. We don't have that kind of role to play. This is now a decision which can be made by Rabin, can be made by his cabinet. We should be telling the Israelis privately that any agreement they can get with the Palestinians, we will fully support, financially and politically. We will not undercut them. We will not stake out a position on settlements, for example, calling it just a complicating problem, when people in the Israeli government are calling settlements a fundamental issue, an obstacle to peace and illegal.
As far as the more public level, I think we should be emphasizing democracy and applying our commitment to democracy to the Palestinians as we apply it everywhere else. And we should be emphasizing the need to move forward on these elections and not hold them hostage to the security of settlers who aren't going to be there in the long run anyway.
JEROME SEGAL, Jewish Peace Lobby: I have a proposal that you may have seen [see roundtable discussion in this issue]. It was in The Nation and The Los Angeles limes. It is quite similar, in some ways, to your proposal and also comes out of the sense that the most powerful wild card out there is what's going to happen in the next Israeli elections, and whether there will be anything still in process if Likud comes back to power. But whereas you talked about Rabin making a declaration that, at the end of the process, there will be a Palestinian state and making clear that it's not 89 percent and taking on the settlers and producing all of that uproar inside Israel, what I propose is something both more doable politically and that would leave more in place if Likud came to power.
My alternative was for the Israelis, within the next 18 months, to accept Palestinian sovereignty over Gaza-to transform it so that we don't have the PNA but a Palestinian state that exercises sovereignty over Gaza. The negotiations are then elevated to an interstate level between Israel and a Palestinian state in Gaza that will be administering, but not exercising sovereignty, in the interim over the West Bank. Then in a formal treaty between that Palestinian state and the state of Israel a freeze would be negotiated on all public and private settlements. If the United States did endorse this, that Palestinian state could be sitting in the United Nations by the time of the next Israeli elections.
DR. LUSTICK: It's an interesting idea. We're talking about finely grained options on how to go ahead with what is fundamentally the same idea. But I think you have to look at how it's going to play on the Palestinian side to have such a tiny, eviscerated entity and then call it a Palestinian state. The larger jurisdictional issue has to be addressed-that is, the question of whether the Palestinian authority has jurisdiction over, to start with, the entire West Bank and Gaza except for those areas that will be subject to negotiation, or whether everything that the Palestinian Authority gets, it has to struggle for against the presumption that Israel keeps everything.
Right now, the Palestinians are being offered municipalities such as Jenin. And they're saying, "We want the whole districts. If you're just going to give us the municipalities in name, we've already got that. And we've been running them from Tunis for 20 years. Unless you give us the surrounding district, including some real territory, we'll be ridiculed." I think they would possibly be open to that same accusation in a larger sense if they were to accept the idea that Jericho was a Palestinian state.
CHARLES PERCY, former U.S. Senator (R-IL): Mr. Satterfield, many of us were very pleased, I know, to hear what you had to say about the administration's position on the sovereignty of Lebanon. First, will that be a subject for discussion in the shuttle diplomacy that Secretary of State Warren Christopher is now engaging in, beginning today between Israel and Syria?
Second, because George Mitchell, the former majority leader, has come out so strongly against the continuation of the ban on travel to Lebanon, but also because a group of Lebanese Americans who have Lebanese passports and can go over there came back saying that Beirut is much safer than Washington, when is the State Department going to face up to reality and give American business, for instance, an equal chance with all other countries? Other countries love the ban because they're just moving into Lebanon now.
MR. SATTERFIELD: Senator, if I could answer the first question you posed our position on the sovereignty of Lebanon--our objectives for Lebanon in the peace process and beyond are clear. They've been made clear on every possible occasion at the highest levels to the governments concerned, and they'll continue to be. This is not something that is open for discussion or for negotiation. It is a firm position.
With respect to the travel ban, we are very much aware of the impact which the travel ban has had and continues to have on the ability of U.S. business to conduct affairs in Lebanon, on our ability, through the normal exchange of peoples, to have an impact on the Lebanese scene, the kind of impact we very much would like to have. The ban has one reason for its continuation, and one reason only, and that is the security of American citizens. We continue to have credible basis for viewing that threat as real, as immediate and as unacceptable. So long as that threat continues to exist-and I speak in specific, not in the abstract-it's not going to be possible for us to lift the ban. It would not be responsible of us to lift the ban.
We have engaged in discussions recently with agencies of the Lebanese government on various issues affecting security. These were productive discussions. We very much hope that they can continue in the near future. We have been able to lay out to both parties our concerns and steps that have been taken or could be taken to address those concerns. This is a process again which I think can lead to fruitful results. But with respect to the recent decision by the secretary to extend the ban, that was based on information we continue to believe is very real and very threatening to American citizens.
AUGUSTUS RICHARD NORTON, professor of international relations, Boston University: Just one reflection on the travel ban to Lebanon. The travel ban prohibits Americans from using their passports to travel to Lebanon, not from traveling to Lebanon, and about 40,000 Americans have traveled to Lebanon already. It's quite safe. I can state that with some certainty. The three speakers offered three very different visions, and I'd like to reflect on them and pull them together into a reflection on U.S. policy options. Mr. Satterfield gave us a sense of the vision of the Middle East peace, and I think really we need to remind ourselves how remarkable the situation is. The last administration, acting with a sense of history and a vision, created a structure of peace-seeking which did something quite phenomenal: It survived from one presidential administration to the next. That's quite an accomplishment when you reflect on it. Moreover, it was a peace-seeking structure that really had elements-I'm talking about the multilateral component to sustain the process of moving forward.
I remember September 1991, when a group of us outside the administration, and some inside, were working for this more elaborate peace-seeking structure. One very seasoned diplomat, Sam Lewis, said, "You guys are trying to recreate the Concert of Europe. This will never work." But, thankfully, the sort of "Kissingerian" peace-seeking was jettisoned, and James Baker in particular a very valuable and very important option, and with it an implicit vision for Middle East peace.
What I miss from the present administration is the same sense of vision; instead a kind of tactical preoccupation rather than a sense of where this is all leading, particularly with respect to the question of the Palestinians. In this regard, Jim Zogby has given us a very clear sense of the very difficult circumstances under which the Palestinians are living and a sense of the urgency that the situation demands.
And Ian Lustick has emphasized the significance of certain steps on the part of the Israelis-for instance, the commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state. But I think this really misses the point. I think the key thing here is that both the United States and Israel are operating from a paradigmatic deficiency, focusing on Arafat as though he had established autocratic rule over the West Bank and Gaza.
I remember talking to Yossi Beilin in a small public meeting a couple of years ago about the options for democratization among Palestinians, and he said, "Democratization! This is going to be an Arab state just like all the other Arab states." This is a remarkable problem because it produces a preoccupation with terrorism, with security, when we should be thinking about creating a structure to sustain this Palestinian entity. Now, elections are not a cure-all, but I certainly agree with Ian in particular that we have to move forward with the elections because it's clear that, if Arafat is going to have the political capital that Ian is talking about, he's going to have to legitimize his position. The only conventional way to do it is through elections.
Hamas will participate in those elections. And notwithstanding ambivalent statements from the Israeli government, it's quite clear that the Israelis are going to let Hamas participate. Those elections are crucial. Here's where the United States comes in. The United States must commit itself to a vision of a Palestinian entity, if you will, a Palestinian Authority that is a democracy, and it must do this with some force. It has not elaborated its position with the kind of articulateness that is absolutely required.
This is a crucial step. Bir Zeit University has done some very interesting polling. It's quite clear from their last poll done December 28-31, 1994, that no particular political tendency is going to win a majority. Fatah has got only a plurality. Hamas will probably win 30 to 35 percent of the vote. Arafat is going to have to function with a coalition. And that, it seems to me, is crucial. Whether or not Arafat is historically up to the task, we don't know. But it's the only shot, as I see it. And the United States must commit itself to this vision.
Q: Mr. Satterfield, recently the U.S. insistence on universal-that is, universal minus-one-implementation of the nonproliferation agreement has cast a shadow over the Middle East peace process. Two of the speakers have emphasized the importance of symmetry and mutuality in achieving a settlement in the Middle East. How does the United States propose to achieve symmetry and mutuality with regard to application of the non-proliferation agreement in the Middle East?
MR. SATTERFIELD: We are indeed committed to universal application of the NPT, universal adherence. That includes Israel. We are committed as well to a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free Middle East. The question is not the goal; it is how to reach it in the world in which we live, in the region in which Israel and its neighbors live. We believe very strongly that a strengthened NPT regime, strengthened through indefinite extension of the review conference to begin next month, offers the best form of regime to attract the universal adherence that we so much seek.
As a practical question, to demand today commitments by Israel on NPT adherence, minus a comprehensive peace, minus arrangements for verification, is simply not reasonable. What we must not do is frustrate our goal, which is clear, through adoption of steps now which simply aren't going to work. But, yes, universality is our objective, and universality does apply to Israel.
ALFRED LILIENTHAL [see review essay, below]: "American partisanship in the Arab-Israeli conflict is dangerous to both the United States and the free world." These are the words of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in a letter to me in 1960. From what we have heard today, I think that American partisanship is blocking any possibility of the creation of a Palestinian state, which I think events have proved is a sine qua non to reviving the peace process and moving forward. We say we're not going to do anything but bring the parties together. We always let our partisanship, whether it be in the media or in the Congress, get in the way. We're back again to "What price Israel?"
DR. LUSTICK: The old argument about the United States not interfering in Israeli politics is absurd. It's like saying, "Sun, keep out of the earth's business." Anything we do, if we do nothing, has a tremendous influence. That was made most apparent by the enormous effect of very small policy changes by the Bush administration.
On the other hand, the problems that Israel is now facing are so gigantic for the polity itself-comparable to the ones that face the Palestinians-that the United States cannot orchestrate outcomes. We can help mainly by not doing bad things like moving the embassy to Jerusalem or talking about Jerusalem in a way that plays into the Likud's hands, by playing the terrorism game, or by downplaying the settlement issue and retreating. But I don't believe we are in the same place that we were in several years back, when it was up to the United States to do something that could make or break the peace process. I think the balance of decision now has moved more fully into the hands of the Israeli government.
DR. ZOGBY: It's like a family relationship. A husband and wife go to a marriage counselor; they've had a history of problems and spousal abuse, and he puts them in a room and says, "You do have a problem. Work it out and I'll be back to check on you."
Oslo was not a statement by Israelis and Palestinians that "we can do it ourselves." It was a statement of the failure of the Madrid process. We did not succeed by moving the parties to Oslo. We failed, and therefore they went to Oslo. It was the creativity, the intelligence that brought us to Madrid that let the parties down right after Madrid. But we went back to business as usual. And after Oslo we went back again to business as usual. If you read the Oslo declaration, it is a cry for help. All through that accord, other than the statement of a mutual acceptance of each other's rights, they don't agree on anything. They agree to disagree on everything. At that point we should have said, "We need to help you bridge these gaps."
But the asymmetry of power and the inability of both leaderships to take steps beyond agreeing to disagree led us to a form of implementation in which the Israelis dictate the terms and the Palestinians whittle away at the margins. Everything that I see in this process is the Israelis saying, "This is the process; this is what we'll accept." And the Palestinians then negotiate around the terms to what they'll get.
Almost a year after Cairo there still is no agreement on the size of Jericho. A year after Cairo there still is no agreement on connection between Gaza and Jericho. There is no agreement on most of the fundamentals of this process. So our partisanship, which produces our silence, does not help the process; instead it fails both parties by failing to assist them to achieve what we know they want to achieve.
MR. SATTERFIELD: I would look at Oslo slightly differently. I see Oslo very much as the success of the Madrid process. What was Madrid? Madrid was an effort to make the parties talk to each other. It succeeded beyond our wildest expectations. They did talk directly to each other. They chose the forum. They chose the interlocutors. That's entirely right for them to do. And they produced an agreement. Was it complete? Oslo contains many points that were not resolved. But it contains a framework for resolution, again, through direct discussions.
I believe strongly, as I said, that the United States and the world community must play a facilitating role. They must support and stand with the parties as they make peace, but the parties themselves have been able to achieve a tremendous amount, despite all of the difficulties that have been identified here. We need to try to help reduce those difficulties to the extent we can, but the onus of the negotiations is on the parties. It is their future, not ours, that is under discussion.
The applicability of this or that solution is for them to decide. Is terror and the importance of terror in the discussions a creation of the United States government? I would reject that wholeheartedly. It is a creation of the impact of action on the Israeli public. It is the creation of very real factors. It is not our creation. The parties themselves have an environment in which they must negotiate. We can help, but we cannot do it for them.
Q: We've heard the argument that it would be a very important step if the Israeli government would come out in favor of, or acknowledge the reality that the end of the road is going to be, Palestinian statehood, a two-state solution. I'm not very sanguine that Rabin is going to be able to do that, given his own sense of the political situation. I think it would be a good thing to do, and I don't think he'd have as much trouble in his own public opinion as perhaps he thinks it would, but he's got to make that judgment.
The question is, would it make any difference if the United States said that explicitly? Would it help? Would it hurt? Or would it be immaterial? I feel that we long ago should have gotten that behind us. What is the reason we aren't doing it, as well as the arguments why we should?
DR. LUSTICK: I think it would have helped a while back. I think at this point, when negotiations are going on and the permanent settlement negotiations are in effect started-privately anyway-that for the United States to suddenly come out with a statement in favor of a Palestinian state is not going to have the effect it would have had.
I think we ought to be committing ourselves more articulately to the principle of Palestinian self-determination, and linking it to the elections, and also make it very clear that we will support any agreement the legitimate representatives of the Israelis and the Palestinians agree on, knowing full well that this means a Palestinian state. But with Jordan as a factor, with other possibilities, at least as transitional ones in the future, why now make that full commitment to that very specific outcome in a very specific way?
This is something which I'd like the Israelis to do, and we ought to encourage them. We certainly should not be saying, and I don't think we are saying lately, that we oppose a Palestinian state. Our typical line is that we do not support it. I would stop saying that and start emphasizing that we will fully support, politically and economically, any agreement the Palestinians and Israelis can come to. Could you, Mr. Satterfield, say that?
MR. SATTERFIELD: Sure. I'll be happy to accommodate. We will strongly support any solution which the Palestinians and Israelis come to as a result of their negotiations. There is absolutely no question of that in the minds of the parties.
Middle East Policy is fully accessible through the Wiley Online Library
Click below to subscribe to the online or print edition of Middle East Policy and gain access to all journal content.