West Bank pact ignores many key issues
The signing of the accord between the Palestinians and the Israeli occupiers did not cause the same excitement as the handshake on the White House lawn did over a year ago. The 400-page document has not satisfied many Palestinians. Many felt that while the mechanics of separating the occupied lands from Israel's direct and oppressive rule were clear, they completely ignored the question of refugees. Other points of contention were the issue of Jerusalem and Jewish settlers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These are to be negotiated in final-status talks due to begin by June 1996. The prime minister of the Zionist entity, Rabin, used the occasion to get some sympathy for Israel. However, he also had some harsh words and threatened to attack and even fight alone those who attack Israeli targets. He conveniently forget to mention Israeli settlers who, funded by American money and organization, use Palestinian children for target practice. He also did not in any way mention the continued Jewish "settlement drive" in the occupied Palestinian territories. Rabin also refused to acknowledge any future Palestinian state. The Palestinians then have all the right to be apprehensive. Despite the support of the United States and the convenient overlooking of its repressive policies by certain Western countries, the Israelis were not able to choke Palestinian aspirations. When a few Israelis die in commando operations by Palestinians, all hell breaks loose and the media points a finger at Arab terrorism. When Americans gun down peaceful worshippers in Hebron it is quickly labeled as the act of a "deranged" man. Hundreds of Palestinians have virtually disappeared - the victims of the Israeli secret police and the settlers, many of whom are blue-eyed boys from Brooklyn. But, of course, we are told that's another matter. The Palestinian Council will have control of only about 30 percent of the West Bank- there is the problem of Hebron. Questions as to the role of the Israeli occupying army's security powers loom largely over many a Palestinian mind. Will the Israeli Army really be able to roll back into all the areas it is now to vacate? Will the Palestinian police have authority to arrest M-1 rifle-toting Israelis? Will the residents of east Jerusalem be given a chance to exercise their rights in a free election? The Israeli government which negotiated this deal should realize that the most evident threat to peace comes from the settlers and not the Palestinians. Xenophobia and paranoia run high among these settlers especially the misfits who came from America. It is they who should be contained. The Israeli prime minister made it plain, though he concealed his disappointment, that this agreement means "an end of the hallucination of a greater Israel". This dream that was foremost in the minds of Israeli and American Jews did not end because their generous gesture. Its death was the direct result of the continued struggle by the Palestinians since 1948 to fight for their homeland despite the blind military and political support given to Israeli by its prime ally and benefactor. It was the result of the unwavering faith by Palestinians form different political shades that struggle on political and military fronts was the only way to achieve self-determination. The repression they have lived under since 1967 did not break their spirit. Instead of a herd of zombies willing to crawl after nearly 30 years of occupation, the Israelis were facing a force determined not to accept subjugation. It was when blood flowed on the streets of Tel Aviv that the Israelis decided it was time to go. They have done themselves and not the Palestinians a favor. The world knows that.