Sunday, August 25, 2013

CNN,CNN,CNN-really now!

and this:
The Oslo process began with the signing of the “Declaration of Principles”, a secret agreement reached between the PLO and Israel in August 1993 in the Norwegian capital. Notably, the Oslo Accords, including the 1993 Declaration of Principles (“DOP”) and the 1995 Interim Agreement as well as subsequent agreements and protocols, did not deal directly with the issue of Israeli settlements, either with regard to their legal status (i.e., under international humanitarian law) or in terms of limiting their continued expansion.
This omission has severely eroded the PLO’s credibility over the last seventeen years, as well as that of the peace process itself. In particular, Oslo’s failure to bring about a genuine settlement freeze led to unprecedented settlement growth and severely undermined prospects for a negotiated two-state solution. During the seven years of the Oslo process (1993-2000), Israel’s settler population increased by an unprecedented 111,000 settlers (42 percent), more than either of the seven-year periods immediately before or after Oslo.

In terms of the substance (i.e., text) of the agreements, we can identify at least three fundamental flaws in Oslo’s handling of Israeli settlements, which have had far-reaching implications:
  • Failure to secure an explicit cessation of Israeli settlement expansion
First and most obviously, the Oslo Accords failed to include an explicit reference to ending (or even limiting) Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Indeed, while Palestinians frequently cite continued settlement activity as a “violation of Oslo,” successive Israeli governments have assiduously pointed out that Oslo contains no reference to a settlement freeze as such. Although PLO negotiators reportedly did attempt to include a clause banning new settlement construction in the lead-up to the DOP (which of course Israel refused), their inability to do so was clearly not a “deal-breaker” from their point of view. Thus, the Israelis had every reason to doubt the seriousness of the Palestinian side’s demands for a freeze, particularly after the signing of Oslo.

Jimmy Carter's "Settlement Freeze" Lie

Jimmy Carter has consistently and falsely claimed that during the Camp David negotiations Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin agreed to a settlement freeze to last the duration of subsequent peace talks, and that Begin violated this unwritten agreement. For example, in an op-ed published in the Washington Post in 2000, Carter claimed:
Prime Minister Begin pledged that there would be no establishment of new settlements until after the final peace negotiations were completed. But later, under Likud pressure, he declined to honor this commitment, explaining that his presumption had been that all peace talks would be concluded within three months. (Washington Post, Nov. 26, 2000)
Carter makes a similar charge in his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, though with some subtle differences:
Sadat always insisted that the first priority must be adherence to U.N. Resolution 242 and self-determination for the Palestinians, and everyone (perhaps excepting Begin) was convinced that these rights had been protected in the final document. All of us (including the prime minister) were also confident that the final terms of the treaty would be concluded within the three-month target time. Everyone knew that if Israel began building new settlements, the promise to grant the Palestinians "full autonomy," with an equal or final voice in determining the ultimate status of the occupied territories, would be violated. Perhaps the most serious omission of the Camp David talks was the failure to clarify in writing Begin's verbal promise concerning the settlement freeze during subsequent peace talks. (p. 50; emphasis added)
While the first passage implies that it was Begin's expectation alone that the subsequent peace talks would be concluded within three months, the book passage indicates that all participants had that expectation. This contradiction aside, in both passages Carter clearly charges that Begin broke a promise to impose an open-ended settlement freeze.
Carter's long standing claims about the settlement freeze have been accepted by other experienced Middle East observers. For example, in an otherwise quite hostile review of the book in the New York Times, Ethan Bronner, a former Middle East correspondent for the Boston Globe, wrote:
To see the narrowness of Carter's perspective, it is worth returning to 1979, the year of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty that resulted from Carter's Camp David mediation as president, a hugely significant accomplishment. Carter rightly accuses Menachem Begin, then Israel's prime minister, of deception regarding the expansion of West Bank settlements. Begin promised to freeze the settlements. Not only did he not do so; he had no intention of doing so. (New York Times, Jan. 7, 2007)
But did Prime Minister Begin make such a promise to freeze the settlements, and then violate it? The answer is no he did not – Begin promised and delivered a three month freeze, and further, Jimmy Carter knows this.
Here's the proof. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Camp David Accords, the Carter Center on Sept.17, 2003 held a symposium in Washington, DC. Participants included Mr. Carter, Samuel Lewis, who had been the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, William Quandt, who had been a staffer on the National Security Council, and Aharon Barak, who had been Israel's Attorney General. Ambassador Lewis brought up the question of the settlement freeze, and Barak stated that he was in the relevant meeting, had been the only one taking notes, and that his notes showed that Begin had agreed only to a three month freeze. Off camera Carter is heard to state, "I don't dispute that." William Quandt then added that while he had not been in the meeting, Cyrus Vance, who had been, told him immediately afterwards that Begin had agreed to a three month freeze, but they hoped to get it lengthened the next day. Neither Carter, nor Barak, nor Quandt indicated that Begin had ever agreed to extend the freeze. Here's the sequence from the symposium:
So, confronted with the evidence in 2003 Jimmy Carter admitted that Begin had agreed to only a three month settlement freeze, but now Carter revives his false charge that Begin violated a promise to impose an open-ended freeze.
In doing so, Jimmy Carter is once again violating his promise never to lie to the American people. 

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