Israel accuses PA
Israel accuses PA of violating Oslo accords
By Herb Keinon
JERUSALEM (January 5) - Israel has presented a document to the Mitchell fact-finding committee accusing the Palestinians of abrogating the most central and basic terms of the seven-year peace process, a source told The Jerusalem Post yesterday.
The document, presented to the committee last Friday amid talk of reaching a new peace deal, has not been published. The Post has learned that Israel has asked the panel to keep its contents confidential, lest - as one senior foreign ministry diplomat put it - it lead to a great deal of mutual recriminations between the two sides. This in turn would only make negotiations much more difficult.
Among the tenets of the peace process violated by the intifada, according to the document, are the active participation of Palestinian police in attacks on Israelis, the destruction of Jewish religious sites, the release of prisoners, incitement to hatred and violence, and failure to prevent the use of illegal weapons.
The request not to publish this document is reminiscent of the Prime Minister’s Office’s burying of the so-called White Paper, drawn up in the earlier stages of the intifada, which documented how the Palestinians had failed to live up to the terms of the Oslo accord. The reason given for burying that document at the time was that it would make matters more difficult once negotiations recommenced.
The Mitchell Committee’s eight-man technical staff, headed by former US ambassador to Chad, Larry Pope, met yesterday with Israeli officials, in preparation for the arrival of the full panel at the end of the month. The staff met on Wednesday with the Palestinians, and is scheduled to leave today. The committee was formed after the Sharm e-Sheikh summit in October to investigate the causes of the latest wave of violence.
Both sides spelled out for the committee in their documents what they view as the causes of the violence. The Israeli paper, some 150 pages long, with hundreds of other pages including photos and newspaper clippings, is academic/legalistic in tone.
Its bottom line is that the intifada was initiated by the Palestinians in an attempt to regain the diplomatic upper hand they had lost after the Camp David summit failed, when the world clearly pointed an accusing finger at them.
The paper also argues that the wave of violence was not a spontaneous reaction to Likud leader Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in late September, as the Palestinians claim and as much of the world believes, but was a process well thought out by the Palestinian leadership to gain diplomatic points. The document presents statements from various Palestinian leaders to support this position.
In this respect, the document contradicts a line taken by Barak’s reelection campaign which has placed ads in the Arab press hinting that Sharon is to blame for the violence.
The oft-heard argument that Israel has used excessive force during the intifada is directly dealt with in the paper. Israel says that this charge stems from a basic misunderstanding of the situation. Israel is dealing not with protests or riots, the paper states, but an armed conflict.
The paper compares Israel’s use of force with the five days of Los Angeles rioting in 1992, during which 54 were killed and some 13,000 arrested.
According to the paper, most of the over 8,000 incidents during the intifada were initiated by the Palestinians, with the IDF acting in self-defense. Also, in most of the incidents masses of Palestinians attacked a small number of soldier or citizens, and in the majority of these attacks the Palestinians used live ammunition.
The number of attacks, and the fact that they took place over a wide geographic area, meant that in most instances the IDF forces were at a numerical disadvantage, the paper states.
A senior foreign ministry official said that his impression is that the committee, led by former US Senator George Mitchell, will not try to apportion blame, as it realizes that this would not foster an atmosphere conducive to reaching an agreement - which is the reason the committee was established in the first place.
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