Much of the Western media has been referring to a document signed by Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails as a breakthrough in the peace process. A New York Times headline “Palestinian Leader Plans a Vote on Accepting Israel” refers to Palestinian President Abbas’ initiative to hold a referendum on the so-called “prisoners’ plan” characterizing it as a “coexistence plan.” The Times states:
“The proposal calls for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Mideast war. That would include all of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with a capital in East Jerusalem, and would accept the existence of Israel.”
The Times is not alone. The Daily Telegraph, the Washington Post, CNN, the Boston Globe, the BBC, and The Independent (and many others) all refer to this plan as one in which Israel is recognized and that territorial claims beyond the 1967 borders are dropped. Some even write that the plan rejects the use of violence or limits violence to the West Bank.
WHAT THE PLAN SAYS
However, the actual plan is quite different. The State of Israel is never even mentioned. While the first point refers to lands Israel occupied in 1967, it does not claim that these will be the territorial limits of a Palestinian state:
“The Palestinian people… seek to establish their independent state with al-Quds al-Shareef as its capital on all territories occupied in 1967 and to secure the right of return for the refugees and to liberate all prisoners and detainees…”
Does this mean that the plan accepts a two-state solution as much of the media claims? According to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy:
“There is no explicit statement in the accord that establishing a state within the pre-1967 borders would end Palestinian claims over Israeli territory. In fact, vagueness on two critical points of the document suggest that it can also be viewed as another iteration of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) 1974 phased plan that declared a willingness to accept the establishment of a national authority in any part of historic Palestine as a step toward “completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory”:
First, the national accord advocates “the right of the refugees to return.” By not specifying where the Palestinian refugees would return to… it is just as likely that signers of the accord favor (them) returning to Israel, the equivalent of advocating a one-state solution (which would include all of Israel in an Islamic State).
Second, the national accord does not condemn violence, but actually supports “concentrating resistance in the territories occupied in 1967.”
The plan does not limit Palestinian claims, nor does it reject violence, either within pre-1967 Israel or elsewhere. While the media is currently drawing a great deal of attention to this plan based on Hamas’ opposition to it, readers should point out to their local media that in reality, the plan breaks little new ground.
WHO WROTE THE PLAN
The Christian Science Monitor‘s description of the prisoners who wrote the plan as a ?moderate and influential force? is typical of the way the media has been treating them. In reality, they are among the most dangerous terrorists in Israeli jails. They have been convicted of crimes including financing, planning and engaging in terror activities that have left a trail of victims:
- Marwan Barghouti, Fatah-Tanzim leader, is serving five life sentences for attacks which left five people dead;
- Sheikh Abdel Khaliq al-Natsche, senior Hamas leader, ran a network of charities that directly funded Hamas’ “military wing”;
- Sheikh Bassam al-Saadi led Palestinian Islamic Jihad?s Jenin branch;
- Abdel Rahim Malouh, formerly No. 2 in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, helped plan the murder of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi;
- Mustafa Badarne recruited dozens of Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine members to attack Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Don’t let your local media whitewash this “plan.” Let them know that you expect them to report what the plan actually says and who wrote it, not what some believe might be “implied.”