In his July 25 New York Times column, Yossi Beilin refers to the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian situation and progress on the “road map.” But rather than elucidating matters for readers, he further complicates the picture with an internal contradiction.
First, he erroneously alleges that the third phase of the “road map” calls for Israel to relinquish “the rest of the territories,” meaning the entire West Bank and Gaza. A few paragraphs later, he suggests that territorial withdrawals have not been specified by the “road map.” He writes: “Mr. Sharon needs to go back to Israel knowing that if he goes along with dismantling the settlements and the interim agreement, America will not try to dictate to Israel the final shape and status of the Palestinian state. Those must come from negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians” (emphasis added).
Which one is it? Does the “road map” specify that Israel must withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza, or does it leave withdrawals and borders to negotiations between the two sides? Of course, the latter is true. The third phase of the peace plan calls for an international conference involving the Quartet, Israel, and Palestinians to launch a process “leading to a final, permanent status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements. . .”
Confused and contradictory information only make an already complex road to peace that much more difficult to navigate.