Road blocks to peace

This piece in the Washington Post provides a Palestinian perspective on the “road map” to peace. The article, by fomer PLO legal adviser Omar Dajani, helps show why the road map is unrealistic. For example, Dajani claims that Abu Mazen cannot be expected to build a democratic consensus for peace as long as Palestinians face humiliating restrictions on their freedom of movement. But Israel has no hope of limiting terrorist attacks without these restrictions. Perhaps Dajani would argue that Abu Mazen can be trusted to prevent terrorism against Israel. However, he undercuts any such argument by inisisting that, in attempting to curb terrorism, Abu Mazen must follow the rule of law and adhere to principles of due process. Coming from a former adviser to the PLO, this alleged concern for due process and the rule of law is laughable. What Dajani is really saying is that Abu Mazen will not be able to maintain the support of the Palestinians if he employs tough measures — the only kind that have any chance of success — to combat terrorism.
Finally, Dajani contends that compliance with the obligations set forth in the road map must be determined by “objective third parties,” not by some “loosely articulated vision of the future” on the part of Israelis and Palestinians. By objective third parties, Dajani presumably means the U.N. or the EU, which is also laughable. And, more fundamentally, if there is to be a final settlement, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must make it and live with the consequences. The fact that the U.N., the EU, or even the U.S. believes that the two sides are complying with various steps should not be sufficient to dictate further movement unless Israelis and Palestinians are satisfied with the overall progress being made. By “loosely articulated vision of the future” Dajani means, in the case of the Israelis anyway, true peace. It is hardly unfair to judge the success of the road map to peace by the extent to which the two parties believe that the process actually is leading to true peace. Dajani’s article confirms that the road map is unlikely to satisfy this standard.


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