Netanyahu's Plan

Recently, in meetings with some security officials and leaders of the Likud party, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, revealed his ideas about a final settlement with the Palestinian side in what can be called "Netanyahu's Plan". Those ideas include the establishment of a virtual "Greater Jerusalem" under Israeli sovereignty, continuous control over the Jordan Valley, a buffer zone along the borders and annexation of settlement blocs, practically leaving less than half of the occupied territory for the Palestinians and without even geographic contiguity, thus ensuring the prevention of the realization of Palestinian national rights, including the establishment of a Palestinian state. The plan resembles the notorious "Allon Plan", a fact which was used by Mr. Netanyahu to gain approval in certain Israeli circles.

"Netanyahu's Plan" comes as the second piece of solid evidence, along with the government's guidelines, of the conceptual intentions of the present Israeli government and its leader to destroy the Middle East peace process and the agreements reached between the two parties, while trying to replace it with a new framework unilaterally imposed on the Palestinian side. The plan, in addition to the government's continuation of building illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in Jabal Abu Ghneim to the south of Occupied East Jerusalem, makes a mockery of Security Council resolution 242 (1967), which is the basis of the Middle East peace process and the implementation of which is the goal of the agreements reached between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. It also makes a mockery of the principles embodied in the mutual recognition between the two sides.

On the other hand, the Israeli government has intensified its defamatory campaign against the Palestinian Authority with the obvious aim of diverting attention from the actual Israeli policies and practices that have caused the situation to deteriorate and have resulted in the current dangerous crisis facing the Middle East peace process. It is a campaign that began with the fabrication of the "yellow light" allegedly given to Palestinian extremists and that recently became focused on the illegal sale and transfer of Palestinian land.

The issue of land cannot be considered in isolation from the issue of Israeli settler colonialism which has been waged in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, a major dimension of which is the illegal acquisition by Israel of Palestinian land. Israel uses any non-Palestinian ownership of land as a tool to challenge Palestinian sovereignty and not as a matter of normal private ownership. It should also be noted that since its establishment Israel has instituted all types of practical and legal arrangements to prevent land ownership by non-Jews in Israel.

In this context, the Palestinian Authority would permit only the application of existing laws in the Palestinian territory to prevent illegal land sales and transfers and, at the same time, would continue to take the needed measures to inhibit any attempt by persons to take the law into their own hands.

It is becoming more and more obvious that the present Israeli government does not want the peace process to succeed or even to continue, and "Netanyahu's Plan" serves as just further proof of such intentions. It is also clear that through its campaign against the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government hopes to diminish its responsibility for the possible death of the peace process. We hope that the cosponsors of the peace process, particularly the United States, will at least be conscious enough not to let the Israeli government get away with that.