March 4, 2001 Special Dispatch No. 191

Jordanian Analyst: PLO Must Compromise and the Intifada Must Stop

March 4, 2001
Palestinians, Jordan | Special Dispatch No. 191

Dr. Fahd Al-Fanek, a senior analyst for the Jordanian daily Al-Rai, published a pair of articles calling for an end to the Intifada and for a compromise with Israel. Following are excerpts from these articles.

PLO Missed an Opportunity

In an article entitled "All or Nothing," Dr. Al-Fanek criticizes the policy the Palestinian leadership pursues in negotiations with Israel: "'All or Nothing' has become one of the foundations of Palestinian policy, ever since the Balfour Declaration [1917], the 1936 revolution and the [1947] Partition Resolution. In each case, the Palestinians insisted on everything, but without the means to enforce anything, the result was always the same: nothing!"

"One would think that they had already learned their lesson and that whoever decides that peace is his only strategic option, would accept a peace that is not utopian, for one simple reason: peace results from negotiations, and negotiations, by their nature, lead to compromise agreements in which both sides win, despite the fact that neither of them gets all that it wanted."

"Whoever accepts the idea of negotiations as an alternative to a military solution, must accept the principle that mutual concessions lead to an improvement in the situation of both sides, because otherwise, the other side would not accept the agreement."

"When one of the parties to the negotiations makes concessions it does not necessarily mean that [the party] disregards its [own] rights. This is the price that must be paid in order to gain concessions from the opposite party. It would be a mistake for any party to concede something without a return. The value of what this party receives in return must, in its view, be greater than what it gives up."

"The most important thing that the Israeli side wants is security. For the Palestinian side, the cost of [granting] security is minimal, if in return [the Palestinians] get the land. Therefore, the equation is not land for peace, because peace is already guaranteed, from Israel's point of view. The [true] equation is: security and recognition for land and sovereignty."

"The final days of Clinton and Barak presented a rare opportunity to achieve maximal gains at a minimal price. Both men were under time pressure and wanted to see results. This was an opportunity to gain maximum concessions. The Palestinians wasted this opportunity - which will not return - and did not sign an agreement that would have granted them a sovereign state, international borders with Egypt and Jordan, control of the [sea] ports, the airports and the border-passages, a capital in Jerusalem, qualified sovereignty over Al-Haram [the Temple Mount], the return of 150 thousand refugees to Israel, unlimited and unqualified return of all of the Displaced to Palestine, and getting rid of the Jewish settlements."

"Certainly this is not all that the Palestinians wished for, nor was [this proposal] flawless, but it was a significant achievement that was better than regressing to a situation that is even worse than what we had before the Intifada.

Instead of eliminating the occupation and establishing a state [according to the Intifada's slogans], what is now being discussed is the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. This policy of demanding everything was in itself a disregard [for the Palestinians' rights], because its result was nothing."[1]

The Intifada must Stop

In earlier article, entitled, "The Intifada and Things that Need to be Said," Dr. Al-Fanek calls for an end to the Intifada and reveals some of the Jordanian anxieties about possible repercussions of the Intifada on Jordan. Following are excerpts from the article: "The present Intifada and its costs, both in human lives and economic price, are not a goal in themselves, but rather an expression of the national opposition to the continuation of the occupation, as well as a means of pressuring the Israeli side to hand over a greater part of the Palestinian people's rights [to the PLO]."

"In this respect, there is no need for a constant Intifada, with its bloodshed and financial costs. The Intifada achieved its true goals within a short period of time, by making the world see that the Israeli occupation is unacceptable, and by forcing the Israeli Prime Minister to present new 'concessions' regarding the [Palestinian] state, Jerusalem, the land, the settlements, the partial return to Israel, and the full return to the Palestinian state, as well as safe passage [between Gaza and the West Bank]."

"The Palestinian negotiators should have taken this golden opportunity and collected the national payment for which the youth sacrificed their lives. But none of this really happened. On the contrary, the Palestinian leadership adopted even 'tougher' stances, and preferred to profit at the public [scene] and on the satellite channels, over achieving rights that had never before been on the agenda."

"The continuation of the Intifada after its first month has became a repetition of the same thing. The only difference is that the bloodshed and economic destruction have continued without any actual gains. Headlines about the Intifada and the number of Shahids [Martyrs] have moved from the front page to the inside pages of the newspapers."

"If the Palestinian leadership's inability to translate the Intifada's victims into tangible national rights continues - the negative aspects that no one wants to talk about, will come to the forefront."

"The continuation of the Intifada for six months has not succeeded in expelling the Israeli occupation by force. Furthermore, [instead] of undermining Israeli security, it undermined the security of Arabs on both sides of the Green Line. It toppled a government that was willing to reach an agreement, and replaced it with the government of Sharon, with his idea of Transfer, or in other words, the expulsion of the Palestinians to 'their own country' in Jordan!"

"I fear that what Sharon does not succeed in doing, that is, a Transfer in one wave, the Intifada will achieve in a number of waves, assuming that the migration has not already begun, due to the insecurity in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."

"I know that what I have said may inspire the wrath of some hotheads, but the time has come to say these things."[2]

[1] Al-Rai (Jordan), February 28, 2001.

[2] Al-Rai (Jordan), February 20, 2001.

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