208. Clinton Mideast plan punished Palestinians

Twice in your editorial of April 21 Clinton’s peace plan was mentioned. Twice also it was said that Yasser Arafat rejected the plan. In fact, Arafat did not. He accepted it with reservations, and those reservations were forwarded to Clinton.

Clinton’s plan would divide a Palestinian state into three separate cantons connected and divided by Jewish-only and Arab-only roads; divide Palestinian Jerusalem into a number of unconnected islands separate from each other and from the rest of Palestine; force the Palestinian to surrender the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

The Palestinian side raised also points that Clinton’s plan neglected, such as: water, compensation for damages resulting from 30 years of occupation, the environment, future economic relations etc.

Regarding the territory of the Palestinian state, Clinton proposed that Israel annex 4 percent to 6 percent of the West Bank and compensate the Palestinians through a land swap. Clinton’s proposal does not identify which areas within Israel are to be swapped. Previous Israeli proposals referred to land near Gaza in exchange for valuable real estate in the West Bank. The land offered is currently being used to dump toxic waste.

Clinton’s plan seems to respond to Israeli demands while neglecting the basic Palestinian need: a viable state. The only successful peace will be one that takes into account the concerns of all parties on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. It is impossible to agree to a proposal that punishes Palestinians while rewarding Israel’s illegal settlement policies.

April 24, 2001