27 May 2003

Sharon on the road
From the Guardian:

But Mr Sharon has offered mixed signals on his commitment to the peace process, which is at present guided by the US-backed road map to the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state.

He yesterday told one of his party's parliamentarians that the government would continue to expand Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, even though the first stages of the road map require it to dismantle smaller illegal outposts and to freeze expansion of larger settlements.

"[The road map] certainly allows the unlimited building for your children and grandchildren, and I hope even for your great-grandchildren," he said.

From the Roadmap:

GOI immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.

Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).

I'm not sure how freezing all natural growth of settlements is consistent with building for your grandchildren.

It's also necessary to remember the history of the Roadmap. It began as a promise from Bush to Blair. The announcement was postponed again and again, from Arafat agreeing to naming a prime minister, to one being appointed, then being confirmed by the Palestinian parliament and so forth. If Bush is serious he needs to impose the sorts of stringent demands on the Israeli side that he has already imposed on the Palestinians. Step 1 would be asking Sharon to do what the Roadmap demands in relation to the settlements. Ultimately the Israelis have to choose between peace and settlements.

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