"We urged that as soon as the elections are over that we will see to it that permanent status negotiations on the real issues of Jerusalem, settlement borders and refugees and water are resumed so that we can put an end to this conflict once and for all," said Erekat.
Erekat wants to skip Phase I of the Road Map (dismantlement of terrorist organizations and infrastructure), as well as Phase II (negotiation of a Palestinian state with provisional borders) and just move right to Phase III (final status issues) -- which he promises will “put an end to this conflict once and for all.”
Of course, if you can’t even carry out your responsibilities under Phase I (in which you agreed to dismantle terrorism by June 30, 2003, and have not commenced it 29 months later), and if you want to skip Phase II altogether (even though you agreed to that too), the chances of your living up to your obligations after Phase III (assuming an “agreement” is reached) are -- not to put too fine a point on it -- in doubt.
Ariel Sharon effectively answered this back on December 18, 2003, at the Herzliya Conference:
The concept behind [the Road Map] is that only security will lead to peace -- and in that sequence. Without the achievement of full security -- within the framework of which terrorist organizations will be dismantled -- it will not be possible to achieve genuine peace, a peace for generations. This is the essence of the Road Map.
The opposite perception, according to which the very signing of a peace agreement will produce security out of thin air, has already been tried in the past and failed miserably. And such will be the fate of any other plan which promotes this concept. These plans deceive the public and create false hope. There will be no peace before the eradication of terrorism.
In my view, this was the essence of the disengagement deal that
They may be eager, but they are not ready. They haven’t even commenced getting ready.