Tuesday evening, after the
MUNSON: So I just wanted to get your thoughts very quickly about what Annapolis means -- about what it means for the region, and sort of how it fits into the Bush administration’s democracy promotion agenda, whether it is a step forward there or a step back, a consolidating step [or] an undermining one, and whether you think anything meaningful will come of it. . .
means nothing for the region, because it will have absolutely no influence -- absolutely no positive influence. Annapolis means going back to the illusion of Oslo, when it was thought that you can build [a] peace process ignoring what is happening inside Palestinian society – and not only ignoring [it] but thinking that bringing stability . . . you can bring peace. Annapolis
But Annapolis is very unfortunate because this step is coming with [an] Administration which proclaimed that only Palestinian leadership devoted to democracy can bring peace and can be [a] real partner, and unfortunately this [unintelligible] are taking place ignoring absolutely the absence of any democratic reforms inside Palestinian society -- not putting any demands on building civil society, and again bringing back this illusion and hope that simply by strengthening [a Palestinian leader] you can make peace.
But isn’t Abu Mazen the “democratically elected” leader of “all” the Palestinians? In Sharansky’s view -- eloquently expressed in his book “The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror” -- elections are “never the beginning of the democratic process.” He wrote that a democratic society must have certain basic institutions in place -- a free press, the rule of law, independent courts, political parties and a loyal opposition, freedom of religion, etc. -- and a society without such institutions will never be a partner for peace.
Here is Sharansky’s description in his book (pages 258-260) of what happened with the Road Map:
The Road Map required the Palestinian Authority security forces to take “sustained, targeted, and effective operations” aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and to ensure the “dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.” Instead, Abu Mazen tried to negotiate a “hudna,” a temporary truce in which all the terror groups would agree to halt violence . . .
In trying to bypass the Palestinian commitment to fight terrorism by getting terror groups to hold their fire until further concessions could be wrought from Israel, Abu Mazen was trying to do with the Road Map what Arafat had done with the Oslo Agreement . . .
When it became clear that the Palestinians were not prepared to fight terrorism, the “international community” grew impatient. Here too, it felt like we had returned to the days of
Oslowhen in spite of Palestinian noncompliance, the world pressured to keep the peace process moving. . . . Israel
’s government was accused of not doing enough to “strengthen” Abu Mazen. In fact, some respected voices abroad began to question the wisdom of making the Palestinian commitment to fight terrorism a condition for moving forward. It would have been better, they argued, to take steps in parallel. It all sounded familiar: Demands for compliance give way to parallel steps, which eventually give way to one-sided concessions. . . . Sharon
With Abu Mazen held up as a moderate leader who would fight Palestinian terrorism and make peace with Israel, it was clear to me that Oslo’s false assumptions would once again guide the peace process. Like their
predecessors, those supporting the Road Map did not recognize that moderation is not a function of a leader’s disposition or promises, but rather a function of the nature of the society he or she governs. Oslo
The Road Map had it precisely backwards. One can rely on a free society to create the moderate, but one cannot rely on a moderate to create a free society.
The Road Map predictably failed, so Rice and Bush decided that Phase I and II could be skipped, and they thus “accelerated” the process into Phase III -- ignoring their written promise to Ariel Sharon not to do so -- and promised that Phase I would come later, after Israeli concessions on borders, refugees, settlements, Jerusalem, and all other “core issues” the Palestinians want to raise.
Annapolis May Be Catastrophe for Israel, Ex-Official Says," quoting Sharansky: "You have one force, Hamas, that does not recognize Israel, which is not going to recognize Israel, and fight Israel. The other force, which is our so-called partner, accepted by everybody, it doesn't represent anyone, has no power, and cannot influence anything."