The Chicago Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)
Seeking a Just Peace Between
Israelis & Palestinians

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Not In My Name
PMB 206
2859 Central St
Evanston IL 60201

NIMN Statement on the Road Map

Not In My Name (NIMN) offers the following analysis and opinion of the Roadmap: the current proposal by the US, UN, EU, and Russia (the Quartet) for a peace process between Israel and Palestinians.  It is based on our Common Grounds principles that recognize the right of self-determination of both Israelis and Palestinians, the need for a just settlement of the refugee issue, our opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands seized in June 1967, and our call for the suspension of U.S. military aid to Israel until that occupation ends.

We unconditionally denounce the killing of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Israeli Defense Forces, or any other party.  We consider these to be crimes against humanity.  However we denounce the current efforts of the Israeli government to destroy the Roadmap peace process by assassinating political and military leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, disrupting a cease-fire, and by threatening to remove Yasser Arafat, the popularly elected President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), from the West Bank.

We also denounce the U.S. government for not taking a strong position against these ongoing Israeli assassinations and threats, along with Israelís continuing land confiscations, wanton destruction of Palestinian infrastructure, and suppression basic human rights.  We note that the U.S. continues to underwrite the Israeli military to the tune of some $3 billion of annual grants.

It is vital that the conflict between the Israeli government and the Palestinians be resolved through justice.  To this end, it is vital that the Israeli government end its illegal and unjust occupation of Palestinian lands seized during the 1967 war.

The Roadmap gives recognition to the long expressed goals of the elected Palestinian leadership, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and the Palestinian Legislative Council, viz., the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel and a just solution to the refugee issue.  We recognize that the PNA has agreed to use the Roadmap as the latest in a long line of possible openings for a negotiated peace.

Contrary to common perception, the Roadmap, as presented by the Quartet and as accepted by the PNA, was never accepted by Israel.  On May 25, 2003, the Israeli Cabinet voted (12-7-4) to accept a Roadmap only as amended by 14 Israeli changes, none of which was officially accepted or recognized by any member of the Quartet or by the Palestinians.  These included changes such as:

  • A statement that Israel would not begin to comply with any Roadmap requirement until the PNA completely dismantled all resistance organizations, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, DFLP, and others.  (Point 2)

  • A demand for a new PNA leadership, approved by Israel, and elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council coordinated by Israel.  (Point 3)

  • A demand that the future provisional Palestinian leadership be determined by Israel and not through democratic elections.  (Point 5)

  • A demand that the Palestinians forever forfeit their Right of Return.  (Point 6)

  • Reform of the PNA must include the composition of a transitional Palestinian Constitution.  Israel has never written a Constitution.  (Point 11)

  • "Israel will work to restore Palestinian life to normal: promote the economic situation, cultivation of commercial connections, encouragement and assistance for the activities of recognized humanitarian agencies" only "Subject to security conditions."

  • In other words, in the absence of "quiet," Israel will not do these things, even though it is required to do so as the Occupying Power under the conditions set forth in the Fourth Geneva Conventions Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War; Geneva, 12 August 1949.  (Point 13)

Even without these Israeli amendments, which were never accepted, the Roadmap placed an unequal and unjust burden on the PNA, by implying that the obstacle to peace has been the Palestinians, and that it is they, as the occupied people, who hold the key to the solution.  The Israeli government, the occupier, which continues its violence and oppression of the Palestinians, is given secondary responsibility for the conflict.  The Roadmap demands that the PNA act as if it already has state power, and can actually control groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

However, PNA cannot be expected to exercise state power to coerce compliance among other Palestinian groups precisely because Israel has systematically destroyed its ability to do so.  For example, Israel demolished almost every Palestinian police station.  The Roadmap demands that the PNA act like a sovereign government without recognizing the fact that the PNA is not yet a sovereign government and that the Israeli strategy has been to prevent it from becoming one.

Israeli and Palestinian compliance with Phase I of the Roadmap has been markedly different.  While the PNA immediately conducted negotiations that resulted in an effective, albeit incomplete, ceasefire by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Israel has flouted every requirement placed on it.

Phase I of the Roadmap requires Israel to dismantle all settler outposts built since March 2001; it has dismantled 9 and built 11 new ones.  Israel is supposed to allow Palestinian leaders to travel freely and lift some civilian restrictions within the Occupied Territories.  Not only has it failed to do this, in July alone it build 46 new roadblocks in the West Bank.

Israel also failed to reopen the "Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and other closed Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem," as the Roadmap requires.  Israel has publicly declared its intention to ignore the requirement that it "freeze all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements)," announcing its intention to construct 12,000 new housing units in the Occupied Territories.

While the Roadmap places demands on the Israeli government, nowhere does it require that Israel actually remove the settlements, allow Palestinians free passage within their own homeland, or end its Occupation.  Nor does it propose the 1967 'Green Line' nor any other specific Israel/Palestine border.  These leave open the possibility for the creation of Palestinian Bantustans.  It is hard to imagine how such a peace plan can possibly lead to peace.  In addition, the fact that there is no external pressure to ensure that Israel complies with the Roadmap's requirements, while its military continues to dominate the Palestinians, means that the Roadmap is, by its very nature, biased and unenforceable.

Therefore, we have serious concerns about the underlying views or hidden agendas of the U.S. and Israel.  We, as Americans, have a particular responsibility to oppose the continuing U.S. military aid that supports the Israeli Occupation, and the U.S. failure to take action against the Israeli defiance of UN resolutions, the Charter of the UN, and the Geneva Conventions.

NIMN views the Roadmap within the context of our principles, which require that the Israeli government abandon the settlements in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, and end its Occupation.  Only by doing this will the conditions be created under which Palestinians, along with Israelis, will have the ability to exercise their right to determine their own future.

[September 17, 2020]