Saturday, November 26, 2005

(Palestinian) Guards and Puppets of Israeli Occupation. The Occupier's Agreement on Rafah Crossing. I heard the cunning and corrupt Muhammad Dahlan talk in the most vague of terms about the Gaza crossing agreement. As I watched him try to sell it--just as you watch a sleazy car salesperson trying to sell a damaged car--I knew that it must be a bad agreement. I read the full text, and shall comment in red and in bold letters. I will cite passages in sequence and then comment on it. You can find the full text in the link here.
"Agreement on Movement and Access" & "Agreed Principles for Rafah Crossing"
Negotiators from Israel and the Palestinian Authority November 15 achieved
an agreement on facilitating the movement of people and goods within the
Palestinian Territories and on opening an international crossing on the
Gaza-Egypt border that will put the Palestinians in control of the entry and
exit of people. [Notice the last sentence; giving the false impression that the Palestinians will be in control, when the very articles of this agreement make it clear that the Palestinians are not in control.] The passages will operate continuously. On an urgent basis, Israel will permit the export of all agricultural products from Gaza during this 2005 harvest season. [Notice that the simple export of agricultural products is done on "an urgent basis" and is portrayed as a great gift from Israel, while it may not last as the language implies.] It is understood that security is a prime and continuing concern for Israel and that appropriate arrangements to ensure security will be adopted. [Notice that the term of reference is as always Israel. And notice that only the expensive people of Israel are entitled to security, while the Palestinians continue to be shot at as pigeons by Israeli occupation forces.] Consistent with Israel's security needs, to facilitate movement of people and goods within the West Bank and to minimize disruption to Palestinian lives, the ongoing work between Israel and the U.S. to establish an agreed list of obstacles to movement and develop a plan to reduce them to the maximum extent possible will be accelerated so that the work can be completed by December 31. [Here, another references to Israel's security "needs." Notice that they are needs. When they are needs, they become non-negotiable and the other side can only comply with the requests regarding those "needs." Unfortunately, Palestinian negotiators, in a process that is doomed and that should not be supported, do not even show understanding of the traps of the process and of the results and agreement. Notice also, that the agreement here speaks of "reducing" the obstacles and not removing them altogether. And how can you "minimize disruption to Palestinian lives" while maintaining some obstacles to movement of Palestinians" These are as incompatible as goals as the terms of the Balfour Declaration are] The parties agree on the importance of the airport. Discussions will continue on the issues of security arrangements, construction, and operation. [Dont you love this article? This is typical of the general and vague promises that Israel with US support gives to Palestinians and regularly breaks. And notice that the incompetent and morally bankrupt Palestinian negotiating team--it must have included Sa'ib `Urayqat--did not even bother to ask for a deadline and for a specific commitment.] Rafah will be operated by the Palestinian Authority on its side, and Egypt on its side, according to international standards, in accordance with Palestinian law and subject to the terms of this agreement. [You have to like this one. Basically, it is saying that this agreement, legally speaking, will supersede Egyptian and Palestinian laws.] Use of the Rafah crossing will be restricted to Palestinian ID card holders and others by exception in agreed categories with prior notification to the GoI[srael] and approval of senior PA leadership. [Here, you see the exact nature of this agreement. This is a legal agreement that would juridically establish Gaza as a jail run and managed by Israel, although some Palestinian guards will be assigned roles by the occupier. How could this be called, as some ill-informed media have done, "control by Palestinians". Even Arab media are talking about "Palestinian control" of Gaza entry points. This is not control when you have to clear names by submitting them to the Government of Israel. Imagine if the US is forced to notify and seek approval of the government of Mexico for the admission of visitors into the US. And don't you like the "agreed categories" that are not even defined? Who are those Palestinian negotiators? Now, it is not only the entire process that is flawed--to be nice about it--but the procedures of the flawed process are equally flawed too. And the Government of Israel has to be notified in advance. And who are "the senior PA leadership"? This must be a references to the guards and puppets of occupation, i.e. Abbas and Dahlan.] The PA will notify the GoI 48 hours in advance of the crossing of a person in the excepted categories-diplomats, foreign investors, foreign representatives of recognized international organizations and humanitarian cases. [Again, this advance notification violates the very principle of "full control" by Palestinians that is being falsely promoted by the media. And notice that even the "humanitarian cases" have to obtain the 48 hours in advance notice. So somebody who is bleeding, or somebody returning to attend a funeral--and they are numerous under Zionism--will have to wait for 48 hours to obtain approval, or rejection, from the Government of Israel.] The GoI will respond within 24 hours with any objections and will include the reasons for the objections. [Here the Government of Israel is being nice, don't you think? Israel is willing--the kindness of the Government of Israel--WILLING, to "include reasons for the objections." What do you say to that? Is this not a merciful occupation? Let me guess the objections. Would it possibly be accusations of...TERRORISM which Israel so casually affixes to any Palestinian?] The 3rd party will evaluate the capacity of the PA to inspect cars according to these criteria and to international standards. Once the PA develops the capacity to inspect cars to the satisfaction of the 3rd party, cars will be allowed to pass through Rafah. Until that time, cars will pass through on an exceptional basis, subject to specifications agreed in the security protocol. [Whenever I see the 3rd party, I think about the way Lebanonese nationalists and Hariri functionaries use the term "international legitimacy" which in effect only means the US, even if it may be through UN or EU representatives. But this also reminds one of colonial times, and the need for the colonizers to train the colonized.] Until Rafah is operational, the PA will open Rafah crossing on an ad hoc basis for religious pilgrims, medical patients, and others, in coordination with General Gilad's office on the Israeli side. [Notice that Israeli involvement takes place at every level of this process.] Israel will provide the PA with all information needed to update the Palestinian population registry, including all information on Palestinian ID card holders who are currently outside the country. [Here, the colonizer is being kind, YET AGAIN, providing the guards and puppets of occupation with the crucial information that is needed for the perpetuation of occupation.] A liaison office, led by the 3rd party, will receive real-time video and data feed of the activities at Rafah and will meet regularly to review implementation of this agreement, resolve any disputes arising from this agreement, and perform other tasks specified in this agreement. [Notice the phrasing. It talks about a "liaison office led by the 3rd party" which can only mean that it will include Israeli representation even if they are "led by the 3rd party."] The PA will establish baggage limits for each passenger as part of the procedures. Limits will be the same as currently applied by the GoI; very frequent travellers (suitcase policy) to be agreed. [Not only will the Government of Israel be allowed to watch videos of every Palestinian entering the Gaza area, but the Government of occupation will even limit the luggage of Palestinians. Only a self-loathing "authority" that serves the interests of another authority, read foreign occupation, can agree to such terms.] The PA will provide the 3rd party a list of names of the workers at Rafah crossing which will be shared with the Israelis. The PA will take the
Israelis concerns into account. [Look at the language of occupier's laws: "The PA WILL TAKE THE ISRAELI CONCERNS INTO ACCOUNT." That is it. That says it all. They will have no choice no matter how these concerns are expressed. Israel has invaded, occupied, killed, and maimed in the name of its "security concerns."] On a case by case basis, the PA will consider information on persons of concern provided by the GoI. The PA will consult with the GoI and the 3rd party prior to the PA making a decision to prohibit travel or not. During this consultation, which will not take more than six hours, the person in question will not be permitted to cross. [This really explains the extent of Israeli control over every level of the process, and the extent to which the PA will only be serving at the pleasure of the occupier.]