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Palestine: Geneva Accord is Another Dead End

by Freedom Road Socialist Organization |
February 1, 2004
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Israel partition wall
The wall which is being built by Israel to enclose and partition Palestine. (Fightback News!/Staff)
Take action:

Voice your opposition to:
Mr. Yasser Arafat—Palestinian Authority President
Email: [email protected]; [email protected]
Fax: 011 9728 282 2365
c/o PLO Mission at the United Nations, New York
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 212-288-8500 Fax: 212-517-2377

Organizational endorsers (list in formation): Al-Awda British Columbia—Canada, Al-Awda—NY/NJ, Artists Against the Occupation, Artist Emergency Response, Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism, Committee to Defend Palestine, Free Palestine Alliance—Chicago, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Hammerhard Media Works—Chicago, International Solidarity Movement—Chicago, New Jersey Solidarity, No One Is Illegal—Vancouver, Palestine Community Center—Vancouver, Students for Social Justice—Chicago, Tri-Taylor Neighbors for Peace and Justice, Students for Justice in Palestine—Univ. of Illinois-Chicago (UIC).

Please email your organizational endorsement of this statement.

Fight Back! is publishing the following statement criticizing the Geneva Accord - which purports to be a framework for achieving peace in Palestine. Like Bush’s ‘road map for peace,’ the Geneva Accord does not square with the aspirations of the Palestinian people for justice and liberation. When the text of the Accord was released Dec. 1, thousands protested in Gaza and other Palestinian cities.


We, the undersigned organizations, hereby state our determined opposition and rejection of the “Geneva Accord” or any other agreements or negotiations that attempt to negate the full Right of Return for all Palestinian refugees and their descendants. The Palestinian refugees’ Right of Return to the homes and lands from which they were exiled is an individual, collective, national and human right that cannot be abrogated, denied or modified by any negotiation or agreement. The Right of Return belongs to all Palestinian refugees, and to the Palestinian people; any agreement that fails to recognize this fundamental, necessary right should be and will be rejected as unrepresentative of the Palestinian people.

Besides the abrogation of the Right of Return, the “Geneva Accord,” written by former Palestinian Authority ministers and left-leaning Israeli members of the Labor Party and other opposition forces, allows for limited Palestinian self-determination on most of the West Bank and Gaza Strip - with control over municipality-type responsibilities. But Israel will retain control of airspace, laws, water aquifers, imports, exports, and foreign relations - while borders will be under international control. Most Jewish-only settlements and bypass roads in the occupied territories would remain intact, making the Palestinian “state” a state in name only.

Refugees would be allowed to 1) return to the Palestinian “state”; 2) resettle and be granted citizenship in another country; or 3) stay where they currently are (and be compensated for their lost homes and property by the international community, not by Israel). Palestinian negotiators have essentially renounced the Right of Return to the 1948 territories of historical Palestine.

The accord gives the Palestinians sovereignty over the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, and most of the East Jerusalem neighborhoods will be under Palestinian jurisdiction, but Israel will retain control of the Greater Jerusalem neighborhoods that it illegally annexed, and where Jewish-only settlements were built on the stolen land.

The accord also states that Palestinians must accept the racist notion that Israel forever retains its “Jewish” character, and remains a state for Jews, again negating even the possibility of the Right of Return, and confusing the future status of the Palestinians who currently live in 1948 Palestine. All past agreements, UN resolutions, and future claims will no longer be binding, including UN Resolution 194, which guarantees the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Both the Palestinians and Israelis will sign an “end of conflict” statement and demand that the United Nations adopt the document in full.

Hisham Ahmed, a professor of political science at Birzeit University, is downright scathing in his assessment of the accord: “If Oslo was repugnant, it was at least only an interim agreement. This [initiative] purports to end the conflict when it, in fact, just lays the ground for endless bloodshed. On the issue of sovereignty, for example, the West Bank-Gaza safe passage route is under Israeli sovereignty, as is Palestinian airspace. The Israeli army will be deployed in the Jordan Valley for a renewable period of three years. I’m not even touching on the really big issues such as borders, Jerusalem and refugees.”

“The Geneva plan allows for more concessions, especially on the issue of refugees,” one of the resistance organizations in Palestine said in a statement. “We call upon the Palestinian Authority to reject this agreement, and remain committed to its national program and the continuation of the Intifada.”

The Palestinian representatives in Geneva and Amman, Jordan, say that they have Yasser Arafat’s blessings to negotiate this accord and make the major concessions that will undoubtedly be rejected by the vast majority of Palestinians in Palestine and the Diaspora. Although it is obvious that US imperialism has pressured these Palestinian representatives into these negotiations, they still have no right to circumvent international law and even suggest another “peace” settlement that ignores the political, civil, human, economic, and national rights of the Palestinian people. Those that are in Geneva, and those that are pulling the strings in Ramallah, represent nobody but themselves, and have proven once again that they are more concerned with their survival as an “authority” than they are about the legitimate rights of their people. Join the millions of Palestinians who denounce and reject this agreement!