Literally just before stepping down from office, Switzerland’s Micheline Calmy-Rey has reaffirmed her country’s commitment to interfering in our affairs. As outsiders, uninitiated in the mysteries of the Swiss system, it’s not easy for us to define her role but as president of the Swiss Confederation, Calmy-Rey was head of government and, as head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, she was foreign minister.
Said Calmy-Rey spoke at a recent Geneva get-together summoned, in the words of an official Swiss Foreign Ministry communiqué, “to review the achievements of the Geneva Initiative and analyze its potential in the light of current developments in the Near and Middle East.”
We may well ask “what achievements?”
However, the palpable absence of any hint of achievement in itself made the sorry Geneva reunion a fittingly surreal farewell bash for Calmy-Rey. Thirty Israeli and Palestinian “negotiators” were flown by Calmy-Rey’s ministry first-class to Geneva and put up in a posh hotel to mark the eighth birthday of the stillborn initiative, sponsored and bankrolled by the Swiss.
The fact that a fellow democracy thereby went against the wishes of Israel’s elected governments – and, needless to stress, against the majorities that voted them into power – didn’t one bit douse Calmy-Rey’s ardor to override our domestic processes.
Likewise, the initiative’s inglorious flop didn’t cause her to entertain niggling second thoughts. Instead, Calmy-Rey reiterated her country’s dedication to meddling: “We remain committed to ensuring that solutions are proposed, debated, and ultimately implemented.” Our business is her business and is obviously enough of a prestige-booster to rationalize her last hurrah.
Here reminders are useful. Three years ago, flouting international sanctions, Calmy-Rey mounted a pilgrimage to Iran to “witness” the signing of a mammoth gas-supply contract. Swathed in a white head scarf, she affably hobnobbed with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, accorded the transaction her government’s official stamp of approval and lent the occasion legitimacy and high profile. Unrepentant, she defended doing business with genocide-mongering Tehran by intoning that “Switzerland is an independent country which has its own strategic interests to defend.”
True enough. For all her disingenuous honest-broker pronouncements, Calmy-Rey isn’t obliged to have our best interests at heart. But, given her non-too-disguised insincerity, why do Israelis play along with her?
Yossi Beilin, Avrum Burg and the mayors of Rishon Lezion and Holon, among others – all of whom represent nobody and were never empowered to negotiate on our behalf – didn’t have to succumb to the lure of a sumptuous junket. Still, disgracefully, they did.
Here more reminders are called for. Most of us forgot what the Geneva Initiative entailed. This Oslo remake was boiled down into a seemingly detailed agreement, replete with maps and codicils. It’s instructive. Each and every vaguely phrased clause, if implemented, is liable to blow each and every one of us sky-high and blow the State of Israel to extinction. The aggregate of all these clauses is an overkill formula for national suicide.
Consider the proposed corridor to connect Gaza with Judea and Samaria. It would cut Israel in two, although the Palestinians do magnanimously undertake not to sever Israeli utility lines and infrastructure or disrupt traffic. Word to the wise: in the 1949 Armistice Agreement they vowed to allow free access to the Israeli enclave at Mount Scopus, to holy sites in Jerusalem, to the Mount of Olives Cemetery, to Jerusalem via Latrun – among other breached promises.
But we needn’t obsess. Clause 6.vi. of Article 4 guarantees that the corridor won’t be used “in contravention of this Agreement.” If things don’t work out, we can whine to the international Implementation and Verification Group. What a load off our minds! Haven’t international intermediaries always ruled in our favor?
The arrangements on Jerusalem are nightmarishly complex recipes for disaster all on their own. To sum things up, Beilin, Burg and crew require Israel to cede not only the Holiest of Jewish Holies but every site that is core to Jewish identity.
Nonetheless, that’s only the beginning. All ceded settlements are to be surrendered intact, after a detailed inventory. Little imagination is needed to conjure the upshot of handing over the hills directly behind Kfar Saba, rendering the entire densely packed Coastal Plain vulnerable.
No reliable security measures for Israel are included, not even on the Jordan River. Israel would be unable to defend itself from the east or south. It’d be critically worse off than it is now, with no control over border crossings, air or sea transportation into “Palestine.” Nothing would prevent the illegal importation of weaponry. Consequently, no Israeli car could travel threat-free on central Israel’s thoroughfares, not to mention planes taking off or landing at Ben-Gurion Airport.
The Palestinians don’t undertake to combat terror. The Geneva Accord merely demands they not “encourage… irregular armed bands.” Not to worry. A multinational force will protect us. It’ll doubtless severely curtail our freedom of action and keep us as unsafe as did its predecessors from the British Mandate to the assorted UN “peacekeepers.”
Not only hasn’t the “right of return” been remotely relinquished, but UN Resolution 194 (which called for the repatriation of refugees inside Israel) is cited as the basis for the Geneva Accord’s unimaginably convoluted Article 7, which obliges Israel to admit a number of so-called refugees based on the average admitted by “third countries.” This invites bogus benevolence from the likes of Syria or Yemen to artificially inflate Israel’s share. Priority is to be given to refugees from Lebanon’s erstwhile Fatahland.
Like a humiliated vanquished country, Israel is to pay compensation for former refugee property within Israel, for “refugeehood” and for the “hospitality” of host countries during the past decades.
If Israel isn’t inundated with hostile Arabs and bankrupted via incredible unprecedented restitution to aggressors for their failed aggression, it’ll face a bloody war under the most adverse conditions ever.
Why waste any breath at all on the Beilin boys?
Because instead of hiding for shame in shuttered rooms, they insist on having another go at what failed miserably and keeps exacting a terrifying bloody price. Because they operate in utter defiance of legality. They weren’t ever hindered by the fact that no one authorized them to represent Israel, haggle in its name or determine its future.
As deputy foreign minister Beilin, by his own admission, concocted Oslo in 1993, successfully pitched the notion that the Palestinians had undergone a strategic metamorphosis to his boss Shimon Peres, who proceeded to sway PM Yitzhak Rabin. With much fanfare and self-congratulation, the clandestine deal was unveiled to the citizenry as a glorious fait accompli. The intelligence community didn’t raise a ruckus, the intellectual elites celebrated and the obstinate opponents were lumped with Hamas as “enemies of peace.”
Beilinite folly is inherently dangerous because the Beilinites dominate the media, dictate the national agenda and may inspire a future government as they did the one which gave us Oslo. Their unconscionable recklessness casts a lingering portentous pall over us. Someone once wisely observed that fools rush in where fools have been before.