By Munir K. Nasser
A group of American Jewish organizations are conducting a media campaign in the United States urging Israel not give more “concessions to the Palestinians"
The campaign took the form of an advertisement that appeared last week in major American newspapers as an open letter to Prime Minister Ehud Barak, warning him against “further unilateral Israeli concessions without Palestinian compliance to signed agreements.”
The ad included a statement signed by 30 prominent American Jewish leaders endorsing Israeli Interior Minister Natan Sharansky's recent public warning against “additional one-sided Israeli concessions to Yasser Arafat.” The Jewish leaders, including 10 past presidents of Jewish organizations, said they share Sharansky's concerns regarding Barak’s intention to allow the Palestinians to control some sections of Jerusalem and surrender big chunks of the West Bank in the final settlement.
According to the statement, the Barak government intends to permit the Palestinian Authority “to give Arafat 92-95% of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza; give up control of crucial border passages; uproot 40,000-50,000 Jewish residents of the territories; and permit an unspecified number of Arabs from abroad to settle within Israel—all despite the fact that, according to Sharansky, Arafat and the PA have been "strenuously avoiding their obligations, from extraditing terrorists to disarming militants."
The statement was signed by leaders of several prominent Jewish organizations, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Zionist Organization of America, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, the Rabbinical Assembly, Israel Bonds, the Jewish National Fund, among others.
The statement sparked controversy in the American Jewish community and was strongly criticized by AIPAC, accusing ZOA of misrepresentation. AIPAC spokesman Ken Bricker said in a statement that the substance of the statement “was never considered or approved by AIPAC or its governing bodies.” He added “Without our permission several individuals who signed the letter used their affiliation with AIPAC for identification purposes.”
Press reports circulating in Israel last week said Barak is prepared to give the Palestinians part of Jerusalem and all of the strategic Jordan Valley. According to the reports, an American document summing up the negotiations so far, said Israeli negotiators have told the Palestinians that they are prepared to grant the Palestinians sovereignty over the Jordan River, the bridges over the river between the West Bank and Jordan and the Jordan Valley. The document was quoted as saying that an international force with a large Israeli military contingent would oversee the bridges, and the Palestinians would lease the Jordan Valley back to Israel.
Meanwhile, Sharansky a leading partner in Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's coalition threatened on Monday to quit if the Israeli leader heads for a planned US-Israeli-Palestinian summit without getting his government behind a peace plan, reported Reuters.
"If he now goes to the summit without making the coalition part of his red lines, part of the peace plan which he is going to negotiate inside. I am leaving the government," the Israeli interior minister told reporters – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)