Prof. Galia Golan: The issue of the international community
in the conflict changes from month to month, given the way our
conflict and situation changes constantly. The question on the
immediate agenda is: What role, if any, can the international
community, or specific states or parties in the international
community, play in the disengagement process? And, if you believe
the international community can play a positive role, what
practical steps could it take, if it would be permitted to do
Amb. Giancarlo Chevallard: I will begin by noting that the
international community is acutely aware that the question of
territories for the future Palestinian state is decisive. The
disengagement plan is therefore something we support, and we want
it to succeed. We believe the entire international community should
be involved in helping to carry it out. The sooner this is
acknowledged the better. We are convinced that the Israelis
themselves realize the plan needs the contribution and support of
the international community. But, so far, they have refrained from
stating it openly.
I will go even further. At the end of the day, it will be a plus
for all parties to involve the UN, and in particular the UN
Security Council, which can contribute to creating the best
conditions for success. I know this is very unpopular in Israel,
especially these days. The Israeli leadership may, anyhow, be led
to realize that is has to go to the UN to gain the support of the
World Bank, and of the other international players for whatever is
needed to make the disengagement plan feasible in terms of assets,
monitoring, etc. So my answer to your question is - yes, the
international community does have a positive role to play.
MK Eti Livni: We always thought that disengagement and all
the negotiations with the Palestinians should be bilateral, that
the two sides should negotiate and come to an agreement. Beyond
that there is the greater world, the United States and the European
Union, every nation that wants to be involved. This is relevant for
the fate of the settlements, the buildings, the process of handing
them over to the Palestinians, help in the reconstruction of an
airport and of all kinds of industries, etc. This is very important
and we seek such an involvement from the European Union as well as
Now the Egyptians have become part of a bilateral process - which
supposedly doesn't exist because everything is "unilateral."
However, we accept the special Egyptian role in the Gaza Strip to
facilitate disengagement, not as a player in the dialogue that we
expect to have, but as somebody who will facilitate and help in the
crucial issues, like the Philadelphi Corridor and the
Prof. Munther Dajani: Usually in bilateral relations, the
parties have to be equal, have parity. But the Israeli-Palestinian
relationship is not equal. The Palestinians keep saying, "We want
the intervention of a third party or an international body, because
the Israelis are not committed to peace." The Israelis say, "We
don't want a third party," but they say they are committed to peace
and want bilateral relations. How can this dilemma be
MK Livni: We think the disengagement process is the first
stage in the Road Map. We are doing our part of the first stage,
and we expect the Palestinians to follow and deal with the
terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and then we will
Prof. Golan: Mr. Minister, could you relate to this, the
idea of bilateral negotiations but with a third-party role in
Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh: Speaking about a third party
means you have a first, second and third party. In this case, we
don't have a second party. So we are speaking about a situation in
which the entire exercise is unilateral, and the plan is evading
bilateral relations and third-party intervention.
There is a role for a third party, but it is still not clear
whether disengagement is linked to the Road Map. The authors of the
Road Map, the Quartet, are a third party.
Our discussion should not focus on the Philadelphi Corridor, or
whether the Egyptians are there or not. [Prime Minister Ariel]
Sharon's disengagement plan was not negotiated - it was formulated
without consultation with the Palestinians. Certain elements of the
disengagement plan relate to the West Bank. So what do you do when
it comes to the West Bank? What role can the Egyptians play there?
In my opinion, Sharon wants the Egyptians to play a facilitating
role, a police role. He is replacing the second party, or the
partner, with a third party, so that the third party can be a
security guarantor to enable the exercise to succeed.
I am sure the Egyptians are NOT ready to accept this. But the third
party in this case is not just a facilitator. The Egyptians are
actually partners, because they have borders with the Palestinian
The Quartet approached a technical body, the World Bank, to conduct
an economic assessment of the impact of disengagement on the
Palestinians. The World Bank report indicates that Sharon's
disengagement plan will not provide any economic benefits to the
Palestians. The situation may even get worse. The bank has rejected
the idea of becoming a custodian of the property in the Gaza Strip
settlements. The Israelis suggested that the World Bank make an
asset assessment, an evaluation of the property value, which would
be deposited in an international fund. That money would eventually
be used as compensation for the Palestinian refugees the moment the
final-status issue is settled. The bank obviously thought that this
is too political for them to handle, and they have only agreed to
make an economic assessment of what is at stake.
First of all, maybe we can use Gaza as a model for third-party
intervention, and we prefer in this case that the third party be
the United Nations. If it is a successful intervention, we hope
that such an intervention will move to the West Bank, as well. Thus
the disengagement from Gaza is a phase in the overall
For us, the disengagement from Gaza is a step toward ending
occupation in all the Palestinian territory. Therefore, the issue
of the corridor between the West Bank and Gaza, or what the Oslo
Agreement referred to as a "Safe Passage," is extremely important.
The safe passage is unique, because it is a road that will go
through Israel. A third party will be needed to monitor the
corridor and movement of Palestinians so that everything is kept
within the terms of reference.
Prof. Golan: I would like to ask the consul general if there
is a role for an international body, the Quartet or the UN, to help
with implementation - the possibility of changing the disengagement
agreement into one in which Israel withdraws its military and the
settlements, but turns over the entrances and exits, the airport,
sea and land access, to an international body.
Consul General John Jenkins: I think we have to focus very
clearly on what is actually possible, rather than what may be ideal
in the best of all possible worlds.
This disengagement process is a dynamic process, and what you said
at the beginning is true, this is a moving target. It is very
difficult to sit down and develop a set of prescriptions for who
should do what.
There is massive international interest in resolving this dispute.
That interest has been here for the last 50 years or so and it
remains. Given the lack of clarity at the moment - what
disengagement would actually mean and how it is going to work, how
the relationship between the two parties, the Palestinians and the
Israelis, is going to be managed - if there is this role for a
third party, it is probably going to be in shaping the way the
disengagement happens rather than prescribing how it should work.
It has to be shaped in such a way, as far as international actors
are concerned, that it leads back to the Road Map. It has to form
part of a bigger process. That is imperative.
From what we have seen in Gaza, with the discussions over this
disengagement plan so far, I think three particular themes have
emerged: security, the economy and politics, and the restructuring
of Palestinian politics. The international community will not
address all three issues in exactly the same way, with the same
You were talking about the World Bank. The economic report, an
extremely good one, is designed to focus attention on the
weaknesses of simple military disengagement from Gaza. This is what
I mean by shaping the plan. Disengagement should lead to a broader
context. It should reenergize the peace process - which means
giving the Palestinians hope, reenergizing the Palestinian economy,
and so forth.
I do not think there has been international engagement - there has
been international help, a massive third party role for the last 10
years. The international community has given something like $10
billion over the last 10 years to the Palestinian Authority, and
the result is a stalemate and deterioration in the economic
situation. There will be massive reluctance among the donors simply
to act as the cashiers of a plan, of a process in which they have
no stake. That is going to be a major issue.
When people talk about the international community coming into
Gaza, rebuilding things, putting money in, I don't think it is
going to work. But it also suggests avenues in which the
international community can act constructively.
The international community has to think of this as a constructive
opportunity. The World Bank reports say, if there is a process that
provides for access to export markets for the Palestinians in Gaza,
and by extension, later on the West Bank, the international
community would probably provide money. The bank set a figure of
$500 million for this, which in terms of what has been given over
the last 20 years is not very much.
I don't see this working without security. The problem with
closure, which has been the principal cause of the decline in the
last few years in the Palestinian territory, is not going to be
addressed without basic security. The Egyptians are certainly very
keen to play a role, although it is still unclear to me exactly
what that role will be.
I think there are other actors who can play a role. We (the
British) are doing something for the Palestinian security services
in the West Bank.
Prof. Golan: Minister Shtayyeh, how do you see the possible
role of the third party on the issue of security?
Minister Shtayyeh: The Palestinian Authority functioned very
well on security matters between 1994 and 2000. All that is needed
is to reinforce the security apparatus, design it, reform it,
whatever you want to call it.
I am not sure whether the international community has a role to
play in security, except in training and funding. Will somebody
come and guarantee the security of the State of Israel? This has
nothing to do with our own security. Supposedly, you need a
third-party intervention to protect the borders, so that the
Palestinians are kept quiet, but what about Palestinian security
and ending the occupation?
I don't think that solves any security problem. If the Palestinian
security structure is not empowered enough, and if the Palestinian
security forces are not allowed to function, bringing someone to
monitor the borders will not solve anything.
The international community is helping, the British are doing some
training, the Egyptians would do some training, and others also
want to empower and strengthen the Palestinian security structure.
The purpose of this whole exercise is a preparatory step toward the
establishment of the Palestinian State
As his Excellency has just mentioned, I think it is important that
the international community is not only a check-paying body - it
has to be involved in obliging Israel to comply with international
law. Third parties cannot just be donors - they must become
genuinely engaged in the process, and not just as facilitators.
What we want is that the international community should become
arbitrators. Arbitration is the most important element of
There has been an accumulation of failed agreements. We signed
Oslo, we signed different agreements with Israelis and we used to
go to the Americans and tell them, "Listen guys, you signed on to
this document, [Hosni] Mubarak did, King Hussein did, [Bill]
Clinton did," and so on. Where is the Hebron agreement? It is not
implemented. Where is this? Where is that? The third party has
always confined itself either to a donor's role or a
In the case of Palestine, that is not enough, especially at the
political level. It is not enough that the European Union is only a
donor or a facilitator. It is not enough that the Americans are
facilitators. In the case of Palestine, you need more that
facilitation or even mediation. You need a situation in which the
international community says, "Listen guys, here is the will of the
international community: One, two, three. This provides
international legitimacy." The question is not only security, the
question of Palestine and third parties has to be taken as a
complete package - security, economic, political and all other
Prof. Dajani: Your Excellency, based on what Dr. Shtayyeh is
saying, can the EU be more than a donor and become an
Amb. Chevallard: The answer is no, as concerns the role of
the EU as an arbitrator. It is different concerning the way we
interpret our donor's role.
We have been the main donor to the Palestinian Authority. Thus, we
are in a particularly strong position on the point that was raised
by our British colleague - we don't want to continue being a simple
provider of funds, a simple cashier. We want much more than that.
That is clear and unanimously recognized within Europe. We are
ready to generously contribute to the success of the disengagement
plan, but this must entail on our side a role in the political
area, and by political area I mean, first of all, in the internal
Palestinian institutional processes. We want to be able to advance
the political reform, the institutional and democratic process, and
last but not least the elections within the Palestinian
Prof. Dajani: Elections in Gaza?
Amb. Chevallard: Elections within the Palestinian
territories, be it in the West Bank or Gaza. Secondly, concerning
security, there may be a need of an active role for the
international community. The European Union may be ready to
contribute to ensure that the security structures of the
Palestinian Authority are performing well enough, for instance by
providing training and material. Whatever is needed - we are open
to it. Provided we have a say and control in the way the money is
spent and the security structures are developed.
I would like to stress that we will also have demands on the
Israeli side. This is not a one-way street, with demands being made
only on the Palestinians. We want to obtain concrete assurances the
Gaza disengagement is a first step. Disengagement is not just an
end in itself. Implementation of the Road Map begins with the Gaza
disengagement and must continue with the West Bank and all the
provisions laid out in the Road Map for settlements and so
We also want to agree upon precise conditions with the Israelis for
the movement of Palestinians in and out of Gaza - the communication
of the people of Gaza with the outside world, which means airport
and sea communications. I think it is important for Israel to be
aware that the EU will be, anyway, present in Gaza, with or without
a common plan with Israel. We consider it highly preferable that
this EU role in Gaza be agreed upon with Israel, and, of course,
with the Palestinians as well.
Prof. Golan: Member of Knesset Livni, what do you think
about this idea of third-party arbitration?
MK Livni: The Israeli view is that no arbitration is needed
for this conflict. The Israeli public is suspicious of the European
side; it was always seen as more pro-Palestinian, more pro-Arab
than the Americans. It is very difficult today to give the
Europeans an active role in this conflict or to think about
arbitration. I think it is a very bad idea - what has arbitration
to do with this 50-year-old conflict? Somebody will come from the
outside and tell us, "Go here, go there?"
We should negotiate, and as the Ambassador said, and our Prime
Minister has said again and again, the disengagement is a part of
the Road Map. It doesn't begin and end by itself. It is a process
and that is the reason that those four remote settlements in
Samaria are part of this disengagement, showing that it is the
start of a process. If it will progress more or less in a favorable
manner, there will be a second phase.
What does that mean? Terrorism is not a simple issue. It should be
handled in a serious way - not just giving money that goes to fund
terror. We have traced the course of monies given by the EU and it
went straight to finance terror. It hasn't been used by Yasser
Arafat to finance the growth of the Palestinian economy.
I think disengagement is a very important step in the process. As
the consul general said, you can't determine how things will turn
out. You can't see what will emerge out of this disengagement. I
believe that the disengagement is a momentum, and as a momentum it
is a very important phase, a very important start from the
stalemate we have been in for the last four years.
Prof. Golan: Could you see a role, such as was suggested by
the ambassador, for a third party to be sitting on the border,
which would prevent Israel from moving in or out at will? Could you
envisage a third party actually handling access to and from
MK Livni: Do you see a third party preventing terrorism,
preventing the building of tunnels, preventing explosions? I doubt
that a third party can do these things, and it will prevent the
Israelis from carrying out any actions against terror, against the
Kassam rockets being fired into Israeli territory. I think it would
only complicate the situation. We don't want Europeans to be killed
on the borders, either by Palestinians or by Israelis. We first
have to settle the situation and then let the Europeans play a role
in the implementation.
Prof. Dajani: If the prime minister has goodwill and his
plan is part of the Road Map, why isn't he playing by the rules of
the Road Map? Why is the process only a bilateral one, between the
Americans and the Israelis, without anybody else? Where are the
Palestinians and the rest of the Quartet?
MK Livni: What is the first stage of the Road Map? Israel
must not enlarge the settlements while removing the illegal and
remote settlements, and simultaneously the Palestinians must
control the terror and the terrorists. That is the first stage.
There is no part for the Quartet or the Americans in this stage.
Once we play our part in the first stage, we expect the
Palestinians to do their part and proceed towards controlling the
terrorist situation, and then we will move to the second stage. I
believe that the prime minister will be ready to negotiate with
Prime Minister Abu Ala (Ahmad Qurei), as soon as he will be ready
Consul General Jenkins: What we expected last year we can't
expect this year. Whatever happens, it will take place within a
political framework that will be determined by Israeli and
Palestinian political constraints. Today the international
community has a responsibility to try and build bridges, linkages,
which will enable disengagement to be part of a wider process. This
might involve the issue of access points. Sharon's proposal seems
to envisage an international involvement in this at some future
point, if there is sufficient progress.
The international community can also do something for security, and
can help with the economy, in the West Bank, as well. All of these
are building blocks that can be integrated into the disengagement
The Egyptian involvement in Gaza seems to be important to the
Israeli government, and I think that is a good starting point. This
means we already have a third-party involvement. I can also
envision an EU involvement perhaps in the areas of civil policing
Minister Shtayyeh: Concerning the question of Israeli
allegations about the use of European money for funding terrorism,
many European parliament committees have come here to investigate
this and they concluded that all the money goes into projects,
To return to the question of international involvement, [former
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies director) Yossi Alpher showed
me a poll in Seville, Spain, indicating that 70 percent of the
Israelis prefer an imposed solution by the international
We prefer a negotiated solution, but a negotiated solution with the
aid of a party that is an honest broker, an honest third party that
gets involved in monitoring the process, and eventually becomes an
We are very concerned about the current reality on the ground. Our
day-to-day reality is that Palestinians are attacked every day. If
the international community really wanted to stop violence,
international observers would come and see who is really violating
the cease- fire, and stop the violence. That is an important step
for both of us. We don't want to see funerals every day and
obviously the Israelis don't want to see Israelis killed every day.
That is a point of departure for a third party to say, "Okay, you
two sides have agreed to a cease-fire, and I am ready to monitor
it." Third-party involvement in day-to-day realities is very
important for us.
At a later stage, third parties could monitor borders. The third
party is needed today, not because there are no partners, because
the partners are not talking to each other.
For us, this is not disengagement, but rather a process of ending
occupation. If the prime minister of Israel would give a clear
declaration saying that this process will lead to an end to
occupation, it would generate hope for the Palestinian people and
that is what is needed. Palestinians need hope, and the Israelis
A third party can bring the two parties together, but we don't have
a partner. Sharon wants two things: a plan of his own and a partner
of his own. He says, "I don't want to speak to Arafat, I only want
to speak to this man."
MK Livni: Who is this man?
Minister Shtayyeh: This man, regardless.
MK Livni: Abu Ala is the prime minister…
Minister Shtayyeh: Abu Ala is our prime minister, but you
don't decide who our representatives are.
Amb. Chevallard: I would like to make a comment about your
(MK Livni's) harsh statement concerning the EU funding terrorism.
It's not true.
MK Livni: I just came from Germany where I spoke with
Bunderstadt people, and they were very concerned about where the
money was going.
Amb. Chevallard: No evidence has been provided that European
money went to finance terror. Before we started funding the
Palestinian Authority budget in December 2000, the Israelis have,
according to their legal obligations, been transferring funds to
the PA. The Palestinian were buying weapons, for instance for their
security forces, with the money provided by the Israelis.
Currently, Israel has resumed the transfer of money due to them,
using exactly the same procedures that the EU used. The European
Union has simply taken over the Israeli financial obligation to the
PA during a period of time. It has acted in no way different from
what Israel has done.
You also said that Europeans are more pro-Arab than the U.S. I
think it would be more accurate to say that the Europeans are less
pro-Israeli than the U.S. We are not particularly pro-Arab, we are
very much for Israel even if we are not 100 percent behind current
Israeli policies. Because we are friends of Israel and committed to
Israeli security, we give advice. Certainly, the EU would
appreciate being better listened to, and being associated with the
diplomatic process underway.
The EU and the European capitals noted with some dismay that when
the disengagement plan was presented, the EU was left uninformed.
It was presented only to the United States, which we certainly
consider the priority partner. Only recently, after a continuous
shuttle of Israeli personalities to Washington, there were short
visits of Israeli representatives to Brussels, and later to other
European capitals. That is evidence of the modest consideration
that Israel gives to the European Union, while at the same time it
expects the EU to contribute financially and otherwise to the
disengagement plan and to the PA reforms.
MK Livni: The Israeli parliament is also not satisfied,
because the plan was presented first to the Americans and only
afterward to the parliament, so we are in the same boat.
Amb. Chevallard: So far, we have been talking about a third
party, the international community, but we must give substance to
this third-party idea, which would act on agreed-upon political,
security and economic terms. One easy way would be to say that the
Americans, the U.S. alone, embody the international community. That
would be hardly acceptable to the European Union. We are not likely
to be ready to fund or participate in an exclusively American-led
operation - to be a "payer" and not also a "player." By the way, my
perception is that the U.S. itself is not ready for such an
And, even if Israel was theoretically ready to give priority to the
European Union as head of an international force, we would not be
ready to assume this role alone. The contribution of the Quartet as
a main player is a possibility that could be considered.
We come back to the main option, the United Nations as the vehicle
of real international involvement. The UN should be the
legitimizing authority for the international community. The UN has
the experience and resources to contribute in a substantive way to
the process of disengagement.
For disengagement to succeed, it needs a set of rules which are
binding for everybody, Israel and the Palestinians in particular.
Only the United Nations has the authority to set such rules, and to
ensure they are abided by. I cannot see the European Union or any
other partner supporting a process where each partner has a free
hand in setting the rules or, even worse, in disregarding the
commitments it has taken upon itself.
Prof. Dajani: Since you are a member of Knesset and the
government coalition, how do you see the role of international
MK Livni: Not on the security side, but in all other aspects
- in the political, economic, building up of infrastructure, in
every aspect, but not in the security. For us, that's crucial,
since it's a matter of life and death.
Prof. Golan: What about the British role?
Consul General Jenkins: We have been working with the
Palestinian security forces in the West Bank, to help them
implement what they themselves have defined as the real purpose of
Palestinian security. Irrespective of what anybody thinks should
happen, the practical reality is that, unless the Palestinians show
that they are capable, not just of addressing the sort of security
concerns that Israel has, but of also asserting their own
credibility as a governmental institution among ordinary
Palestinians, they are going nowhere. One of the dangers is the
potential disappearance or irrelevance of the Palestinian
Authority. If that were to happen, we wouldn't know who the actual
institutional partner was.
We have been trying to work from the bottom up rather than from the
top down. The Egyptian approach may be slightly different. But it
is all designed to work toward the same goal, an attempt to find
linkages between what we have and what may develop with the
disengagement plan, which ultimately means negotiations. These are
small things because the situation is so fragile, particularly on
the Palestinian side.
As an outside observer, I think the Israeli government is trying to
define the degree to which they need international involvement and
what that means in practical terms. My conclusion is that the
Israeli government wants an international dimension, but it wants
to be able to constrain it, to contain it. How far that will be
possible depends on the dynamics of the disengagement itself.
Prof. Dajani: Your Excellency, people on the Palestinian
street keep saying that there isn't enough European involvement on
the ground because the Americans will not allow it. How true is
that - is there such a thing as limitations by the Americans on the
Amb. Chevallard: The first limitation is in ourselves. We
have some limitations in terms of the EU means for international
actions. This being said and taken as a given, I think the
Americans are sincerely planning things within the Quartet
framework. I believe the U.S. is fully aware that the EU has a
central role as a future neighbor of this region, particularly now
that we have enlarged into 25 member states bordering with Israel.
We have a special role to play.
The relations between the European Union and Israel are good,
developing and flourishing, but to touch on a rather sensitive
subject, our political dialogue is limited and full of suspicions.
Israelis say that this is because they have much more in common
with the U.S. than the EU. Our point is that this conflict needs
also a more balanced partner in order to engage the Palestinians
and to find realistic middle-of-the-road arrangements in the
context of the final settlement.
That is why we object to this Israeli rejection of any EU role in
the near future. With a new EU foreign minister and the development
of our common policy tools, we see an increased Israeli interest in
the EU. We play a significant role in Israeli economic life, and
the country is very dependent on the European Union for export,
investment, research and all sorts of cooperative ventures.
Israel will have to take the EU into account if it wants to expand
its bilateral profitable relationship with Europe. The EU has shown
recently that it is ready to go ahead, but this bilateral expanded
partnership cannot be developed without an active EU involvement in
the diplomatic process. Our relationship is a whole, and if we
want, as we wish, to upgrade it into a full, strategic partnership,
it would be a contradiction to separate the bilateral cooperation
from the political-security EU-Israeli cooperation. The enlarged
Union, with its common sea border with Israel, has enormous
interests at stake that require stability in the Middle East. We
will promote those interests.
Prof. Golan: I recently read some public opinion polls
indicating that the Palestinians are not very enthusiastic about
Egyptian involvement, while surprisingly the Israelis are quite
enthusiastic about Egyptian involvement. I have heard that, if the
Egyptians played a role in security inside the Gaza Strip, that
would be exchanging one occupation for another? Would it be
preferable to have Israeli rather than Egyptian control of the
Minister Shtayyeh: I think the Egyptian role is interesting
to watch, for many reasons. First of all, there is internal
pressure on Egypt not to get involved, from two different circles.
The Egyptians are very aware that it is a very muddy situation.
Their involvement in Yemen during the Nasser period was not a
pleasant exercise, thus some are very cautious about future
The second circle believes that Egypt is not a mediator when it
comes to the question of Palestine. "We are a party to the
struggle; we are with the Palestinians during their struggle for
liberation." So it is a very awkward situation.
For us, it has always been stated by our president and the prime
minister that the Egyptians are there upon our invitation. We asked
for an Egyptian role because we think it has two dimensions. It is
important for Egypt to help build our different security
structures. Egypt is also a partner because the Rafah border is an
Egyptian/Palestinian border. Security arrangements would have to be
coordinated with Egypt to make the people's life easier. Thus,
there would be a difference between an Israeli occupation and a
Palestinian takeover in full coordination with the Egyptians.
In the Palestinian psyche there is a legacy that is called the
regional legacy. Therefore, it is also important for us to be
politically sensitive to what and how and for how long and how deep
each of the regional parties are ready to get involved and are
welcome to get involved. That is why it has been suggested that the
Egyptians are welcome to train Palestinian security personnel in
the West Bank, as well as in Gaza.
Sharon sees them as a potential partner because of the geo-politics
of Egypt and the region, the political weight of Egypt and, in
particular, the unique relationship of Egypt to President Yasser
Prof. Golan: At the recent NATO meeting in Turkey, there was
talk about expanding NATO in our part of the world. While the EU as
such is not a member of NATO, many of the member states are. Can
NATO play a role in the process, as it has in other areas of the
Consul General Jenkins: There is no prospect of anybody
playing a role without the consent of the parties. Do I think that
if NATO wanted to play a role in this area there would be consent?
No, I don't think they would get Israeli consent.
The Egyptians are trying to negotiate their way toward building
consent with regards to the Palestinian Authority and Israel. That
is a process that everybody has to go through if they want a role.
There are asymmetries of power, sensitivities and politics that
need to be negotiated by anybody who wants to get involved.
One of the reasons why the Egyptian role is important is precisely
because the Egyptians themselves have a significant national
interest in ensuring that Gaza works in a certain way. I also think
the nature of the situation is that they understand what happens in
Gaza probably better than virtually anybody else. That plays a part
in the manufacturing of consent.
As for NATO, I don't know about the future, but at the moment I
would say that it is an interesting idea because it is certainly a
paradigm that is being applied elsewhere. The trouble is I don't
think it can be applied unchanged here.
Minister Shtayyeh: We haven't discussed the timing of third-
party involvement - now or later, before the agreement or to
monitor the implementation of the agreement? That is an important
issue. We, the Palestinians and the Israelis, were given a chance
to sit down and negotiate on a bilateral basis. The peace talks
started with an invitation from the United States in Madrid, the
famous Letter of Invitation by (then Secretary of State) Jim Baker.
This was followed by the Washington talks, then the parties were
helped by third-party facilitation, Norway, and then the two
parties were left on their own and an agreement was born. The
weakness of the agreement is that the signatories at the White
House alongside the two parties - the Americans, Europe, the
Egyptians and the Jordanians - were there as celebrities rather
than as parties that said, "Listen guys, there is an agreement, you
have to follow it." That is the lesson we have learned from the
Oslo Agreement. Its weakness was that it did not have an
We are currently in a tremendous mess, and the crisis requires
third-party intervention. We used to say two things: no
representation, no delegation. That means that nobody else
represents us, nobody is delegated on our behalf.
The PLO fought hard to be the sole legitimate representative of the
Palestinian people, and we achieved that recognition in 1974.
Today, Sharon is trying to find regional partners to play with and
to settle the issue of the question of Palestine without the
Palestinians. This takes us, as Palestinians, back 40 years to what
we fought in blood for, the fact that the Palestinian leadership is
the representative of the Palestinian people.
Thus both issues - legitimacy and timing - are extremely important
when it comes to third-party intervention.
Prof. Golan: Member of Knesset Livni said that she thought
negotiations should be bilateral, but implementation could have a
third party at some point. To avoid unilateralism, is Israel trying
to get a third party involved now rather than dealing with the PLO?
Can a third party be introduced at this point to get the
negotiating process started again and to ensure that the
disengagement agreement will lead to further steps?
MK Livni: As the British consul general says, "You can't fix
it now - let us start something new because we are in a mess." I
believe disengagement will begin a momentum, and once that starts
and the Palestinians see that it is a good plan, it will lead
toward the development of a process. If the Gaza Strip stabilizes a
little, we can move on from there to bilateral negotiations. That
is why we as a party (Shinui) and as members of parliament, even
though we would prefer a negotiated agreement, are backing Sharon's
disengagement plan, because you have to start somewhere. You can't
start a dialogue when your people are being killed. Somebody has to
take control. After calm is achieved, it will be possible to have a
Prof. Dajani: The Vietnamese negotiated for several years
while bombing was taking place. And how would Israelis feel if
Palestinians sai, "We don't want to speak to Sharon, change your
Sharon." Even if a Palestinian wanted to criticize Arafat, he is
our elected president, and if the Israelis say he is not our
partner, we have to support him.
I believe the Israelis and the Palestinians are interested in
moving forward, so how can we jumpstart the situation?
MK Livni: We tried again and again to work with Mr. Arafat,
and it didn't work. This is also the view of the Europeans and the
Minister Shtayyeh: Here is the representative of the
European Union, don't say that the Europeans don't want to talk to
President Arafat. Ask the Europeans.
Amb. Chevallard: The foreign minister of France recently
visited Arafat. Others have done it before, others may follow, even
though we support doing business with the PA prime minister.
MK Livni: What about Joschka Fischer, the foreign minister
of Germany, ask him?
Amb. Chevallard: The official policy of the European Union
is that Mr. Arafat is the elected leader of the PA and, moreover,
he holds, whether we like it or not, the central power position
within the PA.
Prof. Golan: I think an appropriate conclusion to this
discussion is that perhaps the most significant role of the
international community today would be to make a connection between
disengagement, as a first step, and the Road Map. This could
conceivably get us moving.
Prof. Dajani: We really thank you all for being with us.
Israelis, Palestinians and people from the international community
will read this, and we hope they will make use of it.