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 The War in Context
   alternative perspectives on the "war on terrorism"

Worse than no deal at all
Reviewing the Clinton-Barak peace proposal

Ahmad Faruqui, Tom Paine.com, April 22, 2002

Characterizing Israel’s offer as “generous” has been a tenet in U.S. policy-making circles and punditry. Many in the Bush and Clinton administrations, on editorial pages, and in the American Jewish community have argued that Arafat's failure to accept this offer betrays an underlying rejection of Israel's right to exist. [...]
But how generous was the Clinton-Barak plan? This is a critical question, because this proposal is a historic baseline for any new ‘progress’ or ‘hope’ in resolving the conflict. [...]
The Palestinian state, according to diplomats and academics familiar with the details, would have consisted of five cantons, four of which would be located in the West Bank and one in the Gaza strip.

The two million Palestinians living in 200 scattered areas around the West Bank would have been consolidated into three cantons. The Israeli army would have control of the eastern border of the state, the Jordan Valley, for an indefinite period of time. A fourth canton would have been created around East Jerusalem. Much of the water infrastructure would have remained under Israeli control. Most importantly, the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam, would have remained under Israeli control.

For its part, Israel would have annexed 69 of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, containing 85 percent of the 200,000 settlers that have stayed in the West Bank -- a violation of the Oslo Accords. The settlement blocs intrude into the existing road network and this would have severely disrupted Palestinian road traffic in the West Bank. To compensate the Palestinians for the loss of prime agricultural land, Israel offered stretches of desert adjacent to the Gaza Strip that it currently uses for dumping toxic wastes.
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September 11 and the declaration of a "war on terrorism," has forced Americans to look at the World in a new light. No one can afford any longer to define the limits of their concerns by refusing to look beyond this nation's borders. If the freedom that every American cherishes, is not to become a freedom bound within a fortress, then every American will need to understand and respect the needs and concerns of the rest of the World. To this end, The War in Context invites anyone with interest and an open mind to listen to the critical discourse in which the policies and actions of the Bush administration are now being questioned. This debate, which is engaging inquiring minds inside and outside America, will hopefully inform the development of a sustainable new world order - a world order in which America is as much shaped by the World as is the World shaped by America.