The Reality of the "Geneva Accord"

— a public statement

THE GENEVA ACCORD was signed Monday, December 1, 2003, amid great media and political fanfare. The fifty-page document lays out a plan for a presumed “peace agreement” between Israel and the Palestinian people. We, the undersigned, consider this initiative as inconsistent with the prerequisites of a just and durable peace for the following reasons:

1. It attempts to nullify the Palestinian right of return, both as a collective national right and as an individual right. By doing so, it strengthens existing attempts to relocate and scatter Palestinian refugees throughout the world and gives credence to plans to abrogate international law pertaining to the inalienable nature of the Right of Return. The net result would be to extract the very anchor of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination: the indivisible oneness of the Palestinian people and their right to their homes, properties and homeland.

2. It provides a Palestinian-Arab cover for the exclusive nature of the Israeli polity as a “Jewish State,” thus abrogating the national character of the Palestinian people within 1948 borders. It therefore fails to recognize the right of the 1.2 million Palestinian citizens of Israel to live in a democratic state for all its citizens: Jews and Palestinians, and it sets stage for mass transfer and ethnic cleansing in the future to maintain demographic Jewish dominance.

3. It accepts the reconfiguration of Jerusalem based on Israeli annexation plans, and grants Palestinian-Arab legitimacy to the colonial process that altered the Arab character of Jerusalem, making it impossible for the Palestinians to exercise control over “East Jerusalem,” not to say anything about “West Jerusalem,” which was conquered and ethnically cleansed in 1948.

4. It permanently accepts the presence of the vast majority of Israeli settlement colonies, particularly those that surround Jerusalem from the east, south, north and northwest, where most post-1967 settlers live, and alters the geography of Palestine to accommodate such colonial seizures.

5. It codifies a process that would limit the upper ceiling of a potential Palestinian polity to a truncated and demilitarized entity void of sovereignty, and sets in motion a process of expanding Israeli political oversight and control over any potential Palestinian entity.

6. It paves for an economic/political relationship that subordinates the Palestinian people to an exclusive and dominant Israeli polity, thus strategically de-linking the Palestinians from the Arab people and subjugating the national interests of all Arabs to the singular power of an Israeli-U.S. alliance.

7. It allows for Israeli military and economic penetration and permanent outposts into the presumed Palestinian entity.

8. It leaves open all Israeli claims to the region's water resources, natural wealth and airspace. The text makes several references to annexes, but these issues have, in effect, been deferred, and may become the "final status" issues of the Geneva understanding.

9. It dilutes the international consensus on the conflict and attempts to transform the basis of the Palestinian struggle from one of national self-determination and return to that of modified civil rights within a prescribed political framework.

10. Most importantly, it weakens the national unity and resolve of the Palestinian people leading to the potential defeat of the current Intifada in the same manner Madrid and Oslo destroyed the first a decade ago.

11. It diminishes European commitment to Palestinian sovereignty, and most importantly, it expands the margin of Palestinian concessions, which have been bottoming out during the past two decades, making it very difficult for future Palestinian negotiators to back away from these concessions, including the renunciation of the Right of Return.

12. It assumes the Palestinian victims of Israel are the criminals, and the new judges allegedly more liberal than previous ones in the sentencing.

The Geneva Accord is a natural extension and an inevitable result of the “Road Map” and all associated models. The outcome of all, if allowed to succeed, would be to terminate the Palestinian march to freedom, to nullify indefinitely and de-legitimize the Palestinian right to return, and to subordinate the Arab nation to a heavily militarized outpost with normalized relationships with its surroundings.

Partial list of initial signers: Yousef Abudayyeh, Co-Chair Middle East Cultural and Information Center* Free Palestine Alliance, USA San Diego, California; As`ad AbuKhalil, Ph.D. Department of Politics, California State University* Stanislaus, California; Janet Abu-Lughod, Ph.D. Professor Emerita of Sociology The New School, New York* NNC; Ali Abunimah, Writer/journalist Electronic Intifada* Chicago; Ambassador Hasan Abunimah, Former Ambassador Permanent Representative of Jordan at the UN*; Musa Al-Hindi, Palestine Right of Return Congress Al-Awda Coalition Nebraska; Abbas Alnasrawi, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus University of Vermont* Shelburne, VT, USA; Mohammed Al-Sheikh, Arab American Community Center* Chicago, Illinois; Kamal Khalaf Altawil, M.D. Past president of the Arab American University Graduates (AAUG) Past president of the National Arab American Medical Association (NAAMA) Pennsylvania; Naseer H. Aruri, Ph.D. Chancellor Professor (Emeritus) University of Massachusetts Dartmouth* Massachusetts; Fawzi Asmar, <D>Ph.D. Writer/journalist Washington, DC; Brian Becker, International A.N.S.W.E.R. Steering Committee, New York; Peter Dodd, Ph.D. Retired professor and United Nations official* Victoria, BC, Canada; Erica Dodd, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor University of Victoria* Victoria, BC, Canada; Samih Farsoun, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology American University* Washington, DC; Jess Ghannam, Ph.D. Professor University of California, San Francisco * Right of Return Congress Al-Awda Coalition; Elaine Hagopian, Ph.D. Professor Emerita of Sociology Simmons College* Organizer of the April 2000 Right of Return Conference; Riyad Mansour, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor Central Florida University* Orlando, Florida; Joseph Massad, Ph.D. Professor, MEALAC Columbia University* NYC; Hasan & Shereen Newash, Grosse Pointe, Michigan; Mazin Qumsiyeh, Ph.D. Professor, Yale University* Co-Founder of Palestine Right to Return Coalition Connecticut; Elias Rashmawi, Free Palestine Alliance, USA National Steering Committee of International A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition California; Gary Rothberger, Cambridge, MA; Cheryl A. Rubenberg, Ph.D. Retired Professor Florida International University* North Miami, Florida; Hon. Samy Sharaf, Former Minister of Presidential Affairs* Cairo, Egypt * For identification only

ATC 109, March-April 2004