[Freemanlist2] Dr. Aaron Lerner - Commentary: Still not too late for Israel to seize the initiative on

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Fri Apr 20 10:25:03 CDT 2007


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Weekly Commentary: Still not too late for Israel to seize the initiative on 
benchmark setting

Dr. Aaron Lerner                   Date: 19 April, 2007

"First, they will discuss immediate concerns, like movement and access, 
management of the passages, and preventing arms smuggling and rocket fire by 
terrorists in Gaza. On this trip, however, it became clear to all of us that 
establishing clear benchmarks to measure progress will help us move forward. 
So this is one immediate task that the parties will undertake with the 
assistance of General Keith Dayton."

Secretary Condoleezza Rice remarks to the press - Jerusalem March 27, 2007


More than three weeks have passed since Ms. Rice talked about the need for 
performance benchmarks.

And in the apparent absence of any Israeli suggestions, Washington is 
preparing its own list that it plans to present to the Israelis and 
Palestinians in the coming weeks.

Judging by past plans, one can expect a list of amorphous benchmarks for the 
Palestinians and measurable benchmarks for the Israelis.

While the Palestinians will be expected to make some photo-op deployments of 
security forces and "make efforts" to "prevent attacks" or even "prevent 
smuggling", Israel will be given benchmarks in the form of numerical goals 
(number of roadblocks removed, flow of trucks per day from Gaza, etc.).

It doesn't have to be this way.

Not if the Olmert team wakes up now and develops its own proposed timeline 
with a series of benchmarks for Palestinian security compliance.

A "put up or shut up" proposal that puts "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas to the 
test by setting a series of well defined "bite-size" confrontations between 
"moderate" PA forces and the "terror infrastructure".

The timeline could start with confrontations to destroy such high profile 
targets as illegal militia training facilities. The PA forces could then 
graduate to seizing illegal weapons stores and handing them over to General 
Dayton's people for elimination.

Mahmoud Abbas already has many thousands of well armed soldiers.  Certainly 
magnitudes more than what he needs in order to launch these kinds of 
operations if he wants to.

That's if he wants to.

And that's really the point.

Because up to now "moderate" Abbas has repeatedly explained that he has no 
intention to confront other Palestinians.

And for some reason this refusal to fight has been rewarded by programs to 
give his forces even more weapons and training.

The choice is in the Olmert team's hands:

Either sit back and wait for asymmetric performance benchmarks from 
Washington or seize the initiative and pre-empt D.C. with a detailed 
timeline of Palestinian performance benchmarks that, if honored, would 
genuinely move the Palestinians in the direction of security compliance.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra at netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il
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