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                                                                     [The Times, U.K.]

 

 

Le Monde, France

U.S. Policy Responsible for 'Stunning' Failure in Middle East

 

"American obstinacy precipitated the failure of the Palestinian national unity government and ruined the global peace effort launched by Saudi diplomacy."

 

EDITORIAL

 

Translated By Sandrine Ageorges

 

June 14, 2007

 

France - Le Monde - Original Article (French)

Bitter and disenchanted is how Alvaro de Soto describes himself, in a report written at the conclusion of a two-year mission as the U.N.'s special Middle East envoy - a report that was to remain confidential. It is an overwhelming look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

[Editor's Note: Read the entire report ].

 

Extremely severe in its conclusions, the draft is a stunning indictment of a diplomatic failure. And while not sparing Europe or the U.N., it points to the Bush Administration as bearing the heaviest responsibility for its backing of an Israeli policy that has lead to a dead end. It was a policy that sought - even encouraged - the inter-Palestinian violence that today has resulted in a violent offensive by the Islamists of Hamas to take control of the Gaza strip.

 

Bluntly put, what is it that Alvaro de Soto said? That in addition to being a result Fatah's uninterrupted reign and it's domination by corruption, the chaos and violence result from a blindness that seized the West after the Hamas electoral victory. He accuses the United States, now more than ever aligned with Israel, of having been resolutely hostile to “constructive ambiguities” - which are the only likely ways of converting the Islamists to political realism - and of having “provoked a confrontation between Hamas and Fatah.”

 

[Editor's Note: By "constructive ambiguity," de Soto appears to refer to weaning Hamas away from terror and toward being an exclusively political entity by - during this transition - tolerating its dual nature rather than rejecting it out of hand].

 

During the course of his report, the U.N. special envoy recalls the satisfaction of an important American diplomat in the face of the fratricidal Palestinian confrontation. “I like this violence,” he rejoiced, convinced that he was seeing the beginning of the end for Hamas.

 

This American obstinacy precipitated the failure of the Palestinian national unity government and ruined the global peace effort launched by Saudi diplomacy, which envisaged an across-the-board normalization of relations between the Arab countries and Israel in exchange for the creation of a Palestinian state on the basis of its 1967 borders.

 

Mr. de Soto estimated that hereon in, it will be increasingly difficult if not "impossible" to create a Palestinian state. And he denounces “the open air prison” that the Gaza strip has become.

 

The U.N. emissary is indignant at Israel's policy of “facts on the ground [building illegal settlements],” and reproaches the U.N. for having treated the Jewish state “with extreme consideration verging on tenderness.”

 

“I don't honestly believe,” he writes, “that the U.N. is rendering a service to Israel by not speaking out about its failures in the peace process. We are no friend of Israel if we allow that nation to feel self-satisfied that the Palestinians are the only ones to blame.”

 

Mr. de Soto invites U.N. diplomats to put an end to a situation that he estimates is "self-censorship" with respect to Israel.

 

In a speech on June 24, 2002, George Bush revealed his “vision” for Palestine. Five years later, almost to the day, the Palestinians in Gaza and the other territories of disintegrating Palestine are paying the full price for the policies of Israel, the United States and international diplomacy.

 

French Version Below

 

Un échec cinglant

 

14.06.07

 

Amer, désabusé, Alvaro de Soto dresse, dans un rapport de fin de mission rédigé après deux années comme envoyé spécial de l'ONU au Proche-Orient et destiné à rester confidentiel, un constat accablant sur le conflit israélo-palestinien. Sévère, il dresse aussi le réquisitoire d'un échec diplomatique cinglant et, tout en n'épargnant ni l'Europe ni l'ONU, pointe la lourde responsabilité de l'administration Bush, qui a soutenu une politique israélienne menant à une impasse. Une politique qui a souhaité, voire encouragé, les violences interpalestiniennes qui aboutissent aujourd'hui à la violente offensive des islamistes du Hamas pour prendre le contrôle de la bande de Gaza.

 

Que dit crûment Alvaro de Soto ? Que ce chaos et cette violence sont, outre le résultat d'un règne sans partage du Fatah dominé par la corruption, le produit de l'aveuglement qui a saisi l'Occident après la victoire électorale du Hamas. Il accuse les Etats-Unis, plus que jamais alignés sur Israël, d'avoir été résolument hostiles aux "ambiguïtés constructives", seules susceptibles de convertir les islamistes au réalisme politique, et d'avoir "poussé à une confrontation entre le Hamas et le Fatah". Au détour de son récit, l'émissaire des Nations unies rapporte la satisfaction d'un haut diplomate américain devant les affrontements fratricides. "J'aime cette violence", se ravissait-il, convaincu d'y voir le début de la fin du Hamas.

 

Cette obstination américaine a précipité l'échec du gouvernement d'union nationale palestinien et ruiné l'offre de paix globale de la diplomatie saoudienne, qui prévoit une normalisation totale des pays arabes avec Israël en échange de la création d'un Etat palestinien sur la base des frontières de 1967. M. de Soto estime dorénavant de plus en plus difficile, voire "impossible", la création d'un Etat palestinien. Il dénonce "la prison à ciel ouvert" qu'est devenue la bande de Gaza.

 

L'émissaire de l'ONU s'indigne de la politique des "faits accomplis" d'Israël, reprochant à l'ONU d'avoir traité l'Etat juif "avec une extrême considération, presque de la tendresse". "Je ne crois honnêtement pas, écrit-il, que l'ONU rende service à Israël en ne parlant pas franchement de ses manquements dans le processus de paix. Nous ne sommes pas un ami d'Israël si nous permettons à ce pays de s'autosatisfaire que les Palestiniens soient les seuls à blâmer." M. de Soto appelle les diplomates internationaux à mettre fin à une situation qu'il estime être de l'"autocensure" vis-à-vis d'Israël.

 

Le 24 juin 2002, George Bush exposait dans un discours sa "vision" de la Palestine. Cinq ans après, presque jour pour jour, les Palestiniens paient au prix fort, à Gaza et dans les autres territoires d'une Palestine déchirée, la politique d'Israël, des Etats-Unis et de la diplomatie internationale.









































The U.N.'s former special envoy to the Middle East, Alvaro de Soto: His final report which was leaked to the press is a damning indictment of the United States, Europe and the U.N., for the almost total collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Hamas celebrated 'Islamist revolution,' June 14, 00:01:23WindowsVideo

RealVideo[LATEST NEWSWIRE PHOTOS: Hamas Takes Gaza].

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: A British analysis of the violence in Gaza, June 14, 00:02:19WindowsVideo

Hamas fighters have their way in the personal office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after the Islamist group's gunmen routed his remaining forces in Gaza, June 15.





Posing in the President's office ....


Hamas fighters celebrate after capturing a building belonging to the pro-Fatah security forces loyal to President Mahmud Abbas in Rafah, southern Gaza, June 14.





Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, after declaring a atate of emergency and dismissing the Hamas-led government. Hamas has dismissed the move as 'premature.'



Palestinian prime minister and Hamas leader Ismail Haniya at a press conference on June 15 in Gaza City. Haniya said Hamas would not declare a 'state' in Gaza where it overran its Fatah rivals, calling President Mahmud Abbas' move to fire him and the rest of the Hamas-led government 'premature.'