On Thursday 19/7/2001, in Rome, the foreign ministers of the G8 nations: America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia, issued a declaration regarding the Middle East. Afterwards, the annual summit of these states, held in Genoa, Italy, on Saturday 21/7/2001, issued another declaration, confirming the agreement of the foreign ministers.
The following came in the declaration: ‘In light of developments warning of danger in the Middle East, we confirm that the Mitchell report, as a whole, is the only path to take in order to break the existing deadlock, and to stop the escalation, and resume the political process.
‘We must start the cooling off period as soon as possible and this means the following:
‘Extremism and terrorism must be resisted, and not allowed to dictate the security atmosphere. All commitments given to ensure that violence stops, must be monitored closely. All parties must refrain from any incitement or provocation. No side should undertake any actions, which destroys the other side.
‘We believe under these circumstances that a third party observer, agreed by both sides, will serve their interests in implementing the Mitchell report.’
The following came in the declaration of the leaders: ‘the situation in the Middle East is extremely dangerous. Many have died and we cannot take the stance of an onlooker as the situation becomes more critical. There is a need for immediate action.
‘The immediate implementation of the Mitchell report is the only way forward. We must begin the cooling off period as soon as possible. Violence and terrorism must be stopped. The monitoring of a third party agreed by both sides will serve their interests in implementing the Mitchell report.
‘We agree completely with the position of the G8 nations, announced by the foreign ministers on the 19th July.’
The declaration expresses the international position regarding the events taking place in occupied Palestine, i.e. the position of America, the only super power, and the position of other major powers such as Britain, France and Russia. As for the other states, they are either subservient to America, like Germany and Japan, or subservient to Britain, such as Canada, or they are satellite states, like Italy, which presently revolves around American interests. Its position is of no significance except to increase the numbers. What is worthy of attention is that America now accepts the participation of Europe in putting a policy regarding the Palestinian issue. This is because America has worked long and tirelessly to operate alone and restrict the issues between it, and the Jews and Palestinians. This success for the Europeans comes not for the first time. In the past, Europe succeeded in holding the Oslo agreement without the knowledge of the Americans, who reluctantly accepted it in the end. However the situation now is distinguished by the apparent American acceptance of European involvement. This success does not mean Europe will participate in all policies and forthcoming positions regarding the Palestinian issue, or any other issue. Rather, it relates only to the current stance regarding occupied Palestine. It may or may not be repeated, but this is something that will only be revealed in the coming months, or years. It is true that this change in the American style began since the Mitchell report came into force, but it became undeniably clear after the declarations of Rome and Genoa.
It has become clear from the Mitchell report, that it includes the viewpoints of America and Europe regarding the current situation in occupied Palestine. For example, the Bush administration gave no attention to the negotiations of what they called “the final resolution” before the instigation of the Mitchell report, to the extent that no reference was ever made before it, to these negotiations in the statements of American officials. They took the view that the people were not ready and that many goals, such as the building of a strong base for peace, must be achieved in the framework of the region as a whole before these negotiations could begin. The American interest was focused on quietening and stopping the Intifadah first, and before anything else, fearing for her agents and interests in the region. However, the European position insisted on the return to the negotiations of the final resolution, and their resumption from the point reached by the former Clinton administration. The report provides for the stopping of the Intifadah, or what they call violence, and the negotiations in its final stages. In its totality it contains both viewpoints equally, regarding the current situation. Likewise, the European position is clearly apparent in the Rome and Genoa declarations, as the issue of the monitoring of a third party appeared for the first time in the Nice declaration of the European Union in December 2000, and was rejected by America in the Security Council on many occasions. The same goes for the demand to stop actions that will destroy the position of the other party, which, as mentioned in the declarations, is a European stance in the highest degree. It was also the position of Chirac, who met Sharon in his recent visit to France. It is not unlikely that the resolute and strong language found in the wording of the declaration is that of Europe.
What confirms the agreement on the positions of America and Europe, towards the current situation of occupied Palestine, was what has been disclosed by Ivanov, the foreign minister of Russia, in his comment during the press conference held with the Italian foreign minister, Rinati Rogero. At the press conference, in the presence of the other foreign ministers, Ivanov commented: “We follow a joint path regarding this issue. We believe there is no need now for any new undertaking. The proposal of the Mitchell report is on the table, which includes those undertakings set down previously by Egypt and Jordan. We feel this (Mitchell report) is a good basis to stop the violence, pacify the situation and create circumstances in which talks can resume. In this spirit we have adopted the declaration, which you have before you, from the foreign ministers of the G8 powers. I wish to emphasis again that there is absolutely no disagreement amongst us on this matter. We all speak with one voice. We are organised on this matter amongst us, and more than that we intend to work according to one organised way: the US, European Union and Russia. It is very clear from the past experience, and from the present experience as well, that it is not within the ability of any one to solve this problem on its own. It is vital that we organise ourselves to a large degree, and that we participate in all our efforts. We have agreed together that this is the manner in which we shall work. Russia will not work on its own but in synonymy with our partners because we share a common way… and so it is possible for us to return to a peaceful settlement to the situation. That is why we are determined to work together on this matter.”
This is what the Russian minister, in the presence of the other foreign ministers, including the American, British and French foreign ministers, revealed. They commended his comments and contributed with statements from which one can understand their agreement on unifying their positions in the current stage.
Accordingly, the international position, regarding what has been taking place in occupied Palestine, has changed from what it was before the agreement on the Mitchell report i.e. before 21/5/2001, the date on which it was issued.
The question that now arises is: what is expected to happen in occupied Palestine in the light of the new international position? The answer is that the position of Sharon has become weaker than it has ever been. Especially since the disagreement between him and America has arisen since his recent visit to America, on 26/6/2001. During his talks with Bush, he insisted on his position as represented by the duty of stopping the Intifadah, or what he calls terrorism, by 100% before the start of the week of pacification, which precedes the cooling off period mentioned in the Mitchell plan. This is contrary to Bush’s view, who thought it would be possible to transfer to the subsequent stages, even if a 100% cease-fire was not achieved. The Rome and Genoa declarations have decisively dispelled any doubts about the honeymoon between Sharon and America. This is because the firm and strong language used, was not something Sharon had wished for. This expresses clearly the anger of America and Europe towards his policies and procrastination, in implementing the Mitchell report. Thus, either he yields to the international pressure, and begins to implement what has been mentioned in the report without any consideration for his stipulations, or he displays obstinacy, in which will be his ending.
So, for how much longer will the peoples of the Islamic Ummah remain a football at the feet of these players!