WASHINGTON -- On Monday, a peace agreement will be signed by Israelis and Palestinians. This ``Geneva accord'' has gotten much attention. And the signing itself will be greeted with much hoopla. Journalists are being flown in from around the world by the Swiss government. Jimmy Carter will be heading a list of foreign dignitaries. The U.S. Embassy in Bern will be sending an observer.
This is all rather peculiar: the agreement is being signed not by Israeli and Palestinian officials, but by two people with no power.
On the Palestinian side, the negotiator is former information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, who at least is said to have Yasser Arafat's ear. The Israeli side, however, is led by Yossi Beilin, a man whose political standing in his own country is so low that he failed to make it into Parliament. After helping bring his Labor Party to ruin, Beilin abandoned it for the far left Meretz Party, which then did so badly in the last election that Beilin is now a private citizen.
There is a reason why he is one of Israel's most reviled and discredited politicians. He was the principal ideologue and architect behind the ``peace'' foisted on Israel in 1993. Those Oslo agreements have brought a decade of the worst terror in all Israeli history.
Now he is at it again. And Secretary of State Colin Powell has written a letter to Beilin and Rabbo expressing appreciation for their effort, and next week he plans to meet with them.
This is scandalous. Israel is a democracy, and this agreement was negotiated in defiance of the democratically (and overwhelmingly) elected government of Israel. If a private U.S. citizen negotiates a treaty on his own, he could go to jail under the Logan Act. If an Israeli does it, he gets a pat on the back from the secretary of state.
Moreover, this ``peace'' is entirely hallucinatory. It is written as if Oslo never happened. The Palestinian side repeats solemn pledges to recognize Israel, renounce terror, end anti-Israel incitement, etc.-- all promised in Oslo. These promises are today such a dead letter that the Palestinian side is openly bargaining these chits again, as if the Israelis have forgotten that in return for these pledges 10 years ago, Israel recognized the PLO, brought it out of Tunisian exile, established a Palestinian Authority, permitted it an army with 50,000 guns and invited the world to donate billions to this new Authority.
Arafat pocketed every Israeli concession and betrayed every promise he signed at Oslo.
It is Lucy and the football all over again, and the same chorus of delusionals who so applauded Oslo -- Jimmy Carter, Sandy Berger, Tom Friedman -- is applauding again. This time, however, the Israeli surrender is so breathtaking it makes Oslo look rational.
A Palestinian state, of course. Evacuating every Jewish settlement in new Palestine, of course. Redividing Jerusalem, of course. But that is not enough. Beilin gives up the ultimate symbol of the Jewish connection and claim to the land, the center of the Jewish state for 1,000 years before the Roman destruction, the subject of Jewish longing in poetry and prayer for the 2,000 years since -- the Temple Mount. And Beilin doesn't just give it up to, say, some neutral international authority. He gives it to sovereign Palestine. Jews will visit at Arab sufferance.
Not satisfied with having given up Israel's soul, Beilin gives up the body too. He not only returns Israel to its 1967 borders, arbitrary and indefensible, but he does so without any serious security safeguards.
Palestine promises to acquire and buy no more weapons than specified in some treaty Annex. This is a joke. Oslo had similarly detailed limitations on Palestinian weaponry and nobody even pretended to enforce them. Last year, a massive illegal boatload came in from Iran on the Karine A. What did the world do about it? Nothing.
Today, however, Israel still has control over Palestine's borders. Under Beilin, this ends. Palestine will be free to acquire as much lethal weaponry as it wants.
And on the critical question that even the most dovish Israelis insist on -- that the Palestinians not have the right to flood Israel with Arab refugees -- the agreement is utterly ambiguous. Third-party countries are to suggest exactly how many Palestinians are to return to Israel, and the basis for the number Israel will be required to accept will be the mathematical average!
This is not a treaty, this is a suicide note -- by a private citizen on behalf of a country that has utterly rejected him politically. That it should get any encouragement from the United States or from its secretary of state is a disgrace.