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June 1, 2003

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i Women in green activists demonstrate against the "road map" during the cabinet meeting that accepted it at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem. Photo:Ariel JerozolimskJ "Road Map" vote .seen as historic, but the hard part is lUSt beg,nnmg By Naomi Segal The Jerusalem Post JERUSALEM, (JTA) - The Israeli Cabinet's approval of the "road map" toward Israeli- Palestinian peace, the first time an Israeli govern- ment has explicitly endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state, was hailed as a historic development. But the decision on May 25 -- welcomed by the United States -- left palestinians wary, Israeli settlers worried and commontators wondering whether the vote was a tactical move to avoid confrontation with the Unit- ed Stales or whether Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon truly had changed to peace-making. Many analysts saw the vote as the latest volley in a complex game of diplomatic ping-pong, with each side maneuvering to throw the ball into the other's court in hopes of exposing his-adversary's lack of commitme m to the plan.  In a 12-7 vote, with four abstentions, Shaton's government voted to accept tlae"steps seI out in the road map"for a phased ending of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. But the Cabinet also appended 14 reservations to the road map, which the United States has agreed to "address." The Cabinet also ruled out the Palestinian demand that refugees from Israel's 1948 War of Independence and their descendants - several mil- lion people in all - be granted a "fight of return'to their former homes inside Israel. Israelis see lifts as tantamount to calling for an end to the Jewish state. Sharon had demallded - unsacssfully - that just as Israel was asked to commit at the start of the process to the establishment of a Palestinian state, the Palestinians shtmld be forced to forego the "fight of return"and acknowledge in advance that refugees would be resettled only in the future Palestmian state. Still, Israel's acceptance was enough for officials to continue prepara- tions for an anticipated June summit in Jordan with President Bush, the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Egypt and Jordan. Sources in Jerusalem also said that a second bilateral meeting between Sharon and his Palestinian Authority counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, is CONTINUED ON PAGE 18 WINNER Of 17 VIRGINIA AND 24 NATIONAL PRESS AWARDS SOUTHEASTERN VIRGINIA IEWISH NEW00 5041 Crpode V Odd,t,  1SO Vg,o hath, Vlrgm 3462431! 1757) (k'Vl - t40 FIX (757) 671-7613 '  newll.4wg v,v,jmvP, hVA.ocg Roaald Kl'amtar ....................... President Elect Abbey Horwitz, DDS .................... Secretar) Allm Frkla ............................. Vice-President Jody Wagner .................................. Treasurer Edward Karot.g, MID ............. Vice-Preidenl Harry Graber ........... Executive Vice-President Roht*rt  ..................... Vice*PreJden Reba Karp ............... Edit,r Lomly ,mrflm ......................... Vice-Pre-.idenr Hal ,k B,k Review Editor .'stewart I.. Smokier ...... AOvertr, mg Manager Southeastern Virginia Jewish News June 1,2003 Why is rebuilding of Iraq moving slowly? By Barry Rubin The Jerusalem Post Everyone of good will should want the United States to succeed in helping Iraqis enjoy peace, freedom, prosperity, and stability. Even people who opposed the war should want this outcome for the good of Iraq's people, the US, and, indeed, everyone in the Mid- dle East. It should be obvious that the US government has not had much time to make progress on these difficult issues. Yet as of today the problems are increasingly not ones of insufficient time but of inadequate decision-making and implementation. Yes, good plans were made, but they have been forgotten or deliberately tossed aside. What is needed now is not to score partisan points against the administration or re-fight old bat- tles but to get the best possible policy toward Iraq. Things are not going well in Iraq, many of the officials involved are saying privately. It is not too late to fix things, but crit- ical decisions must be made and implemented very soon. Iraqis still  welcoming the Ameri- cans, but two more months of paralysis is going to change this situation for the worse. The problem is not just lack of time. Basic guidelines have not been sufficiently set, while inter- nal bickering among US govern- ment agencies s dangerously high. Decisions are being made too slowly and reversed too often. One official described what is happening now as a "rush to fail- ure." But it does not have to be that way. Let's examine some critical issues briefly: Bottom up or top down? The policy seems to be that every- thing must wait until a nation- al government is established, a very difficult task whose timetable is being pushed back. Candle Lighting June 5/$tvan 5 Eve of Shavuot Light candles at 8:00 p.m. June 6/Sivan 6 SHAVUOT Light candles at 8:01 p.m. June 13/Sivan 13 Light candles at 8:04 p.m. June 20/Sivan 20 Light candles at 8:07 p.m. June 27/Slvan 27 Light candles at 8:08p.m. Why not put the emphasis on local governments, which can be put together in most though not all places very fast? This would also have much more impact on individual Iraqis, who want a return to order. Getting people working and paid. Not being able to do pro- ductive work and receive needed income is incredibly demoralizing. Why not estab- lish a basic but massive public works program, paying every Iraqi who wants to work a minimum wage for clearing the debris of war and perform- ing basic services? Regional authorities to solve ethnic issues. Given the deep divisions between Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish Iraqis, why not immediately create a system of regional govern- ments where one group lives? The existing Kurdish system could be rognized officially and Shi'ite or Sunni councils could be set up in areas where one group predominates. Disput- ed or mixed areas would be kept out of this system. to Iraq's artistic community, or sponsoring competitions among writers on topics like "What free- dom means to me" may seem petty but would win the friend- ship of key people for decades to come. The Iraqi exiles question. So is the US helping Ahmed Chal- abi and other exiles to take a leading role in Iraq, or is it going to push them aside? Make up your mind. Once someone is designated as a powerful figure with US sup port, that person's influence is going to increase a lot. Even if such designations are made only for a transitional period and are clearly not designed to impose a new ruler the US must treat the returned exiles properly. They are being ignored and humiliated at-present. Coordination seems extremely poor. This is an extremely bad strategy, for if you are seen to be mistreating existing allies, why should anyone want to become future allies? Military versus civilian. The problem is that the US military is In such a situation, different being given the main job of man- Shi'ite factions would have to jaging Iraq today while a nominal" start competing among ly civilian authority is supposed selves and deliyeringnefits to their pepplerather than remain- ingklle and targeting the US for - their complaints. The first step toward democra- tic government must be represen- tative government, meeting the needs of individuals through their interest groups. Humanitarian solutions. While a major hunger or health crisis has been avoided, the fact is that restoring power and other major systems has gone too slowly. The US mustrush to send in generators and other things to benefit Iraq's people in an all-out mobilization, as would be done in response to a natural disaster. The truth is and people within the US government know it that sufficient supplies and equipment have not been available. Winning the intellectuals. In a situation like this the role of Iraqi intellectuals is vital. Small steps can be of huge future importance and cultural diplomacy becomes vital. How about appealing to the American people, through non- governmental organizations, to build direct connections to key groups in Iraq? For example, a few thousand dollars worth of art supplies sent to run things without the assets to do so. who's in charge and how will they coordinate? We must not fool ourselves that this is working properly. There are also well- known policy differences between the State and Defense departments problems that had better be ironed out fight now. Again, it is not too late to save the situation, but success requires a change in strategy and the cur- rent weak implementation. The difficulties do not arise from the American soldiers and all-too" few civilian workers on the scene but from the highest levels of the US government and from inter" agency feuds. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of the Middle East depends on President George W'. Bush straightening out this situa" tion right now by making clear decisions and picking an undiS" puted chain of command to implement them. The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East RevieVe of International Affairs ( MERIA) Journal, part of the lnterdiscipli" narv Center Herzliya (IDC). Hi. s mo't recent book is The Trage ea of the Middle East.