In addition to this Essay, as to commentary and clarifying comments in brackets [ ] only: © Mark Rosenblit
THE REAL ROOT CAUSE
The entire biblical Land of Israel, including pre-1967 Israel (i.e., Israel within its 1949 armistice demarcation lines, constituting 17% of Mandatory Palestine) and post-1967 Israel (i.e., Judea, Samaria, the eastern portion of Jerusalem, and Gaza, constituting 5% of Mandatory Palestine; and the Golan Heights, constituting 1% of Mandatory Palestine), aggregately constituting 23% of Mandatory Palestine, belongs exclusively to the Jewish people, despite the fact that Arabs -- rather than Jews -- presently constitute the overwhelming majority of the population in the post-1967 areas of biblical Israel (except for the eastern portion of Jerusalem where Arabs form only a slight majority and the Golan Heights where Jews form a slight majority). However, for purposes of this essay only, I have taken the liberty of ahistorically (1) positing the existence of a “Palestinian people” ethnically distinct from the masses of Arabs clans ranging through 21 Arab countries from Mauritania in the West to Oman in the East, and (2) treating these post-1967 areas of biblical Israel (sans the Golan Heights) as the World views them, namely, as the "Occupied Palestinian Territories".
The Arab nations and numerous philo-Arab pundits routinely assert that the present Arab war of terror against Israel and the Jewish people results from Israel's military occupation, since the 1967 Six Day War, of these "Palestinian" lands. The "Occupation" is, accordingly, ubiquitously proclaimed to be the "Root Cause" of the Arab-Jewish conflict -- the alleged reason being that a military occupation always incites the occupied people to perpetrate acts of violent resistance against their occupiers. Yet, if this be true, then why is it that the illegal military occupations, from 1948 to 1967, of these very areas by Jordan (as to Judea, Samaria, and the eastern portion of Jerusalem) and by Egypt (as to Gaza) did not result in any "Palestinian" uprising against either of these foreign occupiers during those long 19 years? In fact, the Arabs of Judea, Samaria, and the eastern portion of Jerusalem, after having emphatically insisted that they were “southern Syrians” prior to Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, supinely accepted that they were “Jordanians” from 1948 to 1967, only to assert their identity as “Palestinians” after Israel’s reacquisition of these territories in the Six Day War.
Furthermore, in light of the fact that the Palestine Liberation Organization was created in 1964 -- a full three years before Israel acquired the "Occupied Territories" from Jordan and Egypt -- it is more than obvious that this entity’s raison d'être was never the liberation of these not-as-yet-acquired lands, but rather the "liberation" (i.e., destruction) of Israel within its 1949 armistice demarcation lines.
Moreover, the military campaign, in 1967, by the Arab World to destroy Israel within its 1949 armistice demarcation lines cannot logically be asserted to have been caused by the subsequent results of that very war, namely, Israel's acquisition of the "Occupied Territories" of 1967.
And neither can it be credibly asserted that the prior invasion, in 1948, of Israel within the even more restrictive 1947 United Nations partition plan lines by seven Arab States -- namely, Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan (precursor to Jordan), Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, in the process of which three of them, Iraq, Transjordan and Egypt, conquered and illegally occupied, respectively, the areas of Samaria (which was subsequently turned over by Iraq to Transjordan), of Judea and the eastern portion of Jerusalem, and of Gaza -- was caused by Israel's future acquisition, in 1967, of these very same "Occupied Territories".
In fact, although United Nations General Assembly Resolution no. 181, issued November 29, 1947, commonly known as the "Palestine Partition Plan" -- which called for the termination of the Mandate for Palestine and, inter alia, for the creation in its place of an independent "Palestinian" Jewish State (comprised of 3 small barely-adjoined cantons, constituting almost 12% of Mandatory Palestine) and an independent "Palestinian" Arab state (comprised mostly of the "Occupied Territories" of 1967, constituting almost 10% of Mandatory Palestine) -- would have carved out from Mandatory Palestine a second "Palestinian" Arab state (after Transjordan, constituting 77% of Mandatory Palestine, which was created in 1922 from virtually all of Mandatory Palestine situated east of the Jordan River), and although the Jewish leadership of Mandatory Palestine accepted the Resolution, the Arab leadership of Mandatory Palestine (as well as all of the Arab and Muslim countries which were then members of the U.N., namely, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and Yemen) rejected the Resolution -- by both declaration and conduct. The violent response of the "Palestinian" Arabs and the surrounding Arab countries to the passage of the Resolution, which culminated in their 1948 invasion of Israel within its 1947 partition plan lines, sealed Arab rejection of a "Palestinian" state upon the very lands which were, decades later, to become known as the "Occupied Palestinian Territory" of 1967.
Obviously, the real and only Root Cause of the conflict was, is, and always will be the unified Arab rejection of the existence of a sovereign Jewish nation-state in any portion of the biblical Land of Israel -- even within the 12% of original Mandatory Palestine allotted to the Jewish people by virtue of the Palestine Partition Plan.
However, notwithstanding the foregoing Truth, Israel initiated the 1993 Oslo Accords based upon its pollyannish assumption that, by unilaterally transferring portions of the "Occupied Territories" (namely, the 8 main Arab-populated cities of Judea and Samaria -- Jericho, Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Qalqilya, Tulkarm, Bethlehem and 80% of Hebron -- together with hundreds of their satellite villages plus virtually all of the Arab-populated areas of Gaza) to the "Palestinian" Arabs pending the negotiation of an end-of-the-conflict peace treaty, the Jewish State would be able to prove to the Arab world that -- even in the absence of having yet concluded with the "Palestinian" Arabs a final peace treaty -- it nonetheless actually intended to end the "Occupation" and would, thereby, be able to dissolve any further "justification" for the continuing Arab war of annihilation against it. Pursuant to the Olso Accords, by the end of 1995, Israel had withdrawn itself, in phases, from 42% of Judea and Samaria and 80% of Gaza with the result that 98% of the Arab population of the former and virtually 100% of the Arab population of the latter were then being governed, not by Israel, but rather by the Palestinian Authority headed by Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat. Yet, despite -- or, more accurately, due to -- Israel's substantial withdrawals from the "Occupied Territories", by the latter part of 2001 substantially more Israelis had been murdered and maimed by Arab terrorists in the 8 years subsequent to the advent of the Oslo Accords than in the four decades prior thereto. This happened only because -- with autonomous territorial bases on pre-1967 Israel's doorstep with which to indoctrinate a generation of Arab youth in the religious and irredentist justifications for the murder of Jews, and with which to build the mortar, rocket and suicide-belt factories necessary for the implementation thereof -- the "Palestinian" Arabs were able, not only to continue, but to exponentially increase the lethality of their pre-Oslo Accords war of attrition (which was commenced in 1987 and was denominated by the international media as the “First Intifada”) against the Jewish State, the intensity of which spiked in September 2000 (and was thereafter denominated by the international media as the “Second Intifada”).
In this context, it is noteworthy that the post-Oslo Accords portion of this war of attrition was waged against Israel in violation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s official renunciation of its self-perceived “right” to perpetuate terrorism and other acts of violence against the Jewish State. Below is the full text of that official renunciation:
September 9, 1993
Prime Minister of Israel
Mr. Prime Minister,
The signing of the Declaration of Principles marks a new era in the history of the Middle East. In firm conviction thereof, I would like to confirm the following PLO commitments:
The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.
The PLO accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.
The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.
The PLO considers that the signing of the Declaration of Principles constitutes a historic event, inaugurating a new epoch of peaceful coexistence, free from violence and all other acts which endanger peace and stability. Accordingly, the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators.
In view of the promise of a new era and the signing of the Declaration of Principles and based on Palestinian acceptance of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel's right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.
The Palestine Liberation Organization
In July 2000, Israel had already offered to the Palestinian Authority -- during the United States-sponsored negotiations at Camp David, Maryland -- a sovereign state in slightly over 90% of the "Occupied Territories". However, the Palestinian Authority rejected this offer by both word and deed, the latter manifestation of which took the form of a dramatic increase in Arab terror on Rosh HaShana in September 2000 (under the initial pretense that a visit to the public plaza atop the Temple Mount by an Israeli parliamentary delegation led by then opposition leader Ariel Sharon had "spontaneously" provoked the "Arab street"). In December 2000, in a final effort to alleviate the feigned "Root Cause" of the conflict, the United States proposed its own end-of-the-conflict peace plan whereby a "Palestinian" Arab state -- the 22nd Arab state -- would be created by taking 95% of the "Occupied Territories", together with certain additional land (which would be annexed to Gaza) inside pre-1967 Israel equivalent to another 2% thereof, for a total of 97% of the land area plus all of the Arab-populated neighborhoods in the eastern portion of Jerusalem and the entire Temple Mount (thereby necessitating the uprooting of more than 100 Jewish communities from Judea, Samaria and Gaza). However, the U.S. plan also required that the "Palestinian" Arabs waive any further territorial or other claims against Israel, including the pan-Arab demand for a “Palestinian” Arab "right of return" to the State of Israel (which demand seeks to demographically unmake Israel by forcing it to repatriate those Arab belligerents and their families who departed the Jewish State during its 1948 War of Independence as well as their multigenerational descendants -- presently aggregating to more than 5,000,000 hostile revanchists and irredentists -- in hopes of converting Israel from the only Jewish State into the 23rd Arab State). Additionally, in order to facilitate the resettlement and rehabilitation of this “Palestinian” diaspora population solely within the new State of “Palestine”, the United States promised to establish an international humanitarian aid fund consisting of 30 billion dollars to be utilized exclusively for this purpose. Israel accepted, but the Palestinian Authority rejected, this U.S. peace plan, thereby necessitating further unsuccessful discussions with Israel at Taba, Egypt in January 2001 amid continuing terror attacks against Israel's civilian population. In February 2001, these post-rejection discussions at Taba were halted by the newly-elected Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, based upon his government's decision not to reward terror by negotiating "peace" while under attack from its "peace partner". And, ironically, the Palestinian Authority continued to assert that its ongoing war of terror against Israel was a result of an "Occupation" -- which, since the end of 1995, had mainly existed with respect to empty or Jewish-populated land within the territories rather than with respect to the Arab population thereof (due to the simple fact that those lands populated by 98% of the "Palestinian" Arab population of Judea and Samaria and virtually 100% of the "Palestinian" Arab population of Gaza were, by then, under Palestinian Authority control) -- that it could itself have unilaterally ended by simply accepting either Israel’s peace plan of July 2000 or the U.S. peace plan of December 2000. Simply put, Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Authority, rejected the U.S. peace proposal because, while the U.S. envisaged an Arab "Palestine" emptied of Jews coexisting with a predominately Jewish Israel, Arafat was willing only to accept a Judenrein (cleansed of Jews) "Palestine" coexisting with an Arab-inundated Israel. Moreover, by continuing to insist that the worldwide “Palestinian” diaspora pour into the State of Israel rather than into a nascent “State of Palestine”, the “Palestinians” have continued to belie and subvert their own declared raison d'être for the creation of such a sovereign entity, namely, that the imperative needs of the homeless “Palestinian people” require that a separate nation-state be set aside for them. (As an aside, it is noteworthy that the very demand for such a “right of return” strips naked the blood libel that Israel is perpetrating acts of genocide against the “Palestinian people”. For, if Israel were actually in the process of annihilating the “Palestinian people”, then the “Palestinian” leadership would have surely ceased demanding in every international forum that its “refugees” be permitted to immigrate to the Jewish State.)
Finally, in March 2002, in response to the almost daily assaults on Israel's civilian population perpetrated by "Palestinian" Arab terror groups (via armed incursions, car-bombs, roadside ambushes, and suicide bombers, culminating in the horrific suicide bombing of a Passover seder attended mostly by elderly Jews), which were permitted by the Palestinian Authority to operate from the autonomous "Occupied Territories", the Israeli army temporarily repossessed most of these territories. After six weeks, Israel withdrew its forces in order to test whether, after a taste of Israel’s reacquisition, the Palestinian Authority would effectuate a decrease (or increase) in the level of terror activity. The resulting increase in terror was so staggering that, in June 2002, Israel again repossessed most of the territories. It is an indisputable fact that the "Occupied Territories" which, for more than six years, had been administered by the Palestinian Authority were eventually repossessed by Israel only because the "Palestinian" Arabs responded to Israel's peace plan of July 2000 with an orgy of Jew-hatred and terrorism.
Below is a Fox News Channel interview with former U.S. special Mideast envoy, Ambassador Dennis Ross, which illuminates the U.S. peace plan summarily rejected by the Palestinian Authority:
Dennis Ross on Fox News Sunday
Sunday, April 21, 2002
Following is a transcripted excerpt from Fox News Sunday, April 21, 2002.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS: Former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross has worked to achieve Middle East peace throughout President Clinton's final days in office. In the months following Clinton's failed peace summit at Camp David, U.S. negotiators continued behind-the-scenes peace talks with the Palestinians and Israelis up until January 2001, and that followed Clinton's presentation of ideas at the end of December 2000.
Dennis Ross joins us now with more details on all that, and Fred Barnes joins the questioning.
So, Dennis, talk to us a little bit, if you can -- I might note that we're proud to able to say that you're a Fox News contributing analyst.
DENNIS ROSS: Thank you.
HUME: Talk to us about the sequence of events. The Camp David talks, there was an offer. That was rejected. Talks continued. You come now to December, and the president has a new set of ideas. What unfolded?
ROSS: Let me give you the sequence, because I think it puts all this in perspective.
Number one, at Camp David we did not put a comprehensive set of ideas on the table. We put ideas on the table that would have affected the borders and would have affected Jerusalem.
Arafat could not accept any of that. In fact, during the 15 days there, he never himself raised a single idea. His negotiators did, to be fair to them, but he didn't. The only new idea he raised at Camp David was that the Temple didn't exist in Jerusalem, it existed in Nablus.
HUME: This is the Temple where Ariel Sharon paid a visit, which was used as a kind of a pretext for the beginning of the new intifada, correct?
ROSS: This is the core of the Jewish faith.
ROSS: So he was denying the core of the Jewish faith there.
After the summit, he immediately came back to us and he said, "We need to have another summit," to which we said, "We just shot our wad. We got a 'no' from you. You're prepared actually do a deal before we go back to something like that?"
He agreed to set up a private channel between his people and the Israelis, which I joined at the end of August. And there were serious discussions that went on, and we were poised to present our ideas the end of September, which is when the intifada erupted. He knew we were poised to present the ideas. His own people were telling him they looked good. And we asked him to intervene to ensure there wouldn't be violence after the Sharon visit, the day after. He said he would. He didn't lift a finger.
Now, eventually we were able to get back to a point where private channels between the two sides led each of them to again ask us to present the ideas. This was in early December. We brought the negotiators here.
HUME: Now, this was a request to the Clinton administration...
HUME: ... to formulate a plan. Both sides wanted this?
HUME: All right.
ROSS: Both sides asked us to present these ideas.
HUME: All right. And they were?
ROSS: The ideas were presented on December 23 by the president, and they basically said the following: On borders, there would be about a 5 percent annexation in the West Bank for the Israelis and a 2 percent swap. So there would be a net 97 percent of the territory that would go to the Palestinians.
On Jerusalem, the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem would become the capital of the Palestinian state.
On the issue of refugees, there would be a right of return for the refugees to their own state -- not to Israel. But there would also be a fund of $30 billion internationally that would be put together for either compensation or to cover repatriation, resettlement, rehabilitation costs.
And when it came to security, there would be a international presence, in place of the Israelis, in the Jordan Valley.
These were ideas that were comprehensive, unprecedented, stretched very far, represented a culmination of an effort in our best judgment as to what each side could accept after thousands of hours of debate, discussion with each side.
FRED BARNES, WEEKLY STANDARD: Now, Palestinian officials say to this day that Arafat said: "yes".
ROSS: Arafat came to the White House on January 2. Met with the president, and I was there in the Oval Office. He said yes, and then he added reservations that basically meant he rejected every single one of the things he was supposed to give.
HUME: What was he supposed to give?
ROSS: He supposed to give, on Jerusalem, the idea that there would be for the Israelis sovereignty over the Western Wall, which would cover the areas that are of religious significance to Israel. He rejected that.
HUME: He rejected their being able to have that?
ROSS: He rejected that.
He rejected the idea on the refugees. He said we need a whole new formula, as if what we had presented was non-existent.
He rejected the basic ideas on security. He wouldn't even countenance the idea that the Israelis would be able to operate in Palestinian airspace.
You know when you fly into Israel today you go to Ben Gurion [airport]. You fly in over the West Bank because you can't -- there's no space through otherwise. He rejected that.
So every single one of the ideas that was asked of him he rejected.
HUME: Now, let's take a look at the map. Now, this is what -- how the Israelis had created a map based on the president's ideas. And...
HUME: ... what can we -- that situation shows that the territory, at least, is contiguous. What about Gaza on that map?
ROSS: The Israelis would have gotten completely out of Gaza.
ROSS: And what you see also in this line, they show an area of temporary Israeli control along the border.
ROSS: Now, that was an Israeli desire. That was not what we presented. But we presented something that did point out that it would take six years before the Israelis would be totally out of the Jordan Valley.
So that map there that you see, which shows a very narrow green space along the border, would become part of the orange. So the Palestinians would have in the West Bank an area that was contiguous. Those who say there were cantons, completely untrue. It was contiguous.
HUME: Cantons being ghettos, in effect...
HUME: ... that would be cut off from other parts of the Palestinian state.
ROSS: Completely untrue.
And to connect Gaza with the West Bank, there would have been an elevated highway, an elevated railroad, to ensure that there would be not just safe passage for the Palestinians, but free passage.
BARNES: I have two other questions. One, the Palestinians point out that this was never put on paper, this offer. Why not?
ROSS: We presented this to them so that they could record it. When the President presented it, he went over it at dictation speed. He then left the cabinet room. I stayed behind. I sat with them to be sure, and checked to be sure that every single word.
The reason we did it this way was to be sure they had it and they could record it. But we told the Palestinians and Israelis, if you cannot accept these ideas, this is the culmination of the effort, we withdraw them. We did not want to formalize it. We wanted them to understand we meant what we said. You don't accept it, it's not for negotiation, this is the end of it, we withdraw it.
So that's why they have it themselves recorded. And to this day, the Palestinians have not presented to their own people what was available.
BARNES: In other words, Arafat might use it as a basis for further negotiations so he'd get more?
ROSS: Well, exactly.
HUME: Which is what, in fact, he tried to do, according to your account.
ROSS: We treated it as not only a culmination. We wanted to be sure it couldn't be a floor for negotiations.
ROSS: It couldn't be a ceiling. It was the roof.
HUME: This was a final offer?
ROSS: Exactly. Exactly right.
HUME: This was the solution.
BARNES: Was Arafat alone in rejecting it? I mean, what about his negotiators?
ROSS: It's very clear to me that his negotiators understood this was the best they were ever going to get. They wanted him to accept it. He was not prepared to accept it.
HUME: Now, it is often said that this whole sequence of talks here sort of fell apart or ended or broke down or whatever because of the intervention of the Israeli elections. What about that?
ROSS: The real issue you have to understand was not the Israeli elections. It was the end of the Clinton administration. The reason we would come with what was a culminating offer was because we were out of time.
They asked us to present the ideas, both sides. We were governed by the fact that the Clinton administration was going to end, and both sides said: "We understand this is the point of decision".
HUME: What, in your view, was the reason that Arafat, in effect, said: "no"?
ROSS: Because fundamentally I do not believe he can end the conflict. We had one critical clause in this agreement, and that clause was: "This is the end of the conflict".
Arafat's whole life has been governed by struggle and a cause. Everything he has done as leader of the Palestinians is to always leave his options open, never close a door. He was being asked here: "You've got to close the door". For him to end the conflict is to end himself.
HUME: Might it not also have been true, though, Dennis, that, because the intifada had already begun -- so you had the Camp David offer rejected, the violence begins anew, a new offer from the Clinton administration comes along, the Israelis agree to it, Barak agrees to it...
HUME: ... might he not have concluded that the violence was working?
ROSS: It is possible he concluded that. It is possible he thought he could do and get more with the violence. There's no doubt in my mind that he thought the violence would create pressure on the Israelis and on us and maybe the rest of the world.
And I think there's one other factor. You have to understand that Barak was able to reposition Israel internationally. Israel was seen as having demonstrated unmistakably it wanted peace, and the reason it wasn't available, achievable was because Arafat wouldn't accept it.
Arafat needed to re-establish the Palestinians as a victim, and unfortunately they are a victim, and we see it now in a terrible way.
HUME: Dennis Ross, thank you so much.
A prescient lesson may also be taken from the aftermath of Israel's withdrawal from its narrow Security Zone in southern Lebanon in May 2000. Although Israel withdrew from every last centimeter of that Arab State -- as officially certified by no less an august institution than the interminably anti-Israel United Nations -- the Hizbullah terror organization, with the unqualified support of the entire Arab world, has thereafter infiltrated Israel's northern border both to kidnap its soldiers and to murder its civilians while continuing to fire mortars, anti-tank missiles and rockets into the Jewish State based upon the blatant fiction that Israel still occupies Lebanese territory, namely, Har Dov (which the Arab world calls the “Shaba farmlands”) situated on the western slopes of Mount Hermon atop the Golan Heights (despite the fact that Israel acquired Har Dov, not from Lebanon, but rather from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War); and this aggression has taken place in full view, and with the steadfast acquiescence of, the U.N. peacekeeping force known as UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon), which is stationed throughout southern Lebanon along the latter's border with Israel. Accordingly, it may be assumed that even in the wake of a complete Israeli withdrawal from the "Occupied Territories", and even after the deployment of an international peacekeeping force there to safeguard Israel's new borders, the "Palestinian" Arabs -- also with the full support of the entire Arab world and also without interference from international peacekeepers -- will manufacture one or more similar pretexts in order to continue their portion of the pan-Arab war against the Jewish State.
Consequently, it should be crystal clear that the real and only Root Cause of the conflict -- namely, the continued existence of the Jewish nation-state of Israel -- will remain extant even after the creation of a "Palestinian" State. In fact, the real Root Cause will actually be exacerbated by the creation of such an irredentist State, because such an entity, flush with a victory wrought by terror, will be sorely tempted to reverse History -- with the assistance of much of the Muslim world -- by destroying the State of Israel and annihilating its Jewish population.
© Mark Rosenblit
[Note: In August 2005, Israel forcibly removed every Jewish resident from Gaza and every Jewish resident from 4 Jewish villages in northern Samaria -- totaling approximately 10,000 Jews. In order to prevent these expelled Jews from returning to their former homes, Israel simultaneously razed all 21 Jewish villages of Gaza as well as those 4 Jewish villages in northern Samaria, except for the synagogues thereof. The “Palestinian” Arabs of Gaza responded to Israel’s unilateral effort to dismantle the “Occupation” by destroying every synagogue in Gaza (in September 2005), by infiltrating Israel’s 1949 armistice demarcation lines to murder and kidnap Israeli soldiers (in June 2006), and by continuing to fire mortars and rockets into Israel’s Jewish population centers (first commencing in 2001 and continuing without pause through Israel’s expulsion of all Jews from Gaza in 2005 until the present time). Clearly, for the “Palestinian” Arabs, a “liberated” Gaza is no substitute for the destruction of the Jewish State.]
[Note: On March 12, 2006, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, in an interview with Lebanon’s Al-Balad newspaper, declared that Lebanon had extant territorial claims (in addition to that for Har Dov, also known as the Shaba Farmlands, on the Golan Heights) for portions of northern Israel in the vicinity of Metulla and Misgav Am, located in the Upper Galilee, within Israel’s 1949 armistice demarcation lines (i.e., pre-1967 Israel). The Lebanese claim is for the “return” to Lebanon of the “Seven Villages”, namely, the land upon which once stood seven hostile villages, namely, the six Shiite Muslim villages of Terbikha, Saliha, Malkiyah, Nabi Yusha, Kades and Hunin, and the mixed Shiite Muslim - Greek Catholic village of Ibl Qamh. And, in December 2006, leading members of Egypt’s parliament and media began publicly calling for the “return” to Egypt of “Umm Rashrash” (known to Israelis as their southern city of Eilat), also within Israel’s 1949 armistice demarcation lines.]
[Note: The below articles also illuminate the Real Root Cause of the Arab-Jewish conflict. Read on!]
Civil Fights: The face of delusion
By Evelyn Gordon
(Jerusalem Post, October 19, 2007) Oslo should have taught everyone the dangers of a "peace process" built on delusions. The delusion then was that [the late Palestinian Authority Chairman] Yasser Arafat truly wanted peace. By the time he died, virtually nobody involved in the peace process still believed that, yet the damage had been done: Years of soaring Palestinian terror, and consequent harsh Israeli security measures, eroded belief that peace was possible among Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Yet current Israeli-Palestinian talks are also being built on delusions. And the results are liable to be equally devastating.
[Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert voiced one such delusion at an October 7 cabinet meeting: "For the first time, there is a Palestinian leadership that recognizes that Israel is a Jewish state."
Were that true, it would indeed constitute a breakthrough. Unfortunately, neither [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas nor [Palestinian Authority Finance Chairman] Salam Fayad has ever recognized any such thing. Neither has ever uttered the words "Jewish state;" neither has ever abandoned the "right of return," which would eliminate the Jewish state demographically by flooding it with 4.4 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants; neither has ever acknowledged the Jews' historical link with this Land, which is a vital component of Jewish statehood.
Indeed, Abbas has consistently opposed these ideas. After [United States President] George Bush called Israel a "Jewish state" at the 2003 Aqaba summit, for instance, senior aides to Abbas were furious, declaring that such a definition was unacceptable and that Bush had "ambushed" the then [Palestinian Authority] prime minister. Abbas never dissociated himself from these statements.
SIMILARLY, Shlomo Ben-Ami, who was Israel's foreign minister during the Camp David talks in 2000, later related that during preliminary talks in Stockholm, Palestinian negotiators agreed to discuss limits on how many refugees Israel would absorb. Subsequently, however, "Abu Mazen [Abbas] persuaded [Palestinian negotiator] Abu Ala not to get into any discussion of numbers, but to stick with the principle of the right of return."
Nor has Abbas budged from this position since. In November 2004, while campaigning for the PA chairmanship, he declared: "We will not rest until our people's right to return is granted." In a speech this January, he again declared the right of return "nonnegotiable" and rejected "any attempt to resettle the refugees in other countries."
On the Temple Mount, Abbas rejects even the Clinton formula of Israeli sovereignty "under the mount" and Palestinian sovereignty atop it; he refuses to acknowledge any Jewish rights there at all. Yet if Jews have no rights in Judaism's holiest site, where do they have rights? And if Palestinians cannot accept that Jews -- and hence, the Jewish state -- have rights here, how is a two-state solution possible?
Indeed, this is one of the issues over which negotiations collapsed in 2000. According to Ben-Ami, he eventually proposed ceding sovereignty over the mount in exchange for Palestinian recognition that "the site is [also] sacred to the Jews." But the Palestinians refused to sign any such statement.
There is no evidence that Abbas's "real" positions differ from his public statements. Yet even if they do, this is meaningless as long as he refuses to say so publicly -- because without a concerted effort to alter Palestinian views, public opposition would preclude any concessions on these issues. One recent poll, for instance, found that 94 percent of Palestinians opposed any Israeli authority whatsoever over the Temple Mount, while 69 percent wanted all refugees and their descendants relocated to Israel, dismissing alternatives such as compensation, resettlement in Palestine or a quota for relocations to
ONE MIGHT argue that if so, Olmert's delusion does not matter: He and Abbas will simply fail to reach an agreement. Yet in fact, it has several negative consequences.
First, by declaring that Abbas and Fayad have recognized Israel as a Jewish state when they have not, Olmert has ensured that Israel will be blamed if the talks collapse: If the PA has indeed taken this crucial step, it can hardly be accused of intransigence.
Second, having created this bind, Olmert is under pressure to make sweeping concessions even with no quid pro quo. Indeed, he hinted as much at the October 7 cabinet meeting: "We will make decisions that aren't easy, including some we had thought we wouldn't need to make."
Given how much previous governments have already conceded (most of the territories, the Temple Mount, much of east Jerusalem), the only concessions that could be described as ones "we had thought we wouldn't need to make" are ones unacceptable to most Israelis: the refugees, the settlement blocs, Jewish areas of east Jerusalem.
Third, anything Israel concedes without a substantive return will irretrievably weaken its future bargaining position, because once made, a concession can no longer be traded for parallel Palestinian concessions. That is precisely what happened with Israel's concessions in 2000-2001: Both the Palestinians and the world view them as mere starting points for further concessions, not as mandating a Palestinian quid pro quo.
FINALLY, there is the second half of Olmert's delusion: His declaration, at that same cabinet meeting, that it was "clear to all" that recognizing Israel as a Jewish state was a condition for attending the Annapolis summit.
In fact, Egypt and Jordan have repeatedly and publicly rejected Israel's self-definition as a Jewish state. Saudi Arabia, Olmert's sought-after guest of honor, does not recognize Israel at all. And even the European Union refuses to utter the phrase "Jewish state," to avoid offending Arab sensibilities.
This international attitude has long been a key impediment to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, because it nourishes the Palestinians' belief that they can make a deal without recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. Thus Israel should be insisting that all conference participants voice such recognition publicly. Instead, Olmert has simply redefined nonrecognition as recognition -- thereby acquiescing in the world's refusal to press the Palestinians on this issue.
Without Palestinian willingness to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, there will be no deal.
And unless the world makes this clear to the Palestinians, no such willingness is likely to emerge. But instead of confronting these problems, Olmert has opted to pretend they do not exist. And that is a recipe for an Oslo-style disaster.
(©) The Jerusalem Post
Civil Fights: The Palestinians don't want a state
By Evelyn Gordon
(Jerusalem Post, October 26, 2007) In last week's column, I discussed one delusion behind the current "peace process": Ehud Olmert's assertion that Palestinian leaders have accepted Israel as a Jewish state. Yet the talks also rest on an even more fundamental delusion: that most Palestinians truly want an independent state alongside Israel.
Granted, polls have repeatedly shown a majority for this proposition. The majority may be razor-thin (the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center's latest poll put it at 51.1 percent), but it exists.
Yet those who seize on this as proof of Palestinians' desire for peace have neglected to ask one crucial question: When Palestinians say they favor a two-state solution, what kind of two-state solution are they envisioning? And the answer, as both these same polls and past Palestinian behavior make clear, is not a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish one -- the only solution that Israel could, or the world should, accept. What they want is two Palestinian states, or at best one Palestinian and one bi-national state.
The JMCC poll, for instance, found that 69 percent of Palestinians want all 4.4 million refugees and their descendants relocated to Israel under any agreement, dismissing alternatives such as compensation, resettlement in Palestine or a quota for relocations to Israel. Previous polls have consistently produced similar results. Yet given Israel's current population of roughly 5.7 million Jews and 1.3 million Arabs, that is a clear recipe for eliminating the Jewish state demographically -- not for living in peace with it.
Like others before it, this poll also found that 94 percent of Palestinians oppose any Israeli authority over the Temple Mount. In other words, they refuse to accept any Jewish rights in Judaism's holiest site -- and if Jews have no rights there, then by implication, they have no rights anywhere in Israel. This denial of any Jewish right to this land is incompatible with acceptance of a Jewish state. But it is perfectly consistent with a two-state solution in which the second state is Palestinian or binational.
SUCH POLLS are not merely theoretical: Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed over precisely these issues in 2000-2001. And Palestinians wholeheartedly supported this outcome: A July 2000 poll found that 83 percent approved Yasser Arafat's rejection of Israel's offer at that month's Camp David summit; only 6 percent felt he should have been more conciliatory.
And that is the principal reason for doubting that Palestinians' true goal is statehood: People who actually want a state do not keep saying "no" when one is offered.
At Camp David, Israel offered the Palestinians approximately 90 percent of the territories, including parts of Jerusalem. Not only did they refuse; they responded with a terrorist war. In December 2000, the offer was upped to 95 percent, including the Temple Mount; Arafat refused again. At Taba the following month, Israel sweetened the offer to 97 percent; Arafat still said no. Yet Palestinian support for him, and his decisions, remained undiminished.
HAD PALESTINIANS truly desired to "end the occupation" and acquire a state, they would not have rejected these offers; they would have acted as the Jews did in 1947, when the UN partition plan offered them a state on a mere 10 percent of the territory promised by the 1922 League of Nations Mandate. The offer did not even include Jerusalem, to which Jews have prayed for over 2,000 years. In short, it was incomparably worse than Israel's 2000-2001 offers to the Palestinians. Yet Jewish leaders accepted, believing that given their people's sufferings, even a tiny state was better than nothing.
The Palestinians, in contrast, rejected a proffered state that fell a mere 3 percent short of their putative demands, just because it (a) involved acknowledging a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and (b) required the refugees to resettle in Palestine rather than Israel.
In other words, they preferred continued occupation to any deal that accepted a Jewish state.
One reason for Jewish urgency in 1947 was the refugee problem created by the Holocaust. Israel, with 800,000 inhabitants in 1948, consequently absorbed 687,000 immigrants over the next three years. Palestinians, too, face a pressing refugee problem. Yet far from seeking statehood to assist their refugees, they have repeatedly refused it unless Israel absorbs the refugees in their stead. Such behavior is inexplicable if what Palestinians want is their own state. But it makes perfect sense if the goal is eradicating the Jewish state.
Even on territorial issues, Palestinians' lack of interest in statehood is glaring. The JMCC poll, for instance, found that 82 percent oppose Israel's retention of any settlements, even "in exchange for equal Israeli land." In other words, faced with a theoretical deal for statehood on the equivalent of 100 percent of the territories, fully 82 percent of Palestinians would reject it solely because it would not expel some 100,000 Israelis from their homes. Is that truly the response of people who want a state? Or who want to live in peace with their neighbors? The delusion that Palestinians want a state is far from harmless. Indeed, it perpetuates the conflict by diverting Israeli and international efforts into endless vain attempts to satisfy unsatisfiable demands, instead of focusing these efforts on the true problem:
Palestinian unwillingness to accept a Jewish state in any part of this land. Even worse, it reinforces this unwillingness -- because as long as the world responds to every impasse not by confronting this problem, but by pressuring Israel for more concessions, Palestinians will continue to believe that by standing firm, they can eventually secure a deal that will indeed eradicate the Jewish state. And if so, why settle for less?
The only way to truly achieve a two-state solution is for Israel, and the world, to insist that there will be no progress -- no talks, and no Israeli concessions -- until Palestinians are prepared to accept the Jewish State's existence. That will not produce results quickly, and success is not guaranteed. But unlike the current process, it at least offers a chance -- because only if Palestinians see no hope of getting the whole loaf will they ever agree to settle for half.
(©) The Jerusalem Post
[Note: Another "peace conference" has been convened for November 26, 2007 at Annapolis, Maryland by United States President George W. Bush which will ignore the Real Root Cause of the Arab-Jewish Conflict. Read on!]
Another Tack: Culture of kvetch
By SARAH HONIG
(Jerusalem Post, November 23, 2007) I don't know how many times I quoted the definition of lunacy popularly ascribed to Albert Einstein, but it certainly appeared in more than a few tacks. The characterization of insanity as "doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results" came to mind again when I chanced upon a yellowing clipping from Haaretz. Entitled "The Day The Peace Died" and published on September 14, 2001, it featured a very lengthy interview granted to Ari Shavit by [former Israeli Prime Minister and current Israeli Defense Minister] Ehud Barak's ex-foreign minister, ultra-dove Shlomo Ben-Ami. His extensive monologue offered spellbinding scrutiny of Barak's 2000-2001 near-desperate peace-drive that began in Stockholm, continued in Camp David [located in Maryland] and expired ignominiously in Taba [located in Egypt].
What was an intriguing enough read originally, evolved into a spine-chilling forecast six years later, because our latest government is intent on replicating Barak's entire delusional daredevil fiasco. Moreover, [Israeli Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert is about to do so under conditions inestimably worse than when Barak foolhardily performed somersaults on the precipice.
Barak's own egregious territorial generosity undercut all future Israeli bargaining positions. Subsequently Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement emboldened terror to the point of installing Hamas hegemony in Gaza. Instead of super-icon Arafat, Israel's current interlocutors are Ramallah's virtual-leader Mahmoud Abbas and his clique, trusted and respected by nobody in the Mideast apart from a select band of Israelis serially addicted to making nice to genocidal foes. These Israelis' self-deception flouts rational thought and cannot be shaken even by overwhelming evidence of their folly. That same Abbas already starred in the detailed journals Ben-Ami kept throughout the 2000 talks. Not only wasn't Abbas then more temperate than Arafat, but he was in fact the firebrand who ignited and fanned opposition to dropping Right of Return rhetoric, i.e. the demand that Israel be inundated by untold millions of hostile Arabs called Palestinian refugees.
Then as now, Palestinians mumbled vague recognition of Israel but
would under no conditions accept it as a Jewish state, since that concedes the
Right of Return -- the "right" of Arabs to overrun Israel, thereby
obviously obliterating its Jewishness. That's why PLO chief negotiator Saeb
Erekat last week flatly ruled out any Palestinian reconciliation with a Jewish
IT WAS ALL repetitively coached in precisely the same words during months of prolonged haggling in 2000. When it was over, Ben-Ami retroactively understood that Israel "operated under misguided conceptions about the other side's intentions. For Arafat Oslo constituted a mega-camouflage behind which he exerted political pressure and employed varying measures of terror to undermine the very notion of a two-state solution."
Ben-Ami notes that while Israel kept retreating from one "red line" to another, eventually agreeing to hand over almost anything the Palestinians insisted upon, including much of Jerusalem and its Holiest of Holies, "never at any point did the Palestinians so much as draft any counterproposals." That, Ben-Ami belatedly concluded, "was the crux of the matter. The Israeli side forever finds itself in a dilemma: Either we quit because this bunch is unwilling to suggest anything, or we manage one more concession, one more kvetch [squeeze in Yiddish]. At the end, however, even the most moderate person arrives at a point in which he admits to himself that the other side has no endgame. Kvetch after kvetch but they're never satisfied. It never ends."
With painstaking detail, Ben-Ami lists each and every kvetch, each and every vital position from which Barak and his team were reluctantly pushed by the intractable Palestinians. Even while Israeli negotiators sacrificed Jerusalem, the Palestinians "weren't ready for as much as allowing a face-saving formulation for Israel." A senior American go-between opined to Ben-Ami that "all the Palestinians want is to humiliate you." They even degradingly rejected a last shameful Israeli entreaty for "subterranean sovereignty underneath the Temple Mount, denying that we have any right whatsoever there."
When Ben-Ami was willing to make do with a Palestinian "undertaking not to dig on the Mount, because it's holy to Jews, they adamantly refused to agree to any mention of any sanctity anyplace for Jews."
What distressed Ben-Ami most "wasn't just their refusal but how they refused -- with total contempt. They were dismissive and arrogant towards us. I realized... they weren't willing to make even an emotional or symbolic conciliatory gesture. In the deepest sense they were loath to acknowledge that we have any claim here."
When territorial swaps were proposed, "they'd only consider taking possession of Kochav Yair" -- where Barak resided at the time. There were also not-so-veiled threats of violence. Erekat named September 13 [,2000] as a deadline. Two weeks thereafter the intifada raged.
CAMP DAVID eventually flopped, according to Ben-Ami, because "the Palestinians refused to give us any inkling about where their demands would terminate. Our impression was that they constantly sought to drag us into a black hole of another concession and another, without there being anything like a discernible finish line."
Ben-Ami's unavoidable conclusion was that "more than the Palestinians want their own state they want to condemn ours... they always leave loose ends... to keep viable the option that at some future point someone would pull these ends and unravel the Jewish State."
To be sure, like his fellow leftists, Ben-Ami even then couldn't bring himself to fully renounce his patently untenable ideological creed. But though still professing faith in his smitten idols, he nonetheless cautioned against "ignoring what was revealed to us -- Palestinian and Islamic positions which defy our very right to exist. We mustn't continue the culture of kvetch which might lead us to suicide... We must no longer relinquish Jewish and Israeli patriotism. We must understand that we aren't always guilty. We must learn to say, 'Up to here and no farther.' If the other side aims to destroy even this nucleus, we must steadfastly defend it."
BEN-AMI at least learned something. But Olmert, now out to magnify all of
Barak's errors and then some, evidently paid no heed and absorbed nothing.
Which brings us back to what Einstein called those who obsessively repeat
(©) The Jerusalem Post
Interesting Times: Why Israel is obsessed
By SAUL SINGER
(Jerusalem Post, November 23, 2007) Why is Israel obsessed with recognition? The Arab world is a largely dysfunctional collection of dictatorships, while Israel has become an island of freedom and a military and economic powerhouse. Is this the group of countries a democracy should go to for endorsement?
The whole recognition conundrum can seem like a terrible joke. The Palestinians have repeatedly recognized Israel's right to exist, yet this recognition, via Oslo, was followed by the most vicious terror onslaught Israel ever experienced - not only in the territories demanded to be relinquished but in the buses, cafes and streets in the heart of Israel's cities.
There is no greater negation of civilization than a suicide bombing, yet we seem to crave acceptance from the world's first society to celebrate such barbarism as the ultimate heroism. Why seek the approval of such a society?
The answer is that the pursuit of recognition has nothing to do with seeking Arab approval. Rather, we are seeking a much more critical goal for peace: Arab defeat and surrender.
We are used to thinking that peace is the ultimate win-win. In many senses it is. It is the Palestinians, after all, who do not have a state, supposedly want one, and need to make peace to get it. It is the Arab world whose economic and political growth has been so stunted by the war against Israel.
Yet in the Arab mind, and also in terms of the basic goal the Arab world has
set for itself, peace with Israel is a stinging defeat. "Annapolis is only
another stop on the endless road of open-ended [Arab] defeats," the editor
of the Lebanese daily As-Safir, Talal Salman, is quoted as saying in an
Al-Ahram Weekly report on the 30th anniversary of Anwar Sadat's Knesset speech.
"This is mainly because... Sadat's trip to Jerusalem... undermined the
chances of a comprehensive and fair peace as much as - or more than - it
eliminated the chances for war."
THE GOAL of the century-long Arab struggle has been to prevent Israel's establishment, then to destroy the Jewish state. American and European diplomacy is based on the idea that this goal has been long abandoned, if not overtly, then in practice. Accordingly, the job of the diplomats is to wrap up the details, as difficult as that may be. In this view, the fundamental framework for peace already exists, it is just the outer shell that must be added. And if the Arabs are ready for peace, then the lack of peace is Israel's fault. As Amos Oz put it in Yediot Aharonot on Tuesday, "The burden of progress lies principally on the shoulders of the Israeli government and Israeli public opinion, since Israel is the one that is holding the Palestinian territories and not the other way around."
This is seductive logic, with wide resonance in Western governments. "What is Israel waiting for?" the world seems to urgently wonder. This is where the "new" Israeli demand to be recognized as a Jewish state comes in. At first this demand might seem "absurd," as a Haaretz editorial called it. India and Pakistan don't ask for, let alone receive, recognition from each other as Hindu and Muslim states, so why should the Palestinians have to pronounce on something so "internal" as Israel's Jewishness?
The difference is that India and Pakistan do not question each other's right to exist, or seek each other's elimination. The truth is that if the Arab world were not busy in so many ways denying Israel's right to be here, its recognition of a Jewish state would be a diplomatic non-issue.
The Palestinian refusal to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state is a problem because it is the tip of the iceberg. Under the water's surface lie many other manifestations of the same denial:
* The demand for "return." The Arab claim of the right of Palestinians to move to Israel -- while demanding that Israelis move out of a future Palestinian state -- amounts to a denial of Israeli sovereignty and a refusal to abandon the dream of a "Greater Palestine" in Israel's stead.
* The denial of Jewish history. Yasser Arafat dumbfounded Bill Clinton at the 2000 Camp David summit when he denied any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, which was built on the site of the First Temple and to support the Second Temple. This was no Arafatian quirk but representative of the widespread Arab denial of any Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.
* The denial of Jewish peoplehood. Similarly, the Arab world rejects the existence of a Jewish people with national rights. Judaism, they claim, is a religion, and religions don't define peoples.
* The denial of the right to non-Muslim sovereignty. While the Islamic concept of dhimmi -- that non-Muslims can only be accorded the status of subjects under Muslim sovereignty -- may be mainly identified with groups like Hamas and al-Qaida, it is also the basis of the "secular" and "nationalist" denials of Israel's right to exist. Otherwise why would the existence of a single Jewish state that is a hundredth the size of the Arab world be such an affront?
* The portrayal of peace as a Western imperialist plot. Peace is more regularly depicted in the Arab world as a threat than an opportunity. [Israeli President] Shimon Peres's dream of a "New Middle East" of open borders and free trade is seen by Arabs as a nightmare of Israeli economic domination. Americans and Jews are regularly demonized, leaving the distinct impression that peace with Israel would dismantle the only dam protecting the Arab world from their predations.
* The lack of a peace movement. All of the above are mainstream Arab
positions, with no organized movements or political parties openly representing
opposite positions, even as a minority point of view.
IT IS THIS elaborate ideological apparatus that is the real obstacle to peace. Israel giving up more territory will not dismantle it. Indeed, we have seen that the unilateral withdrawals to date have strengthened the forces that most shrilly proclaim the rejectionist ideology.
So when Israel says it must be recognized as a Jewish state at the outset, and not as a theoretical end point, it is clumsily saying that the Arab world cannot claim to be ready for peace while standing atop an edifice of war. This edifice will not be dismantled as the result of a peace agreement; a lasting peace agreement will be achieved as a result of dismantling this edifice.
Peace must be built upon mutual recognition, and the only recognition that
means anything is of Israel as a Jewish state. Rather than resisting this
Israeli demand as an obstacle, Western governments, if they want to advance
peace, should be unreservedly demanding the same.
(©) The Jerusalem Post
The Recognition Sham
(Jerusalem Post, November 15, 2007) [Former Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman] Yasser Arafat recognized Israel's right to exist in 1988. He shook hands with [former Israeli Prime Minister] Yitzhak Rabin and signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. The PLO later ostensibly amended its Covenant, as [former United States President] Bill Clinton visited Gaza, to eliminate calls for Israel's destruction. Most recently, the Palestinians approved the [U.S. Administration's] Road Map, which again was based upon recognition of Israel's right to exist.
So the Palestinians accept Israel's existence, right? Well, perhaps not. Now, on the eve of [the] Annapolis [peace conference convened by U.S. President George W. Bush], we discover that all of these claims of recognition may have been a giant sham.
On Monday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said, "The problem of the content of the document [setting out joint principles for peacemaking post-Annapolis] has not been resolved... One of the more pressing problems is the Zionist regime's insistence on being recognized as a Jewish state.
"We will not agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state," Erekat said. "There is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined."
On Tuesday, another prominent Palestinian negotiator, Yasser Abed Rabbo, said, "It is only a Zionist party that deals with Israel as a Jewish state, and we did not request to be a member of the international Zionism movement."
Yesterday, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad joined in these statements. And Erekat chimed in again on Al-Arabiya TV: "Israel can define itself however it sees fit; and if it wishes to call itself a Jewish state, so be it. But the Palestinians will never acknowledge Israel's Jewish identity."
All this is mind-boggling from an Israeli perspective. To Jews and Israelis, it is obvious that if Israel is not a Jewish state, meaning (at least) a state with an overwhelming Jewish majority, than it would simply become the 22nd Arab State. Israel would cease to exist.
The Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state suggests that all their solemn and myriad expressions of Israel's right to exist did not mean anything. They did not mean that the Palestinians accepted the Jews as a people (as Palestinians expect to be accepted), or that Israel is the legitimate expression of the Jewish people's right to self-determination.
Erekat's claim that the "intertwining" of religious and national identity is unusual, let alone unique, is nonsense. Perhaps he has not heard of the Islamic Conference, a group of 55 states, or the Church of England. While Arab States, such as Saudi Arabia, will officially not let Jews set foot in their country, Israel has never seen a contradiction between its Jewishness and the need to respect and protect non-Jewish minorities.
[Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated this week that Israel would not participate in any post-Annapolis negotiations except on the basis of Palestinian acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. In essence, Israel is demanding that the Palestinians end their double game.
If Israel is not a Jewish state, it is Palestine, which is exactly the point. So long as they hold to their positions, Fayad, Erekat and Abed Rabbo, representing Palestinian "moderates," are not espousing a two-state solution but a "Greater Palestine" ideology.
There is no way for Israelis to understand the refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state other than as a rejection of the two-state solution and the embrace of the "strategy of stages," whereby a Palestinian state is not an end of claims against Israel, but a down-payment toward Israel's destruction.
As Olmert says, there is no point in entering a "peace process" on this basis. Every conception of the two-state vision has assumed a foundation of genuine mutual recognition. The first point of the first phase of the road map, for example, begins: "Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel's right to exist in peace and security...."
Oslo's Statement of Principles begins, "[Israel and the PLO] agree that it is time to... recognize their mutual legitimate and political rights...."
The 1947 UN Partition Plan called for dividing Mandatory Palestine "into Jewish and Arab states."
Without mutual recognition, there is no basis for negotiation. The Palestinians expect Israel to accept their existence and rights as a people. The Jewish people expects no less.
(©) The Jerusalem Post
Jerusalem's Latin Patriarch rejects Israel's Jewish identity
By News Agencies
(Haaretz, December, 19, 2007) Israel's identity as a Jewish state discriminates against non-Jews, the Holy Land's top Roman Catholic clergyman said in a pre-Christmas address on Wednesday.
"If there's a state of one religion, other religions are naturally discriminated against," Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah told reporters at the annual press conference he holds in Jerusalem before the Christian holiday.
In his address, which he read in Arabic and English, Sabbah said Israel should abandon its Jewish character in favor of a political, normal state for Christians, Muslims and Jews.
"This Land cannot be exclusive for anyone," he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said Israel provides full religious freedom to people of all faiths.
"We reject his claim that other religions are not enjoying equal rights in Israel," Mekel said.
With his statements Wednesday, Sabbah, a longtime advocate of the Palestinian cause, waded into a debate that has marred the fledgling peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
He said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had unleashed "forces of evil" across the Middle East and it was up to Israel to re-launch the peace process.
"I hope we are entering into a new phase with Annapolis," Sabbah saud. "The one who will decide is Israel. If Israel decides for peace, there will be peace."
"Until now, there has been no peace, simply because there has been no willingness [by Israel] to make it," he added.
Israel has defined itself as the homeland of the Jewish people since it was established in 1948. The Palestinians, however, refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, saying that would mean [hostile] Palestinian refugees who lost their homes after Israel's creation would not have the right to return.
Sabbah, who has been the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem since 1987, is the first Palestinian to hold the post and is frequently critical of Israel.
"He also lashed out at Israel for visa restrictions he said were unfair to Christian clergy. A state in this land must...be open to welcoming to all believers of other religions," he said.
According to the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations, there are an estimated 170,000 Christians in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
[Note: Michel Sabbah is himself a representative of a state based upon a religion, namely, the Vatican. -- Mark Rosenblit].
(Jerusalem Post, December 23, 2007) "There is discrimination linked to the nature of the State. Israel says simply 'I am a Jewish state', and that creates discrimination with regard to non-Jews."
Once again last week, the Jewish people and the world were treated to the opinion of the Palestinian leadership -- the "moderate" one with which a peace process is supposedly being conducted -- that the State of Israel must not be allowed to exist as a Jewish state.
The speaker who delivered the words above last Wednesday in Jerusalem was not PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, who famously said a month ago that Palestinians wouldn't recognize Israel as a Jewish state since "no state in the world connects its national identity to a religious identity."
While Erekat's assertion may be downright laughable -- the Palestinian Authority's Basic Law dealing with its Legislative Council declares that "Islam is the official religion in Palestine" -- he was merely maintaining the tradition of the decrepit Palestinian political class that, besides spearheading an international campaign to vilify Israel, has achieved nothing for its people in 15 years of international legitimacy and lavish funding.
No, the speaker last week was a scholar with a doctorate from the Sorbonne, by all accounts a compassionate man, and a devoted servant of the pope -- Latin Patriarch and Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah, since 1987 the highest Catholic prelate for Israel, Jordan, Cyprus and the West Bank and Gaza.
Besides the deep insult inherent in the patriarch's Christmas message, it is hypocritical, significant and damning that Sabbah did not apply his universal principle equally by demanding the de-Islamicization of his native Palestine, from which his flock continues to flee en masse.
Indeed, he excoriated only Israel: "The strong party, the one with everything in hand, the one who is imposing Occupation on the other, has the obligation to see what is just for everyone and to carry it out courageously."
The first Palestinian to serve as Latin Patriarch, Sabbah was following the line of the Palestinian elite regarding the innate illegitimacy of Jewish self-determination.
According to this logic, the Jews are not a people upon which a state can be built, but rather -- and despite what they may say about themselves -- merely a religion. And unlike with Islam, which is present in the formal name of four states -- Iran, Pakistan, Mauritania and Comoros -- and enjoys an official status in 57, the Jews cannot be allowed to connect their religion with their state.
It is impossible to escape the conclusion that Sabbah was not speaking as a Catholic, but as a Palestinian, drawing not from the declared position of the Holy See [i.e. the Vatican] in Rome but of the PA in Ramallah.
Here, in the commitment of the entirety of the Palestinian leadership to the view given by Sabbah, lies the Achilles heel of the peace process. For years, the Palestinian leadership claimed it was ready for peace, but that its people, radicalized by Occupation, were not "ripe" for concessions.
But we are now being shown time and again that it is the Palestinian leadership, from the Latin patriarch to Mahmoud Abbas himself, and not just the people, who do not understand the nature of the conflict in which they are engaged.
Instead of recognizing that the deep tragedy of this conflict derives from the fact that both sides are legitimately demanding self-determination and sovereign independence, the Palestinian leadership continues to insist that there is, and will forever be, no justice to the Jewish demand.
This rejection means that the Palestinian elite is divided between the "moderates" who want a cease-fire with an evil enemy in order to rebuild a devastated Palestinian society, and the "extremists" who follow the logic of the moderates themselves in concluding that such a compromise amounts to treason, since compromise with evil is itself evil.
There is only one act that can offer presumably well-meaning men such as Sabbah a way to keep their moderation in the face of alleged evil from becoming treason, thereby sabotaging any negotiation.
The Palestinian leadership must come to recognize the compelling moral justice of Israel's claim to sovereign rights, and to educate their people accordingly.
Until then, as long as they continue to demand their freedom at the expense of ours, the Palestinians will continue rushing headlong, both diplomatically and militarily, into our own natural, vital and correct commitment to self-preservation.
(©) The Jerusalem Post
Is it about borders?
(Jerusalem Post, May 15, 2008) Border: A part that forms the outer edge of something... The line or frontier area separating political divisions.
The Bush administration would like Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a border so that everything else -- Jerusalem, settlements, the "occupation," refugees, whatever -- can then fall into place. This presupposes that the Palestinians see their conflict with Israel as primarily a border dispute. Would it were so.
A 1921 British Mandate map showed Palestine's borders already divided between a Jewish homeland west of the Jordan [River] (today Israel, the West Bank and Gaza), and an area to the east [of the Jordan River] closed to Jewish settlement (today Jordan).
The Arab response to that map was: This isn't about borders.
In 1937 the Peel Commission offered another set of borders. [The then semi-autonomous Emirate of] Transjordan would, of course, remain in Arab hands, and virtually all of what was left west of the Jordan [River] would also be Arab. The Jews would be given land from Tel Aviv running northward along the coastal plain and parts of Galilee. The Arabs said: It's not about borders.
A third map, proposed by the UN in 1947 as General Assembly Resolution 181 -- the Partition Plan -- divided Palestine west of the Jordan River (the eastern bank now being [the newly-independent Hashemite Kingdom of] Transjordan): The Jews were to be given an indefensible, checkerboard territory, the biggest chunk of which consisted of the then arid Negev. Jerusalem, the epicenter of Jewish longing since 70 CE, would be internationalized; a tiny corridor would connect Israel's truncated parts. To get to Galilee, Jews would have to traverse Arab Palestine.
The Jews took the deal. The Arabs said: It's not about borders.
On May 15, 1948 -- 60 years ago today -- the Egyptian, Jordanian, Saudi, Syrian and Lebanese armies, along with Palestinian irregulars, sought to throttle the birth of Israel. Their failure to do so created the 1949 Armistice Lines. The West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem were all in Arab hands. There was no "Occupation."
The Jews said: Now, can we live in peace? The Arabs said: It's not about borders.
TODAY, 41 years ago, Egyptian troops moved into the Sinai as Gamal Abdel Nasser declared "total war." The Syrians, for their part, promised "annihilation." Even King Hussein figured the time was ripe to strike. But, instead of destroying Israel, the Arabs lost more territory. The heartland of Jewish civilization, Judea and Samaria, was now in Israel's hands, as was Jerusalem's Temple Mount.
Even so, the Jews said: Let's trade land for peace.
In August 1967, Arab leaders assembled in Khartoum gave their reply: No peace. No negotiations. No recognition.
Ten years later, with the election of Menachem Begin, the courageous Anwar Sadat came to the Knesset with a message: "We really and truly welcome you to live among us in peace and security." Egypt and Israel then agreed on a border and signed a peace treaty.
The Arabs ostracized Cairo and Sadat was assassinated. The peace never really blossomed, but the border holds.
THEN IN 1993, Yitzhak Rabin took an astonishing strategic risk, turning over parts of the West Bank to a newly-created Palestinian Authority. Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Jericho, Tulkarm and Kalkilya all came under full Palestinian jurisdiction. Other territory was placed under the PA's civil control, and the PA took charge of Gaza's Arab population centers.
The sight of green PA license plates became commonplace throughout Israel. Checkpoints were minimized. The international community poured money into the Palestinian areas.
At last, the Palestinians had the parameters of a state-in-waiting -- a political horizon. The parties still had tough issues to tackle, but the reality on the ground had dramatically improved.
In 2000, Ehud Barak offered at Camp David his vision of a viable Palestinian state. Yasser Arafat's "counter-offer" was the Aksa intifada, an orgy of suicide bombings nationwide and drive-by shootings in the West Bank that would claim over 1,000 Israeli lives. Clearly for Arafat, the issue wasn't borders.
For Israelis to now take the idea of a "shelf-agreement" about borders seriously, the Palestinians would have to declare -- once and for all -- that their dispute with us really is about borders. And that they accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
If they do that, the rest will fall into place.
(©) The Jerusalem Post
Civil Fights: Hizbullah's next pretext
By Evelyn Gordon
(Jerusalem Post, July 18, 2008) I wonder whether the U.S. administration even noticed the statement made by a senior Lebanese cleric last week: that Hizbullah will liberate seven abandoned Shi'ite villages located in pre-1967 Israel. I certainly hope so -- because this comment epitomizes what is wrong with Washington's policy of pressing Israel to cede Shaba Farms [Har Dov] to Lebanon.
Shaba, located where Israel, Syria and Lebanon meet, was excluded from Israel's 2000 pullout from Lebanon because UN mapping experts ruled that it was Syrian rather than Lebanese. But Israel quit every inch of territory that the UN did deem Lebanese, and the Security Council unanimously certified this withdrawal as complete.
Immediately after the pullout, however, Hizbullah began claiming that Shaba was also Lebanese; hence Israel was still occupying Lebanon, and Hizbullah must continue attacking it. The Lebanese government backed this claim, and Syria, to fuel the flames, refused to either assert or withdraw its own claim.
All this was eminently predictable. But the world's response was shocking: Rather than upholding the Security Council's unanimous determination regarding the border, both the media and world leaders began describing Shaba as "disputed territory" and muttering about the need to resolve this new "dispute." This process culminated in Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The resolution, noting "a need to address urgently the causes of the current crisis," tasked the UN with delineating Lebanon's borders, "especially in those areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including by dealing with the Shebaa [Shaba] farms area." In other words, rather than penalizing Hizbullah for the cross-border raid that sparked the war, the council voted unanimously to appease it by abandoning its own previous certification of Israel's withdrawal as complete.
UN EXPERTS are therefore currently mapping the border. But the US is not even waiting for their conclusions: It has already decided that Shaba must be given to Lebanon. Last month, the Lebanese daily Al-Hayat quoted [U.S.] Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as telling Lebanese officials that Washington was working to secure Israel's withdrawal from Shaba. And Israeli officials told the Israeli press they had received the same message from both Rice and [U.S.] President George W. Bush.
Even more astonishing, however, is the reasoning Rice and Bush offer for abandoning the Security Council's unanimous decision of 2000: They want to support the Lebanese government, they say, and the best way to do so is for Israel to give Shaba to Lebanon, thereby removing Hizbullah's latest excuse for retaining its arms.
That, of course, was precisely the argument for Israel's original withdrawal from Lebanon: Once the IDF left, Hizbullah would no longer have any excuse for belligerence. But Hizbullah immediately concocted a new excuse: Shaba. Thus world leaders ought to have realized that demanding yet another Israeli withdrawal fit the classic definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results.
But since they seem incapable of connecting the dots themselves, the deputy chair of Lebanon's Supreme Shi'ite Islamic Council, Sheikh Abed al-Amir Kiblan, helpfully did it for them during a conference in southern Lebanon last week. According to the Hizbullah-affiliated daily Al-Akhbar, Kiblan declared that seven villages whose Shi'ite inhabitants fled in 1948, and which were subsequently destroyed, "must return to their owners, our country and our people," and Hizbullah's arms would achieve this.
In other words, ceding Shaba would not eliminate Hizbullah's pretext for keeping its arms; the organization already has its next pretext -- this time located in pre-1967 Israel -- all lined up and ready to go.
BUT PRESSING Israel to cede Shaba is worse than pointless; it is destructive. By demonstrating that no border, even if unanimously certified by the Security Council, is actually final -- that each "certified" border is merely a starting point for new territorial claims -- it would preclude any chance of Middle East peace.
Clearly, Israel would have no incentive for additional withdrawals under these circumstances. The point of withdrawing to a recognized international border is to (a) eliminate your enemy's reasons for hostilities and (b) ensure the world's backing should your enemy nevertheless continue hostilities. If instead, the world views continued attacks against Israel as grounds for redrawing the international border in the aggressor's favor, then from Israel's standpoint, withdrawing is counterproductive: It simply invites further salami-style territorial losses.
Even worse, however, a Hizbullah victory over Shaba would eliminate other countries' incentive to restrain their own radical organizations. Why should they, if a mere eight years of hostilities by such an organization are sufficient to get the world to back a new territorial claim? This is especially true because in most of Israel's neighbors, hatred for Israel remains intense. A Pew Global Research poll from last year, for instance, found that more than 70 percent of Egyptians, Jordanians and Palestinians believe that Palestinians' "rights and needs" cannot be met unless Israel is eradicated.
THUS IF Hizbullah's tactic succeeds, it would be a win-win proposition for every government in the Middle East: They could simultaneously satisfy their populations by allowing hostilities with Israel to continue, retain international backing by pleading inability to control the radicals and expand their borders at Israel's expense in the bargain, by claiming that additional Israeli concessions are needed to persuade the radicals to stop fighting.
Moreover, by effectively overturning the long-standing UN principle that acquiring territory through force is unacceptable, ceding Shaba is liable to foment further conflict worldwide. After all, if Hizbullah's cross-border aggression is grounds for the world to demand that Israel give Lebanon additional territory, why should other countries hungry for a bit of their neighbors' territory not adopt the same tactic? Just allow an armed organization to perpetrate cross-border raids, claim inability to control it and then demand some of the neighbor's land to "eliminate the organization's pretext for keeping its arms." What could be simpler?
It is rare that a single decision contains the potential for sowing so much havoc. But unless the US, and the world, understand that appeasing Hizbullah at Israel's expense will only invite further aggression, Shaba could well prove the spark that ignites a chain reaction of international conflicts round the globe.
(©) The Jerusalem Post
Another Tack: Why it matters
By SARAH HONIG
Peace cannot begin to be made before the malignant characterization of Jewish statehood as a casus belli is recanted convincingly and comprehensively once and for all.
(Jerusalem Post, March 7, 2013) There might not be any point to responding if it were only Shaul Mofaz who wondered why we need harp on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
Mofaz has just barely managed to cross the Knesset entry threshold (having started out not too many months back with a 28-member parliamentary contingent). Since he nearly failed to hold on to his own seat, it’s safe to conclude that he doesn’t represent a powerful or even a relevant political camp. Therefore, what does any of his kibitzing matter?
Ordinarily it indeed wouldn’t, except that Mofaz’s professed failure of comprehension might reflect the intellectual indolence of others, alongside the trendy heedlessness popularized by assorted opinion-molders. To hear them, it’s perfectly fine to embrace this particular incomprehension - be it expediently feigned or an actual inability to grasp the basic cause for the war waged against Israel.
The premise for the apparent incomprehension is that demanding recognition for Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state is all much ado about not very much. As Mofaz put it, “do we need a seal of approval from the Palestinians? We know we are a Jewish state and we shall remain so eternally, whether or not the Palestinians recognize us as such.”
This pretty much echoes Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s oft-reiterated mantra, averring that the Israelis “can call themselves what they will.”
But Abbas goes on: “we will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. We have rejected, and will reject, this demand. We know what Netanyahu’s intention is. He wants to undermine the Palestinian-Arab presence inside Israel and prevent the return of refugees.”
Yet what is Abbas’s intention? His refusal to recognize the Jewish state’s legitimacy means that he reserves for himself the right to Arabize the de facto entity provisionally known as Israel by overrunning it with millions of so-called refuges.
In other words, rather than be accepted as rightfully a Jewish state, Israel is regarded at most as a multinational temporary entity and a candidate for impending Arabization. It wouldn’t be left in peace unless it submits meekly to said Arabization and the eradication of its Jewishness.
This is a surefire recipe for perpetuating the conflict (albeit by mutating means) rather than ending it, as presumed pursuers of peace would ostensibly wish to do. The refusal to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state is tantamount to affirming an enduring Arab aspiration to obliterate the Jewish state, subsequent to an arrangement that would falsely parade as peace.
This goes right to the very heart of the conflict between Jews and Arabs – a conflict which had long predated Israel’s birth. This conflict isn’t and never was about a Palestinian state. There would have been no strife were the establishment of such a state the ultimate objective of the Arab world. A Palestinian Arab state could have been declared independent in 1948 – together with Israel – but no Arab would hear of it.
This country’s Jews cheered the 1947 UN Partition Resolution aimed at creating a Jewish and an Arab state. That resolution, however, was ferociously rebuffed by the entire Arab world. Hence it’s inherently dishonest to deny that the feud is and always was about the creation and continued existence of the Jewish state.
The Palestinians and the entire Arab/Muslim realm demand strategic sacrifices of Israel that plainly jeopardize its survival prospects. All Israel demands in return is that the war against it cease. That can only happen when the initial pretext for the attacks on Israel is annulled. Since Israel was attacked because the very notion of a Jewish state was anathema to its Arab neighbors, then discontinuing the state of war must start with recognition of the very legitimacy of a Jewish state that was rejected from 1947 onward.
Now, gallingly, the demand for recognition of the right of Jews to a state is extensively portrayed as an obstructionist tactic. That tactic moreover is portrayed as PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s own personal negotiation-paralyzing pet ploy. Such spurious spins serve both in-house political rivals doggedly snapping at Netanyahu’s heels and foreign detractors whose automatic point of departure is that Israel can never be right.
Nonetheless, the still blatant refusal to concede the legality of Jewish sovereignty isn’t a semantic quibble. True, we know who we are regardless of Arab acknowledgement but that acknowledgement is not inconsequential.
To understand this we need to set aside the acquired postmodern contempt for history. The past isn’t insignificant. The present is a direct ongoing attempt to resolve what was started yesteryear.
Without historical context there can be no valid evaluation of Israel’s existential predicaments –certainly not of crucial continuities. That’s why those who seek to obfuscate and skew do their utmost to erase telltale fundamental perspectives and portray whatever they focus upon as vital isolated concerns. Disinclination to retrace the steps which, for better or worse, brought us hitherto messes with our perceptions and dictates profound misperceptions.
Those whose time count begins on the morning of June 5, 1967 invariably seek to advance a predetermined agenda, whereby all that preceded Israeli ”occupation” is discarded, as is everything that triggered the direct outbreak of hostilities.
Their bottom line is to persuade the uninitiated that Israelis woke up one sunny day, and overtaken by uncontrollable and inexcusable territorial appetites, invaded their peace-loving neighbors’ homes and usurped them arbitrarily. The cruel conquistadors then illegally settled in their neighbors’ property, which impelled the downtrodden natives to resist the interlopers.
The propagandist logic here is unmistakable. Justice demands a return to the status quo ante – in other words to the situation as it was on June 4, 1967 (while failing to mention that on that date Israel was existentially vulnerable, surrounded and threatened with extinction by the aforementioned neighbors who blusterously bayed for Jewish blood).
An equally popular distortion is that all regional misery resulted wantonly out of the blue from Israel’s birth in 1948. Everything which led up to that turning point is assiduously ignored. Tendentious rewriters of history prefer we forget that the conflict didn’t begin in 1948 but reached its culmination then.
Forgotten quite expediently are recurrent pre-1948 massacres by Arabs shouting itbach el-Yahud (slaughter the Jews), denial of asylum to Jews fleeing the Holocaust and, not least, active and avid Arab collaboration with Nazi Germany.
The logic of this misrepresentation too is unmistakable. It inescapably leads to Israel’s utter delegitimization. If Israel’s inception is the original sin, then the only rightful long-term remedy can be Israel’s termination.
But while Israel’s independence formally began in 1948, its struggle didn’t. The Arabs brutally opposed the Jewish community which existed in this country pre-WWII and which was ripe for statehood before the Holocaust. The “Great Arab Revolt” of 1936-39 – fomented by the still-revered Haj Amin al-Husseini and financed by Nazi Germany – delayed Jewish independence.
The Arabs denied asylum here to desperate Jewish escapees from Hitler’s hell. Thereby they doomed these refugees to death. The blood of these exterminated Jews indelibly stains Arab hands.
But that’s not all. Al-Husseini, in the role of pan-Arab prime minister, spent the war years in Berlin, where he hobnobbed with Hitler, Himmler, Eichmann et al. He broadcast Nazi propaganda, recruited Muslims to the SS and actively foiled the rescue of any Jews, even children, during the Holocaust.
This country’s Arabs were avidly pro-Nazi, saluted each other with Heil Hitler, flaunted the swastika, hoarded arms, harbored German spies and planned to heartily welcome Rommel’s invading Afrika Korps.
The war which the entire Arab world launched against newborn Israel, three years post-Holocaust, was explicitly geared to complete Hitler’s unfinished mission. Not only was there no attempt to camouflage this genocidal goal, but it was broadcast boastfully for all to hear and be intimidated.
Its declared aim was to thwart UN General Assembly Resolution 181, adopted on November 29, 1947. That resolution called for the partition of western Palestine into two economically integrated states – one Jewish and one Arab.
Eastern Palestine, comprising nearly 80% of the total, was arbitrarily ripped off by the British Mandate in 1922 and handed over to a princeling from what has since become known as Saudi Arabia. Emir Abdullah’s gift-package was artificially dubbed Transjordan, a country entirely unheard of in human history and whose bogus nationality is today known as Jordanian. It is, in fact, the product of the first division of Palestine.
Although on paper Jews received 54% of the remainder, they actually got three non-contiguous slivers, the largest of which included the Arava, eastern Negev and the Negev’s far south (down to then-nonexistent Eilat). Most of the moonscape terrain wasn’t arable and was certainly unsuitable for large-scale urban habitation. Another bit was wedged in the eastern Galilee around Lake Kinneret. The most densely populated mini-slice was an unimaginably narrow noodle along the Mediterranean, where most Jews congregated and which was chillingly vulnerable. Within it was enclosed the Arab enclave of Jaffa, while Nahariya was left outside the Jewish state.
Jerusalem and Bethlehem were to comprise a “corpus separatum,” an international zone, this notwithstanding the fact that Jerusalem had an undeniable Jewish majority going back at least to the beginning of the 19th Century (there were no censuses beforehand). But organized Christianity couldn’t abide the affront of Jewish dominion in the Holy City.
Untenable and implausible though this hodgepodge partition was, Jewish multitudes rejoiced in the streets. At that point it didn’t matter how nightmarish and absurd the disjointed territorial splinters assigned to them were.
What mattered was that for the first time in 2000 years Jewish self-determination – if even on a ridiculously diminutive and fragile geographical fragment – appeared increasingly like a viable reality, despite immediate Arab venomous denunciation of any compromise whatever with any Jewish entity.
This is what it was all about then. This is what it’s still about. This is why it still massively matters. This is why Mofaz is so fundamentally wrong.
All Israel asks is that the Arabs belatedly accept 1947’s UN Partition Resolution, which they violently violated merely because it provided for a Jewish state. That Jewish state became the Arab casus belli. The Jewish state still is the Arab casus belli.
Peace cannot begin to be made before the malignant characterization of Jewish statehood as a casus belli is recanted convincingly and comprehensively once and for all.
All rights reserved © 1995 - 2013 The Jerusalem Post.
Think Again: Connecting the headlines
By JONATHAN ROSENBLUM
Peace will not come as long as children are subjected to countless messages every day that the highest goal of life is to blow oneself up taking as many Jews as possible along.
(Jerusalem Post, March 8, 2013) Two recent headlines may be more deeply connected than one would think at first glance. The New York Times proclaimed “Academic study weakens Israeli claim that Palestinian schools teach hate.” And earlier this week, Ynet reported “Obama wants timetable for pullout from the West Bank.”
The Ynet report claimed President Barack Obama has demanded from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a plan for Israeli West Bank withdrawal in order to create a Palestinian state in 2014. While that report cannot be considered authoritative, it is at least consistent with Obama’s approach at the outset of his first term, when he labeled the time particularly auspicious for settling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict once and for all, and appointed former senator George Mitchell to get the job done. However, whatever favorable omens the president read in his tea leaves, they soon turned sour. No substantive negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel have taken place since he first entered office.
Perhaps Obama reckons that Israel’s desperation over Iran’s nuclear program provides him with unprecedented leverage over Israel, and is determined to use that leverage to achieve the final settlement agreement that has eluded all his predecessors. It is difficult, however, to imagine how such a final settlement could be achieved. For one thing, any effort to fashion an affirmative response to a presidential demand for a withdrawal plan would bring to an immediate end the romance between Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, and throw a spanner into Netanyahu’s efforts to form a government with them in tow.
Nor is it clear why the president would want to focus his energies on Palestinian-Israeli peace, with a dozen or so looming international crises vying for his attention. The Arab Spring has undercut once and for all the “realist” case for the centrality of Israel to the instability and failure that characterize the Middle East.
A major American push for Palestinian statehood would be based on the same tired mantra as the Mitchell initiative of 2009: The contours of the final agreement are well known to all the parties.
That proposition, I would guess, is not one that commands wide agreement on either the Palestinian or Israeli side.
What is true is that most Israelis would accept pretty much any line drawn on a map – or at least one that preserved Israeli control over the major settlement blocs and the post-1967 neighborhoods of Jerusalem – if they could be confident of living in peace and harmony with their neighbors on the other side forever. But, of course, Israelis lack any such confidence.
They see no evidence the Palestinians are close to eschewing designs on the entirety of Israel, for the simple reason that there has been no education on the Palestinian side for peace in the more than 20 years since Oslo – no acknowledgment, for instance, that peace would require renunciation of the right of return.
Yasser Arafat, the most widely revered Palestinian leader, knew what he was talking about when he told president Bill Clinton at Camp David that agreement to Clinton’s proposals – i.e., “the contours of the final agreement long known to all” – would leave him a dead man walking. The Palestinian constituency for peace has grown no larger since Arafat’s demise.
That is why Israel will continue to insist that any peace agreement be based on defensible borders and Israel retaining the ability to prevent the West Bank from becoming a terrorist enclave, like Gaza and southern Lebanon.
THIS IS where the recently published study of Palestinian and Israeli textbooks, supported in part by $500,000 of US State Department funding, comes in.
What if everything that Israelis think they know about the education of the present generation of Palestinian children is wrong? What if a fundamental equivalence exists between Palestinian and Israeli textbooks: The textbooks of both sides reflect negative narratives of the other side that have become part of each side’s reality. But the Palestinian textbooks are no worse, or at least no worse in kind, if not degree, than Israeli textbooks.
If this is the case, what basis does Israel have for its continued suspicions? Israeli textbooks did not prevent the Israeli public from greeting the signing of the Oslo Accords with almost messianic hopes. So why should Palestinian textbooks foretell a refusal of today’s generation of Palestinian children to greet peace with open arms? The truth, unfortunately, is that the actual study of Palestinian and Israeli textbooks does not support the equivalence trumpeted in the New York Times headlines and elsewhere. And worse, such equivalence as the study’s main authors found is based on a fatally flawed research model.
Dr. Elihu Richter, a professor of occupational and environmental medicine at Hebrew University, was one of the 20-member scientific advisory council to the study. He and other council members were blindsided by the decision of the head of the study, Prof. Bruce Wexler of Yale University, to publish the study without providing members of the council an opportunity to review and critique it.
Richter details some of the dramatic differences between the Palestinian textbooks and the Israeli ones, even in the study as published. Eighty-four percent of the excerpts from the Palestinian texts were considered to present negative characterizations of the other side versus 49% in Israeli state texts, and only 1% to contain positive characterizations versus 11% of the Israeli texts. Two-thirds of Palestinian photos put the other side in a negative light versus only 6% of Israeli photos. Virtually every Palestinian map omitted names of Israeli cities or holy places while only 12% of Israeli maps omitted the names of Muslim sites and holy places.
Palestinian textbooks contain no critical examinations of the actions of Palestinian leaders, such as the mufti of Jerusalem’s active assistance to Hitler’s genocidal plans, while living in Berlin during World War II. By contrast, Israeli textbooks critically examined Deir Yassin and Sabra and Shatilla.
Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal, the lead Israeli author of the study, is a Meretz supporter, who already in 2007 accused Israeli textbooks of adopting a narrative that perpetuates the conflict. He advocates a “holistic” approach, which basically involves the search for false equivalencies on the basis of faulty methodology. Bar-Tal condemned the 2009 Operation Cast Lead as proof that Israelis’ political consciousness has been shaped by a sense of victimhood, a siege mentality, belligerence, dehumanization of the Palestinians and indifference to their suffering. Apparently the desire to stop rocket fire from Gaza had nothing to do with Operation Cast Lead, only false consciousness.
Richter and Amnon Groiss, another member of the scientific advisory board, both noted the omission from the study of many highly negative passages from the Palestinian textbooks on very weak grounds.
“Your enemies killed your children, split open your women’s bellies” and another reference to “invading snakes” were omitted because they did not specifically mention Jews or Israel, though it is doubtful many Palestinian children were confused as to the identity of those “invading snakes.”
Other vicious comments made it to the ears of Palestinian children but not to the report on the grounds that they originated in religious texts beyond the study’s purview. Yet strangely the study included textbooks from the haredi sector, which were found to convey negative attitudes toward Christians and Muslims. But the authors failed to distinguish between haredi praise for martyrs as victims in haredi texts and Palestinian praise for suicide bombers as martyrs.
Lumping demonization and dehumanization together with milder forms of delegitimization further distorted the results of the study by downplaying the venom in certain Palestinian passages. Meanwhile the authors scored factually accurate descriptions in Israeli textbooks of the Munich Massacre and the 1941 pogrom against Iraqi Jews as conveying “negative messages” about Palestinians and Arabs. By that measure, Israeli children should be prevented from learning about the Holocaust lest it cause them to think poorly of Germans.
Groiss points out a crucial difference in the textbooks themselves. There are many Israeli texts advocating peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and none urging a military resolution. By contrast, there are no Palestinian paeans to peace with Israelis, and many texts speaking of liberation of the homeland. Israeli texts express sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians and describe individual Palestinians sympathetically. Those passages do not have parallels in the Palestinian literature.
But by far the biggest distortion of the study is the exclusive focus on Palestinian texts removed from the overall educational context shaping the next generation of Palestinians – Palestinian Authority TV and newspapers, paramilitary summer camps for kids, religious sermons denouncing Jews as “sons of pigs and monkeys” and quoting hadiths about how in the end of time even the trees will call out to faithful Muslims to come and slay the Jews hiding behind them.
In particular, the study virtually ignores the cult of martyrdom that has overtaken Palestinian society – the endless scenes on Palestinian TV of the “martyred” Mohammed al-Dura beckoning other youngsters to join him in enjoying the eternal reward reserved for shahids (martyrs); the naming of sports camps and town squares and summer camps for archterrorists, like Dalal Mughrabi, the architect of the Coastal Road Massacre. All available wall space of Palestinian public areas is filled with pictures of suicide bombers, including the place and date of their martyrdom.
Peace will not come as long as children are subjected to countless messages every day that the highest goal of life is to blow oneself up taking as many Jews as possible along. And until those messages cease, we can only hope that Israel will not be submitting plans for the emergence of a Palestinian state.
The writer is director of Jewish Media Resources, has written a regular column in The Jerusalem Post Magazine since 1997 and is the author of eight biographies of modern Jewish leaders.
All rights reserved © 1995 - 2013 The Jerusalem Post.
[Note: While territorial disputes are sometimes amenable to resolution via a division of the disputed territory, ideological disputes can never be resolved by this means. Although Israel’s leadership has traditionally viewed the pan-Arab war (and the “Palestinian” Arab component thereof) against the Jewish State as primarily being a territorial dispute, Israel’s repeated willingness to resolve that dispute via a division of allegedly disputed territory has been consistently met with Arab rejection, condescension and disdain. Read on!]
Another Tack: While we keep kvetching
By SARAH HONIG
Territorial swaps were already discussed by then-premier Ehud Barak in his near-desperate peace-drive of 2000-2001.
(Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2013) The wardrobe adaptability of the Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani is very telling. The same goes for his cousin, Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani.
When it serves their purposes, Qatar’s staggeringly wealthy two most powerful players strut about in very traditional Arab garb. But when the occasion deems it expedient, they soothe subliminal western anxieties by donning tailored suits of the exceptionally elegant sort that proliferates in European Union forums. That purportedly imparts an impression of trustworthiness.
The cousins’ policy line is just as chameleon-like. There’s a yawning gap between their utterances in English and in Arabic.
Not too many years ago, Qatar was an Israeli success story, or so it was widely believed in Jerusalem. Relations with Doha, especially trade ties, flourished since the mid-Nineties. They weren’t formal or full, yet they were hardly covert. Everyone knew about them. Unnamed Qatari higher-ups had reportedly visited Israel and Shimon Peres, then deputy premier, openly visited Qatar in 2007. [Then Israeli Foreign Minister] Tzipi Livni did the same a year later. Other Israelis, such as [former Israeli Prime Minister] Ehud Barak, hobnobbed with the emir.
But Qatar unilaterally abrogated these ties after Operation Cast Lead [against Hamas-ruled Gaza, which took place in December 2008 - January 2009]. Doha offered to restore them if Israel allowed unrestricted shipments of building materials to Gaza. Since these can be used to build bunkers, Israel refused.
However, the Qatari transformation isn’t only Israeli-linked. Qatar had become the financial sponsor of the misnamed Arab Spring, bankrolling assorted Muslim Brotherhood insurgents and their allies. The upheavals shaking the Arab world – Syria foremost – were in effect orchestrated by Doha.
The emir – despite his excellent personal ties with Israelis, Americans and other Westerners – has used his clout and unimaginable riches to bring to power and sustain Islamist forces that are fundamentally inimical to the West, to say nothing of their implacable hatred for the Jewish state.
With abundant hype, pomp and circumstance the emir visited Gaza last autumn. It was the first such high-profile gesture by a head of state since Hamas seized power in 2007. It allowed Gaza to eclipse Ramallah and demonstrate that the post-Arab-Spring rise of the Muslim Brotherhood bolsters Hamas, itself a Brotherhood offshoot.
This yet again underscored the Brotherhood’s reinforced impact, via collusion with Gulf State Islamists. The inherent incendiary potential cannot be belittled, even if US President Barak Obama prefers to obfuscate the gloomy reality he has helped create.
No matter what spin was spun, the emir was clearly seen as meddling in the intra-Palestinian squabbles, putting his full political weight behind the utterly rejectionist Hamas that explicitly proclaims its aspiration to destroy Israel.
The emir underwrites his support with financial largesse as well. This puts him in league with particularly fanatic forces. He has, for example, been a most generous benefactor to such militant jihadist groups as Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaida subsidiary now on the warpath in Syria.
Not to be omitted is the pivotal importance of the Qatar-based al-Jazeera news network, which serves the Thanis’ agenda at the expense of even token journalistic integrity. Al-Jazeera’s inflammatory tendentious reporting has fomented insurgencies in Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria. One would therefore assume that such non-too-innocuous intervention would decisively give the lie to Qatar’s purported moderation and peaceful inclinations.
But on the opportune occasion of the Qatari prime minister’s recent stopover in Washington, the chameleon switched colors again. Stylishly attired in a dark confidence-boosting business suit and schmoozing [United States] Secretary of State John Kerry and [United States] Vice President Joe Biden in cordial English, their guest successfully peddled worn old merchandise as a novel revolutionary concept.
Needless to stress, Obama’s crew bought it all, lock stock and barrel as per the Kerry/Biden inclination from the outset. Perhaps they altogether suggested the stratagem that they later appeared to laud as an extraordinary breakthrough in attempts to resurrect Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Of course the raison d’être of these talks is – one way or another – to squeeze Israel back into those incredibly untenable 1949 armistice lines, in effect till June 4, 1967 and now misrepresented as bona fide borders.
And so, the international community and Israel’s ever-obliging left-wing were quite expectedly wowed when Thani declared that “The Arab League delegation affirmed that agreement should be based on the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 line, with the [possibility] of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land.”
Been there. Heard that. But so what? When supposed honest brokers determine that the secondhand castoff is in fact spanking new, their say-so ostensibly constitutes a sterling seal of approval. Such recycling in turn becomes a means to ply more pressure on Israel with a perceived fresh Arab concession, which is nothing of the sort.
For one thing, Qatar’s Gazan protégés spurn the rehashed concoction. [Gazan Prime Minister Ismail] Haniyeh minced no words: “To those who speak of land swaps we say: Palestine is not a property, it’s not for sale, not for a swap and cannot be traded."
Ramallah figurehead [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas wasn’t more forthcoming. He couldn’t afford to even appear to be.
But even that’s not new. Territorial swaps were already discussed by then-premier Ehud Barak in his near-desperate peace-drive of 2000-2001 that began in Stockholm, continued in Camp David and expired ignominiously in Taba.
Barak’s ultra-dovish foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami kept detailed journals throughout the negotiations. These featured in a very lengthy interview granted to Ha’aretz’s Ari Shavit. Published on September 14, 2001 and entitled “The Day the Peace Died.” Ben-Ami’s extensive monologue still offers spellbinding insights.
Among them is that when territorial swaps were proposed, the Palestinian side “would only consider taking possession of Kochav Yai’r” – where Barak resided at the time. There were also not-so-veiled threats of violence. Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat named September 13, 2000 as a deadline. Two weeks thereafter the intifada raged.
When the prolonged haggling was over, Ben-Ami retroactively understood that Israel “operated under misguided conceptions about the other side’s intentions. For [PLO Chairman Yasser] Arafat Oslo constituted a mega-camouflage behind which he exerted political pressure and employed varying measures of terror to undermine the very notion of a two-state solution.”
Ben-Ami notes that while Israel kept retreating from one “red line” to another, eventually agreeing to handover almost anything the Palestinians insisted upon, including much of Jerusalem and its Holiest of Holies, “never at any point did the Palestinians so much as draft any counter-proposals.”
That, Ben-Ami belatedly concluded, “was the crux of the matter. The Israeli side forever finds itself in a dilemma: either we quit because this bunch is unwilling to suggest anything, or we manage one more concession, one more kvetch [squeeze in Yiddish]. At the end, however, even the most moderate person arrives at a point in which he admits to himself that the other side has no endgame. Kvetch after kvetch but they’re never satisfied. It never ends.”
With painstaking detail Ben-Ami lists each and every kvetch, each and every vital position from which Barak and his team were reluctantly pushed by the intractable Palestinians. Even while Israeli negotiators sacrificed Jerusalem, the Palestinians “weren’t ready for as much as allowing a face-saving formulation for Israel.”
A senior American go-between opined to Ben-Ami that “all the Palestinians want is to humiliate you.” They even degradingly rejected a last shameful Israeli entreaty for “subterranean sovereignty underneath the Temple Mount, denying that we have any right whatsoever there.”
When Ben-Ami was willing to make do with a Palestinian undertaking not to dig atop the Mount, “because it’s holy to Jews, they adamantly refused to agree to any mention of any sanctity anyplace for Jews.”
What distressed Ben-Ami most “wasn’t just their refusal but how they refused – with total contempt. They were dismissive and arrogant towards us… They weren’t willing to make even an emotional or symbolic conciliatory gesture. In the deepest sense they were loath to acknowledge that we have any claim here.”
Camp David eventually flopped, according to Ben-Ami, because “the Palestinians refused to give us any inkling about where their demands would terminate. Our impression was that they constantly sought to drag us into a black hole of another concession and another, without there being anything like a discernible finish-line.”
Ben-Ami’s unavoidable conclusion was that “more than the Palestinians want their own state they want to condemn ours… They always leave loose ends… to keep viable the option that at some future point someone would pull these ends and unravel the Jewish state.”
To be sure, like his fellow leftists, Ben-Ami even then couldn’t bring himself to fully renounce his patently indefensible ideological creed. But although still professing faith in his smitten idols, he nonetheless cautioned against “ignoring what was revealed to us – Palestinian and Islamic positions which defy our very right to exist. We mustn’t continue the culture of kvetch which might lead us to suicide…We must no longer relinquish Jewish and Israeli patriotism. We must understand that we aren’t always guilty. We must learn to say ‘till here and no farther.’ If the other side aims to destroy even this nucleus, we must steadfastly defend it.”
Ben-Ami at least learned something. But in 2008 another prime minister, Ehud Olmert, sought to magnify Barak’s errors and then some. Nonetheless, even his remarkable offer was rebuffed.
Now [current Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu is called upon to kvetch once more, if for no other objective than for improving our tarnished image. Here, however, we need to pause and wonder why our image is at all tarnished. It’s mind-boggling how the Arabs can appear so conciliatory when sacrificing nothing, while Israel is regarded as intransigent when conceding endlessly and at great existential risk.
It may well be that our reputation is sullied precisely because of our very readiness to concede. Our pliability isn’t without detrimental consequences. Even futile negotiations do great harm down the line. Simply put, egregious territorial generosity undercuts all future Israeli bargaining positions. Once any Israeli representative has kvetched, his kvetch cannot be taken back because only Israel is always required to kvetch.
The Arab side’s show of goodwill is eminently achieved merely by sending out members of the Qatari ruling family – or their counterparts elsewhere in oil-glutted Arabia – always in their sartorial best to impress world opinion with suitable blandishments. The ingratiating manners of the movers and shakers from the House of Thani invariably predispose all and sundry in their favor while we keep kvetching.
All rights reserved © 1995 - 2013 The Jerusalem Post.
Another Tack: Judenfrei is fine and dandy
By SARAH HONIG
Abbas enunciated the Arabic version of the German-minted judenrein (‘Clean of Jews’) or its evil semantic twin Judenfrei (‘Freed of Jews’).
(Jerusalem Post, August 8, 2013) In practically two post-Oslo decades, Ramallah’s negotiators haven’t budged a fraction of a millimeter from their initial positions. In that span of unfortunate time, Israel had continually slipped back and now accedes to what would have been unthinkable for our mainstream in 1993.
The current two-state sine qua non – an ostensibly indispensable and unquestionable ingredient of any just Mideast deal – would have been a clear non-starter in Israeli public discourse pre-Oslo. But recurrent concerted assaults – both from overseas and from our domestic left wing – on the very cornerstones of what were Israel’s self-evident truths, left us shaken and demoralized.
As a result, the traumatized citizenry began rationalizing the deviations from our fundamental postulates as feasible moves toward a doable peace. Israel’s Left pulled our entire political arena fitfully ever farther leftward. The more its predictions crashed against the hard wall of reality, the more the fantasy-merchants insisted that their premise wasn’t wrong but that we just didn’t give in enough.
Due to leftist dominance in the media, academia and judiciary, this became conventional wisdom. Not only did the Likud’s own [Israeli Prime Minister] Binyamin Netanyahu have to declaim allegiance to the two-state notion, but he internalized the principle that Israel must always buy off even a modicum of the Palestinian authority’s cooperation, whereas the PA need do no more than appear reluctantly semi-mollified for the short haul – until it ups the ante.
Israel was obliged to release some of the most heinous terrorist murderers – all duly convicted – to pay for Ramallah’s participation in the apparent restart of negotiations. Down the line, we’ll doubtless have to fork more out lest Mahmoud Abbas and his honchos walk out in a huff and blame us for it. One concession leads to another in an endless chain of extortion.
Behind a façade of enlightened sympathy for the Arab side, the international community and our Left in essence treat Arabs as an immature, petulant aggregate of primitives who cannot be counted upon to behave sensibly but must be conciliated with endless gifts.
The trouble is that it doesn’t work.
In a lengthy September 14, 2001, interview in [the leftwing daily Israeli newspaper] Haaretz, ex-premier Ehud Barak’s ultra-dovish foreign minister Shlomo Ben- Ami ruminated on the desperate peace drive of 2000-2001 that began in Stockholm, continued in Camp David and expired ignominiously in Taba. It failed miserably despite Barak’s egregious territorial generosity.
Ben-Ami concluded that the Palestinians aren’t interested in a two-state solution, that this becomes “a mega-camouflage to exert pressure on Israel... More than Palestinians desire their own state, they seek to delegitimize our state.... The Left mustn’t ignore what we discovered – the very rejection of our right to exist.”
Adding insult to injury, [Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas doesn’t even try to disguise this. Yet our Left still continues to assiduously overlook whatever accentuates its folly. A case in point is Abbas’s announcement in Cairo last week that not a single Israeli would be allowed to remain in a Palestinian state after a deal will have – maybe – been struck.
That’s his vision for the future. It’s not a slip of the tongue, braggadocio geared to impress a newly friendly Egyptian audience or just meaninglessly mouthing off. Anyone who had bothered to follow Abbas’s pronouncements, rather than hail him as the perpetual icon of moderation, won’t fail to recognize his very familiar and oft-repeated refrain.
Nonetheless, cynical statesmen and diplomats prefer to largely ignore Abbas’s declarations and sweep them conveniently under the rug of whatever negotiating venue is chosen to excruciatingly force Israel into existentially risky concessions. The indulgence shown Abbas is in itself unconscionable and underscores the hypocrisy and double standards toward not only Abbas but all he represents.
Imagine, if you will, what would have happened had Netanyahu exclaimed that “from now on we won’t allow the presence of one Arab in our independent Israel with Jerusalem as its capital.”
The cacophony of condemnation from abroad, we can safely assume, would instantly surge into hysterical pandemonium. Livid politicos, opinion-molders and the press would seethe and fume as if nothing more racist is utterable. Inside Israel the righteous ruckus would be no less frenzied and deafening.
But we can heave a sigh of relief. Luckily these words could never conceivably cross Netanyahu’s lips. This unkind sentiment, however, is Abbas’s unchanging mantra.
Examples abound. In 2011, addressing Arab League foreign ministers in Doha [, Qatar], Abbas unabashedly declared that “when an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is established, we won’t allow the presence of one Israeli in it.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, Abbas enunciated the Arabic version of the German- minted judenrein (“Clean of Jews”) or its semantic evil twin judenfrei (“Freed of Jews”). Yet no Arab diplomat was in the slightest discomfited, much less appalled. Abbas consistently reiterates the same sentence with only trivial verbal variations. In December, 2010, for instance, he put us on notice that “I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land.”
He was most specific on July 28, 2010, when, in an uber-compromising mood, he intoned: “I’m willing to agree to a third party that would supervise the [possible future Israeli-Palestinian] agreement, such as NATO forces, but I would not agree to having Jews among the NATO forces, or that there will live among us even a single Israeli on Palestinian land.”
Presumably, in the spirit of broadminded pluralism, Abbas would subject all prospective peacekeepers to the toughest of scrutinies to make sure that not even a disguised part-Jew manages to sneak in and contaminate Palestine’s legitimately judenfrei jurisdiction. Such understandable precautions would plausibly comprise the sort of progressivism which the Western world countenances.
Clearly, the international community relishes reviling ultra-liberal Israel, while it discounts and even justifies crude Arab racism. But there’s more here than glaring hypocrisy.
The fact that Abbas never neglects to emphasize that Israelis (which really means Jews) would be strictly banned from his state should signify how impossible any practicable and sincere peace is. Abbas, the world’s pampered darling, harbors no qualms about denying Israel any quid pro quo for what he demands of it.
Thus Abbas upbraids Netanyahu for “demanding recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. We have rejected, and will reject, this demand. We know what his intention is. He wants to undermine the Palestinian- Arab presence inside Israel and prevent the return of refugees.” In other words, rather than be accepted rightfully as a Jewish state, Israel is tolerated at most as a multinational temporary entity and candidate for impending Arabization. It wouldn’t be left in peace unless it submits meekly to said Arabization and the eradication of its Jewishness.
It’s fair and proper for Israel to contain a large Arab minority, and to be further overrun by millions of hostile Arabs, but it’s entirely out of the question for any Jews to remain in Judea.
That such racist stipulations are fine and dandy with the dysfunctional family of nations constitutes the single most gigantic obstacle on the path of peace.
Nothing for which Abbas agitates – no matter how unfair or perverse – is likely to get shot down. Not unexpectedly, his apparent outright impunity whets his appetite and emboldens him to press for ever more and more. The sky’s the limit. Foreign mediators are sure to pander to his every whim.
This renders any peace agreement improbable. Both excessively amenable Ehuds – Barak and Olmert – got nowhere despite their mind-blowing largesse. In the end everything hinged on whether or not Israel would commit suicide. Even the appeasement-minded Ehuds couldn’t quite bring themselves to slit our collective throat.
There’s no getting away from the fact that whatever pipedreams are promoted in our midst, they entail the most complex of arrangements, because this land is so tiny and the communities so intricately intertwined. No clear divisions are possible. Therefore, the indispensable prerequisites for any sort of compromise are goodwill, mutual respect and plain honesty.
The practical minutiae of hypothetical understandings – all technically cumbersome – would be hopelessly difficult even were the best of intentions prevalent. As is, only terminally naïve delusionists can take for granted that the cooperative spirit would descend upon us from Cloud Nine and color our existence a blissful pink.
Infantile faith in vague idyllic harmony is hardly a reliable policy guideline. In this context experience is far more instructive.
We already attempted to implement deals that called for coordination and teamwork. These were hardly as complex as would be mandated, say on Jerusalem’s streets. Yet even these relatively straightforward arrangements ended up highlighting the palpable paucity of honorable intentions.
The Oslo concoction created an infrastructure of joint patrols. One such covered the slender strip between Arab Kalkilya and Israeli Kfar Saba. Things seemed to proceed without a hitch on September 29, 2000 – until, out of the blue, an Israeli Border Police officer, Ch.-Insp. Yosef Tabaja, 27, was murdered by the Arab partners with whom he had just shared a midmorning snack. After they ate, bantered and had a laugh together, the Palestinian patrolmen knelt to pray. Then they rose, approached the Israelis with drawn weapons and fired, screaming “Allahu ahbar.”
Tabaja was shot in the head. Another Israeli, Shalom Malul, was wounded but managed to drive off. Official Israel expressed surprise because the joint patrols were regarded as a feather in the cap of peace. “Things were going so well until now,” quipped then-PM Barak in disbelief. The second intifada was about to erupt.
Can greater goodwill be dependably predicted for future joint patrols? Can mutual respect be rationally anticipated when the PA unremittingly repeats that no Jew may reside east of the Green Line but that everything west of the Green Line is envisioned as space to be inundated with vengeful Arabs?
By no objective criteria can this credibly augur well for coexistence – particularly given the conspicuous absence of condemnation abroad for Abbas’s blatant racism. No change is likely until censure for Arab hate surges globally into hysterical pandemonium; until livid foreign politicos and opinion-molders seethe and fume; until a frenzied and deafening righteous ruckus arises from within Palestinian society.
But we better not hold our breath.
Sarah Honig’s book of selected Jerusalem Post columns, Debunking the Bull, was published this year by Gefen.
All rights reserved © 1995 - 2013 The Jerusalem Post.
Omitting the flag
By JPOST EDITORIAL
The omission of the Israeli flag this week in the Mukata is just a symptom of a much deeper problem.
On July 31, when members of Labor MK Hilik Bar’s Knesset Caucus to Resolve the Arab-Israeli Conflict hosted Palestinian Authority politicians in the Israeli parliament, a Palestinian flag was displayed alongside Israel’s.
Thirty-three lawmakers from several parties representing the majority of the Knesset’s 120 MKs were present for this precedent-setting occasion.
There were MKs from Labor, Meretz, Hadash and Balad. But there were also MKs and ministers from coalition party Yesh Atid and from the haredi Shas and United Torah Judaism parties.
At the time, Muhammad Madani, a Fatah Central Committee member and head of the Palestinian delegation, invited the MKs to Ramallah and promised to fly both the Israeli and Palestinian flags during the visit.
This week, Madani made good on his invitation – at least partially. On Monday, nine Labor MKs and Hatnua’s David Tsur traveled to Ramallah to meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the Mukata presidential compound. Several Palestinian officials, including Madani and PLO executive committee secretary Yasser Abed Rabbo, attended the event. Shas MKs had planned to come as well, but Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s death kept them away.
Yet one other thing was conspicuously missing – the Israeli flag. There were two Palestinian flags in the room, a large portrait of Yasser Arafat and a mural of the Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock mosque prominently featured. But despite Madani’s promise, there was no Israeli flag. Apparently Abbas did not want pictures taken of him with an Israel flag in the background to be plastered all over Palestinian newspapers.
Perhaps there should not be too much emphasis placed on the flag’s absence. The Jewish standard is probably not easy to come by in Ramallah or other Palestinian cities, though Bar would have been more than happy to bring one along with him.
Still, Abbas’s refusal to reciprocate Israel’s magnanimous gesture touches on a much more serious issue, which was at the heart of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan speech this week – namely that the Palestinian refusal to recognize the “nation-state of the Jewish people” is the principal obstacle to peace.
Netanyahu was not referring to a solely pro forma declaration on the part of the Palestinians. Rather, the prime minister was addressing ongoing incitement against Israel in official PA media, including the glorification of terrorists who have killed Israeli civilians; the fact that locations inside the Green Line such as Acre, Jaffa and Haifa are still mentioned as belonging to “Palestine”; the official Palestinian line that rejects the Jewish people’s historical, religious and cultural ties to the Land of Israel, especially on the Temple Mount; and the nurturing of hopes that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian “refugees” will be permitted to return to their homes inside the Green Line.
UNFORTUNATELY THE idea that the Jewish people are “colonialists” who have no justification for creating a uniquely Jewish state in the Land of Israel is widespread. Ian Lustick, a political scientist from the University of Pennsylvania, who had been a longtime proponent of a two-state solution, recently wrote that such a resolution to the conflict “would have made Israel the only European fragment society to have successfully institutionalized its presence in a non-European region without effectively eliminating the aboriginal population.”
Lustick and other experts on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict see Israelis, even those who immigrated to Israel from Muslim countries in the region, as a “European fragment society” no different from the British in India or Kenya, the Belgians in the Congo, the Afrikaners in South Africa.
As long as the Palestinians view Zionists as just another colonialist white settler movement, there is little chance of reaching a two-state solution in which both sides recognize the legitimacy of the other to live here in peace and security.
The omission of the Israeli flag this week in the Mukata is just a symptom of a much deeper problem.
All rights reserved © 1995 - 2013 The Jerusalem Post.
Steinitz: Incitement against Israel is part of general Palestinian culture
By LAHAV HARKOV
Minister says incitement is a serious obstacle to peace, problem does not exist only among extremists.
(Jerusalem Post, October 16, 2013) Palestinian incitement is ruining the chances of ending the conflict, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said in the Knesset on Wednesday.
Steinitz presented his ministry’s report on incitement to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
“Incitement is a serious obstacle to peace,” he stated.
“The Palestinian Authority is aware of the inciting messages in its official educational institutions.”
Steinitz and Strategic Affairs Ministry director-general Yossi Kuperwasser reviewed the report with the committee, giving dozens of examples from Palestinian curricula, television programs and official PA websites to show the level of incitement.
“We did a thorough search of every Palestinian curriculum and television program, and we didn’t find even one opposing example, in support of peace,” Steinitz stated.
According to Steinitz, “incitement is a widespread phenomenon that is an inseparable part of the Palestinian culture and is not just among lone extremists.”
On Tuesday, The New York Times published an op-ed by Steinitz titled “How Palestinian Hate Prevents Peace.”
Steinitz wrote that shortly after telling the UN he wants to “work to let the culture of peace reign,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hosted Egyptian poet Hisham al-Gakh and heard a recitation of a work declaring that “our enemy is the fork-tailed Zionist devil.”
“Instead of being schooled in the ‘culture of peace,’ the next generation of Palestinians is being relentlessly fed a rhetorical diet that includes the idolization of terrorists, the demonization of Jews and the conviction that sooner or later Israel should cease to exist,” the strategic affairs minister wrote.
Steinitz concluded by saying that the Palestinians should pay Israel back for releasing terrorists ahead of peace talks by no longer encouraging hatred and delegitimization of the Jewish people and state.
If they don’t, he added, peace talks will be doomed to fail and ministers will find it difficult to vote for [further] confidence-building steps.
All rights reserved © 1995 - 2013 The Jerusalem Post.
Editorial: Settlements aren’t the problem
By JPOST EDITORIAL
(Jerusalem Post, October 31, 2013) The US, UN and Palestinian Authority – among others – castigated the government’s decision this week to move forward with building plans for 1,500 residential units beyond the 1949 armistice line.
“We do not consider continued settlement activity or east Jerusalem construction to be steps that create a positive environment for the negotiations,” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the move “contrary to international law” and “an obstacle to peace.”
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said the announcement “destroys the peace process and sends the international community the message that Israel does not respect international law.”
The government’s declaration that it would be building coincided with the release of the second group of 26 terrorists, most of them responsible for the deaths of Israeli citizens, arrested before the signing of the Oslo Accords.
We find it problematic that this government is using building beyond the Green Line as a quid pro quo for prisoner releases. Building in east Jerusalem and in settlement blocs should never be construed as a form of punishment against the Palestinians or as an “evening of scores.” Rather, it should be a natural outcome of population growth. At the same time, we can understand the political expediency of emphasizing building to blunt criticism – particularly on the Right – of the unpopular move of freeing murderous terrorists.
Notwithstanding US, UN and Palestinian claims to the contrary, Israeli building is not an obstacle to peace.
Most of the announced projects are slated for places such as Ma’aleh Adumim, Betar Illit and east Jerusalem.
In any two-state solution that would conceivably receive broad Israeli support, these places would remain part of the Jewish state.
For US administrations at least since the Clinton era, the notion that Israel must retreat to the 1949 armistice lines and that east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – the cradle of Jewish history – must be made judenrein is hardly a given.
The 2000 Clinton parameters, US president George W. Bush’s 2004 letter to prime minister Ariel Sharon, negotiations prime minister Ehud Olmert conducted in 2008, all were based on the principle that Israel would retain major settlement blocs in any two-state solution.
Earlier this month, Peace Now published a report titled “The two-state solution is still alive 20 years after Oslo” that noted most Jewish population growth in Judea and Samaria was concentrated in settlements that would remain part of Israel according to the Geneva Initiative.
The Jewish population living in Judea and Samaria has indeed tripled since 1993 – right before the signing of the Oslo Accords – from 110,000 to 341,000. But 64 percent of the population growth has occurred in cities and towns such as Modi’in Illit, Betar Illit and Ma’aleh Adumim.
The idea that Jewish settlements are “an obstacle to peace” is based on the morally repugnant premise – supported by the international community – that the very presence of Jews in these territories is an affront to the Palestinians, while Palestinians expect Israel to absorb not just the 1.6 million Arabs with Israeli citizenship but also an unknown number of Palestinian “refugees.”
This should not be surprising considering the fact that Muslim countries regularly persecute religious and ethnic minorities without incurring serious international condemnation. Why should a Palestinian state be any different? The real obstacle to peace remains Palestinians’ rejection of the very idea of a uniquely Jewish state. Decades before Judea and Samaria came under Israeli control and “settlements” began to be built, Palestinians opposed the very existence of a “Zionist entity.” To this day Palestinians harbor hopes that Palestinian “refugees” will be allowed to settle in Israel; they deny the Jewish people’s ties to the Land of Israel; they refuse to see the Jews as a distinct people that has a right to its own state.
Peace will come the day that the Palestinian people recognize the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination in its historical homeland. Blaming settlements misses the point.
All rights reserved © 1995 - 2013 The Jerusalem Post.
[Note: Nothing demonstrates the “Real Root Cause” of the eternal Arab Jihad against the Jewish State better than the annual Arab denunciation of Britain’s Balfour Declaration (issued in 1917), which served as the inspiration for (and was incorporated into the Preamble of) the League of Nations’ Mandate for Palestine (established in 1920), which, in turn, served as the international legal basis for the reconstitution of the Jewish nation-state in the biblical Land of Israel (via the State of Israel’s successful defense against a pan-Arab war of annihilation in 1948). The subtext of labeling the Tree (i.e., the Balfour Declaration) as irredeemably illegitimate is that its Fruit (i.e., the Jewish State) is likewise irredeemably illegitimate. Read on!]
Ministry of Information, Palestine National Authority, English-language website
On the 96th anniversary of Balfour Declaration
Date: 31 Oct 2013
Balfour Declaration is an illegal promise made by someone who does not own to someone who does not deserve.
Since the UK Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour pronounced the Balfour Declaration on 2 November 1917, promising a homeland for the Jews in Palestine, a shameful chapter in human rights violations started to unfold when a nation, the British, promised another nation, the Jews, the land of a third nation, the Palestinians. By promising Jews, who made up 6% of the inhabitants of Palestine, their own state, the declaration violated the rights of the other 94% of the indigenous population.
The declaration arrogantly referred to the majority population of Palestine as “the non-Jewish community in Palestine” and contradicted the 1916 McMahon-Hussain agreement and the principles of national self-determination enshrined in the international law and IHL [International Humanitarian Law].
A 67-word promise ignited an almost century-long conflict and violations to human and civil rights of the Palestinians. The declaration continues to serve as the bases for a racial discrimination system forcibly inflicted on Palestine and the Palestinians putting former South Africa Apartheid regime to shame.
To add injury to the insult, many of the superpowers continue supporting the Israeli occupation to the cradle of Christianity and sacred shrines of Islam, an occupation disgraced with flagrant violations to human rights and democracy. An occupation that is not hesitant to build a racial separation wall deep in the 1967-occupied land at the time when the world celebrates anniversaries of the fall of the Berlin wall.
On the 96th anniversary, more than 11 million Palestinians await justice and redress of a historical ongoing injustice. The Palestinians have already been granted the status of a UN-observer state; this entails full membership of all other UN and international organizations and platforms and further entails exerting unyielding pressure on the Israeli occupation authority to stop violations of Palestinian human rights and confiscation of Palestinian land and to ensure the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, the victims of the ill-famed declaration, including their right to return to their homes and property. All the aforementioned essentially requires having Israel respect international law and releasing all the Palestinian prisoners it unlawfully detains in its prisons. It’s but basic that Israel is required to demonstrate seriousness and dedication to peace negotiations that the Palestinian leadership continue calling for.
Copyright 2009 © Ministry of Information, all rights reserved.
Palestinian rights activist attacked by Arab youths
By DANIEL K. EISENBUD
“As long as the occupation exists, events like this will happen,” says victim Daniel Seidemann following weekend east Jerusalem assault.
(Jerusalem Post, November 26, 2013) “This ends not when Palestinians behave better, or when our Shin Bet becomes more efficient,” Israeli activist and attorney Daniel Seidemann wrote on his Facebook page Sunday – 24-hours after being hospitalized following a rock-throwing attack while driving his car in east Jerusalem – “It ends when occupation ends.”
Seidemann, an internationally recognized expert on contemporary Jerusalem law and outspoken proponent for peaceful coexistence between Palestinians and Jews, was attacked while traveling home from Sur Bahir after visiting a Palestinian friend Saturday afternoon.
Despite the attack being carried out by Palestinian youths – resulting in several stitches to the back of his scalp – Seidemann, whose law practice specializes in legal and humanitarian aid in east Jerusalem took to Facebook – while convalescing – to fault the violence on Israel’s occupation.
Since 1991, Seidemann, a retired IDF Reserve Major and Ivy-League educated Syracuse native who immigrated to Israel in 1973, has been a leading figure on the capital’s municipal policies and practices, representing both Israeli and Palestinian residents of the capital.
Awarded the title of Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010, Seidemann is also the founder of two NGOs advocating for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians, Ir Amim and Terrestial Jerusalem.
On his Facebook page he wrote that the attack occurred when he encountered a traffic jam near a school area in the center of the Palestinian neighborhood, while students were going home for the day.
“I didn’t see it coming, but should have: I was a sitting duck,” he wrote. “The rock was probably thrown at point blank range; it smashed the side window with enough force to leave a deep gash in the back of my head.”
Shortly thereafter, Seidemann, who lives a kilometer away, wrote that the traffic loosened up and he was able to flee the area to get the gash sutured and undergo neurological testing at the hands of two Palestinian physicians.
“The rock that hit me yesterday was not directed at me, personally,” he wrote. “Most likely, it was hurled because I am an Israeli – the occupier. It’s also possible that it’s because I am a Jew, irrespective of the occupation. We will never know.”
“The wonderful people who visited me today are living under occupation. My occupation.”
All rights reserved © 1995 - 2013 The Jerusalem Post.
[Note: “. . . It’s also possible that it’s because I am a Jew, irrespective of the occupation. We will never know.” It looks like some Common Sense tried -- but failed -- to enter the brain of this naïve and delusional Jew. I suppose that this “internationally recognized expert” never heard about the “Palestinian” Arab pogroms against the resident Jewish population centers in Mandatory Palestine that took place in 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936 - 1939, and 1947 - 1948 and the pan-Arab (including “Palestinian” Arab) attempt to annihilate the Jewish State in 1948 and 1967 -- all before the existence of the “Occupation”.]
A Judenrein [Cleansed of Jews] Palestine?
By JPost Editorial
27/01/2014 [January 27, 2014]
Will the two-state solution remain feasible even if Israel is forced to evacuate tens of thousands of settlers?
This week, sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sparked controversy when they announced that in any future Palestinian state, Israel would insist that Israelis living in Judea and Samaria be allowed to remain under Palestinian control if they should choose to.
Coalition partners, even members of Netanyahu’s own party, were quick to reject the idea.
Palestinians were no less adamant in their opposition to allowing Jewish settlements to remain in any future two-state solution.
“Anyone who says he wants to keep the settlers in a Palestinian state is really saying he does not want a Palestinian state,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat declared. “No settler will be permitted to stay in a Palestinian state, not one, because the settlements are illegal and the presence of settlers on occupied lands is illegal.”
This is hardly the first time this issue has come up between the sides. Discussion of the possibility of leaving Israeli settlements under Palestinian control came up ahead of the 2005 Gaza disengagement. In 2006, when he was pondering a unilateral withdrawal from parts of the West Bank euphemistically called “realignment,” then-prime minister Ehud Olmert stated that “each and every one of the settlers who live in territories that will be evacuated will need to decide whether to live in a Jewish state or in a Palestinians state.”
In January 2011, when Al Jazeera leaked hundreds of documents that revealed details of the negotiations that took place between Olmert’s government and the PA in 2007 and 2008 – an incident that became known as “Palileaks” – it emerged that Ahmed Qurei was willing to allow Jews to stay put if they agreed to live under Palestinian sovereignty, though then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni rejected the idea.
In August 2013, during a meeting with a group of Meretz MKs and activists, PA President Mahmoud Abbas was asked by Haaretz if he would agree to allow Jewish settlements to remain under Palestinian sovereignty. He replied that “these are details that need to be discussed. Every topic is open for negotiation, keeping an open mind.”
However, one month before, while in Egypt and speaking in Arabic, Abbas said something very different: “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our land.”
Other Palestinians have made a distinction between existing settlements, which would have to go, and future Jewish immigration to “Palestine,” which would be allowed. They have done this to counter the argument that Palestinians are trying to make Judea and Samaria, areas so resonant with historical and religious meaning for Jews, the only place in the world that is officially Judenrein (“cleansed of Jews”).
All supporters of a two-state solution would ideally like to see a Palestinian state created alongside Israel that is pluralistic enough and democratic enough to incorporate a Jewish minority, just as the State of Israel is able to incorporate a large Arab minority. Such a Palestinian state would be more stable and peaceful than an autocracy or an Islamic republic, which seem to be the norms in the region.
Unfortunately, this is not the situation. Any Israeli left behind under Palestinian sovereignty would likely be in danger.
Some, such as MK Hilik Bar (Labor), chairman of the Knesset caucus to resolve the Arab-Israel conflict, argue that under conditions of peace Palestinians would work hard to ensure the security of Israelis who would remain. They would do this to prove that a Palestinian state is capable of protecting all citizens, Bar claims. But we cannot rely on such optimistic forecasts.
The question is whether the two-state solution will remain feasible even if Israel is forced to evacuate tens of thousands of settlers – many of whom include the most ideologically opposed to territorial compromise – while the majority remains in large settlement blocs that will be annexed to Israel.
Ensuring a strong Jewish majority dictates the need to support a two-state solution, but at what price? Therein lies the paradox. If the Palestinians were truly interested in peace, they should be able to absorb a Jewish minority. If, on the other hand, the Palestinians are unwilling to integrate Jews, perhaps they are truly not interested in peace. Under the circumstances, it will be no easy matter to convince a majority of Israelis that the price of a two-state solution is worth it.
All rights reserved © 1995 - 2012 The Jerusalem Post.
[Note: Why do the “Palestinian” Arabs and the larger Arab World object so stridently to both (a) the recognition of Israel as the Jewish State (i.e., the indigenous nation-state of the Jewish people), and (b) the continued residency of Jews in a prospective “State of Palestine”? The answer emerges once it is understood that the Arab World (including its “Palestinian” Arab component) has always regarded Jews as having no right to live unhindered -- let alone rule -- in any portion of the biblical Land of Israel. By recognizing Israel as the Jewish State and/or by accepting continued Jewish residency in a future “State of Palestine”, the Arab World (including its “Palestinian” Arab component) would, in effect, be implicitly conceding -- contrary to the Big Lie it has propagated since its 7th Century invasion of the Land of Israel -- that the Jewish people do, indeed, have a legitimate presence in the Land of Israel, as both rulers and residents. Such an admission of Jewish rights in the Land -- albeit grounded in Scripture, History, International Law and Morality -- is so unthinkable that no Arab leader will ever countenance it.]
Palestinians: In Need of a Mirror?
by Bassam Tawil August 9, 2019 at 5:00 am
§ The Palestinian Authority's silence over the murder of the Jewish teenager sends one clear message to the Palestinian public: It is fine to kill a Jew.
§ Abbas's silence, in fact, encouraged many Palestinians to express joy over the terrorist attack.
§ It was hard to find even one Palestinian who was willing to express his or her revulsion over the terrorist attack. But this makes sense. Why should any Palestinian come out against terrorism when their leaders are either silent or joyously celebrating the murder of a Jewish teenager?
§ This is the hate that has been embedded in the hearts and minds of Palestinians toward Israel and Jews. When Palestinians run to link the Palestinian slaughter of a Jewish teen to a Muslim feast and the tradition of sacrificing sheep, it is clear that the time has come for Palestinians to take a hard look at themselves – and if they are nonetheless unwilling to do so, perhaps the international community might finally bring a mirror to them.
Palestinians are again celebrating the murder of a Jew – this time 18-year-old Dvir Sorek, an unarmed off-duty soldier who was fatally stabbed and whose body was discovered August 8 on rocky ground in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc near Bethlehem.
Not even a single Palestinian has condemned the ruthless killing of the teenager. The Palestinian Authority (PA), whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has previously said that he is opposed to terrorism, apparently does not see a need to denounce the killing of Sorek.
Instead, the Palestinian Authority continued to issue multiple statements condemning Israel for "violating international law" for building new housing units for Jewish families in the West Bank. The statements, issued hours after the terrorist attack in Gush Etzion, made no reference to the murder of the Jewish teen.
In the eyes of the Palestinian Authority leadership, the inauguration of a new neighborhood in a settlement is a "major crime" that needs to be brought before the International Criminal Court.
Here is what Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, had to say about the building of the housing units in the settlement of Bet El, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah:
"This act is condemned and rejected and in violation of international resolutions, including UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which says settlement activity constitutes a flagrant violation of international law. These continued provocations and hostile acts require practical decisions."
Just as Israeli security forces were conducting a manhunt for the terrorist or terrorists who killed the Jewish teenager, Abbas instructed his foreign ministry to file a complaint against Israel with the International Criminal Court over its policy of settlement construction. Abbas also instructed his envoy to the UN, Riad Mansour, to hold consultations with members of the Security Council in preparation for holding an emergency session to condemn Israel's settlement activity.
Abbas's instructions were published by the Palestinian Authority's official media while the Jewish teenager was being brought to burial. Again, Abbas's media chose totally to ignore the terrorist attack that claimed the life of a young Jewish man.
No-one was expecting Abbas to offer condolences to the family of Sorek or to send Palestinian officials to attend the funeral. Yet, by remaining silent about the brutal murder of an unarmed Jewish teen and publishing statements condemning Israel on the same day of the attack, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority demonstrate with utter clarity their reckless disregard for human life.
As the manhunt was underway for the capture of the terrorist or terrorists, Abbas's ruling Fatah faction called on Palestinians to form "guard committees" to "thwart" purported retaliatory attacks by settlers. The Fatah appeal is nothing but a continuation of Palestinian incitement against Jews living in the West Bank.
Needless to say, Jewish settlers, most of whom are law-abiding citizens, did not carry out retaliatory attacks against Palestinians after the discovery of Sorek's body. In fact, Jews living in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc have always maintained good relations with their Palestinian neighbors, many of whom are employed in settlements and Jewish-owned businesses in the area.
The Palestinian Authority's silence over the murder of the Jewish teenager sends one clear message to the Palestinian public: It is fine to kill a Jew.
Abbas's silence, in fact, encouraged many Palestinians to express joy over the terrorist attack.
As soon as news about the fatal stabbing spread, Palestinian terrorist groups seemed to be competing with each other over heaping praise on the perpetrators. Islamic Jihad, Hamas and several PLO factions, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, were quick to issue statements "welcoming" the "heroic operation." The groups also urged Palestinians to increase their terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank.
In an attempt to prevent the Israeli security forces from laying their hand on the terrorists, Palestinian factions and activists appealed to Palestinians living in the area where the terrorist attack took place to delete footage quickly from security cameras installed at their homes and businesses.
At the West Bank's Bir Zeit University, students celebrated the murder by handing out candies and praising the terrorists.
Meanwhile, many Palestinians took to social media to celebrate the killing of Sorek in the most straightforward rhetoric.
Some Palestinians compared the victim to the "sheep of Eid al-Adha," the Muslim "Festival of Sacrifice." The feast honors the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God's command. Before Abraham could sacrifice his son, however, God provided a lamb for sacrifice instead. On Twitter, Palestinians calledSorek the "sheep of Eid al-Adha" because he was "slaughtered" on the eve of the Muslim feast.
Referring to the Muslim feast, which begins on Sunday, another Palestinian commented: "Apparently, the Palestinians have become used to making their sacrifices before Eid al-Adha."
Some Palestinians even exchanged greetings for the feast upon learning about the killing of Sorek by stating that this was a "happy Eid."
Other Palestinians said they were delighted to learn that Sorek's grandfather, Holocaust survivor Rabbi Benjamin Harling, had also been murdered by terrorists 19 years ago. "Blessed are the hands of the Palestinian resistance fighters who killed the soldier, whose grandfather was killed in an operation in 2000," wrote another Palestinian on Twitter.
It was hard to find even one Palestinian who was willing to express his or her revulsion over the terrorist attack. But this makes sense. Why should any Palestinian come out against terrorism when their leaders are either silent or joyously celebrating the murder of a Jewish teenager?
This is the hate that has been embedded in the hearts and minds of Palestinians toward Israel and Jews. When Palestinians run to link the Palestinian slaughter of a Jewish teen to a Muslim feast and the tradition of sacrificing sheep, it is clear that the time has come for Palestinians to take a hard look at themselves – and if they are nonetheless unwilling to do so, perhaps the international community might finally bring a mirror to them.
Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East.
© 2019 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute.
In addition to the Essay, as to commentary and clarifying comments in brackets [ ] only: © Mark Rosenblit