An excellent analysis of Ehud Olmert’s insane offer of 2008 and its rejection by the “moderate” PLO. Obviously, he was desperate to end his term as a peacemaker and not as a crook. Intentionally or not, it demonstrated – again – that the goal of Israel’s “peace partner” is the destruction of the Jewish state: The secret of failure by Ze’ev B. Begin (JPost)
Never had conditions been so conducive to the attainment of a permanent solution between the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority as in 2008. The Oslo agreements were defined from the outset as interim, and the blame for the failure of the permanent-status negotiations in 2000 could be put on Yasser Arafat, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who never changed his spots. However, in 2008 negotiations were held between PLO leaders known to be very moderate and an Israeli government known for its readiness to walk an extra mile on the road to peace. Indeed, Hamas took over Gaza in June 2007, but even this did not divert the negotiators from their goal; the decision was to try to reach an agreement between Israel and the PLO and to then shelve it until it was ripe for execution.
The Washington Post on May 25 reported that according to PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), prime minister Olmert accepted the principle of the “right of return” for Arab refugees and offered to resettle thousands in Israel. Abbas also said that Olmert offered him 97% of Judea and Samaria (after Israel had already withdrawn from Gaza in 2005). In addition, last week Newsweek reported that Olmert had told them that he proposed that Israel would give up its sovereignty in the “Holy Basin” in Jerusalem and
suggested that it be jointly administered by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the PLO, Israel and the United States; this was confirmed by PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Why, then, didn’t the moderate PLO leadership embrace such an extreme Israeli offer? The answer given by Abbas to The Washington Post surprised many: “The gaps were wide.”
THE TRUTH IS, of course, that nothing more can be done on the part of Israel. Unintentionally, Olmert took the veil of moderation off the face of the PLO. When the claim is raised that the PLO would actually suffice itself with a symbolic gesture concerning the thorny refugee issue, its refusal to accept Olmert’s proposals proves that the PLO truly intends to apply the “right of return” of refugees to their original homes in Haifa and in Jaffa, in Lod and Beersheba. PLO leader Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala) explained lately to Haaretz that “it’s not fair to demand that we recognize you [Israel] as the state of the Jewish people because that means… a predetermination of the refugees’ future, before the negotiations are over. Our refusal is adamant.” To prevent misunderstanding, Mahmoud Abbas, in his Washington Post interview, rejected the possibility that the PLO recognizes Israel as a Jewish state because it would imply renunciation of any large-scale resettlement of refugees.
Although the Arab Peace Initiative includes two articles explicitly dealing with the “right of return,” it should be recognized that the resettlement of refugees in Israel is not the goal but the instrument. All signs indicate that the goal is the cancelation of Israel as a sovereign state in Palestine, and that this is the source of the PLO’s adamant refusal to accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Hence, even Israel’s withdrawal to the 1949 armistice demarcation line – even that which runs through Jerusalem – and even its agreement to assume responsibility for the plight of the refugees and resettle thousands of them in Israel, will not bring about the termination of the struggle, but will rather lead to the next chapter of prolonged hostility.
The real dispute does not concern the natural growth of Ariel (in Samaria) but the natural right of the Jewish people to sovereignty in Carmiel (in the Galilee).
THIS IS not a futile theological debate but a practical and vital issue. Its severe significance was proven last year, when in the course of talks PLO negotiators were explicitly asked whether, after an agreement is reached to their satisfaction, they would agree to include in it a specific article stating that this puts an end to the dispute and terminates all further claims. The government did not bring to the public’s attention the fact that to this simple question, the PLO leadership ominously answered in the negative.
The necessary conclusion therefore is that the moderate organization for the liberation of Palestine from Jewish sovereignty is not interested in the “two- state solution” but rather in a “two-stage solution.” In the first stage, an Arab state is to be established alongside Israel and in the second stage, following the resettlement of refugees within Israel, one Arab state is to be established, stretching from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean Sea.
In an attempt to test this conclusion to the utmost and to refute it, Israeli governments have resorted to all possible political experiments. All excuses have by now been used up. In other words, as a mechanism for establishing permanent peace west of the Jordan River, the “two-state solution” cannot be realized. There will be no end to this dismal hundred-years dispute so long as the position of the Arab leadership in Samaria, Judea and Gaza does not fundamentally change.
I already wrote about this irrational and cruel demand imposed on Israel by the Obama administration, reneging on the previous agreements. The more facts get denied, the more evidence gets exposed – including by those who directly participated in the talks, from both sides and from different political perspectives.
There was a Bush Agreement on Settlements by Steve Rosen (ME Forum)
Secretary of State Clinton denied on Friday (June 5) that the George W. Bush Administration left to its successors a set of understandings with the government of Israel about limited growth of settlements.
Elliot Abrams, who represented the Bush White House in those agreements, confirmed their existence to the Washington Post on May 24: “There was something of an understanding realized on these questions, but it was never a written agreement… At the time of the Gaza withdrawal, there were lengthy discussions about how settlement activity might be constrained, and in fact it was constrained in the later part of the Sharon years and the Olmert years in accordance with the ideas that were discussed.” Abrams wrote in an op ed piece in the Post on April 8, “For the past five years, Israel’s government has largely adhered to guidelines that were discussed with the United States but never formally adopted: that there would be …no new construction except in already built-up areas. The clear purpose of the guidelines? To allow for settlement growth in ways that minimized the impact on Palestinians. Israel has largely, but not fully, kept to those rules.”
And Dov Weissglass, who represented Sharon in the negotiations, has provided a detailed account of the negotiations and the agreements. He wrote in Yediot Ahronot on June 2, that in a “‘separate forum’ convened on May 1, 2003 in Jerusalem. Senior administration officials Steven Hadley and Elliott Abrams met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and me, and, over the next two days succeeded in working out an exact definition of the term “settlement freeze” in the Road Map. According to this definition, …(3) construction within the settlements would be confined to ‘the existing construction line.’ …On a further meeting held with Ms. Rice on May 14, 2003, the agreement on the definition of the term ‘freeze’ was confirmed…The drawing of the existing construction line- the area in which construction is permitted- encountered technical difficulties. It was therefore decided to establish a joint American-Israeli team that would examine, mark, and delineate the construction line around each of the existing settlements. The team, however, was never created, though not because of any fundamental disagreement….On April 13, 2004 [these understandings were included in] a letter that I wrote with the full consent and in the name of Prime Minister Sharon, and sent to National Security Advisor Rice. Among other things the letter said ‘in the framework of the agreed principles on settlement activity, we will shortly make an effort to better delineate the settlement construction line in Judea and Samaria…’ There was no doubt, therefore, that on April 14, 2004- the day that President Bush sent his letter to Prime Minister Sharon- the administration recognized Israel’s right under the Road Map to development from within the existing construction line in the Israeli settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.”
Below is additional evidence of the agreements from the article I posted on January 28, “Obama and a Settlements Freeze.”
On April 18, 2004, Sharon’s aide Dov Weissglas asserted, in a letter to Rice, “the following understanding, which had been reached between us: 1. Restrictions on settlement growth: within the agreed principles of settlement activities, an effort will be made in the next few days to have a better definition of the construction line of settlements in Judea & Samaria. An Israeli team, in conjunction with Ambassador Kurtzer, will review aerial photos of settlements and will jointly define the construction line of each of the settlements.”
The Government of Israel quickly acted to enforce the distinction. On August 5, 2004, a settler newspaper reported that, “The Defense Ministry has completed a large-scale project to mark the existing built-up borders of all the Jewish communities and towns in Judea and Samaria – and no further construction will be allowed beyond them. Yediot Aharonot reports today that aerial photos will be sent to the United States, which will monitor every building aberration. Though the towns will be allowed to appeal the decision, every building beyond the marked borders could be subject to immediate demolition. The above program is in accordance with the commitment Prime Minister Sharon gave U.S. President George Bush three months ago.”
The Bush Administration was reluctant to acknowledge publicly that it had arrived at such an understanding with the Government of Israel, but there were several public indications that it had. The New York Times’ Steve Weisman reported on August 21, 2004, “The Bush administration…has modified its policy and signaled approval of growth in at least some Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, American and Israeli officials say…The administration now supports construction of new apartments in areas already built up in some settlements, as long as the expansion does not extend outward…according to the officials.” The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler reported on October 30, 2004 that, “during an interview with Egyptian television [in September 2004], Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage mused openly about a definition of natural growth. ‘If you have settlements that already exist and you put more people into them but don’t expand the physical, sort of, the area — that might be one thing,’ he said. ‘But if the physical area expands and encroaches, and it takes more of Palestinian land, well, this is another.'” The Post added that “a senior administration official told reporters at a briefing that the purpose of a settlement freeze is to make sure additional settlers would not impede Palestinian life or prevent the formation of a viable Palestinian state. It makes no difference, he said, if the Israelis add another house within a block of existing homes.” And the Post added that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said the administration was negotiating with Israel over whether its settlements in the West Bank can grow within existing settlement boundaries.
While the Administration’s background statements and the absence of denials implied that the Israeli assertions that there was an agreement were accurate, the Administration never quite said so in a clear way. But no denial was issued after August 21, 2004, when a front page story in the New York Times story appeared under the headline “U.S. Now Said to Support Growth for Some West Bank Settlements”, claiming loudly that such an agreement existed. Nor was there any correction after the Guardian published an article headlined, “Secret US Deal Wrecks Road Map for Peace” on August 27, 2004, reporting that “The United States was accused this week by Palestinian leaders of …giving its covert support to Israel’s expansion of controversial settlements in the West Bank. American officials are privately admitting they have…given Jerusalem tacit permission to build thousands of new homes on the disputed land…A European diplomat said this week, ‘The US has tacitly agreed that [Israel’s] position has validity and has shown that limited building is permissible.'”
There were some carefully parsed partial denials nearly four years later, when Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post revisited the issue on April 24, 2008. But Kessler also reported an on-the-record confirmation from Daniel Kurtzer, then the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, who said he had argued at the time against accepting the April 2004 Weissglas letter that asserted there was a U.S.-Israel understanding on the construction line concept. Kurtzer told the Post, “I thought it was a really bad idea. It would legitimize the settlements.” Kurtzer said that, in the end, the White House did not send the team to define the construction lines, “when it became clear it would not be easy to do.” It appears that, as an alternative, the Israeli Ministry of Defense provided the United States with aerial photographs marking the construction line of each settlement (reported by Yediot Aharonot on August 5, 2004.)
Abrams: Israel is right that there were settlement agreements by Steve Rosen (ME Forum)
1. The number of Jewish births.
Q: Can you give us a definition of what the United States considers natural growth?
Mitchell: “One of the issues is that there is no universally used and accepted definition. The most common definition is by the number of births, but there are many variations of that. I’ve had numerous discussions with many Israeli and other officials, and there are almost as many definitions as there are people speaking. But I think the most commonly used measure is the number of births.”
Note, this unrealistic, irrational and sickeningly cruel demand applies to Jews alone. I concur with Jack Engelhard’s assessment in his Obama’s ‘Jewish Experts’ (IsraelNN):
Even the language is disturbing. Mitchell – top Middle East envoy along with Clinton – explained that the controversy centered on “the number of Jewish births.” Where have we heard this before? To my mind, as someone who was born under similar conditions, in France under Vichy, where Jews were kept within “restricted zones,” this sounds too much like Verboten!
2. A demilitarized state.
Demilitarized Palestinian State? Once upon a time, there was such a state. by Prof. MK Arieh Eldad (IsraelNN)
“Two States for Two Nations” has become holy dogma and anyone who challenges its validity is suspected of blasphemy.
But even if we assume that Netanyahu wished to speak in terms acceptable to Europe and the United States, rather than to fight a battle which he considered lost, still it would have been better had he not deceived his listeners with the scam known as “a demilitarized state.”
When I heard the speech, my initial reaction was: “There ain’t no such animal.” Of course, I don’t mean nano-states such as Andorra or the Vatican, which have themselves chosen not to maintain an army. There is no real state in the world defined as a demilitarized state. And Netanyahu did not make do with a misleading general statement, he went into details: the state won’t have missiles and rockets and planes, and will not be able to sign treaties.
The more I listened to this and said to myself that there is no such thing, I was reminded of something quite bothersome. Was there once such a state? And then one of my friends reminded me there had been.
“It will be forbidden to Germany to maintain or build fortifications… in this territory (West of the Rhine)…. It is forbidden for Germany to maintain an army…. the German army will not include more than seven infantry divisions…. It is forbidden for Germany to import or export tanks or any other military hardware…. The German naval forces will be limited and are not to include submarines. The armed forces of Germany will not include any air forces…. In the political realm, Germany is forbidden to enter into any treaty with Austria.”
So it was written and sealed in the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty was signed on June 28, 1919, as part of the Paris Peace Conference following the First World War. Essentially, Germany became a demilitarized state and was also limited from a political perspective.
So what happened? Did the “demilitarized” status prevent the Second World War and, worst of all, the destruction of European Jewry?
The lesson being that there is no political power that can prevent a sovereign state from doing whatever it wants. Netanyahu knows that if ever a Palestinian state should, Heaven forbid, be established, Israel will not be able to declare war on it if it should choose, for instance, to sign an international tourism agreement with Cyprus or a transfer-of-technology agreement with Iran. If pipes are manufactured in Tulkarm, Israel will not be able to start a war that can be justified in the eyes of the world if steel cutters turn the pipes into Kassam rockets. Since nothing other than Israeli force could possibly preserve demilitarization, Netanyahu is deceiving the people of Israel and promising them something that cannot be delivered.
But all of the above is not the main thing. The main thing is that Netanyahu has recognized the right of Arabs to establish a sovereign state in our homeland. None of his conditions and reservations can hide this abomination. Whoever recognizes the right of his enemy to establish a state in his homeland has abandoned all principle and all that is left to do is argue over the price. Whoever has left his religion and changed his faith cannot insist on observing the commandments of what is no longer his faith. Whoever has abandoned his patrimony has no basis on which to insist on continuing to build on its lands.
Also, modern weapons become increasingly miniature, but if your goal is to terrorize your neighbors, your weapons don’t even need to be that modern. Post-2005 Gaza Strip is a good example. Let’s keep in mind that, to his credit, Bibi did not utter the word “sovereign”. But with today’s trend to renege on yesterday’s agreements and creep-in additional demands, does it matter?
Former President Jimmy Carter will urge the Obama administration to remove Hamas from the terrorist list, FOX News has learned.
In order to show their usefulness, Hamas thugs performed a theatrical ploy, defusing a couple of roadside bombs on a path Carter’s convoy:
The boy told FOX News he saw three Palestinian men planting bombs, four of which were later found near a mound less than a mile from the Israel-Gaza border. The boy said he notified Hamas police, who detonated the bombs and took the three men into custody.
In addition to his infamous antisemitic book, Carter has the best credentials for a peacemaker: from Hamas.
“Nobody in Gaza will touch this man,” Hamas adviser Ahmed Yousef said. “He is on a noble mission. Everyone here respects him.”
Eldad on Carter: With Such Friends, Who Needs Enemies? (IsraelNN.com)
National Union MK Aryeh Eldad quipped about former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Monday, “With peacemakers like this, who needs enemies?” Eldad claimed Carter acts as an agent for Arab interests.
“Maybe we could understand why this is so if we remember the large amounts of money former President Carter receives from Arab sources,” Eldad said. He pointed out that Carter considers Hamas to be a legitimately elected governing power.
Ken Blackwell, an advisor to the JINSA, writes in Townhall:
Jimmy Carter, perhaps panting for another Nobel peace prize, is in the Mid-East, planning to meet with others who want to de-stabilize Israel. Hamas—the terrorist gang that controls the Gaza Strip—will roll out the red carpet for the former U.S. President.
Carter calls all Jewish settlement on the West Bank “illegal and [an] obstacle to peace. The Israelis took Carter’s advice on Gaza. They dismantled all their settlements there. They handed over the land to the Palestinians. They followed Carter’s formula of land for peace. And what did they get? Hamas control of Gaza and 6,000 Hamas missiles raining down on Israel. Some deal. Some peace. It might better be called Carter’s “Piece Plan”—handing over territory to Israel’s sworn enemies—piece by piece.
Jimmy Carter has published books and articles likening Israel’s position in the West Bank to that of the apartheid regime in South Africa. He use of apartheid is intended to de-legitimize Israel and bring its downfall—just like the anti-apartheid campaign in the `90s brought an end to the white supremacist regime in South Africa.
Yet what is Carter advocating by freezing the natural growth of Jewish settlement on the West Bank? What Carter is saying, in effect, is that Arabs should be able to continue to live in peace in Tel Aviv, but Jews—and Christians—cannot live in Jericho and Bethlehem. Who’s the real supporter of apartheid?
Carter predicts that President Obama will take the next logical step after he succeeds in freezing Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria: “In the future, I am sure, [Obama] will call for the dismantling of the settlements that exist.”
Question: If Jews cannot live in Judea and Samaria—where Jews have lived since before the Roman Empire—why should they be allowed to live in Tel Aviv? Tel Aviv was founded only in the early 1900s.
The plan to create a Judenrein—a Jew-free zone on the West Bank of the Jordan—is ultimately a plan to de-stabilize and then dismantle the Jewish state. This is not just a change from George W. Bush; it’s a change from Harry Truman!
That’s how far back U.S. support for Israel goes—right to the beginning of the Jewish state in 1948. But no more. The Obama administration will press and push, prod and peck away at Israel’s basic security needs. If Obama succeeds, Israel may not be destroyed, but she will be much weaker, much more vulnerable, much more in danger from enemies pledged to destroy her. Is that the change America wants? Is that the kind of change Americans voted for?
So maybe not all is lost with the Dems?
US: Democratic Party’s Jewish Council denounces Carter
The National Jewish Democratic Council … issued an official censure of former US President Jimmy Carter, after Fox News reported he urged US President Barack Obama to remove Hamas from the US terror-group list.
Carter’s shameless tears (YNetNews)
Jimmy Carter – The Prince of Peace? by Sherri Mandell (JPost.com BlogCentral Heart-Earned Wisdom)
The “big” speech was indeed so long-winded and multi-faceted that, before it is too late, I decided to post a few good links and a single quote, instead of my random thoughts. It’s a bit too much for me to chew right now.
- The End of America’s Strategic Alliance with Israel? by Caroline Glick
In 1922 the League of Nations mandated Great Britain to facilitate the
reconstitution of the Jewish commonwealth in the Land of Israel on both
sides of the Jordan River. The international community’s decision to work
towards the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in Israel owed to its
recognition of the Jewish people’s legal, historic, and moral rights to our
Arab propaganda finds this basic and fundamental truth inconvenient. So for
the past 60 years, the Arabs have been advancing the fiction that Israel’s
existence owes solely to European guilt over the Holocaust. As far as the
Arabs are concerned, the Jews have no legal, historic, or moral right to
what the Arabs see as Islamic land.
In his address, while Obama admonished the Arabs for their pervasive Jew hatred and Holocaust denial, he effectively accepted and legitimized their view that Israel owes its existence to the Holocaust when he said, “the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied,” and then went on to talk about the Holocaust.
Just as abominably, Obama compared Israel to Southern slave owners and Palestinians to black slaves in the antebellum south. He used the Arab euphemism “resistance” to discuss Palestinian terrorism, and generally ignored the fact that every Palestinian political faction is also a terrorist organization.
In addition to his morally outrageous characterization of Israel and factually inaccurate account of its foundations, Obama struck out at the Jewish state through the two policies he outlined in his address. His first policy involves coercing Israel into barring all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria (otherwise known as the West Bank), and Jerusalem.
Even more strategically devastating than his castigation of Israel as the villain in the Arab-Israel conflict is Obama’s stated policy towards Iran.
- Assessing Obama’s Cairo Speech by Daniel Pipes
- Obama’s Cairo Speech and the Israel-Palestinian Conflict: Good Intentions Plus Misunderstanding Equals Failure by Barry Rubin
- Also by Barry Rubin: longish (as good analysis should be) but highly recommended: U.S. MIDDLE EAST POLICY: TOO MANY CHALLENGES AND YET A SINGLE THEME
- Diplomacy of Wishful Thinking. Obama in Cairo by Mona Charen
- Re: The Cairo Speech: A slap in the face to the Jewish people by Anne Bayefsky
- A Courageous, But Sad, Speech in Cairo by Dennis Prager
- Salaam Aleikum, Dudes! What Can Be Learned from Obama’s Cairo Speech (Mostly quoting Ralph Peters in NY Post) by Sammy Benoit, AKA Yid with Lid.
Criticism and Conciliation by Raymond Ibrahim
West Bank Settlements and the Future of U.S.-Israeli Relations by George Friedman (STRATFOR)
The Exodus Obama Forgot to Mention by Andre Aciman
Israel and the US: What Special Relationship? by Ami Isseroff
Why Israelis Are Cool on the Obama Speech by Judea Pearl
Our Historically Challenged President. A list of distortions by Victor Davis Hanson
Obama to Jews: I’m Just Not That Into You by Stuart Schwartz
A new magazine Tablet has a Liberal response to Conservative criticism:
Purple Prose of Cairo. The trouble with conservative critiques of Obama’s Cairo speech by Michael Weiss
How representative is this selection? It depends on the metrics. This is what caught my eye and I thought is worth attention.
For ideologues, if reality contradicts their theory, the theory always wins.
Today, one must be blind to deny tensions between the US and Israel. Facts be damned, this is the second week the NPR reruns its old multi-part Cambridge Forum program The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy with pseudo-scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt insinuating “America’s unconditional support” of Israel.
More on the backwardness of the strategy of befriending enemies while antagonizing allies. Wash Post has a great piece by Charles Krauthammer, The Settlements Myth (the emph. is mine):
President Obama repeatedly insists that American foreign policy be conducted with modesty and humility. Above all, there will be no more "dictating" to other countries. We should "forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions," he told the G-20 summit. In Middle East negotiations, he told al-Arabiya, America will henceforth "start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating."
An admirable sentiment. It applies to everyone — Iran, Russia, Cuba, Syria, even Venezuela. Except Israel. Israel is ordered to freeze all settlement activity. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton imperiously explained the diktat: "a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions."
What’s the issue? No "natural growth" means strangling to death the thriving towns close to the 1949 armistice line, many of them suburbs of Jerusalem, that every negotiation over the past decade has envisioned Israel retaining. It means no increase in population. Which means no babies. Or if you have babies, no housing for them — not even within the existing town boundaries. Which means for every child born, someone has to move out. No community can survive like that. The obvious objective is to undermine and destroy these towns — even before negotiations.
To what end? Over the past decade, the U.S. government has understood that any final peace treaty would involve Israel retaining some of the close-in settlements — and compensating the Palestinians accordingly with land from within Israel itself.
That was envisioned in the Clinton plan in the Camp David negotiations in 2000, and again at Taba in 2001. … This idea is not only logical, not only accepted by both Democratic and Republican administrations for the past decade, but was agreed to in writing in the letters of understanding exchanged between Israel and the United States in 2004 — and subsequently overwhelmingly endorsed by a concurrent resolution of Congress.
Yet the Obama State Department has repeatedly refused to endorse these agreements or even say it will honor them. This from a president who piously insists that all parties to the conflict honor previous obligations. And who now expects Israel to accept new American assurances in return for concrete and irreversible Israeli concessions, when he himself has just cynically discarded past American assurances.
The entire "natural growth" issue is a concoction. Is the peace process moribund because a teacher in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is making an addition to her house to accommodate new grandchildren? It is perverse to make this the center point of the peace process at a time when Gaza is run by Hamas terrorists dedicated to permanent war with Israel and when Mahmoud Abbas, having turned down every one of Ehud Olmert’s peace offers, brazenly declares that he is in a waiting mode — waiting for Hamas to become moderate and for Israel to cave — before he’ll do anything to advance peace.
In his much-heralded "Muslim world" address in Cairo yesterday, Obama declared that the Palestinian people’s "situation" is "intolerable." Indeed it is, the result of 60 years of Palestinian leadership that gave its people corruption, tyranny, religious intolerance and forced militarization; leadership that for three generations rejected every offer of independence and dignity, choosing destitution and despair rather than accept any settlement not accompanied by the extinction of Israel.
That’s why Haj Amin al-Husseini chose war rather than a two-state solution in 1947. Why Yasser Arafat turned down a Palestinian state in 2000. And why Abbas rejected Olmert’s even more generous December 2008 offer.
In the 16 years since the Oslo accords turned the West Bank and Gaza over to the Palestinians, their leaders built no roads, no courthouses, no hospitals, none of the fundamental state institutions that would relieve their people’s suffering. Instead they poured everything into an infrastructure of war and terror, all the while depositing billions (from gullible Western donors) into their Swiss bank accounts.
Obama says he came to Cairo to tell the truth. But he uttered not a word of that. Instead, among all the bromides and lofty sentiments, he issued but one concrete declaration of new American policy: "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," thus reinforcing the myth that Palestinian misery and statelessness are the fault of Israel and the settlements.
Blaming Israel and picking a fight over "natural growth" may curry favor with the Muslim "street." But it will only induce the Arab states to do like Abbas: sit and wait for America to deliver Israel on a platter. Which makes the Obama strategy not just dishonorable but self-defeating.
Whenever Jews (and Jews alone) are singled out for one-sided restrictions, I am wondering: why does it feel so quiet and lonely all of the sudden? Where all those self-righteous "anti-racists" have gone?
I feel ashamed that Obama administration chose to make demands of a total “freeze” of Jewish communities in historical Jewish homelands of Judea and Samaria – that, if implemented, would affect even the “natural growth,” i.e. without expanding their boundaries.
Historical record of those who imposed demographic/territorial restrictions on Jews (and Jews alone) is abysmal: from medieval expulsions & ghettos to German policies of Schutzjuden, to the Russian Pale of Settlement, to the horrors of the 20th century, to 2005 Israel’s expulsion of Jews from Gaza, which resulted in Hamas’ putsch.
I see the following problems with the new Obama/Clinton stance:
1. It violates the understandings negotiated between the previous US administrations and the govt of Israel. A dangerous precedent.
2. To prohibit even the natural growth within already established communities is an illogical and cruel restriction. Even left-wing Ehud Barak agrees that it is wrong.
3 & 4. I agree with Herb Keinon and Elliott Abrams: it won’t bring peace any closer and will only increase tensions between Israel and the US: Analysis: Is Obama looking for a fight over ‘natural growth’?:
“A ‘settlement freeze’ would not help Palestinians face today’s problems or prepare for tomorrow’s challenges,” Elliott Abrams, the deputy national security adviser under former US president George Bush, wrote in April in The Washington Post.
“The demand for a freeze would have only one quick effect: to create immediate tension between the United States and Israel’s new government,” he wrote. “That may be precisely why some propose it, but it is also why the Obama administration should reject it.”
Abrams proved prophetic: the issue has indeed created immediate tension with the US, not over illegal outposts – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made it clear he will remove them – but over “natural growth” in the settlements. …
Even if Israel succumbs to ever-increasing and ever-ridiculous demands, Gaza will be still under uncompromisingly genocidal Hamas jihadis, the Palestinian Authority-run schools, mass media and mosques will be still full of incitement against Jews and Israel, Hezbollah will not go away, etc.
5. Finally, and most importantly, it pushes public attention away from the real threat in the region: Iran.
So far Obama’s policies of befriending enemies and antagonizing allies are a big flop. BTW, Bibi deserves credit for standing up against huge pressure.
Alan Caruba has an excellent post in Faith Freedom: Israel in the Crosshairs.
In one short piece, he briefly delves into history, reviews Aaron Klein’s latest book “The Late Great State of Israel” and concludes this way:
For now I will take some small comfort that Benjamin Netanyahu is once again Israel’s Prime Minister, but unless Israel is prepared to assert its right to its ancient and re-conquered land;
Unless it destroys the Iranian nuclear facilities for an America too weak or unwilling to address this necessity;
Unless it refuses the wrongful demands to turn over Jerusalem, its holiest sites, and other Jewish cities to their control;
Israel’s future may disappear in a nuclear cloud. There has been one Holocaust in my lifetime. I do not want to witness another.
At stake is more than Israel’s right to exist. The failure to support and protect Israel puts the entire basis and future of Western civilization at risk.
Arab leaders often reveal truth only when they speak in Arabic to their audience. MEMRI has a TV clip of Fatah Leader in Lebanon Sultan Abu Al-Einen:
Sultan Abu Al-Einen: It was the resistance that led to the Oslo Accords. The Israeli enemy still does not recognize the Right of Return, but 250,000 Palestinians have returned to their homeland [as part of the Oslo Accords]. The weapons that were used against the Israeli enemy in Gaza and elsewhere – the Palestinian Authority takes pride in…
Interviewer: You are talking about the 40,000 guns…
Sultan Abu Al-Einen: More than 40,000 guns.
Interviewer: You said that weapons were brought in through different means…
Sultan Abu Al-Einen: I want to talk about the weapons that were brought in as part of the agreement.
Barry Rubin has more on this: We fooled you, We Intend to Destroy You. So Now What Will You Give Us?