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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776
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Attorney for Palestinian Negotiators: ‘Jewish State’ Demand ‘Bizarre’


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The Palestinians are over-blowing the settlements issue, because Israeli Jews are split over them, and the debate weakens us from the inside. If the Israeli team got a lock on, say, Jerusalem as the capital of only Israel, the talks would be crumbling in half an hour.

The Palestinians are over-blowing the settlements issue, because Israeli Jews are split over them, and the debate weakens us from the inside. If the Israeli team got a lock on, say, Jerusalem as the capital of only Israel, the talks would be crumbling in half an hour.
Photo Credit: Michal Fattal/ Flash90



John V. Whitbeck, an American international attorney specializing in conflict resolution, particularly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is not a friend. He advocates a “joint undivided sovereignty” over Jerusalem by both the Palestinians and the Israelis, has called for “delegitimizing Zionism,” which he calls a “racial-supremacist, settler-colonial experiment.”

In 2001, Whitbeck was suspended from practicing law in New York state for four years for professional misconduct. He also supports publicly the idea that 9/11 was an inside job.

In 2009, he advocated encouraging Israeli Jews to return to their countries of origin or emigrate to other countries of their choice, while Israel is replaced by Palestine.

Yesterday, Ma’an news agency published a Whitbeck article headlined “Analysis: On the ‘Jewish State of Israel,'” in which he makes the case why the Palestinians should never concede that Israel is a legitimate, Jewish state. considering that the man is a high level adviser to the Palestinian team, we believe the Israeli team should pay attention.

News reports continue to suggest that one of the primary roadblocks to any agreement in the current round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is the understandable Palestinian refusal to accept the Israeli demand that Palestine explicitly recognize Israel as a or the “Jewish State.”

This is a legally and intellectually bizarre demand clearly intended to make any agreement impossible while facilitating Israel’s post-failure public relations campaign to assign to the occupied Palestinians responsibility for Israel’s latest success in producing failure.

I must admit, it never have occurred to me that Israel’s request, having presumably turned over upwards of 35% of the land (if you include Gaza) to a purely Arab entity, where Jewish life is contractually prohibited (see Gush Katif), that the remaining part be recognized as legitimately Jewish owned would be taken as an act in bad faith. The opening argument proposed here is that, since the Arabs cannot possibly recognize Israel as  Jewish state, for reasons explained later, Israel’s very attempt to expect such recognition is nothing but an attempt to derail the talks.

Haggai Hoberman, editor of Matzav Haruach, wondered this week why the Palestinians are so upset with Netanyahu’s declaration about adding housing units in Judea and Samaria. After all, the fact that there were homes in a territory slated for Jewish deportation hasn’t stopped Israel’s government in the past (see Yamit, Gush Katif and many other outposts). The reason for the Palestinians’ over-blowing the settlements issue, argues Hoberman, is because the settlements are the issue over Israeli Jews are split. It weakens us from the inside.

Hoberman suggested the Israeli team get a lock on other key issues first, issues about which a vast majority of Israeli and, indeed, world Jews are in near agreement: the Palestinians’ right of return to  Yaffo, Haifa, Lod, Ramla, Tel Aviv; or Jerusalem as the capital of only Israel. Start there, and watch the talks crumbling in half an hour.

That’s precisely what Whitbeck sees as well, if through the prism of a wing-nut:

Palestinian acceptance of this Israeli demand would constitute explicit Palestinian acquiescence in permanent second-class status for Palestinian citizens of Israel and in the liquidation of the rights of millions of Palestinian refugees, as well as implicit Palestinian acceptance that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was morally justified, which in turn would require conceding that Palestinians are sub-humans not entitled to fundamental human rights.

It is wise to answer a wing-nut calmly, lest he recognizes that his assortment of horribly vicious lies gets to you, but I have to admit that staring into this much madness is not for the faint of heart. Israeli Arabs enjoy full civil rights and political equality. The fact that their situation is not perfect is definitely a cause for concern, as it is with many other Israeli groups, both ethnic and religious. If anyone is being treated as subhuman, it is the Christian population which is far disappearing from the majority Muslim Palestinian Authority, and, naturally, Jews, who are often murdered with great pomp and circumstance when they’re unfortunate enough to set foot unprotected in a Palestinian area.

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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