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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian State’

J Street: Demand Israel’s Peace Process Goal be Palestinian State

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

In a May 22 email to the many thousands on J Street’s virtual rolodex, the organization that calls itself “pro-Israel, pro-peace” revealed its true nature: it is focused solely and exclusively on the creation of a Palestinian State, and peace be damned.

It did this by exhorting its American followers to demand that the democratically elected Israeli leadership say out loud what J Street wants it to say.

J Street cued up from U.S. secretary of state John Kerry’s efforts to launch yet another initiative aimed at achieving peace between Israel and its Arab Palestinian neighbors.

But it then takes what it wants to be true, asserts it as if there is no other truth, and demands that Americans get aggressive with the Israeli government to make a public commitment to J Street’s view of reality, rather than what the Israeli government knows is reality.

Here’s the sleight of hand in J Street’s email:

The basis of any such effort, of course, has to be a two-state solution — an independent Palestine existing in peace and security alongside Israel. But is this the policy of the government of Israel?

Some members of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s governing coalition are openly stating not only that they do not personally believe in a two-state solution but that the two-state solution is not official government policy. They wrangled about it publicly in a parliamentary committee meeting this week.

Member of Knesset and former Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) noted “substantial divides inside the government” on the question.

And MK Orit Struck (Jewish Home) came right out and said “two states for two peoples is not the government’s official position … it is perhaps Netanyahu’s position… but has not been accepted as the government’s position.”

J Street subtly takes what it says is a basis for a solution and converts it into the solution. In contrast, Israeli leadership is committed to having the goal of the peace process be peace. Such a position is apparently an affront to J Street’s worldview.

It is especially chutzpadik to demand that the Israeli government bend its knee to J Street and declare its support for the creation of a Palestinian state at this time of profound unrest in the Middle East.

This is a singularly dangerous time in Middle East history.  The terrorist-driven Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda and its affiliates are on the ascent.  The closest thing to a moderate Arab Palestinian leader is Mahmoud Abbas whose term as president expired almost 5 years ago.  Abbas routinely and publicly lionizes current and ancient terrorists and frequently admits, although mostly in Arabic,  that he is not committed to peace with Israel.

And Mahmoud Abbas is on record that not one Jew will be allowed to live and breathe in any Palestinian State.  So what exactly is it that J Street is demanding?

J Street’s letter imperiously casts anyone who disagrees with its vision of a perfect Middle East – one with a Palestinian State (whether or not there is peace) – as a roadblock to peace.  The hubris is dazzling.

For there to be any hope of progress, the Israeli government must state unequivocally that support for a two-state solution is a core principle of its foreign policy – as it has been under every Prime Minister since Yitzhak Rabin.

A simple declarative statement by Netanyahu or by Israel’s US ambassador Michael Oren would dispel these doubts immediately. They need to speak out now.

Adding still more urgency to its demand, J Street includes a quote from MK Ronen Hoffman, “how is it possible to expect the Palestinians to enter negotiations when part of our government opposes a Palestinian state?”

And yet, no demand is made of any Arab Palestinian leader to commit to peace with Israel.

Why isn’t J Street’s question turned around? Shouldn’t supporters of Israel logically ask this question, instead: “How is it possible to expect the Israeli government to enter negotiations with Arab Palestinian leaders when there is overwhelming evidence that few if any of the leadership supports peace with the Jewish State of Israel?”

J Street ends its May 22 email pooh-poohing the idea that mere talks between the parties is useful. Again it asserts its own position as if it were ultimate truth: “But what’s needed isn’t talk, it’s a resolution of this conflict and that will only happen if both sides are clearly committed to reaching the same goal: a two-state solution.”

An Open Letter to the Arab League: Thanks, but no Thanks

Monday, May 13th, 2013

To the Honorable Leaders of the Arab States,

We in Israel received with great pleasure your agreement to normalize relations with Israel  on condition that we agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state and exchanges of territories between that state and Israel. The Palestinian state that you propose to establish in Judea and Samaria would be the second Palestinian state, since the first Palestinian state was established six years ago in the Gaza Strip, and you clearly recognize it as such in practice. How else can the state visits of the Emir of Qatar and the secretary of the Arab League in Gaza  be understood?  Now you propose the establishment of a second Palestinian state? Perhaps a third!! Because Jordan is also a state with a Palestinian majority. And all of these states were established – as you know – on land that the League of Nations had designated for a Jewish state at the San Remo Conference, in April  of 1920. So why should we agree to exchange territories with any state or states that have been established or will be established on our land?

And if indeed a second Palestinian state will arise in Judea and Samaria (that which you call “the West Bank”) can you promise us that this state will not at some time in the future become another Hamas state? Do you not recall that Hamas won a clear majority of the seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006? Did you not see how Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip with bombs, fire and kalashnikovs in June of 2007? Will you send a military force to get rid of Hamas after this terror organization also takes over – by means of elections or revolution – the new Palestinian state as well? Or perhaps you will leave us bleeding as a result of the problem that you have created?

We in Israel are very touched by the fact that you, as an Arab collective, not as individual states that have made a peace agreement with us, finally agree to accept us as an existing state in the Middle East. Indeed, it has taken you 65 years to understand that we are here, on the land of our fathers, that we have come back to stay in our land forever and ever until eternity. But why do you call to displant Jerusalem,  the historical capital of the Jewish people, from the Jewish state? Was Jerusalem ever a capital of something connected to the Arab world or Islam? Throughout all of history, did an Emir, Sultan Caliph or Arab or Islamic King rule in it even for one day? Do you not remember that since the Islamic conquest in 637, the capital of “Jund Filastin” (the region of Palestine) was called Ramle? Then why has Jerusalem suddenly emerged as a candidate for capital of the second Palestinian state? Just because it is our capital?

Just to remind you: Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria were under Jordanian occupation for 7000 days, from May of 1948 until June of 1967. You had 7000 golden opportunities to establish a Palestinian state on this territory with Jerusalem as its capital. Why didn’t you do it? Why did you think of it only after the Jewish people liberated the territory from the Jordanian occupation whose legality even you, the Arab League, never recognized? What did you know all those years about “the rights of the Palestinian people” that you don’t know today? And why is Israeli “occupation” worse than Jordanian occupation?

Just imagine that we had made a peace agreement with Assad’s Syria. Would the Saudi Arabian jihadists, followers of al Qaeda who want to eliminate Assad, honor the peace agreement that he signed with the Zionists? And what about the Palestinians in Jordan -  if they will also rise up and overthrow the royal house that the British imported from Saudi Arabia, are you sure that they would honor the agreement that that royal house signed with us over the Palestinians’ objections? Are you willing to assure us that the Muslim Brotherhood, which has taken over Egypt, will always honor the peace agreement with Israel after all the years that they said that they would cancel it when they could? Just to remind you, Israel has had agreements of mutual recognition on different levels with Qatar, the United Emirates and Tunisia. Why did they cancel these agreements and close the Israeli diplomatic missions? Is this what your signature is worth?

Obama to Palestinians: Accept the Jewish State

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

One key shift in U.S. policy was overlooked in the barrage of news about Barack Obama’s eventful fifty-hour visit to Israel last week. That would be the demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, called by Hamas leader Salah Bardawil “the most dangerous statement by an American president regarding the Palestinian issue.”

First, some background: Israel’s founding documents aimed to make the country a Jewish state. Modern Zionism effectively began with the publication in 1896 of Theodor Herzl’s book, Der Judenstaat (“The Jewish State”). The Balfour Declaration of 1917 favors “a national home for the Jewish people.” U.N. General Assembly resolution 181 of 1947, partitioning Palestine into two, mentions the termJewish state 30 times. Israel’s Declaration of Establishment of 1948 mentions Jewish state 5 times, as in “we … hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.”

Because of this tight connection, when Arab-Israeli diplomacy began in earnest in the 1970s, the Jewish state formulation largely disappeared from view; everyone simply assumed that diplomatic recognition of Israel meant accepting it as the Jewish state. Only in recent years did Israelis realize otherwise, as Israeli Arabs came to accept Israel but reject its Jewish nature. For example, an important 2006 publication from the Mossawa Center in Haifa, The Future Vision of Palestinian Arabs in Israel, proposes that the country become a religiously neutral state and joint homeland. In brief, Israeli Arabs have come to see Israel as a variant of Palestine.

Awakened to this linguistic shift, winning Arab acceptance of Israel no longer sufficed; Israelis and their friends realized that they had to insist on explicit Arab acceptance of Israel as the Jewish state. In 2007, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert announced that unless Palestinians did so, diplomacy would be aborted: “I do not intend to compromise in any way over the issue of the Jewish state,” he emphasized. The Palestinian Authority immediately and unanimously rejected this demand. Its head, Mahmoud Abbas, responded: “In Israel, there are Jews and others living there. This we are willing to recognize, nothing else.”

Only six weeks ago, Abbas again blasted the Jewish state concept. The Palestinian rejection of Jewish statehood could not be more emphatic. (For a compilation of their assertions, see “Recognizing Israel as the Jewish State: Statements” at DanielPipes.org).

When Benjamin Netanyahu succeeded Olmert as prime minister in 2009, he reiterated this demand as a precondition to serious negotiations: “Israel expects the Palestinians to first recognize Israel as a Jewish state before talking about two states for two peoples.” The Palestinians not only refused to budge but ridiculed the very idea. Again, Abbas: “What is a ‘Jewish state?’ We call it the ‘State of Israel.’ You can call yourselves whatever you want. But I will not accept it. … It’s not my job to … provide a definition for the state and what it contains. You can call yourselves the Zionist Republic, the Hebrew, the National, the Socialist [Republic] call it whatever you like, I don’t care.”

American politicians, including both George W. Bush and Obama, have since 2008 occasionally referred to Israel as the Jewish state, even as they studiously avoided demanding Palestinians to do likewise. In a typical declaration, Obama in 2011 sketched the ultimate diplomatic goal as “two states for two people: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people and the State of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people.”

That sentence breaks important new ground and cannot readily be undone. It also makes for excellent policy, for without such recognition, Palestinian acceptance of Israel is hollow, indicating only a willingness to call the future state they dominate “Israel” rather than “Palestine.” Then, in his Jerusalem speech last week, Obama suddenly and unexpectedly adopted in full the Israeli demand: “Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state.”

While not the only shift in policy announced during Obama’s trip (another: telling the Palestinians not to set preconditions for negotiations), this one looms largest because it starkly contravenes the Palestinian consensus. Bardawil may hyperbolically assert that it “shows that Obama has turned his back to all Arabs” but those ten words in fact establish a readiness to deal with the conflict’s central issue. They likely will be his most important, most lasting, and most constructive contribution to Arab-Israeli diplomacy.

Originally published at the Washington Times and Danielpipes.org, MArch 26, 2013.

Bennett on Obama’s speech: No Nation Is Occupier of its Homeland

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

President Barack Obama’s speech in front of (mostly leftist) students in the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, provoked reactions from across the political spectrum in Israel.

There was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thanked the visiting president (Thank you, Sir, may I have another?) for his ” unconditional support for Israel,” adding that he, too, agrees with President that we should “promote peace that ensures the safety of all the citizens of Israel.” Netanyahu also agreed with Obama that “we have a great country.”

Minister of Economy and Trade Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), sounded a great deal less enthusiastic about the president’s speech, when he told Maariv: “Obama’s statement certainly came out of concern for Israel and out of true friendship, but we’ve seen only this morning the results of our previous withdrawal (from Gaza) in Sderot (where a missile landed on the backyard of a local home), as well as in thousands of victims over the years. It’s time for new, creative concepts to resolve the conflict in the Middle East, including the idea that a nation isn’t the occupier of its own homeland.”

Jewish Home faction Chair MK Ayelet Shaked agreed that “Obama is a true friend of Israel, it can’t be denied. But at the end of the day only we will absorb the tragic and devastating consequences of establishing a Palestinian state.”

She argued that “this is why the people have chosen, just this week, a government whose platform does not support the two state solution, and the U.S. President, for whom democracy is a beacon, should respect that.”

The Judea and Samaria Council’s official response was: “President Obama’s speech was warm and embracing, but, at the same time, he tried to create the illusion of public support for moves that are dangerous to Israel. This is why, in our opinion, students from Ariel University had not been invited. Israelis have already experienced such illusions exploding in our faces, and will not support the dangers presented by Obama. The Israeli public expresses its views in democratic elections, not through inciting young people against their leadership.”

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List) also disapproved of Obama’s remarks on the Jewish state. “It has been the position of the U.S. government in recent years, which we oppose.”

But Tibi was pleased with the second part of the speech, because of its “detailed references to Palestinian suffering and the occupation, as well as his understanding of the suffering of the families of Palestinian prisoners, and the talk about establishing a Palestinian state as an act of justice.”

Tibi said he enjoyed “the refreshing change in the applause of thousands of students in response to Obama’s poignant and brave words about ending the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state. Of course I was sorry that he did not see fit to refer to the inequality of Israeli Arab citizens, but, altogether, those words require genuine action so the Jerusalem speech won’t have the same fate as the Cairo speech.”

The Two-Paint Solution

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

The best way to explain hard concepts is by making analogies to everyday things. Of course you have to be careful that the essential part of the analogy fits. When I was in school, I was told “the map is not the territory” — in other words, in any analogy there will be things that are different from the reality one is trying to describe. You just have to know what’s essential.

So I am going to make one more try at explaining why the “two-state solution” is not a solution, and why the people who claim to want one are either terminally uninformed or evil. Here is my analogy:

One day I was down at the lab when a young scientist came running up to me. “Dr. Fresno!” he called. “Eureka! Eureka! I have invented an automobile that does not require fuel, or even batteries!”

“Great,” I said. “You have solved an important problem. How does it work?”

“Simple. You just paint half of the roof of the car with solar paint. When light strikes it it produces electricity, which operates the electric motors that run it.”

“Hmm,” I said. “But how does it work at night, or on an overcast day? You said there were no batteries.”

“That’s the other half of the roof. You paint it with anti-solar paint. When dark strikes it, it produces electricity…” he began.

“That’s amazing,” I told him. “How on earth do you make paint like that?”

“Oh, I have no idea. But wouldn’t it be a wonderful solution?

Visit Fresno Zionism.

The Logic of the ‘Winged Pig Conditional’

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

As I’ve mentioned before, I used to teach elementary logic. One of the first topics was compound truth-functional statements, in which the truth of the compound is dependent on the truth of the components. So for example, the compound statement ‘p or q’ is true if and only if either or both of the components, p and q are true.

The definition of the ‘if p then q’ (called a ‘conditional’, and sometimes written p->q) statement seemed counter-intuitive to some students. It is true if and only if either p is false or q is true. That may seem strange, but think about it: suppose I assert that “if I drink 3 cups of coffee then I will have insomnia.” What could falsify this statement? Only one situation: I drink the coffee but still sleep normally.

This definition can be expressed as a “truth table” which tells us what the result will be for every possible combination of truth and falsehood of the antecedent (p) and the consequent (q). Here it is:

p q p->q

True

True

True

True

False

False

False

True

True

False

False

True

Not every conditional statement that we make is a simple function of the truth of its components, but many of them are.

Here is one that I see a lot:

“A majority of Jewish Israelis would give up most of Judea and Samaria, even evacuate settlements, for peace.”

Another way of saying this is that most Jewish Israelis agree with this conditional statement:

“If it would result in a lasting peace, I would support withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.”

The only case in which this statement is false is the one in which the speaker does not support withdrawal despite believing that it would result in peace. So no wonder a majority agrees with it.

It is perfectly rational to accept the truth of the if-then statement, but not support withdrawal because one does not believe that peace would result. For example, many Israelis believe that a withdrawal would result in a Hamas takeover and a Gaza-like situation a few miles from Israel’s population centers. Some point to the PLO’s refusal to recognize a Jewish state with any borders. Others compare the ease with which the Arabs could tear up a peace agreement to the difficulty of repossessing the land after it is ceded.

So clearly the truth of the statement does not imply a readiness on the part of the Israeli public to withdraw; rather it points to a strong desire to finally have an end to the conflict.

But there is more. The truth table above tells us that a conditional is always true when the antecedent is false. In this case, the truth of the consequent is irrelevant. This means that if the antecedent is contradictory or in some way impossible, then the whole statement is always true — but in a trivial sense.

This is what I call a “winged pig conditional.” And that’s what this statement actually is — a trivial one whose assertion commits the speaker to nothing.

I am prepared to bet $1,000 on the truth of the conditional statement “if pigs had wings, then they could fly” (with proper safeguards prohibiting bionic wings, etc.). This is because the antecedent “pigs have wings” is so unlikely as to be considered impossible. So I am not risking any money.

And based on my understanding of the oft-stated intentions of the PLO and Hamas, of Palestinian Arab public opinion, of P.A. and Hamas media, I can say that the proposition that withdrawal would lead to peace is just as unlikely.

To a great extent, the whole idea of a two-state solution as presented by President Obama, Shimon Peres, etc. is a winged pig. Of course it would be wonderful if Israelis and Arabs could live side by side in peace, but since the idea of a Jewish state is so consistently rejected by the Arab side, the questions of “how do we get there” so beloved by Dennis Ross, for example, are so irrelevant as to be uninteresting.

Some years ago, P.M. Netanyahu made news when he announced (under U.S. pressure) that he supported the idea of a Palestinian state in the context of a “two-state solution.” What he meant, of course, was a kind of winged-pig conditional: if the Arabs would agree to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, if the state could be demilitarized, if various security requirements could be met, then …

Of course the response from Mahmoud Abbas was predictable: Netanyahu is lying! He doesn’t support a “two-state solution” because a two-state solution includes right of “return” to Israel for 5 million “refugees,” and no recognition of Jewish ownership of Israel. Not to mention that “Palestine” deserves an army.

This is why the whole “peace process” discussion is so unutterably boring. It is unconnected to reality.

I think that we need to go farther than asking “what do we need to do to get peace?” and even “what do we need for security?” Rather, we must ask “what should the state of the Jewish people be?”

Perhaps those who believe that there is a value to Judea/Samaria that transcends its use as a bargaining chip, and indeed transcends its importance to security, a value that comes from its being the historical homeland of the Jewish people — maybe they have a point?

Visit Fresno Zionism.

J Street Speech Reveals Hagel Will Push Saudi Peace Initiative

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Posts’ blog Right Turn, bless her heart, has learned from her Senate sources that the “left-wing group J Street” was refusing to provide a video of Chuck Hagel speaking before the group’s first conference in 2009.

“Senators were tipped off that Hagel departed from his prepared remarks and made controversial comments to the J Street Conference. In exchanges with Senate Armed Services Committee staff, J Street volunteered the prepared remarks and said it decided not to provide the complete video for fear that Hagel’s remarks would be taken out of context,” Rubin wrote on Tuesday.

She commented that J Street would have to provide the tape, should the Armed Services Committee issues a subpoena for it. Finally, on Tuesday night, Rubin updated her story to report that J Street contacted the Senate Armed Services Committee to report that it was going to post the entire video of Hagel’s 2009 speech online.

I downloaded the video and sat and transcribed portions of the tape itself, to male sure they did not differ from the online text. In my opinion, the truly alarming text was delivered by Hagel in the official speech, which he read, word for word. I will get to it later, and share with you why I think Hagel may be the worst thing to hit the U.S.-Israel relationship since Casper Weinberger locked the IAF off the Iraqi ballistic missile launchers.

But, first, here’s the stuff that didn’t make it into the official speech, and came at the short Q&A portion at the end. Hagel was asked by the host what advise he would give newly elected Prseident Obama, who took him on as an advisor, regarding the Middle east.

Hagel responded: “Engagement. I’ve never understood a great nation like the United States who would be afraid to engage. Why are we afraid to talk with someone? If we believe that we have a pretty good system—and I don’t think we should go around the world imposing it on anyone—but if we have some sense of who we are, and believe in who we are, then why wouldn’t we engage? how in the world do we think we can make a better world? How in the world do we think isolating someone is going to somehow bring them around to your way of thinking? I think just the opposite. So, engagement.”

Big applause.

“2 – it seems to me a comprehensive framework of a foreign policy is essential. Because I have never believed you go to war in Iraq, you go to war in Afghanistan, and believe that you can deal with those battlefields, those countries, in microcosms, or narrow channels. These are regional issues. There will not be any peace in the Middle East or in Afghanistan, central Asia, without Iran somewhere…”

Host: “So Iran is connected to Afghanistan, and Afghanistan is connected to Israel and Palestine, and connected to Syria…”

Hagel: “It’s all connected.”

More dangerous words have not been uttered since Wayne Wheeler and Andrew J. Volstead from Minnesota invented the 18th Amendment (the one about not letting the boys coming back from war in Europe have a drink). The notion that the war-loving Afghani tribes are shooting and tooting on account of the Iranians not liking the delayed peace negotiations in Ramallah, which in turn drives the rebel army outside Damascus is the craziest pile of horse manure dumped on the American political scene since the Domino theory.

And it’s no wonder the J Street folks have kept those comments out. In light of the civil war in Syria and the emerging civil war in Egypt, they make the presumptive Secretary of defense sound like Jimmy Carter.

In that vein, just look at what the man said about Syria, back in 2009:

“I believe there is a real possibility of a shift in Syria’s strategic thinking and policies. For its own self interests… not because they want to do a favor for the U.S. or Israel. If we can convince Damascus to pause and re-consider its positions and support regarding Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and radical Palestinian groups, we will have made progress for the entire Middle East, Israel, and the U.S. Syria wants to talk – at the highest levels – and everything is on the table.”

My Lord – is there even one assumption in that pile of fragrant stuff that is still true today? Is this man capable of making even one observation that isn’t a trite cliché and hopelessly divorced from Middle east reality?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-street-speech-reveals-hagel-will-push-saudi-peace-initiative/2013/01/30/

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