web analytics
July 27, 2016 / 21 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘palestinian’

Poll: Saudis, Egyptians, Want Regional Peace, Shun Trump, Palestinian Deal

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Ahead of the 16th annual Herzliya Conference, the Institute for Policy & Strategy (IPS) at IDC Herzliya has released the results of two surveys conducted in Egypt and Saudi Arabia relating to the upcoming US Presidential elections.

The key findings of the polls were as follows:

Q: Should the next US President promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement or a regional peace agreement?

Egypt: 25.5% – Israeli-Palestinian Agreement 32.1% – Regional Agreement 42.3% – Should Not Promote Peace with Israel

Saudi Arabia: 18.9% – Israeli-Palestinian Agreement 41.6% – Regional Agreement 39.4% – Should Not Promote Peace with Israel

Q: Will the next US President change relations between the US and the Arab world?

Egypt: 31.7% – Change for the better 19.2% – Change for the worse 49.0% – No change

Saudi Arabia: 27.6% – Change for the better 27.4% – Change for the worse 45.0% – No change

Q: Was President Obama a good president for the Muslim world?

Egypt: 2.5% – Very Good 14.2% – Good 38.1% – Mediocre 24.5% – Bad 20.7% – Very Bad

Saudi Arabia: 2.6% – Very Good 17.5% – Good 36.1% – Mediocre 23.8% – Bad 20.1% – Very Bad

Q: Will the next US President cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran?

Egypt: 19.7% – Will cancel 80.3% – Won’t cancel

Saudi Arabia: 13.6% – Will cancel 86.4% – Won’t cancel

Q: Will the next US President be ready to send ground troops to fight ISIS?

Egypt: 32.3% – Yes 48.3% – No 19.4% – Don’t know

Saudi Arabia: 17.9% – Yes 58.1% – No 24.0% – Don’t know

Q: Which (Presidential) candidate do you prefer?

Egypt: 35.9% – Hillary Clinton 3.8% – Donald Trump 8.5% – Bernie Sanders 10.4% – Ted Cruz 41.4% – None of them

Saudi Arabia: 30.2% – Hillary Clinton 6.0% – Donald Trump 7.3% – Bernie Sanders 6.0% – Ted Cruz 50.3% – None of them

The polls were conducted in Arabic over the past 6 weeks using a random sampling from the regions of each country.

471 respondents in Egypt; margin of error +/- 4.5% 464 respondents in Saudi Arabia; margin of error +/- 4.6%

The 16th annual Herzliya Conference starts tomorrow, June 14 and runs through June 16.

JNi.Media

The “Palestinian” Lie

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

In the early 1990s, the Government of Israel took what remains as the single greatest risk for peace and security since the State’s independence in 1948.  The gamble failed miserably.  Israelis – and Jews around the world – continue to pay the price—perhaps most spectacularly in the rise of the international BDS movement specifically, and more broadly, in the rebirth of a virulent, open Jew hatred of a kind not seen since the decade leading to the Holocaust.

The risk was Israel’s willingness to abide by a lie.  It happened in September 1993, when Israel acknowledged the existence of a “Palestinian people” in the Oslo Accords.  Any attempt to understand why so many people slander Israel as an occupying power and an apartheid state uniquely suited for economic boycotts and diplomatic sanctions must begin by looking at that lie and its implications.

Israeli acknowledgment notwithstanding, there has never been, is not now, and – hopefully, for those concerned with peace, human rights, justice and truth – never will be a distinct “Palestinian people.”  The people known today as “Palestinians” are simply Arabs—mostly Sunni Muslims—who lived, or whose ancestors lived, in the portion of the British Mandate for Palestine west of the Jordan River during a brief period in the 1940s.  In no other sense were they distinct from their neighbors whom the mandatory powers chose to label Lebanese, Jordanians, or Syrians.

As the Lebanese Civil War that raged for nearly two decades, the collapse of post-Saddam Iraq, and the bloodletting currently underway in Syria demonstrate, none of these assigned nationalisms ever took hold.  Moreover, contemporaneous surveys conducted by the British during the Mandatory period showed that the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims in pre-1948 Palestine were newcomers with no historic attachment  at all to the land, migrant workers and recent immigrants from dozens of regions from Morocco to Bosnia to India, speaking dozens of languages, who came to provide manpower for the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate and to benefit from the economic flowering of the Jewish people’s return to its homeland.  To the extent that a new “Palestinian” nation can be said to have emerged, even in weak form, there is no reason to believe that it has become deeper as a matter of identity than has membership in the Iraqi or Syrian nations.  The internal dynamics of the people who call themselves “Palestinians” mirror those of the people living in the regions still labeled Syria and Iraq.  Even less – as until the “Palestinian” fiction was useful, these same Arabs when self-identified as linked to a nation, considered themselves Egyptian or Syrian or Saudi or Algerian, etc., not “Palestinian.”

Today, even as they claim a new identity, a civil war between Hamas and Fatah cuts these Arabs in half.  Hamas, as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, rejects the very notion of a national identity in favor of an Islamic one; even in that, it faces competition from various other Islamist groups.  Fatah is notoriously riven with factionalism, and its corruption is legendary.  Were the nascent “Palestine” to become yet another Arab state in search of a nation, it would devolve into immediate anarchy as warlords, militias, and Islamists all turned against each other.  The conclusion is inescapable.  Regardless of designations that the state system may assign, Arabs throughout western Asia continue to identify strongly with their sect or tribe while feeling little or no kinship with those that the international community deems their countrymen.

In the case of “Palestine,” the designation is particularly galling because the definitions of both the people and the state emerged from what they were not rather than what they were.  During the early twentieth century, when emerging Pan-Arabism competed with tribalism for hearts and minds throughout the Arab world, the new notion of a “Palestinian” arose to define the residents of the historic Jewish homeland in which Jews hoped to build a Jewish state.  “Palestine,” of course, was defined as precisely coterminous with that Jewish homeland; when the Zionists dropped their legitimate historical and legal claims to the East Bank, so too did the “Palestinians.”  Indeed, before the Jewish state declared its name to be Israel,  it was the national and public institutions of the Jews – bank, post office, newspaper, tourism office, etc. – that used the label “Palestine.” The flag of pre-Israel Palestine featured a Jewish star on a field of blue and white. There was no equivalent Arab identity. Arab “Palestinianism” thus arose precisely to counter Zionism and to defeat the cause of Jewish self-determination in the ancient Jewish homeland.  As such, the movement was founded as a classic anti-Jewish hate movement, and so it remains.

Throughout its first few decades, “Palestinianism” was comfortable in that role.  Its most prominent leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini, allied himself happily with Hitler and the Nazis—enjoying the warm embrace of the world’s largest and most powerful anti-Jewish hate group, and collaborating on plans to export the genocidal Final Solution to the Middle East.

Twenty years and three Arab/Israeli wars later, however, the situation had changed—at least from the all-important public relations perspective.  While elite Western opinion of the 1960s and 70s deemed anti-Jewish hate groups unacceptable, it welcomed movements of indigenous self-determination.  Yasser Arafat, with significant Soviet assistance, recast “Palestinianism” as a nationalist movement—but he did not restructure it as a nationalist movement.

Arafat’s rebranding proved persuasive.  By the time of the Oslo Accords, much of the world took the “Palestinian” lie for granted.  The idea that any or all of the twenty-plus governments of the Sunni Arab world might bear responsibility for its own people, much as Israel assumed responsibility for the Jews forcibly ejected from centuries-old communities across the Middle East, seemed unachievable.  By the early 1990s, it was hardly unreasonable for forces in Israel’s government to believe that Israel would have to deal with the increasingly violent Arabs living in its midst—and that Arafat’s PLO could employ brutal techniques unavailable to the IDF.  Israel endured the lie of a distinct “Palestinian” people, invited the PLO into the Israeli heartland, and began the Israeli withdrawal from large parts of day-to-day Arab life beyond the Green Line. This high-risk – and excruciatingly short-sighted – strategy thus helped reinforce the widespread confusion that mislabels Israel’s liberation of the indigenously (and legally, in accordance with the 1920 San Remo Resolution, the terms of which are still binding under international law) Jewish heartland that Jordan had occupied illegally between 1948 and 1967 as an Israeli “occupation.”

In fact, this foundational lie underpins an elaborate edifice that is simultaneously divorced from reality and devastating to both sides.  If the “Palestinians” are indeed a unique indigenous yet stateless people, the burden of proof falls upon those insisting that Israel is not occupying their state—and that those who fight that occupation are something other than freedom fighters.  Furthermore, given that Arab and Jewish residents of the disputed territories live in separate villages subject to different legal systems, accusations of segregation—if not apartheid—are easily manipulated for mass consumption.  Finally, it becomes clear why traditional pro-Israel demographics like American Jews and Evangelical Christians are becoming increasingly uneasy and critical, and unclear why a movement of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions targeting a segregationist occupying power is outrageous.

While Israel’s defenders certainly have enough facts at their disposal to win tactical victories, their efforts will continue to run headfirst into the foundational lie.  At the end of the day, if the “Palestinians” are a people distinct from any of the other Arabs, and if their homeland is indeed coterminous with the lands that Israel currently controls, Israel cannot win.  It is a zero-sum game.  The attacks, slanders, and diplomatic setbacks will continue to ratchet ever upward—fully inverting the stated purpose of the Oslo accords.  Rabin’s gamble has failed miserably.  His acceptance of the foundational lie of “Palestine” has cost thousands of lives, heightened Israel’s diplomatic challenges, increased global anti-Semitism, and done nothing to inculcate responsible behavior among the Arabs.

But the evil of “Palestinianism” does not end there.  As corrosive as this fiction is to Jewish rights and to the standing of Israel in the world, the Arabs who have been saddled with the “Palestinian” lie suffer even more. Political, military and security threats notwithstanding, Israeli citizens – Jew and Arab alike – enjoy life in a thriving country, leading technology on all fronts, with freedoms and rights enjoyed by few the world over (and nowhere in the region). Israel consistently is listed as one of the “happiest” countries around the world. Famous for its urbanity, culture and lifestyle, Tel Aviv is second in the world as the posting of choice for US diplomats with clout – only Paris is more sought after.  “Palestinian” Arabs, on the other hand, dwell in eternal misery, created to remain refugees, a manipulated dispossessed, with generation after generation raised in a fetid miasma of resentment and hate and vendetta. “Palestinians” are not only an anti-Semitic hate group; they are, by their own behavior and admission, a suicidal death cult. “We love death like our enemies love life,” “Palestinians” infamously boast. As impossible as such a mentality may seem to us, from wars waged via suicide bombers and human shields to textbooks and children’s television extolling genocide and martyrdom, “Palestinians” demonstrate their fidelity to this terrible, tragic ethos. This is what they were created to be; they have nothing else.

It is far past time to reassert the truth.  “Palestinianism” combines the inner workings of a hate group with the outer trappings of a nationalist movement. “Palestinians” raise their children to hate Jews and to glory in those who kill Jews.  “Palestinian” society, from top to bottom, allocates greater resources to ensuring that their people despise Jews than to encouraging those same people to help themselves. No version of “Palestinian” nationhood allows for the existence of a Jewish state anywhere in the Jewish homeland.  “Palestinianism” on the ground today remains faithful to its raison d’être: far, far more concerned with destroying Israel than with building “Palestine,” a movement and identity in which hatred of the reviled other is far more important than love of self.

There can be no “two state solution” because there is no stateless nation in waiting; there are only Arabs living in the historic Jewish homeland.

If the region is ever to know stability, if those on both sides – Arab and Jew – who yearn for normalization and acceptance are ever to achieve it, if Israel has any desire to survive, let alone to be accepted as anything other than a pariah, all dialogue must first dispense with the foundational lie of a distinct “Palestinian” nation.

Bruce Abramson and Jeff Ballabon

The Myth of the Palestinian Refugees

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

1. The circumstances and numbers of the 1948/49 Palestinian refugees have been dramatically distorted, in order to delegitimize Israel.

2. In March, 1976, Mahmoud Abbas told the PLO newspaper, Filastin A-Thawra: “Arab armies forced Palestinians to leave their homes.”  On October 2, 1948, The London Economist wrote: “the most potent factor [triggering the Arab flight] were the announcements by the Higher Arab Executive, urging the Arabs to evacuate… and that Arabs accepting Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades….”

3. On June 8, 1951, the Secretary General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha told the Lebanese daily, Al Hoda: “In 1948, the Arab leadership advised Arabs in Palestine to leave their homes temporarily.”  Syria’s Prime Minister, Khaled al-Azam, admitted, in his 1973 memoirs: “We brought destruction upon the refugees, by calling on them to leave their homes.”

4. On April 28, 1948, Sir Alan Cunningham, the last British High Commissioner in Palestine stated: A total evacuation was urged by higher Arab quarters. John Troutbeck, Head of the British Middle East Office, in Cairo (June 1949): “The refugees know who their enemies are – their Arab brothers who persuaded them to leave their homes…”

5.  Ismayil Safwat, Commander-in–Chief of the Arab Liberation Army (March 23, 1948): “The Jews have not attacked any Arab village, unless attacked first.”

6. The Palestinian leadership – e.g., Haj Amin Al-Husseini and Hassan Bey Salameh – collaborated with Hitler, seeking Nazi support to settle “the Jewish problem” in Palestine in accordance with the practice employed in Europe. On January 9, 2013, Mahmoud Abbas stated: “We pledge to continue on the path of the martyrs…. We must remember the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Haj Amin Al-Husseini….”

7. The Commander-in-Chief of the Arab Liberation Army, Fawzi el-Kaukji, a notorious Nazi collaborator, threatened in August, 1947 threatened: “Should the UN vote the wrong way, we will initiate a total war… murder, wreck and ruin everything….”  On Nov. 24, 1947, the Acting Chairman of the (Palestinian) Arab Higher Committee, Jamal Al-Husseini, threatened: “Palestine shall be consumed with fire and blood if the Jews get any part of it.”

8. Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, the first Secretary General of the Arab League told the Egyptian daily Akhbar al Yom on October 11, 1947: “…This will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Tartar massacres, or the Crusaders’ wars…. Each fighter deems death on behalf of Palestine as the shortest road to paradise….The war will be an opportunity for vast plunder… ”

9. During the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, the Arabs in Palestine terrorized their Jewish neighbors in order to abort the establishment of the Jewish State.  They defied the November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly Resolution 181;  Article 80 of the 1945 U.N. Charter (that includes the “Mandate of Palestine,” which stipulates a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River); the July 24, 1922 League of Nations’ “Mandate for Palestine,”; the April 1920 San Remo Conference of the First World War Allied Powers, which resolved to establish a Jewish national home on both sides of the Jordan River; and the November, 1917 Balfour Declaration, which was the basis for San Remo.

10.  In 135 CE, the Roman Empire renamed/misrepresented Judea as Palestina – a derivative of Phillistia/Phillistines, who were not Arabs, but an Aegean (Greek) Sea tribe – in an attempt to eradicate Judaism from human memory. In 2016, the issue of the Palestinian Arab refugees, is dramatically misrepresented, as a tool to eradicate the Jewish State.

Yoram Ettinger

Palestinian Authority Perfects Hypocrisy

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through}

On May 19, 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he was considering adding a right-wing party, Yisrael Beytenu, to his coalition. The Palestinian Authority’s reaction to this rumor was quick.

The Israeli government sent a message to the world that Israel prefers extremism, dedication to the occupation and settlements over peace.”

In a region which has perfected finger-pointing, the Palestinian Arabs have once again shown their mastery of hypocrisy.

On June 2, 2014, the Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed the terrorist group Hamas into a unity government. That move abruptly ended the many months of peace negotiations going on between Israelis and the PA which was shepherded by US Secretary of State John Kerry.  Within two weeks of forming the unity government, Hamas loyalists kidnapped and murdered three teenage Israelis and launched a war against Israel that killed thousands.

That’s a message of preferring “extremism” to peace.

Care to do a simple comparison of Yisrael Beytenu and Hamas?

Position Yisrael Beytenu Hamas
Land Extending full governmental control east of the Green Line (EGL), above current military control Complete destruction of all of Israel
Death penalty For terrorists convicted of killing Israelis For all Jews
Compromise Yes. “in the debate over unity of the land or the unity of the people, the unity of the people must take precedence, because over the unity of the people there can be no compromise and a deep fracture will not be overcome None. “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement
Minority Rights in country All minorities welcome, as long as loyal to the government Only “under the wing of Islam” can non-Moslems live in the land.
Legal System Full separation of powers, such as in the United States Shariah, Islamic Law
Racism No negative stereotypes Jews referred to as Nazis (Art. 20) and schemers and plotters (Art. 22)

Sources: Yisrael Beytenu positions; Hamas Charter

Hamas is considered a terrorist group by many countries,

  • but the Palestinian Arabs decided to vote them into a majority of Parliament anyway;
  • but the acting Prime Minister of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas, decided to create a coalition government with them anyway;
  • and the Palestinians actively killed the peace process that US Secretary Kerry had worked on for months anyway;
  • and they launched a war that killed thousands anyway.

So should anyone be surprised by the audacity and hypocrisy of the PA condemning Netanyahu for bringing Yisrael Beytenu into his coalition?  Which party has aligned itself with racists and murderers, and shown a complete unwillingness to compromise and make peace time-and-again, Netanyahu or Abbas?


Related First.One.Through articles:

“Mainstream” and Abbas’ Jihad

Abbas Knows Racism

The Undemocratic Nature of Fire and Water in the Middle East

“Peace” According to Palestinian “Moderates”

Subscribe YouTube channel: FirstOneThrough

Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through  Israel Analysis

Paul Gherkin

This Ongoing War: What do the Palestinian Arabs Think?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

{Originally posted to the authors’ website, This Ongoing War}

The Ma’an News Agency people in a report whose headline – characteristically – calls this morning’s stabbing attack in Jerusalem “alleged”, quote Luba al-Samri, the Israel Police spokesperson, saying

police officers patrolling the scene this morning saw a Palestinian stab a religious Israeli man. The suspect allegedly threw the knife away and attempted to flee the scene. Israeli police chased and apprehended the youth without shooting him… [He is] identified… as a 20-year-old Palestinian from the village of Abu Dis [a Jerusalem neighbourhood]… The youth [Ma’an’s word] was taken in by Israeli police for interrogation. Paramedics treated the Israeli for light injuries on the scene before transferring him to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. He was identified by Israeli media as a 30-year-old ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva student.

The Ma’an report – generously funded along with everything else Ma’an does by US and European donors – goes on to say that

the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found in a poll last month that support for stabbing attacks had seen a decline in the West Bank in recent months — “due, it seems, to a rising perception in its inefficacy.”

Kind of encouraging, no? We guess that’s why they say it but the actual poll data send a less charming message.

The survey results [reported here] reflect a significant and ongoing passion on the part of a significant overall majority of Palestinian Arabs for Arab-on-Israeli knifing attacks:

Support for use of knives in the current confrontations with Israel drops from 67% three months ago to 58% in this [April 2016] poll. Support for knifing attacks in the Gaza Strip stands at 82% and in the West Bank at 44%. [Source]

We noted a while back that what the Palestinian Arabs say they want does not always make logical sense [“10-Dec-14: What else do Palestinian Arabs want, beyond the 80% who say killing of ordinary Israelis is a good thing?“] but that dead Jews seem to be a constant in their prayers.

The other constant, at least according to the polling group quoted by Ma’an, is that a steady two-thirds of Palestinian Arabs see Mahmoud Abbas as a failure and want him to resign which, given that he was elected just once to a four year term on January 9, 2005 [source] does not seem that outrageous.

To give the numbers some perspective, you might want to take a look at “14-Dec-15: What do the Palestinian Arabs think?” and “22-Sep-15: What do the Palestinian Arabs think?

Here’s what we believe, and the polling data bear it out consistently over years:

When columnists and analysts speak of the desire of Palestinian Arabs to live in peace, to get on with ordinary, quiet, constructive lives – as compelling as this interpretation is, the data don’t support it. Anyone paying attention to the incitement pumped, generation after generation, into their communities and heads will not be surprised. [Source]

What the people living on the other side of the fence are saying is clear, credible and measurable. Being optimistic about the prospects for the sort of painful compromise that leads to peaceful relations is counterfactual and foolish, as much as we wish it were otherwise. That’s something we wish the public figures pushing their “peace” “plans” would internalize.

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Bill Clinton’s Palestinian State

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Originally posted to the {Commentary Magazine website}

While campaigning in New Jersey on Friday for his wife, Bill Clinton was interrupted by a pro-Palestinian heckler. “What about Gaza?” the person yelled. What followed was an interesting exchange with the clearly exasperated former president that says more to inform the current attempts by both the Obama administration and the French to revive Middle East peace talks than it does about Hillary Clinton and what she might do if elected in November.

That Clinton would be heckled about the Palestinians is not a surprise. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is one of the few issues on which Sanders has not pulled Hillary Clinton to the left. She has tried, often without success, to match Sanders’ enthusiasm for massive expansions of government power and expenditures and new entitlements. But on foreign policy, she has attempted to walk a fine line between the Democratic base’s basic isolationism and her own internationalist/interventionist instincts while noting differences with her rival on temperament and experience rather than on substance. But she has not been shy about drawing strong differences with Sanders on Israel and the Palestinians.

Though she was the “designated yeller” at Prime Minister Netanyahu during President Obama’s first term, Clinton has also tried to position herself as a mainstream supporter of Israel and sharply disagreed with Sanders’ belief in U.S. neutrality and his willingness to spread canards about Israel’s attempts to defend itself against Hamas that have at times exceeded even those of the terrorists when it comes to inaccuracy.

So if Sanders’ fans are going to hound Hillary or her chief surrogate on any clear difference between them, it’s as likely to be about her not being as willing to attack the Jewish state as the Vermont socialist. That’s what happened on Friday but what Bill Clinton said in reply to the heckler’s cracks about Clinton’s unwillingness to join Sanders in condemning Israel was significant because it brought up something that is rarely discussed in the mainstream media coverage of the Middle East: Palestinian rejectionism.

While his wife has never stopped whining about the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that she blames for their problems rather than their own misconduct, Bill Clinton’s chief post-presidential complaint has been about how Yasir Arafat robbed him of the Nobel Peace Prize he was counting on. In July 2000, Clinton hosted Arafat and then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in a summit at Camp David that he hoped would mark the culmination of the Oslo Peace Accords that had been signed on the White House Lawn seven years earlier. In order to secure a final resolution of the conflict, Barak went further than any Israeli leader had ever dreamed of going in terms of concessions to the Palestinians. To the delight of the Clinton administration, he was put on the table a peace offer that gave the Palestinians a state in almost all of the West Bank, a share of Jerusalem, and all of Gaza. That was essentially everything that the Palestinians wanted, the two-state solution on a silver platter with an American president prepared to back up the Israeli leader even though the plan was far ahead of what most Israelis at the time said they were willing to risk.

But instead of grabbing the opportunity with both hands, Arafat said “no.” No matter how much Clinton, who saw his Nobel hopes going down the drain, Arafat wouldn’t budge, claiming that to accept the realization of the Palestinian dream of statehood would be his death sentence. What’s more, after shocking both the Americans and the Israelis with his refusal, Arafat doubled down on the refusal by launching a terrorist war of attrition after he got home. Seizing on the flimsy pretext of outrage about Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount, the Palestinians began a bloody campaign in which the Palestinian Authority police fired on the Israelis they were supposed to be cooperating with, and Hamas and Fatah terror groups competed with each in launching horrifying suicide bomb attacks on Israeli civilians. Before it was over this second intifada would take the lives of over a thousand Israelis as well as thousands of Arabs and destroy a Palestinian economy that had boomed since Oslo.

It’s also important to note that Clinton and Barak didn’t take Arafat’s no as final and kept trying in their last months in office (Clinton was term-limited, and Barak’s political fate was sealed by his failed initiative) to get him to relent. In the Sinai resort of Taba in January 2001, the U.S. and Israel tried to resolve Palestinian complaints about the generous peace terms they’d been offered by sweetening it with further Israeli concessions. Again, Arafat’s answer was no. There would be no Nobel for Clinton and no peace.

So when Bill Clinton says, “I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state,” he’s right. If they had wanted one, they could have had it. But they didn’t. Nor was Arafat’s successor Mahmoud Abbas willing to accept a state in 2008 when Ehud Olmert offered even more generous peace terms at the prodding of George W. Bush. Since then Abbas has refused to negotiate seriously even though the supposedly hard-line Netanyahu has accepted a two-state solution (as he repeated on Thursday) and again offered withdrawal from most of the West Bank during talks sponsored by Secretary of State Kerry.

The back and forth between the former president and the pro-Palestinian heckler about Hillary Clinton’s role during the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is interesting. Clinton did her best to restrain Israeli self-defense and brokered a cease-fire with the cooperation, as her husband helpfully pointed out, “the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt” during the period when the Obama administration was tilting toward those extremists after they seized power. Yet she has not been prepared, as Sanders has seemed to do, to excuse Hamas’s war crimes in using Gaza as a base for launching rockets at Israeli cities and terror tunnels while using civilians as human shields.

But the really important point to be gleaned from this story is that few in the international community or the press have bothered to ask why Clinton failed to give the Palestinians a state. It was not for lack of trying or, in the case of Barak, an Israeli government not prepared to take risks for peace as he declared his desire to give up settlements and divide Jerusalem. The problem was that the Palestinians were not prepared to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders were drawn. Making peace on those terms would have meant ending the conflict for all time rather than merely — as Arafat openly boasted — merely collecting concessions in a war of “phases,” that would enable them to resume fighting on more advantageous terms in the future. Even if we accepted the dubious proposition that a blood-soaked terrorist like Arafat wanted peace, the point is that if even a towering figure in Palestinian history such as he didn’t dare sign a deal accepting Israel then how could anyone else?

Bill Clinton was right on Friday when he said Israelis needed to know that the U.S. is concerned about its security in order for peace to be possible. But if Israelis regard pressure from the U.S. to demand even more concessions in the absence of a Palestinian change of heart to be insane, it’s because they remember what happened at Camp David and its aftermath as well as the ultimate results of Ariel Sharon’s unilateral surrender of all of Gaza in 2005: a Hamas terrorist state.

President Obama foolishly ignored this proof of the intentions of the Palestinians and made an already bad situation worse.We don’t know if Bill Clinton’s experience will chasten Hillary Clinton’s desire for her own Peace Prize if she becomes president or if this knowledge will ever find its way into the brain of a President Donald Trump, who also appears to lust after the glory of a deal that would end this conflict. But it should. The next president needs to avoid being fooled by the false arguments of Palestinian apologists into giving Hamas a pass for terror in Gaza. But more than that, they need to understand that the only real obstacle to peace isn’t settlements or Netanyahu but the same Palestinian intransigence that cost Bill Clinton his Nobel Peace Prize.

Jonathan S. Tobin

What If They Built a $24 Million ‘Palestinian Museum’ and There Was Nothing to Show?

Monday, May 16th, 2016

The $24 million Palestinian Museum is slated to open on Wednesday this week in Bir Zeit, about 15 miles north of Jerusalem, a dream that has come true after it had been first initiated in 1997 by the London-based Welfare Association to commemorate the “Nakba,” that fateful gamble local Arabs have taken against the 1947 UN partition resolution, which ended up with them getting nothing at all. But, as the NY Times put it on Monday, the new museum has a stunning, contemporary new building; soaring ambitions as a space for “Palestinian” art, history and culture; an outdoor amphitheater; a terraced garden — and no exhibits.

There was going to be an inaugural exhibit, named “Never Part,” about artifacts belonging to Arab refugees, but it will not be happening, because there was a disagreement between the museum’s board and its director, Jack Persekian, and the director was sacked. Or, as a spokeswoman announced on Sunday: “There will not be any artwork exhibited in the museum at all.”

The NY Times commented that the fate of the exhibition says more about the realities of Arab society than any art collection could have done. The defunct exhibition “Never Part” was going to feature artistic interpretations of keys and photographs that Arab refugees around the world have kept from their old homes in Israel.

The ousted director Persekian told the NY Times the museum’s senior management informed him they no longer liked his project, but never explained why. Persekian said he had collected images of countless artifacts from “Palestinians” around the world for “Never Part,” which he intended to make available to artists who could have interpreted the objects as they saw fit. But the folks in charge of the museum were uneasy about his plan. “Maybe they didn’t want to take a risk with something that is so unpredictable and so uncontrollable,” he said.

All the museum people would say is, “We didn’t feel that what was delivered was up to scratch.”

Now, without any exhibition at all, other than a virtual show starting May 25, which it borrowed from a museum in Beirut, the Palestinian Museum building, designed by Irish architectural firm Heneghan Peng, will host the Wednesday opening ceremony with nothing to show inside. The official version is that the ceremony will only celebrate the completion of the building.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/what-if-they-built-a-24-million-palestinian-museum-and-there-was-nothing-to-show/2016/05/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: