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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Two State Solution’

There is No Hamas-Fatah Divide

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Contrary to what many people think, there is no profound division between Fatah and Hamas. Palestinians often shuttle from one to the other; members of the same family belong to different groups. Jibril Rajoub, for example, is often interviewed by the Israeli media as representing Fatah (Palestinian Authority), while his brother, Naif, was a minister in the de-facto Hamas administration.

Before 2007, when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip and suppressed the Fatah presence there, there was a considerable amount of back-and-forth between the organizations. On one occasion a Fatah operative in jail smiled and said he found it hard to say which organization he belonged to. “There are days,” he said, “when I go to sleep Fatah and wake up Hamas…”

Last week, masses of people marched through the streets of Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria holding green signs with Hamas slogans, all with Fatah’s blessing, and chanting, “death to the Jews,” and “death to Israel.” As one veteran Fatah member said, “In our hearts we are all Hamas.”

Mahmoud Abbas’s so-called “pragmatism” is music to Western ears, but not to the Arabs’.

Thus, when he came back from the UN with the title of “president of Palestine” in his pocket, he allowed Hamas and others to hold parades and rallies, released Hamas prisoners, and has given instructions that those planning terrorist attacks against Israel are to be left to do as they please.

Today the Palestinian Authority can barely stay afloat, and every mass march organized to palliate Hamas can slide into factional Palestinian violence and anti-Israeli terrorism.

Hamas, with the help recently and willingly given it by Mahmoud Abbas, will take over, just as it took over the Gaza Strip. Israel can never accept a radical Islamist emirate in Judea and Samaria of the sort Hamas has created in the Gaza Strip, any more than Paris, London or Washington could accept al-Qaeda or the Taliban in Monaco, Wales or Virginia.

This time, no one can promise that Israeli soldiers will continue to act as bodyguards for Palestinian leaders when their lives are threatened. That movie, which we have all seen, is no longer playing.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Radical Palestinians Vastly Outnumber Moderates

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas returned from New York to Ramallah and told the Palestinians that he obtained UN recognition of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines — namely, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — fewer than 5,000 Palestinians, many of them civil servants who receive their salaries from the Palestinian Authority government, turned out to greet him in Ramallah.

When Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal came last week to the Gaza Strip and told Palestinians that armed struggle and jihad were the only way to liberate all Palestine, “from the river to the sea,” and that there was no room for the Zionists in Palestine because the country belonged only to Muslim and Arabs, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians showed up to welcome Mashaal and voice support for his plan to eliminate Israel and replace it with an Islamic state.

Even many Palestinians in the West Bank expressed support for Mashaal, especially when he said that the Palestinians would never “give up one inch of Palestine.”

The Palestinian Authority’s official TV station in the West Bank broadcast Mashaal’s speech live, as well as Hamas celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Islamist movement.

If anything, the widespread support for Hamas’s position is a sign of how much the Palestinians have been radicalized over the past few decades.

A Palestinian leader who talks about a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem is less popular than one who talks about “liberating Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheba and Safed.”

When Abbas says that a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines would lead to a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, he is ignoring the fact that a large number of Palestinians think otherwise.

The pro-Hamas rallies in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians chanted slogans in favor of liberating Palestine “from the river to the sea” and called for more rocket attacks against Israel reflect the authentic voice of the Palestinian “street.”

This is not a voice that supports Hamas so much as one that denies Israel a right to exist. The rallies were not about backing Hamas so much as they were intended to express the true and sincere feelings of many Arabs and Muslims who believe that Israel is an alien body that needs to be uprooted or exterminated.

Were Mashaal given the chance to deliver a speech in the West Bank advocating jihad and armed struggle against Israel he would have attracted tens of thousands of people.

The Palestinian Authority is well aware of the growing anti-Israel sentiments among its constituents; that is why its leaders and spokesmen did not dare utter a word against the Hamas leader when he talked about eliminating Israel.

On the contrary, instead of voicing reservations about Mashaal’s messages of hate and violence, Palestinian officials in the West Bank hailed his speech as “positive.”

Why did they find the speech positive? Simply because Mashaal talked about the need for unity between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah faction.

How can the Palestinian Authority, which claims it remains committed to the two-state solution, join forces with another group that is openly calling on Muslims and Arabs to wage jihad in order to destroy Israel?

As the case has always been with the Palestinian Authority, it is easier to blame Israel and the US for destroying the two-state solution rather than Hamas and other terror organizations.

This view was expressed this week by Saeb Erekat, the chief PLO negotiator, who once again held Israel and the US solely responsible for the current stalemate in the Middle East peace process.

“As regional and global shifts take place, the window of opportunity is not only closing on the two-state solution, but on the U.S.’s central involvement in the peace process,” Erekat wrote. “Punishing the Palestinians or anyone expressing support for the Palestinians, for taking peaceful diplomatic steps, is counterproductive and dangerous. The two-state solution is the best result for all concerned. The current Israeli government does not see that. It is hoped that their long-term ally, the U.S., will.”

Erekat and the rest of the Palestinian Authority leadership do not see Hamas’s ambition of destroying Israel is an obstacle to peace — nor do they see that the real threat to the two-state solution is Hamas and the unwillingness of many Palestinians to accept Israel’s right to exist.

Abbas, Erekat and other relatively moderate Palestinian leaders represent a dwindling minority of Palestinians that still believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel. As demonstrated by last week’s Hamas celebrations, an increased number of Palestinians have still not come to terms with Israel’s right to exist.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

The Same Old Tired Nonsense

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Because of my business, which involves synagogues, I have accidentally been placed on many synagogue mailing lists. So I get to read about simchas and deaths, holiday parties, trips to Israel, building campaigns, etc. Most of this is uninteresting, relating to people I don’t know in places I haven’t been, but sometimes it’s revealing.

For example, I recently received a copy of a message from a Reform rabbi whom I won’t identify, but whose remarks can be paraphrased as follows:

The recent fighting between Israel and Hamas was terrible. Many innocent people on both sides were hurt. Why do we keep repeating this irrational behavior? Bellicose leaders on both sides are at fault. The only way to end the conflict is a two-state solution, to talk rather than fight.

I’ve left out a great deal, some of which I found so ‘evenhanded’ as to be offensive, as though the rabbi felt that if he criticized Hamas it would only be fair to criticize Israel harshly as well.

I’m sure the rabbi’s congregants expect him to be knowledgeable about Israel and the conflict that has always informed its existence. But he is representative of many Jewish leaders in that, to be as polite as possible, he seems to be talking about the Middle East located in the Upsilon Andromedae system rather than the one on earth.

He must be unaware of the recent Hamas ‘victory’ celebration where tens of thousands of Gazans cheered Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, who said,

Palestine is ours, from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of the land … We will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take…

We will not rest until we liberate the prisoners. The way we freed some of the prisoners in the past is the way we will use to free the remaining prisoners…

[The right of return to Israel for Arab 'refugees'] is sacred to us and we will not forfeit it…

And apparently he does not understand that Mahmoud Abbas of the PLO declared the Oslo ‘peace process’ null and void by unilaterally turning to the UN for statehood (and he doesn’t grasp that the General Assembly affirmed this denial of the only cooperative road to a two-state solution).

He seems to ignore the multiple times that the PLO rejected Israeli offers of almost the entire area of the 1948-1967 Jordanian conquest. The fact that no Arab leadership has ever given up the so-called ‘right of return’ of the descendents of Arab refugees to Israel — a ‘right’ for which there is no legal or historical precedent — does not dampen his enthusiasm for “two states.”

He doesn’t appear to ask if the hundred-year history of pogroms and terrorism by Arabs against Jews in the land of Israel, along with the vicious anti-Jewish hatred spewed by the Hamas and PLO media and educational systems, their maps that show ‘Palestine’ as including all of Israel, etc. — if all of this might imply that the Palestinians wouldn’t be satisfied even if they obtained pre-1967 boundaries?

Gazan child re-enacts bloody 2000 lynch of Israeli reservists

He doesn’t bring up the fact that the Middle East has become an even more dangerous place than ever before, with a radical Islamist regime rising in Egypt, total chaos possible in Syria and a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. Is this the time for Israel to invite new security threats?

Although the rabbi doesn’t discuss the security issues that would be raised by an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, doesn’t the recent experience of withdrawal from Gaza make him think? Even if an agreement were made with a non-hostile Palestinian entity — although the idea that the PLO is non-hostile in anything other than its English statements is questionable — what would happen if (when) Hamas or hardline PLO factions take over, placing Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion airport, Jerusalem and more in the position of Sderot?

Keep in mind that if it doesn’t work out — if the Palestinians don’t keep their agreement (and they have broken numerous prior agreements) then getting the land back isn’t easy. Israel is expected to make real, concrete concessions in return for promises.

Israel, ‘Palestine,’ And The Law Of War (Second of Two Parts)

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Historically, viewed against the background of extensive and unapologetic terrorist perfidy in both Gaza and Lebanon, Israel has been innocent of any alleged disproportionality. All combatants, including all insurgents in Gaza and Lebanon, are bound to comply with the law of war of international law.

This firm requirement derives not only from what is known as the “Martens Clause,” a paragraph that makes its first appearance in the Preamble to the 1899 Hague Convention No. II on land warfare, but additionally from Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions of August 12,1949. It is also found in the two Protocols to these Conventions.

In world politics, reason is often trumped by passion. It has always been easy to condemn Israel with rhythmic chants of “disproportionality.” Yet, competent legal scholars, if honest about their jurisprudential obligations, will acknowledge the illegitimacy of such contrived charges.

Until now, any seemingly disproportionate uses of force by Israel have actually been the permissible outcome of antecedent and perfidious crimes committed by its enemies.

What about charges, over the years, that Israel had committed “aggression” in its Lebanon operations? At Lebanon’s insistence, not Israel’s, a formal state of war has existed between the two tiny countries since the Jewish state first came into existence in May 1948. Only an armistice agreement exists between Israel and Lebanon. Signed on March 23,1949, this was not a war-terminating agreement, but a codified pledge to “cease fire.”

Legally, it is not possible for Israel to commit aggression against Lebanon. This is because the latter already considers itself in a formal condition of belligerency with the Jewish state. Israel cannot commit aggression against another state with which it is already at war.

Faced with multiple and sometimes cooperating enemies on several fronts, who often make no secret of their explicitly genocidal intentions, Israel has adhered faithfully to the law of war. In starkly marked contrast to the conscious indiscriminacy of its terrorist foes in Gaza, Judea/Samaria (West Bank) and Lebanon, Jerusalem has struggled mightily to respect and honor this set of rules – significantly, a set with origins in the Hebrew Bible (Deuteronomy).

The core legal issue in recurrent Middle East conflict is not about Israeli “disproportionality,” or “aggression,” but rather a persistent Arab resort to terrorism and perfidy. Neither principal Palestinian faction has any effective reason to refrain from future terrorism against Israel. Already engaged in far-reaching diplomatic end-runs around Jerusalem, neither Fatah nor Hamas will ever require Prime Minister Netanyahu’s negotiated approval to proceed toward complete Palestinian sovereignty.

The UN could again take up the issue of membership for “Palestine.” Almost certainly, though any such consideration would likely not meet the more stringent requirements of statehood that were established at the 1934 Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (Montevideo Convention), a generally recognized and totally militarized Palestinian state would then become a reality. Should this UN conferral of sovereignty be implemented, Israel’s more limited future will be discoverable in Article 12 of the PA (Fatah) Charter, which calls for “the liberation of Palestine completely….” and in Article 19: “The struggle will not end until the elimination of the Zionist entity and the liberation of Palestine.”

As for the “less moderate” Hamas Covenant (Charter of the Islamic Resistance Movement), it begins with Israel’s annihilation: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it….” Worth noting, especially in view of what is happening in Egypt, the Covenant refers to Hamas as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.”

In the Middle East, wishful thinking is always perilous. Over time, Israel’s Arab enemies have generally not demonstrated any observable regard for compliance with the law of war. Once a new Arab state is carved out of Israel’s still-living body, “Palestine” would seize upon now vastly enlarged opportunities for inflicting war and terrorism. It follows that Jerusalem must do whatever it can to prevent Palestinian statehood. It can do this legally.

Surrender Corrupts the Soul of Israel

Friday, September 7th, 2012

This morning, a friend sent me an article by Leonard Fein called “Occupation Corrupts Soul of Israel.”

Fein writes,

Hakibush mashchit — The occupation corrupts.

And so, plainly, it does. But so what? However inadvertent the origins, the poison fruit is today fully ripe. To understand that, it is not sufficient to call attention to the horrific attack in Zion Square the other night, the attack by a mob that threatened the life of Jamal Julani, or even to add to it the firebombing hours earlier of a taxi near Gush Etzion in which six Palestinians, two of them children, were wounded.

He goes on to talk about “settler violence,” the complicity of the authorities (if you ask the ‘settlers’, they will tell you that the authorities in fact protect the Arabs), price tag vandalism, etc.

Is this the “poison fruit” of ‘occupation’?

Or is it simply that some Jews have — after decades of murder, vandalism, no-go zones in Israel’s capital and other places, stonings, lynchings, etc. — learned to act like Arabs?

Did the poison come from Jews living in their historic homeland, or from the Arabs who hate them?

The Left’s solution is to end the ‘occupation’, to withdraw from Judea, Samaria, the Golan, and eastern Jerusalem. In short, give them what they want and everything will be fine. Of course “what they want” is not limited to the territories, and surrendering them will just send the message that we are too weak to resist, and they will redouble their efforts to obtain the rest.

I responded to my friend that if ‘occupation’ corrupts the soul, then withdrawal, with its concomitant rocket attacks and terrorism might well corrupt the body in a very physical way.

But in addition to the security issues, there is something still more important, which is well-understood by the Arabs, if not by the Leonard Feins. Here is a 2009 remark by PLO official Abbas Zaki, which explains it well:

With the two-state solution, in my opinion, Israel will collapse, because if they get out of Jerusalem, what will become of all the talk about the Promised Land and the Chosen People? What will become of all the sacrifices they made – just to be told to leave? They consider Jerusalem to have a spiritual status. The Jews consider Judea and Samaria to be their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse. It will regress of its own accord. Then we will move forward.

Fein is wrong. The corruption of the Jewish soul did not begin in 1967. It began with the adoption of the idea that surrender is pro-Israel, with — as Fein mentions — the birth of Peace Now and the national self-flagellation that followed the Sabra and Shatilla massacres (in which Arabs behaved like Arabs), and culminated in the suicidal decision to allow Arafat and the PLO to return from exile in 1993. Today, it’s fed by a huge influx of money from the European antisemites who support the anti-state NGOs in Israel that are all that’s left of the Left.

It isn’t ‘occupation’ that corrupts — it’s surrender.

Visit FresnoZionism.org.

Confronting the Unpleasant Truth about Two States

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Sometimes the truth is more than just ‘inconvenient’. Sometimes it is downright unpleasant, even ugly. But nevertheless, it is what is and we need to deal with what is, not what we would like it to be.

Martin Sherman sees the unpleasant truth and, unlike so many others, draws the logical conclusions. He has written a series of articles in the Jerusalem Post in which he has exposed the sheer insanity of the Left’s two-state solution (TSS), as well as the failure of the Right to propose real alternatives.

Now Sherman has taken up the challenge to provide a practical alternative. In his most recent article — which I urge you to read in its entirety, since I can’t do justice to it with a few snippets — he writes,

To survive as the permanent nation-state of the Jewish people Israel must address two fundamental imperatives:

• The geographic imperative • The demographic imperative

It is self-evident that if either of these is inadequately addressed, Israel’s status as the nation-state of the Jewish people will be gravely jeopardized, eventually becoming unsustainable.

The mainstream discourse invariably – and deceptively – presents Israel’s only choice as being between accepting the TSS – which would make Israel untenable geographically, or the OSS (one-state solution) – which would make it untenable demographically.

Neither comprises an acceptable policy-paradigm for anyone whose point of departure is the continued existence of Israel as the permanent nation-state of the Jews.

This, as we will see, compels us to the inexorable conclusion that between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea there can – and eventually will – prevail either exclusive Jewish or exclusive Arab sovereignty…

While addressing the geographic imperative requires Israel to maintain control of all Judea and Samaria (or at least of sufficiently large segments to make the TSS unviable), addressing the demographic imperative means that the Arab population of these areas cannot be permanently incorporated into the population of Israel…

We are left to confront a brutally simple choice: Either forgo the Jewish nation-state or address the need to significantly diminish the scale of the Palestinian-Arab population.

Whether one relates to this stark dilemma with a sense of moral outrage or equanimity will not affect the inexorable logic that led to its deduction, or the necessity to acknowledge its inevitability. Trying to evade the bleak nature of this inescapable choice by reformulating it in less forbidding terms would be no more than an exercise in hypocrisy or self-delusion…

So, for those who find the prospect of forgoing the Jewish nation-state unacceptable, the grim decision is whether to address the problem of diminishing the Palestinian-Arab population by coercive or by non-coercive means.

Right now the screaming about racism, transfer, ethnic cleansing, etc. begins. I won’t discuss why this automatically follows any discussion of Arabs moving but not Jews, nor the numerous Palestinian expressions of their intention to have a Jew-free state if the TSS is implemented. I’ll only emphasize that the alternative is no Jewish state at all.

If your idea of morality is such that yet another Jewish diaspora — undoubtedly accompanied by a bloody war — is preferable to some Arabs living between the river and the sea moving to one of the 22 Arab Muslim states in the region, then you have chosen sides and I don’t have anything to say to you.

Sherman believes, and promises details in a forthcoming article, that a non-coercive population transfer — yes, I am using that word because that is what it is — is the morally preferred option and that it can be made practical.

I have my doubts about the practicality of such a solution. But I am convinced that Sherman is right and that survival of a Jewish state requires both geographical and demographic domination of the area between the river and the sea. I remain to be convinced that this can be accomplished peacefully.

Originally published at FresnoZionism.org.

Alan Dershowitz: The Case Against the Left and Right One-State Solution

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Both the extreme left and the extreme right are now calling for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Of course, the one-state solution each seeks is completely different: the left wants yet another Arab state in place of Israel; the right wants a Jewish state that encompasses what is now the West Bank, in place of any Palestinian state. Both are prescriptions for undemocratic disasters and for the ultimate delegitimation of Israel as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people.

I have advocated a two-state solution, based on secure borders for Israel, since the early 1970s, when I debated Noam Chomsky, who was then an advocate of a secular bi-national state. I advocated a version of what was then known as “the Alon Plan,” which, in effect, would have annexed portions of the captured territories that were necessary for Israel’s security but would have precluded Israeli civilian settlements in other captured areas. This plan was consistent with Security Council Resolution 242, which allowed for some territorial annexation by Israel to achieve secure borders. I did not, and do not now, advocate a return to the indefensible 1967 lines, which reflected nothing more than temporary truce lines following the attack on Israel by the surrounding Arab states in 1948.

Now the hard left wants to eliminate these borders and create one state which would soon become another Arab Muslim state in which Jews would be a minority, while the soft left wants Israel to return all the territory captured in the defensive war of 1967, with mutually agreed acre-for-acre land swaps (to which the Palestinians now seem unwilling to agree).

The hard right, on the other hand, wants Israel to annex and settle the entire West Bank, make it part of Israel, but deny its Arab residents the right to vote and become citizens (If the hard right position were to grant voting and citizenship to the Arab residents of the West Bank, they would be agreeing with the hard left’s position on a “democratic” one-state solution that would quickly turn into an undemocratic Muslim state based on Sharia law, as specified in the Palestinian Constitution).

Both one-state solutions would end in Israel’s delegitimation as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people. That’s why the vast majority of Israelis, as well as every centrist Israeli leader, rejects both the left and right wing versions of the one-state solution.

An Israel that would permanently deny millions of Arab residents the rights of citizenship would become illegitimate not only in the eyes of the international community, but even more important, in the eyes of most Israelis and Israeli supporters around the world. Israel would cease to be a democracy if nearly half of its residents could not vote. Some on the hard right would “solve” this problem by expelling the Arab residents of the West Bank. That too is not a solution that is consistent with democratic values.

In a recent article entitled “Disputing Dershowitz,” Martin Sherman tries to make the hard right case against the two state solution. In doing so, he never even addresses the issue of democracy. This is perhaps because he doesn’t care whether his “one state” is or is not democratic. But the vast majority of Israelis, and their leaders and supporters, do. But because Sherman doesn’t value democracy, he seems willing to impose his undemocratic solution in an undemocratic manner on unwilling Israelis and Palestinians.

He makes the absurd argument that the Palestinians are not a people based on the fact that they don’t have a unique language, script, religion, heritage or history. By that standard, the United States should still be part of Great Britain, because the American Colonists, who were being denied full citizenship, also lacked those characteristics. The Palestinians are a people because they regard themselves as such and seek to govern themselves. They will secure self-government, however, only if they come to the bargaining table, with no preconditions, and with the realization that they must accept borders and other conditions that assure Israel’s security. They must also realize that they are not coming to the negotiating table in the same bargaining position as the Israelis. The Israelis secured the West Bank after winning a defensive war started by Jordan, in whose place the Palestinians now stand. By demanding preconditions from the Israelis to receive what they claim is their land, the Palestinians remind us what Abba Eban said in 1967 when the Arabs rejected Security Council Resolution 242:

“This was the first war in history which has ended with the victors suing for peace and the vanquished calling for unconditional surrender.”

The major reason there is still no two-state solution is the Palestinian unwillingness to accept Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, to acknowledge the need for border adjustments necessary for Israel’s security, and to renounce the phony “Right of Return,” which is simply another ploy to secure a one-state solution.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/alan-dershowitz-the-case-against-the-left-and-right-one-state-solution/2012/03/22/

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