In a Zoom panel on Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria organized by Shurat Hadin’s Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, former US envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt rebuked the settlements leadership for its attacks on the Trump administration. “It’s fine of course to disagree, and I understand their concern about a Palestinian state, but even that is a bit of an unfair criticism,” Greenblatt said.
The Zoom panel included, in addition to Greenblatt, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Attorney and former Democrat Alan Dershowitz, former Canadian ambassador to Israel Vivian Bercovici, and former US ambassador to Israel gone-native Dan Shapiro.
We wholeheartedly recommend you watch the entire forum, which is why we embedded here a clip that starts with the Greenblatt interview, and then, further below, a clip that starts at the beginning of the show, with Senator Cruz.
Now back to the main event, Greenblatt vs. the settlers.
Chairman of the Yesha Council and Head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, David Elhayani, started World War 3 between the settlers and PM Netanyahu when he told Haaretz earlier this month, after realizing the plan would create a Palestinian state: “Trump and Kushner have shown in the peace plan that they are not friends of the State of Israel and do not think about the security and settlement interests of the State of Israel.” He also said, “All they care about is promoting their interest in the upcoming elections to favor Trump.”
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan also attacked Netanyahu, saying that the prime minister “is not doing us a favor by applying sovereignty.” According to Dagan, “the last three election campaigns were three referendums on sovereignty and there was a large majority supporting a clear statement: immediate sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.”
Greenblatt played down the seriousness of the two Yesha Council leaders’ objections to the Trump peace plan, saying they were very popular in the media but suggesting it was unclear just how many settlers supported them. He then went with the familiar rant, saying that before anything else, they ought to be grateful to President Trump, and pointing out their attacks on son-in-law/advisor Jared Kushner:
“The things that President Trump and Jared have done … were incredible for the State of Israel,” Greenblatt said. “And to not acknowledge that and instead go on the attack, I think is really not appropriate. It’s fine of course to disagree, and I understand their concern about a Palestinian state, but even that is a bit of an unfair criticism, because while we try to create a Palestinian State, every description in this very lengthy plan of how that state is supposed to operate should address all of the concerns that those who are opposed to it have, and if they don’t, we’ve always said, or at least I’ve always said, share your concerns with us, the same way we tell the Palestinians, so we can try to address that.”
Here’s one concern: on the day of the heady meeting at the White House on January 28, it was made very clear that Israel should rush to annex Area C, constituting a hefty 31% of Judea and Samaria. Ambassador David Friedman was practically shaking the Israeli rightwing politicians by the lapels, urging them to go out and landgrab (Ambassador Friedman: Go Annex Those Settlements, What Are You Waiting For?).
It took one day (count it, 1 day) for the Ambassador to curb his own enthusiasm, and it took a few more months for the Israeli right to realize that Israel is not getting all of Area C, that, in fact, the layout of Area C in the Oslo accords, which prevents the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian State will be corrected by the Trump plan, and that in return for what is about 15% to 20% of Judea and Samaria, Israel must commit to the United States—including to a future Biden administration—that it would endorse and support the establishment of a Palestinian State, even if today the PLO refuses to even look at the Trump plan.
Thank you, Mr. Trump, for moving the US embassy and for recognizing Israel’s Golan Heights. We are grateful for your acknowledging the truth and reality and then acting on it. But still, we prefer our landscape without a terrorist state on our border. Which is what those ungrateful settler leaders were saying.
Jason Greenblatt is like a guy who puts a roast pig on your Shabbat table and explains it was slaughtered according to halacha. He told Darshan-Leitner:
“I think we put forth a Palestinian State that is not a danger to Israel’s security. We were very careful to be clear, and this is one of the biggest fights, because the Palestinians and their allies believe that this is not a state, there’s no sovereignty, because Israel has overriding security control. That’s critical to Israel’s safety and security.”
Greenblatt was probably too busy buying and selling real estate for Donald Trump back in 2005, when Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres were saying that if the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip would result in even more rocket attacks on Israel, what’s the worst that could happen? We’ll send the IDF in there and take it back.
To Jason Greenblatt the possibility that a Palestinian State becomes a nest of terrorists of the worst kind is a theoretical projection, easily solved by cleverly schemed responses. To us it’s the certainty that as soon as there is a Palestinian State, there will be Qasam rockets landing on Rothschild Boulevard.
“We also gave Israel the ability to go back in if they extent more and more abilities to the Palestinians to police their state, but then they fail, either because they fail to do it properly, or they fail because some new leadership comes up and wants to abrogate the agreement, then the Israelis have the right to go back in and do what they need to do to protect their society without fear of the UN issuing all sorts of condemnations for doing that. That is a critical component of the plan,” Greenblatt said.
Easier said than done. The fact is Israel is prevented from taking back the Gaza Strip. The fact is a Biden administration will not hold the UN back from condemning and punishing Israel. The fact is that the corrupt PLO, just the way it happened in Gaza, would be chucked to the gutters of Gaza by a revolting Hamas.
On top of that, the fact is a Biden administration won’t be quite so pedantic about the PLO meeting the peaceful requirements for statehood, or the time limits on the required Israeli building freeze.
In response to the Greenblatt challenge, here’s what we need to do: we need to not let there be a Palestinian State in the first place, because over the past century-plus we have learned that when our Arab neighbors get a chance to kill us, they kill us.
Do we really need to show once again how—starting in the 1920s—every time there has been an effort by the nice white men from Europe and America to divide the land between the Arabs and the Jews it resulted in rivers of blood? Because the Arab leadership doesn’t believe in a two-state solution. They’re going for a Jew-free one-state solution.
“If we didn’t go far enough, I would love to hear from the settlers’ leaders where we fell short and how we can improve it,” Greenblatt does an imitation of your aunt Gertrude from New Jersey who doesn’t understand why you won’t hang her 10′ by 10′ portrait in your living room.
“Instead of them criticizing I would love to hear from the settlers’ leaders where we fell short and how we can improve it, instead of them criticizing it without explaining what the criticism is.”
Mr. Greenblatt, the settler leaders have been filling up whole websites (including this one) and newspapers with their well detailed objections and corrections – you just won’t listen.
You can’t improve the portrait, Aunt Gerty, it just has to go.
Watch the complete discussion (highly recommended).