Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The “Two States Solution”


by Raphael Israeli


As a rule, we talk about establishing a state for a nation which needs and deserves it, but did not reach that goal. Providing that need, it is thought, would bring peace and quiet to everyone's satisfaction. However, in the case of Israel and the Palestinians, where this formula has grown so fashionable that everyone reiterates it like a ritual, the essential components of this issue are missing, therefore no remedy can be provided by it. For not only are there already more than two states for two nations, geared to respond to the national needs of both Jews and Arabs, but it turns out that the problem is not the existence of two states, or the need thereto, but the necessity to open one's eyes in the face of reality and to call a spade a spade.


            Before anything else, we must revert to the grand formula of the Arab-Israeli conflict, instead of confining it to the "Israeli-Palestinian dispute", in order to realize that countries who have no territorial claims on Israel also refuse to recognize it, despite the fact that they  are independent and sovereign states. So, their rejection of Israel is not because it does not recognize them, but because they refuse to accept Israel as part of the Middle East. They claim that their recognition depends on a settlement with the Palestinians, but since the latter reaffirm that they would never recognize a Jewish state, a recognition of Israel is not in the offing. Could Israel demand from the Arabs to sever their ties with Arabism as a condition for recognizing them? Equally, short of an all-Arab recognition of Israel's Jewishness, there can be no settlement of the problem.


            States are born to provide security for their citizens, to cultivate their specific culture and to protect their interests. As long as these goals are fulfilled, it matters little what the country is called. Had a Jewish state been established in Uganda or Birobijan, for example, no one would have demanded the establishment of another Jewish state as the prerequisite for resolving the Jewish problem. These rules do not seem to apply to the Palestinians, however. They have founded a state where they constitute the majority of the citizenry, called Jordan, but they pursue the claim and strive for a second Palestinian state. Just to realize the vanity of this argument, one has to reckon that when  a second Palestinian state was born in Gaza two years ago, we were told that it is Hamastan, therefore the birth  of another Palestinian state was as needed as ever. Well, one is Jordan, the other is Hamastan, and how about the fact that both are populated by Palestinians? Would anyone imagine that Israel could demand one Jewish state for Likud and another for the Labor Party, and continue to claim its right to a third Jewish state?


            States are born also as a result of a social contract between its citizens. But in the Arab world, states remain atomized, ruled by tyrants and plagued by tribal, religious and political divisions, because they could not agree on such a social contract. The Palestinians too have failed to attain such a basic common denominator of nationhood. Groups shoot and kill each other, chaos reigns in the territories they populate, if Israel does not establish order. They fight for power legitimacy with the force of arms, they are unable to transfer power smoothly to the winner in their "elections", and no civilized dialogue is pursued between rival groups. So, for those who clamor for the two state solution to accommodate two nations, we have to ask: what two people? The Israelis who already have an orderly and recognized state, and the Palestinians who strive for a second or third state, or the Fatah and Hamas adepts, who cannot decide who represents the Palestinians, and in fact have embraced the formula of "two states to two parties", instead of the two nations that have been targeted for a solution?


            Thus, it is not two states for two nations that we need, for there exist already three  states for two nations, and certainly not  a third Palestinian state, which would encourage the Arabs of Israel to demand a fourth one in the Galilee and the Negev'. What is direly needed is the assembly of the Palestinian people (namely Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and the refugee camps in the Diaspora) under one roof, to enable it to settle its internal dissent and decide who and how it can be represented. Such a development, which might generate a big Palestinian state, and come to encompass most of scattered people who identify as Palestinians, will alone guarantee the founding, and continued existence, of one Palestinian entity. The second state, Israel, does not need to be established, since it already exists and flourishes. It's good neighborly relations with a Palestine which is at peace within itself, is all we need for peace and tranquility in the Middle East.



Raphael Israeli is a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


A two-state peace isn't the Arab goal.

by Jeff Jacoby

Who favors a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict?

President Obama does, of course, as he made clear in welcoming Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House on Monday. So does former President George W. Bush, who began advocating Palestinian statehood in 2002 and continued until his final days in office

. The Democratic Party's national platform endorses a two-state solution; the Republican platform does, too. The UN Security Council unanimously reaffirmed its support a few days ago. The European Union is strongly in favor as well — so strongly that the EU's foreign-policy chief, Javier Solana, has been warning Israel that its relations with Europe "will be very, very different" if it drops the two-state ball.

Pope Benedict XVI called for a Palestinian state during his recent visit to the Holy Land, thereby aligning himself — on this issue, at least — with the editorial boards of The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times. And, for that matter, with most Israelis. A new poll shows 58 percent of the Israeli public backing a two-state solution; prominent supporters include Netanyahu's three predecessors — former prime ministers Ehud Olmert, Ariel Sharon, and Ehud Barak — as well as president Shimon Peres.

The consensus, it would seem, is overwhelming. As Henri Guaino, a senior adviser to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, put it in speaking to reporters on Sunday: "Everyone wants peace. The whole world wants a Palestinian state."

It isn't going to happen.

International consensus or no, the two-state solution is a chimera. Peace will not be achieved by granting sovereignty to the Palestinians, because Palestinian sovereignty has never been the Arabs' goal. Time and time again, a two-state solution has been proposed. Time and time again, the Arabs have turned it down.

In 1936, when Palestine was still under British rule, a royal commission headed by Lord Peel was sent to investigate the steadily worsening Arab violence. After a detailed inquiry, the Peel Commission concluded that "an irrepressible conflict has arisen between two national communities within the narrow bounds of one small country." It recommended a two-state solution — a partition of the land into separate Arab and Jewish states. "Partition offers a chance of ultimate peace," the commission reported. "No other plan does."

But the Arab leaders, more intent on preventing Jewish sovereignty in Palestine than in achieving a state for themselves, rejected the Peel plan out of hand. The foremost Palestinian leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini, actively supported the Nazi regime in Germany. In return, Husseini wrote in his memoirs, Hitler promised him "a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world."

In 1947, the Palestinians were again presented with a two-state proposal. Again they spurned it. Like the Peel Commission, the United Nations concluded that only a division of the land into adjacent states, one Arab and one Jewish, could put an end to the conflict. On Nov. 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly debated — and by a vote of 33-13 adopted — Resolution 181, partitioning Palestine on the basis of population. Had the Arabs accepted the UN decision, the Palestinian state that "the whole world wants" would today be 61 years old. Instead, the Arab League vowed to block Jewish sovereignty by waging "a war of extermination and a momentous massacre."

Over and over this pattern has been repeated. Following its stunning victory in the 1967 Six Day War, Israel offered to exchange the land it had won for permanent peace with its neighbors. From their summit in Khartoum came the Arabs' notorious response: "No peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel."

At Camp David in 2000, Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians virtually everything they claimed to be seeking — a sovereign state with its capital in East Jerusalem, 97 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, tens of billions of dollars in "compensation" for the plight of Palestinian refugees. Yasser Arafat refused the offer, and launched the bloodiest wave of terrorism in Israel's history.

To this day, the charters of Hamas and Fatah, the two main Palestinian factions, call for Israel's liquidation. "The whole world" may want peace and a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want something very different. Until that changes, there is no two-state solution.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why do we never hear calls for Hamas leaders to be charged with war crimes?



Why, for example, do we hear no calls for human rights investigations into Hamas gunmen using Palestinian children as human shields? Why so few stories on the reports of Hamas assassins going to hospitals to hunt down their fellow Palestinians? And where are the international human rights groups demanding that Hamas stop blurring the most fundamental line in warfare: the distinction between civilian and combatant? Did the West surrender to Islam or does anti-Semitism prevail over justice? Discover the The Circle Of Life - Gaza / Israel


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Monday, May 18, 2009

Obama's latest calculated move against the Jewish State.


by Anne Bayefsky


In advance of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the United States today, President Obama unveiled a new strategy for throwing Israel to the wolves. It takes the form of enthusiasm for the United Nations and international interlopers of all kinds. Instead of ensuring strong American control over the course of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations or the Arab-Israeli peace process, the Obama administration is busy inserting an international mob between the U.S. and Israel. The thinking goes: If Israel doesn't fall into an American line, Obama will step out of the way, claim his hands are tied, and let the U.N. and other international gangsters have at their prey.

It began this past Monday with the adoption of a so-called presidential statement by the U.N. Security Council. Such statements are not law, but they must be adopted unanimously — meaning that U.S. approval was essential and at any time Obama could have stopped its adoption. Instead, he agreed to this: "The Security Council supports the proposal of the Russian Federation to convene, in consultation with the Quartet and the parties, an international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow in 2009."

This move is several steps beyond what the Bush administration did in approving Security Council resolutions in December and January — which said only that "The Security Council welcomes the Quartet's consideration, in consultation with the parties, of an international meeting in Moscow in 2009." Apparently Obama prefers a playing field with 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, 22 members of the Arab League — most of whom don't recognize the right of Israel to exist — and one Jewish state. A great idea — if the purpose is to ensure Israel comes begging for American protection.

The U.N. presidential statement also makes laudatory references to another third-party venture, the 2002 Arab "Peace" Initiative. That's a Saudi plan to force Israel to retreat to indefensible borders in advance of what most Arab states still believe will be a final putsch down the road. America's U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, announced to the Security Council that "we intend to integrate the Arab Peace Initiative into our own approach."

Make no mistake: This U.N. move, made with U.S. approval, sets America on a well-calculated collision course with Israel. U.S. collusion on this presidential statement was directly at odds with Israel's wishes and well-founded concerns about the U.N.'s bona fides on anything related to Israel. Israeli U.N. ambassador Gabriella Shalev issued a statement of Israel's position: "Israel does not believe that the involvement of the Security Council contributes to the political process in the Middle East. This process should be bilateral and left to the parties themselves. Furthermore, the timing of this Security Council meeting is inappropriate as the Israeli government is in the midst of conducting a policy review, prior to next week's visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu to the United StatesIsrael shared its position with members of the Security Council."

By contrast, Rice told reporters: "We had a very useful and constructive meeting thus far of the Council. We welcome Foreign Minister Lavrov's initiative to convene the Council, and we're very pleased with the constructive and comprehensive statement that will be issued by the president of the Council on the Council's behalf. This was a product of really collaborative, good-faith efforts by all members of the Council, and we're pleased with the outcome."

The Obama administration's total disregard of Israel's obvious interest in keeping the U.N. on the sidelines was striking. Instead of reiterating the obvious — that peace will not come if bigots and autocrats are permitted to ram an international "solution" down the throat of the only democracy at the table — Rice told the Council: "The United States cannot be left to do all the heavy lifting by itself, and other countries …must do all that they can to shore up our common efforts." In a break with decades of U.S. policy, the Obama strategy is to energize a U.N. bad cop so that the U.S. might assume the role of good cop — for a price.

On Tuesday the Obama administration did it again: It ran for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council. As expected, the administration won election to represent the Council's Western European and Others Group — it was a three-state contest for three spaces.

The Council is most famous, not for protecting human rights, but for its obsession with Israel. In its three-year history it has:


  • adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than condemning the 191 other U.N. members combined;
  • entrenched an agenda with only ten items, one permanently reserved for condemning Israel and another for condemning any other U.N. state that might "require the Council's attention";
  • held ten regular sessions on human rights, and five special sessions to condemn only Israel;
  • insisted on an investigator with an open-ended mandate to condemn Israel, while all other investigators must be regularly renewed;
  • spawned constant investigations on Israel, and abolished human-rights investigations (launched by its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights) into Belarus, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Moreover, every morning before the Human Rights Council starts, all states — and even observers like the Palestinians — get together in their regional blocs for an hour to negotiate, share information, and determine positions. All, that is, except Israel. The Western European and Others Group refuses to give Israel full membership. Now the U.S. will be complicit in this injustice.

Joining the Council has one immediate effect on U.S.-Israel relations: It gives the Obama administration a new stick to use against Israel. Having legitimized the forum through its membership and participation, the U.S. can now attempt to extract concessions from Israel in return for American objections to the Council's constant anti-Israel barrage.

Obama administration officials may believe they can put the lid back on Pandora's box after having invited the U.N., Russia, the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to jump into the process of manufacturing a Palestinian state while Israel is literally under fire. They have badly miscalculated. By making his bed with countries that have no serious interest in democratic values, the president has made our world a much more dangerous place.

Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.



Israel stands ready to bomb Iran's nuclear sites.




The Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran's nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government.


Among the steps taken to ready Israeli forces for what would be a risky raid requiring pinpoint aerial strikes are the acquisition of three Airborne Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft and regional missions to simulate the attack.


Two nationwide civil defense drills will help to prepare the public for the retaliation that Israel could face.


"Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light they could strike at Iran in a matter of days, even hours. They are making preparations on every level for this eventuality. The message to Iran is that the threat is not just words," one senior defense official told The Times.


Officials believe that Israel could be required to hit more than a dozen targets, including moving convoys. The sites include Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges produce enriched uranium; Esfahan, where 250 tonnes of gas is stored in tunnels; and Arak, where a heavy water reactor produces plutonium.


The distance from Israel to at least one of the sites is more than 870 miles, a distance that the Israeli force practiced covering in a training exercise last year that involved F15 and F16 jets, helicopters and refueling tankers.


The possible Israeli strike on Iran has drawn comparisons to its attack on the Osirak nuclear facility near Baghdad in 1981. That strike, which destroyed the facility in under 100 seconds, was completed without Israeli losses and checked Iraqi ambitions for a nuclear weapons programme.


"We would not make the threat [against Iran] without the force to back it. There has been a recent move, a number of on-the-ground preparations, that indicate Israel's willingness to act," said another official from Israel's intelligence community.


He added that it was unlikely that Israel would carry out the attack without receiving at least tacit approval from America, which has struck a more reconciliatory tone in dealing with Iran under its new administration.


An Israeli attack on Iran would entail flying over Jordanian and Iraqi airspace, where US forces have a strong presence.


Ephraim Kam, the deputy director of the Institute for National Security Studies, said it was unlikely that the Americans would approve an attack.


"The American defense establishment is unsure that the operation will be successful. And the results of the operation would only delay Iran's programme by two to four years," he said.


A visit by President Obama to Israel in June is expected to coincide with the national elections in Iran - timing that would allow the US Administration to re-evaluate diplomatic resolutions with Iran before hearing the Israeli position.


"Many of the leaks or statements made by Israeli leaders and military commanders are meant for deterrence. The message is that if [the international community] is unable to solve the problem they need to take into account that we will solve it our way," Mr Kam said.


Among recent preparations by the air force was the Israeli attack of a weapons convoy in Sudan bound for militants in the Gaza Strip.


"Sudan was practice for the Israeli forces on a long-range attack,"


Ronen Bergman, the author of The Secret War with Iran, said. "They wanted to see how they handled the transfer of information, hitting a moving target ... In that sense it was a rehearsal."


Israel has made public its intention to hold the largest-ever nationwide drill next month.


Colonel Hilik Sofer told Ha'aretz, a daily Israeli newspaper, that the drill would "train for a reality in which during war missiles can fall on any part of the country without warning ... We want the citizens to understand that war can happen tomorrow morning".


Israel will conduct an exercise with US forces to test the ability of Arrow, its US-funded missile defense system. The exercise would test whether the system could intercept missiles launched at Israel.


"Israel has made it clear that it will not tolerate the threat of a nuclear Iran. According to Israeli Intelligence they will have the bomb within two years ... Once they have a bomb it will be too late, and Israel will have no choice to strike - with or without America,"   an official from the Israeli Defense Ministry said.



Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


Between hyperbole and credibility.= killing civilians-a Muslim view.


by  Dan Calic


An often-discussed topic of considerable controversy is the notion of how many Muslims support killing civilians as a tactic. Numbers range from a tiny fraction up to 50% of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims.


How many Muslims support killing civilians as a tactic?

Those who consider themselves more liberal tend to lean toward the tiny fraction estimate, while conservatives   lean toward the larger numbers. Part of what drives the thinking of liberals is their tendency to see things from a more idyllic viewpoint, plus their belief that few people, if any, are evil and that at the core of everyone there is goodness to be found. This view tends to discount the impact of living in a society where virtually every aspect of daily life is under strict adherence to fundamentalism, and where jihad for Allah is considered the single holiest act of a true follower of the faith. The martyr-killer is considered a hero and the martyr's family is showered with gifts and held in a place of honor among fellow believers.


The foregoing assessment is corroborated by a former Muslim terrorist, Walid Shoebat, who was born and raised in the Middle East, and who spent time in jail for his involvement with jihad. However, in the mid-1990s, he renounced Islam. By doing so he became an "enemy of Islam" and has been living under threat of death ever since. These days, in spite of being under a fatwa, Walid writes books, and speaks at churches, synagogues and numerous other events about Islam and jihad.


One of the reasons there has been considerable debate on this flashpoint topic is that statistics are not readily available. However, recently a report was published providing information which allows some deductive conclusions to be drawn.


On February 27, the Middle East Times, an America-based pro-Arab publication, ran an article with the following headline: "Majority of Muslims Oppose Attacking Civilians". The portion which the headline referred to provided some interesting statistics.


To support the notion that the majority of Muslims oppose attacking civilians, five countries - Egypt, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Indonesia and Pakistan, along with the West Bank and Gaza, were listed alongside the percentages of their respective populations that opposed killing civilians.


According to the report, the percentages of the respective populations that opposed killing civilians were as follows:


Egypt: 80% of 78 million
Azerbaijan: 70% of 8 million
Turkey: 70% of 71 million
Indonesia: 70% of 246 million
Pakistan: 60% of 166 million
West Bank/Gaza: 60% of 4 million


Conversely, while the article did not include specific statements about those who are not opposed to killing civilians, the implied deduction is that the remaining percentages favor it, since they chose not to oppose it. They range from 20% [Egypt] to 40% [Pakistan, West Bank/Gaza] respectively.


By taking the current population of each referenced location, and turning the percentages into actual population figures, here's what the numbers look like for those who may be said to support killing civilians:

The percent which supports killing civilians is 31.6 percent.

Egypt: 20% or 15.6 million
Azerbaijan: 30% or 2.4 million
Turkey: 30% or 21.3 million
Indonesia: 30% or 73,8 million
Pakistan: 40% or 66.4 million
West Bank/Gaza: 40% or 1.6 million

Cumulative total: 181 million


Keep in mind that this figure refers to only the six places referenced in the report. If you take an average from this group, then the percent which supports killing civilians is 31.6 percent. By extending this to the worlds 1.5 billion Muslims, the figure comes close to 500 million.

Also worth noting is that the report was published in a pro-Arab publication which, in its zeal to provide a positive view of Muslims, apparently didn't realize it was also providing information to the contrary.


While the topic will likely remain controversial, at least we now have some documentation which can narrow the gap between hyperbole and credibility.



Dan Calic

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


Obama's Signal to Israel: Submit.


by Mona Charen


In early April, Vice President Biden was asked if the administration was concerned that Israel might strike at Iran's nuclear facilities. "I don't believe Prime Minister Netanyahu would do that," Mr. Biden replied. "I think he would be ill advised to do that."

A few weeks later, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained the administration's solution to the threat of an Iranian bomb: "For Israel to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran, it can't stay on the sideline with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts … they go hand in hand."

And on May 10, National Security Adviser James Jones spelled it out further: "We understand Israel's preoccupation with Iran as an existential threat. We agree with that. … By the same token, there are a lot of things that you can do to diminish that existential threat by working hard towards achieving a two-state solution."

By what reasoning has the administration decided that pushing Israel to permit a new Palestinian state would — in any way — diminish the threat from Iran? Do they believe that Iran's (or I should say the Iranian leadership's) genocidal hostility toward Israel is the result of lack of progress toward an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza? Will the Iranian leadership, which has characterized Israel as a "cancerous tumor," declared that "Israel must we wiped off the map," and promised that "Israel is destined for destruction and will soon disappear" is going to change its mind if Israel enters into negotiations with the Palestinians?

"Obama will be a great friend to Israel." So said a Jewish Democrat in a pre-election debate with me. I asked her whether she had any hesitations about someone who had been steeped in academic pieties and Hyde Park leftwing intellectual fashions, and who had tamely absorbed the Rev. Wright's sermons for 20 years? Her response was to mouth some of the platitudes about support for Israel that were to be found on the Obama campaign's website. I wonder if she is having doubts now.

Does it give her pause that Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of state and America's chief nuclear arms negotiator, has called on Israel (along with Pakistan, India, and North Korea) to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? By including Israel on a list of nations known to either have nuclear weapons or be close to acquiring them, the Obama administration is introducing a sinister note of moral equivalence to the problem of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. All previous U.S. governments have implicitly accepted that Israel's nuclear weapons pose a threat to no nation and are maintained only to deter Israel's enemies from genocidal attacks.

Like other liberals, my debate opponent probably believes that Obama's apology tour of global capitals was pitch perfect. Of course, it's one thing for the United States, still the world's superpower, to delude itself that winning international popularity contests will make us safer (though it's a dangerous delusion), but Israel, which always sits inches from the precipice of destruction, cannot afford such fantasies at all.

We have recent history to guide us. In 2000, Israel withdrew from the security corridor it had established in southern Lebanon. The world had long been clamoring for Israel to do this. The Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah movement immediately seized the area — trumpeting its triumph in driving out the enemy. In 2006, southern Lebanon became the launching pad for Hezbollah's missile campaign against northern Israel.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. The Iranian-backed Hamas movement moved quickly and took control there (not without significant internecine bloodshed with Fatah), and again used the territory not to build a peaceful Palestinian enclave but to launch 10,000 missiles against southern Israel.

Fatah (which is called moderate because it wants to destroy Israel on the installment plan rather than all at once) retains tenuous control of the West Bank. But even Mahmoud Abbas admits that if Israel were to withdraw completely from the area, Hamas would gain control in a heartbeat.

Next week, Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet with President Obama in Washington. It is hard to see how this relationship can go well. President Obama has sent abundant signals that his foreign policy is 50 percent wishful thinking and 50 percent leftwing mush. There may not be any easy answers to the problem of a nuclear Iran. But pressuring Israel to take suicidal risks is clearly the worst possible approach. Iran will conclude, as its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas at various times concluded, that force and the threat of force work.

Mona Charen

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.



Missing the ‘piece process’


by Jonathan Rosenblum


I never thought that I would long for the days when talk of preserving the "peace process" was all the rage. Though the "peace process" was always a good deal more about process — negotiations, signed agreements, more negotiations — at least the name implied that peace was the ultimate desideratum. Today, the creation of a Palestinian state has become the be-all-and-end-all of America's Middle East strategy, and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is called upon to express his acquiescence daily.

But a Palestinian state is not the ultimate goal nor should it be. At best, in a world far different than that in which we happen to live, it would be a means to Israel finally being able to live in safe and secure borders. Today, it would assuredly be the opposite.

The exclusive emphasis on the "the two-state solution" is misbegotten for many reasons. The most basic is that there is absolutely no reason to believe that the Palestinians want a state, unlike the Jews in 1948, who were prepared to accept anything, no matter how truncated, in order to have a state. Robert B. Kaplan, who makes clear that he has little sympathy for the current Israeli government, nevertheless writes in the April 21 Atlantic that there is no evidence that the Palestinians really want a state. They have far more power without a state, for without a state, they can lob missiles at Israel without ever taking responsibility. Hamas's absolute control over the Gaza Strip — i.e., its quasi-state status — made it easier, not more difficult, for Israel to launch Operation Cast Lead.

The behavior of Arafat at Camp David makes clear that he preferred the role of revolutionary leader, true to his cause to the last, to the messy responsibility of trying to build a functioning society. The diversion of massive international aide to the pockets of top Fatah officials and for the maintenance of multiple militias, rather than using that aide to improve the lot of the average Palestinian, is another indication that the Palestinian leadership, such as it is, is not really interested in a state.

The focus on what Israel must do sends the wrong message on a number of counts. It totally fails to acknowledge what Israel has already done, including the withdrawals from Lebanon, Gaza, and let us not forget much of the West Bank, and how little it received in return. Lebanon and Gaza became Iranian proxy quasi-states, and the West Bank too became a launching pad for suicide bombers. Only when the IDF took back control of the West Bank did the terrorism abate. Nor have those withdrawals improved Israel's international standing, which was always one of their principal justifications. Rather by rendering Israel more vulnerable to missile and terror attacks, they virtually guaranteed an eventual Israeli response sure to be condemned by all and sundry as "disproportionate."

The focus on Israel's acceptance of the "two-state solution" further takes the spotlight off of what the Palestinians have never done — to wit move one iota from any of their traditional positions since the handshake on the White House lawn. In recent weeks, leading Fatah (yes, Fatah not Hamas) figures have reiterated that Fatah never has and never will recognize Israel as a Jewish state. And Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state at Annapolis. I wonder how far Prime Minister Netanyahu would get if he agreed to a Palestinian state on condition that all Jews now living in that state can stay where they are.

By placing the onus on Israel for moving forward, the mantra about "the two-state solution" conveys to the Palestinians precisely the wrong message: That they must do nothing. More than 15 years after Oslo, the Palestinian media and textbooks are still infected with a culture of martyrdom and pervasive hatred of Israel and Jews. How can a generation raised on such propaganda be a generation to make peace? And how can anyone think that peace will be easily attained? Instead of telling the Palestinians that they will have to clean up their act, President Obama engages in false equivalencies about "hatred" on both sides that have no relationship to reality, and suggest that all that is needed is a bit more kumbaya feeling.

The message the Palestinians are hearing is: Just sit tight and we [the Americans] will get you your state, without you doing anything. The obsession with Israel's acceptance of the "two-state solution" is based on the assumption that the eventual outcome is known in advance, and it might as well be sooner than later. That is what the President means when he says that at some point the parties have to stop talking because we can't wait forever.

And when Obama praises the Saudi plan as a brave initiative, with which he may have a few cavils, he not only raises panic in Israel about the easy assumption that the eventual solution is already well-known but about the content of that solution. The Saudi plan calls for a complete Israeli withdrawal to the '49 armistice lines — and with that the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of families and the destruction of everything built in Jerusalem since '67 — and the return of millions of Palestinian refugees. And only then will the Arab states begin negotiations over normalization. Outside of the editorial pages of *Ha'aretz, *it would be hard to find a minyan of Israelis willing to sign off on anything remotely resembling that plan. (And if you will ask me, what then did President Peres mean when he praised the Saudi plan at the AIPAC convention, I will be struck dumb.)

Remember that this generous plan is being propounded by the Saudis, whose representatives refuse to so much as exchange hellos with any Israeli and heatedly deny any suggestion that they might have done so. Doesn't that level of hatred for Jews and Israel sort of make the focus on how forthcoming Prime Minister Netanyahu is or isn't seem a bit ridiculous?

Everything coming out of Washington today betrays an incredible naivete about how intractable the issues are between Israel and the Palestinians and how far away any viable peace is. The administration acts as if nothing happened in the last sixty years and the only problem until now was the lack of involvement of people with their depth of understanding. Yet a moment's attention would suggest that, if anything, peace is further away than ever. For one thing, there are two Palestinian entities rather than one, and the more "moderate" one — the one that acknowledges the existence of Israel, if not its right to exist as a Jewish state — is the weaker of the two. The only thing that is propping up the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and protecting it from a Hamas takeover at present is Israel's continued presence there. And then there is the not insubstantial matter of Israelis experience from previous experiments along the lines they are being asked to proceed — i.e., missiles falling all around

The American linkage of action against Iran with progress on the Palestinian-Israeli front again betrays the same dangerous naivete, and puts things backwards as well. The time frame for serious action — economic or military against Iran — is months, a year at most. Can anyone possibly imagine that major steps will be made towards a Palestinian-Israeli agreement in that time?

Moreover, why should such progress be a condition of action vis-a-vis Iran? The Sunni regimes are scared witless by Iran, which threatens their regimes both internally and externally in a way that Israel does not. If it is in their interests to do so, and if they believe that America intends to act forcefully against Iran (and not just leave them at Iran's mercies), they will be part of any coalition. But if either of those conditions are not met, they will not. Israel is irrelevant. Similarly, the United States either acknowledges that Iran poses a significant threat to a wide variety of American strategic interests, which have absolutely nothing to do with Israel, or it does not. But any Israel leader who acts against his better judgment on the Palestinian front in the hope that the United States will then act to prevent Iran from going nuclear is building castles in the sand, given the current resolve shown by Washington vis-a-vis Iran.

No decent lawyer would allow a client to sign an agreement, no matter how attractive, without a due diligence as to both the reliability of the other party and its capability of performing according to the terms of the contract. Yet President Obama (Harvard Law) and Secretary of State Clinton (Yale Law) are pushing Israel towards an agreement where the unreliability of the other side is well-established by virtue of two decades of broken promises about ending incitement and stopping terror and its ability to perform is beyond doubtful, given the likelihood of a Hamas takeover of the West Bank as soon as Israel withdraws. Hopefully Israel has better lawyers.



Jonathan Rosenblum is founder of Jewish Media Resources and a widely-read columnist for the Jerusalem Post's domestic and international editions and for the Hebrew daily Maariv.


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