Friday, September 17, 2010

It’s Not About Settlements


by Jennifer Rubin


Giora Eiland isn’t impressed with the happy talk coming from the Obama team. George Mitchell may coo all he wants about getting down to “substantive issues,” but the Palestinians show no sign they are willing to accept the most basic element of a peace deal: recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Eiland explains why this is an essential component of any accord:

The Palestinians make a distinction between recognizing the fact that the State of Israel exists and the recognition that it has the right to exist. The camp that supports Mahmoud Abbas has no qualms with the first definition: “Israel exists, and it’s apparently worthwhile to recognize it diplomatically; this is the way to guarantee for the Palestinians what only Israel can give. This agreement is fit for the present, but as to the future – who knows.” …

The entire concept of “Hudna” (long-term ceasefire) is based on an approach that espouses compromise in an effort to elicit what can be achieved now, without abandoning the intention to fight and get much more in the future. The way to curb future demands, especially in respect to the refugee issue, is to create a Palestinian obligation to accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

The Obami, like the rest of the cottage industry of peace processors, operate on a myth: that both sides want peace and the issue is where to draw lines and how to halt and then uproot those darn settlements. It is as if the entire period between 1948 and 1967 never occurred. The Palestinians and their Arab enablers didn’t accept the Jewish state in 1949 (only an armistice was agreed to), didn’t accept the Jewish state in 1967, and still don’t. While Obama is quibbling about settlements in 2010, the Palestinians are still hung up on 1948.

Eiland points to another reason why recognition of the Jewish state is critical:

Should the future Palestinian state not recognize the State of Israel as the Jewish people’s nation-state, there is no chance that the Palestinians residing in Israel will accept it. If we fail to insist on this now, we may find ourselves within a generation or two in a situation where Arab Israelis demand (possibly through violence) equal national rights.

The Palestinian state would support this automatically, and may even view this issue as a reason to breach the peace treaty. The way to minimize this risk, or at least to create a situation where the states of the world support us, is to clearly define (in a manner agreed upon by all sides) the State of Israel as the Jewish people’s nation-state.

The Obami and much of the media fail or are unwilling to concede that what is standing between the parties and peace is more fundamental than a housing moratorium. In short, until the Palestinians cease regarding a “peace” deal as a brief interlude in the struggle to remove the Zionist undertaking from the region, there can never, by definition, be peace. Peace is not a cease-fire; it is an agreement to end hostilities permanently and completely. That the Palestinians won’t do.

Peculiar, isn’t it, that Hillary’s and Obama’s public comments don’t mention that. Well, not peculiar at all, for to concede there is such a fundamental barrier to peace would be to let on that Obama’s entire Middle East policy was misguided and naive. Can’t let that get around.

Jennifer Rubin

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