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Last week at the UN, Israel lost America

“Tafasta meruba, lo tafasta,” is a Hebrew saying that means, “If you get too greedy, you end up with nothing,” and it fits well to the arm-twisting job Israel just did on Obama at the UN. By leaning on him too single-handedly to block the Palestinian statehood bid, to pressure countries like Gabon and Bosnia-Herzegovina to go along, and to give a speech that Avigdor Lieberman said he would “sign with both hands,” Israel bent Obama too far, until he just broke. In the eyes of Palestinians, Muslims of the Middle East and probably everybody else in the world, the U.S. president has now assumed the identity of the ultimate Israel lobbyist, of Mr.Hasbara. “He’s not the president of the United States, he’s the president of Israel,” a man in Ramallah said to me the day after the speech, and that’s what Palestinians think today: They flat-out hate Obama. They may hate him more than any other U.S. president in history, including George W. Bush. They thought Obama was on their side, and in the moment of truth he sold them out to the LIkud, to the settlers, to the Republican wackos. Palestinians, and presumably all Muslims, feel toward Obama today how the settlers felt toward Ariel Sharon after he decided to withdraw from Gaza: betrayed.

With Obama’s America now having zero credibility in the Middle East, where does this leave Israel? Alone and vulnerable to an extent that’s unfamiliar to Israelis. Until now, the U.S. held sway with the Palestinians; it doesn’t anymore. It held sway with Egypt, Jordan and Turkey; I wonder how much it has left now. In highly dramatic fashion, the U.S. stood up for the occupation and against Palestinian independence, and the result of this disgrace is that outside of Israel and America, the occupation is more unpopular and Palestinian independence more popular than ever. It’s the Palestinians who have the wind at their back now, and Israel that’s pissing in the wind. And America can’t help us anymore because America has become a spent force around here.

Having gotten no respect from the U.S., the Palestinian Authority shows it none. Abbas’s aide Yasser Abed Rabbo says publicly that the Palestinians will refuse to negotiate with Israel if America is the mediator. The Quartet’s mealy-mouthed proposal for talks about talks gets blown off by the PA. The eminiently mealy-mouthed Tony Blair gets chewed out by Abbas. What leverage does America or its emissaries have over the Palestinians anymore? What can America and Europe do for Israel – threaten to cut off funds to the PA? This is the threat coming from the Netanyahu government and the Republican Party – and Abbas is just daring them to go through with it. If we can’t have independence, he’s telling them, the PA will shut down and Israeli soldiers and money can keep the peace in the refugee camps, villages and cities of the West Bank. U.S. congressmen and most Israeli cabinet ministers are too fat-headed to understand, but this is something like Abbas’s doomsday option.

He has other options, though. He can keep going back to the Security Council time after time and force Obama to embarrass himself again and again. He can launch non-violent “people power” protests across the West Bank. He can give up on the two-state solution and demand the one-state solution: Israeli citizenship for Palestinians. The Palestinians are the darlings of the world, while not only Israel but Israel’s great protector are in the world’s doghouse, or certainly the Middle East’s.

And in all this, what are Israel’s options? What leverage does it have over anybody – except the Obama administration, which, as noted, is a spent force in this neighborhood. Who wants to be Israel’s friend today, aside from Glenn Beck Nation?

Tafasta meruba, Bibi – you were too greedy. You wanted to beat Obama, but you beat him to death, for Israel’s purposes. Effectively, you lost America for this country. When it comes to alliances Israel can count on, you’ve left us with nothing.

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    1. Historian

      There is another way to think about this. Consider that Obama has been betrayed by the Palestinian leadership. The leadership he has supported with money, with arms, with the training of their army has shown him no gratitude at all. The leadership he has given unprecedented diplomatic support vis-a-vis Israel, including actually getting a Netanyahu government to stop settlement construction for 10 months, has spit in his face. The leadership that was so confident in him that they vowed not to negotiate because they were so certain the friction between Netanyahu and Obama would bring down Netanyahu’s government went against Obama.

      Obama asked the Palestinians to stand down. They didn’t. He asked them to negotiate. They didn’t. He asked them to act in good faith. They didn’t. He asked them not to put the US in such an awkward position in the UN after all the support they have given the PA. They didn’t. On the contrary, they didn’t and then turned around and blamed the US for all their ills.

      Last week at the UN, the Palestinians overplayed their hand to the point where Obama finally realized what the truth is. That’s where his speech came from.

      Having said all of that, you and everybody should be very impressed with the US’s moral behavior in this situation. Instead of letting the blackmail of the Palestinians (“we’ll dismantle the PA; we will go after a single state; etc.), and agreeing to abrogate Oslo Accords and Security Council resolutions just to appease the automatic majorities at the UN, the US stood up and took a leadership role and acted exactly like the parent they are at the UN. The adult. You see, Larry, France can afford to sit on the fence, because they know the US will take the heat. Likewise for Spain, Norway and other Western countries. The despots, Islamic countries and those countries who benefit from trade and oil with the Arabs also have no reason to act morally at the UN. China and Russia are constantly trying to make gains at America’s expense so they, totalitarian and pseudo-democracy they are respectively, will not do the right thing.

      But the US did the right thing. Amazing. Israel should be grateful and should CONTINUE to support the administration against Palestinian intransigence as everybody tries to move forward to peace talks.

      Reply to Comment
    2. ToivoS

      Very good summary of Obama’s speech Larry. It is really difficult to predict how this is going to develop but some basic rules of the game have clearly changed. 1) Obama has without question diminished US influence in the ME. 2) Even if Abbas wanted to he can no longer meekly accept US and EU pay to serve as the police force to keep restive Palestinians quiet. 3) As a result of his own speech, Abbas has gained in stature and credibility, it is unlikely he will want to give that back in exchange for US and EU funds.

      For now, Abbas and the PA will set the agenda, the US and Israel can only react. And unless the quartet doesn’t respond carefully, that structure will become totally irrelevant. All in all, the Palestinians haven’t been in a better position in many years.

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    3. KL Ching

      Larry is right. A large percent of Americans are isolationist. They see the US efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan as unappreciated and fruitless costing priceless American lives and requiring financing we can ill afford. I agree. Bibi humiliates our President, and the Jewish Lobby in Congress spends enormous amounts on an Israeli right wing government that denies Israeli Arabs their civil rights. I expect my government to seek Israeli Palestinian justice. Otherwise, just pull out completely from the region and let them solve their own problems. If they choose to kill themselves off, so be it. I don’t want my tax dollars spent where we have our President insulted and the parties involve show us no respect. Good riddance. US Congress, stop pandering the Jewish Lobby and their payoffs (campaign contributions). KL Ching

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    4. Bosko

      Well then, the Palestinians better use their better position (cor many years) wisely. Otherwise the Hebrew saying …
      “Tafasta meruba, lo tafasta,”
      Will apply to them too.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Peace and justice is a “when” term. It is inevitable, only long and long delayed.

      And, as the two-state solution is the most rational equilibrium, whether after negotiation, war, non-violent civil disobedience, suppression, democracy, or international pressure, that is where things will end up.

      And, it is also inevitable that Israel and Palestine will end up in some form of federation, whether of two ostensibly independent states, or of two nearly independent states.

      The gross tragedy is that rather than proceed to those inevitabilities with relevant determination if not haste, Israel has decided on the status quo + (status quo + incremental annexation).

      I don’t think that the US is dead in diplomatic force, but certainly starting from 10 yards back (distrusted and shoe laces tied). The irony of this stupidity for the US, is that Israel also remains distrustful of Obama. The right continues to wonder if he is really a Muslim, or an enemy in fact.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Historian

      Wow, KL Ching, you think you said enough about the “Jewish Lobby” manipulating the government? I think you should tell us more about this.

      Reply to Comment
    7. RichardNYC

      “He can keep going back to the Security Council time after time and force Obama to embarrass himself again and again. He can launch non-violent “people power” protests across the West Bank. He can give up on the two-state solution and demand the one-state solution: Israeli citizenship for Palestinians.”
      So what? What is any of this going to change? Why does the vague possibility of these things happening make Palestine the strong horse? There’s not much substance here.

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    8. RichardNYC, Netanyahu’s magnum opus is titled, “A Place Among the Nations – Israel and the World.” If you want to say that crippling America and galloping toward pariah status is irrelevant to Israel, you can, but I don’t think Bibi would agree with you – or at least he wouldn’t have when he was still in the planning stages of becoming prime minister.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Philos

      “There is another way to think about this. Consider that Obama has been betrayed by the Palestinian leadership. The leadership he has supported with money, with arms, with the training of their army has shown him no gratitude at all.” – Historian


      There is another way to think about this. Consider that Obama has been betrayed by the Israeli leadership. The leadership he has support with money, with arms, with [intelligence cooperation for] their army has shown him no gratitude at all.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Ben Israel

      Who says Israel is “galloping towards pariah status”? A vote in the UN against Israel? There have been hundreds. Many have ordered Israel to pull out of the territories by a certain date and demanded a Palestinian state be set up (I referring to votes in the UN years ago). Remember the “Zionism minus Racism equals zero” vote? The Left was quaking in its boots then. The vote was later recinded. It didn’t make any difference to Israel either way. The big difference between then and now was that the Left was in power and the Right didn’t attack the gov’t saying it was “alienating the world” like the Left is now doing to the Right-wing gov’t. They are simply making political hay out of it.
      The pending vote in the UN has NOTHING to do with “principles” and really has nothing to do with the Palestinians. Countries like Gabon and Nigeria listen to both sides and ask “how much are you going to pay me if I vote the way you want”? In any event, now matter how they vote, they will conduct relations with Israel as they did before.
      I presume you saw the BBC international public opinon poll about support for a Palestnian state. Much to my own suprise, less that 50% of those asked say they wanted a Palestinian state set up now. More than half said no, or say they don’t know, meaning they have doubts about it. This proves MOST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD DON’T CARE ABOUT THE PALESTINIANS and most don’t care about the settlments and all the rest of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The countries like China and Russia and India who are voting in favor of a Palestinian state all have good relations with Israel and increasing trade ties. Their vote means NOTHING about how they really think about Israel.
      So the threats about ‘pariah status’ are meaningless.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Ben Israel

      If you were right, Obama would have given a different speech, one saying what you want. But, he didn’t, so Obama obviously does not view the situation like you “progressives” do. The Palestinians have shows NO gratitude to the MOST pro-Palestinian President they could ever hope for.

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    12. AngelaJerusalem

      Great article, Larry. Sorry Jerusalem Post readers won’t have the benefit of it! Israelis (including “Historian” above) need to come out of denial that 80% of the world favour recognising Palestine while Avaaz polling shows over 50% of the British public, over 60% of the French public and over 70% of the German public – not to mention a BBC poll: 46% of the American public (only 21% against) also in favour. Hence Abu Mazen’s standing ovation for minutes at the UN, and absent applause (except from the Israeli delegation) for Netanyahu, whose speech has been universally deplored as hardline, meanspirited, short-sighted, rude, cheap and out of tune with regional liberation. (While Israel is seen as departing savagely from any status as a democracy. e.g. its plans to forcibly transfer 30,000 Bedouin citizens in the Negev under the Prawer Plan, not to mention its curtailing of freedom of expression, human rights and equality for all citizens.)

      It’s interesting to see on TV Israel Hasson, with his security background, the only MK sounding the same warning alarm as you. Israelis still don’t get it. We have to choose. Settlements/one state, OR ’67 lines/two states; whether the current apartheid one state or a democratic one is now becoming the issue. With over half a million settlers (and settlement building four times faster after the freeze due to the backlog it created in planning departments which never froze), it’s a foregone conclusion that settlement blocs are not going to be homes for returning refugees, nor will the national HQ of the Israeli police or the national HQ of the Border Police (both in Occupied Territory) be the future Palestinian Legislative Council building.

      World opinion is against us, and against America. Whether the States is sacrificing its international clout because of its “benefit from trade and oil with the Arabs” (cf. “Historian”) – its security interests in this region – or its reliance on Jewish election funding, Israel has mortally wounded it. An opinion strengthened by Bill Clinton’s immediate statement after Obama’s speech that it’s indeed Netanyahu who doesn’t want peace.

      “Everybody tries to move forward to peace talks” says “Historian”. If that’s so, stop the landgrab, demolitions, evictions and forced transfers. And stop the massive settlement building. Get back to the Roadmap – build trust, keep the agreement NOT to build, even natural expansion, and strengthen the moderate Palestinians, before THEY throw the keys of the prison back to us.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Ben Israel

      Although almost everything you say is straight from the ‘progressive’ book, almost everything you say is wrong:

      (1) Israel does NOT face a choice of “keeping the territories or having peace”. In reality, Israel can either keep the territories without peace, or give them up and not have peace (e.g. withdrawal from Lebanon and Gaza strip).

      (2) The poll results you quoted show LUKEWARM support for a Palestinian state, hardly overwhelming majorities. And it must he noted that this does not mean those who say yes say they support a Palestinian state that will continue to harbor grievances and make threats against Israel even after an agreement, and it does not mean they think like Abbas does that reaching an agreement means Israel has to accept the “right of return” of the refugees.

      (3) The amount of applause in the UN is NO measure of the political standing of those who are making the speeches. The UN is not a debating society who votes the way the best speaker presents himself.

      (4) World opinion is NOT against us. Maybe many “progressives” are against us, but they are a minority, and believe it or not, they do not speak for mankind as a whole.

      (5) America is NOT against us. Polls show consistent support for Israel for over a decade which has not wavered even in the wake of the Lebanon II and Gaza Wars. Pols show 70% of the American public sympathize with or support Israel whereas around 15% support or sympathize with the Palestinians.

      (6) Bill Clinton is a liar who is lying for personal gain. He knows exactly what Arafat did during the negotations. Remember his impeachment and disbarment? They were for perjury.

      Reply to Comment
    14. So, Mr. Netanyahu has managed to make his country’s position look even worse than it already was. President Obama, by seeming to publicly align official US policy with that of Israel, has lost much of the rapport that had existed between himself and the Palestinians. Mr. Abbas has made things awkward for some of his western allies and must know that a long and treacherous path lies ahead if the concept of nationhood is ever to become a reality for his people.
      It would appear that none of the assembled characters in this play have emerged with anything like a proper grasp of the situation. While they are busy compounding the issues with several more layers of bad feeling and mistrust, the basic problem remains unresolved; indeed, it has probably acquired a greater measure of complexity than ever before.

      Which, in itself, would not be of major concern if the subject could be confined to mere procedural wrangling. However, without some tangible progress in peace negotiations (in abeyance now for these many years), more Israelis, more Palestinians and God knows how many others will continue to suffer and die. Unless a binding settlement of the whole affair can be hammered out in double-quick order, the high price of achieving what is, in effect, nothing of substance will still have to be paid.

      That is not to say that the ‘hammering’ process has ceased entirely; it does go on but in much the same desultory, unfocused fashion as in the past. There is no fixed direction, no real concentration of force behind any of the movements toward peace. Too much effort is being dissipated in getting all the ducks lined up in a row; there is, as yet, no killer instinct at hand to drive the issues toward a proper conclusion.

      If presidents, prime ministers and politicians of every hue and stripe seem unable to move forward on this matter, then what hope is there for the rest of us? The problem persists and will not admit of resolution; not unless we can find and plant somewhere deep within it the seeds of its own destruction.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Ben Israel.

      World opinion is mixed.

      If in any poll the question were asked. “Do you support Israel’s right to defend itself militarily? The answer would be in the 90’s.

      If the question were, “Do you support Israel’s right to preserve a Jewish majority through immigration policies within its borders?” The answer would be in the 80’s.

      If the question were, “Do you support the status of occupation if it is impossible for Palestine to maintain an orderly state, and would allow militants to operate, not freely but still operate?”, the answer would be in the 60’s.

      If the question were, “Do you support the status of occupation if it possible for Palestine to maintain an orderly state, and sincerely endeavor to prohibit violence to be conducted from its borders?” the answer would be in the 30’s.

      And, that is the case with Abbas, the PA.

      Identification of risk is NOT the same as prediction or intent. And, as any intelligence officer worth his Princeton degree will tell you, there are MANY ways to discern, monitor, and manage risk, of which the most effective is cooperation.

      Israel no longer has Turk eyes and ears, no longer has Egyptian eyes and ears, no longer has Jordanian eyes and ears.

      Ironicially for your assertions, Israel still does have security cooperation with the PA. It does have the PA’s eyes and ears, not for long likely.

      And, at some point not so far off, the American and European eyes and ears will turn away, slightly, then grossly.

      Unless things in Israel change.

      Reply to Comment
    16. @Larry – excellent post. The Obama administration has calculated (mistakenly in my view) that the damage caused to its foreign policy interests will be trumped by the electoral gains his isolating stance will bring. When he became a Hasbara machine at the U.N. on Wednesday, squarely in his mind were the following figures: the Jewish vote makes up 4% & 5% of PA and FL respectively, two essential swing states. So, while Netanyahu and Israel have pushed the United States to the point of utter irrelevancy in the Middle East, Obama was quite happy to be pushed over the edge. It’s a tragic outcome for both Israel and America – an outcome being wagered on small electoral percentages in 2012 that would likely have not mattered to begin with.

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    17. Historian

      That world opinion is swayed against Israel has a lot to do with upside down articles such as this one by Mr. Derfner, not to mention the occasional slip-up by certain leftist writers who all but excuse terrorism against Israel or minimize it because Israel has stronger military resources than the Palestinians.

      That world public opinion is swayed against Israel has a great deal to do with the incessant propaganda generated by the Palestinians with their associates all over the world and useful idiots who refuse to see what is being said right in front of them with complete openness. It is Abbas who promised not to allow any “Zionists” in “Palestine” and his ambassador to the UN who screwed up and let the cat out of the bag by saying “Jews” would not be allowed there, oh and he couldn’t say whether homosexuals would.

      Did Larry here write about the implications of having a genocidal dictatorship right next door to Israel? I don’t recall that article. In fact, my guess is he’d write an article justifying it, as would many of the writers on this site.

      If we were to go by international opinion, then Syria would now be on the UN Human Rights Council. If we were to let the Europeans decide what is just and unjust, who is right and wrong, then we would be excusing countries that sell nuclear materials and technology to Iran, that blame the “Israeli occupation” for massacres perpetrated by their crazies, and that are willing to permit the Arab League and the Palestinians trample signed peace agreements and existing Security Council resolutions.

      And we would be letting countries that aren’t pressing the two dictatorial Palestinian regimes to sign off on the deal Olmert offered in 2008. Hmmm, wasn’t that deal based on ’67 borders with land swaps? Why, I believe it was.

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    18. Historian

      Correction: “And we would be letting countries that aren’t pressing the two dictatorial Palestinian regimes to sign off on the deal Olmert offered in 2008 determine international consensus.”

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    19. Deïr Yassin

      I’ve seen people with pen names as ‘objective’, ‘moderate’, ‘observer’ ‘neutral commenter’, and you know right away that you’re dealing with right-wing Zio-bots.
      And when you see someone calling himself/herself “historian” writing the crap that this “historian” does, you know he/she is belonging to the same species.
      A “Historian” who doesn’t link to his sources, what a f…. joke !
      Ma’en Rashid Areikat (or Erekat) did NOT talk about Jews in his interview, though ALL major MSM stated so, all using the same source. Tells us a little about who runs the show.
      Any serious “historian”, even a Freshman, knows that you need different sources coming from different ideological point of views before stating anything instead of just jumping on the first rumour.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Historian, so you think the Abbas/Fayyad-led PA is a “genocidal dictatorship.” There’s no talking politics with someone with views like yours. You may be the nicest guy in the world for all I know, but ideologically you’re insane.

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    21. RichardNYC

      “If you want to say that crippling America and galloping toward pariah status is irrelevant to Israel, you can, but I don’t think Bibi would agree with you ”
      –>Well, events in Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan are largely out of Israel’s control (unless you think Israel should open the seas to the same Iranian ships that supply Syria – remember, Erdogan is not just asking for an apology). And to the extent that America’s influence in Palestine depends on its being liked (as opposed to its being powerful), it has always been extremely tenuous. The taboo about telling the Palestinians there’s no such thing as “right of return” wasn’t ever something America could avoid forever – whether that means telling them, at the UN, that they must negotiate this away, or whether it means telling them that later on. Given Palestinian expectations about RoR and other core issues, don’t you think American “betrayal” was inevitable?

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    22. Historian

      Well, actually Mr. Derfner, it wasn’t I who wrote an editorial saying it’s understandable why Palestinians would engage in terrorism against Israeli civilians. I’m sure you ARE the nicest guy in the world, but here I am trying to talk politics with a guy like you. Which one of us is more open minded, in your considered opinion?

      Having said that, permit to remind you that:
      1. The current PA government is a dictatorship. It is no longer a validly elected government, as a Palestinian writer on this site pointed out a couple of days ago. In addition, their media outlets are controlled by the PA and they threaten media outlets from abroad that don’t play by the PA’s rules with restricted access in the future. So forgive me for calling it a dictatorial regime, but it is exactly that.
      2. Genocidal. Well, other than having a dictator who wrote a PhD thesis denying the genocide of Jews in the Holocaust and who mentioned Christians and Muslims in his GA address a couple of days ago but forgot somehow to mention Jews, I’d like to focus on what it means to ethnically cleanse – which is their STATED intention – Judea and Samaria of all its Jews. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I know, genocide is the destruction of an ethnic group on the basis of their ethnicity. In fact, the dictionary definition of genocide that I read earlier today defined it as “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.” Now, do tell, what do the Palestinians mean when they say that in the future Palestine there will be no Jews? Oh, sorry, Zionists.

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    23. Historian, I”d say it’s no more ideologically insane to understand why Palestinians terrorize Israeli civilians than it is to understand why members of Irgun, Lehi and Haganah terrorized British and/or Arab civilians. As for the PA being a dictatorship, what would you call Israel’s rule in the West Bank since 67, or Gaza’s from 67-05? There’s plenty to criticize about the PA, and Abbas’s PhD thesis is a black mark on his record, but to call the PA “genocidal” because it doesn’t want to allow 300,000 settlers who stole their land to keep it, I’d say that’s way beyond the pale. In all, Historian, your view of the Israeli-Arab conflict seems to be that Israel can’t do anything wrong and the Arabs can’t do anything right. Instead of using the name “Historian,” don’t you think “Propagandist” would be more accurate?

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    24. Historian

      Propagandist? No more than you are.

      I don’t consider what Irgun and Lehi did to the British terrorism. It was war and they were attacking soldiers in uniform. What they did at times in some attacks to Arab civilians can be labeled terrorism (depends on the attack and the circumstances). And no, I don’t understand the terror attacks they perpetrated at all and think they were a shameful way of fighting and a black stain that continues to besmirch Israel to this day…

      …And that is precisely the reason you brought it up. You had a problem bringing up modern Jewish terrorism, because there has been very, very little of it. Some of that is due to luck, like idiots thankfully being captured before the attack, but some of that is due to the significant difference in the numbers and size of groups (and leaders) on each side that consider violent attacks on civilians as kosher.

      Regarding Israel’s rule as opposed to the PA’s, I don’t understand your comparison. The PA is the government of the Palestinians. The Israelis govern them as military occupiers, but have handed off civil governance to the Palestinian leadership. This leadership is two years overdue on an election with no election on the horizon (although after the theatrics at the UN, Abbas can finally go to the polls). That’s a dictatorship.

      Israel has, time and again, proposed deals that would eliminate its rule from 95% of Judea and Samaria and it left Gaza entirely in 2005. What more do you want? They can’t leave the West Bank because of security issues that are grave, serious, and real. You call that a dictatorship?

      It’s quite an enlightened dictatorship then, isn’t it? For example, the Palestinian press is completely free from Israeli interference. So is their publishing industry. The Palestinian government is entirely free to act as a civil and even policing government without interference from Israel. In fact, Israel even protects this Palestinian government from their natural predators. This Israeli rule which you consider dictatorial also permits the Palestinians to protest, at times violently, and gives them full and unfettered access to Israeli courts which, as you know, are independent, fair and tend to lean to the Left politically.

      Now you take offense at my language and then you use language that is just as offensive. You want me to tone it down but then you use language like “stole their land.” Really? When did it become Palestinian land? After Jordan abrogated its “rights” over that land in 1988? Or was it their land because the Ottomans gave it to them? Oh wait, they never did. Neither did the British.

      Did it become their land after 242? Did it become their land after Oslo? It didn’t ever become their land. For it to become their land, they have to meet the requirements of UNSCR 242 (which means by definition that not all of the WB will become theirs) and the Oslo agreements. They signed documents in 1993 to agree to these things, even if they don’t feel like honoring them now. Until they honor these agreements in full, which means compromise and “end of conflict,” it is not their land.

      As for my view of the conflict, can you please tell me how you know that I don’t think Israel has done anything wrong? I actually would have preferred that Israel not build any settlements (I don’t count Jerusalem or any part of it as “settlements”) other than at Gush Etzion. I understand why they have been built and I disagree with the demonization of all settlers, but there are some loony settlers out there and the Israeli government’s hands-off policy over their extremism has created a problem that may cost lives to solve. Then again, I remember the peaceful exit of the settlers from Gaza and that informs me that the vilification of these people is often unfair. Other than settlers, and ignoring internal policies inside Israel, I do believe that the handling of the 1987 intifada could have been different and that Israel should have been less harsh in the first days of the Palestinian war in 2000.

      Those are broad strokes and there’s more to discuss but that’s a start. Okay? Good. Now you tell me: what have the Palestinians done wrong? Go ahead and share. After all, unlike me you’re not a propagandist. Are you?

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    25. RichardNYC

      Read and watch the recent statements of Fatah leaders – they do not merely want the settlers gone – they want total reconquest of Israel. They aren’t exactly “genocidal”, but “bad faith” doesn’t quite do justice to the mendacity of their position either. The goal has always been and continues to be reconquest. Its possible to sympathize with Palestinians to the extent that they have suffered from occupation, but that’s not a reason to imperil Israeli Jews. Just because Palestinians have suffered doesn’t mean you have to respect their demands or take their positions at face value.

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    26. Historian, the Irgun killed British civilians, too – 75 of the 91 dead in the King David Hotel bombing were civilians, and not just British, but various nationalities. I bring it up, along with the Haganah’s joining in killing of Arab civlians, because the Zionists were in the equivalent position that the Palestinians are in today – living under foreign rule in their own land. And whatever your shame, Israel as a whole is anything but ashamed of those terrorists – they are memorialized as Jewish heroes or martyrs.
      I’m not going to debate for the 10,000th time the points you raise about the nature of Israeli rule over the Palestinians, I’ll just say that if anybody was doing to us for 44 years what we’ve done to them, “dictatorship” is the mildest term we would use to describe it.
      What have the Palestinians done wrong? the massacres in Jerusalem 1920, Jaffa 1921, Hebron 1929; the Mufti of Jerusalem; refusal to compromise, to accept Jewish rule on any sliver of pre-48 Palestine; Yasser Arafat, a megalomaniacal dictator who was their leader for 35 years; the PLO’s acquiescence to Hamas terror for the first 2-1/2 years of the Oslo accord; the second intifada. Those are the main things that come to mind.
      RichardNYC, what the Palestinians wish for and what they are determined to get are too different, distant things. Abbas/Fayyad have proven their worthiness as leaders Israel can deal with.
      And that’s all from me.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Historian

      Larry, the King David was a military target and they received warning callS. And it was a stupid attack. When was the last time Israelis received an advance warning from those who send suicide bombers? Does Hamas send warnings prior to rocket launches? Do they or Fatah target the Kiriyah, or do they go after restaurants, buses and public areas? I know you know the difference.

      As for justifying the term “dictatorship,” and claiming how horrible Israel has been to the Palestinians, at least remember that in 1967 they had 0 universities. Today they have 7. Their life expectancy was about 35 years lower than today. Their poverty was grinding and far worse than today. Their medical care and child mortality rates were abysmal, unlike today. And I could go on. Heck, have you see their economy’s growth rate under the evil Netanyahu?

      Again, I’m not saying they have had it easy or good. But gosh, I have a feeling that a lot of Lebanese Palestinians or Kuwaiti Palestinians (of which today there remain very few) would have loved to be in the WB over Lebanon. And anyway, they could have stopped the occupation in 2000, 2001 and 2008. Apparently they didn’t want to end it. Don’t ask me why.

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    28. Historian, you’re whitewashing an attack on a govt HQ that killed 91 people, including 75 civilians, with the excuse that a 16-yr-old girl called the hotel switchboard 25 minutes before the bombs went off. If that telephone call miigates the King David Hotel bombing, did the Palestinian demands for prisoner releaes mitigate the subsequent attacks in Munich, Ma’alot, the Coastal Bus Massacre and any number of other targets?
      And your defense of the occupation is the boilerplate defense of colonialism throughout the ages.

      Reply to Comment
    29. And you know very well, Historian, that Palestinians go after Israeli military targets as well as civilian ones – and I’m sure if they had F-16s like we do, they’d much prefer to bomb the Kirya than a restaurant. After all, the Kirya is in the middle of one of the most densely-populated areas of Israel; afterward, they could blame the civilian casualties on Israel for surrounding its military targets with “human shields.” (And again, the Irgun, Lehi and Haganah bombed Arab buses and markets.)
      As for accepting Israeli offers and ending the occupation, every offer came with these conditions: no Palestinian control of its borders or airspace, no Palestinian army. That’s not sovereign statehood, that’s vassal statehood. Israelis would never accept “statehood” like that, yet when the Palestinians refuse to accept it, we accuse them of not wanting peace, not accepting our presence here, wanting to push us into the sea, etc. Go believe it, be my guest.

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    30. pelsar

      you guys all miss the whole jist of the matter…its not a matter of the US supporting us, being exposed, the Palestinians getting pissed. Its the fact that Abbas is more concerned with political theater than making a working state that us israelis can have any confidence in.

      Look at this blog and other forums, all trying to figure out what the political implications are for the next act. Granted its a great way to make a living (when this conflict is solved the unemployment rate will skyrocket), but thats all it is….theater. And the confusion, and guesswork as to the implications just shows how its nothing more than confusing to everyone and know one knows whats next.

      Since abbas and friends are not putting their resources in to making a working, stable state, none of us, him included have any idea what kind of state it will be. So far, the march has been backwards toward dictatorship with hamas waiting in the corner. Here there is little confusion, just everyone with their own belief…..

      The Palestinians are simply making another mistake, putting their limited resources in the wrong place, into theater and not into making a stable, society that interacts on a daily basis through commercial/social/political enterprises with us.

      We can’t help them here, but there are consequences for playing games and avoiding the tougher decisions that involve making a stable state.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Historian

      Larry, I’m not whitewashing anything. It was a legitimate target that was warned a number of times in advance in the hours leading to the bombing. It wasn’t a 16 year old girl calling once. Would I have done it? Nope. Do I think it was smart or ethical? Nope. Do I wish they hadn’t done it? Yup. Do I consider it part of the war the rest of the Yishuv waged? Nope. However, the building was a legitimate military target.

      If you’re asking whether terrorism would be the word I would use when the Palestinians attack soldiers or military targets (in good faith, like the attack on Shalit’s unit, not attacking a bus and claiming there were soldiers on it or men who would likely be soldiers), then the answer is no. In a war you attack soldiers, When you deliberately attack civilians you enter the realm of terrorism.

      Last detail here. The phone call to the King David was placed in order to evacuate the building in advance of the attack. That is not a parallel to sending out a demand to release prisoners and then weeks, months or even days later attacking a school or a bus full of Jewish children at random. I mean, come on. You’re so far out on a limb here, it’s already broken.

      With respect to my boilerplate defense of colonialism, you’ll forgive my rejection of your comment. You brought up dictatorship and conditions that make that word “mild after 44 years.” I simply showed that under Israeli rule, in actuality WB Palestinians had it better than many other Palestinians. What is the life expectancy of a Lebanese Palestinian and how many universities surround them?

      Besides, I don’t get your point in the first place. Israel is there because it has no partner with whom they can make peace. They agreed to give up Sinai for peace. They agreed to leave Lebanon for security. They left Gaza to please an American administration and to remove its obligations from that territory. Israel has a record of moving off land when it believes there are security benefits. Clearly, even the low barriers they’ve established have not been met in Judea and Samaria, which is why Israel is still in there.

      Regarding Israel’s offers, there is a Palestinian army and it has 25,000 American trained soldiers in it. They would have more equipment but, sadly, Hamas controls some of it these days. Hamas in Gaza provides all the evidence you need as to why the Palestinians should not have full control of borders, airspace or a significant army.

      I have no idea what vassal statehood is. As far as I understand statehood, it is the right of self-determination of a people within certain geographic borders. Does that have to include an army? In Israel it does for obvious reasons, but are you expecting seven Arab armies to attack “Palestine?” If not, then whom do they have to fear? As long as no rockets rain on Israel, and then they’d probably have to launch 8000 of them first, they don’t need to fear any war once the conflict is over. What the hell does self-determination have to do with an army and airspace? Self-determination is political, social and cultural expression of the people. It is not war, nor should it be. There are plenty of ways for two peaceful nations to ensure they cooperate on airspace and borders if there is a positive relationship. Once upon a time, probably after your child/ren were born, Israel had no problem letting the Palestinians build an international airport and sea port. It was when their real intentions became clear in 2000, 2001, 2002 that Israel destroyed those and other assets. However, in a real peace, why would Israel not permit those?

      Oh, and you’re completely wrong about what Israelis would accept and have accepted. The Peel plan and 181 both offered indefensible borders and the notion of airspace is not even considered in those discussions. The Yishuv accepted both plans. The reason, of course, is that they just wanted a state and the right to their own self-determination. They just wanted a Jewish state. Period.

      The Palestinians’ multiple refusals reveal they want a Palestinian state, and then they want another one inside Israel.

      As for their not accepting Jewish presence in Israel, it has nothing to do with their refusal for a state. It has to do with their charters’ statements denying Jewish history and connection to this land. Their ideas regarding destroying the Jews go back several decades and nothing has indicated that this attitude has changed. Or perhaps you heard Abbas say something at the UN that I didn’t. Did he say something about Jewish rights in the area? Jewish history, perhaps? Anything like that?

      In fact, Larry, can you point to ANY true indication that the Palestinians seek peace, end of conflict and agree to Israel’s existence with a Jewish majority. Go ahead, I’m really curious to see your evidence.

      Reply to Comment
    32. 1. KD Hotel – where’s your evidence about other warnings besides the one from the 16 yr old? Besides, what makes anybody think the British, one year after one of the bravest wars any nation ever fought, would evacuate its HQ in the Holy Land? Begin was just trying to cover his ass, which he did successfully in the eyes of Israelis but no one else.
      2. Prisoner releases – Numberous times, Palestinian terrorists took hostages, then IMMEDIATELY offered to release them in return for Israeli-held prisoners. If you blame the British for the deaths at KD Hotel, you have to blame Israel for the deaths that occurred after it turned down demands for prisoner releases. And if you blame Palestinian terrorists for the deaths of Israelis in such cases, you have to blame Begin and the Irgun for the deaths of the 75 civilians and 16 troops killed at KD HOtel.
      3. Israel is in the WB not because it doesn’t have a partner for peace, but becuase it decided to keep the land after the 6 Day War -against the advice of such as Ben-Gurion. If you want to trade land for peace, you don’t build towns, neighborhoods, schools, shopping centers, parking lots, etc. for 300,000 people on it. How you believe in Israel’s pure intentions toward the Palestinians is beyond me.
      4. You don’t see why the Palestinians would need an army and control of its borders and airspace because, after all, they have nothing to fear from Israel – see sentence above. Besides, they don’t need a reason – every state wants and has the right to control its land, coast and airspace, and have an army. It’s called sovereignty.
      5. About the Zionists’ acceptance of the Peel plan in 1937, do you think that would have spelled “end of conflict” for them? I don’t. The 1947 Partition plan gave the Jewish state a better land deal than it gave the Arab state, and gave each of them equal powers of sovereignty; the deals Israel has offered the Palestinians gave them, again, not sovereignty but vassalhood.
      6. About the PA’s willilngness to reach a peace agreement w/Israel – read Olmert’s NY Times op-ed, “Peace now – or never.” He knows Abbas better than any Israeli. Otherwise, the evidence is that Abbas, in all his negotations w/Israelis going back to before the Oslo accord, has never asked for one inch of territory more than the equivalent of what Israel conquered in 67; he’s shut down Palestinian terror for at least the last four years since Hamas left the coalition; according to Palileaks, his opening bid to Olmert on refugees was 100,000 over 10 years, told his Palestinian colleagues that Israel couldn’t accept even 1/4 (1 million) of the refugees becuase it would be the end of this country; he agreed to consider giving the issue of the Temple Mount and rest of “holy basin” to intl sovereignty; and according to public records and statements, he agreed to land swaps along the Green Line, including E. jerusalem, just not for Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim, which jut far into the WBank, and Har HOma, which was built after Oslo accrod was signed.
      Historian, this is just some of the stuff you don’t see, because it’s not black, and all you seem to see about Arabs is black. You’re welcome to have the last word – this time I really will keep my resolution to restrain myself and not reply.

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    33. Stella Goldschlag

      This comment was deleted by a moderator. The user Stella Goldschlag is banned from commenting on +972 Magazine.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Times change and what once might have seemed crystal clear on the day can become very rapidly distorted by the next. The future does not rest entirely on words; it tends to be determined more by deeds than by anything else. Therein lies the difficulty.

      How to plan for tomorrow when yesterday’s plans for today are consistently overthrown by events that often arrive in the light of each new dawn. What hope is there then for the days ahead when so little progress has been accomplished in the many generations past?

      This request by the Palestinians for full UN membership may have advantages for its supporters, tactical and in other ways, but where does it leave the situation in overall terms?
      Are things now very much better or do they appear to be worse? I guess it rather depends on your point of view. In any event, if people still continue to die violently, it means that the whole business has resumed its customary closed cycle and must be seen as no further forward than before.

      The task must be to somehow direct the future in spite of the present. Or, better still, inoculate that future so that any attempt by the present to change its direction will only lock it more firmly on course. By introducing an immensely powerful ability to withstand ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,’ the welcome condition of ending them can come into being, a circumstance universally acknowledged as ‘ a consummation devoutly to be wished.’

      It may be that the future must be made to do battle with the present as well as the past. Conquest here must be certain and beyond all doubt; for it to be otherwise can never be acceptable. And this we do by the simple expedient of knowing ourselves and being aware of that innate capacity we have for doing both good and evil.
      Generally speaking, ‘evil’ has always been seen as the easier option. That’s probably why there’s so much of it around. But ‘good’ can have a fascination all of its very own.
      It just depends on how you go about it.


      This problem has always been a BIG one.
      The demand, therefore, must be for no less than an equally BIG solution.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Good points Larry.

      I disagree with you about the degree of sovereignty if Palestine does not have an international military, only a police force.

      Basically, that it is not our choice of what Palestinians themselves decide. There are reports from Avishai, that the PA accepted a non-militarized form of sovereignty.

      There are precedents elsewhere. Costa Rica for example lives in what could only be called a dangerous neighborhood, with much political strife.

      They do not have a military, have never been invaded (since they have not had a military), not even been used as a guerilla staging base.

      And, because their “defense” budget is 1% of their total expenditures, they are able to offer decent education, public health, other services to their populace.

      It is a disadvantageous position relative to an aggressive Israel, but in some ways the idea of having a military that Palestine could finance, relative to the military that Israel could finance, would leave their military as impotent. That combined with the risk that miscommunication would occur, makes it a rational alternative, whether chosen or not.

      One enormously significant feature of the prospect of peace, is a considerable decrease in the military budgets of ALL states in the region.

      Let them determine, entirely, not even an invocation of “what, are you chicken? You don’t have the self-respect to defend yourself?”

      Reply to Comment
    36. Historian

      Wow, and you called me a propagandist? You could be the PLO spokesperson tomorrow. You are welcome to respond to this or not. I actually think this has been a very interesting discussion and one I wish I could have had with you numerous times when you were writing for the JPost, but couldn’t. I also apologize for not writing under my own name here, but that will come in time.

      1. http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Fire-Attack-David-Hotel/dp/0091452902. Three phone calls. If the warnings didn’t scare the British, then perhaps your attempt to equate Irgun terror with Hamas and Fatah terror falls flat. If an Israeli building or military building received a warning of an impending bombing, would they sit there and wait for it? In any case, and I repeat again, this was a military target and by comparing it to Ma’alot, you diminish your argument. Severely.

      2. If I were related to one of the victims of the Palestinian terrorist attacks and heard you say this, I’d be gravely offended. To reiterate, King David was British military HQ. Ma’alot was a school for children. Munich was a dorm for athletes. I know you can tell the difference. Also, can you point to an instance of Palestinian terrorists walking away from an attack because prisoners were freed? If not, then on what basis do you make the claim that there is any supposition to believe that release of prisoners would result in the end of the attack? Did the Palestinians kill Israeli athletes in Munich before even asking for the prisoner release? Yes. So why would they do that if their intent was to bargain? I can’t believe we’re even discussing this apologia for inexcusable Palestinian terrorism. I mean, seriously, we’re talking about a Palestinian massacre of children in a school that you’re comparing to an attack on a British military headquarters that received forewarning.

      3. Israel built towns and synagogues in Gaza. Then it left. Israel built tourist infrastructure and developed two oil fields in Sinai. Then it left. Israel has built neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria that mostly abut the Green Line. As you know, 80% of settlers live within an area 3% adjacent to the Green Line. If Israel needs to evacuate settlers in a peace agreement, if they give 19/20 parts to the Palestinians (give, not return), then the issue of removing settlers and infrastructure is much simpler than you present. And, in fact, both Barak and Olmert offered…around 95% of the WB for precisely that reason, and the security barrier built by Sharon was built to encompass about 8% of the WB. So I can point to historic moves made by Israel and historic offers made by Israel and you have to point to your analysis of what has been happening.

      Israel is in the WB because of a number of reasons. One of them, certainly, is that this is the heart of Jewish civilization. Another is that Israel – Center Left through to the Right – believes this is disputed territory. Another is that it is a bitter pill to swallow that because Jordan won this land and controlled it for 19 years, it is considered Arab land. This goes against San Remo, early UN commitments to honor the League of Nations decisions, and gives provenance to the ethnic cleansing of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem of all Jews by the Jordanians. Israel, however, has made it clear since 2000 that it is willing to leave virtually all of Judea and Samaria in exchange for peace and end of conflict. Again, I go by what has been offered and you are going by what you believe.

      4. You can have sovereignty with no or a limited army and you can find airspace arrangements that make everyone happy. There are no rules about what sovereignty has to be and considering what is happening in Egypt right now where every apparatchik and every presidential candidate is busy telling the press that the Egypt-Israel peace agreement isn’t sacrosanct, it’s ludicrous to give up those issues to the Palestinians. How long before Hamas conquers the new Palestine and in order to maintain the honor of their sovereignty launches rockets or has its sub-groups launch rockets at Israel? Oh wait, then they’ll have missiles and tanks because they will have an airport, control over their borders and an army. Great plan, Larry!

      Here’s a creative solution that lets the Palestinians claim sovereignty with dignity and honor: “Palestine” leases its airspace to Israel for the next 3000 years? Okay?
      “Palestine” signs a mutual defense pact with Israel that obligates the IDF to defend the Palestinians from inevitable Syrian attacks. It’s not as if Israel didn’t do it for Jordan (the other “Palestine) once.

      5. The Peel plan was accepted. That’s what I know. You think it would have meant continued conflict, but actually to remind you, the Peel Commission was appointed because the Arabs were having a long intifada against British and Jewish targets. It wasn’t Jewish violence that was the problem, so I’m not sure what you mean that it wouldn’t have meant end-of-conflict for the Yishuv. Irgun and Lehi wouldn’t even exist if it hadn’t been for the incessant Arab attacks and the subsequent British capitulation and support for Arab violence.

      As for 181, I have to say that hearing you say the Yishuv got a better deal in tandem with the equation that a King David attack is like a Ma’alot attack, it’s like I’m dealing with a PLO propagandist. The claim, of course, is that the Jews received 55% of Palestine and and the Arabs received 45% while at that time, Jews were a third of the population. Have you bothered to look at the map, Larry? The vast majority of the land given to the Jews was the Negev. Tell me, with all the advances made by Israel in agriculture, how is the Negev looking today? Would you like to compare it to the parts of the country given to the Arabs with respect to fertility and water sources? And that’s without giving consideration to the fact that 77% of Mandatory Palestine had already been given to the Hashemites, so that in reality, the Yishuv was receiving about 13% of what it expected to get back in the early 20th Century, and the Arabs would end up with 87% of the land. But the Yishuv accepted! They accepted. They didn’t ask about airspace or their indefensible borders. They didn’t complain about the internationalization of Jerusalem. They didn’t moan about honor and dignity. Nope, they swallowed the bitter pill and said “Yes!”

      Your claim that Israel offered the Palestinians “vassalhood” doesn’t even hold water today when Israel is still in charge of Judea and Samaria. It’s really an unbelievably weak excuse for not accepting a permanent peace, but I understand how desperate a Palestinian supporter must get when in every instance, the Palestinians prove over and over again that they don’t want to settle and compromise. It’s not like you can walk away from all the things you’ve said in their defense in the past. You’re stuck. It’s understandable. In my opinion, however, you should open your mind to the possibility that you’re actually supporting interminable war.

      6. Yeah, I read Palileaks. It was a good, edited read. I don’t know who edited it, do you? Since you don’t know who edited it or what has been edited out, on what basis do you give it 100% credulity?

      I do recall, however, reading in those tendentious, one-sided leaks, how considerate the Palestinians were in permitting Israel to keep the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem road. Very generous. Livni had to remind them it was in No-Man’s Land, not Palestinian territory. But yup, extremely generous. And you can just imagine PLO leadership mirth before they went to the negotiating table, “Hey, do you suppose they will walk away from Ma’aleh Edumim? Hahahaha.” Ma’aleh Edumim does not jut out that far into the WB and the Palestinians can certainly work around it. They already are with Issawiyah.

      Olmert offered what Israel can realistically offer. In an interview he gave last year, he said he couldn’t understand why Abbas never returned after he gave him the map. It’s not that hard to figure it out. After all, if somebody offers you 97.5% of what you claim you want and you reject the offer, the notion that you’re negotiating in good faith is ludicrous. Tell me, Larry, last time you went to the Old City shuk, did you pay 97.5% of the requested price for anything? 97.5%!! All of Gaza. 95% of the WB. 1:1 land swaps. Reparations. Limited refugee “return.” Eastern Jerusalem. Shared holy basin. I mean, HOLY COW! They walked away from that? What do they want?! Oh, I know, they want an army and airspace. Wait, did Olmert demand a demilitarized Palestine? I don’t think so. Did he demand the Jordan Valley? I don’t think so. Did he demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state? I don’t think so.

      The Palestinians walked away from an extremely fair deal that entirely undercuts your claims as to their rejection of what has been on the table.

      The Palestinians have decided to stall indefinitely because they believe that time will enable them to win. That’s why Ben Ami told Ha’aretz, in shock, that after all the negotiating and all the Israeli compromises at Taba, the Palestinian map moved about 0.3% from where it had been at Camp David. They refused to budge even an inch on refugees by demanding that 194 be a basis for the agreement. Compare that to Israel’s changed offers from Camp David to Taba.
      As for the PA stopping terror attacks for some years, you are joking I assume. The PA stopped attacks for two reasons only: their army was being equipped and trained by the US with Israeli support; the Israelis were protecting the PA from Hamas. This had nothing to do with peace-making. While they were not letting their suicide bombers loose, they were fighting an international diplomatic and grass-roots all-out war to delegitimize Israel as a state. Did you hear the speech Abbas made at the GA? That was their final battle cry for this effort. And, of course, it entirely ignored Jews and their history.

      Do keep your resolution and avoid replying. It’s hard to imagine what you can say in response to the facts.

      Reply to Comment
    37. I don’t think that there is really any rational way that an intelligent person could conclude that Israel has pursued peace in earnest.

      For virtually all of the rational goals of Israeli security that Israeli governments have proposed, the PA has expressed willingness to incorporate into an agreement and to enforce.

      That is the basis of Olmert, Peres others addressing Abbas as “my friend”, that he has in fact sought peace for a very long time.

      Peace was and hopefully remains possible. Israel’s security requires it.

      The worst that can happen for Israel’s security is for a larger and larger percentage of its frontier to devolve from a status of treaty to a status of enemy.

      And, that is occurring. Rather than the prospect of 100% of Israel’s frontier in relation to treaty, it is a prospect that 0% will be in the next couple years (if the PA disbands, and if Netanyahu is reelected).

      The negligence to construct a peace, to posture instead, is a grave lapse, very poor judgment.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Historian

      Israel walked out of Sinai for peace. Israel walked out of Gaza. Israel offered two states side by side in peace with the Palestinians getting: all of Gaza, 95% of the WB, 1:1 land swaps on the other 5%, reparations of at least $30 billion and probably closer to $50 billion, limited refugee “return” into Israel by different formulas, eastern Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, shared holy sites or an international holy basin. The Palestinians have refused.

      I don’t think there is really any rational way that an intelligent or unintelligent person could conclude that Israel did not pursue peace in earnest or that the Palestinians have been pursuing peace in earnest.

      If Peres is calling Abbas his friend, then perhaps he can have his friend explain why he keeps neglecting to mention Jewish connections to this land and keeps referring to 63 years instead of 44 years.

      Reply to Comment
    39. I’ll confine my response to your slanders. You seem very intelligent, so you didn’t misunderstand what I was saying, you maliciously twisted it. I compared Ma’alot and the King David Hotel bombing in that in both cases, the terrorists gave Israel and the British, respectively, the opportunity to save lives. I never compared the killing of children to the killing of adults; they’re incomparable. I sound to you like a PLO representative? You fucking viper. No PLO member whoever lived was a Zionist like I am, no PLO member ever defended Israel in word and deed like I have. Keep hiding behind your pen name, coward.

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    40. Historian

      What did I twist? This is what you wrote:

      “Numberous times, Palestinian terrorists took hostages, then IMMEDIATELY offered to release them in return for Israeli-held prisoners. If you blame the British for the deaths at KD Hotel, you have to blame Israel for the deaths that occurred after it turned down demands for prisoner releases. And if you blame Palestinian terrorists for the deaths of Israelis in such cases, you have to blame Begin and the Irgun for the deaths of the 75 civilians and 16 troops killed at KD HOtel.”

      If I misrepresented what you meant, perhaps it has something to do with the exact parallels that you made in that paragraph and the fact you mentioned Ma’alot and Munich? Maybe I’m not a fucking viper or a twister of anything, just a reporter of what I read?

      Reply to Comment
    41. Historian,
      I misspoke. I do believe that Israel has pursued peace in earnest in the past, though the example of leaving Gaza was not so clearly that.

      The difference between leaving Sinai and leaving Gaza was that it occurred through negotiation, mutual consent and collaboration.

      I don’t believe that Netanyahu has pursued peace in earnest, but does want to have sound bites with which to claim that he is.

      From the perspective of considering Palestinians as human beings, they often appear to me to be saintly in their patience and endurance.

      There certainly are many, and many that claim to speak on their behalf, that one must worry about grossly.

      And, there certainly are many that we should look to to learn from, given their continued determination to live decent human lives, to get educated, to care for families, to choose to not hate in spite of being hated.

      Are there any Palestinians that you’ve admired Historian?

      Reply to Comment
    42. Historian

      Sari Nusseibah.

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    43. Deïr Yassin

      Funny, our “Historian” admires Sari Nusseibeh. Sari Nusseibeh is a One Stater by now, and asks that Israel annex the OT, which is close to the South African-solution that I mentioned on another thread, and got a dismissive answer from our new Hasbara troll. Maybe he just knows nothing about Sari Nusseibeh’s visions…. Amandla !
      There’s a link to the original Le Figaro-interview.

      Reply to Comment
    44. Historian

      You know, now that a couple of hours have passed from the shock of your hostile reaction, I may have a better handle on it.

      I didn’t mean to offend you or put you back on the hotspot about the sensitive topic of Palestinian terrorism. I was merely having a debate with you, and my PLO spokesperson comment followed well after you called me a propagandist and insane. To be fair, since I don’t use my name, those attacks are meaningless, but I was responding in kind.

      In any case, what you were saying about terror attacks appeared very clear to me, although you explain now – and I believe you – that what I understood was not what you meant.

      I do apologize if I misspoke about your intentions. It was, sincerely, how I read your comments. We strongly disagree about how the conflict should be resolved as well as ways of viewing the conflict, but the irony is that we both oppose the King David attack as well as the Ma’alot attacks.

      Maybe the difference lies in that I view the King David attack as a military operation where the perpetrators sought to minimize injuries, and you don’t. That’s okay, plenty of Leftists in Israel don’t.

      If I may, however, and I say this with complete sincerity, not with any intention of causing additional offense: the Palestinians have done some horrendous things to Israel. They are so horrendous that you still can’t walk into a bus station in Israel without somebody having a fit at a forgotten bag or without putting your child on a bus with a pang of worry as to whether that child will return home. I ate at Sbarro in Jerusalem three years ago or so and I could not stop worrying that I might be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s a feeling I often have when I’m in midtown Jerusalem and I know that many people share it. That is one effect of terrorism, and this toying with Jewish and Jewish Israeli minds is the product of intentional actions by the Palestinians over a period going back many decades.

      It hurts you, Larry, when you compare those actions to something like the King David. The Irgun attacked the British soldiers, not the civilians in that building. There is no comparison to the Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilian targets before or after suicide bombings became all the rage. Even if you’re convinced you’re 100% right that at their foundation there are similarities, I believe it severely undercuts other parts of your argument because we can civilly discuss what a sovereign state means, but it’s much harder to discuss blown up, sliced up or shot-up Israeli civilians when there have been so many terror attacks over the years. At a time when rockets are launched at Israeli civilian targets indiscriminately, I believe it hurts you greatly to try to find parallels with Israeli actions. You can agree or disagree, but I’m trying to be helpful here.

      Reply to Comment
    45. Historian

      Deir Yassin, it is a sad interview, but it is far from your silly gloat that Nussaibah is a one-stater.

      Reply to Comment
    46. robert

      Great discussion here (although I wouldn’t blame Historian if he felt this discussion is taking place in “wonderland”).

      If I may, I would love to see you guys discuss the source(s) of Israel’s legitimacy. I feel this is an important issue as it cuts to the crux of the I/P conflict. Abbas is waging a war against the legitimacy of the state of Israel as evidenced in his UN address. So, I would like to hear people in this forum answer:

      What is the justification for the existence of the State of Israel?

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    47. I think your choice of Sari Nasseibeh is an important one.

      The one characteristic of his that I’ve noted for a very long time, is his utter absence of dehumanization of Israelis. He doesn’t call them “enemy”, for the content of the word itself, and for the dehumanization of putting a generalized name (a function rather than a relationship) on neighbors.

      Sari is personally close friends with MANY Israelis, intellectuals and not.

      Abbas on the other hand is not on the street, not interacting closely with his neighbors, but is more insulated in Ramallah, only able to meet Israelis formally, rather than often informally.

      Fayyad travels in more cosmopolitan circles as a former official for World Bank.

      When I met Edward Said, I had the same impression personally, that he didn’t dehumanize Israelis in face to face interactions. His writings were mixed.

      If you start with the FACT that Palestinians are human beings, then you have to address their current state of suppression. It is unavoidable, and conflicts with how one would treat a human being, with the predisposition of trust of another.

      Criminals are criminals for their actions, not their identity. To generalize in any way is to indict for a crime not committed, trial without habeus corpus.

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    48. OK, Historian, thanks for the apology – I apologize, too, for the insulting things I said – but please allow me to point out that they began after you wrote that I would justify a genocidal Palestinian dictatorship, together with a chiding reference to that blog I wrote about Palestinian terrorism. But hey, I respect you for writing that apology and clarification, and from my side, we’re cool now. But I really should retire from the comment wars, maybe one day we’ll kick this around in a more relaxed setting.

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    49. Historian

      Larry, fair enough.

      Richard, I always start with the fact that the Palestinians are human beings. I want the Palestinians to live in peace with Israel. For that, I am willing to see Israel give up a tremendous amount and even gamble to a certain degree. Where I am not willing to go, even for a moment, is to the idea that somehow Israel is the party to blame for this mess. Israel can be blamed for part of it, absolutely, but these conversations are almost always focused on either Israel’s guilt, Israel’s lack of desire for peace, Israel’s criminality, Israel’s birth from terrorism, etc. Of course, this is done by Palestinian supporters who tend to minimize or ignore the Palestinian role in this history. I do believe that both parties have done wrong and both parties need to adjust their approach, and I can say with confidence that this has indeed happened in Israel. Where Israelis are, even today with a Right wing government, versus where they were 20 years ago, are two different universes. Israelis have internalized massive differences in how their history is told, how they perceive themselves, how they perceive both Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, how they perceive what a final settlement must be. These changes in Israeli perceptions led to a Kadima government elected on a platform of exiting Judea and Samaria just like Israel exited Gaza. These changes in perception led Olmert to offer what he did. These changes in perception have led Netanyahu to say things that no Likud leader has ever said before and if I had told you in 1996 that he would say those things, you’d send me to a psychiatrist.

      But I’m not seeing these changes on the Palestinian side, either in their leaders’ approach or in the people’s approach as we can tell from many polls that have been taken over the past few years. Not only that, but all the indications are that the Palestinians are waging an existential war against Israel. Right now it is mostly not a violent war, because they’ve realized they can do with suits and sweet nothings coming out of their mouth much more than they can with suicide bombings, but the goal remains to erase the Jewish state.

      This needs to change.

      In the meantime, all I’m trying to do is change the conversation from the unfair attacks on Israel to a responsible conversation that includes Palestinian responsibility and the changes they must make within their society to achieve an understanding of the need for compromise.

      Sari Nusseibah is a good man. Within the context of very challenging periods, and despite pressure from his own people, he maintained a posture of seeking peace with Israel. I don’t necessarily agree with the details of the plans he has co-authored over the years, but that doesn’t matter because if you can have REAL conversations with people who mean it when they claim they want peace and they recognize the needs of the other side, then you can find a compromise. Sadly for him and for us, he is nowhere near as influential as he was and as he should be.

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