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The day after is here: What the Iran deal means for Israel

With at least 34 votes in the Senate, the Iran deal is a fait accompli. Netanyahu will continue to enjoy a reprieve from pressure about the peace process as a result of the diplomatic energy being spent on implementing the Iran deal and Obama’s efforts to push it through Congress. Israel will also, however, face increased pressure regarding its own nuclear arsenal as part of a renewed Iranian push for regional disarmament.

By Shemuel Meir

The heavy water reactor in Arak, Iran (Photo: Nanking2012, CC)

The heavy water reactor in Arak, Iran (Photo: Nanking2012, CC)

The discourse on the nuclear deal between Iran and the Western powers continues to change. Opponents of the agreement are waging a last-ditch attempt to present a “better deal in place of a bad deal” — but the community of independent experts on nuclear proliferation understand that the Vienna Agreement blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon. Those who are not driven by ideological-political considerations understand that the deal does not temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear progress for 15 years, but rather it establishes the country as a Non Nuclear Weapon State (NNWS) according to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It is a deal that does away with the ambiguousness of Iran’s nuclear program over the last decade. The deal creates a new paradigm in which “there is no nuclear weapon in Iran” is the order of the day.

Over the past week, the deal’s opponents in the U.S. and Israel have attempted to take advantage of the public’s ignorance about the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in order to make it seem like the agency’s inspection regime relies on self-supervision by Iran. The story was a final, failing attempt to tear apart the heart of the agreement, which in reality is based on an intrusive monitoring regime. It must be noted that the IAEA is responsible for continuous supervision of every nuclear facility, including the Parchin military complex, through its special equipment.

Furthermore, every IAEA inspector worldwide was professionally trained in the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States, which is responsible for producing America’s nuclear arsenal. This means that the U.S. will be present, even if indirectly, in the monitoring delegations in Iran. According to the agreement, only inspectors from countries that have diplomatic relations with Iran will be able to enter, hence the re-opening of the British embassy in Iran and the re-establishment of ties between the two countries will allow British IAEA inspectors to take part. On the nuclear issue, like on issues of intelligence, the U.S. and Britain maintain a “special relationship” unrivaled across the globe. On these issues, the U.S. and Britain are strategic twins.

An IAEA expert demonstrating how the safeguards Next Generation Surveillance System (NGSS) works, March 20, 2015. (Photo: Dean Calma / IAEA)

An IAEA expert demonstrating how the safeguards Next Generation Surveillance System (NGSS) works, March 20, 2015. A large part of the the IAEA’s inspection regime utilizes remote surveillance and detection equipment. (Photo: Dean Calma / IAEA)

The discourse about Iran the day after the nuclear agreement touches on a wide range of topics: Iran’s regional position, its relations with “moderate” Sunni states, a possible détente with the U.S., the war against Islamic State, terrorism, Iran’s place in the Syria crisis and possible solutions to the civil war, and implications for the global energy economy. But let’s take a look at the direct consequences the deal will have on Israel.

The peace process. Despite the fact that this phrase has been erased from the lexicon of the Israeli government and the country’s centrist camp, there is such a thing. There are no indications that Obama plans to retreat from his outline for a sovereign Palestinian state on the basis of 1967 lines with mutually agreed upon adjustments, and that borders Jordan and Egypt. The intense negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal, however, have sucked dry the administration’s diplomatic energy for the time being.

We are now seeing precisely what the White House had hoped to avoid: an orchestrated campaign by Netanyahu, AIPAC, and the Republicans in Congress to thwart the deal. Because of the current battle over the Iran deal, Obama hopes that France will freeze its UN Security Council initiative to set a timetable for establishing a Palestinian state. But let’s be clear: he wants Paris to freeze the plan, not rescind it.

President Barack Obama watches as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (right) shake hands at a trilateral meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, N.Y, Sept. 22, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama watches as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (right) shake hands at a trilateral meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, N.Y, Sept. 22, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Exactly when the peace initiative resurfaces will be determined according to the detailed timetable for the nuclear deal with Iran. It isn’t likely to happen in the near future (Obama must first overcome the congressional hurdle), or at the UN General Assembly meeting at the end of September. According to the nuclear deal, the first stage Iran must pass in order to get approval from the IAEA is in mid-December — when the agency hands over its report on the past suspicions surrounding Parchin (until 2003, when suspicious military activity was halted at the complex). This will be the green light to gradually start removing sanctions in the spring of 2016.

What does that mean for Israel? The spring of next year will likely be the final days of quiet, during which no one asks the Israeli government about peace with the Palestinians. From that point on, President Obama will have 10 months to push forward his peace plan without having to deal with any political pressure, or at the very least revive the “Clinton Parameters.” In all likelihood the most Obama will be able to do is hope to pass on some process or progress on the Palestinian issue to his successor. Eliminating the Quartet’s condition of not speaking to Hamas would also help. If the president wants to base his plan on Saudi Arabia’s Arab Peace Initiative (API) based on ’67 lines (much like Secretary of State Kerry did), he will find that Iran is an indirect supporter. (The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, of which Iran is an important member, has endorsed the Arab Peace Initiative.) The new Iran may find it advantageous to present an outward appearance that is pro-peace, and maybe even support diplomatic efforts to mend ties between Fatah and Hamas. Iran has “something to give” the United States vis-a-vis Israeli-Palestinian peace — and it can get something in return somewhere else.

Nuclear disarmament in the Middle East. It is unlikely that the P5+1 forum (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) will be appropriate for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be useful for other regional goals. Two weeks after the Vienna agreement, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif published a surprising op-ed in The Guardian, which spoke directly to the five declared nuclear powers with which Iran negotiated in Vienna. The headline said it all: “Iran has signed an historic nuclear agreement — now it’s Israel’s turn.” According to Zarif, the world must take advantage of the momentum created by the Vienna Agreement, which cements Iran’s status as Non Nuclear Weapon State, in order to create a worldwide initiative to ban nuclear weapons. This initiative will breathe new life into and complete the NPT. Zarif knows well that this will be difficult and complex. Thus, he proposes that the five nuclear powers begin taking a number of small, viable steps. Among the first of them: taking steps toward establishing a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, as well as other weapons of mass destruction.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif meets with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. IAEA, Vienna, Austria. 18 July 2014. (Photo: Dean Calma/IAEA)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif meets with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. IAEA, Vienna, Austria. 18 July 2014. (Photo: Dean Calma/IAEA)

Zarif’s surprising article flew under Israel’s radar. Adding new parlance that will one day be quoted in strategic literature, the Iranian foreign minister distanced himself from the typical Egyptian call over the past few decades, according to which “Israel must join the NPT,” and instead posed a new challenge to the nuclear powers: establish a Middle East free of nuclear weapons as soon as possible, as part of a global initiative. It appears that the Vienna Agreement might allow the new Iran to return and reclaim its place of leadership from the 1970s in everything having to do with regional nuclear disarmament. Zarif’s initiative is proof.

The paradigm of a “nuclear weapons-free Iran” obligates us to rethink a few things. Initial signs of the Iranian challenge could be found in President Rouhani’s speech at the UN. But the most important indications were on full display at the most recent NPT Review Conference in May of this year. At the NPT, Iran did not join the antagonistic Egyptian position, instead sending pragmatic messages to the American delegation that was attempting — and ultimately failed — to break the impasse between Cairo and Jerusalem. The Iranian delegation indicated to the U.S. that it sees a reciprocal link between its own nuclear deal and regional nuclear disarmament/non-proliferation.

The new Iran can be expected to take Egypt’s top spot in international nuclear forums, and to create new challenges and lay terra incognita for Israeli diplomats. This is likely the end of the duel between Egypt and Israel. Zarif is trying to put the discussion about regional disarmament on the table of the five permanent UNSC members, within the same framework that led to the Vienna agreement. Israel is likely find that its “Long Corridor” doctrine, of avoiding ever reaching the NPT, has exhausted itself. Iran is proposing abandoning the Long Corridor and the endless discussions about procedures and trust-building measures woven by Egypt and Israel — and opening a new door to regional disarmament at an accelerated pace. This is the new Middle East, Iranian style. The major unknown variable is the reaction of the United States, which in the past supported the Helsinki Conference on regional nuclear disarmament. The first test will be at both the IAEA meeting in Vienna and the UN General Assembly in NY this September.

Shemuel Meir is a former IDF analyst and associate researcher at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. Today he is an independent researcher on nuclear and strategic issues and author of the “Strategic Discourse” blog, which appears in Haaretz. A version of this article was first published in Hebrew. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. betz55

      There is a typo in this article – “… to break the impasse between Cairo and Jerusalem.” It should read Cairo and Tel Aviv. No matter how much the writer and Israel want it to be so, it isn’t. Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel, not Jerusalem.

      Under international law, neither East nor West Jerusalem is considered Israel’s capital. Tel Aviv is recognised as Israel’s capital, pending a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.

      East Jerusalem is considered by the international community to be illegally occupied by Israel, in contravention of several binding UN Security Council Resolutions.

      In these resolutions, the United Nations Security Council has also called for no measures to be taken to change the status of Jerusalem until a final settlement is reached between the sides.

      Declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is an attempt to change this status, and is thus a violation of these Security Council resolutions and against international law.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “Declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is an attempt to change this status”

        Excuse me for pointing this out but it is entirely unreasonable to leave the status of a city with a population of over 500,000 to be indeterminate for 48 years. They have a life to live even if the politically stacked UN does not care about that.

        Reply to Comment
        • betz55

          It doesn’t matter. Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel, Tel Aviv is. Those are the facts as they are today, no matter how many times an hasbaric writer writes it.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            To the contrary. The fact today is that Jerusalem is under Israeli sovereignity. We control the city and it is our capital because we say it is. And no number of UN resolutions fuelled by Arab oil money and stacked Arab/Muslim votes will change that.

            “It doesn’t matter” he says. Only Arab grievances matter to some people our issues don’t matter to them. Fine. We feel the same way about what matters to them.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “The fact today is that Jerusalem is under Israeli sovereignity.”

            The fact today is that Jerusalem is under Israeli occupation.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Occupation? Then please tell us who has the right to take control of Jerusalem if the “occupation” would end? And the hundreds of thousands of Jewish Israelis (the majority population of Jerusalem) would become citizens of which country in such an event?

            Can’t or won’t answer that question (Anti) Israel dear? Why not? What have you got to hide? Or are you just the shy type?

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “Occupation?”

            Yes.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Occupation? Then please tell us who has the right to take control of Jerusalem if the “occupation” would end? And the hundreds of thousands of Jewish Israelis (the majority population of Jerusalem) would become citizens of which country in such an event?

            Can’t or won’t answer that question (Anti) Israel dear? Why not? What have you got to hide? Or are you just the shy type?

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “Occupation?”

            Yes.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “Occupation?”

            No. Jerusalem is not occupied. How could it be? The majority of it’s population are Israeli Jews.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “No. Jerusalem is not occupied”

            Yes. Jerusalem is occupied.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            No. Jerusalem is not occupied

            Reply to Comment
        • Israel

          “it is entirely unreasonable to leave the status of a city with a population of over 500,000 to be indeterminate for 48 years.”

          The status of Jerusalem hasn’t changed since 1948, the year Israel occupied the city.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            (ANTI) ISRAEL:”The status of Jerusalem hasn’t changed since 1948, the year Israel occupied the city.”

            Jerusalem is not occupied. The majority of Jerusalem’s population has been Jewish since the mid 1800s.

            A country cannot be an occupier of a city whose majority population are it’s own citizens.

            Reply to Comment
      • Israel

        “Under international law, neither East nor West Jerusalem is considered Israel’s capital.”

        Correct, Betz55.

        The state of Israel was unilaterally “proclaimed as an independent republic within the frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947”, and under international law, Israel’s border with Palestine hasn’t moved an inch since May 14, 1948.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          The fact is that United Nation General Assembly resolutions are non binding. Look it up dear (Anti) Israel.

          That fact was known by your Arab friends dear (Anti) Israel. That is why they ignored the resolution. And, what do ya know. Israel then has the same right to ignore that resolution. Why should we play the “good boys”? We behave the same way as others behave. We look after our interests. Get used to it, deary.

          Moreover, if Jerusalem would be under occupation, then someone else would own Jerusalem, not us. But it seems that you (Anti) Israel are unable or unwilling to tell us who that someone else is. Nor can you justify it. And that too tells the story. We are here, we control Jerusalem and posession is ten tenths of the law. Get used to it.

          Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “The fact is that United Nation General Assembly resolutions are non binding.”

            The fact is the state of Israel was unilaterally “proclaimed as an independent republic within the frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947”, and under international law, Israel’s border with Palestine hasn’t moved an inch since May 14, 1948.

            “Moreover, if…”

            There is no “if”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            The fact is that United Nation General Assembly resolutions are non binding. Look it up dear (Anti) Israel.

            That fact was known by your Arab friends dear (Anti) Israel. That is why they ignored the resolution. And, what do ya know. Israel then has the same right to ignore that resolution. Why should we play the “good boys”? We behave the same way as others behave. We look after our interests. Get used to it, deary.

            Moreover, if Jerusalem would be under occupation, then someone else would own Jerusalem, not us. But it seems that you (Anti) Israel are unable or unwilling to tell us who that someone else is. Nor can you justify it. And that too tells the story. We are here, we control Jerusalem and posession is ten tenths of the law. Get used to it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “The fact is that United Nation General Assembly resolutions are non binding.”

            The fact is the state of Israel was unilaterally “proclaimed as an independent republic within the frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947”, and under international law, Israel’s border with Palestine hasn’t moved an inch since May 14, 1948.

            “Moreover, if…”

            There is no “if”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_resolution

            “Although General Assembly resolutions are generally non-binding towards member states, internal resolutions may be binding on the operation of the General Assembly itself, for example with regard to budgetary and procedural matters.”

            So since the Arabs ignored UNGA Resolution 181 which proclaimed the borders of the Jewish and the Arab states. That resolution is now null and void.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “…General Assembly resolutions are generally non-binding…”

            Irrelevant.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            GUSTAV:“…General Assembly resolutions are generally non-binding…”

            (ANTI) ISRAEL:”Irrelevant.”

            How is it irrelevant? If something is non binding then it isn’t law is it? One either takes it or one leaves it. Your Arabs left it so we left it too.

            So now it isn’t law no matter how often you assert otherwise.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            ASSERTION:”There is no if”

            There IS if and please answer my question:

            “Moreover, if Jerusalem would be under occupation, then someone else would own Jerusalem, not us. But it seems that you (Anti) Israel are unable or unwilling to tell us who that someone else is. Nor can you justify it.

            Ya, can’t? Then that too tells the story. We are here, we control Jerusalem and posession is ten tenths of the law.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Gustav

      A few pertinent facts about Jerusalem…

      1. It was the ancient capital of the Jewish kingdom of Judea.

      2. (1) above is supported by ample archeological evidence.

      3. Since around the mid 1800s to today, Jerusalem had a majority Jewish population.

      4. Jerusalem was never the capital city of ANY sovereign Arab country.

      5. The last time part of Jerusalem (East Jerusalem) was under Arab sovereignity (Jordan) was for a brief period (19 years between 1948 and 1967). Prior to that, for a over 1000 years, no part of Jerusalem was part of a sovereign Arab country.

      6. Just before 1948, Jerusalem was part of the British mandate.

      7. In 1948, Jordan conquered East Jerusalem and kicked out the entire Jewish community of East Jerusalem.

      8. In 1948, the new state of Israel retained West Jerusalem which had a majority Jewish population.

      9. East and West Jerusalem were never separate cities. They were always part of the same city.

      10. In 1967, after Jordan attacked Israel, the Jordanians were defeated and East Jerusalem too came under Israeli rule and once again the two parts of the city were re-united.

      It is therefore an open and shut case. Israel has the strongest claim to Jerusalem. Anyone who disputes that, needs to tell us on what basis they dispute Israel’s claim to Jerusalem. And they then need to tell us who then owns Jerusalem? The fact that “our friend”, this persona who calls himself “Israel”, but who in fact is ANTI ISRAEL, can’t answer my question, tells a story. He is afraid that his answer will make him a laughing stock.

      Reply to Comment
      • Israel

        “A few pertinent facts about Jerusalem…”

        No pertinent facts.

        “Anyone who disputes that…”

        It’s an indisputable fact that Jerusalem is outside the territory of the state of Israel.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          A few pertinent facts about Jerusalem…

          1. It was the ancient capital of the Jewish kingdom of Judea.

          2. (1) above is supported by ample archeological evidence.

          3. Since around the mid 1800s to today, Jerusalem had a majority Jewish population.

          4. Jerusalem was never the capital city of ANY sovereign Arab country.

          5. The last time part of Jerusalem (East Jerusalem) was under Arab sovereignity (Jordan) was for a brief period (19 years between 1948 and 1967). Prior to that, for a over 1000 years, no part of Jerusalem was part of a sovereign Arab country.

          6. Just before 1948, Jerusalem was part of the British mandate.

          7. In 1948, Jordan conquered East Jerusalem and kicked out the entire Jewish community of East Jerusalem.

          8. In 1948, the new state of Israel retained West Jerusalem which had a majority Jewish population.

          9. East and West Jerusalem were never separate cities. They were always part of the same city.

          10. In 1967, after Jordan attacked Israel, the Jordanians were defeated and East Jerusalem too came under Israeli rule and once again the two parts of the city were re-united.

          It is therefore an open and shut case. Israel has the strongest claim to Jerusalem. Anyone who disputes that, needs to tell us on what basis they dispute Israel’s claim to Jerusalem. And they then need to tell us who then owns Jerusalem? The fact that “our friend”, this persona who calls himself “Israel”, but who in fact is ANTI ISRAEL, can’t answer my question, tells a story. He is afraid that his answer will make him a laughing stock.

          Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “A few pertinent facts about Jerusalem”

            No pertinent facts.

            “Anyone who disputes that”

            It’s an indisputable fact that Jerusalem is outside the territory of the state of Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            A few pertinent facts about Jerusalem…

            1. It was the ancient capital of the Jewish kingdom of Judea.

            2. (1) above is supported by ample archeological evidence.

            3. Since around the mid 1800s to today, Jerusalem had a majority Jewish population.

            4. Jerusalem was never the capital city of ANY sovereign Arab country.

            5. The last time part of Jerusalem (East Jerusalem) was under Arab sovereignity (Jordan) was for a brief period (19 years between 1948 and 1967). Prior to that, for a over 1000 years, no part of Jerusalem was part of a sovereign Arab country.

            6. Just before 1948, Jerusalem was part of the British mandate.

            7. In 1948, Jordan conquered East Jerusalem and kicked out the entire Jewish community of East Jerusalem.

            8. In 1948, the new state of Israel retained West Jerusalem which had a majority Jewish population.

            9. East and West Jerusalem were never separate cities. They were always part of the same city.

            10. In 1967, after Jordan attacked Israel, the Jordanians were defeated and East Jerusalem too came under Israeli rule and once again the two parts of the city were re-united.

            It is therefore an open and shut case. Israel has the strongest claim to Jerusalem. Anyone who disputes that, needs to tell us on what basis they dispute Israel’s claim to Jerusalem. And they then need to tell us who then owns Jerusalem? The fact that “our friend”, this persona who calls himself “Israel”, but who in fact is ANTI ISRAEL, can’t answer my question, tells a story. He is afraid that his answer will make him a laughing stock.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “A few pertinent facts about Jerusalem…”

            No pertinent facts.

            “Anyone who disputes that…”

            It’s an indisputable fact that Jerusalem is outside the territory of the state of Israel.

            Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          ASSERTION:”It’s an indisputable fact that Jerusalem is outside the territory of the state of Israel.”

          Then tell us oh wise one, in which country’s territory is Jerusalem located? And justify your answer.

          Can’t? Or won’t? Then you have no case. Jerusalem, was, is and always will be part of Israel for as long as human beings will walk on this earth. Kapish? Nah, of course you no kapish. But that will not change reality.

          Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “ASSERTION:”It’s an indisputable fact that Jerusalem is outside the territory of the state of Israel.”

            Indisputable fact: Jerusalem is outside the territory of the state of Israel.

            “Jerusalem, was, is and always will be part of Israel…”

            Israel didn’t exist before 1948 and Jerusalem has never been a part of Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “Israel didn’t exist before 1948 and Jerusalem has never been a part of Israel.”

            Actually a Jewish state DID exist more than 2000 years ago and it’s capital was Jerusalem. But even if one could discount that, which of course we can’t…

            …even then, before 1948, Jerusalem was part of the British mandate which no longer exists. But Israel exists today on parts of what used to be the British mandate and Jerusalem IS it’s capital. Ya don’t believe me? That doesn’t matter because we control Jerusalem and most of it’s population is Jewish. So guess what … the majority of Jerusalem’s population vote for Jerusalem to be part of Israel even though it causes the likes of you immense pain.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “before 1948…”

            …the state of Israel didn’t exist and Jerusalem has always been outside the territory of the state of Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            ANTI (ISRAEL):”under international law, Israel’s border with Palestine hasn’t moved an inch since May 14, 1948″

            International law my foot. The UN passed a non binding resolution, in effect a recommendation which the Arabs rejected. They rejected it both by word and deed. They made war on Israel with the specific purpose of nullifying the UN’s resolution. Had they succeeded, we would not be having this argument because it would be an accepted fact that Israel would not exist.

            But what our deluded “friend” is asvocating is that Israel should rise about that and adhere to that defunct UN resolution. What (ANTI) ISRAEL is in effect condoning is the idea that the Arabs had the right to try and destroy Israel but since they did not succeed, we should pretend that nothing happened. The Arabs should be patted on their collective “cute little heads” and be told: “don’t worry dearies, you can still have what you were offered but rejected”… What next? Unicorns? Pink elephants? Flying pigs?

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “They made war on Israel with the specific purpose of nullifying the UN’s [a “non-binding”] resolution.”

            What next? Unicorns? Pink elephants? Flying pigs?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            GUSTAV:“They made war on Israel with the specific purpose of nullifying the UN’s [a “non-binding”] resolution.”

            (ANTI) ISRAEL:”What next? Unicorns? Pink elephants? Flying pigs?”

            Now he is denying history. Immediately after UN GA Resolution 181 was announced, your Palestinian Arabs rioted and murdered any Jew who they came across.

            After Israel announced it’s independence in 1948, 7 Arab armies invaded Palestine and promised death and destruction to all Jews.

            In the ensuing war which lasted till 1949, Israel lost (lost as in we had that many killed) 1% of our population. Had America ever suffered such casualty rates, they would obliterate such an enemy.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      Gustav, yes indeed it is entirely unreasonable for the status of a city with a population of over 500,000 to be indeterminate for 48 years. It is entirely unreasonable for Israel to occupy Jerusalem for 48 years and use every underhanded maneuver and trick to edge Arab persons out, take their land and their buildings, throw up every obstacle it can find to Arab persons building houses, etc. These people have lives to live. Even though Israel couldn’t care less about that. Israel, by its discriminatory treatment of the Arab minority in Jerusalem over 48 years, has not earned the right to own it. No one has. No one owns Jerusalem. Shouting the contrary and stamping your feet won’t change that. It has to be shared or made a multiparty protectorate as part of a final status agreement. If you disagree, you might consider what Natasha Roth identifies, correctly I think, about the problem of narcissistic entitlement:

      http://972mag.com/in-nabi-saleh-an-occupiers-sense-of-entitlement/111322/

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        BEN:”It is entirely unreasonable for Israel to occupy Jerusalem for 48 years”

        Occupy? So which country owns Jerusalem if according to you it isn’t Israel? I know, you won’t answer that question either. How convenient…

        How can a city be occupied if the majority population of that city are citizens of the so called occupier?

        Ya do know that since the mid 1800s, the Jewish population of Jerusalem was in the majority? You do know that Benny, don’t you? Of course you do but you want to ignore that very pertinent fact.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          In any case, that now irrelevant UN vote did not say that Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinian Arabs. Ya do know that too Benny, don’t ya? Of course you do. But you are pretending otherwise…

          Reply to Comment
        • Israel

          “How can a city be occupied if the majority population of that city are citizens of the so called occupier? .”

          By committing crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, like Israel has.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            GUSTAV:”How can a city be occupied if the majority population of that city are citizens of the so called occupier? .”

            (ANTI)-ISRAEL:”By committing crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, like Israel has.”

            First of all, you did not answer my question.

            Second of all, from your ridiculous claim, I can equally claim that your Palestinan Arabs are occupiers since they have been committing crimes and terrorism against our civilians for nearly 100 years now.

            Now go take your medications, (ANTI) ISRAEL!

            Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          I already just answered you. No one “owns” it. Are you just pretending to lack basic comprehension skills? It’s like talking to a wall with you. The East Jerusalem neighborhoods are overwhelmingly Arab not Jewish. No one in the world does or will recognize the 1980 Jerusalem law. That Israel occupies East Jerusalem at least, in blatant violation of international law, is glaringly obvious. All your ridiculous bluster takes place in an hermetically sealed mental vacuum inside your head. The whole pseudo-dialogue you’re carrying on ostensibly with ‘Israel’ but really inside your head is ridiculous. One can’t have a meaningful dialogue with you. You’re nuts about this.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”I already just answered you. No one “owns” it”

            No one owns a city? That’s a novel concept. Name one other city in the world which is not owned by ANY country?

            And your pretence that somehow East Jerusalem is not part of the city of Jerusalem is ridiculous too. The two parts, East and West Jerusalem have been artificially seperated only for a brief period when Jordan unlawfully invaded Palestine and controlled East Jerusalem for 19 years between 1948 and 1967. Before that, for milennia, East and West Jerusalem were one and the same city. And Jews always lived in BOTH East and West Jerusalem. Want proof? Part of East Jerusalem is called the Jewish quarter.

            No one recognizes the above reality? Not true but even if it were, so what? Those are still historical FACTS and we are here that’s a fact too. The deniers WILL come to terms with facts in the same way that they eventually accepted that the earth is not the center of the universe, nor is the earth flat and that slavery is not the natural order of things, nor is the new form of antiSemitism – the hatred of Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            As I said, you’re nuts about this, a true fanatic. It’s clear that on the subject of Jerusalem you get especially unhinged and are an irredentist, hypernationalist fanatic who will never accept peaceful solutions. To answer your question Jerusalem is the only major city I’m aware of that is not (legally) owned by a country. That’s the problem! (Duh!) One always knows you’re totally out of substantive answers when you fall back on the old standby: any criticism of blatant Israeli wrongdoing is “the new anti-Semitism.” How convenient.

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          • Gustav

            BEN:”As I said, you’re nuts about this, a true fanatic”

            BEN:”To answer your question Jerusalem is the only major city I’m aware of that is not (legally) owned by a country.”

            OK Benny, let’s have it your way. I am nuts about this and a true fanatic. And all the rest of the names you called me…

            Now let’s try an experiment…

            Why don’t we pick on some other capitals or important cities and try to detach them from their respective countries?

            …say Washington, London, Paris, Moscow, Tehran, Beirut, Mecca, Medina…

            Let’s see how many fanatics would oppose the idea, care to guess, Benny?

            After you start a serious campaign like that with others and see their reaction, you will see why I call you lot antiSemites for singling out Israel as candidates of such ludicrous experiments.

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          • Ben

            Logic, Gustav. We just established the premise that Jerusalem is categorically *different* from all the other cities on the criterion in question: ownership. Then you try to derive from that premise a conclusion that cannot be logically derived from it, because it violates that premise on the face if it. ‘Israel’ has said as much.

            Look, your true purpose here in my view is to shift us from any reasonable dialogue within the space occupied by the center to left, to shift the discourse to a fanatic right wing standard and define that as the new normal. Nothing doing. I’m not cooperating in that hasbaric shift.

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          • Gustav

            BEN:”Logic, Gustav. We just established the premise that Jerusalem is categorically *different*”

            Really? You truly believed that you established anything other than your one eyed bias?

            You have no logic Benny. Nor do your friends. All you people do is arbitrarily arrive at a position, driven by hatred towards Israel, then you proceed to ASSERT and lie in order to justify your positions.

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          • Gustav

            BEN:”Look, your true purpose here in my view is to shift us from any reasonable dialogue within the space occupied by the center to left, to shift the discourse”

            Talking about unintended confessions…

            You inadvertently described your own purpose (and this publication’s purpose) . You people have embarked on an endeavour to shift reality upside down and to create a parallel universe by constant robotic repetition. You are trying to make Israel bashing to be the norm.

            And your hope by doing that is to shift reasonable people’s points of view from the center of the political spectrum, yes even center left people to your point of view.

            The only thing that I can’t work out is whether you are being paid for your “services” or are you really such a true hater? On balance, I think you are part of a large anti Israel industry being financed by Arab oil money (and others with an axe to grind). I know because your cyncism betrays you.

            This anti Israel industry has been lovingly fostered for many years. Some of you are just innocent patsies. Others are Jew haters who hitched their wagons to it and some are just cynics who make a nice living out of it.

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          • Ben

            LoL. Being center to left on the occupation is something one “confesses” to! On +972! (What was I just saying about your attempts to insert right wing extremism as a new normal here?) That says it all about the way you’ve got the world set up. And then the only two choices to define me: cynical paid flack, or “true hater.” Geez. That too says it all about the mental world you (and too many other Israelis) inhabit.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”(What was I just saying about your attempts to insert right wing extremism as a new normal here?)”

            LOL. To the “normal here”?

            There is nothing normal here. You people, peddle extreme hatred of Israel here.

            One sided hatred is not normal, Benny.

            One sided vilification is not normal, Benny.

            One sided demonization is not normal, Benny.

            The above is known as psychological warfare. It exists in all wars and in this case, you lot practice it against Israel.

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