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Unilateral withdrawal makes a comeback in Israeli politics

What is it that is making Israeli leaders (Netanyahu and Barak among them), think tanks and pundits talk more about a ‘unilateral solution,’ and what would such a plan look like? Details below.

I published the following post on my Hebrew blog earlier this week. Yesterday, in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “it’s true that the idea of taking unilateral steps is gaining ground, from the center-left to the center-right. Many Israelis are asking themselves if there are certain unilateral steps that could theoretically make sense.” While don’t I think that Netanyahu is planning such a move any more than he was aiming for a two-state solution, there is a larger context to the Israeli preference of unilateralism over diplomacy. Here is my take.

Ever since Hamas took over Gaza, unilateral withdrawal has become an extremely unpopular idea in Israel. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert used what was left of Prime Minister Sharon’s momentum in presenting his “disengagement plan,” but that pretty quickly turned into an “agreed-upon (negotiated) solution.” Olmert then went the furthest an Israeli prime minister ever has in peace talks, though even he fell short of a real two-state solution. The assumption was that any land evacuated by Israel would be taken over by Hamas. The international community wasn’t thrilled by the idea of Israeli unilateralism either;  the European Union and United States support the diplomatic process, and have invested considerable time and money in helping Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hold on to power.

In Israel, unilateralism has been denounced by the Right and the Left alike. The Right gave up the settlements in Gaza without a real fight, and ever since, it has been trying to prove that history will not repeat itself in the West Bank. The Israeli Left, meanwhile, has tried to defend the two-state model at any cost. For the Left, the reason things turned sour in Gaza was Israel’s unilateral withdrawal. If it wasn’t for the power vacuum created after the IDF and the settlers left, subsequent confrontations with Hamas could have been avoided, they say. The fact that Hamas won in democratic elections doesn’t support this theory, but that’s beside the point right now.

Following the collapse of the most recent round of peace talks, Israeli unilateral withdrawal is once again gaining popularity, especially among centrists and in the security establishment. It makes some sense: these are the same people who now blame the Palestinians for the talks’ failure; the idea of an “agreed-upon solution” makes little sense when you believe that you don’t have a partner in the first place. On the other hand, the pressure on Israel to do something is growing – at a painfully slow pace – and even if Israel doesn’t intend to leave the West Bank next week, or next year for that matter, a plan must be presented.

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon in Tel Aviv, December 16, 2001. (Photo: Moshe Milner/GPO)

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon in Tel Aviv, December 16, 2001. The Gaza pullout is now beginning to be seen in a different light in Israel(Photo: Moshe Milner/GPO)

It is not that hard to figure out where the wind blows: former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said two years ago already that if negotiations with the Palestinians fail, Israel must act unilaterally in a way that would end the occupation. Around the same time, Gilad Sher (a former senior diplomat) spoke about “an agreed-upon unilateral withdrawal.”

In February, former spokesperson for Prime Minister Netanyahu and the head of The Institute for Zionist Strategies, Yoaz Hendel, began forming a plan for unilateral withdrawal along with an unnamed American partner. Also in February, Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to Washington and a fellow at the influential conservative think tank, the Shalem Institute, spoke in favor of unilateral withdrawal if and when negotiations collapse.

But the center of gravity for this thinking is not on the right, but within the security establishment, which will always favor unilateral action over diplomacy, and which sees civilians, not generals, at the head of the process. The influential Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) now favors creating “a two-state reality” without Palestinian cooperation, but while “seeking out the support of the United States and major European countries.”

Even some of the more centrist peace groups are now moving from supporting the two-state solution to advocating unilateral withdrawal. Ami Ayalon’s Blue White Future, for example, is now all about unilateralism. Pundits are floating the idea, too. Ari Shavit recently called for a “long term” unilateral solution. Shavit is close to Ehud Barak and to a lesser degree, Netanyahu; with him it’s always difficult to separate the politicians’ spin from the journalist’s own thinking. But that’s not that important, either. The bottom line is that if the distance between the respective Israeli and the Palestinian leaderships continues to grow, and if the world continues to demand more accountability from Israel regarding its plans for the occupied territories, unilateralism will take over the heart of the political conversation. I assume that Israel’s success in containing the military challenges emanating from Gaza and southern Lebanon in recent years will also help absolve the unilateral solution in the eyes of many.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during UN General Assembly speech, October 1, 2013. (Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO)

Netnayahu. Not planning a withdrawal more than he did a two-state solution, but even Bibi has his breaking point (Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO)

What would a unilateral withdrawal look like, according to the people and organizations mentioned above? While there are some nuances between them, the basic framework looks the same.

According to these ideas, Israel would freeze settlement construction outside the major blocs and east of the security barrier. At the same time, it will begin taking steps for voluntary evacuation, mostly in the form of legislation allowing settlers to leave their homes in exchange for compensation. Later, some settlements will be dismantled and Israeli will gradually withdraw from 80-85 percent of the West Bank.

This solution will involve taking all the demands and trial balloons Netanyahu put forward during his negotiations with John Kerry’s team and making them into part of the plan: Israel will declare itself a Jewish state through Knesset legislation (which is already underway); the IDF will maintain its presence in the Jordan Valley and will enjoy the freedom to operate in the evacuated land, as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon demanded; East Jerusalem will remain in Israel’s hands; and no Palestinian refugees will be allowed to return. Israel will eat the cake – maintain maximum control over land and a minimum number of Palestinians within its territory – and be absolved of apartheid accusations in the eyes of most of the international community, though not the Palestinians.

I believe that this plan would fail on both fronts, but that is not what matters right now. As far as Israel’s actions in the West Bank are concerned, political interests are what drive the government’s actions.

Read Also: What does the Israeli Right’s one-state solution look like?

Unilateral withdrawal is currently far from gathering the critical mass necessary for implementation. Netanyahu refuses to implement a settlement freeze for the sake of final status negotiations, so how can he explain taking the same measure, without getting anything in return, and then going on to evacuation? It’s obvious that the first step in this direction will lead to the downfall of the government, and to elections.

But right now the talk of a unilateral solution isn’t meant to actually bring about a unilateral withdrawal, at least not any more than the Bar-Ilan speech was about forming a Palestinian state. But given some serious international pressure, what was once lip service could turn to an actual work plan. The center-left will play along, convincing itself that “something is better than nothing,” just like it supported – using the same argument – peace talks which were doomed to fail from day one.

The settlers might actually play along, too, as they did in Gaza. The pragmatists among them will prefer to sacrifice the settlements around Nablus and Hebron in order to keep East Jerusalem, Kedumin, Ariel, Ma’aleh Adumim and Beit El, which are all now, according to Israel, part of “the blocs.” The settler leadership is terrified by the thought of a showdown with the Israeli public, and in the moment of truth, I believe it might prefer to confront its own radicals at home rather than cut its ties with the establishment, which has put so much power in into the settlers’ hands.

Two of the sharpest political analysts – Uri Elitzur on the right and Yossi Beilin on the left – estimated in recent years that Netanyahu is so far from the Palestinian minimum demands that he will blow up the negotiations, but could then move on to unilateral withdrawal from 85 percent of the West Bank. Elitzur, who passed away this week, wrote as much in an op-ed last year; I heard the same from Beilin myself in 2010. So far, both had it right regarding the collapse of the talks. The only thing preventing the unilateral withdrawal idea from gaining more momentum is Netanyahu’s own personality, which is all about maintaining the status quo, and the lack of serious pressure on Israel from abroad. If such pressure comes, even Bibi will have his breaking point.

Finally, there is something about unilateralism that flatters the Israeli public. The mainstream is so hostile to the Palestinians, and politicians are so manipulative in playing this card, that you can actually get the public to prefer the same measures taken unilaterally as opposed to through a peace accord. The latter is always seen as “a concession” and a sign of “national weakness,” which is the kiss of death in Israeli politics. Except for a couple of decades – between the mid-70s and the mid-90s – unilateralism has always been the policy of choice for Israeli leaders, since it allows them to look powerful even as they betrayed their own ideologies.

Related:
What is the Israeli Right’s one-state vision?
After Kerry, only BDS may save the two-state solution

Read this post in Hebrew on Local Call.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Richard

      Unilateral withdrawal seems to make a lot of sense. I don’t see anything in this piece that explains why its unrealistic or a bad idea for Israel.

      Reply to Comment
      • Philos

        The map of the West Bank will be like an archipelago. There will be no continuity between the enclaves, and Israel will need to formulate some kind of pass system as well as manage permanent militarized crossing points. The IDF will continue to operate in the West Bank making no difference to the occupation for them. It is also doubtful the Palestinians will play along (like by declaring independence on the evacuated land) and if the PA collapses then Israel will still be responsible for what happens there as per the 4th Geneva Convention unless of course it gets full backing from Washington, London, Paris and Berlin for unilateral withdrawal in which case the Palestinians can starve and Israel will be off the hook

        Reply to Comment
      • Y.

        Well, there are several variants, but they can surmised into two: A “maximal” withdrawal, and a “minimal” one, differing on the resulting borders and other details.

        The “maximal” option probably won’t gain much support, but the IDF will be able to somewhat control the flames – in short, not too different from the current status quo, so no advantage there.

        The “minimal” option will have a bit more support (for a few minutes or so) but it will evaporate (the proponents neglect to mention Gaza disengagement also had similar ‘support’), and the IDF will have to go back in following violence, gaining Israel little again.

        Reply to Comment
      • Johnboy

        Well, heck, there are several reasons why this plan doesn’t make a lot of sense.

        But here is the most glaring….

        The basic idea is that
        (a) the outlying settlements would be evacuated, and then
        (b) the IDF would pull itself back into the areas where settlements remain, and all the while
        (c) “the IDF will maintain its presence in the Jordan Valley and will enjoy the freedom to operate in the evacuated land, as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon demanded”

        It is part (c) that gives a lie to the entire exercise.

        Think about it: it is the authority that the IDF possesses that defines wether (or not) this is a “belligerent occupation”, not the presence (or absence) of Israeli settlements.

        And Ya’alon’s insistence on Israel retaining that “freedom to operate in the evacuated land” means that the IDF isn’t being “withdrawn” at all, it is merely being “redeployed”.

        That is axiomatic, because that “freedom to operate” means that the IDF can be “re-redeployed” back into those areas whenever it wants, and for whatever reason Ya’alon choses to pluck from his nether regions.

        Which means that the belligerent occupation of the West Bank would continue – and would be regarded as such – no matter how many outlying outposts are evacuated, and no matter how loudly Netanyahu shouted that this occupation has “ended”.

        Nothing fundamentally changes, so what’s the point of doing it?

        Reply to Comment
    2. Aaron

      This is known as a Bantustan solution. I hope the Palestinian leadership is smart enough to thwart Israel’s sinister plan to lock them in segregated ghettos and concentration camps and call it a “withdrawal”, Gaza-style. This is obviously not a withdrawal but a takeover.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        For folks like you, Philos, Johnboy, etc., even if Israel withdraws from 100% of Judea & Samaria (as Olmert offered), it won’t matter and you will still be crying “occupation” and rambling nonsense about the 4th Geneva Convention of which you have no understanding. What hinders peace is NOT the “contiguity” of the territory Israel will leave for the Palestinians. You know that but choose to lie about it. For you guys, the “occupation” will end when “Izra-iil” (a) accepts the fictitious right- and actual return of 5- to 7million Arab “refugees”, (b) re-divide J’lem and (c) turn over the Holiest Place in Judaism to Muslim-Arabs. But Israel and most of the world are not stupid and in fact no longer accept to be held hostage by Arab idiosyncrasies and exotic fantasies. The fair peace Israel has offered you, you have rejected. Now, that peace will be forced down your throat!

        Reply to Comment
        • Johnboy

          Yeah, thanks, Ginger, for telling me what I think.

          Because… well, actually, no, f**k you for your arrogant presumption that you can put words in my mouth and then get away with it.

          It’s called “verballing”, and is beneath contempt.

          How very hasbarah of you…

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Is that all you can, Johnboy? Busting out in irrational anger and using foul language? Really? What a little man, no?!

            Reply to Comment
          • Johnboy

            “Is that all you can, Johnboy?”

            No, far from it.

            Let’s look at that lamentable post of yours, shall we?

            Ginger: ” even if Israel withdraws from 100% of Judea & Samaria (as Olmert offered), it won’t matter and you will still be crying “occupation” and rambling nonsense about the 4th Geneva Convention of which you have no understanding. What hinders peace is NOT the “contiguity” of the territory Israel will leave for the Palestinians.”

            Point (1) Olmert did not offer to “withdraw 100%” from the West Bank.

            That claim is, ahem, either a deliberate lie or the delusions of an ignorant man.

            Take. Your. Pick.

            Point (2) If Israel were to withdraw back to the June 1967 then I would accept that the occupation has ended.

            Point (3) a “withdrawal” is a very different thing to a “redeployment”, and I am quite correct to point out that “the IDF will maintain its presence in the Jordan Valley and will enjoy the freedom to operate in the evacuated land” is the latter, it is not the former.

            Point (4) Ginger is a man who is so ignorant that he does not know that the previous point is anchored in Article 42 of the Hague Regulations 1907, not in Geneva Convention IV 1949.

            Point (5) What “hinders peace” is the fact – and it is a fact – that Israel has NO INTENTION of ever leaving any territory to the Palestinians.

            Point (6) Israel is the occupying power (i.e. it is not the sovereign) and therefore Israel does not possess the right to decide “what it keeps for itself” and “what it leaves for the Palestinians”.

            Even an arrogant zealot like Netanyahu understands those points, even if Ginger doesn’t.

            Ginger? Well, Ginger is as dumb as Bennett, which really does say it all….

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            (1st post). PM Olmert offered PA land equaling CONTIGUOUS 100% of West Bank including sovereignty of the Jordan valley. PM Olmert repeatedly made this clear in print and in speech. Pres. Abbas confirmed it repeatedly to his Arab brethren. See, inter alia, http://www.haaretz.com/news/abbas-olmert-offered-pa-land-equaling-100-of-west-bank-1.1747. This takes care of points 1, 2, 3 and 5 of your post. Abbas did not accept Olmert’s offer because he didn’t get ALL what he wanted re (a) Arab “refugees” and (b) J’lem. If “the occupation” ends before the refugee problem is resolved, that would be the death of the refugee problem and a catastrophe from the Palestinian point of view. As a result the Palestinians are willing to force “the occupation” to continue, while at the same time complaining about “the occupation” and using it as a bargaining chip to get ALL they want re “refugees” and J’lem. The question is: do you have enough ‘analytical élan’ to see through that equation and make arguments based on verifiable facts, or do you want to carry on raging like a street-thug? See my 2nd post re point 4 of your post.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            (2nd post). My mention of the 4th Geneva Convention was referencing Philos’ post above ( nothing more or less), which I believe you need to read before going off on a rant. But let’s isolate that and consider your claim based on The Hague Regulations 1907, shall we? Article 42. of said Convention states as follows: “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised”. Now, even after applying all the recognized methods of legal interpretation, your claim lacks legal merit. Reasons: (a) If and when Israel evacuates and cedes a territory to the PA, she shall have ended her authority in said territory; (b) Israel’s ability, I repeat: ‘ability’, to re-enter that same territory during ongoing armed conflict to defend herself and protect her citizens in accordance with Article 51 UN Chatter does NOT mean that Israel’s “authority has been established and can be exercised” in said territory and confer on Israel the quality of “occupier”, because the prior “established authority” has already been ended and what has been ended cannot be “exercised”! South Lebanon and Gaza are classical examples. As such, Article 42 of The Hague Regulations 1907 does NOT apply. If you don’t understand, ask questions and I will reply (though my time will be up by tomorrow).

            Reply to Comment
          • Johnboy

            Ahem.

            Article 42: “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.”

            I assume that you don’t dispute that the IDF “established” its authority over this territory in June 1967, correct?

            Article 42 then continues: “The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised”

            Note the wording: HAS BEEN established (that is a given) and CAN BE exercised.

            It is most definitely not this: HAS BEEN established (again, a given) and IS BEING exercised.

            Now, with that in mind, let’s examine this statement from the article:
            “the IDF will maintain its presence in the Jordan Valley and will enjoy the freedom to operate in the evacuated land, as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon demanded;”

            Demanding that the IDF will still retain a “freedom to operate” in the West Bank is simply another way of saying that the IDF will continue to possess an authority that “can be exercised”.

            Because – du’oh! – not only is that an authority that “can be exercised”, but it can be exercised whenever Ya’alon wants, and for whatever reason that he cares to give.

            So according to the Hague Regulations such a “unilateral withdrawal” is still a belligerent occupation i.e. that Ya’alon choses to redeploy his troops *here* makes no difference if he still claims to possess the authority to send them back *there* again whenever he chooses to give the order.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Listen Johnboy, you are not making sense and I am not going to run around circles with you, because my “1st post” and “2nd post” are very clear. Therein I used South Lebanon and Gaza as examples and that would have been enough for someone who is a little challenged when it comes to thinking in abstract terms but well able to understand when concrete examples are used. You see, Johnboy, as we speak, the IDF today “has the legal authority” (Article 51 UN Chatter) and “retains the freedom to operate” in South Lebanon and/or Gaza, should Israel be attacked from those territories and there thus arise the need to re-enter those territories and exercise military authority. This however does not – as we speak – confer on Israel the status of an “occupier” re South Lebanon and/or Gaza within the meaning of Article 42 of The Hague Regulations 1907. This is the ruling legal opinion and most of the world accepts that (with the exception Hezbollah, the Assad regime, Hamas and their ilk).

            Reply to Comment
          • Johnboy

            Ginger: “Listen Johnboy, you are not making sense”

            Oh, I’m in no doubt that you don’t understand this concept, Ginger.

            The definition of a “belligerent occupation” is very, very clear:
            a) Your authority must first be established, and
            b) If you can exercise that authority then the territory *is* considered to be occupied.

            The key phrase is “can be exercised”, it is not “is being exercised”.

            As in: for as so long as the IDF insists on retaining the authority to “enjoy the freedom to operate in the evacuated land” then the territory is still occupied.

            Ginger: “Therein I used South Lebanon and Gaza as examples ”

            Ho-hum. Compare and contrast.

            Barak did **not** pretend that the IDF would still “enjoy the freedom to operate” anywhere inside Lebanon i.e. the 2000 withdrawal Really Was A Withdrawal, and so the occupation of Lebanon Really Did End.

            But, again, compare and contrast: Sharon insisted that even after “disengagement” the IDF retained the authority to deploy back into Gaza whenever it wanted, and for whatever reason he cared to shout.

            That is very, very different, which is why Gaza is still considered to be an occupied territory.

            (and, incidentally, why Sharon did not claim to the Knesset that disengagement would end that occupation).

            Reply to Comment
        • Aaron

          Thank you mighty master for offering the low-lives under your heels the bountiful bantustans! We should all be grateful for this great colonial magnanimity! How do such great beings like yourself muster the munificence that it takes to allow the untermensch to even breath air!

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Aaron, I truly admire your satiric prowls, but let’s be clear in plain language that Palestinian-Arabs are NOT “Untermenschen” to avoid unnecessary confusion. They are full-fledged human beings as are Jews and non-Jews. PM Ehud Barak offered them CONTIGUOUS 93- 97% of the “occupied” territory. They rejected it. PM Ehud Olmert offered them an Israeli nightmare, i.e. the CONTIGUOUS equivalent of 100% of the “occupied” territory, including sovereignty of the Jordan valley and a capital in “East” Jerusalem. They rejected it. Again, the “Bantustan solution” you allege is just nonsense that has no basis in facts. If you are truly for peace, telling the truth might be a good beginning.

            Reply to Comment
          • Johnboy

            Ginger: “PM Ehud Barak offered them CONTIGUOUS 93- 97% of the “occupied” territory.”

            No, he didn’t.

            Ginger: “PM Ehud Olmert offered them an Israeli nightmare, i.e. the CONTIGUOUS equivalent of 100% of the “occupied” territory, including sovereignty of the Jordan valley and a capital in “East” Jerusalem.”

            No, he didn’t.

            Ginger: “Again, the “Bantustan solution” you allege is just nonsense that has no basis in facts.”

            One look at a map tells you that Ariel, Shilo, and Ma’ale Efrayim are precisely sited where they are so that an Israeli-only access road linking them all splits the West Bank into two cantons.

            A look at that same map will instantly tell you that an access road linking Ma’ale Adumim through Mizpe Jericho to Almog and Beit Haarava does exactly the same thing i.e. it splits the West Bank into two.

            So the careful siting of those two Israeli-only corridors has the effect of splitting the West Bank into three.

            But they’re not “bantustans” because… well…. because Ginger says-so.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Johnboy, my replies above deal with your current claims. I shall not repeat myself here and would kindly refer you to said replies. As to you referring to me as a guy, I could see why my gender matters to you. Honestly I don’t care – as long as the comments don’t get sexist.

            Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            GangrenOus and genderless.

            Reply to Comment
          • Johnboy

            Ginger: “Johnboy, my replies above deal with your current claims. I shall not repeat myself here and would kindly refer you to said replies.”

            Well, yes, I can see why Ginger would want to drop THIS thread as if it never existed.

            After all, in THIS thread Ginger claimed that Olmert offered “the CONTIGUOUS equivalent of 100% of the “occupied” territory, including sovereignty of the Jordan valley and a capital in “East” Jerusalem.”

            So – apparently – the Ginger in this thread is not the same Ginger in the earlier thread, because in that earlier thread Ginger claimed that “Abbas did not accept Olmert’s offer because he didn’t get ALL what he wanted re (a) Arab “refugees” and (b) J’lem.”

            So it appears that This Ginger(tm) is happy to claim that Olmert offered to re-divide Jerusalem, while Other Ginger(tm) is adamant that Abbas spat the dummy because the re-division of Jerusalem was not put on the table.

            How odd.

            Are there really two of you, or are you just having trouble keeping track of your own arguments?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Johnboy, you are NOT making any sense at all. The replies I referred you to are my “1st post” and “2nd post” replies to your OWN post ON THIS thread! They comprehensively answer all your question! It seems you are rattled and desperately looking for a face-saving way out, no?

            Reply to Comment
          • Johnboy

            Which Ginger am I talking to now?

            Is it the Ginger that claims that Olmert offered Abbas a capital in “East Jerusalem”?

            Or is this the Ginger that claims that Abbas spat the dummy because Olmert refused to “re-divide Jerusalem”?

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “It seems you are rattled and desperately looking for a face-saving way out, no?”

            Yes Ginger. That’s how Johnboy operates. First he puts his foot in his mouth. Then he scrables by obfuscation.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Reza Lustig

      At least Rab/Bar argues coherently, even though he is a paranoid shill for right wing Zionism who only cracks jokes and “asks questions” when people whose views he opposes suffer police harassment. All Ginger Snaps does is come and piss people off with inflammatory rhetoric and rote slogans.

      When can we ban her?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Rab

      Right wing shill?

      I support a two state solution along Taba/Barak lines. I suspect you don’t have a clue about what’s right and what’s left in Zionism today.

      Regarding being paranoid, remember that just because someone is paranoid, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t out to get him.

      Instead of wasting your time with insults, you might wish to focus on, you know, trying to address the facts with which you’re presented.

      Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        1. Sure there are “left” Zionists today. Hey, there were “left” Ba’athists in Iraq as well, and we saw how influential they were in the long run.

        2. Paranoia, to most people, denotes a fear that is not grounded in reality or is blown out of proportion, to some degree.

        3. I’ve said my piece on the concessions Abbas made in the talks several times already. I’ll condense once more: they are far too generous, show who the real “rejectionists” are (it’s supremely hypocritical for the Israeli government to spend all these years whining about Palestinian “rejectionism” to their “generous” offers, and then do the same thing they accuse the enemy of when they present THEIR “generous” offer), and I don’t care what empty claims Abbas makes in his speeches to the Palestinian people; he’s too much of a career bureaucrat to have risked losing what goodwill he’s built up with the international community by “changing his mind” about an agreement to neuter Right of Return.

        4. Either way, I really don’t care who made what “generous offer” when. Historical justifications for or against the Occupation/establishment of the State of Israel are about as vital as discussions about whether Han or Greedo shot first, or whether or not Deckard was a replicant.To me, an occupied people, in any instance, should not have to barter with the invader or make concessions in return for their freedom.

        Reply to Comment
    5. Rab

      1. I have no idea what you mean. Either I’m a right wing shill or I’m not.

      2. Today in Belgium, 4 people were murdered in cold blood. Their crime? Being at a Jewish museum. A few weeks ago in the US, some KKK madman killed three people at a Jewish center.

      Instead of focusing on my supposed paranoia, which according to your own definition isn’t paranoia at all as just these two examples demonstrate, perhaps you could focus on a different word: fantasy. Please focus on your fantasy that Jews and Israelis who point out severe biases in both international fora, media and certain societies and political circles are somehow “paranoid” rather than factual and correct.

      3. I have no idea what you mean. If you mean that Palestinians should not give up their dream of invading Israel, then I guess you’re a proponent of maintaining the status quo.

      4. You’re right. When the Nazis were overwhelmed by the Allies, they should not have negotiated for terms or given any concessions “for their freedom.” You seem to have forgotten that it were the Arabs who launched the wars that led to their land losses, just as you forget that Arabs continue to control over 99% of the Middle East and 80% of Mandatory Palestine. The pretense that somehow this little corner of the world should live forever in strife obviously appeals to your sense of “justice” but perhaps you should have some mercy on the poor people who have to live with the sad outcome of your lofty goals?

      Reply to Comment
      • shachalnur

        -Belgium attack.
        -Shelly Dadon.
        -Argentina 1992-1994.
        -Burgas

        It might be better to wait untill there’s proof of what really happened,instead of the usual kneejerk reactions.

        Or do you want a huge list of events blamed on “anti-Semites”,that turned out to be something very different.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Rab, the casualties are mounting. One would hope that they (on +972) who make it their duty to spread blood-libels against Israel to further the goals of the BDS-movement, would realize that the endanger the lives of ordinary Jews around the world and provide terrorist murderers with an excuse to go on a murderous rampage.
        http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/181005

        There is nothing one can do about those on +972 who want to see Jews murdered just for being Jews. Reza Lustig/Felix Reichert/etc. (among other individuals) is one of them. He said as much under a different identity on this site.

        Reply to Comment
        • shachalnur

          “casualties are mounting”

          17 million down, 13,5 million to go.

          You won’t stop untill Judaism’s gone.

          Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “casualties are mounting”

            17 million down, 13,5 million to go”

            Are you having a wet dream again, Shachalnur?

            Reply to Comment
        • Felix Reichert

          Might have to kill my flatmate later. Been living with her for over 5 years, but you’ve opened my eyes: really I just want to kill her for what she is…

          Honestly…

          Thanks for disqualifying yourself in every single discussion.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            An endorsement from a pretentious, hateful buffoon like you that salivates for- and takes joy in Jewish/Israeli misfortune, while NEVER EVER having ANYTHING of substance to contribute to the debate, I would find rather quite disgusting. Get lost!

            Reply to Comment
          • Felix Reichert

            I’m genuinely sorry, if I have overwhelmed you with my answers and some cold, hard facts in other discussions, deconstructiong you hateful and racist worldview. I didn’t mean to offend you, or any other bigotted hatemongerer. Sorry!

            And just do be completely clear:
            Do you, by any chance, mean the discussion, where you claimed Noam said “X”, while actually saying “Y”, and me indicationg your error to you?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            More pettiness, emptiness and presumptuousness from this thing called “Felix Reichert”. FYI, Noam Sheizaf, Larry Derfner et al have claimed on this site that Israel “kills Palestinians” and/or “Palestinian children” “on a daily basis”. If you do your research on THIS SITE, you will find your evidence. As such your “correction” was NO correction, unworthy of my time and energy and I didn’t even bother replying. And now you also think that you “overwhelm” anyone with your usual one-liners (of not more than one or two short sentences), while NEVER EVER making any SUBSTANTIVE arguments? How delusional! Just don’t bother replying to this because this is the last time I engage you. Just get lost and head back to your gutter!

            Reply to Comment
      • Felix Reichert

        “You seem to have forgotten that it were the Arabs who launched the wars that led to their land losses.”

        This again… as you well know, the 1967- or 6-day-war was started by Israel. Sure, we could now discuss the details, reasonings and motives.

        The fact stands, however:
        the war that lead to the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank by Israel was started by Israel.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          Actually Nooooo!!!

          Israel initiated a preemptive strike against Egypt after severe provocation (do you want the details?). According to most legal experts Israel had casus beli to do so or in plain language, Israel’s strike on Egypt was legally justifiable.

          The so called West Bank was even more clear cut. It was taken over by Israel as a consequence of Jordan’s attack on Israel after joining the war on Egypt’s side.

          So to sum it up: with Egypt, you guys can have a bit of a fig leaf and wrongly pretend that technically Israel initiated the attack. But with Jordan you haven’t got a leg to stand on. If you say that Israel occupied the West Bank because it started a war of aggression against Jordan, you would be lying through your teeth. Is that what you are doing, Felix? Are you lying through your teeth?

          Reply to Comment
          • Felix Reichert

            Nope, you’re wrong.

            Note how you’re not actually refuting anything I said?
            Israel started the 1967 war. Pure and simple. But let’s get into the details, if you insist:

            First of all I’d like to see some of the opinions of “most” (!) legal experts, claiming Israel had a sufficient CB, because generally preemtive strikes are ALWAYS considered illegal in international law. That is unless there is a UN SC authorization (which there wasn’t) or if the threat by the other country or countries was real and immediate. Which it wasn’t.

            Secondly, everyone back than knew that the Egyptian troop-deployment in Sinai was “defensive in nature”. The Egytians got (wrong) intel from Moscow that Israel was preparing an attack. That’s why they stationed troops in Sinai. The IDF, the Israeli security establishment and the Israeli government all knew that the troops in Sinai were no real threat.

            Thirdly, Jordan had to join Egypt in this war. Because Egypt was unilaterally attacked by Israel, and Egypt and Jordan had ratified a defense treaty a couple of months earlier. They had a legal obligation.

            Basically, the Israeli leadership decided on an opportune moment to run the Egyptian military into the ground. So it wouldn’t become an actual threat a couple of years later.

            Now we can argue about the morality of it (and preemptive strikes in general), but not the legality. And we also can’t argue about “who shot first” (Israel did), if the Israeli security establishment actually felt threatened (they didn’t) and if they thought Nasser was about to attack (they were sure he wasn’t about to).

            http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/07/04/israels-attack-on-egypt-in-june-67-was-not-preemptive/

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            You are highly mistaken, Felix Reichert. The threat of imminent war is an act of war! The threatening party is the aggressor. See the link below for legal guidance. Sidebar: when you make a claim that can only be based on the law, it is incumbent on you to provide evidence thereof, not others, as you suppose. Regardless, if you need additional evidence to one already provided, it will get it. It is a guarantee. Additionally, the law is FAR MORE THAN the letters in which it is expressed.

            Reply to Comment
          • Felix Reichert

            I’ve answered this claim below.

            Yes, an actual threat of an actual and imminent attack morally and legally entitles a state to use preemptive measures.

            But that just wasn’t the case.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Yes, you did. And I see we agree on 99% of the issue, (except for the fact that you believe (a) that Egypt never posed an imminent threat in 1967 and (b) that Israel knew- or should have known that, while I believe otherwise on both counts). I guess, miracles do happen because I never expected that we would agree on anything (or disagree civilly).

            Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          “Anticipatory self-defense is inherent in the basic right of self-defense. International law recognizes that it would be contrary to the purposes of the United Nations Charter if a threatened nation were required to absorb an aggressor’s initial and potentially crippling first strike before taking those military measures necessary to thwart an imminent attack. Anticipatory self-defense involves the use of armed force where attack is imminent and no reasonable choice of peaceful means is available”. This is the ruling opinion in International Law. See Dep’t of Navy, Annotated Supplement to the Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, para.4.3.2.1 (1997); See also L.C. Green, The Contemporary Law of Armed Conflict (Manchester University Press: 1993), at 9.

          This link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAGsoPgPCk0 also shows the highest echelon of the IDF on the ground DISSUADING Palestinians from leaving Israel and becoming refugees (contrary to the myth of “expulsion)! You can hear him in his own words towards the end of the video. Cold, hard facts. Heavy stuff! Watch. And Weep!

          Reply to Comment
          • Felix Reichert

            Well and good, Ginger.

            But as I’ve already explained to Tzutik, and as you probably already knew, there WAS NO imminent threat to Israel.

            I’ll quote a couple of people, if that pleases you:

            “NASSER DID NOT WANT WAR. He wanted victory without war.” Abba Eban, Israel’s foreign minister during the war

            “In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches DO NOT PROVE that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” Menachem Begin

            “…the Egyptian deployments were DEFENSIVE IN CHARACTER and anticipatory of a possible Israeli attack” Robert McNamara, US Defense Secretary during the war

            “By all reports Israel received from the Americans, and ACCORDING TO ITS OWN INTELLIGENCE, Nasser had no interest in bloodshed…” Michael Oren

            “The exact origins of the six day war will probably never be known. Clearly the IDF under Rabin, more cohesive and better trained than ever before, was spoiling for a fight and willing to go to considerable lengths to provoke it.” Martin Van Creveld, Israeli military historian

            “All those stories about the huge danger we were facing because of our small tcnitorial size, an argument expounded once the war was over, had never been considered in our calculations prior to the unleashing of hostilities.
            While we proceeded towards the full mobilization of our forces, no person in his right mind could believe that all this force was necessary for our “defence” against the Egyptian threat. This force was necessary to rush once and for all the Egyptians, at the military level, and the Soviet masters, at the political level.
            To pretend that the Egyptian forces concentrated on
            our borders were capable of threatening Israel’s existence not only insults the intelligence of any person capable of analyzing this kind of situation, but is primarily an insult to Zahal.” and
            “The thesis according to which the danger of genocide weighed on us in 1967, and that Israel struggled for its physical existence IS ONLY A BLUFF born and developed after the war.” Mattityahu Peled, General during the war

            “I do not believe Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. HE KNEW IT AND WE KNEW IT.” Yitzhak Rabin, General during the war

            An actual threat might have become real a couple of years later, after continued militarization and armament in Egypt (etc.), but in 1967, it just wasn’t there.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “(…) NASSER DID NOT WANT WAR. He wanted victory without war.Abba Eban, Israel’s foreign minister during the war. “In June 1967, we again had a choice. (…) By all reports Israel received from the Americans, and ACCORDING TO ITS OWN INTELLIGENCE, Nasser had no interest in bloodshed…(…)”

            Does the 1973-war ring a bell? In 1967 we had as much choice as we had in 1973. Then our beloved Golda buried her head in the sand despite mounting evidence that war was imminent and we were nearly wiped out. If Israel acted in 1967 as she acted in 1973, we may not be here having this discussion today, because there would be no Israel to talk about. You see, if A points a loaded gun at his mortal enemy B’s head, the only objective conclusion would be that A is about to kill B – regardless of A’s subjective intention which B cannot read. If B ends up killing A (because A was too slow to pull the trigger or never intended to pull the trigger), A is the aggressor who started the fight that killed him, not B. Thus, whether or not Nasser wanted victory without war (whatever that means), is actually irrelevant. It is enough that he and his military acted in a manner that caused Israel to objectively fear for imminent destruction. That, in and of itself, is an act of war that made Egypt the aggressor re the 1967 war.

            Reply to Comment
          • Felix Reichert

            That made…? Made what?

            As you can clearly see, there was neither a gun held up to someone’s head (although there were VERBAL threats of such), nor was that non-existent gun even loaded with real ammunition. And everyone knew it.

            And as you would have also seen, had you actually read my quotes, your claim is just plainly false:

            “It is enough that he and his military acted in a manner that caused Israel to objectively fear for imminent destruction.”

            Almost nobody in the Israeli military and/or the political leadership feared imminent destruction. Certainly not those with access to actual military intelligence. All the involved decision-makers knew that the Egyptian military (even combined with the militaries of Jordan, etc.) would have had no chance against the IDF. They said so before, and they said so after.

            I will give you Another quote, Peled again:
            “Our General Staff NEVER told the government that the Egyptian military threat represented ANY danger to Israel.”

            Because, if they would have done so, they would have lied.

            The decision to attack first was a purely political one. That is also why the Israeli leadership lied afterward, and tried to pin it on the Egyptians: “…but they started it!”

            They knew that it would be much more difficult to get away with, if everyone knew who shot first. SUre, they still got away with it, one of the reasons being that the official documents still aren’t released, and we’re still playing a puzzle trying to piece together what information we have.

            THe general consensus among the military leadership at the time seems very clear, however:

            There was no imminent threat, and the IDF was vastly superior to all the neighboring Arab armies combined.

            “Ezer Weizman, chief of the general staff branch, said that had Egypt attacked, Israel would have defeatet ist – ‘MAYBE THIRTEEN HOURS would have been needed instead of only three’ – that Jordan had offered little opposition, and that Syria posed no ‘real threat’ which is why Israel waited ‘three days before attacking it’.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “Our objective is the freeing of Palestine and the liquidation of the Zionist existence,” declared the Syrian chief of staff, while the Iraqi president proclaimed, “Our goal is clear — to wipe Israel off the face of the map.” Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, who ousted U.N. peacekeepers from the Egypt-Israel border and blockaded Israeli shipping through the Straits of Tiran, foresaw a “total war . . . aimed at Israel’s destruction. Israel did not wait to see if Arab leaders would fulfill their promises” – Michael Oren at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/07/AR2007060701872.html ; See also http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/67_War.html etc. I believe that the school of thought you belong to/follow creates its own reality by cutting quotes from different individuals out of their intended contexts and knitting them together in a way that creates a different reality that fits into specific agenda. I would be grateful to be provided with the primary source of your quotes. I need to research them before going any further, among others, because even Michael Oren whom you quote among others seems to be saying something else/more that what you state.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “Our objective is the freeing of Palestine and the liquidation of the Zionist existence,” declared the Syrian chief of staff, while the Iraqi president proclaimed, “Our goal is clear — to wipe Israel off the face of the map.” Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, who ousted U.N. peacekeepers from the Egypt-Israel border and blockaded Israeli shipping through the Straits of Tiran, foresaw a “total war . . . aimed at Israel’s destruction. Israel did not wait to see if Arab leaders would fulfill their promises” – Michael Oren at
            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/07/AR2007060701872.html ; See also http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/67_War.html etc. I believe that you and the school of thought you belong to create your own reality by cutting quotes out of their intended contexts and knitting them together in a way that creates a different reality that fits into your agenda. I would be grateful to be provided with the primary source of your quotes. I need to research them before going further, among others, because even Michael Oren whom you quote among others seems to be saying something else/more that what you state. (this is a repost because my prior post is missing/not posted).

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            I have posted and re-posted a reply to your last post, but both are still missing.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Yea, yea, yea, Felix. Egypt got rid of the UN peace keepers. He and his allies lined up their armies along Israel’s borders. Blockaded the straits of Tiran through which Israel received 90% of it’s oil supplies and other essential trades. And they were telling openly, loudly and proudly to all and sundry that the end of Israel is nigh.

            Let us assume, I stress, assume that Nasser didn’t mean what he said (and acted). That he was a secret admirer of Israel but he was just performing theatrics. And that Israel knew this. Which of course it did not. First and foremost, Israel too had to mobilize and line it’s troops up along the border. There was no choice about that. But then it had two choices …

            1) To wait it out till Nasser would get sick of the stand off and disperse his troops. But would that have been realistic? That’s what Aba Eban meant by saying that Nasser was hoping for victory without a war.

            Nasser would have got exactly that. Israel’s entire citizen army was mobilized. It’s sea supplies were choked off and it’s economy was grinding to a halt. To cut a long story short, it’s economy would have collapsed and the rest would be just a mop up operation by the Arab armies. What happened in the first 5 days of the Yom Kippur war of 1973 when Israel’s allies pressured Golda to ignore the imminent threat of attack would have paled into complete insignificance compared to what would have happened to Israel in 1967 had itallowed it’s economy to collapse and allow the Arab armies to calmly walk in and mop up any remaing resistance.

            So Israel had only choice (2) left at it’s disposal.

            2) To do what it did. Carry out a preemptive strike on Egypt.

            Can anyone doubt what anyone else would have done in Israel’s place if it had the choices that Israel faced? If they knew that they have a perfectly competent army that had every chance to defeat their multiple enemies lining up against them, if they moved decisively. Or they had every chance of losing the war if they would procastrinate and wait too long!

            So much for your claim that Israel did not face imminent threat in 1967, Felix. It is nonsense!

            I wonder what the good old US of A would have done in a similar situation in which Israel found itself in 1967?

            Reply to Comment
          • Felix Reichert

            It’s not about Nasser being a secret admirer of Israel.

            What concerns us is if Nasser thought he could win in a war he started (he didn’t and he couldn’t), if he was willing to risk it anyway (he wasn’t), and if that was known on the Israeli side (it was).

            I’m not arguing that Nasser would have attacked Israel, if he actually would have thought he could win. However, he wasn’t delusional.

            At the same time, he had to show some symbolic strength to his Arab allies -> Blockade of the “strait” of Tiran (which according to international customary law WAS NOT actually a strait) & expulsion of UN troops.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Felix

            Read my post again. I am not repeating myself. Like Aba Eban said (YOU quoted him), Nasser was hoping for a victory without having to fight a war or at least not a major war. Just a mopping up operation after he would have brought about Israel’s economic collapse.

            No country would have obliged him in his plan. Neither did Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Felix Reichert

            That is NOT what Eba Aban said. He was very, very unspecific.

            Everyone hostile to someone else wants victory, if possible without bloodshed. In other words: “without war”.

            If that is a realistic proposal doesn’t matter. It wasn’t.

            Again: Most Israeli military leaders (even those with close and detailed knowledge of infrastructure and such) DID NOT think that there was an immediate threat.

            The quotes I provided prove as much.

            Now it is up to you guys to prove otherwise with quotes that you provide.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Again: Most Israeli military leaders (even those with close and detailed knowledge of infrastructure and such) DID NOT think that there was an immediate threat.”

            Yes but did they say what would happen to Israel if it’s citizen army would have remained mobilised much longer? Have you read what I said above about Israel’s inevitable economic collapse?

            You might then say that Israel could have demobilised. And what would have happened then, Felix? The 1973 war would have been a Sunday school picnic by comparison of course.

            I repeat. For the third time. Israel had two choices:

            1. Economic collapse followed by inevitable military defeat.

            OR

            2. Preemptive attack using it’s full military capability which as you say, Israeli commanders knew was superior.

            So tell me Felix, who in their right mind wouldn’t have taken choice (1) over choice (2)?

            I repeat, what would the good old US of A do if it would ever face the kind of threat which Israel faced in 1967?

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Ooops I meant choice (2) over choice (1). LOL

            Reply to Comment
          • GingerEis

            Something is afoot with the quotes you provided. I believe that the school of thought you belong to creates its own reality by cutting out quotes from different sources and out of the different contexts they were originally made and then knitting them together in a way that creates a different reality that fits into its specific agenda and narrative. I would be grateful to be provided with the primary sources of your quotes. I need to research them before going further, among others, because even Michael Oren whom you quote among others seems to be saying something else/more that what you state, while the quote: “NASSER DID NOT WANT WAR. He wanted victory without war”, seems to be coming from (a) RadioIslam and/or (b) Norman G. Finkelstein and/or (c) the PalestineChronicles, and/or (d) Alternative Information Centre (AIC), etc.? I find it very disturbing, but I will wait until you provide your source. (I will repost the links of my missing post separately and see if they come through).

            Reply to Comment
          • Y.

            Felix – I was not aware of all the quotes, but those that I am aware of are usually either by far Leftists [Peled, Creveld] who have no evidential value having not being there (you might as well quote yourself), or by them lying about what others said. For example:

            “I do not believe Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel.” [Rabin]

            I recall the quote comes via Eric Rouleau, knowns for his views and than a reporter for Le Monde who interviewed Rabin after the war and supposedly got this quote. One problem – there were _seven_ Egyptian divisions in the Sinai at the time Israel decided to strike first (this can be verified via any standard military history). It is virtually impossible that Israel’s chief of staff did not know how many divisions there were _after_ fighting them. It makes it a miracle the IDF ever survived [much less won] if it underestimated enemy forces by over 3 times, to the point of denying reality long after anyone could count the bodies. Much more likely Rouleau ‘heard’ what justified his already existing opinions.

            “In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches DO NOT PROVE that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him” – Begin

            I recall this was from a speech he made during the [first] Lebanon war. He was arguing that war was justified by saying that there was no need for absolute certainty for a preemptive war, not that Israel was not under threat or that the war wasn’t justified…

            I’ve read Oren’s “Six days of war”, and his opinion is quite the opposite of your quote, suggesting another distortion again.

            Reply to Comment
          • Felix Reichert

            Peled was a member of the Gereal Staff, the highest ranking body inside the IDF, during the war.

            So yes, he was there, and yes, he knows and knew the facts about that particular war very well.

            Also, please explain to me how Van Creveld could, in any way, be considered left-wing?

            Concercing the “two divisions”:
            The quote does not claim that there were two divisions in Sinai after May 14th. It says that two were sent there on that day. There were more there already.

            So your argument concerning this particular quote is void.

            Reply to Comment
          • Y.

            Felix, of course the status of Egyptian forces in the Sinai in May 14th was entirely different from their status in 5th June. Roleau’s dishonesty was presenting a quote about May 14th as evidence of Israeli thinking in early June – despite everything changing in the meantime. I’m pretty sure that if one could have made a poll of all the region’s leaders in 1st May 1967 not a single one would have thought war was immediate – but Nasser got caught up in his rhetoric and the rest we know…

            I see you haven’t read much by Creveld (though he is far more of a maverick than a lefty), but his quote doesn’t even make an argument – it’s a supposition meant to arouse suspicion which we could make about any event. [‘The origins of the assassination of President Kennedy may never be known. But it is obvious that the (CIA/Mob/Israel/all commenters to +972/) had a lot to gain’ – see?]. In actual reality Rabin had a nervous breakdown.

            Peled was also a maverick (but closer to a conventional lefty as he aged), in any event he was just a commander of an airbase at the time – and not privy to discussions on that level. Moreover, a lot of commentary tends to assume the result as given and therefor ‘derive’ that it was obvious to everyone earlier – on that account, it was ‘obvious’ that even 10 times the Egyptian force could not threathen Israel. But that has no relation to what the leaderships thought at the time – Amer [Egyptian chief of staff] himself thought that their forces were sufficient and urged Nasser to attack.

            Fortunately, we have better evidence of what the leaderships thought on either side – you can just read Oren’s book.

            Reply to Comment
    6. Johnboy

      “Pres. Abbas confirmed it repeatedly to his Arab brethren. See, inter alia, http://www.haaretz.com/news/abbas-olmert-offered-pa-land-equaling-100-of-west-bank-1.1747. ”

      Ahem, Chinese whispers, anyone?

      I’ll note that the Haaretz article that Ginger points me to does not actually quote either Olmert nor Abbas saying that there was a 100% swap.

      Which is odd, indeed, because in the case of the OTHER two claims in that article (i.e. that Abbas refused to accept any Israeli colonists, and that Livni didn’t run interference) Haaretz is perfectly willing to give direct quotes from Abbas.

      But not on the claim that the swap was 1:1, which is a claim that Haaretz attributes to Abbas only via PARAPHRASING, not QUOTES.

      Even more odd, that article trumpets its own scoop in claiming to possess a map of what was proposed by Olmert.

      A map that shows….. “Olmert wanted to annex 6.3 percent of the West Bank to Israel”…..”Olmert proposed the transfer of territory to the Palestinians equivalent to 5.8 percent of the area of the West Bank”.

      How odd indeed, because my trusty calculate tells me that there is a discrepancy between 6.3 and 5.8.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Johnboy, your fight is/should be with Ha’aretz and the Arab-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, not me. Take Ha’aretz to Court and I will, honestly, contribute money for you to successfully sue them, because the day Ha’aretz is declared bankrupt and dismantled will be one of the happiest days of my life. I will throw party and go to the Caribbean on a long vacation. Regardless, there are several documentation in print and video supporting Ha’aretz in this matter – some of them in Arabic and Hebrew. You may need to do a thorough research before suing (as a good Jurist must). See also http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-failed-to-accept-my-peace-offer-because-hes-no-hero/ and the Arab sources cited therein.

        Reply to Comment
        • Johnboy

          Well, that post of Ginger’s amounted to a whole lotta’ nothing’.

          Ginger claims that Abbas said he was offered the equivalent to 100% of the West Bank.

          To back up that claim he points me to a Haaretz article that claims that Abbas said he was offered the equivalent to 100% of the West Bank.

          And Haaretz backs up that claim by pointing to an article in an Arab-language newspaper that claims that Abbas said he was offered the equivalent to 100% of the West Bank.

          But what’s missing from all those claims is… a QUOTE from Abbas wherein he says that he was offered the equivalent to 100% of the West Bank.

          Which is rather odd, don’t ya’ think?

          Ginger: “Johnboy, your fight is/should be with Ha’aretz and the Arab-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, not me.”

          No, actually, my fight is with you.

          YOU said this: “Pres. Abbas confirmed it repeatedly to his Arab brethren.”

          No, can you produce the quote wherein “Abbas confirms this”, or can’t you?

          Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Johnboy

            Are you for real? Why can’t you conduct an honest debate for once in your life?

            Ginger is showing you how. But you are acting like a petulant little boy, Johnboy.

            Reply to Comment
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