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January 23, 2014 1:51 am

How to Fight Back When the Media Blames “ŽIsrael for Destroying Peace Talks

avatar by Lee S. Bender and Jerome R. Verlin

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Secretary of State John Kerry with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (left) and Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni (right) on July 30 in Washington, DC. Credit: State Department.

As the indefatigable John Kerry plods on, ignoring the huge unbridgeable gulf between the Israeli and Palestinians’ peace terms positions, Israel’s advocates must make clear to Western publics how incompatible the Arab side’s demands are with the survival of the Jewish state.

Palestinian Authority President Abbas’ December 8, 2013, letter to President Obama stated: “Firstly, we will not be able to accept Israel as a Jewish state. Secondly, we will not be able to accept a Palestinian state with 1967 borders without Jerusalem. Thirdly, we will not be able to accept any Israeli on Palestinian land, sea, air and border crossings following the completion of the gradual withdrawal.” A fourth condition was the “right of return” for potentially millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Israel.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Abbas stating that the current peace talks will not be extended beyond the nine-month term ending in April, and that “after that, we’re free to do what we want.”  “ŽChief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat revealed another potential strategy: appeal for recognition to the EU and international community, engage in lawfare, and bring charges in the International Criminal Court against Israel.

Abbas’ “1967 Borders” Demand: “Ž”ŽThe 1949 Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement expressly defined its “green line” as exclusively a military ceasefire line without prejudice to either side’s claims on political borders. The post-1967 war UN resolution 242 did not demand an Israeli retreat from Jerusalem. Abba Eban referred to those perilously narrow 1949 ceasefire lines as “Auschwitz lines.” And Prime Minister Rabin, commanding general in the 1967 War, told the Knesset just before his assassination in 1995 that the borders of Israel would be beyond the lines that existed before the Six-Day War, that Israel would not divide Jerusalem, and that Israel would remain in the Jordan Valley. Indeed, with the current Iranian nuclear threat and instability of neighboring Arab states, these requirements have become more imperative.

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Abbas’ “East Jerusalem“ Demand: “ŽCompare the Jewish and Arab claims to the heart of Jerusalem.  Palestinian Arabs have not ruled any part of Jerusalem for one day in history. Antiquity’s two native states that ruled Jerusalem, the kingdoms of Judah and Judaea, were Jewish. Two Jewish Temples stood in succession as Jerusalem centerpieces for a millennium. “ŽModern Israel became the land’s next native state after Jewish Judaea – all the intervening rulers were foreign invaders. Jerusalem has had a renewed Jewish majority since 19th “Žcentury Ottoman rule. Indeed, Muslims have major religious sites in Jerusalem, to which Israel does and will grant peaceful access.  Compare the Arab denial of Jewish access to the Old City during Jordan’s illegal rule from 1948-1967.

Abbas’ Demanded “Right of Return” and Non-Recognition of Jewish State“Ž: Jews are not strangers in Jerusalem, Beit El ,and Hebron – as Netanyahu recently declared, and we are not strangers to the broader Mideast, where the Jewish people have lived since Moses’ time. PA officials have repeatedly stated not only their opposition to a Jewish state living peacefully alongside a Palestinian Arab state, but that one of their red lines is the “right of return,” which will flood Israel with millions of descendants of refugees who left Israel during the 1948 War. This would destroy Israel as the Jewish homeland, and is racist in ideology and effect. And what the media hardly ever mentions is that Israel accepted a greater number of indigenous Middle Eastern Jews after 1948 who were forced from their homes and businesses in Arab and other Muslim lands, than the number of Arabs left tiny “ŽIsrael. These Jews and their descendants comprise a major segment of Israel’s population today.”Ž They not only offset the Arab-claimed “right of return,” but destroy the canard that Israel is an implanted colonial “Zionist” state in an Arab Mideast.

Incitement: The steady stream of anti-coexistence, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic rhetoric and incitement by the Palestinian Arab leadership in mosques, schools, camps, and media perpetuates the conflict. While Israeli defensive actions are routinely cast as obstacles to peace, it is the Palestinian Arabs’ refusal to recognize a Jewish state, in any borders, which is never described as the obstacle to peace, when it is the “Žsin qua non to mutual recognition and an end to the conflict. Instead, the world is fed the narrative of a seemingly poor, victimized, minority “Palestinian people,” who are not seen as part of the greater Arab region of 22 countries and 400 million people, nor as people with their own country – Jordan – which has a population two thirds of whom are “Palestinians” on 78 percent of the original Palestine Mandate. Israel has 6.2 million Jews, plus another 1.2 million Arabs living as full citizens, in a country of 8,000 square miles, versus 5 million square miles of the Arab world.

Abbas Has No Authority: The media fails to recognize that Abbas has limited and questionable authority – his term expired 8 years ago, and he only “rules” in PA-controlled areas in “the West Bank,” but not Gaza, which is under the thumb of Hamas. There is no proof that if Abbas signs an agreement that it will be binding on Hamas, which rejects Israel’s right to exist.

Prisoner Release: Israel was forced to release 104 Palestinian Arab convicted murderers with blood on their hands just to induce the PA to come to the negotiating table, a horrible and heartrending concession that has torn the fabric of Israel, while the Palestinian Arabs celebrated the releases, and pocketed them for nothing in return.

The Palestinian Arabs have not budged an inch from their maximalist, Israel-ending demands – “the 1967 borders,” the heart of Jerusalem as their capital, and destruction of even “green line” Israel through “the right of return,” and refusal to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People. Israel, however, has agreed to a two-state solution. These are the facts everyone needs to know.

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  • Bart A. Charta

    With negotiations nothing but a charade claiming that “the Emperor has clothes”, as soon as Abbas walks away the first move the Israelis should make is to militarily enter Ramallah, fully disarm the PA “security forces”, take over the muqata and arrest all the PA’s political leadership. Next: tear down the Dome of the Rock sitting on the Temple Mount and reconstruct it in Sacher Park – maybe use it as the cupola for a merry-go-round. Turn Al-Aqsa into a museum and open it to everyone but Muslims, destroy the illegally constructed mosque in Solomon’s stables and let the PA Arabs know there’s a new sheriff in town – and if they don’t like it, Allenby Bridge is always an option to them. No two-state solution, and only a Jewish one-state solution. Sometimes maybe democracy is over-rated….

  • Yale

    Don’t wait and react, pro-act!

    The key to winning this battle is to term the “peace process” mentality insane, and back that up with Albert Einstein’s quote to the effect that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome.

    There have been more than a dozen efforts to solve the Middle East conflict by pressuring Israel to make substantive concessions in exchange for vague promises, and SURPRISE! None of them has achieved *anything*. What these efforts have done is convince the Palestinians that if they reject the latest offer, the next one will be even better, and the great sages in Washington haven’t disappointed them.

    You don’t have to be familiar with strategic theory to understand that if you’re going to get a better offer “next time”, you reject whatever offer you get “this time”. The strategy the Western powers have been following is thus self-defeating.

    The trick is to make a convincing argument that future offers will be less attractive, so the Palestinians will be better off settling now rather than holding out. Given their values, the only way to do that is to take land off the table, and the best way to do that is to recognize that the settlements are the only aspect of this conflict pushing the Palestinians to settle. Contrary to widespread opinion, the settlements are not an impediment to a solution, they are the key to one. If Kerry and Obama and the other witless wonders conducting our policy had any sense they’d recognize this.

  • Fleur

    I think one major problem is that the government spokespeople over the years have failed to make these points strongly , especially the fact that Jews are the indigenous and original occupants of the land. That “the right of return ” is an especially Jewish right.

  • Herb Grossman

    Kerry doesn’t ignore the huge unbridgeable gulf between the parties. He doesn’t really care about that. His mission is to coerce Israel into abandoning the West Bank and east Jerusalem with or without any peace deal, and his ultimate tactic is to set forth a “framework” in which that is the foundation on which he can mobilize the international community to demand. Israel has to prepare itself for some economic hardship as a result of that international pressure and maintain its hold on those critical and strategic territories. Ya’alon is right that economic hardship from boycotts is better than rockets raining down on Israel’s coastal heartland, which would destroy everything in its wake, including the economy.

  • carl

    Abbas has breathed new life into the infamous “three no’s” of the Arab world in ’67. Yet Israel is somehow accused of intransigence!

  • David Most

    Abbas et. al. entered this negotiation unwillingly from the start. We don’t have an accounting yet of how many $$ were promised to the PA if they would just humor Secretary Kerry and enter the charade.

    Abbas and the PA still believe they may demographically overwhelm Israel and turn it into an Arab dominated nation-state. Muslim immigration into Europe is slowly accomplishing that objective in the EU. Imagine how much easier it would be to destroy Israel should the “right of return”, as stipulated by the PA, ever come to pass.

    Israel must stand firm and she will. John Kerry will leave this negotiation with perhaps some pocket change as his gain.

    Given the impossible gaps to be bridged one cannot predict much success.

  • Bella

    Obama has demonstrated many times – the most flagrant being ‘the red line’ – that his words are empty.

    From Obama, there have been NOTHING other than empty words at Jewish functions showing support for Jews in the ME. By contrast to support, he personally reinvigorated the idea that settlements are ‘the major obstacle to peace’ and everything he has brought to fruition on the ground indicates his personal support for Iran, for terror and for an Islamist victory in what can be regarded as the (already well in progress) Third World war.

    Can anyone in their right mind accept his support for the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt without questioning his support for a win by western democracy?

    Jews who voted for him were duped by his good looks and empty rhetoric.

    Obama has supervised a mess beyond belief. .. and if Kerry is the next president, kiss a Jewish Israel goodbye.

    The current pattern will be excaserbated – ie re will be more concessions demanded of Israel that – like the release of murderers who committed murders within Israel – Israel will be blackmailed into, and instead of any concessions from the Arabs, there will be more anti-Israel rhetoric and the Europeans, due to a combination of their historical anti-Semitism and Arab money and citizens will squeeze Israel even harder.

    • Sonia Willats

      Excellent article. The huge displacements of refugees (Jewish and Christian) are described in Louis de Berniers “Birds Without Wings”. I have sobbed over a picture in Haim Potok’s History of the Jews (not sure of the title) showing Jews from Turkey being sent to death camps.

      Yes, Bella, nothing good can be expected from Obama/Kerry presiding over this “peace process.” Whilst Obama’s USA has demonstrated eager support for Iran and the Muslim brotherhood, and confused thinking and actions in Syria, he may well display much more resolute strength in forcing the hand of his “ally”- Israel. Obama must be judged by his actions not his words – a warning siren should start going off just now with regard to this peace process.

    • LBJeffrie

      Kerry will never be President.

  • The Jimmy Carter administration has brought these flagrant lies into the main press and the lies have been picked up and repeated since. It may take another republican President to overturn this, but it takes the jewish electorate in the USA to vote republican overwhelmingly.

    • m_

      As a Jew, a liberal and former democrat,now an independent, I can say that I will not vote for Kerry if he runs in 2016. I would vote for a Republican who is a firm supporter of Israel if the Republicans choose such a candidate. I hope other Jewish Americans in great numbers will consider the Republican candidate if he or she is a strong supporter of Israel’s right to exist and remain a Jewish country. We should vote for Israel’s survival and so that the U.S. remains a beacon of freedom and liberal democracy.

      • Shodo Taian

        I’m getting a little bored by the rising sound of criticism of Obama. He said for all to hear in 2008 what he intended to do. There was no subterfuge. He manifested his behavior as anti-America, anti-white, anti-Semitic, and black nationalist. The man was obviously and behaviorally as if an enemy alien in the country. Personally, I have had to try to stop eating my heart out.

        • Carol

          Exactly right! Obama duped many.I hope and pray that after 5yrs. of the evil he has inflicted on the citizens of the United States,& on Israel,that EVERYONES eyes are opened.Obama IS NOT a friend to Israel. NEVER HAS BEEN.

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