March 4, 2010 Scandal in Israeli Banks, Peace Talks? - History

March 4, 2010 Scandal in Israeli Banks, Peace Talks? - History

A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

March 4, 2010 Scandal in Israeli Banks, Peace Talks?

The Israeli news has led with a different scandal in the last two days. This new scandal is not one involving a politician, but involving a man who was, until recently, one of the leaders of the Israeli business community, Yossi Danker. Danker's resignation was forced by Bank of Israel Governor General, Stanley Fisher, in his role as regulator of the banks. Danker is being accused of massive "self dealings", in which he gave entities he controlled low cost loans, at the same the time he enriched himself and his families by millions of dollars.

In a different arena, there is a sense something might be happening on the diplomatic front. On one hand, the Palestinians have agreed to indirect talks. There is some new discussion of a coalition government with Kadima, if advances are made in negotiations. It's hard to see how Netanyahu can keep his coalition together if any real advances are made. With the chances of getting a new round of sanctions on Iran getting slimmer (at least through the UN route) since both China and Brazil are calling for more useless negotiations, then coming to a deal with the Palestinians may be ever more urgent. I do not believe in direct linkage. However, getting international support for military action, if necessary, will be made much easier if Israel is engaged in serious negotiations with the Palestinians that are bearing fruit. I repeat what I have stated before: Yitzhak Rabin agreed to Oslo, (which he was trying to move forward further before he was murdered), because he foresaw the Iranian threat and believed only by reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians could that threat be defused.

Things do not seem to be all quiet within Hamas in Gaza. The rift between Hamas Gaza and the Hamas political leadership in Damascus has become more serious in recent weeks. Damascus seems to be getting ever more radical and continues to align with the Iranians; while the somewhat more pragmatic leadership on the ground in Gaza has not been happy with that development. Meanwhile, Hamas in Gaza is being challenged by the even more radical elements within the population of Gaza.


The Arab lobby

The legend of the Jewish lobby’s influence over US policies continues to grow — even as the Arab lobby, led by the Saudis, keeps racking up successes.

With petrodollars and tender loving care spent lavishly on universities, ex-diplomats, PR firms and gullible journalists, the Arab Lobby constantly pushes two contradictory story lines:

* Arabs seek peace with Israel.

* There’s no place for a Jewish state in the Middle East.

This week, Saudi-led Arab countries have convinced Western reporters that they’re advancing the peace process with Israel. Meanwhile, universities in America, Canada, Europe and the Arab world are marking “Israeli Apartheid Week” — a vile campaign meant to return the “Zionism is racism” equation to the top of the world’s agenda.

In Cairo yesterday, the Arab League gave its nod of approval for the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, to participate in indirect talks with Israel. This is meant to show us that the Arab countries are seeking peace.

Yet, in reality, Israelis and Palestinians have publicly conducted direct talks since the early 1990s. The Palestinians broke off those talks last year under increasing pressure from leading Arab countries, which hoped President Obama would lean hard on the new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Obama’s initial plan was to pressure Israel to freeze settlements and, at the same time, convince Arab countries to make at least a symbolic gesture of normalization with the Jewish state. US emissaries flew to Riyadh to try to convince King Abdullah to let Israeli commercial planes fly over the Saudi peninsula’s airspace.

In the end, the Israelis imposed a limited settlement freeze — but the Saudis didn’t move an inch.

Meanwhile, as Saudi financing of US university faculties increases, the anti-Israeli rhetoric at campuses from Berkeley to Columbia is reaching new highs (or, rather, lows). In the city, Columbia, NYU and Brooklyn College all feature Apartheid Week events.

Yet British scholar Anthony Glees had long documented the linkage between Saudi financing of faculties and growing anti-Western and anti-Israeli rhetoric at places like Harvard and Georgetown (which Prince Alaweed recently gave $20 million).

Meanwhile, the House of Saud’s most accomplished princes are sent to Washington. The current ambassador, Adel al Jubeir, is a brilliant, soft-spoken PR strategist who regularly holds court with the cream of capital society.

“While pundits like to speak about the power of the Israeli lobby in Washington, they completely ignore the well-established Saudi lobby,” says Dore Gold, a former Israeli UN ambassador and a veteran scholar of the Saudi ruling family. The lobby, Gold notes, finances “former American diplomats and military officers, and uses the most expensive public-relation companies that money can buy to penetrate the American media.”

Only a well-oiled PR machine can explain how the Saudis manage to harness such dear liberal values as oppression of women: Even though women there aren’t even permitted to vote or drive, the Saudis managed for years to get good grades from the UN Development Program, which marks “improvement” in women’s status as progress.

But selling the “improvement” line — to the United Nations or to gullible New York Times columnists — isn’t enough. They have to add insult to injury by telling the Times’ Maureen Dowd that women suffer worse in Israel, thanks to “religious militants.”

What? Discrimination against women is part of the Saudi state religion.

And while Saudi watchers tell me that King Abdullah is indeed taking “baby steps” to liberalize the country’s society, they’re extremely controversial — obliging the king to harden his anti-Israel rhetoric and boost relations with the region’s most extreme regimes, such as Syria’s.

In the last decade, Riyadh sold Western peace processors its “Saudi Plan.” It wasn’t much of a plan, and it surely wasn’t as detailed as other blueprints for peace between Arabs and Israelis. Yet Saudi lobbying was good enough to enshrine it in State Department and UN Security Council documents.

Meanwhile, the Saudi PR machine pushes accusations about Israeli apartheid, Jewish desecration of holy Muslim sites and Israeli violations of human rights. All of them are rooted in the same premise: Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the Middle East is illegitimate.


Dreyfus affair begins in France

French officer Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of treason by a military court-martial and sentenced to life in prison for his alleged crime of passing military secrets to the Germans. The Jewish artillery captain, convicted on flimsy evidence in a highly irregular trial, began his life sentence on the notorious Devil’s Island Prison in French Guyana four months later.

The Dreyfus case demonstrated the anti-Semitism permeating France’s military and, because many praised the ruling, in France in general. Interest in the case lapsed until 1896, when evidence was disclosed that implicated French Major Ferdinand Esterhazy as the guilty party. The army attempted to suppress this information, but a national uproar ensued, and the military had no choice but to put Esterhazy on trial. A court-martial was held in January 1898, and Esterhazy was acquitted within an hour.

In response, the French novelist Émile Zola published an open letter entitled “J�use” on the front page of the Aurore, which accused the judges of being under the thumb of the military. By the evening, 200,000 copies had been sold. One month later, Zola was sentenced to jail for libel but managed to escape to England. Meanwhile, out of the scandal a perilous national division was born, in which nationalists and members of the Catholic Church supported the military, while republicans, socialists, and advocates of religious freedom lined up to defend Dreyfus.

In 1898, Major Hubert Henry, discoverer of the original letter attributed to Dreyfus, admitted that he had forged much of the evidence against Dreyfus and then Henry committed suicide. Soon afterward, Esterhazy fled the country. The military was forced to order a new court-martial for Dreyfus. In 1899, he was found guilty in another show trial and sentenced to 10 years in prison. However, a new French administration pardoned him, and in 1906 the supreme court of appeals overturned his conviction. The debacle of the Dreyfus affair brought about greater liberalization in France, a reduction in the power of the military, and a formal separation of church and state.


Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the Obama administration has begun circulating a new round of proposed sanctions against Iran. On Wednesday, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva rejected new sanctions on Iran ahead of a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying, “The prudent thing is to establish negotiations.”

Clinton’s visit to Brazil came as part of her first visit to Latin America as Secretary of State. It comes one week after Latin American and Caribbean nations agreed to form a new regional body excluding the United States and Canada as an alternative to the Organization of American States. At a news conference, Clinton criticized the Venezuelan government.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “We are deeply concerned about the behavior of the Venezuelan government, which we think is unproductive with respect to its relations with certain neighbors, which we believe is limiting slowly, but surely, the freedoms within Venezuela, therefore adversely impacting the Venezuelan people. And we would hope that there could be a new start on the part of the Venezuelan leadership to restore full democracy, to restore freedom of the press, to restore private property, and return to a free market economy. We wish Venezuela were looking more to its south and looking at Brazil and looking at Chile.”


The Settlement Fixation

Of all the problems bedeviling Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the status of Jewish settlements in the West Bank — thrown into the spotlight again this week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the United States — has surely attracted the most attention. But that does not make it the most important or the most pressing issue.

Contrary to what many believe, Israelis are largely in agreement over the terms and circumstances under which they would compromise over the settlements — a consensus that is surely larger than that which exists in Palestinian society over how to reconcile the feuding Islamist and secular nationalist factions in Gaza and the West Bank. While Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has used settlements as an excuse to disrupt the latest round of peace talks, the open secret in today’s Middle East is that the issue is one of the least problematic obstacles to a final-status agreement.

The settlement project was originally conceived as a response to Israel’s national security concerns and was bolstered through an awkward marriage with the ambitions of Messianic Judaism. But as Israeli realpolitik and demographic calculations have turned against the settlers, the settlements have been emptied of their original ideological justifications and reduced to the status of a mere bargaining chip by even the country’s most hawkish leaders.

The first settlements were built following Israel’s capture of Gaza and the West Bank after the 1967 Six-Day War, but expansionism did not begin in earnest until after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Although Israel prevailed in 1973, Israelis believed the war could easily have gone the other way. The Israeli security establishment reckoned that possessing the military buffer zone of the Israeli-occupied territories made the critical difference between victory and defeat. Territorial depth provided the Israel Defense Forces with the room to maneuver and time to recover from the surprise attack by Egypt and Syria. Jordan stayed out of the war, but Israelis worried that it would not have been so restrained if the Hashemite Kingdom still controlled the West Bank and was thus capable of launching an invasion from next door.

Shortly after the Six-Day War, Israel mooted a program for geographical deterrence which, in the wake of a far less confident victory in 1973, now seemed all the more compelling. Conceived by Yigal Allon, then the deputy prime minister, it suggested a plan for the strategic settlement of the West Bank. Although never formally adopted, the Allon Plan attained the level of de facto policy as it was fitfully implemented by successive left-wing Labor governments.

The mountainous rift above the Jordan River was to constitute the best bulwark against Arab invasion. A strip of 12 to 15 kilometers along the west bank of the river would therefore be annexed by Israel, and Israeli towns overlooking the predominantly Arab cities in the West Bank such as Jericho and Hebron would be developed.

The security motive for the Allon Plan was obvious, but there was also a second aspect of the plan’s logic that was equally important: to prevent Israel from permanently acquiring any part of the West Bank that was home to large Arab populations. Allon envisioned that the land falling outside the 12-to-15-kilometer fortified strip would be governed by some form of Arab "autonomy." As Irish academic and politician Conor Cruise O’Brien observed in The Siege, his magisterial history of Zionism and the early decades of the state of Israel:

In those parts of it which were implemented, the Allon Plan was a document of annexationist tendency. But the questions it raised, or expressed, over the future of the densely populated Arab areas did have the effect, during most of the period between 1967 and 1977, of closing these areas to Jewish settlement. [Italics in the original.]

The goal, then, of the initial settlement project was minimal rather than maximal. The Israeli political class sought to forestall what veteran Israeli diplomat Abba Eban termed "superfluous domination" of Arab land.

However, the escalation of Palestinian terrorist attacks soon provoked an equally hard-edged Israeli response, which gave the settlement project a more ideological underpinning. In May 1974, Arab fedayeen kidnapped 90 schoolchildren and teachers in the northern Israeli town of Ma’alot. The Israeli rescue operation was a calamity, resulting in the deaths of more than 20 children. In October of that year, the Arab League summit held in Rabat, Morocco, formally recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization, which included the faction responsible for the Ma’alot attack, as the "sole legitimate representative" of the Palestinian people. A month later, PLO head Yasir Arafat, by then the public face of Arab terrorism, addressed the U.N. General Assembly in New York and received a standing ovation.

Not by coincidence, 1974 was also the year that Gush Emunim — "Bloc of the Faithful" — was founded by young Israeli activists from the National Religious Party. The movement, which was dedicated to the expansion of Israeli settlements, preached that the Jewish nation and its land were holy and given to the Jews by God. Gush Emunim’s official policy with respect to the occupied territories was hitnahalut, which literally means "colonization" and, in practice, meant squatting on Arab territory regardless of state policy. By 1976, then Defense Minister Shimon Peres allowed Gush Emunim to "colonize" the Palestinian village of Sebastia, near Nablus. It was fast becoming clear that the interests of Messianic Judaism and Israeli security had merged.

The first and second intifadas — Palestinian uprisings — only reinforced this precarious dynamic. But following the 1991 Madrid peace conference, the settlements also acquired a role as a bargaining chip in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Israel accepts a "land for peace" arrangement premised on territorial concessions, while continuing to suggest that Jewish real estate in the West Bank knows no limits. It’s a paradox with a point, as historian Walter Russell Mead recently noted: "Without the threat of more settlements, it’s not clear what the incentives are for the Palestinians to accept a territorial compromise based on the 1967 frontiers." Fueled by this logic, the settlement population has tripled since the Madrid conference.

But the continued growth of the settlements and the international attention directed toward them obscures the fact that their original rationale has eroded. The prospect of Israel fighting a conventional war against another Arab army is outmoded, as both its recent conflicts with Hezbollah and Hamas attest. Terrorists, unlike tanks, are not deterred from crossing over rocky terrain. Moreover, the security wall that now physically separates much of Israel from the West Bank acts as its own buffer and has so far managed to radically reduce the number of suicide bombings in cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Furthermore, the West Bank has largely been pacified since the Second Intifada due to the savvy partnership between Israel and the Palestinian Authority’s security establishment, the training of a professional Palestinian gendarmerie by the United States, and the internal policing methods of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

In Israel, settlements have also lost popular support. The 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by Yigal Amir, a Messianic rejectionist of the Oslo Accords, marked the beginning of the erosion of the settler movement’s credibility. As recently as this March, a poll conducted by the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that 60 percent of Israelis support "dismantling most of the settlements in the territories as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians."

In 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, judging that an indefinite occupation was destructive to Israel’s long-term national interests, withdrew all settlements from Gaza. By Sharon’s reckoning, Israel stood to become an Arab-majority state if its expansionist project in the occupied territories reached a level of de facto annexation. He feared that this would allow Arab inhabitants to vote away Israel’s identity as a Jewish homeland, or force Israel to deny this population equal democratic rights and to establish a system of apartheid.

Netanyahu epitomizes the Israeli establishment’s embrace of this hardheaded logic and the marginalization of Messianic Judaism in its mainstream political discourse. In his 2009 address at Bar-Ilan University, the current prime minister acknowledged the legitimacy of a Palestinian state. Although the speech was criticized as being insufficient by Netanyahu’s leftist critics, it in fact ended the Likud party dream of a state of Israel lying between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River and encompassing all of Gaza and "Judea and Samaria" (the biblical terms for the West Bank).

This speech, which came just four years after Netanyahu quit his post as finance minister in Sharon’s cabinet to protest the Gaza withdrawal, certified a slow reorientation of Israeli politics away from a theological or security-based justification for the settlement enterprise. The prime minister’s latest offer to extend the construction moratorium in exchange for the Palestinian recognition of Israel as a "Jewish state" has been roundly criticized as a diplomatic non-starter while the larger point — that a conservative hawk sees the settlements as leverage and not a divine mandate — is just as predictably elided.

So where does that leave the die-hard settlers? Perhaps bidding for renewed political relevance, the movement has itself begun to flirt with democratic integration — except that its preferred model is the so-called "one-state solution," which envisions the Jewish and Arab polities in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank merging into a single democratic state. This concept, however, is even more fraught with obstacles and the possibility of bloodshed than the two-state solution. Ethnic power-sharing would, at best, transform Israel into another Lebanon and invite the same wardrobe of calamity, including civil war and tribal assassinations.

If this is God’s will then so be it, argues Uri Elitzur, Netanyahu’s former chief of staff and a leading intellectual of the Israeli religious right. Elitzur recently endorsed the one-state solution in Nekuda, the settler movement’s official magazine. Reuven Rivlin, the speaker of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, said this year that he "would rather [have] Palestinians as citizens of this country over dividing the land up."

Wondrous though it undoubtedly is to imagine the religious Jewish right nodding in agreement with the New York Review of Books, the settlers’ rethink on Greater Israel’s political boundaries also demonstrates their divorce from mainstream Israeli thought and practical reality. It is all the more reason to see their movement for what it is: marginalized politically and curtailed in scope.

That is not to say that the existing West Bank settlements are destined to fall from Israeli control. Land swaps have long been part of the tool kit of final-status negotiations in late 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas undertook a hypothetical map-drawing exercise that delineated the border between the two states. The end result allowed for large settlement blocs to be incorporated into the Jewish state, while according land currently inside Israel to the new Palestinian state. Ma’ale Adumim, for instance, which was a sticking point in the international debate preceding the construction moratorium, is home to some 36,500 Israelis who aren’t likely to go anywhere, as most Palestinians acknowledge. Building new bathrooms or balconies there is hardly the fatal blow to peace that it has been made to appear.

Settlements should not be the top Mideast priority for the Obama administration. More critical issues will have to be resolved first, such as reconciling feuding Palestinian political factions, guaranteeing that security can be maintained in the West Bank without an IDF presence, and ensuring that Palestinian institutions now being built are stable enough to sustain a functioning democratic government, regardless of which party is elected. The settlement fixation is a convenient distraction from these obstacles, which have no easy remedy and continue to block the way to a two-state solution.

Of all the problems bedeviling Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the status of Jewish settlements in the West Bank — thrown into the spotlight again this week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the United States — has surely attracted the most attention. But that does not make it the most important or the most pressing issue.

Contrary to what many believe, Israelis are largely in agreement over the terms and circumstances under which they would compromise over the settlements — a consensus that is surely larger than that which exists in Palestinian society over how to reconcile the feuding Islamist and secular nationalist factions in Gaza and the West Bank. While Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has used settlements as an excuse to disrupt the latest round of peace talks, the open secret in today’s Middle East is that the issue is one of the least problematic obstacles to a final-status agreement.

The settlement project was originally conceived as a response to Israel’s national security concerns and was bolstered through an awkward marriage with the ambitions of Messianic Judaism. But as Israeli realpolitik and demographic calculations have turned against the settlers, the settlements have been emptied of their original ideological justifications and reduced to the status of a mere bargaining chip by even the country’s most hawkish leaders.

The first settlements were built following Israel’s capture of Gaza and the West Bank after the 1967 Six-Day War, but expansionism did not begin in earnest until after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Although Israel prevailed in 1973, Israelis believed the war could easily have gone the other way. The Israeli security establishment reckoned that possessing the military buffer zone of the Israeli-occupied territories made the critical difference between victory and defeat. Territorial depth provided the Israel Defense Forces with the room to maneuver and time to recover from the surprise attack by Egypt and Syria. Jordan stayed out of the war, but Israelis worried that it would not have been so restrained if the Hashemite Kingdom still controlled the West Bank and was thus capable of launching an invasion from next door.

Shortly after the Six-Day War, Israel mooted a program for geographical deterrence which, in the wake of a far less confident victory in 1973, now seemed all the more compelling. Conceived by Yigal Allon, then the deputy prime minister, it suggested a plan for the strategic settlement of the West Bank. Although never formally adopted, the Allon Plan attained the level of de facto policy as it was fitfully implemented by successive left-wing Labor governments.

The mountainous rift above the Jordan River was to constitute the best bulwark against Arab invasion. A strip of 12 to 15 kilometers along the west bank of the river would therefore be annexed by Israel, and Israeli towns overlooking the predominantly Arab cities in the West Bank such as Jericho and Hebron would be developed.

The security motive for the Allon Plan was obvious, but there was also a second aspect of the plan’s logic that was equally important: to prevent Israel from permanently acquiring any part of the West Bank that was home to large Arab populations. Allon envisioned that the land falling outside the 12-to-15-kilometer fortified strip would be governed by some form of Arab "autonomy." As Irish academic and politician Conor Cruise O’Brien observed in The Siege, his magisterial history of Zionism and the early decades of the state of Israel:

In those parts of it which were implemented, the Allon Plan was a document of annexationist tendency. But the questions it raised, or expressed, over the future of the densely populated Arab areas did have the effect, during most of the period between 1967 and 1977, of closing these areas to Jewish settlement. [Italics in the original.]

The goal, then, of the initial settlement project was minimal rather than maximal. The Israeli political class sought to forestall what veteran Israeli diplomat Abba Eban termed "superfluous domination" of Arab land.

However, the escalation of Palestinian terrorist attacks soon provoked an equally hard-edged Israeli response, which gave the settlement project a more ideological underpinning. In May 1974, Arab fedayeen kidnapped 90 schoolchildren and teachers in the northern Israeli town of Ma’alot. The Israeli rescue operation was a calamity, resulting in the deaths of more than 20 children. In October of that year, the Arab League summit held in Rabat, Morocco, formally recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization, which included the faction responsible for the Ma’alot attack, as the "sole legitimate representative" of the Palestinian people. A month later, PLO head Yasir Arafat, by then the public face of Arab terrorism, addressed the U.N. General Assembly in New York and received a standing ovation.

Not by coincidence, 1974 was also the year that Gush Emunim — "Bloc of the Faithful" — was founded by young Israeli activists from the National Religious Party. The movement, which was dedicated to the expansion of Israeli settlements, preached that the Jewish nation and its land were holy and given to the Jews by God. Gush Emunim’s official policy with respect to the occupied territories was hitnahalut, which literally means "colonization" and, in practice, meant squatting on Arab territory regardless of state policy. By 1976, then Defense Minister Shimon Peres allowed Gush Emunim to "colonize" the Palestinian village of Sebastia, near Nablus. It was fast becoming clear that the interests of Messianic Judaism and Israeli security had merged.

The first and second intifadas — Palestinian uprisings — only reinforced this precarious dynamic. But following the 1991 Madrid peace conference, the settlements also acquired a role as a bargaining chip in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Israel accepts a "land for peace" arrangement premised on territorial concessions, while continuing to suggest that Jewish real estate in the West Bank knows no limits. It’s a paradox with a point, as historian Walter Russell Mead recently noted: "Without the threat of more settlements, it’s not clear what the incentives are for the Palestinians to accept a territorial compromise based on the 1967 frontiers." Fueled by this logic, the settlement population has tripled since the Madrid conference.

But the continued growth of the settlements and the international attention directed toward them obscures the fact that their original rationale has eroded. The prospect of Israel fighting a conventional war against another Arab army is outmoded, as both its recent conflicts with Hezbollah and Hamas attest. Terrorists, unlike tanks, are not deterred from crossing over rocky terrain. Moreover, the security wall that now physically separates much of Israel from the West Bank acts as its own buffer and has so far managed to radically reduce the number of suicide bombings in cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Furthermore, the West Bank has largely been pacified since the Second Intifada due to the savvy partnership between Israel and the Palestinian Authority’s security establishment, the training of a professional Palestinian gendarmerie by the United States, and the internal policing methods of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

In Israel, settlements have also lost popular support. The 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by Yigal Amir, a Messianic rejectionist of the Oslo Accords, marked the beginning of the erosion of the settler movement’s credibility. As recently as this March, a poll conducted by the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that 60 percent of Israelis support "dismantling most of the settlements in the territories as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians."

In 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, judging that an indefinite occupation was destructive to Israel’s long-term national interests, withdrew all settlements from Gaza. By Sharon’s reckoning, Israel stood to become an Arab-majority state if its expansionist project in the occupied territories reached a level of de facto annexation. He feared that this would allow Arab inhabitants to vote away Israel’s identity as a Jewish homeland, or force Israel to deny this population equal democratic rights and to establish a system of apartheid.

Netanyahu epitomizes the Israeli establishment’s embrace of this hardheaded logic and the marginalization of Messianic Judaism in its mainstream political discourse. In his 2009 address at Bar-Ilan University, the current prime minister acknowledged the legitimacy of a Palestinian state. Although the speech was criticized as being insufficient by Netanyahu’s leftist critics, it in fact ended the Likud party dream of a state of Israel lying between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River and encompassing all of Gaza and "Judea and Samaria" (the biblical terms for the West Bank).

This speech, which came just four years after Netanyahu quit his post as finance minister in Sharon’s cabinet to protest the Gaza withdrawal, certified a slow reorientation of Israeli politics away from a theological or security-based justification for the settlement enterprise. The prime minister’s latest offer to extend the construction moratorium in exchange for the Palestinian recognition of Israel as a "Jewish state" has been roundly criticized as a diplomatic non-starter while the larger point — that a conservative hawk sees the settlements as leverage and not a divine mandate — is just as predictably elided.

So where does that leave the die-hard settlers? Perhaps bidding for renewed political relevance, the movement has itself begun to flirt with democratic integration — except that its preferred model is the so-called "one-state solution," which envisions the Jewish and Arab polities in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank merging into a single democratic state. This concept, however, is even more fraught with obstacles and the possibility of bloodshed than the two-state solution. Ethnic power-sharing would, at best, transform Israel into another Lebanon and invite the same wardrobe of calamity, including civil war and tribal assassinations.

If this is God’s will then so be it, argues Uri Elitzur, Netanyahu’s former chief of staff and a leading intellectual of the Israeli religious right. Elitzur recently endorsed the one-state solution in Nekuda, the settler movement’s official magazine. Reuven Rivlin, the speaker of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, said this year that he "would rather [have] Palestinians as citizens of this country over dividing the land up."

Wondrous though it undoubtedly is to imagine the religious Jewish right nodding in agreement with the New York Review of Books, the settlers’ rethink on Greater Israel’s political boundaries also demonstrates their divorce from mainstream Israeli thought and practical reality. It is all the more reason to see their movement for what it is: marginalized politically and curtailed in scope.

That is not to say that the existing West Bank settlements are destined to fall from Israeli control. Land swaps have long been part of the tool kit of final-status negotiations in late 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas undertook a hypothetical map-drawing exercise that delineated the border between the two states. The end result allowed for large settlement blocs to be incorporated into the Jewish state, while according land currently inside Israel to the new Palestinian state. Ma’ale Adumim, for instance, which was a sticking point in the international debate preceding the construction moratorium, is home to some 36,500 Israelis who aren’t likely to go anywhere, as most Palestinians acknowledge. Building new bathrooms or balconies there is hardly the fatal blow to peace that it has been made to appear.

Settlements should not be the top Mideast priority for the Obama administration. More critical issues will have to be resolved first, such as reconciling feuding Palestinian political factions, guaranteeing that security can be maintained in the West Bank without an IDF presence, and ensuring that Palestinian institutions now being built are stable enough to sustain a functioning democratic government, regardless of which party is elected. The settlement fixation is a convenient distraction from these obstacles, which have no easy remedy and continue to block the way to a two-state solution.


The Magnes Zionist

Rather than write up my take on the Kerry announcement (I’m basically with Harvard’s Steve Walt and Jewish Voice for Peace’s Sydney Levy ), I would rather answer the question, “Why will this round of peace talks be different from previous rounds – if they actually take place?”

The answer is that we have now entered into era of governmental BDS against Israel, I mean the European Union’s decision not to advance funding, grants, and financial instruments to Israeli individuals or institutions that have locations on territories captured by Israel in 1967. (I was told that Hebrew University, which has a campus on Mt. Scopus on territory that it owned (at least some of it) in the pre-state period is exempt. But I didn’t see that in the EU’s guidelines)

Some have suggested that the EU’s guidelines weighed heavily on Israel’s decision to join the peace talks, or that it emboldened the PA. I really have no way to determine whether that is true. I can say, as somebody who followed Israel’s rather hysterical reaction to the EU’s statement, that we now have a rather big governmental entity – the European Union – that has jumped on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions bandwagon – without the US as so much offering a peep of protest.

I should make it clear that neither the EU, much less its member statements, are formally boycotting Israel. As Daniel Levy correctly pointed out in the New York Times, the actual financial impact of the guidelines will be probably rather small. But the psychological impact has been huge. For one thing the EU guidelines bring back the Green Line, without any talk of settlement blocs, greater Jerusalem, or land swaps. The Jerusalem suburbs of Gilo and much of Ramot are over the Green Line – so an Israeli company with branches in those Jerusalem suburbs are potentially affected. For another, I haven’t heard anybody object to the EU guidelines outside of Israel, certainly nobody in the US government seems upset about them.

For years the US brokered peace process not only failed – it served the interests of Israeli expansionism. Many reasons can be given for this failure, but surely one of the most important has been the failure of the US to act as anything but, in Aaron David Miller’s oft-quoted phrase, Israel’s lawyer. He was referring to Dennis Ross, whose way of encouraging the Israelis was throwing at them huge military hardware, which they often turned down. Ross’s motto appears to have been “All carrots, all the time.” Now, perhaps, there will be a division of labor with the Europeans playing the Bad Cop and the US the Good Cop (for the Israelis, of course.)

Will there be progress? That depends on what you think progress consists of. I hope the US peace process fails because the Clinton parameters on which it has been based represent a rotten compromise that sacrifices the Palestinian people’s legitimate dreams and aspirations to be a free people in their land. But the peace process, if it gets off the ground, will give the BDS movement needed time to continue to gather steam. It brings the Israel-Palestine issue back into the public spotlight, exactly where the criminals who steal Palestinian land don’t want it to be. The era of the governmental sanctions against Israel settlements has begun. As an American, I am sorry that the US didn’t take the lead. But at least the US, because of its interest in the peace process, is smart enough to let the bad cop Europe do its work.

Rabin famously said that Israel should fight terror as if there was no peace process, and continue the peace process as if there were no terror. We will now have BDS as if there is no peace process and the peace process as if there is no BDS. Much to Israel’s chagrin, the linkage between the peace process and protection from BDS has been broken. Or perhaps the linkage between the peace process and BDS has been established. Call me an optimist, but that’s got to be good news.

3 comments:

I don't get the relevance of this commentary.

The purpose of peace talks is to articulate a proposal to legislatures and to populaces.

It takes that many layers to ratify.

To insist that the parties NOT articulate a proposal is to deny the communities the right to articulate their own consent or dissent or rejection.

It is vanity to speak on others behalf in that way.

The EU very very insignificant sanctions will affect rare rare few objectively (estimated by the EU at .5% of EU funding that reaches Israel).

The purpose of communication results in a good cop/bad cop game, in which the US is the good cop relative to Israel and to Netanyahu.

The only other viable option is electoral. If you are an advocate of democracy, then you will ACTIVELY pursue electoral efforts, to persuade.

The last couple elections, in which the vain (read narcissistic) left more or less boycotted the electoral process is a source of shame, an admission of utter defeat, and then morally a cause of others' suffering.

From Jaap Hamburger, A Different Jewish Voice, Amsterdam

"Or perhaps the linkage between the peace process and BDS has been established."

That's exactly what happened, be it in a loose way, according to Barak David in Ha'aretz. The EU-guidelines unexpectedly put pressure on Netanyahu ‘to go an extra mile’ as David puts it. And the EU-guidelines offered an 'escape' to Abbas, contrary to what the Israeli government pretended would be the effect of these guidelines on the Palestinians (Israel always uses the same sophism: pressure on Israel, in fact even an announcement or even an indication for forthcoming ‘pressure’ on Israel will make the Palestinians 'less flexible'. Now that we had a chance to test this dubious reasoning, it proved to be false. In reality, the opposite happened). The whole sophism only serves to neutralize any pressure in advance, on Israel. Israel is in fact utterly indifferent to the effect on the Palestinians, or I should rather say: the more inflexible the Palestinians are, the better it serves Israels goals. But not at the price of pressure on Israel, G’d beware.

Pressure by the way, not ‘Patience’ is the P-word Kerry and Obama should bear in mind, the months ahead. Pressure on Israel, being the one that can make or break negotiations. Putting pressure by the Americans is not a matter of opportunity, but of political will. That will has lacked so far, all these endless years.…

This certainly give heart to the BDS movement in the US. I am part of the Methodist Kairos Response, which pressed the US Methodist Church to disinvest on companies that do business in the occupied territories.

To us, and to our Presbyterian friends and our frinds in Jewish Voice for Peace, the is very good news.

Nobody expects that BDS will force Israel to accept a peace plan. Personally, I think the Israeli settlements have killed any hope of a two-state solution.

Those are the "facts on the ground", as "realists" repeat.

BDS has shocked the Israeli government. That's good: we hope Israelis wake up.

Several Methodist annual conferences -- the Methodist equivalent of a state unit -- have voted to adaopt BDS. Presbyterians are ahead of us.


Kinetic Reaction

The Israeli right has long been accustomed to doing what it wants, irrespective of past agreements and international law, without any consequences, but Clinton, along with the UN, EU and Russia, recently condemned Israel for its construction of 1600 homes in the Palestinian sector of Jerusalem.

The State Department says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday to reiterate deep U.S. concern over an announcement this week that Israel will build more housing in East Jerusalem. The action coincided with an Israel visit by Vice President Joe Biden.

In one of the strongest U.S. protests of Israeli conduct in recent years, the State Department says Clinton told the Israeli leader that the housing move undermined both trust and confidence in the peace process, and American interests in the Middle East.

The telephone conversation, initiated by Clinton, was a follow-up to previous U.S. complaints about Israel's announcement Tuesday that it will build 1,600 new Jewish housing units in predominately-Arab East Jerusalem.

The announcement was an embarrassment to Vice President Biden, who had just begun a visit to Israel, and it threatened to torpedo a U.S.-brokered tentative agreement under which Israel and the Palestinians would resume indirect peace talks.

Prime Minister Netanyahu later expressed regret over the timing of the announcement but gave no indication it will be rescinded.

State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Clinton, in her call, reiterated strong U.S. objections about both the timing and substance of the Israeli action.

He said the United States views it as a "deeply negative signal" about Israel's approach to bilateral relations, and counter to the spirit of the Biden trip. "The Secretary said she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States' strong commitment to Israel's security. And she made clear that the Israeli government needed to demonstrate not just through words, but through specific actions, that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process," he said.

Asked if Clinton had expressed anger in her comments to Mr. Netanyahu, a senior U.S. official who spoke to reporters said "frustration would be a better term."

The Israeli decision to build more housing in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians hope to make the capital of a future state, prompted Arab calls for Palestinians to back out of their agreement have so-called "proximity" peace talks with Israel.

It prompted an intensive round of U.S. telephone diplomacy to try to save the agreement brokered by U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

Crowley said Mitchell and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman since Thursday have called, among others, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, and the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Officials said Mitchell still intends to make a visit to the region in the coming days that was to have sealed an agreement on the proximity negotiations.

But they said Mitchell, the former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and Northern Ireland peace negotiator, might first join Secretary Clinton in Moscow next Friday for a meeting of the international "quartet" on the Middle East.

The informal grouping of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations has been trying to expedite negotiations based on among other things the "road map" to regional peace it issued in 2003.


Susan Seligson has written for many publications and websites, including the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, the Boston Globe, Yankee, Outside, Redbook, the Times of London, Salon.com, Radar.com, and Nerve.com. Profile

Boston University moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (EST) and can only accept comments written in English.


Peace through Strength

Politicians think they can make peace by negotiation. History suggests otherwise.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in 2010, said, "We all know there is no alternative to peace through negotiations, so we have no alternative other than to continue these efforts." [emphasis mine]

At the same time, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton offered, ". committed and determined to work for a peace agreement through negotiations that leads to an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state that realizes the aspirations of the Palestinian people."

  • September 1993: Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] sign a Declaration of Principles on autonomy after months of negotiations in Oslo, Norway
  • July 2000: Bill Clinton hosts talks with Yassar Arafat and Israeli premier Ehud Barak at Camp David that collapse over the issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees, causing a new Palestinian uprising, or intifada
  • June 2003: The launch of a "roadmap" for the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005 at a summit in Jordan with George W. Bush, Israeli premier Ariel Sharon, and Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas
  • February 2005: Sharon and Abbas meet in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and declare an end to hostilities
  • September 2, 2010: Obama launches direct talks at a White House summit with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  • May 19, 2011: Obama calls for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, namely the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem
  • July 19, 2013: At the end of his sixth visit to the Middle East in as many months, John Kerry announces agreement has been reached on a basis for resuming final status negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis
  • August 19, 2013 Abbas calls for the US to step up its involvement in peace talks, saying its role should be proactive and not merely supervisory
  • September 26, 2013 Hamas and the Islamic Jihad called for a third intifada, and a spokesman for Hamas said that the current peace talks were "futile"
  • November 6, 2013 Israeli negotiators said there will not be a state based on the 1967 borders and that the Separation Wall will be a boundary
  • February 11, 2014 Palestinian Official Says "Armed Resistance" an option if peace talks fail

That the Obama administration's continuing engagement in the Israeli Palestinian peace process seems to be driven more by the need to burnish Kerry's ego and and less by a consideration of core national interests became clear when President Obama told a New Yorker interviewer recently that there the chances of of Kerry brokering a peace deal was "less than fifty-fifty" (imagine President Kennedy telling the world that the chances of resolving the Cuban missile crisis was "less than fifty-fifty"). So it looked as though the time and effort that Kerry was putting in all this amounted to nothing more than going through the motions.

You would think that politicians (of all stripes) would have learned from the above long list of failures. Yet hope springs eternal for John Kerry in spite of Clinton's 2010 failure. On July 30, 2013, Kerry offered this:

We're here today because the Israeli people and the Palestinian people both have leaders willing to heed the call of history, leaders who will stand strong in the face of criticism and are right now for what they know is in their people's best interests. Their commitment to make tough choices, frankly, should give all of us hope that these negotiations actually have a chance to accomplish something.

Meanwhile, Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, was appointed in July 2013, by John Kerry as the special envoy for the peace process. At that time, Netanyahu and Abbas committed to a nine-month negotiating period during which they would try to forge a final peace treaty creating an independent Palestinian state. However, "The aggressive push by Mr. Indyk and Mr. Kerry to put in place the framework agreement has tested relations between Washington and the Israeli government."

But reality rears its ugly head once again. Fatah central committee member Abbas Zaki, in a January 6, 2014, interview, said that the Palestinian Authority [PA] will agree to a treaty with Israel if a Palestinian state can established on the 1967 lines. Zaki continued that the 1967 lines are not the final borders to which he is looking, that the 1967 border is only be the beginning. The plan is to continue to other ends.

And there is currently a search underway to replace Martin Indyk, suggesting that both Kerry and the Obama administration expect current negotiations between Israel and Palestine to extend well beyond the April 1, 2014, deadline initially set as a target date for an agreement.

I think Douglas Murray at the Gatestone Institute, best states what Obama and Kerry are missing.

For let us not forget that the premise upon which Mr. Kerry's peace plan, indeed anybody's peace plan, must [be] built, is the presumption that the talks are between two parties who are sincerely and demonstrably committed to peace and not on the determination of one to annihilate the other.

In Syria, the Obama and Kerry joke continues: With Syrian rebels ousted by al-Qaida-linked militants, Obama is seeking new ideas to end Syria's civil war. Further, the Israelis don't see any progress by Kerry. And the Israelis have more than a passing interest in Kerry's efforts.

In all of history, there has been only ONE way to even get close to lasting peace, and negotiations ain't it: make war so painful, so undesirable that the war-maker appeals for peace. The question, then, is how to make war painful? The concept of Peace Through Strength is it. Build an arsenal of weapons, be prepared to inflict pain, then be willing to use it. Key word: willing. Show the war maker that his efforts will be painful to him, more painful than what he can inflict on his enemy. Then, if he continues, inflict pain. Don't keep drawing red lines.

Ronald Reagan did it. His peace philosophy made the USSR blink in 1986. And, the demise of the USSR soon followed, eliminating one source of a threat to peace. The USSR saw that Reagan was willing to use what the U.S. had built up.

Did you know that the phrase "Peace Through Strength" is the title of a book written by Bernard Baruch, a former World War II adviser to FDR? Though the book was published well after WWII, the concept was used effectively by FDR. After December 7, 1941, FDR built an arsenal that could inflict pain on the Japanese, then was willing to use it. He turned loose the Army and Navy, and they battered the Japanese to the point that they ultimately surrendered, and have not made war since. We all know how effective negotiations with the Japanese were before December 7.

Neville Chamberlain tried to negotiate with Hitler. Negotiations ultimately didn't work: Hitler was only emboldened.

So, Mahmoud Abbas is correct. There is no alternative, from his perspective, to negotiations. They never work. They provide "cover" with Kerry and the MSM, while the PA pursues its real agenda, the one Zaki revealed.

Bottom line: Negotiations have never achieved lasting peace. There is an alternative to negotiations, one that actually works. Pursue a "peace through strength" policy and be willing to use it.

But that's just my opinion.

Dr. Warren Beatty (not the liberal actor) earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com

Politicians think they can make peace by negotiation. History suggests otherwise.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in 2010, said, "We all know there is no alternative to peace through negotiations, so we have no alternative other than to continue these efforts." [emphasis mine]

At the same time, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton offered, ". committed and determined to work for a peace agreement through negotiations that leads to an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state that realizes the aspirations of the Palestinian people."

  • September 1993: Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] sign a Declaration of Principles on autonomy after months of negotiations in Oslo, Norway
  • July 2000: Bill Clinton hosts talks with Yassar Arafat and Israeli premier Ehud Barak at Camp David that collapse over the issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees, causing a new Palestinian uprising, or intifada
  • June 2003: The launch of a "roadmap" for the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005 at a summit in Jordan with George W. Bush, Israeli premier Ariel Sharon, and Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas
  • February 2005: Sharon and Abbas meet in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and declare an end to hostilities
  • September 2, 2010: Obama launches direct talks at a White House summit with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  • May 19, 2011: Obama calls for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, namely the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem
  • July 19, 2013: At the end of his sixth visit to the Middle East in as many months, John Kerry announces agreement has been reached on a basis for resuming final status negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis
  • August 19, 2013 Abbas calls for the US to step up its involvement in peace talks, saying its role should be proactive and not merely supervisory
  • September 26, 2013 Hamas and the Islamic Jihad called for a third intifada, and a spokesman for Hamas said that the current peace talks were "futile"
  • November 6, 2013 Israeli negotiators said there will not be a state based on the 1967 borders and that the Separation Wall will be a boundary
  • February 11, 2014 Palestinian Official Says "Armed Resistance" an option if peace talks fail

That the Obama administration's continuing engagement in the Israeli Palestinian peace process seems to be driven more by the need to burnish Kerry's ego and and less by a consideration of core national interests became clear when President Obama told a New Yorker interviewer recently that there the chances of of Kerry brokering a peace deal was "less than fifty-fifty" (imagine President Kennedy telling the world that the chances of resolving the Cuban missile crisis was "less than fifty-fifty"). So it looked as though the time and effort that Kerry was putting in all this amounted to nothing more than going through the motions.

You would think that politicians (of all stripes) would have learned from the above long list of failures. Yet hope springs eternal for John Kerry in spite of Clinton's 2010 failure. On July 30, 2013, Kerry offered this:

We're here today because the Israeli people and the Palestinian people both have leaders willing to heed the call of history, leaders who will stand strong in the face of criticism and are right now for what they know is in their people's best interests. Their commitment to make tough choices, frankly, should give all of us hope that these negotiations actually have a chance to accomplish something.

Meanwhile, Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, was appointed in July 2013, by John Kerry as the special envoy for the peace process. At that time, Netanyahu and Abbas committed to a nine-month negotiating period during which they would try to forge a final peace treaty creating an independent Palestinian state. However, "The aggressive push by Mr. Indyk and Mr. Kerry to put in place the framework agreement has tested relations between Washington and the Israeli government."

But reality rears its ugly head once again. Fatah central committee member Abbas Zaki, in a January 6, 2014, interview, said that the Palestinian Authority [PA] will agree to a treaty with Israel if a Palestinian state can established on the 1967 lines. Zaki continued that the 1967 lines are not the final borders to which he is looking, that the 1967 border is only be the beginning. The plan is to continue to other ends.

And there is currently a search underway to replace Martin Indyk, suggesting that both Kerry and the Obama administration expect current negotiations between Israel and Palestine to extend well beyond the April 1, 2014, deadline initially set as a target date for an agreement.

I think Douglas Murray at the Gatestone Institute, best states what Obama and Kerry are missing.

For let us not forget that the premise upon which Mr. Kerry's peace plan, indeed anybody's peace plan, must [be] built, is the presumption that the talks are between two parties who are sincerely and demonstrably committed to peace and not on the determination of one to annihilate the other.

In Syria, the Obama and Kerry joke continues: With Syrian rebels ousted by al-Qaida-linked militants, Obama is seeking new ideas to end Syria's civil war. Further, the Israelis don't see any progress by Kerry. And the Israelis have more than a passing interest in Kerry's efforts.

In all of history, there has been only ONE way to even get close to lasting peace, and negotiations ain't it: make war so painful, so undesirable that the war-maker appeals for peace. The question, then, is how to make war painful? The concept of Peace Through Strength is it. Build an arsenal of weapons, be prepared to inflict pain, then be willing to use it. Key word: willing. Show the war maker that his efforts will be painful to him, more painful than what he can inflict on his enemy. Then, if he continues, inflict pain. Don't keep drawing red lines.

Ronald Reagan did it. His peace philosophy made the USSR blink in 1986. And, the demise of the USSR soon followed, eliminating one source of a threat to peace. The USSR saw that Reagan was willing to use what the U.S. had built up.

Did you know that the phrase "Peace Through Strength" is the title of a book written by Bernard Baruch, a former World War II adviser to FDR? Though the book was published well after WWII, the concept was used effectively by FDR. After December 7, 1941, FDR built an arsenal that could inflict pain on the Japanese, then was willing to use it. He turned loose the Army and Navy, and they battered the Japanese to the point that they ultimately surrendered, and have not made war since. We all know how effective negotiations with the Japanese were before December 7.

Neville Chamberlain tried to negotiate with Hitler. Negotiations ultimately didn't work: Hitler was only emboldened.

So, Mahmoud Abbas is correct. There is no alternative, from his perspective, to negotiations. They never work. They provide "cover" with Kerry and the MSM, while the PA pursues its real agenda, the one Zaki revealed.

Bottom line: Negotiations have never achieved lasting peace. There is an alternative to negotiations, one that actually works. Pursue a "peace through strength" policy and be willing to use it.


History of Israel

Assorted References

This discussion focuses primarily on the modern state of Israel. For treatment of earlier history and of the country in its regional context, see Palestine, history of.

…war-stricken Ethiopia and emigrated to Israel (see Researcher’s Note: Beta Israel migration to Israel, 1980–92). The number of the Beta Israel remaining in Ethiopia was uncertain, but estimates suggested a few thousand at most. The ongoing absorption of the Beta Israel community into Israeli society was a source of controversy…

Islāmic and South Asian nationalism, first awakened in the era of the first World War, triumphed in the wake of the second, bringing on in the years 1946–50 the first great wave of decolonization. The British and French fulfilled their wartime promises by evacuating…

Israel began developing a nuclear weapons program in the mid-1950s, although it has never officially acknowledged this. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, tasked Shimon Peres, director general of the Ministry of Defense, with the administration of the project. Peres secured crucial support from abroad,…

…vast majority migrated to the State of Israel following its establishment in 1948. The early waves of Mizrahi immigration were marked by discrimination and mistreatment from those already established in Israel, who were predominantly Ashkenazi. Still they became an integral part of Israeli society and polity.

Conflicts

…leaders of the State of Israel had presumed that the normalization of the Jewish condition—that is, the achievement of statehood and with it a flag and an army—would seriously diminish anti-Semitism however, from the Yom Kippur War of 1973 onward, the existence of the Israeli state seemed to have the…

…creation of the State of Israel (1948) in a formerly Arab region aroused new currents of hostility within the Arab world. Because the Arabs are Semites, their hostility to the State of Israel was primarily political (or anti-Zionist) and religious rather than racial. Whatever the motivation, however, the result was…

…destroyed by heavy fighting between Israeli forces and members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1982, when Israel launched a full-scale attack on PLO bases operating in the city. Israeli troops surrounded West Beirut, where most PLO guerrilla bases were located, and a series of negotiations brought about the…

…3–4, 1976), rescue by an Israeli commando squad of 103 hostages from a French jet airliner hijacked en route from Israel to France. After stopping at Athens, the airliner was hijacked on June 27 by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Red Army Faction…

…end, and the State of Israel was proclaimed.

…an LNM-PLO victory would provoke Israeli intervention against the Palestinians and lead Syria into a confrontation with Israel, thereby complicating Syria’s own interests. As a result, in June 1976 it launched a large-scale intervention to redress the emerging imbalance of power in favour of the Christians. Syria’s intervention sparked a…

between Egypt and Israel. The conflict, launched by Egypt, was meant to wear down Israel by means of a long engagement and so provide Egypt with the opportunity to dislodge Israeli forces from the Sinai Peninsula, which Israel had seized from Egypt in the Six-Day (June) War of…

International relations

Palestinian Authority

…Oslo Accords peace agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) (see two-state solution).

Peace talks between Israel and the PA were renewed in November 2007, and direct negotiations continued into 2008. At the peak of these negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert—whose premiership was coming to an end amid a corruption scandal—offered Abbas more than 93 percent of the territory the…

>Israel and Egypt signed on September 17, 1978, that led in the following year to a peace treaty between those two countries, the first such treaty between Israel and any of its Arab neighbours. Brokered by U.S. Pres. Jimmy Carter between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem…

…Sudan, the British presence, and Israel. An agreement signed in February 1953 established a transitional period of self-government for the Sudan, which became an independent republic in January 1956. Prolonged negotiations led to the 1954 Anglo-Egyptian Agreement, under which British troops were to be evacuated gradually from the canal zone.…

between Egypt and Israel. Further torturous negotiations followed before the peace treaty was signed in Washington, D.C., on March 26, 1979.

…the strip was taken by Israel. The strip reverted to Egyptian control in 1957 following strong international pressures on Israel.

Israel made such a declaration when it annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, as did Russia following its annexation of the Ukrainian autonomous republic of Crimea in 2014. The subsequent recognition of annexation by other states may be explicit or implied. Annexation based on the…

…1967, when it came under Israeli military occupation, and in December 1981 Israel unilaterally annexed the part of the Golan it held. The area’s name is from the biblical city of refuge Golan in Bashan (Deuteronomy 4:43 Joshua 20:8).

…and West Bank) occupied by Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War. In Gaza they were active in many mosques, while their activities in the West Bank generally were limited to the universities. The Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in these areas were generally nonviolent, but a number of small groups in the…

…as a militia after the Israeli invasion of that country in 1982.

…strongly influenced Qāsim’s approach to Israel. While he paid lip service to anti-Zionist sentiments in Iraq, there was no way that he and Nasser could collaborate against Israel, and tension with the Hāshimite monarchy of Jordan made it impossible for him to send an expeditionary force to Jordan, even had…

…to any immediate war against Israel. As Saddam explained it to his domestic audience, the Arabs were not ready for such a war, because there was a need to first achieve strategic superiority over the Jewish state. Saddam’s vision was that Iraq first would concentrate exclusively on economic, technological, and…

…and in the attack by Israeli aircraft against an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981—that although there had been a use of force in certain cases, that force was not directed against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state or against the purposes of the UN. In the Corfu…

… after the 1948–49 war with Israel—and political unrest precluded his joining the pro-Western mutual defense treaty between the United Kingdom, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and Iraq, known as the Central Treaty Organization, or Baghdad Pact (1955), which he had helped initiate. In an effort to build domestic support, in 1956 he…

…proclaimed the independent state of Israel and immediately following the British withdrawal from Palestine, Transjordan joined its Arab neighbours in the first Arab-Israeli war. The Arab Legion, commanded by Glubb Pasha (John [later Sir John] Bagot Glubb), and Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, and Iraqi troops entered Palestine. Abdullah’s primary purpose, which…

… and Pakistan in 1948, between Israel and its neighbours in 1949, between Israel, Great Britain, France, and Egypt in 1956, and between Israel, Jordan, and Egypt in 1970. None of these states was at the time declared an aggressor. On the other hand, Japan was found to be an aggressor…

Fourth, weary Palestinians and Israelis began to look for an alternative to the ongoing strife of the intifada in the disputed territories. Sensing the opportunity born of these changes, Bush sent Secretary of State Baker to the Middle East twice in the spring of 1991 in order to revive…

…stabilizing influence: the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Throughout his years as U.S. secretary of state, George Shultz had tried to promote the peace process in the Middle East by brokering direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Such talks would require the PLO to renounce terrorism…

…same day the State of Israel was declared and within a few hours won de facto recognition from the United States and de jure recognition from the Soviet Union. Early on May 15 units of the regular armies of Syria, Transjordan, Iraq, and Egypt crossed the frontiers of Palestine.

…was elected prime minister of Israel in May 1996. Netanyahu left office following defeat at the hands of the Labour Party led by Ehud Barak in May 1999. Although Netanyahu reached some accords with the Palestinians, his term in office was marked by increasing mistrust between the two sides.

…there of the State of Israel in 1948. It was formed in 1964 to centralize the leadership of various Palestinian groups that previously had operated as clandestine resistance movements. It came into prominence only after the Six-Day War of June 1967, however, and engaged in a protracted guerrilla war against…

Israel lifted long-standing restrictions on flying the flag in 1993 after negotiations with the PLO the flag was subsequently used by the Palestinian National Authority.

-Israeli refusal to negotiate with the PLO. In June 1982 the Begin government determined to put an end to terrorist raids by forcibly clearing out PLO strongholds inside Lebanon. In fact the Israeli army advanced all the way to Beirut in a bitter campaign that…

…prewar pledge to attack neutral Israel, firing 39 Soviet-made Scud surface-to-surface missiles at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Most fell harmlessly, none contained the poison gas warheads Hussein had threatened to use, and after the first days many were destroyed in flight by American Patriot antimissile missiles. Furthermore, Hussein’s purpose in…

…made a historic visit to Israel (November 19–20, 1977), during which he traveled to Jerusalem to place his plan for a peace settlement before the Israeli Knesset (parliament). This initiated a series of diplomatic efforts that Sadat continued despite strong opposition from most of the Arab world and the Soviet…

-led peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. In the aftermath of the war, however, the kingdom also sought to cultivate closer relations with other regional powers, particularly with Iran.

…pan-Arab unity around resistance to Israel’s plans to divert the waters of the Jordan. Also with both eyes on Israel, the conference restored an Arab High Command and elevated the Palestinian refugees (scattered among several Arab states since 1948) to a status approaching sovereignty, with their own army and headquarters…

The sweeping Israeli victory in the Six-Day War of 1967 had forced every Arab state to rethink its own foreign policy and the extent of its commitment to the cause of Arab unity. Egypt, having lost the Sinai, faced Israelis entrenched in the Bar-Lev line directly across…

…found a ready ally in Israel, whose hostility toward Egypt had been exacerbated by Nasser’s blockage of the Straits of Tīrān (at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba) and the numerous raids by Egyptian-supported commandos into Israel during 1955–56.

…from the Middle East, efface Israel, and restore Islāmic grandeur. Egypt began sponsoring acts of violence against Israel from the Gaza Strip and cut off shipping through the Strait of Tīrān. The British were understandably hostile to Nasser, as were the French, who were battling Islāmic nationalists in Morocco, Algeria,…

…proclamation of the State of Israel. It has been argued that the orderly and dignified ending of the British Empire, beginning in the 1940s and stretching into the 1960s, was Britain’s greatest international achievement. However, like the notion of national unity during World War II, this interpretation can also be…

…UN also has declared that Israel’s purported annexation of the Golan Heights (conquered from Syria in 1967) is invalid and has ruled similarly with regard to Israel’s extension of its jurisdiction to formerly Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem.

…basis for the establishment of Israel, and which was rejected by the Arab community—was succeeded almost immediately by violence.

During the 1967 war, Israel occupied the West Bank and established a military administration throughout the area, except in East Jerusalem, which Israel incorporated into itself, extending Israeli citizenship, law, and civil administration to the area. During the first decade of Israeli occupation, there was comparatively little civil resistance…

…especially damaging for the outnumbered Israelis. Syrian forces also stormed the Golan Heights. The United States and the Soviet Union reacted with subtle attempts to fine-tune the outcome by alternately withholding or providing arms to the belligerents and by urging or discouraging a UN cease-fire. Nixon denied Israel an airlift…

Military organizations

…creation of the State of Israel (1948) the Haganah controlled not only most of the settled areas allocated to Israel by the partition but also such Arab cities as ʿAkko (Acre) and Yafo (Jaffa). By order of the provisional government of Israel (May 31, 1948) the Haganah as a private…

…creation of the state of Israel (1948), the group, which had always been condemned by moderate leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine, was suppressed, some of its units being incorporated in the Israeli defense forces. Unlike the Irgun Zvai Leumi, a precursor of the Ḥerut (“Freedom”) Party, the Stern…


Watch the video: Δελτίο Ειδήσεων ΝΕΤ Πέμπτη, 25 Μαρτίου 2010