Posted tagged ‘Two state solution’

The UNRWA book battle

April 20, 2017

The UNRWA book battle, Israel Hayom, Jonathan S. Tobin, April 20, 2017

(More on the UN Rocket Warehousing Agency and the Palestinian authority. Please see also, UNRWA Won’t Be Changing School Textbooks and Curriculum. — DM)

It is an article of faith for the international community and the Jewish Left that the ‎Palestinian Authority is a moderate force that wants to make peace with Israel. ‎That belief has been undermined by many of the PA’s actions and statements since ‎its creation after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, yet somehow it survives and forms the basis for many of the assumptions critics make ‎about Israel’s government.

The latest proof that the PA is a principle obstacle to ‎peace rather than its best hope has not received any attention in the Western press. ‎But a discussion of the conflict that has arisen between it and the United Nations ‎Relief and Works Agency speaks volumes about everything that is wrong ‎with the PA.‎

UNRWA is the world body that is devoted solely to aiding Palestinian refugees. ‎Unlike the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which is tasked with helping all other refugees around the world, UNRWA doesn’t try ‎to resettle refugees or resolve their problems. On the contrary, since its creation ‎after the Arab failure to destroy Israel in its War of Independence, UNRWA has ‎helped to perpetuate the clash between Israel and the Muslim and Arab worlds and ‎championed the “right of return” that would spell Israel’s end. Its schools and aid ‎projects have been hotbeds of radicalism aimed at erasing the existence of the ‎Jewish state and have even been used by Hamas. In particular, critics have noted ‎the way UNRWA schools in the West Bank and Gaza have curricula and textbooks ‎that teach up to 600,000 Palestinian youngsters to reject Israel’s legitimacy and ‎glorify the struggle to destroy it. ‎

But, like the rest of the U.N., UNRWA has been feeling some pressure to ‎reform. The Trump administration has shown a willingness to throw its weight ‎around that directly contrasts with former President Barack Obama’s support for the U.N. Under ‎new Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who previously headed the U.N.’s other ‎refugee agency, efforts to promote the libel that Israel is an apartheid state were ‎rejected. So when the Arab press reported leaks about a shift in UNRWA’s ‎education policy, this seemed to indicate that even that agency was feeling some ‎pressure to change its ways.‎

According to those reports, UNRWA was planning to alter the textbooks it uses ‎in its schools. Among the planned changes, cities inside Israel would stop being labeled as Palestinian, a practice that instills a sense in readers that the Jewish state is ‎merely a colonialist intrusion built entirely on “stolen” Arab land. Other changes ‎included an effort to tone down praise of Palestinians who commit terrorism ‎against Jews and Israelis. Its teaching about Jerusalem would treat it as a city that ‎is as holy to all three monotheistic religions, rather than just Islam. That’s significant because Palestinian efforts to claim that shrines such ‎as the Temple Mount and even the Western Wall are ‎exclusively Muslim were part of a campaign of incitement that led to the recent ‎‎”stabbing intifada.” Perhaps just as significant is that the new texts would also seek ‎to correct gender bias that was part of the old books.‎

But rather than welcome reform, the Palestinian Authority has reacted with fury. ‎Last week, the PA announced that it was suspending ties with UNRWA over the ‎proposed changes, which have yet to be formally announced. It said the revisions ‎to the curriculum were an “affront to the Palestinian people, its history and ‎struggles” and that the suspension would continue until the agency’s “positions are ‎corrected.”‎

The PA Education Ministry issued the following statement:‎ “Any distortion of the Palestinian curriculum is a flagrant violation of the laws of the ‎host country, and any change to any letter to appease any party is a betrayal of the ‎Palestinian narrative and the right of the Palestinian people under occupation to ‎preserve its identity and struggle.‎”

The implications of the PA position for the prospects for peace in this or future ‎generations cannot be overestimated.‎

For more than a century, Palestinian national identity has been inextricably tied to the war on Zionism. Throughout two decades of failed peace negotiations, the ‎supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority has consistently rejected Israeli offers ‎of independence that would obligate it to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish ‎state within any borders. Any chance that this will change rests not so much on ‎more Israeli concessions but on a sea change in Palestinian political culture. ‎Leaving aside the role of Hamas, unless the PA’s future leaders are able to embrace ‎peace without fear that doing so will be seen as a betrayal, the failure of more talks ‎is foreordained. UNRWA’s proposed changes are a step in the right direction. The ‎PA’s opposition is more proof that it is an obstacle to any hope for a better life for ‎both Israeli and Palestinian children.‎

UNRWA Won’t Be Changing School Textbooks and Curriculum

April 18, 2017

UNRWA Won’t Be Changing School Textbooks and Curriculum, The Jewish Press, April 18, 2017

(The UN Rockets Warehousing Agency will continue to teach young Palestinians to hate Jews. — DM) 

Photo Credit: The Center for Near East Policy Research

The announcement came after threats by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority who said the planned changes were “unacceptable”.

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Following all the exposure of incitement and anti-Semitism in the UNRWA schools, there was pressure on UNWRA to clean up the books and the curriculum they’re teaching from all the anti-Semitism.

Khaled Abu Toameh reports that it won’t be happening, “UNRWA says it has no intention to change textbooks and will continue to teach according to Palestinian Authority curriculum.”

UNRWA says it has no intention to change textbooks and will continue to teach according to Palestinian Authority curriculum.

INTO THE FRAY: Middle East meltdown

April 14, 2017

INTO THE FRAY: Middle East meltdown, Israel National News, Dr. Martin Sherman, April 14, 2017

But of course the most troubling of questions regarding the regional integration question is this: If the allegedly moderate regimes really desire Israel’s help in confronting formidable common threats (the menace of Jihadi cohorts and the specter of nuclear Iran), why would they predicate that help on precisely the same concessions from Israel that they demanded prior to those threats arising?  And were Israel to refuse those concessions would these “moderates” deny themselves the aid Israel could provide them—for the sake of the Palestinian-Arabs, for whom they have shown consistent disdain and contempt over decades?

Furthermore, if the “moderate” states see Israel’s strength as a determining factor in making it an attractive ally in combatting the common threat of radical Islamism, why would they insist on concessions that weaken it, and expose it to greater perils as a precondition to accepting its aid? Why would they press for concessions that are likely to fall—as they did in Gaza—to the very Jihadi elements that both they, and Israel, see as a common enemy?

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Worst Chemical Attack in Years; US blames Assad  – New York  Times, April 4, 2017.

Death toll climbs in clashes at Palestinian camp in Lebanon – Reuters, April 9, 2017.

Deadly blasts hit Coptic churches in Tanta, Alexandria – Al Jazeera, April 10, 2017.

Five Sudanese soldiers killed in Yemen conflict – Reuters, April 12, 2017.

These four recent headlines, spanning barely a week, bear chilling testimony to the grim and grisly realities of the Arab world.

Barbaric business as usual   

After all, had the several score killed in the April 4th chemical attack in Northern Syria been beheaded, or lynched, or burnt alive or slaughtered by any one of the other gruesome methods by which hundreds of thousands of civilians have lost their lives in the Syrian Civil War over the last five years, it is more than likely that their deaths would have gone largely unnoticed and unreported.Indeed, it would have been nothing more than brutal, barbaric business as usual for the region.

Across virtually the entire Arab world , from the Atlantic Ocean in the West to the Persian Gulf in the East; from the Sahara desert in the South to the upper reaches  of the Euphrates in the North, naked violence engulfs entire countries – Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya.  Others – like Lebanon and Egypt—are perennially on the cusp of its eruption; and in others (like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia), it lurks, simmering just below the surface, constrained only by the iron grip of police-state tyranny.

With painfully few—and dubious—exceptions (such as Iraq, teetering on the brink of failed state status and Tunisia, once the poster-child of the “Arab Spring”, now   increasingly threatened by Jihadi Salafi insurgents—see here and here), the Arab regimes are a noxious brew of theocratic tyrannies, military dictatorships and/or nepotistic monarchies. The violent exchanges that rage throughout the region occur between a wide range of protagonists and across a myriad of schisms: Sunni vs Shia, radicals vs. monarchs, rebel insurgents vs incumbent rulers, Islamist extremists vs traditional regimes.

Death, depravity and despotism

It is against this doleful and daunting backdrop that the fatal follies of the past and of the emerging prescriptions for the future course of what has been perversely dubbed “the peace process”, must be assessed.

For as growing numbers of erstwhile advocates of the two-state paradigm are becoming increasingly skeptical—indeed, even despairing—of its viability within any foreseeable future, rather than admit the enormity of their error, they are now turning to a new false deity, no less ppreposterous or perilous than the tarnished chimera of two-statism.

This is the new cult of “regionalism”, which attempts to invert the twisted logic of two- statism—but leaves it just as twisted.

At the core, regionalism is the idea that, rather than strive for an agreement with the Palestinians as a necessary precursor to its acceptance by the states of the region, Israel can, and should, establish a pan-regional alliance with allegedly “moderate” states, driven by a recognition of common threats (the menace of Jihadi cohorts and the specter of nuclear Iran)—thereby paving its way to a resolution of the Palestinian issue.

Central to this new cult is the bizarre belief that Israel’s “integration” into region—which, as we have seen, is little more than a cesspool of death, depravity and despotism –is a goal both necessary and worthy—and one that the nation ought to strive to achieve.

Risible regionalism

Significantly, there are several glaring logical inconsistencies, non sequiturs and factual inaccuracies that plague the regional-integration doctrine.

First of all, as commonly presented, it almost inevitably entails circular reasoning – i.e. Israel should pursue relations with the moderate Arab states as a means of arriving at a resolution of the Palestinian problem; but the only way to arrive at such relations with the Arab world is to reach an agreement with the Palestinians.  So, resolving the Palestinian issue becomes both the objective of the regional-integration and the means to achieve it!

Thus, for instance in an article, Regional integration only way for Israel to achieve security, Atlantic Council senior fellow H.A. Hellyer writes: “…the only realistic way for Israelis to thrive in the long term is for them to be integrated into the wider region, beginning with a comprehensive and just peace settlement…”

This statement is not only of dubious veracity—since Israel seems to be thriving rather well without (thankfully) being “integrated into the wider region—but seems to collide with a later contention by Hellyer, who writes elsewhere: “A sustainable peace for Israelis is predicated on their eventual integration into the wider region.”

So there you have it: “Integration into the wider region” must be preceded by “peace”; but “peace” must be predicated on (i.e. preceded by) “integration into the region”.  Thus, resolving the Palestinian issue (a.k.a. “peace”) is presented both as the cause and effect of integration –having to precede it on the one hand, while being predicated on it, on the other.

Confusing, isn’t it??

Puzzling Pardo

But perhaps one of the most puzzling and perturbing endorsements of the regional-integration paradigm came in a speech delivered by Tamir Pardo the former Head of Israel’s Secret Intelligence Service, Mossad.

In it, Pardo identified the emergence of “a rare confluence of interests between Israel and the moderate Arab states.”

Pointing to the drawbacks of relations that are entirely covert, he remarked: “Secret relations that take place “under the radar” are by their nature transitory.” Accordingly, he advocated Israel’s overt integration into the region: “The key to regional integration is to build economic and social bridges between countries, facilitating trade and tourism…. The deeper, the more open and above board relations are, the better suited they will be to survive the inevitable shocks and disruptions that take place from time to time…. Israel’s regional integration is a key to its very survival.”

But he warned “None of this will happen without a resolution of the Palestinian problem.”

There are several disturbing defects—both conceptual and empirical–in this portrayal by Pardo, which seem to indicate that his undoubted ability in covert operations is not matched by a commensurate acumen for political analysis.

So, while Pardo may well be correct in his doubts as to the durability of secret relations, his faith in more overt one seems wildly at odds with Israel’s experience in past decades, causing one to puzzle over what could possibly be the basis  for his unfounded contention, and his reasons for making it.

Puzzling (cont) 

Indeed, the examples of Iran and Turkey clearly indicate that robust overt “economic and social bridges” as well as “trade and tourism” are of little value if the regime should change. After all, the relations with pre-revolutionary Iran and pre-Islamist Turkey could hardly have been closer or more cordial.

Yet, with the ascent to power of Khomeini in Iran and Erdogan in Turkey these ties proved, indeed, “transitory”.  Of course, the metamorphosis was particularly dramatic and rapid in Iran, where Israel was transformed from being a trusted ally to a hated enemy almost immediately. In Turkey, the process was more gradual and less drastic, but there can be little comparison between the tight strategic ties of yesteryear and the hostile attitude that prevails today.

This volatility in relations between nations is one of the most profound flaws in the regional-integration proposal—especially when it is predicated on a resolution of the Palestinian issue. For while it is true that countries like Jordan, under the Hashemite dynasty,  Egypt under Sisi, and the incumbent regimes in the Gulf may face common threats, it would be more than a stretch to characterize this as sharing long-term mutual interests with Israel.

Indeed, a yawning gulf separates between the seminal values that define the differing societies – with regard to individual liberties, gender equality, social diversity, religious pluralism—which clearly portends ample room for renewed adversarial relations once the common threat has been eliminated.

Palmerston…on perpetual allies

Israel would do well to heed the words of British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston (1784-1865) on the fickleness of nations and their international ties “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow”.This caveat is particularly pertinent in the case of the regional-integration paradigm. For in essence the deal to be struck is as follows: Israel is called upon to make perilous permanent concessions (to resolve the Palestinian issue) in exchange for a temporary alliance, based on the (ephemeral) word of rulers, who head not only some of the most decadent and despotic regimes on the planet, but also some of the most threatened.

Accordingly, there is little guarantee that the Arab entity that makes commitments toward Israel will be the entity called upon to honor them when need be. After all, what would be the value of any understanding on integration entered into in 2010 with say Syria, or Iraq or Libya…
Moreover, Israel was unable to prevent an Islamist takeover of Gaza.  It is, therefore, highly unlikely that it could prevent an Islamist takeover by a resurgent Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or an Islamist coup in Jordan.

Thus, given the fact that the concessions Israel is called upon to make to resolve the Palestinian issue, are largely irrevocable, while the pledges given it are largely retractable, any regime change in Cairo and even more so in Amman would have potentially disastrous ramifications.

With an Islamist state abutting the envisaged Palestinian state from the East, dispatching irredentist insurgents to destabilize any purportedly peaceable Palestinian regime in the territory evacuated by Israel; with a regime in Cairo no longer interested in, or capable of, countering the Jihadi warlords in Sinai, pressing against Israel’s 200 km frontier and the land route to Eilat, Israel is likely to rue any credence it placed in regional integration.

The most troubling of questions 

But of course the most troubling of questions regarding the regional integration question is this: If the allegedly moderate regimes really desire Israel’s help in confronting formidable common threats (the menace of Jihadi cohorts and the specter of nuclear Iran), why would they predicate that help on precisely the same concessions from Israel that they demanded prior to those threats arising?  And were Israel to refuse those concessions would these “moderates” deny themselves the aid Israel could provide them—for the sake of the Palestinian-Arabs, for whom they have shown consistent disdain and contempt over decades?

Furthermore, if the “moderate” states see Israel’s strength as a determining factor in making it an attractive ally in combatting the common threat of radical Islamism, why would they insist on concessions that weaken it, and expose it to greater perils as a precondition to accepting its aid? Why would they press for concessions that are likely to fall—as they did in Gaza—to the very Jihadi elements that both they, and Israel, see as a common enemy?

Indeed one might ask: Why should Israel have to make any concessions so that the Arab states would deign to accept its aid in their battle against a grave common menace?

As Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland once sighed “It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”   It sure would! Regional integration: What Isaiah would say?

Of course one can only puzzle over what merit proponents of regional integration see in its implementation. Do they really want Israel to be absorbed into the morass of cruelty, corruption and cronyism that is the Middle East?  What values that pervade their Arab neighbors, would they urge it to adopt in order to “integrate”?Misogynistic gender bias? Homophobic persecution of gays? Intolerance of social diversity? Repression of minority religious faiths?  Suppression political dissidence? For were Israel to resist adopting these and other regional values, how on earth could it integrate into the region?

So, with the Mid-East on the cusp of melt-down, one can only imagine what Isaiah (5:20) would say of the proponents of regional integration:  Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.  

Martin Sherman is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

Israeli borders not cited at Arab Summit

March 30, 2017

Israeli borders not cited at Arab Summit, DEBKAfile, March 30, 2017

Syria’s Bashar Assad still persona non grata in Arab world

In a separate statement issued later, the Arab rulers reaffirmed their commitment to a two-state solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They called for a new round of peace talks based on a two-state formula and renewed the 2002 “reconciliation” offer (drawn up by Saudi Arabia) if “Israel quit occupied Arab land and agreed to a deal on Palestinian refugees.”

This was the first Arab summit to refrain from defining Israel’s future borders under a peace deal. This leaves the door open for leeway in the negotiations to take place as part of the new US-Saudi-Egyptian peace initiative we reported earlier now the subject of active exchanges between the US, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

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All 15 resolutions passed by the Arab summit which took place in Jordan Wednesday, March 29, were devoted to an indictment of Iran, its Revolutionary Guards Corps and Lebanese surrogate, Hizballah. They were a testament to the depth of Arab-Iranian animosity and exposed the extent of the rift between the Sunni and Shiite Muslim worlds.

Iran was accused of meddling in the internal affairs of Arab nations, inciting Shiites against Sunnis, and arming and training Shiite terrorist groups for operations against legitimate Arab governments. The Arab rulers combined to put Tehran in the dock for its interference in the Syrian civil war and assault on its sovereignty.

None of the formal resolutions addressed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In a separate statement issued later, the Arab rulers reaffirmed their commitment to a two-state solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They called for a new round of peace talks based on a two-state formula and renewed the 2002 “reconciliation” offer (drawn up by Saudi Arabia) if “Israel quit occupied Arab land and agreed to a deal on Palestinian refugees.”

DEBKAfile: This was the first Arab summit to refrain from defining Israel’s future borders under a peace deal. This leaves the door open for leeway in the negotiations to take place as part of the new US-Saudi-Egyptian peace initiative we reported earlier now the subject of active exchanges between the US, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. King Abdullah of Jordan, who hosted the summit and Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi will travel to Washington to report to President Donald Trump on the private discussions on this issue at the session and launch the next stage of the Arab-Israeli peace initiative.

DEBKAfile:  King Abdullah of Jordan, who hosted the summit and Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi will travel to Washington to report to President Donald Trump on the private discussions on this issue at the session and launch the next stage of the Arab-Israeli peace initiative.
DEBKAfile lists the 15 resolutions submitted to the Arab summit.

1: Good neighborly relations should prevail between Iran and Arab countries and Iran’s meddling in the affairs of Arab countries condemned as a threat to the security and stability of the region.

2: The Islamic Republic of Iran should assume responsibility for an attack on Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad and abide by the laws of diplomacy.

3: The Iranian government must tell its officials to desist from hostile, inflammatory remarks against Arab countries.

4: Iran must stop fomenting sectarian rivalries and withdraw support from groups who destabilize the Gulf countries and armed groups inside Arab countries.

5: Iran’s invasion of three Emirate islands (Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs) is condemned. They must be restored to lawful ownership by peaceful means.

6: Iran must stop supporting and training terrorists and sending arms and ammunition to rebel groups fighting the Bahrain government.

7: Bahraini security agencies win praise for foiling a terrorist plot in December 2016 supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and terrorist Hizballah.

8: Iran’s nefarious meddling in the Syrian crisis has threatened its sovereignty, future stability, security and unity.

9: Iranian meddling in Yemen’s affairs by backing forces fighting the legitimate government negatively affects the security of the country, its neighbors and the wider region.

10: The importance of the initiative taken by the Assistance Council of the Arab Gulf Countries is underlined and calls for a positive response from Iran

11: Iran must be bound to compliance with Security Council Resolution 2231 of 2015 and penalized swiftly with effective sanctions for any violations. Iran must be held to its commitments under the nuclear and regional environment treaties.

12: The Secretary General is entrusted with managing the commission of four Arab foreign ministers set up to thwart Iranian interference in Arab affairs.

13:  Arabic assistance forums with countries, regional, and international groups will highlight the ill effects of Iranian meddling in their affairs.

14: This issue will be placed on the UN agenda under Section 2 of Article 7

15: The Arab League Secretary General will monitor the implementation of these resolutions and report on progress to the next Arab summit.

Trump: Palestinians Must Earn a Two State Solution

February 17, 2017

Trump: Palestinians Must Earn a Two State Solution, Gatestone InstituteAlan M. Dershowitz, February 17, 2017

(Please see also, On Israel, Trump Confuses only the Confused. — DM)

President Trump raised eyebrows when he mentioned the possibility of a one state solution. The context was ambiguous and no one can know for sure what message he was intending to convey. One possibility is that he was telling the Palestinian leadership that if they want a two state  solution, they have to do something. They have to come to the negotiating table with the Israelis and make the kinds of painful sacrifices that will be required from both sides for a peaceful resolution to be achieved. Put most directly, the Palestinians must earn the right to a state. They are not simply entitled to statehood, especially since their leaders missed so many opportunities over the years to secure a state. As Abba Eben once put it: “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

It began back in the 1930s, when Great Britain established the Peale Commission which was tasked to recommend a solution to the conflict between Arabs and Jews in mandatory Palestine. It recommended a two state solution with a tiny noncontiguous Jewish state alongside a large Arab state. The Jewish leadership reluctantly accepted this sliver of a state; the Palestinian leadership rejected the deal, saying they wanted there to be no Jewish state more than they wanted a state of their own.

In 1947, the United Nations partitioned mandatory Palestine into two areas: one for a Jewish state; the other for an Arab state. The Jews declared statehood on 1948; all the surrounding Arab countries joined the local Arab population in attacking the new state of Israel and killing one percent of its citizens, but Israel survived.

In 1967, Egypt and Syria were planning to attack and destroy Israel, but Israel preempted and won a decisive victory, capturing the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Sinai. Israel offered to return captured areas in exchange for peace, but the Arabs met with Palestinian leaders in Khartoum and issued their three infamous “no’s”: no peace, no recognition, and no negotiation.

In 2000-2001 and again in 2008, Israel made generous peace offers that would have established a demilitarized Palestinian state, but these offers were not accepted. And for the past several years, the current Israeli government has offered to sit down and negotiate a two state solution with no pre-conditions– not even advanced recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. The Palestinian leadership has refused to negotiate.

President Trump may be telling them that if they want a state they have to show up at the negotiating table and bargain for it. No one is going to hand it to them on a silver platter in the way that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon handed over the Gaza strip in 2005, only to see it turned into a launching pad for terror rockets and terror tunnels. Israel must get something in return: namely real peace and a permanent end to the conflict.

The Palestinian leadership’s unwillingness to come to the negotiating table reminds me of my mother’s favorite Jewish joke about Sam, a 79 year old man who prayed every day for God to let him win the New York lottery before he turns 80. On the eve of his 80th birthday, he rails against God:

“All these years I’ve prayed to you every day asking to win the lottery. You couldn’t give me that one little thing!” God responded: “Sam, you have to help me out here– buy a ticket!!”

The Palestinians haven’t bought a ticket. They haven’t negotiated in good faith. They haven’t accepted generous offers. They haven’t made realistic counter proposals. They haven’t offered sacrifices to match those offered by the Israelis.

Now President Trump is telling them that they have to “buy a ticket.” They are not going to get a state by going to the United Nations, the European Union or the international criminal court. They aren’t going to get a state as a result of the BDS or other anti-Israel movements. They will only get a state if they sit down and negotiate in good faith with the Israelis.

The Obama Administration applied pressures only to the Israeli side, not to the Palestinians. The time has come – indeed it is long past – for the United States to tell the Palestinians in no uncertain terms that they must negotiate with Israel if they want a Palestinian state, and they must agree to end the conflict, permanently and unequivocally. Otherwise, the status quo will continue, and there will be only one state, and that state will be Israel.

The Palestinians are not going to win the lottery without buying a ticket.

On Israel, Trump Confuses only the Confused

February 17, 2017

On Israel, Trump Confuses only the Confused, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, February 17, 2017

(Or perhaps only the willfully confused, some of whom apparently prefer a “final solution” to a mere two state solution, are confused. — DM)

The Washington Post claims that President Trump’s remarks about Israel have led to confusion about how he views the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. Reporters William Booth and Anne Gearan say that Israelis are confused, and they site conflicting interpretations of Trump’s several statements.

But Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, whom the Post also quotes, gets to the bottom of the alleged confusion. He says “everyone interprets this as they see fit.”

In reality, Trump’s comments were remarkably clear. Let’s start with the one that got most of the attention: “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.”

Trump was saying that if the Israelis and the Palestinians like a two-state solution, he likes it too. Otherwise, he doesn’t.

This is wise. A two-state solution makes sense only if both parties want it. If that’s not the case, there is no sense in America trying to impose it, and Trump won’t waste his time pushing this option. Or so he is saying.

Trump also said to Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Both sides will have to make compromises; you know that, right?” Netanyahu responded: “Both sides.”

Again, there’s nothing puzzling here. “Both sides” means both sides.

Coupled with his statement that he likes the solution both parties like, Trump is maximizing the likelihood of a peace agreement (although, to me, the odds of reaching one remain extremely low). President Obama’s approach was to obsess over a two-state solution and demand major compromises by Israel. The Palestinians believed they could sit back and wait for America to extract such compromises.

Trump has made it clear that both sides need to make compromises and has signaled that he won’t focus on obtaining them from Israel alone. If both parties don’t make concessions on behalf of a two-state solution, he will conclude that this is not the solution both parties like. And he won’t like it either. Or so he is saying.

Trump also told Netanyahu: “I’d like you to hold off on settlements for a little bit.” On the surface, this looks like an attempt to obtain a small concession from Israel. However, I agree with Charles Krauthammer that Trump was trying to bolster Netanyahu’s position in relation to hard-line Israeli politicians who are pushing for a major expansion of settlements, including the building of new ones.

A sensible approach to settlements is permit the natural growth of existing blocs — no community can be expected not to build out as its population expands — but to forego, for “a little bit,” major territorial expansion which would escalate tension, hurt Israel’s international standing, and perhaps make a peace agreement even more difficult to achieve.

Trump’s statement is consistent with this thinking, which, I gather, is the thinking of Netanyahu.

Only the confused are genuinely puzzled by Trump’s statements. Those in the American mainstream media who suggest otherwise are probably just trying to make the American president look confused.

The art of the ‘no deal’ with the PA

February 14, 2017

The art of the ‘no deal’ with the PA, Israel Hayom, Ruthie Blum, February 14, 2017

Meanwhile, even Fatah and Hamas can’t bury the hatchet, other than literally, in the backs of one another’s operatives. But the one thing the two terrorist groups do share is a mutual antipathy to Israel and the aim to eradicate the Jewish state. The author of “The Art of the Deal” and his secretary of state will learn this soon enough, if they don’t know it already. In any case, the appointment of world-renowned expert in Islamic terrorism Sebastian Gorka as deputy assistant to the president is a sign that they want to be told the truth. Let us hope that Netanyahu feels welcome and comfortable enough during his visit in Washington to do the same.

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There is much speculation about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming meeting at the White House with U.S. President Donald Trump. Typically, rather than waiting to hear the outcome of Wednesday’s deliberation, Israelis have been analyzing a conversation that has yet to take place, and weighing in on the extent to which the Jewish state can count on the new administration in Washington to embrace the policies of the Israeli government, and on the level of personal chemistry that emerges between the two leaders.

The assumption is that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers in July 2015 — will be on the agenda, and that the issue of achieving a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be raised. The second topic includes several directly related issues, such as the possibility of the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the newly passed Judea and Samaria Settlement Regulation Law, which retroactively grants permits to a number of outposts on privately owned Palestinian land.

Whatever the upshot of the meeting, however, one thing is certain: The Trump administration will not be able to broker an agreement that resolves the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, no matter how talented, smart or well-intentioned Jared Kushner — the president’s son-in-law who is purportedly being charged with this task — may be.

The charade in which Netanyahu has participated since he announced his conditional support for Palestinian statehood in a televised address to the nation in June 2009, is that there is a “solution” to the ongoing war waged by the Arabs in Judea and Samaria, Gaza and east Jerusalem against the very existence of the Jewish state. Netanyahu knows better than anybody else that this is as much an exercise in rhetoric as it is in futility. He is fully aware that the only way for peace to be possible is for the Palestinians to oust their corrupt and evil leaders in Fatah and Hamas and — in striving for the freedom and prosperity they have been denied by the honchos in Ramallah and Gaza City — emulate Israeli society.

If such a day ever comes, no more than five minutes will be required for the sides to agree on the technicalities — maybe 10, if the negotiators get stuck in traffic on the way to the table.

The same holds true for Iran, which is why the JCPOA was not flawed due to the wording of its clauses, but rather to the fact that the mullah-led regime in Tehran had no intention of reaching any genuine agreement with the “infidels” it wishes to annihilate. Its goal was not to have international sanctions lifted in order to get on with the business of improving the economic lot of the Iranian people. It simply wanted a more unfettered path to obtaining nuclear weapons with which to impose its hegemony on the Middle East and force the rest of the world to capitulate to its Islamist will.

Meanwhile, even Fatah and Hamas can’t bury the hatchet, other than literally, in the backs of one another’s operatives. But the one thing the two terrorist groups do share is a mutual antipathy to Israel and the aim to eradicate the Jewish state. The author of “The Art of the Deal” and his secretary of state will learn this soon enough, if they don’t know it already. In any case, the appointment of world-renowned expert in Islamic terrorism Sebastian Gorka as deputy assistant to the president is a sign that they want to be told the truth. Let us hope that Netanyahu feels welcome and comfortable enough during his visit in Washington to do the same.