Posted tagged ‘Two state solution’

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.

Netanyahu’s big chance

February 12, 2017

Netanyahu’s big chance, Israel National News, Jack Engelhard, February 12, 2017

(President Trump’s “disapproval” of settlement building consists of suggesting that it is not conducive to furthering the “peace process” and that announcements of more settlement building should be more muted. The “peace process” and “two state solution” are dead, at the hands of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. More settlement building certainly won’t revive the corpses, but won’t make either more dead either. It seems likely that President Trump knows that. — DM)

For eight years now we’ve been waiting for Israel to get a sympathetic hearing in the White House. That never happened with Obama.

Finally, with President Donald Trump, this is Israel’s big chance and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s big moment when the two meet this week.

Let’s not get this wrong and my guess is that there will be smiles and handshakes all around – but will anything be resolved?

Netanyahu’s job is to close the deal with Trump who is certain to be attentive but Netanyahu must remember the motto of salesmanship – “always be closing.”

Do not assume anything and do not take it for granted that Trump is fully aware of Israel’s position regarding Jerusalem and “the territories.”

Trump, with other things on his mind and other allies to consider, must be reminded that, one, he promised to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem, and two – the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are the heart of the Jewish State. Trump may know this already but Netanyahu’s task is to “keep closing.”

If both leaders stick to the mantra of a “two-state solution” then we’re back to square one.

Planting a hostile “Palestinian state” into the Jewish heartland is no answer and it has been no answer ever since the 1967 “three Nos at Khartoum,” and it gets downright genocidal when we go back to 1941 and find the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, sitting on Hitler’s lap in order to learn how it’s done.

If Trump knew this but forgot, Netanyahu would do well to remind him.

Also what happened when Israel gave up Gaza and the torrent of Hamas rockets that followed.

Forget for a moment Israel’s loss of land and sovereignty under such a “solution.” But imagine a situation whereby the IDF would need Mahmoud Abbas’ permission to fly over “Palestinian territory?” This needs to be explained to this American President in terms of his own love of sovereignty.

Who says the Palestinian Arabs want peace? People who knife, shoot and bulldoze innocent civilians are in no shape to share anyone’s country.

Trump should be made aware of this.

Let alone the fact that the Palestinian Arabs, who were invented in 1964, have no historical claims to the Holy Land.

That, too.

So that should be off the table and it’s too bad that Netanyahu keeps bringing it up when instead he should be talking about the problem both countries face – Radical Islam. That is language Trump understands. The United States and Israel – we are both in the same boat on this and it’s up to Neyanyahu to bring that up as Item Number One that needs a solution.

Trump knows Radical Islam and that’s why he insists on “extreme vetting” against possible terrorists entering the United States.

At the same time, however, Trump has expressed some disapproval of ‘settlement building’. He has expressed himself politely on this issue because he intends to be a true friend of Israel and friends should be allowed to disagree. But there should be no disagreement if Netanyahu gets it right.

This would be Netanyahu’s reminder to Trump, on Wednesday, that the same type of people who are wrong for America are wrong for Israel — and to replace Jewish settlements with Palestinian Arab settlements is like extending a formal invitation to ISIS.

That too is language Trump would understand.

In one sitting Benjamin Netanyahu can undo the damage of the past eight years and herald the start of a beautiful friendship.

If he’s as good a salesman as he is a politician.

The Islamic Jihad and Peace with Jews

February 9, 2017

The Islamic Jihad and Peace with Jews, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, February 9, 2017

(“Normalization?” In what way is the present situation abnormal? The dispute has been festering for centuries. — DM)

On the face of it, the anti-normalization campaign appears driven by political motivations. However, it turns out that there is also a powerful Islamic angle to this campaign of hate, which is aimed at delegitimizing Israel and demonizing Jews.

The Palestinian anti-normalization “enforcers” do their utmost to conceal the Islamic aspect of their campaign. They are not eager for the world to know that Islam supplies much of the ideology and justification for their anti-Israel activities.

Fatwas (Islamic religious decrees) and statements issued by leading Muslim scholars and clerics have long warned Muslims against normalization with the “Zionist entity.” Such normalization, they have made it clear, is considered an “unforgivable crime.” The authors of these hate messages are not opposed to normalization with Israel because of settlements or house demolitions, but rather because they believe Jews have no rights at all to any of the land.

In 1989, more than 60 eminent Muslim scholars from 18 countries ruled that it was forbidden for Muslims to give up any part of Palestine.

The vicious campaigns to boycott Israel and Jews, while political in dress, are in fact deeply rooted in Islamic ideology.

These campaigns are patently not a legitimate protest. They are not even part of an effort to boycott Israeli products or politicians and academics. The real goal of the campaigns is revealed in the words of the Muslim leaders: that Jews have no rights whatsoever to the land, and must be targeted through jihad as infidels and enemies of all Muslims and Arabs

Settlements, checkpoints and fences are irrelevant; Muslim scholars want Jews off what they define as sacred Muslim land. Supporters of BDS and the anti-normalization movement would do well to consider this fact. Failing to do so is tantamount to aiding and abetting Muslims to destroy Israel, and kill as many Jews as possible in the process.

Muslim scholars have feverishly citing chapter and verse from the Quran and the hadith, the words of the Prophet Mohammed, in their efforts to encourage Arabs and Muslims to avoid normalization with Jews.

The Quran and hadith have also been leveraged to promote boycotts against Israel and Jews — thereby refuting claims by anti-Israel activists that their campaigns are just about politics.

Palestinians have long maintained that their campaign to ban normalization with Israel is mainly directed against the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The Palestinian anti-normalization movement, which continues to target Israeli and Palestinian peace activists who hold — horrors! — public meetings, has in recent years gained momentum, largely thanks to the ongoing anti-Israel campaign of incitement and indoctrination in the Palestinian media and mosques.

In recent years, Palestinian anti-normalization activists have managed to foil several meetings between Israelis and Palestinians, under the pretext that such encounters cause damage to the Palestinians. The activists justify their disruption by citing what they see as Israeli practices against Palestinians, and violently object to any meetings with Israelis, including those who wholeheartedly support the Palestinians and oppose the policies of the Israeli government.

The most recent incident occurred at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem, where Israeli and Palestinian activists gathered to talk about peace and coexistence. Shortly after the meeting began, a number of anti-normalization activists stormed the conference hall to protest the meeting.

“Meeting with Zionists is an act of treason,” one of the protesters shouted. “There are no solutions. Palestinian must be freed, from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea. Shame on you!”

The protesters claimed that they were opposed to the meeting because Israel was “demolishing Arab houses and killing Palestinians.”

1069-1Palestinian “anti-normalization” activists disrupt an unofficial Israeli-Palestinian peace conference Jerusalem’s Ambassador Hotel, in 2104.

Hind Khoury, a Christian woman who has previously served as Palestinian Authority ambassador to France, received the brunt of their anger. Khoury’s attempts to persuade the protesters that the meeting was not about normalization, but about achieving a just and comprehensive peace, fell on deaf ears. Ironically, it was the intervention of the Israeli Police that allowed Israeli and Palestinian activists to proceed with their conference.

Such scenes have become commonplace at the East Jerusalem hotel, a preferred site for unofficial peace conferences organized by Israelis and Palestinians. Anti-normalization activists raid the conference hall several times a year in their attempts to disrupt such gatherings.

The anti-normalization activists have also been vocal in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities. The Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, which recently published an interview with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, has also come under attack. For these Palestinians, conducting an interview with an Israeli government official is engaging in “media normalization.”

“The newspaper must apologize to the Palestinians,” the protesters demanded.

On the face of it, the anti-normalization campaign appears driven by political motivations. However, it turns out that there is also a powerful Islamic angle to this campaign of hate, which is aimed at delegitimizing Israel and demonizing Jews. The Palestinian anti-normalization “enforcers” do their utmost to conceal the Islamic aspect of their campaign. They are not eager for the world to know that Islam supplies much of the ideology and justification for their anti-Israel activities.

Fatwas (Islamic religious decrees) and statements issued by leading Muslim scholars and clerics have long warned Muslims against normalization with the “Zionist entity.” Such normalization, they have made it clear, is considered an “unforgivable crime.”

The authors of these hate messages are not opposed to normalization with Israel because of settlements or house demolitions, but rather because they believe Jews have no rights at all to any of the land.

“Normalization with the Zionist enemy means turning the presence of Jews in Palestine to something normal,” explained one scholar, Adnan Adwan. “Normalization means accepting the right of the Zionist entity to Arab lands and Palestine.”

In response to an inquiry from Palestinians about the perspective of Islam regarding peace and normalization with Jews, a group of leading Muslim scholars issued a fatwa stating that this was completely haram (forbidden). They even went farther by ruling that any form of peace with Jews was also haram, despite the fact that Prophet Mohammed signed a treaty, known as the Constitution of Medina, with Jews and other non-Muslims shortly after his arrival at Medina from Mecca in 622 CE.

In their fatwa, the Muslim scholars wrote: “It is true that Prophet Mohammed signed a treaty with the infidels, including the Quraysh tribe and the Jews, but he did not make concessions that are contrary to Islam.” They pointed out that Prophet Mohammed did not strike the deal with the infidels in order to allow them to stay in their homes permanently. Nor did the prophet promise to abandon jihad (holy war) as a result of this treaty, they added in their fatwa. “There is no evidence whatsoever that the Prophet or any of his successors had made peace with infidels controlling Islamic lands,” the fatwa clarified.

To support their argument, the scholars quote verses from the Quran which — they maintain — prohibit Muslims from making peace or ever placing their confidence in Jews. One verse which they claim refers to Jews is taken from Surah Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War): “And if they intend to deceive you, then verily, Allah is All-Sufficient for you. He it is Who has supported you with His Help and with the believers.” (62) According to the fatwa, this verse from the Quran refers specifically to Jews.

The scholars continue with another verse from the same Surah Al-Anfal to explain why Muslims must continue to fight against Jews:

“O Prophet (Mohammed)! Urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome a two hundred, and if there be a hundred steadfast persons they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are people who do not understand.” (65)

Yet a further verse from the Quran is then cited to substantiate their ideology of war against the Jews — verse 7 from Surah At-Taubah (The Repentance):

“How can there be a covenant with Allah and with His Messenger for the Mushrikin (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) expect those with whom you made a covenant near Al-Masjid al-Haram (at Makkah)? So long, as they are true to you, stand you true to them. Verily, Allah loves Al-Muttaqun (the pious).”

According to the fatwa, the “treacherous” Jews have since failed to “repent” (presumably, convert to Islam) and that is why it is forbidden to make peace with them.

The Muslim scholars also point to several fatwas prohibiting peace and normalization with Jews issued in the past century. The ban dates back to 1935, when a group of Muslim scholars and clerics ruled during a conference in Jerusalem that it was forbidden for Muslims to sell Arab-owned lands to Jews. A year later, scholars from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, one of the first Islamic universities in the Arab world, ruled that it was the duty of all Muslims to engage in jihad “to salvage Palestine.” In 1989, more than 60 eminent Muslim scholars from 18 countries ruled that it was forbidden for Muslims to give up any part of Palestine.

Other Muslim scholars have referred to another verse in the Quran to justify banning normalization with Jews. In Surah Al-Mumtahinah (The Woman to be examined), verse 1 states: “O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies as friends, showing affection towards them, while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth.” They also quote the following hadith (a saying attributed to Prophet Mohammed) to support their claim against making peace with Jews: “Those who side with the unjust to assist them in their injustice, while knowing that they are unjust, walk out of Islam.”

The vicious campaigns to boycott Israel and Jews, while political in dress, are in fact deeply rooted in Islamic ideology.

The anti-normalization activists and those promoting boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel perceive Jews as the enemies of Allah and Prophet Mohammed. These campaigns are patently not a legitimate protest. They are not even part of an effort to boycott Israeli products or politicians and academics. The real goal of the campaigns is revealed in the words of the Muslim leaders: that Jews have no rights whatsoever to the land, and must be targeted through jihad as infidels and enemies of all Muslims and Arabs.

Muslim scholars have left no room for doubt about their view of the true nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Settlements and checkpoints and fences are irrelevant; Muslim scholars want Jews off what they define as sacred Muslim land. BDS and anti-normalization movement supporters might do well to consider this fact. Failing to do so is tantamount to aiding and abetting Muslims to destroy Israel, and kill as many Jews as possible in the process.

Trump Changes US Policy on Settlements, But Will Netanyahu Pick Up the Ball?

February 3, 2017

Trump Changes US Policy on Settlements, But Will Netanyahu Pick Up the Ball?, The Jewish PressStephen Leavitt, February 3, 2017

battered-bibi-syndrome-2-768x525Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

The official White House statement thoroughly rejects the JPost’s quote, craftily eliminating both concerns: Trump is not committed to a two-state solution, and he does not consider the settlements an obstacle to peace.

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For the first time in many years, the White House on Thursday released a statement regarding Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria without the adjectives “illegal” or “illegitimate” next to the word “settlements.”

While not 100 percent perfect — a policy of benign neglect would be best — it is clearly a complete turnaround from previous administration positions, particularly former-President Obama’s “not one brick anywhere” policy, including Jerusalem.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the Press Secretary

“The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years. While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal. As the President has expressed many times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region. The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month.”

In other words, what began a few months ago as a video of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking why should having Jews living in Judea and Samaria be considered an impediment to peace – is now US foreign policy.

 

In addition to the biggest item of recognizing the legitimacy of the settlements, by omitting the words “illegal” and “illegitimate,” the statement actually declares, for all the world to see: “We don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace.”

It should be noted that even that one seemingly negative-note in the Trump statement against new settlements or expansion isn’t exactly that:

“the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.”

First of all, the statement gives implicit approval to construction within existing settlements, and not just to communities within the settlement blocs (i.e. Gush Etzion, Ariel, etc), but rather to all settlements. This is a much wider definition, and includes many smaller Jewish communities that exist outside of the blocs, representing some 80,000 Jews.

Not to name names, but that’s more settlement legitimacy than what even some members of Netanyahu’s cabinet recognize.

Furthermore, it doesn’t actually forbid or rebuke Israel if it does build a new settlement or expand beyond the borders of an existing one. The White House statement merely questions if it is helpful to achieving peace, and leaves that question open for further discussion.

The other glaring omission in the Trump White House statement is the term “two-state solution,” so beloved by every Administration since the 1993 Oslo Accords. Why, only last Wednesday, the new, relatively pro-Israel UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, had his spokesperson release a statement saying that,

“the recent announcement by the Israeli Government to advance 5,000 settlement units in the occupied West Bank could […] threaten to unravel plans for a two-State solution between Israelis and Palestinians. […] We once again warn against any unilateral actions that can be an obstacle to a negotiated two-state solution.”

Having praised the Trump statement so much, it’s also easy to realize that there must be some conflict within the Administration over the settlements issue, with one faction obviously pushing the traditional State Department line.

Rumor has it that the White House statement was released not so much as a response to Netanyahu’s recent settlement construction announcements, but in response to an unauthorized leak from within the Administration to the Jerusalem Post, which the latter reported Thursday:

“The White House warned Israel on Thursday to cease settlement announcements that are ‘unilateral’ and ‘undermining’ of President Donald Trump’s effort to forge Middle East peace, a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post. For the first time, the administration confirmed that Trump is committed to a comprehensive two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict negotiated between the parties.”

The official White House statement thoroughly rejects the JPost’s quote, craftily eliminating both concerns: Trump is not committed to a two-state solution, and he does not consider the settlements an obstacle to peace.

Indeed, the White House statement acknowledges the value and validity of the Israeli PM in forging US foreign policy:

“The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month.”

This is tantamount to an Obama statement saying: “The Obama administration will decide on the Iran nuclear deal after continued discussions with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits to speak to Congress on March 3, 2015.” Yes, that’s how impossibly big this statement is.

It is now entirely up to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Will Netanyahu have what it takes to change forever Israel’s future? Will he take full advantage of Trump’s invitation to help forge US foreign policy in a way that bolsters the Zionist vision? Will he step back from his Bar Ilan speech, and return to his former, maximalist positions?

From the White House statement it appears that the ball is completely in Netanyahu’s court.

Saudi Journalist to Palestinians: Armed Resistance to Israel is Futile, Arab World Has Lost Interest in Your Cause

January 28, 2017

Saudi Journalist to Palestinians: Armed Resistance to Israel is Futile, Arab World Has Lost Interest in Your Cause, AlgemeinerBarney Breen-Portnoy, January 26, 2017

hamas-2Hamas fighters. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Palestinian cause is “no longer a top priority” for the Arab world, a Saudi journalist declared earlier this month.

In an article published by the Saudi daily Al Jazirahnewspaper — and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) — Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh wrote that the reliance of radical Palestinian groups on armed resistance “constitutes a kind of political suicide that only political ignoramuses [can] condone.”

According to Al-Sheikh, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the sole option “that can be demanded and which enjoys the support of most of the international community.”

What the Palestinians, Al-Sheikh went on to say, “need to understand is that the Arabs of today are not the Arabs of yesterday, and that the Palestinian cause has lost ground among Arabs. This cause is no longer a top priority for them, because civil wars are literally pulverizing four Arab countries, and because fighting the ‘Islamic’ terrorism is the foremost concern that causes all Arabs, without exception, to lose sleep. It is folly to ask someone to sacrifice [tending to] his own problems and national interests in order to help [you solve] your own problems.”

“All I can say to my Palestinian brethren is that stubbornness, contrariness, and betting on the [support of] the Arab masses are a hopeless effort, and that ultimately you are the only ones who will pay the price of this stubbornness and contrariness,” he concluded.

In recent years, Israel has been quietly developing ties with the Sunni-Arab axis in the Middle East – including Saudi Arabia. In his September address to the UN General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that in addition to Egypt and Jordan, which already have signed peace treaties with the Jewish state, “Many other states in the region recognize that Israel is not their enemy. They recognize that Israel is their ally. Our common enemies are ISIS and Iran. Our common goals are security, prosperity and peace. I believe that in the years ahead we will work together to achieve these goals.”