Download an abbreviated version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf
John Kerry’s Plan: Still Missing a Peace: Elihu D. Richter, Times of Israel, April 8, 2013—Press reports hint that Secretary of State John Kerry is in Israel with a re-warmed version of the Saudi peace plan. His visit started at Yad Vashem, where, perhaps, he had the opportunity to ponder the catastrophic effects of the kind of incitement now pandemic in the entire Islamic world, including Saudi Arabia. The Holocaust, as we all should know, began with words. Secretary Kerry, your first mission is to work to eradicate the state sponsored incitement and hate language pandemic in the Islamic world. Israelis expect respect for human life and dignity, not dhimmitude.
Please … Draw Me a State: Shmuel Rosner, Latitude, New York Times, Apr. 3, 2013—When Barack Obama visited Israel two weeks ago he reiterated the U.S. government’s stock opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank: Such activity, he said, undermines peace. “On the other hand,” he added in Ramallah — and these were his words — “The core issue right now is, how do we get sovereignty for the Palestinian people and how do we assure security for the Israeli people?” That is to say, settlements no longer rank high on his agenda because “if we solve those two problems, the settlement problem will be solved.”
Keepers of the Two-State Faith: Dr. Emmanuel Navon, Arutz Sheva, March 13, 2013 —Israel’s self-proclaimed intellectuals will agree to grant you a certificate of intelligence only if you pledge allegiance to the two-state solution – and it was palpably evident at the Herzliya Conference – a Broadway show. “The Two State Religion.” It’s not about facts. It’s about faith.
Jewish Enclaves in a Palestinian State?: Gideon Biger and Gilead Sher, INSS Insight, Apr. 8, 2013
What Really Happened in Jerusalem: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Mar. 28, 2013
Borderline Views: the Obama and Kerry Map: David Newman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 8, 2013
Obama to Push Saudi “Destroy Israel” Peace Plan: Daniel Greenfield, Front Page Magazine, Ap. 8, 2013
Elihu D. Richter
Times of Israel, April 8, 2013
Press reports hint that Secretary of State John Kerry is in Israel with a re-warmed version of the Saudi peace plan. His visit started at Yad Vashem, where, perhaps, he had the opportunity to ponder the catastrophic effects of the kind of incitement now pandemic in the entire Islamic world, including Saudi Arabia. The Holocaust, as we all should know, began with words.
Until proven otherwise, The Saudi Plan – or ultimatum – offers 100 years of dhimmitude, the term for the protected but inferior and vulnerable status of non-Moslem religious and ethnic groupings in Islamic society. It purports to offer normal diplomatic and political relations between Israel and the entire Islamic world if Israel goes back to its 1948 borders and accepts the principle of repatriation of the Palestinian refugees. If Israel does not accept these terms, the subtext is quite clear: The Islamic world retains the option of remaining hostile to our existence.
This subtext rejects a self-evident principle: that Israel’s existence and security are, as Barack Obama has declared, sacrosanct. That principle derives from the UN resolutions of 1948 and 1967, and not any decision by our neighbours. Israel is the national home of a first nation returning to its native land. Its existence and security are not negotiable At best, the overseer of the Saudi Peace Plan would be Erdogan of Turkey, whose Ottomania frames us as one more dhimmi among subordinated ex-dhimmis….
Israelis have good reason to be sceptical about peace plans – but at the same time, to learn from the lessons of past failures and successes and go forward. While there is a cold peace with Egypt – now so fragile – and Jordan, more Israelis have been killed in the 15 years following the Oslo Accords than in the two previous decades of undeclared wars. Therefore the burden of proof is on those who deny that the Saudi plan offers something between dhimmitude at best and a staged dismantling of Israel as the Jewish national home – and turning a blind eye to genocidal terror and incitement to genocidal terror.
The plan contains no commitment to ending state sponsored incitement and hate language. The flag of Iran, now more powerful than any of the Arab countries, is one of 29 framing the PA announcement. But Iran’s promotion of genocidal motifs straight out of Mein Kampf, along with its terror directed at world Jewry and Israel, goes back to 1979, 35 years, or almost threefold the life span of the Nazi regime, a sign of intergenerational perpetuation….
Yet Iran, with its incitement and hate language, is merely one of several epicentres for state sanctioned, sponsored and supported anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism throughout the Arab and Islamic world. Since 2002, when the plan was first published, the Arab regimes, notably Saudi Arabia and Egypt, seem neither able nor willing to curb this toxic incitement in their media, mosques, school texts and Internet – a precondition for preparing their publics for a new era of mutual respect, tolerance and dignity. Saudi Arabia itself is a major producer of such vicious incitement and hate language in its mosques, political rhetoric, and official media. Because such incitement and hate language ensures the intergenerational transmission of hate, it means that diplomatic and political agreements the regimes will sign will not be sustainable.
Since 2002, the Arab League’s and League of Islamic Countries’ message to Israel refers to “normal relations between states.” But the messages to its own populations are still permeated with hate and incitement. None of the Arab states have banned distribution of Mein Kampf and they continue to spread propaganda based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They also continue to use UN diplomatic forums for delegitimizing Israel. Arab diplomats still engage in crude public attempts at delegitimization, such as at the Annapolis “peace summit,” where they refused to enter through the same door with Israeli diplomats. Lawfare and wordfare, not gunfare, are now the methods for promoting agendas explicitly deriving from Mein Kampf.
Such gestures, if anything, delegitimize their practitioners. State sanctioned incitement has been repackaged as anti-Zionism. Even the newly “moderate” West Bank PA still engages in varieties of soft incitement, such as omitting Israel from its maps and referring to tolerance in terms of the Islamic-Christian tradition, thus implicitly rendering Israel Judenrein. The plan says nothing about non-state actors, notably Hezbollah – for all practical purposes, an agent of Iran – and Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip, and what they will do, no matter what the leaders of Arab countries decide to sign on to.
The plan refers to rights to repatriation of the descendants of approximately 600,000 Palestinian refugees from 1949, but ignores the rights of some 870,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands and their descendants. Nor is there any reference to the effect of Arab pressures on the British Mandate in bringing about the White Paper, which was, for all practical purposes, a death sentence for millions of Jews caught in Hitler’s Europe. The harsh truth is that neither Palestinian nor Jewish survivors or descendants can return to the homes of their parents.
The appalling treatment of religious minorities by many Arab regimes is another reason for scepticism concerning the Saudi plan. Coptic and Assyrian Christians, Baha’is, Armenians, Yazdis and other minority religious group have experienced persecution, expulsions and genocidal mass atrocities in many of the 29 countries, notably Egypt, Iraq, Sudan and Iran. In the PA itself, since the Oslo Accords, the Christian population is rapidly diminishing. Here would be the elements of an Israeli answer to the billion or so people in the Arab and Islamic world.
The first requirement of any peace plan has to be respect for life and human dignity of all minorities in the region. This means respecting the sacrosanct status of Israel’s existence and security, and in parallel, stopping the persecution, overt and covert, of religious minorities and eliminating incitement and hate language in school texts, mosques and media. It means fostering more open and direct contacts based on respect for life, and promoting such contacts in matters which promote and protect life, not death: water technology, agriculture, renewable energy, public health and medicine.
Secretary Kerry, your first mission is to work to eradicate the state sponsored incitement and hate language pandemic in the Islamic world. Israelis expect respect for human life and dignity, not dhimmitude.
When Barack Obama visited Israel two weeks ago he reiterated the U.S. government’s stock opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank: Such activity, he said, undermines peace. “On the other hand,” he added in Ramallah — and these were his words — “The core issue right now is, how do we get sovereignty for the Palestinian people and how do we assure security for the Israeli people?” That is to say, settlements no longer rank high on his agenda because “if we solve those two problems, the settlement problem will be solved.”
The Palestinians didn’t like hearing this; they felt betrayed. As one Palestinian-American writer put it, dropping the demand for a settlement freeze as a precondition to peace talks “means that the next few years will be a settlement construction bonanza.” After all, Obama was the one who once made settlements the buck-stops-here issue; that was supposed to demonstrate his seriousness on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his willingness to pressure Israel for concessions. But after achieving little and reaping a lot of criticism, he has changed his position. And he expects Palestinians to toe his new line.
So why hasn’t the Israeli government been gloating? Post-Passover coma? Overriding worries about the national budget? Not wanting to be a bad sport after Obama’s first official visit as president? No, it’s just that Israeli officials know Obama’s shift is probably a pyrrhic victory. His approval ratings in Israel did go up following his visit and the Israeli government is happy to see Washington drop its demand that settlement construction be frozen, but Obama’s “major calibration” creates more problems for the Israeli government than it solves.
Basically, he replaced the contentious issue of settlements with an even more contentious matter: boundaries. As Obama explained in both Ramallah and Jerusalem, drawing the future border of a Palestinian state — “real borders that have to be drawn” — is the crux of the matter. Indeed. Jerusalem had good reasons to object to a settlement freeze — including for making the Palestinians less likely to compromise — but it also knew that any freeze would be, or could be, temporary and reversible. Drawing a border between a state and a would-be state is a far more significant step, and potentially far more permanent.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has always opposed presenting any possible map of Israel’s future borders with a Palestinian state. Even Ehud Olmert — a predecessor of Netanyahu’s and a much more conciliatory leader — wouldn’t leave an unsigned draft of such a map after presenting it to the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in 2008.
If settlements are about claiming disputed territory, delineating borders is about giving it up, which is a considerably more sensitive move. For Israel, drawing a map without first solving other core issues — the status of Jerusalem, the future of Palestinian refugees — is like using your last bargaining chip halfway through making a deal. Especially in his current coalition, which is built around a strange-bedfellow partnership of centrists and pro-settlers, Netanyahu can hardly be expected to survive politically if he gives up the country’s hand (and land) like this.
Netanyahu didn’t want to freeze settlements in the West Bank. But in letting him have his way on that, Obama seems to be asking for something even greater.
Shmuel Rosner, an editor and columnist based in Tel Aviv, is senior political editor for The Jewish Journal.
Dr. Emmanuel Navon
Arutz Sheva, March 13, 2013
Israel’s self-proclaimed intellectuals will agree to grant you a certificate of intelligence only if you pledge allegiance to the two-state solution – and it was palpably evident at the Herzliya Conference – a Broadway show. Attending the Herzliya Conference’s panel on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is like following Woody Allen’s therapy through his movies: you know that the patient is hopeless and that the new movie is going to be a mere repetition of the previous one, and yet you maintain the ritual out of snobbism. This year’s panel, however, was more like a flashback. I felt like I was watching the ending scene of Mighty Aphrodite, when the Greek tragedy turns into a Broadway show.
The panel included seven speakers: Tzipi Livni (chairperson of the “Hatnuah” party), Shlomo Avineri (a Hebrew-U emeritus professor), Robert Danin (from the US Council on Foreign Relations), Michael Herzog (from the Washington Institute for Near East Policies), Yoaz Hendel (chairman of the Institute for Zionist Strategy), Nati Sharoni (chairman of the Council for Peace and Security), and Dani Dayan (former chairman of the Judea and Samaria Council). The moderator was Barak Ravid, the diplomatic correspondent of Haaretz….
Tzipi Livni (whose party represents 5% of the Knesset) opened her remarks by claiming that she speaks for the majority. Then she explained why the establishment of a Palestinian state is so urgent: soon Hamas will be in charge and when that happens signing a deal with the Palestinians will no longer be an option. Is Tzipi Livni aware of her argument’s silliness? If, as she herself admits, Hamas will eventually take over, what is the point of signing with Fatah today a deal that Hamas will trash tomorrow? But what is telling about Tzipi Livni (and about the “majority” she supposedly represents) is not her comical twisted logic, but the way she perceives Israel’s rights. She said that a peace agreement is the Archimedean point of Israel’s existence, and that peace grants legitimacy to Israel. In other words, Israel’s rights and existence are not sui generis, but are only valid if the world (especially Israel’s enemies) approve them.
Even Ehud Barak said during the Camp David negotiations in July 2000 that the Archimedean point of Israel’s existence (he used the very same expression) is the Temple Mount. For Tzipi Livni, this Archimedean point is neither divine nor historical (I suspect Ehud Barak was referring to the second option). Rather, Israel only has a right to exist if its critics agree to it.
Tzipi Livni has the same “externality” problem on a personal level, which is why she has metamorphosed over the years into the spokesperson of Haaretz. Precisely because Israel’s self-proclaimed intellectuals will agree to grant you a certificate of intelligence only if you pledge allegiance to the two-state solution, and precisely because Livni is an intellectual lightweight who suffers from an inferiority complex vis-à-vis the "branja" (the "in" group of "experts", ed.), she became more royalist than the king. Tellingly, Shlomo Avineri publicly congratulated her during the “debate” for joining the exclusive club of the enlightened ones after years of darkness in the Likud grotto.
“Exclusive club” was the expression used by Barak Ravid to describe those who support the two-state solution. This is typically how the Israeli Left tries to intimidate those who don’t toe the party line: we are the star-belly sneetches. Then Ravid harangued the audience about what he called “Israel’s Apartheid against the Palestinians” and claimed that, for this “apartheid” to end, a Palestinian state must be established as soon as possible in all of Judea and Samaria.
Robert Danin castigated the Israeli government for claiming that there is no partner for peace. When you keep telling people there is no partner, he said, they end up believing it. Danin didn’t discuss whether or not the PLO is a reliable partner for peace. His argument was not about history, but about psychology: if you can convince people that there is no partner for peace, then you can also convince them that there is a partner for peace. The truth or falsehood of the argument itself is irrelevant. What’s important is to believe. “The Two State Religion.” It’s not about facts. It’s about faith….
Michel Herzog made a point which I also find fantastic: we have to negotiate with the Palestinians so that we can say to ourselves and to the world that we tried. Well, what about Camp David in July 2000, what about Taba in December 2000, and what about the Olmert proposal to Abbas in 2008? Didn’t we try then? Hasn’t Herzog been around for the past twelve years?
Yoaz Hendel publicly confirmed that he agrees with Tzipi Livni (he had briefly considered running on her list for the 2013 Knesset elections). He also claimed that “the Israeli people accepts the two-state solution” (actually, over 50 MKs oppose it: 12 MKs from the Jewish Home, 28 MKs from Likud-Beitenu [if you exclude Netanyahu, Tzahi Hanegbi, and maybe Sylvan Shalom], and at least 2/3 of the 18 MKs from the two ultra-orthodox parties).
Nati Sharoni pledged to “get rid of the occupied territories” and played a short movie by Dror Moreh, the author of The Gatekeepers. The movie explains (with soft background music) how to ethnically cleanse Judea and Samaria from its Jews.
Danny Dayan claimed that a two-state solution is unreachable because the gap is too wide between the maximum that Israel is willing to offer and the minimum that the Palestinians are willing to accept (as proven by Abbas’ rejection of Olmert’s proposal). He suggested improving the status quo by granting the Palestinians full civil rights under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, while maintaining Israel’s exclusive security prerogatives.
To which Shlomo Avineri replied that Dayan’s proposal meant denying the Palestinians full national rights, and that this constitutes an injustice. Finally there was a debate (this was the only interesting part of the panel). The difference between Shlomo Avineri and Dani Dayan on this issue is not that wide: Avineri doesn’t really believe that a solution is possible, but he wants to keep trying nevertheless. Dayan really doesn’t believe that there is a solution, and thinks it isn’t worth anyone’s time to keep banging your head against the wall.
But the debate between the two raised an important question: is it legitimate to grant the Palestinians full civil rights, but to deny them national rights?
My answer to this question is positive, for four reasons.
First, because the “Palestinians” do not constitute a genuine people. They are part of the Arab nation, a nation that has 22 states.
Second, because the Palestinian narrative is a fraud and because the Archimedean point (to use that expression again) of “Palestinism” is the destruction of Israel.
Third, because the Palestinians openly admit that they won’t tolerate any Jewish minority in the “Palestinian state” (by contrast, there is a significant Arab minority in the Jewish state).
Fourth, because such a state would inevitably be militarized, it would incite its population (as the PA currently does) against Israel and the Jews, it would eventually be run by Hamas, and it would be an ally of Israel’s worst enemies (especially Iran).
So, yes, there are very good reasons to grant the Palestinian Arabs full civil rights, but to deny them national rights.
As the panel was coming to an end, Barak Ravid tried very hard to find out if Netanyahu might actually take concrete steps toward the establishment of a Palestinian state (the dream of the Israeli Left). Shlomo Avineri said he didn’t think so because of Netanyahu’s “revisionist” upbringing. Referring to Netanyahu, Avineri said the following: “Beware of people who are true believers, because true believers never admit that they are wrong.”
Well said, professor. You obviously didn’t realize that you were unintentionally ridiculing the “two-state” believers such as yourself. But I had a good laugh: thank you for turning the Greek tragedy into a Broadway show.
Dr. Emmanuel Navon heads the Political Science and Communications Department at the Jerusalem Orthodox College, and teaches International Relations at Tel-Aviv University and at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
Jewish Enclaves in a Palestinian State?: INSS Insight, April 8, 2013 —A massive evacuation of settlements located outside the large settlement blocs, home to about 100,000 residents, will be necessary if future Israeli governments seek (or are required to) implement the principle implied by two states for two peoples. B
What Really Happened in Jerusalem: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, March 28, 2013—“I honestly believe that if any Israeli parent sat down with those [Palestinian] kids, they’d say, ‘I want these kids to succeed.’ ” — Barack Obama, in Jerusalem, March 21. Very true. But how does the other side feel about Israeli kids?
Borderline Views: the Obama and Kerry Map: David Newman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 8, 2013—What is required is an innovative way of thinking about borders and their relationship to independence and citizenship.
Obama to Push Saudi “Destroy Israel” Peace Plan: Daniel Greenfield, Front Page Magazine, April 8, 2013—Obama’s love bombing trip to Israel was heavy on flattery and light on substance, but by the end of it Israel had been pressured into surrendering to Islamist Turkey and Hamas had gotten improved access to Israel. It was the first “accomplishment” of Obama’s trip. But not the last.
Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.
CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.
The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.
CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.
Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research/ L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org
Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; email@example.com