Without exception, all of the latest diplomatic tsunamis have been blamed on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policies. On the face of it, Israel has been facing an uninterrupted deterioration in its international standing in recent years. Referred to as an aggressor, an occupier of someone else’s land, a war criminal, it seems that the more accusatory the term, the more popularity it garners. Evidence to the contrary fell on deaf ears as the world became obsessed with playing pin-the-blame on Israel
It’s always been Israel’s fault regardless of the evidence, regardless of the truth—Guilty, guilty, guilty.
Without exception, all of the latest diplomatic tsunamis—including the threats from Turkey, the attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, the Jordanians’ hostility, international community’s support for the Palestinian statehood bid in the UN—have been blamed on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policies.
Opposition leaders and media personalities in Israel vociferously express their disapproval, with claims that had they been in charge, things would have been very different. No doubt they would have found a way to return to the negotiating table with the Palestinian Authority, offer the Palestinians sufficient reasons for abandoning their UN move, and ultimately secure peace with Israel; no doubt they would have further hatched a plan to pacify Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan; they would have curbed all possible motives behind the Egyptian mob’s attack on the Israeli embassy.
After all, they claim, all these events have one dominating trait: they all took place under the present Israeli government. Consequently, the root cause for the world’s dissatisfaction with the Jewish state must be a direct result of said government's policies and misdeeds.
Seems a bit far-fetched? It is.
That's because today, the media vogue is to exploit the misguided perception that time is running out on the current status=quo. Truth is, Israel's current position is neither new or unique, and certainly not worse than under previous leaderships.
The Jewish State has been operating under the ominous cloud of "existential threat" since before it was even born.
Media pundits are too obsessed with sensationalism to admit that Israel’s international standing today is in actual fact relatively stable. In addition, its economy is one of the strongest in the world and the quality of its citizens life remains high — certainly a vast improvement on any other period of time over the last century.
Furthermore, these fear-mongers—which include many leaders themselves—would have us believe that in spite of the country's security and prosperity, the existing state of affairs is unsustainable and that a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority is absolutely essential. Here in Israel people have deemed a peace agreement necessary in being able to move towards a more permanent and a more stable international standing, a more prosperous economy, and a more favorable view of Israel as a fair and just democracy.
Meantime, the world continues to erroneously turn to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as being the representative of the Palestinian people. There are in fact two separate Palestinian entities, the PA, which is unstable at best, and Hamastan, which is not under the PA's influence or jurisdiction.
Subsequent to the signing of a peace agreement with Israel, the Palestinian representation as it stands right now may well be hijacked by a terrorist regime, in which case It will be far more difficult for Israel to defend itself.
In that case, is it not preferable to hang on to the "unsustainable" status-quo?
Abbas made it clear in his latest speech at the UN that under no circumstances will he abandon his people’s demand for the right of return. No peace agreement with Israel will magically eliminate this preposterous condition. An establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza will not end the Palestinian dream for a greater Palestine, extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Time and time again, Abbas has reaffirmed the argument of many "radical" rightwing that the idea of “two states for two peoples” living side by side in peace is as infeasible now as it was in 1947, when the UN first proposed it and it got rejected.
It takes two to tango and make peace but only one side to break that peace and go to war. But blaming the Israeli government for its rigidity is not only ridiculous and unfair, it is morally wrong. It is the Palestinians’ uncompromising position on pre-conditions such as the right of return (in addition to Hamas' uncompromising position on destroying the Jewish State), that is to blame for "unsustainable" status quos and impasses.
Some wise people have listed three options Israel has been facing: 1. Two states for two nations, 2. continuing the status quo (which some even go as far as to compare with the South African apartheid), or 3. A single dual-nation state (remember Yugoslavia?). All of these options are far from ideal. The only question at hand is which option is the least negative, the least infeasible.
A single state where Jews lose their majority and consequently their unique identity is unsustainable and most certainly infeasible. Jews will never be given the opportunity to live safely and honorably in an Israel that will have a Muslim-dominated government.
Two states for two nations is an ideal solution only if both states view this solution as final rather than a temporary bridge to the complete annihilation of the other. The present status quo is thus left as the lesser of evils, and is a temporary solution, but at least it is one that remains open to the possibility that conditions on the ground might someday change and be better suited for a “two-state for two nations”— final and a permanent solution.
Until that time, we need to put a stop to the collective anxiety attacks: Looking for a quick fix to our growing apprehension will not provide the imaginary relief we are dreaming about. The State of Israel has been at war for the past sixty four years; the Jewish people in Israel fought for their survival in the Holy Land since the days of Joshua. The present Israeli government is just the latest one in to find itself under siege in the course of the Holy Land's history.
The refusal of Jews to assimilate within their surroundings is the only fault one can place on the present and past Jewish leaderships. If you do not wish to convert to Islam (or to Christianity, as was the case in anti-Semitic Europe), then be prepared to keep on struggling. A Jewish State in the midst of an Islamic ocean is a thorn in the eyes of this hostile neighborhood.
Let’s face it. No action by the Israeli government other than relinquishing its unique Jewish identity will pacify its present enemies. Rather, the definite rationale standing in the way of a permanent peace is the desire of the Jewish people to live in a free, independent Jewish state. .
In his latest speech to the American Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. He added that as long as the Palestinian Arabs continue to perpetuate their fantasy that the Jewish state will cease to exist, there could be no peace between them and Israel.
He was right.
The conflict is not about the pre-1967 borders with mutually agreed territorial swaps. It has always been about the pre-1947 border, when there was none.
The Palestinians have been unwilling to end the conflict. Had they been interested in a two-state peaceful solution, they would have abandoned their demand for the right of return; they would have agreed to settle the refugee problem within the confines of their (would be) independent, occupation-free Palestinian state. They would have stopped educating their children to hate. They would have ceased naming public squares after terrorists; they would not have fired anti-tank missiles on Israeli school busses, rockets and mortar on civilians, or (even) on the Israeli military; they would have worked tirelessly to gain Israel’s trust.
But they have not.
And there is no peaceful logic behind the Palestinians’ great grandchildren’s insistence on “returning” to Israel — a land they have never stepped a foot on, a land as foreign to them as Guatemala. Why would any Palestinian Arab want to leave his or her newly established, democratic, free country and come to live under what they refer to as an “apartheid-practicing” Jewish government? It defies logic. Unless, of course, Israel has no Jewish government, no Jewish majority and it is no longer a Jewish state.
Palestinians perceive a peace agreement with Israel as a document formalizing their unconditional surrender. Their humiliating defeat in 1948, in which they watched the Jewish people establish a Jewish state on land they considered Islamic, is a shameful experience they are unable to shake off. That humiliation and the corresponding urge to redeem the lost honor is more commanding than the sensible strategy of calling for a peace offensive.
Some cool-headed Arab leaders have claimed that the peace process can serve as a smoke screen in pursuit of what had been defined as the Salami Principle — one slice at a time. It boils down to putting international pressure on Israel to weaken itself through a series of withdrawals to earlier borders, preceding the final assault on what’s left of the Jewish state whose indefensible borders would make it an easy prey. And in the Arab Middle East, reclaiming a lost honor overshadows straightforward logic.
Focusing on the pre-1967 borders as the main issue for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is like using sterile needles for lethal injections, or playing video ballgames on your Xbox and calling it physical exercise.
Considering the apparent irrelevance, why did Netanyahu — while gazing into president Obama’s private thoughts — make the pre-1967 border the centerpiece of his argument? Why didn’t the Israeli PM try to call the Palestinians’ bluff by agreeing to the fake notion?
“Yes Mr. President,” Netanyahu could have declared. “Let’s restart the peace process from the pre-1967 borders with mutually agreed swaps,” trusting the other side to derail any meaningful negotiations, then be blamed for the failure once they insist on including Hamas at or behind the negotiating table?
Had Netanyahu swallowed the pill served by Obama, even though analysis had deemed it a placebo, it might have undermined his job. His coalition partners would have abandoned him, likening him to former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, the loser who wrongly believed that appeasing an aggressor would bring about peace.
Had Netanyahu followed Obama’s lead he might have run the risk that the Palestinians, including Hamas, would have played along by resorting to deception, by whispering a ”yes” (in English) to negotiations. They would have employed Obama’s proposal as a fresh starting point — blessed by the U.S. president and endorsed by the Israeli PM — in preparation for a full-scale implementation of the Salami Principle.
The seeming gap between Obama’s and Netanyahu’s approaches to peace with the Palestinians yanks its intensity from their knowledge of history as it relates to their personal experiences and risk assessment.
Netanyahu has plenty of reasons for placing mistrust in the Palestinians. He remembers that Israeli withdrawals from territories occupied during defensive wars have always been met by Arab deadly aggression in return. It was true in the West Bank following the Oslo accord when suicide bombing inside Israeli cities became a daily affair; it was true following Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon when Hezbollah took over the territory and began shooting rockets at Israeli towns. And it was true all over again following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza.
Netanyahu knows what the Palestinians’ true goals are; he knows that the peace process is a smoke screen, designed to mask their true intentions. On the other hand, President Obama — like Nixon and Kissinger before him when negotiating peace with the North Vietnamese — is looking for a short-term stress relief.
If the peace agreement turns into a fiasco, if it is proven hollow, or if the concluding handshakes around the negotiating table were intended to relax and weaken Israel’s (or U.S.’s) guards, making the final assault by the Arabs (or by the North Vietnamese in Kissinger’s case) more effective, then it’s a problem. But it’s somebody else’s problem. From an American point of view, the promise of peace is worth the risk since the true burden of facing the potential catastrophic consequences is borne by someone else, by someone far away from home.
Netanyahu was right to reject President Obama’s approach. He understood that further Israeli concessions toward peace with the Palestinians would only bring about more violence in return. He understood that the Palestinians’ talk about a peace process is unmistakably consistent with their view of the Salami Principle, while their Islamic teaching forbids treatment of Jews as worthy human beings. He understood that peace with the Palestinians or a two-state solution, living peacefully side by side is a mirage, an illusion borne by the U.S. president. He knew that Israel rather than the U.S. would be the one bearing the catastrophic consequences of making premature concessions.
Netanyahu had no other choice but to push back. The reaction delivered by the U.S. Congress proved him right.
Well done, Mr. Prime Minister!
Dr. Avi Perry, a talk show host at Paltalk News Network (PNN), is the author of "Fundamentals of Voice Quality Engineering in Wireless Networks," and more recently, "72 Virgins," a thriller about the covert war on Islamic terror. He was a VP at NMS Communications, a Bell Laboratories - distinguished staff member and manager, a delegate of the US and Lucent Technologies to the ITU—the UN International Standards body in Geneva, a professor at Northwestern University and Intelligence expert for the Israeli Government.