20 March '11
Middle Eastern Insights
No. 2 - 20 March 2011
Dr. Mordechai Kedar
In the Bar-Ilan speech Binyamin Netanyahu delivered almost two years ago, he articulated two conditions for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel: Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish nation, and the demilitarization of the Palestinian state. These two conditions are not being met, as Palestinian spokesmen repeat day and night that they would not dream of recognizing the State of Israel as the Jewish national home, because this would harm their Arab brethren in Israel and would negate, for Palestinian refugees, the right of return to Israel. They do not discuss demilitarization because they know, as well as Netanyahu knows, that there is no such thing as a “demilitarized state” in the Middle East. We were provided a reminder last week: A civilian cargo ship carrying many tons of advanced weaponry from Iran to Alexandria via Syria and Turkey, to be smuggled eventually into the
Gaza Strip. At the same time, Egyptian security forces announced that they had intercepted five trucks loaded with arms being smuggled from Sudan to Egypt; these weapons, too, were destined for Gaza via the tunnels.
This arms smuggling, which does not cease for a moment, constitutes a clear and pointed Palestinian statement to Netanyahu, to Europe, to the United States, to the United Nations and to non-governmental organizations throughout the world: “Forget about a demilitarized state, for our state will be armed to the teeth with the longest range, most modern weaponry, and Iran, together with our friends and allies, will see to it that the future Palestinian state will be demilitarized only in Netanyahu’s dreams.”
This statement applies not only to the Gaza Strip, but also – and primarily – to Judea and Samaria, which, if allowed to form territorial contiguity, will become a terrorist contiguity that will present a strategic threat to the State of Israel, whose hands will be bound by Goldstonian shackles. Yet, despite this clear statement, many countries are poised to recognize a Palestinian state at the General Assembly of the United Nations during its annual session this coming September, i.e., in about a half a year from now. Thus, the Palestinian state will receive in 2011 the same international recognition that Israel did in November 1947.
This will be the greatest failure of Israeli public diplomacy, which has not succeeded in conveying the simple message that a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity is a terror state that will embitter the lives of its neighbors, not only of Israel. This public diplomacy fiasco stems from – among others – the fact that on a daily basis, Israel’s government fails in its obligation to bring Israel’s word to at least every English-speaking household. This can be done with an Israeli satellite television channel, similar to the American CNN, the British BBC, France 24, Hungary’s Duna and dozens of national satellite stations received in every living room in the world. Because Israel does not operate such a television channel, neither in English nor in Arabic, it is not on the media map, and a country not on
the media map may also not exist on the geographic map. The distance from here to the de-legitimization of Israel is very short.
The technology exists, the studios exist, the personnel exist, the knowledge exists and the need exists. Lacking only are a decision and a modest budget which will engender the change in Israel’s public posture and thus effect a change in the political situation. Speeches and declarations, meetings and rallies will not help us as long as our message does not reach the average citizen in Atlanta who sees, hears, comprehends and picks up the phone to ask his/her congressperson to vote in Israel’s favor.
Translated by Nachama Kanner
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