Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Israel's case in six paragraphs"

19 December '11

An excellent piece by DG from within a larger post at Daled Amos today:

Recently one of my state legislators visited Israel. While I suspect that he generally is in agreement with J-Street, I don't believe he has a formal affiliation with the group.

In one of his posts he wrote:

One of the things impressed upon us by many of the leaders and thinkers we’ve met with these past four days: the unwillingness of politcal figures on both sides to come to the “damn table,” as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently said. As an Israeli academic put it at the end of the day, “You can’t prematurely create a Palestinian state under the wrong conditions.”

Israel must demonstrate the merits of that argument to the Jewish Diaspora and the rest of the world.

He, of course, is misinformed. And that won't stop him from presenting himself as pro-Israel in 2014, when he's up for re-election. (He presents himself as pro-Israel to the roughly 30% of his constituents who are Jewish - mostly Orthodox.)

If he were pro-Israel, he would be able to demonstrate those arguments. One need not be a scholar; this isn't ancient history.

 - In 1993, Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords. In his exchange of letters with Prime Minister Rabin, Yasser Arafat committed himself to rejecting terrorism and devoting himself to negotiations for peace. Over the next several years Israel withdrew from territory, freeing more than 90% of the Palestinians from Israel rule. Even a "right wing" Prime Minister withdrew Israeli forces from most of the Jewish holy city of Hebron. Still President Clinton viewed Netanyahu as an obstacle to peace and worked to undermine him politically.

 - After Netanyahu was defeated in 1999 and succeeded by Ehud Barak, efforts were made to resolve final status issues. In July 2000, Arafat rejected an unprecedented offer from Barak to settle all the issues at Camp David Maryland. Two months later Arafat launched the "Aqsa Intifada," using the pretext of Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount.

 - In response Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield to destroy the terror infrastructure that Arafat had built in Judea and Samaria. Despite Israel's success in defeating the major terror groups it faced there, hundreds of Israelis were killed during this terror war.

 - Earlier in 2000, Israel completely withdrew its forces from southern Lebanon, which, according to the conventional wisdom provided Hezbollah with its raison d'etre. But Hezbollah quickly violated the international border, kidnapping and killing three Israeli soldiers - a violation that was covered up by the UN. Hezbollah used the next six years to build up its capacity to strike Israel (and launched occasional attacks against Israel throughout.) When the threat became too great, Israel was forced to fight to destroy the infrastructure that had been built over the previous six years.

 - With the Israeli capture of the Karine A, Arafat was discredited. International pressure forced his second in command, Mahmoud Abbas into the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. While he hasn't been as involved in terror to the same degree as Arafat, Abbas has proven himself to be just as corrupt. Later Salam Fayyad became the Prime Minister of the government, however this "moderate" face has no real constituency in the Fatah Central committee, which is still ideologically committed to the destruction of Israel. Furthermore Abbas refused a peace offer from Ehud Olmert in 2008 - one even more extensive that Barak's eight years earlier - claiming that (East) Jerusalem was non-negotiable.

 - In addition to the withdrawals from much of Judea and Samaria (or, if you prefer, the West Bank) and from southern Lebanon, in 2005 Israel withdrew all soldiers and civilians from Gaza. Hamas was the beneficiary of this withdrawal and was able to win legislative elections in 2006 and then a brutal power struggle with Fatah a year later, consolidating its hold on Gaza. In late 2008 after thousands of rockets were fired at southern Israel, Israel fought back with Operation Cast Lead to destroy Hamas's infrastructure.

This is Israel's case in six paragraphs. Over the past 18 years Israel has undertaken significant risks and made substantial material concessions for peace. Its efforts have been met with indifference at best, or even terror. Despite these risks and concessions, Israel is still portrayed as fundamentally responsible for the absence of peace. Even Israel's efforts to protect itself against outrageous attacks of terror are met with criticism not sympathy.

Excellent job by DG, yes?

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