Saturday, August 31, 2013

"The idea of a two-state solution should be dead"

From JPost, 29 August, by Martin Sherman:
Binyamin Netanyahu, Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat
Binyamin Netanyahu, Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat Photo: REUTERS            

...Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish a sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel
– Yasser Arafat, Jordanian TV, September 13, 1993 (the day he signed the Oslo Accords on the White House Lawn)

The idea of a two-state solution should be dead, today, because unfortunately a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would bring about Israel’s demise – Yuval Steinitz, The Jerusalem Post, September 14, 2008

...Belief in the inevitable implementation of the [two-state solution -"TSS"] as the format for resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict has acquired the status of a quasi-religious article of faith, whose validity is self-evident, requiring no proof.

...Of course, quite the opposite is true. For over the past two post-Oslo decades, ever since Israel has accepted the notion of two states for two peoples, the conflict with the Palestinians has escalated and Israel’s isolation has increased ...

...With regard to the level of conflict, based on data from the Foreign Ministry, during the 12 years following the Oslo Agreement (1994-2005) the number of terror-related fatalities was almost six(!) times those incurred in the 12 years prior to it (1981-1992); and significantly higher than ALL terror-related fatalities in the 44 years following the War of Independence until the dawn of the Oslo-era (1949- 1992).

With regard to international isolation, contrary to prevailing urban legend, one would be hard pressed to find any state of substantial international standing that set up diplomatic relations with Israel after the conclusion of the Oslo Accords in September 1993.

For example, China, India and Russia, which together comprise almost 40 percent of humanity, and had long avoided diplomatic ties with Israel, opened embassies in the country almost two years previously – under the recalcitrant, rejectionist government of Yitzhak Shamir.

By contrast, a glance at the Foreign Ministry website will reveal that the vast majority of nations that established official contacts with Israel in the wake of the Oslo initiative were hardly of crucial importance to its international stature – with all due respect to exotic locations such as Andorra, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Burundi, Cape Verde, Croatia, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Montenegro, Namibia, Nauru, Rwanda, San Marino, Sao Tome & Principe, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe – which make up the overwhelming bulk of the post- Oslo additions to countries maintaining diplomatic relations with Israel.

Conversely – and perversely? – delegitimization of Israel appears to have intensified in the post-Oslo period.

For example, the infamous “Durban” series of conferences took place after Israel had adopted a TSS-compliant policy.

The 2001-Durban conference (Durban I) was held only a few months after Ehud Barak’s far-reaching peace offer to Arafat, and provided a high-profile platform for a myriad of anti-Israel NGOs to peddle their noxious wares.

The subsequent “Durban II” (Geneva, 2009) and “Durban III” (New York, 2011) conferences comprised the “Durban process” which one prominent authority characterized as follows: “The objective of the Durban process is to use human rights and international law terminology to isolate, demonize and delegitimize Israel... this process manifests itself in various ways: the academic boycott campaigns in the UK; a variety of boycotts in Scandinavian countries; divestment in churches and in Norway; ‘lawfare’ cases brought against Israelis in various European countries. All these take their mandate from the 2001 NGO Forum at the Durban Conference and... work toward reinforcing its resolutions.”

The egregious Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which is acquiring disturbing momentum of late, is a post-Oslo initiative, launched in mid-2005, just weeks prior to the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, and over a year after the hyperhawk Ariel Sharon declared that “we are willing to proceed toward its implementation: two states – Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in tranquility, security and peace.”

...According to [American Jewish Committee director, David] Harris, “Israel owe[s] itself the obligation to leave no stone unturned in seeing if a partner, absent yesterday, might somehow show up today. And if, miracle of miracles, the Palestinian leadership actually turns out to be a credible partner this time, then, of course, all the more reason to try.”

Wrong...! The supposed sincerity of the Palestine negotiating partner’s peaceable intentions least, largely-irrelevant to whether or not negotiations should be undertaken. What is far more pertinent is his ability – and that of any prospective successor – to honor them. Or does Harris feel comfortable with Israel making perilous concessions, if, as in Gaza, they could fall to radical extremists? Has he any way to ensure they will not? And if he can’t, isn’t he being wildly shortsighted in urging taking such risks?

And should the talks fail, Harris would have us believe that “if the Palestinians once again prove they are unwilling partners, as they did in 2000-1 and again in 2008, let the world see who torpedoed a potential deal.”

...Has Harris forgotten the wrenching concessions Israel has made over the past decades – the unrequited unilateral 10-month freeze on construction in the “settlements”; withdrawal from major populations centers in Judea-Samaria; unilateral evacuation of Gaza, and erasure of every vestige of Jewish presence there; the unearthing of its dead from their graves; the demolition of settlements in northern Samaria; permitting armed militias to deploy adjacent to its capital, within mortar range of its parliament?

To all these the Palestinians responded with Judeocidal terror and Judeophobic incitement.

Surely, if after all this, the penny still hasn’t dropped, what possible reason is there for any farsighted person to believe the offer of further concessions will do the trick? Or is Harris suggesting forlorn hope as a national strategy?

According to Harris, “Israel must never hesitate to show up at any serious negotiating table.”

It is of course questionable whether the current coerced talks, with an unrepresentative and aging PA president, in office now for almost nine years of his elected four-year term and whose continued incumbency is far from certain, comprises a “serious negotiating table.”

However, putting that thorny issue aside, it is difficult to imagine any worse a negotiating strategy than declaring almost unconditional willingness to negotiate – especially in the Middle East.

...: Given the infinitesimal geographical distances from major Israeli population centers and the topographical dominance over vital Israeli infrastructure any Palestinian state [west of the Jordan river] would have, Harris’s prescription for “the need for extraordinarily careful attention to security arrangements in any two-state deal” is little more than lip service, designed to fob off profound concerns which in reality can never be satisfied...

In the final analysis, between the River and the Sea there will exist either exclusive Jewish sovereignty or exclusive Arab sovereignty. The side that will prevail is the side whose national will is the stronger and whose political vision is the sharper....
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