Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Arlene Kushner On Why Peace Process Failed--And What Comes Next

From Arlene Kushner:

May 22, 2012

Fighting the good fight is something that must be done without let-up.  And it means fighting here at home as well as internationally.

I want to begin by sharing an excellent article by Moshe Dann, "The fundamental misconception about Arab-Israeli peace." 
Dann addresses a very basic issue for our nation with clarity (all emphasis added):
"'The “peace process' between Israel and the Arabs, touted as part of a 'two state' plan, failed not because of disagreements over settlements and boundaries, but because of a basic false assumption: that Palestinianism could be fulfilled in a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It failed not because Israel did not give enough, but because nothing would have been enough...
"The dispute is not over territory, but ideology – Palestinianism, the basis of their nearly hundred-year war against Zionism and the State of Israel, the national historic homeland of the Jewish People. For Arabs, Palestinians and most Muslims, that struggle is jihad against the infidel.
"Since a 'peace process' requires Arabs to give up their opposition to a Jewish state, it contradicts their basic principles and historic mission. While some might make temporary concessions, the goal is the same. It explains not only why the “peace process” failed, but why that failure was and is inevitable.
"The primary goal of Palestinian nationalism is to wipe out the State of Israel, not to legitimize its existence.
"...Palestinianism is not an authentic national identity, but a political construct developed in the mid 1960s as part of the PLO’s terrorist agenda. 'Liberation' did not refer to Judea, Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem, which Arabs then controlled, but to Israel itself.
"...Trying to convince Palestinian Arabs to change their concept of Palestinian identity and accept Israel, therefore, means throwing out the struggle to 'liberate Palestine from the Zionists.' It assumes that their struggle is to achieve statehood alongside Israel, not to replace Israel with an Arab Muslim state.
"...Statehood means denying the Nakba (catastrophe), the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It means admitting that everything for which they fought and sacrificed was in vain.
"...Statehood means giving up 'the armed struggle' against Israel, the heart of Palestinian identity. It means that the concept of Palestinianism created by Arabs and the PLO, accepted by the UN and the media, and even by Israeli politicians was a hoax, a fake identity with a false purpose. It means that their suffering was for naught.
"Statehood involves taking responsibility and ending incitement and violence, confronting the myths of 'Palestinian archeology,' and 'Palestinian society and culture,' and it requires building authentic nationalism, with just and transparent institutions.
"In this context, for Palestinians, Arabs and most Muslims, a 'peace process,' the 'two-state solution' that accepts Israel, is a metaphor for defeat.
"As long as massive funding and proposals for solutions are based on establishing a second (or third) Arab Palestinian state west of the Jordan River they ignore inherent contradictions, fan the flames of resentment and undermine Israel’s security and viability.
"And, as long as Palestinianism can tap into the unlimited cesspools of Western Jew-hatred and Arab bank accounts the conflict will continue..."
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For many of us who have been witnessing events here with clear eyes and a sense of horror, what Dann writes is axiomatic: The "two state solution" ain't gonna work. There was never a chance.
He says, "We need to return to reality and leave dreamy visions and hype where they belong."  "Ein breira (no choice)."
Agreed.  It's absolutely essential to begin the dialogue in earnest about the inherent failure of the Oslo vision and the "two state solution." 
We have to start.  Yet this will be a long hard haul, not just internationally, but even here at home. 
Some people are reluctant to surrender that lovely vision -- they cling to it in the face of all evidence to the contrary.  Our president, Shimon Peres, falls into this category.  He waxes eloquently optimistic even when there is no cause for optimism -- and is greatly loved abroad for his embrace of this international fantasy.
Others -- whatever they know in their hearts -- are without the courage to buck the international consensus.  Our prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, can be counted in this category.  While I certainly cannot see into his heart, I am convinced that he knows full well that there is no chance of a peace process succeeding, no possibility of negotiations coming to a meaningful fruition.
Yet, instead of standing up before the nation and telling the unvarnished truth, he plays that game --speaking of his fervent hope that Abbas will come to the table, and of his commitment to a Palestinian state (albeit a "demilitarized" state -- yet another fantasy). 
It is likely that he has convinced himself that he is sparing himself and his nation unnecessary grief by playing it this way.  I imagine that he hopes to incur less international wrath and secure more support.  But in the final analysis he is bringing Israel to a diplomatic dead end (a dead end, admittedly, that he hopes to blame on Abbas), without helping us to move on in positive and constructive terms.
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What we require now, of course, is serious dialogue at a national level regarding what comes next.  Various proposals have been advanced, and must be examined. They include but are not limited to:
  • Annexation of all of Judea and Samaria, with the Arabs resident within our borders being granted full citizenship. (In spite of much of the hype you've likely heard, they are not a demographic threat.)

  • Annexation of only area C, which is fully under Israeli control according to Oslo and encompasses all Jewish areas plus areas important for security, but does not encompass the major areas of Arab residence.  This might be done as a first stage towards eventual full annexation, or this might be an end unto itself -- in which case questions remain as to what happens to areas A and B, where the Palestinian Arabs have full or partial control (see following).

  • Movement of the Palestinian Arab "refugees" (those registered with UNRWA) to a third country for resettlement, with an autonomy that provides local control accorded to those remaining Palestinian Arabs who live between the river and the sea.

  • Establishment of "cantons" in Judea and Samaria, in Palestinian Arab areas, each to be governed by a local clan (hamula).  This is the proposal of Dr. Moti Kedar, who says that as the Palestinian Arab society is clan-based only this will truly allow peace.  (He actually sees a good deal of the Arab Middle East ultimately breaking back down into clan-controlled regions, rather than remaining as the artificially created "nations" that currently exist.)

  • Encouragement of voluntary movement of Palestinian Arabs into Jordan, which is the true Palestinian state (although the Jordanian king is loath to acknowledge this).  Perhaps along with this an annexation of Palestinian Arab areas of Judea and Samaria to Jordan, so that the Arabs would be franchised via Jordan and not Israel.  Or, in another permutation, autonomous areas for Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria that would be federated with Jordan and permit Jordanian citizenship.
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There is obviously a great deal to consider: precipitous decisions cannot and should not be made with regard to matters of such import for the nation.  But we must begin to talk about the possibilities -- in their various permutations -- and the implications of each.
(Please! Do not write to me to tell me which way forward is obviously best.  I am simply explaining the various options here.)
With a prime minister who is not on board, this will come slowly. 
But I do see hopeful signs of a nationalist turn within the Knesset and the nation. I see good people who are willing to confront the issues.  This is not going to move forward without a whole lot of angst.  It may even be two steps forward and one step backward. 
But I have hopes that over time it indeed will move forward.  And -- to the very best of my ability -- I will be tracking and celebrating that progress.
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One of the really good people right now is Miri Regev (Likud), who is about to start a Knesset lobby to promote annexation of Judea and Samaria. Right on!  It will at least be a subject of conversation in the Knesset now.  And a other good people will be joining her.  I would bet on the firebrand Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and the long-time fighter for the nationalist cause, Arieh Eldad (National Union).
Another is Ze'ev Elkins (Likud and Coalition Chair), who has, most recently, promoted a bill to provide tax breaks of 35% for donations to NGOs that encourage settlement, including in Judea and Samaria.  That bill passed in the Knesset yesterday.
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Then we've got the good people who are fighting the fight for Ulpana and other "unauthorized" communities.  Battle is being done by people such as Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) and Ya'akov Katz (chair, National Union). 
I've been alluding for some time to that fact that they will be bringing legislation to the Knesset to address this issue. And tomorrow is the day!  Quite a tense day it promises to be.
Originally Orlev said he wouldn't bring the legislation forward unless the prime minister released the government ministers to vote their consciences and did not require coalition discipline.  And there was considerable lobbying to try to convince Netanyahu to do just that.
But the latest word is that he will not.  Both he and his "coalition buddy" Mofaz have announced that they will not support this legislation.  Mofaz particularly irked me with his statement that he would not contravene a ruling of the High Court.  This is circular reasoning, since the High Court ruling was based on the position of the government.
Why the legislation is being brought forward in spite of the opposition at the top is not clear, for if it doesn't pass it may not be brought back for several months.  Might be some arrangements in process behind the scenes that have yet to become apparent.
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Again, for the record: broadly, the proposed legislation says that if a certain period of time (roughly four years) has passed during which Jews are living in housing in Judea and Samaria and an Arab suddenly claims ownership, that ownership must be documented in court.  But even if it proves valid, if more than 20 Jewish families live in the community, it cannot be dismantled. Instead the Arab owner will be compensated with funds or an alternative site of land.
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Speaking of "an alternative site of land," Netanyahu, who had made all sorts of noise about how he would find a way to save Ulpana, is now offering the residents an alternative so that the houses in question can be dismantled.  He could save Ulpana. By allowing ministers to vote their conscience on that legislation, or by giving the word that the IDF should take the land, which would enable it to be fully and unquestionably legalized.  What he is offering here feels like his attempt to pretend to help the people without actually saving Ulpana.
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Other points of political interest:
The two nationalist parties, National Union (Ihud Leumi) and Habayit Hayehudi (formerly Mafdal), are in process of making arrangements to merge.  I see this as positive, because, for maximum political effectiveness, there must unity of nationalist elements.  This merger will not be accomplished easily, but is necessary.
I have learned that some polls indicate an increase in support for these parties, combined.
Naftali Bennett, formerly a key aide to Netanyahu, had planned to start his own nationalist party. But as elections won't be held for some 18 months, he has shifted strategies and will be joining Habayit Hayehudi. This, too, I see as positive. For he has considerable political expertise and support -- via his work as head of the Yesha Council -- and will be an asset.  MK Uri Orbach is backing him to head the party.
Many of you may feel the need for a score card, or a spread sheet, to keep track of all of this. But I share it because the import -- with the advancement of a nationalist agenda down the road -- is so great.
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Please, see my most recent article, Really Missing the Point on 'Hudna', up on American Thinker.  It deals with the true meaning of hudna, a word used by the Palestinian Arabs that is often erroneously translated as "truce." 
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© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
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