Motzei Shabbat (after Shabbat)
"The Shame of It"
Bad enough that enemy of Israel Jimmy Carter libels us with charges of apartheid. Does our own prime minister have to join the chorus, even by implication?
Coming home from Annapolis, he gave an interview to Haaretz; it is being widely cited as saying that we run the risk of becoming an apartheid state. What he actually said was:
"If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (i.e., for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished.
"The Jewish organizations, which were our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents."
This is not quite a charge of apartheid (which involves full social separation and a great deal more than voting rights), but is too close for comfort with the reference to South Africa and the inference that is being drawn.
This is a sort of moral blackmail that Olmert is attempting, and it is outrageous: You have no choice, he is telling Israelis, except to support my "peace" efforts or we're going to be vilified by the world for our policies.
My response here is two-fold. First, even if you believe that a two-state solution is ultimately the answer, it is possible to recognize that this is not the time to pursue that path because the PA doesn't have its act together. There would be scant vilification from the Western world (and Jewish organizations!) if we handled ourselves properly and said, "we want fairness for all, but look...look at the evidence that the PA is supporting terrorism still, and that there is no civic society. We cannot in good conscience bring the Palestinian state into being under such circumstances -- it will do the world no good if we assist in establishing a terrorist state."
What kind of craziness is it, that we have to worry about Palestinian voting rights when they are seeking to destroy us still?
But instead, this is what Olmert said in that interview:
"...we now have a partner. in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He is a weak partner, who is not capable, and, as Tony Blair says, has yet to formulate the tools and may not manage to do so."
And yet, says Olmert, he has to try and will help Abbas. This creates incredible risk for Israel. Especially with the horrendous arrangements that have been made: establish a state in principle for the Palestinians and then wait for them to dismantle terror. And keep in mind that Israeli officials are already uneasy that the new US envoy, Gen. James Jones, has a reputation for being cold to Israel and is expected to lean on us to cut the PA slack.
Then it must be noted here for about the hundredth time, that there are other means of giving rights to the Palestinians without creating a Palestinian state. Models that are serious exist today, most notably Benny Elon's Israel Initiative. More and more it is recognized that Jordan -- which has a majority Palestinian population and was originally carved from the Mandate territory on which Britain was to establish a Jewish homeland -- has a responsibility here. In 1949 when Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria, the Arabs living there were given Jordanian citizenship. In 1988, with the Intifada, Jordan revoked their citizenship and renounced any responsibility for the Arabs in Judea and Samaria. This was so they could do battle with Israel and make their claim to have their own independent state. (Hard to claim when they are Jordanian citizens.)
Well, the "Palestinian state" business didn't pan out. The Palestinians have not established the civic infrastructure that is necessary for a state, have not developed their economy (in spite of mind-blowing handouts from the international community), and have not educated for peace. Time to rethink the situation. Whether we speak about federation of certain areas with Jordan, or autonomous Arab enclaves in Judea and Samaria, where there would be local elections and then national enfranchisement via Jordan, it becomes more and more obvious that Jordan must be involved.
Also most infuriating is the implication in Olmert's stance that we need the Palestinians to have a state -- that it's in our best interest. This, too, is a horrendous negotiating stance. Abbas doesn't have to make concessions, he's helping us merely by agreeing to work on that state. Hey, we want them to have a state? We'd better give them what they think they need to establish it -- half of Jerusalem, all of Judea and Samaria, etc. etc.
It should be the other way around, with the Palestinians petitioning us to give them something they want.
The issue of apartheid also raises its head in another context at this time. I had alluded the other day to the fact that the Saudis insisted they and the Israelis enter the main assembly room for the meeting in Annapolis via different doors. I referred to this in the context of the on-going hostility of the Saudis.
Caroline Glick, however, very properly carries this one step further: The separation of Jews from Arabs at the conference was an expression of the apartheid policies of Saudi Arabia. (Jews -- and certainly people carrying Israeli passports -- are not allowed into Saudi Arabia at all.) And, she says, it was the Americans who went along with this, refusing to let the Israelis enter via the same door.
Indeed the pitiful, pitiful shame of this, too. And Bush has the gall to speak about bringing democracy to the Middle East.
I reported recently that the US had put a resolution before the UN Security Council seeking support for the Annapolis proceedings without first running it by Israel, which was taken by surprise. Israel does not want UN involvement.
The US has now withdrawn its resolution, saying that Israel and the PA must first be consulted. Reportedly, PA officials were not happy about this, but the US began to realize what might be involved and thought better of it.
After meeting with Mubarak in Cairo today, Abbas made a statement to the press in which he reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state: "From a historical perspective, there are two states: Israel and Palestine. In Israel, there are Jews and others living there. This we are willing to recognize, nothing else."
Once again the apartheid issue is relevant: Pray tell, who else besides Arabs would live in the Palestinian state as projected? Please note that while Israel is expected to make room for Arabs, no one expects the Palestinian state to incorporate a minority Jewish population.
Uri Orbach, writing in YNet has it right when he says the Arabs want two states for one people. "They dont think the Jewish people deserves its own state. They are generous enough to accept one state that would be designated for Palestinians only, and another state that would be designated for the 'Israeli people.'
"The Israeli people will bring together Jews, Muslims, and members of various other religions; a state and a half for one people, and half a state for the other people."
Let's do role reversal, he suggests. We'll keep Israel for the Jewish people only, then let's have a second state, but it wouldn't only be for Arabs, we'd have the right of return for Jews to places like Gush Katif. As tongue-in-cheek as this is, let me tell you that the Jewish residents of Gush Katif lived there perhaps 10 or 15 times longer than many of the so-called refugees claiming return ever lived in Israel.
And let me digress just a bit to point out that Abbas has it absolutely wrong. From a historical perspective there are NOT two states. Only Israel. For 3,000 years there has never been any autonomous nation or state in this territory except for the Jewish state. There has NEVER BEEN a Palestinian state.
This is the sort of deliberate distortion that the Palestinians routinely repeat in the expectation that the lies will be accepted at face value. Unless we vigorously challenge them, they become absorbed into public consciousness.
see my website www.ArlenefromIsrael.info