Dear Friend of FLAME:
Given their virtually impossible chances of success, it's astounding that Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the Obama administration have put so much diplomatic and public relations energy into the current Middle East peace talks, which started last week in Washington, DC, and will continue in a few weeks in Sharm el Sheik, Egypt. The impetus for the talks clearly comes from the United States, since neither Benjamin Netanyahu nor Mahmoud Abbas has the motivation or support at home for these negotiations.
Natanyahu and most Israelis seem content to deal with the relatively quiet status quo. Most Palestinians in the West Bank don't believe peace talks will give them what they want---above all the right of Arab refugees' descendents to "return" to Israel (though most have never set foot in Israel). They're surely right to doubt: It's not going to happen. Of course Hamas, which rules Gaza, insists its primary goal is to rid the entire region of Jews, an issue not on the current peace-talks agenda.
President Obama seems to believe that the peace negotiations will shore up his credibility with Muslim nations and that an actual peace agreement---hallelujah!---will lead to a cathartic kumbayah transformation in the entire Middle East.
So the charade continues to play out, despite its seeming futility. This week's FLAME Hotline features an article by veteran Washington columnist George Will, who underscores the utter folly of the current negotiations. He specifically criticizes the goal of trying to achieve a "two-state solution," given Israel's geography and the stated intention of her neighbors---which is to surround Israel with Islamist terror states and eventually overrun her.
While the politicians continue to play their roles in the fantasy game of peace talks, each with a different agenda---to buy time, to score PR points, to promote the vision of worldwide brotherhood---we feel compelled, with George Will, to proclaim, "The emperor has no clothes!"
We all want peace. But it has to be a peace predicated on solid facts, desires and interests . . . and on realistic expectations. Those conditions clearly don't exist today. Please pass along Mr. Will's short analysis to your friends and correspondents using the "Forward to a Friend" button at the bottom of the article. He makes some excellent points.
Thanks for your continued support of FLAME and Israel!
As Israel enters into peace talks with the Palestinians, it's important the U.S. Administration understand Americans' passionate support of the Jewish state. We have to remind President Obama that Israel---not the Palestinian Authority---is our strongest Middle East ally. Please take a minute to let the President know that the absolute first step to peace is Palestinian recognition of Israel's right to exist. It's again time to stand up . . . and speak up forcefully for Israel. Please use this link to write the President immediately.
How many times have you heard someone complain that "Israel just doesn't have good public relations"? Maybe you've even said the same yourself. But have you seen FLAME's latest hasbarah---our ad on "The Great "Peace Flotilla" Ambush: How Israel fell into a trap, carefully set by its enemies"---which has appeared in publications nationwide, including college newspapers, with circulation in excess of 5 million? Please take a look at it, and if you agree that FLAME's brand of outspoken public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to http://www.factsandlogic.org/make_a_donation.html. Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.
Exposing the 'two-state' delusion in the face of current peace talks
George Will, Washington Post, August 22, 2010
JERUSALEM - 'Twas a famous victory for diplomacy when, in 1991 in Madrid, Israelis and Palestinians, orchestrated by the United States, at last engaged in direct negotiations. Almost a generation later, U.S. policy has succeeded in prodding the Palestinians away from their recent insistence on "proximity talks"—in which they have talked to the Israelis through American intermediaries—and to direct negotiations. But negotiations about what?
Idle talk about a "binational state" has long since died. Even disregarding the recent fates of multinational states—e.g., the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, the former Czechoslovakia—binationalism is impossible if Israel is to be a Jewish state for the Jewish people. No significant Israeli constituency disagrees with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: "The Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside Israel's borders."
Rhetoric about a "two-state solution" is de rigueur. It also is delusional, given two recent, searing experiences.
The only place for a Palestinian state is the West Bank,
which Israel has occupied—legally under international law—since repelling the 1967 aggression launched from there. The West Bank remains an unallocated portion of the Palestine Mandate, the disposition of which is to be settled by negotiations. Michael Oren, now Israel's ambassador to the United States, said several years before becoming ambassador:
"There is no Israeli leadership that appears either willing or capable of removing 100,000 Israelis from their West Bank homes. . . . The evacuation of a mere 8,100 Israelis from Gaza in 2005 required 55,000 IDF [Israel Defense Forces] troops—the largest Israeli military operation since the 1973 Yom Kippur War—and was profoundly traumatic."
Twenty-one Israeli settlements were dismantled; even the bodies of Israelis buried in Gaza were removed. After a deeply flawed 2006 election encouraged by the United States, there was in 2007 essentially a coup in Gaza by the terrorist organization Hamas. So now Israel has on its western border, 44 miles from Tel Aviv, an entity dedicated to Israel's destruction, collaborative with Iran and possessing a huge arsenal of rockets.
Rocket attacks from Gaza increased dramatically after Israel withdrew.
The number of U.N. resolutions deploring this? Zero.
The closest precedent for that bombardment was the Nazi rocket attacks on London, which were answered by the destruction of Hamburg, Dresden and other German cities. When Israel struck back at Hamas, the "international community" was theatrically appalled.
A senior cabinet member—Moshe Yaalon, strategic affairs minister and possible future prime minister—says "our withdrawals strengthened jihadist Islam," adding, "We have the second Islamic republic in the Middle East—the first in Iran, the second in Gaza: Hamastan."
Israel's withdrawals include the one that strengthened the Iranian client on Israel's northern border, in southern Lebanon. Since the 2006 war provoked by Hezbollah's incessant rocketing of northern Israel, Hezbollah has rearmed and possesses as many as 60,000 rockets. Today, Netanyahu says, Israel's problem is less the Israel-Lebanon border than it is the Lebanon-Syria border: Hezbollah has received from Syria—which gets them from Iran—Scud missiles capable of striking Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. A leader of Hezbollah says, "If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."
Because upward of a million immigrants have come from the former Soviet Union, today one-sixth of Israelis speak Russian. Israel has Russian-language newspapers and television. Russian Israelis are largely responsible for Avigdor Lieberman being foreign minister. Yoram Peri, professor of Israel studies at the University of Maryland, says these immigrants "don't understand how a state that can be crossed in half an hour by car would be willing to even talk about relinquishing territories to its seemingly perpetual enemies." These immigrants know that Russia's strategic depth—space—defeated Napoleon and Hitler.
Netanyahu, who is not the most conservative member of the coalition government
he heads, endorses a two-state solution but says that any West Bank Palestinian state must be demilitarized and prevented from making agreements with the likes of Hezbollah and Iran. To prevent the importation of missiles and other arms, Israel would need, Netanyahu says, a military presence on the West Bank's eastern border with Jordan. Otherwise, there will be a third Islamic republic, and a second one contiguous to Israel.
So, again: Negotiations about what?