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Facts and Logic About the Middle East

September 20, 2016

Why Do the Palestinians Insist on Ethnically Cleansing “Palestine” of Jews—and Why Is That OK?

Dear Friend of FLAME:

Did you see the Bibi Netanyahu video that created such a kerfuffle last week at the U.S. State Department and the United Nations?

In the video, the Prime Minister had the audacity to claim that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria (aka “the West Bank”) are not an obstacle to peace. (Watch it here.)

But Netanyahu went further, maintaining the only reason that settlements are a problem for Arabs is that the Palestinians want to ethnically cleanse their future state—they want it to be judenrein (free of Jews)—just as Hitler wanted the entire world.

Since the State Department and the U.N. also intractably oppose Jews living in the future “Palestine,” they—no surprise—took umbrage at the notion that they support ethnic cleansing. A State spokesperson called the Netanyahu analysis “inappropriate and unhelpful.” U.N. head Ban Ki-moon called Bibi’s assertion “unacceptable and outrageous.”

You get the impression that the ethnic-cleansing phrase kind of hit a nerve.

For good reason. Netanyahu’s logic is unassailable. If two million Arabs can live in the state of Israel as equals, why should half a million Jews living in the future “Palestine” be a problem? Especially since there is no Palestine—only disputed territories to which the Jews can also legitimately lay claim—because the Palestinians have refused for nigh on a hundred years to make peace with their neighbors.

What’s truly “unhelpful” and “outrageous” is that the U.S. and the U.N., contrary to any sound interpretation of international law, consider Judea and Samaria a priori—before any peace negotiations—to be Palestinian territory. It simply is not.

This week’s FLAME Hotline-featured article, below, clarifies these issues succinctly. Commentator Jonathan Tobin argues not only that Netanyahu’s ethnic cleansing trope rings true compared with other examples in recent history, but he also confronts the nasty truth that given Palestinian anti-Semitism and murderous incitement to violence, Jews living in a future “Palestine” would rightfully fear for their lives.

I think you’ll find Tobin’s brief analysis to be useful as the possibility of an Obama manifesto on the path to an Israel-Palestinian peace looms large for year’s end. You’ll want to remind your friends, family and colleagues that Judea and Samaria were originally Jewish territory and were granted to the Jews again at the beginning of this century. Better yet, consider forwarding this issue of the FLAME Hotline to them directly.

In addition, I hope you’ll also quickly review the P.S. immediately below, which describes FLAME’s hasbarah campaign to oppose U.S. funding of United Nations schools that teach half a million Palestinian children to wage jihad and hate Jews.

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)


A Palestinian boy, standing in front of his UNRWA school in Jerusalem, says “They teach us that Jews are bad people. I am ready to stab a Jew and drive over them.” This school is one of hundreds operated by UNRWA, which is supported by more than $400 million annually in U.S. taxpayer dollars. In order to make Americans aware of this travesty, FLAME has just begun publishing a new position paper in media nationwide—which exposes the extent of UNRWA’s perpetuation of Islamic jihad and murderous terror among Palestinian youth. I urge you to review this outspokenn hasbarah message: "U.N. School for Terrorism” This paid editorial is appearing in magazines and newspapers, including college newspapers, with a combined readership of some 10 million people. In addition, it is being sent to every member of the U.S. Congress and President Obama. If you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion—and U.S. aid to Israel—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 donate now. Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that the American people and the U.S. Congress end our support of blatantly anti-Semitic, global jihadist organizations.

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Where Ethnic Cleansing Is Permissible

By Jonathan Tobin, Commentary, September 13, 2016

As far as the Palestinians, the Israeli left, and the Obama administration are concerned, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has gone too far. In a video released by his office last week, the prime minister claimed that what the Palestinians were really after in their quest to force the removal of Israeli settlements in the West Bank was the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews. The Palestinian Authority responded angrily that they had nothing against Jews but what they wanted was the end of the Israeli “occupation.”

The U.S. State Department agreed with Netanyahu’s critics, saying there was no connection between opposition to settlements and bigotry. Washington thinks the issue is the need to advance a two-state solution. To frame the discussion as one about the right of Jews to live in the West Bank is, to Obama’s administration, irrelevant. But the problem with the State Department’s view of the issue—which was criticized by the Donald Trump campaign—is that it’s clear that a two-state solution means a Palestinian state that would be only for Arabs alongside an Israel in which an Arab minority enjoys full legal rights, as they do today.

On this point, there is some argument. Netanyahu can point to statements such as one made by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in 2013. “In a final resolution,” Abbas told Egyptian journalists, “we would not see the presence of a single Israeli—civilian or soldier—on our lands.” Apologists for the Palestinians point to other comments made by various Palestinian leaders—almost always to Western audiences or journalists rather than in Arabic to their own people—in which they say Jews would enjoy equal rights in a state of Palestine.

Which view of Palestinian intentions is correct?

Given the drumbeat of incitement to hatred of Jews and Israelis heard and read in Palestinian media and in their schools, it is hard to argue, as some critics of Netanyahu do, that Jews wouldn’t be at risk in their state. The wave of Palestinian violence known as the “stabbing intifada” is rooted in a religious-based rage against the Jewish presence throughout the country. That includes the “settlements” of Tel Aviv and Haifa that are within the 1967 borders and not just the West Bank and Jerusalem. The primary reason Israel withdrew every settler and soldier when it evacuated Gaza in 2005 is the certainty that Jews whose lives would depend on the mercy of the Palestinians would be as good as dead. Indeed, deprived of the opportunity to attack individual Jews after the Israelis withdrew, Palestinian mobs vented their rage on the abandoned buildings the Jews left behind, including the greenhouses that had been purchased by well-meaning philanthropists for use by the Arab population.

Though the U.S., its European allies, and the United Nations claim that the settlements violate international law, Israelis correctly note that Jews were guaranteed the right of settlement in the League of Nations’ Mandate for Palestine. The West Bank is not and never has been sovereign Palestinian Arab territory. The disposition of this land is a matter of dispute and subject to negotiation. The Israelis have repeatedly offered the Palestinians an independent state in almost all of the West Bank and even a share of Jerusalem but neither Abbas nor his predecessor, Yasir Arafat, could ever muster the will to say yes. If Palestinians still refuse to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders might be drawn, how can Israelis believe they would respect the rights of Jews who will be essentially defenseless?.

That is why Netanyahu’s attempt to reframe the discussion about settlements requires more than the impatient dismissal it got from Washington. Nobody on either side of this conflict or in Washington believes for a minute that Jews in remote communities, let alone the hundreds of thousands who live in blocs along the border and in parts of Jerusalem (that were illegally occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967) can safely stay if their homes become part of a Palestinian state.

In any other conflict, we would label the Palestinian demand for the removal of Jewish communities (or those of any other group) with the same words used by Netanyahu: ethnic cleansing. But when it comes to Jews living in their ancient homeland, the rules are different, and bigotry is not only accepted but also supported. Until Palestinian hostility to the presence of Jews is addressed by both the U.S. and the international community rather than ignored, the peace everyone claims to be seeking will never happen.





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