Life is Belief & Struggle - Ahmed Shawqi

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The last legs of the 'two-state' solution

The common wisdom of the Israeli Palestinian conflict dictates that everyone knows the shape of the final peace agreement will take although no one knows how to get there. The common wisdom approach is based on the 2000 Clinton plan as the basis of all future negotiations....which is all well and good, except that Palestinian leadership explicitly rejected the Clinton plan in 2000. One could argue that was simply the results of the intransigence of Yassir Arafat's rule....except well, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008 offered the most generous plan to date to the Palestinian leadership of alleged moderate Mahmoud Abbas...and it was still rejected.

Last week, US President Obama, in his now infamous '67 Borders' speech called directly for using the '67 borders with mutually agreed land swaps in exchange for the large Israeli settlement blocks in the disputed territories. Outrage broke out on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

I was not even sure if 'land swaps' in principle had even been accepted by the Palestinians and decided to search. The most recent articles mentioning Palestinian leadership accepting of the principles of mutually agreed land swaps came from the Jerusalem Post, circa May 22, 2010

Palestinians and Israel disagree on the extent of territories to be exchanged, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday afternoon.

Following repeated publication of Palestinian openness to discussing a territorial exchange of about 4 percent, twice the 2% discussed in negotiations with Olmert’s government, Abbas reiterates the Palestinian Authority’s agreement to the principle of some land-trade at a 1:1 ratio, but stresses that “We did not agree about the land area, but we agreed on the principle of swapping land (equal) in quality and value.”
And this May 23, 2010 piece (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that the Palestinians and Israel have agreed on the principle of a land swap, but denied that the two sides had reached any further agreement in this regard.

The issue of the ratio of land Israel would give to the Palestinians in exchange for keeping settlement blocs has long been an issue of dispute, with the Palestinians demanding that the ratio be 1:1, and Israel offering less.

Then there is rather good short piece from The Forward on the land swap issue which suggests the Palestinians will only accept an acre per acre swap and the land exchanged must be of 'good' quality which rather suggests that a corridor cut through the Negev linking the West Bank to the Gaza Strip is out of the question – so far.

So what's left? An Israeli friend of mine suggested the only alternative to a Negev swap was the large Arab blocks within the borders of pre-June 1967 Israel such as predominantly Arab areas such as Umm al-Fahm and even Nazareth – he was quite excited about the prospect of losing Nazareth. In other words, adopting the Yisrael Beiteinu plan.

For years, the Palestinian Authority has been actively cultivating the concept of 'Palestinian' ethnicity within the Arab identity of Israel and the most recent manifestation of the success of these rather new phenomenon is Amzi Bishara, an Israeli Knesset member who is alleged to have actively colluded with Hezbollah during the Israeli-Lebanon conflict of 2006, and MK member Haneen Zoabi. She openly claims to be 'Palestinian' and refuses to stand and remain in the Knesset for the playing of HaTikvah, the national anthem of Israel. I am actually far more sympathetic to her refusal...since I actually know what the words in Hebrew mean and cannot imagine her singing about the longing of her Jewish soul - and meaning it. Now there are a great many things wrong about MK Zoabi, nonetheless of which is her 'truth' issues and her actively colluding against the interests of the Israeli state being just two examples of her perfidy.

Since the Palestinians demand their 'state' be ethnically cleaned of Jews and the Palestinian leadership wants 'quality' land, and the Arab minority in Israel now actively seeks to align themselves 'ethnically' within Palestinian niche rather than with the larger Arab community; it does make sense to put the large Arab communities within Israel on the negotiating table with the Palestinian Authority. In fact, this minority in Israel want to impose their will on the majority and wipe out the Jewish character of the Israeli state; if this report from the Moshe Dayan Centre is at all creditable. So why not swap them for the Jewish settlements in the disputed territories?

If the two state solution is to be shoved down the collective Jewish throat; why not swap the Jewish settlements for Arab Palestinian ones? I realize it is the Lieberman Yisrael Beiteinu solution and no doubt there will be cries of racism thrown at anyone who suggests it, but realistically, what else is there which will meet the needs of the Israelis and satisfy the demands of the Palestinians?

Furthermore, if the the Arab communities within Israel on the table as 'land swaps' with the Palestinian Authority the Israeli Arabs will not be thrown out of their homes nor will they be left without benefit of a citizenship. The Palestinian Authority gets land and a native population whose infrastructure has already been built, and consequently, has no needs to be met as in the case of refugee populations. Israel loses its potential fifth column and gains control over the Jewish settlements in the disputed territories. If the two state solution is to be saved; this is the only realistic option.

Of course, the real irony of this my blogging this issue; is that I never have supported the establishment of another Palestinian state.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Jew hater by any other name....

The Vicious Babushka brought the ‘Global Peace Index 2001’ to my attention. The progressive Euroweanies apparently used a variety of factors to rate the relative peacefulness of other countries.

Now ask yourself what do Kuwait (29), United Arab Emirates (33), Egypt (73), Congo (98), Saudi Arabia (101), Ivory Coast (128), Syria (116), Iran (119), Bahrain (123), Lebanon (137), Yemen (138), Nigeria (142), and Libya (143) all have in common?

Each of these countries was deemed a far more peaceful society (both internally and externally) than Israel – ranked at 145. Israel is placed just somewhat above well-known war-torn hell holes like Afghanistan, Sudan, and Somalia.

I have to admit that it’s an impressive display of anti-Semitism wrapped up to be passed off as something else.

x/posted The Last Exile

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Changing the dial on get the most out of the demographic mile

US President Obama in his infamous ‘reset’ on the Middle East speech from last week alluded to the idea that time is not on the Israeli side …Skippy Stalin took up the mantle where Obama left off in this post and used a very old school demographics argument to suggest the Palestinian fertility is something for the Israelis to fear. All of which is my long winded way of pointing out this article from the Asia Times Online on the power poised by the Israeli demographic. Here’s a snippet.

At constant fertility, Israel will have more young people by the end of this century than either Turkey or Iran, and more than German, Italy or Spain. With a total fertility rate of three children per woman, Israel's total population will rise to 24 million by the end of the present century. Iran's fertility is around 1.7 and falling, while the fertility for ethnic Turks is only 1.5 (the Kurdish minority has a fertility rate of around 4.5).

Not that the size of land armies matters much in an era of high-tech warfare, but if present trends continue, Israel will be able to field the largest land army in the Middle East. That startling data point, though, should alert analysts to a more relevant problem: among the military powers in the Middle East, Israel will be the only one with a viable population structure by the middle of this century.

That is why it is in America's interest to keep Israel as an ally. Israel is not only the strongest power in the region; in a generation or two it will be the only power in the region, the last man standing among ruined neighbors. The demographic time bomb in the region is not the Palestinian Arabs on the West Bank, as the Israeli peace party wrongly believed, but rather Israel itself.

Read the entire article, and then speculate on the possibility of a thing called – (dare I say it publicly?) ‘Israeli hegemony’.

x/p: The Last Exile

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chutzpah Borders

It takes a special kind of chutzpah for a US President to make policy pronouncements on what should be the border of Israel; when he cannot even effective secure the borders of his own country.

xpost: The Last Exile

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The long lie

One of the first truisms one encounters when studying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that truth is fluid. What was true yesterday or even today is not what will be truth tomorrow. Of course, truth could depend entirely on what language is spoken.

There is no better example of this principle in action than Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' New York Times opinion piece. Why the NY Times gave this man their paper as his soap box to preach on is beyond me. I will not re-hash the points others have covered but instead I just want to point out Abbas' personal narrative is a little 'fluid' depending on time, place and language. Abbas' starts his op-ed piece with a personal walk down memory lane.

SIXTY-THREE years ago, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was forced to leave his home in the Galilean city of Safed and flee with his family to Syria. He took up shelter in a canvas tent provided to all the arriving refugees. Though he and his family wished for decades to return to their home and homeland, they were denied that most basic of human rights. That child’s story, like that of so many other Palestinians, is mine. This month, however, as we commemorate another year of our expulsion — which we call the nakba, or catastrophe

In July 2009, Abbas speaking on Palestinian television stated quite plainly in Arabic that his family was not driven out by the Jewish militias but fled out of fear that the Jewish milita would potentially take revenge for the ill-treatment the Arabs had metered out historically to the Jews. Arutz Sheva:

Speaking with Al-Palestinia TV on Monday, Abbas admitted that his family was not expelled or driven out, but rather left for fear that the Jews might take revenge for the slaughter of 20 Jews in the city during the Arab pogroms of 19 years earlier.

“I am among those who were born in the city of Tzfat (Safed). We were a family of means. I studied in elementary school, and then came the naqba [calamity, namely, the founding of the State of Israel – ed.]. At night, we left by foot from Tzfat, to the Jordan River, where we remained for a month. Then we went to Damascus, and then to our relatives in Jordan, and then we settled in Damascus.

“My father had money, and he spent his money systematically, and after a year, the money ran out and we began to work. “The people’s basic motives brought them to run away for their lives and with their property. These [motives] were very important, for they feared the violence of the Zionist terrorist organizations – and especially those of us from Tzfat felt that there was an old desire for revenge from the rebellion of 1929, and this was in the memory of our families and parents.”

Yadda, yadda. And so goes the long lie.

xposted to The Last Exile

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama, I hardly knew you

Bin Laden is dead, Americans are uttering sighs of relief, but you cannot put the genie back in the bottle. What Bin Laden launched a million radicalized souls will continue on.

What I find interesting from the initial reports I have read is that Bin Laden was targeted for assassination while living in a mansion in a suburb of Islamabad. All of which means he has probably been under the protection of high officials within the Pakistani government – and this from the so-called US Allies.

Since Bin Laden was given up now; I would like to know what offer the US Administration made to the Pakistanis which was sweet enough of a deal for them to give up Osama now. Make no mistake, there was a deal; otherwise, no US forces would have been allowed to operate by the Pakistanis inside their capital of Islamabad.

This wasn't the hinterland mission on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan where one can claim 'hot pursuit' and so say 'sorry'. While there are reports that the US government did not advise the Pakistani's of this operation; then ask yourself how the US helicopters just managed to operate freely in the air space of the capital of Pakistan? Or why would the Obama Administration jeopardize relations with a US ally by carrying out a targeted assassination which is by the nature of the act a gross violation of the concept of nation sovereignty. Of course, other reports claim Pakistani commandos were on board. Either way, there was a deal, and so what is the price to be paid?

Secondly, while it appears all sides of the political spectrum have found relief by Bin Laden's death by targeted assassination, I would just like to point out the innate hypocrisy of the left for being relieved with bin Laden's death, but then, spew outrage when the Israelis target Palestinian terrorist leaders for assassination. You can't have it both ways. Those targeted by for death by the IDF are just as committed to seek the life of the citizens of Israel as Bin Laden was against Americans and just as deserving of their fate.

xposted: The Last Exile

A perfect storm of delusion or the world only loves dead Jews.

Maybe it is me but there is just something widely appropriate for Ha'aretz's columnist Gideon Levy to pen an op-ed piece arguing that Israel should give Hamas another chance on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It has been less than a month since a guided missile attack emanating from the Gaza Strip targeted an Israeli school bus and killed a 16 year old boy.

Gilad Shalit is still held captive and a prisoner of yes, of course, why not give Hamas another chance?

I mean, why not roll the dice and play roulette with the other 7 million Israeli lives? It's a perfect storm of delusion and I can just imagine how Levy would have argued against the Warsaw Uprising if he had been alive and present in the Warsaw ghetto.

For the sanest opinion piece on Holocaust Rememberance Day - read Sarah Honig.

xposted: The Last Exile