Will the 2020 Democratic Platform Trash Israel?

In the aftermath of Israel barring entry of two far left-wing anti-Israel members of Congress, Democratic politicians began to worry that Israel was becoming a wedge issue rather than an issue with bipartisan support. Staunch pro-Israel Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) saidrefusing entry to members of Congress looks like Israel [is] closing itself off to criticism and dialogue. This decision will only strengthen the anti-Israel movements and arguments many of us find so troubling, further politicize support for Israel in the United States and ultimately play right into the hands of Israel’s enemies.

Engel has been a member of Congress since 1989 and knows better. He has seen his own Democratic party moving away from Israel since President Barack Obama made deliberate efforts to create daylight between Israel and the United States in his outreach to the Muslim world.

If one were to look at the 2008 Democratic Platform, it would be hard to see much of a difference from the Republican Platform regarding Israel. Both parties considered Israel a strong ally and backed Israeli positions.

But Obama made a strategic pivot away from Israel running as an incumbent in 2012. With the blessing of left-wing groups like J Street, the Democratic Party officially changed course on several key issues:

  • Refugees. Until 2012, the Democrats agreed with Republicans that Palestinian refugees would find a home in a new state of Palestine, not Israel.
  • Hamas. Until 2012, Democrats agreed that Hamas should be isolated until it renounced terror and recognized Israel’s basic right to exist.
  • Borders. Until Obama, Democrats agreed with Republicans that a new Palestinian state would NOT be established along the 1949 Armistice Lines, but reflect current realities and need to ensure Israel’s security.
  • Jerusalem. Until Obama, the Democrats and Republicans agreed that Jerusalem would remain a united city and the capital of Israel.

Those points – with the exception of Jerusalem which was bitterly contested on the convention floor – would disappear from the 2012 Democratic platform.

Years before Donald Trump considered running for president and the rise of the alt-left, the Democratic Party pulled back from supporting Israel’s position regarding establishing peace with the Arab world.

The pro-Arab camp would gather steam with the presidential aspirations of Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election season. In an effort to placate the Sanders camp when Hillary Clinton became the official party nominee, the Democrats allowed the Sanders team to help craft the official platform. Sanders chose anti-Israel figures to help draft the language, including Cornel West who calls Israel an “apartheid state,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and James Zogby who back the boycott of Israel movement.

In the end, the Clinton camp killed the Sanders’ team proposed languageaimed at criticizing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, demanding ‘an end to illegal settlements’ and supporting the re-building of the Gaza Strip.” But the anti-Israel movement inside the Democratic party had taken yet another step, moving from pro-Israel (until 2012) to neutral (2012) to critical (almost in 2016).

The 2020 presidential race is underway, and three of the four top Democratic candidates are deep in the far-left fringe of the party, including Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). With the rise and remarkable defense of the anti-Israel ‘Freshmen Squad,‘ one can expect the ‘Senior Squad’ will likely draft an official party platform that will actively attack Israel on issues which once had strong bipartisan support.

Trump has not made Israel a wedge issue in politics; the Democrats have been actively doing that themselves since Obama.


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Republicans Do Not Believe There is Any “Occupation”

The terminology used by the United Nations that Israel is “illegally occupying Palestinian Land” has angered Israelis for a long time. The Israelis do not believe that the land is “Palestinian,” that they are “occupying it” or that living in and controlling such land is “illegal.”

The Trump Administration agrees with this approach.

The 2016 Republican platform discussed Israel in several sections, including the B.D.S. (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement which it labeled antisemitic, in prioritizing the security needs of allies like Israel over foes, and in moving the U.S. embassy to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. It also clearly mentioned Israel’s control over disputed land:

“We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier”

The logic behind such attitude has been voiced by Israel and Israeli advocates for a long time, although it gets no air in the left-wing media. In short:

  • International law in 1920 and 1922 specifically called for Jews to reestablish their homeland throughout Palestine, covering all of the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River;
  • The “Green Line” or “1967 border,” is no border at all, but simply the armistice lines of 1949 which were deliberately and specifically not called borders but temporary lines too be negotiated for final settlement;
  • Jordan illegally evicted all the Jews from the area between the Green Line and the Jordan River (an area which later became known as the “West Bank”) and annexed the land in a move which was not recognized by almost the entire world;
  • Jordan broke the Jordanian-Israeli Armistice Agreement by attacking Israel in June 1967;
  • Israel took the “West Bank” in a defensive war, which makes the situation completely distinct from laws regarding taking land in an offensive war, especially when such land was not part of a sovereign nation, and was designated to be part of the acquiring country in any event

In summary, Israel took the “West Bank” back from a country which had illegally evicted all Jews, illegally annexed the land and illegally attacked it (the “Three Illegal Actions”).

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration sided with the United Nations, a group dominated by over 50 Arab and Muslim countries, the majority of which do not recognize Israel in any form. The United States, as part of the “Middle East Quartet,” co-signed a joint statement in September 2016, the final declaration before the Trump Administration took over which included the following:

“The Quartet reiterated its call on the parties to implement the recommendations of the Quartet Report of 1 July 2016, and create the conditions for the resumption of meaningful negotiations that will end the occupation that began in 1967 and resolve all final status issues.”

“The Quartet stressed the growing urgency of taking affirmative steps to reverse these trends in order to prevent entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict that is incompatible with realizing the national aspirations of both peoples.”

The Obama Administration followed this up in December 2016 when it allowed UN Security Council Resolution 2334 to pass which stated:

“the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;”

The Republican and the Democratic Party/UN could not be further apart on this issue.

Since the Trump Administration has taken office, it has followed through on its position on this matter:

  • It has curtailed the announcements made by the Quartet, and none of them refer to an “occupation” of “Palestinian territory” being “illegal”;
  • In June 2019, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that “Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,“; and
  • U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt also stated in June that “We might get there [to peace] if people stop pretending settlements, or what I prefer to call ‘neighborhoods and cities,’ are the reason for the lack of peace.

US Envoy Jason Greenblatt speaks at the Israel Hayom forum in Jerusalem on June 27, 2019. (photo: Gideon Markovitz)


While the two positions seem incompatible, they need not be.

The Republican position is completely logical. Further, how can there really be an enduring peace assuming the Democratic position of blessing an Arab Jew-free state? How can “progressives” support the antisemitic notion that Jews should be banned from living somewhere, let alone, in parts of their homeland?

The Democratic position also has logic. The Palestinian Arabs and the broader Arab world are insistent on Palestinian sovereignty. While sovereignty is NOT an “inalienable right” which the biased United Nations bestowed upon the Palestinians uniquely (only self-determination is an inalienable right of all people), it might not be a bad solution to the current impasse. Should the Palestinian Arabs obtain sovereignty, they will require defined borders. However, such new state of Palestine need not – and should not – be based on the antisemitic notion that Jews cannot live there.

The blend of the positions might be that Palestinians obtain sovereignty over a portion of the land, say in Gaza and land east of the security barrier which Israel built to stem the waves of Palestinian terrorists. It is consistent with both the Democrats and Republicans stated positions of caring about Israel’s security, while acknowledging the substance of the Republican position that the “1967 borders” are arbitrary and not borders, and the Democratic position that a two-state solution is the best path towards a peaceful settlement.

The Trump administration has not yet revealed the political portion of its Middle East plan and may not do so until after the Israeli elections scheduled for September 17. It might call for a new independent Palestinian State on the lines above, or it might suggest some sort of confederation with Jordan, which poses its own issues for Jordan’s King Abdullah.

Either way, the Republicans have clearly broken with the notion endorsed by the Unsavory UN and the Democratic Party that Israel illegally occupies Palestinian Land, and will advance a peace proposal on such basis.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

Marking November 29 as The International Day of Solidarity with Jews Living East of the Green Line

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

“Settlements” Crossing the Line

Anti-“Settlements” is Anti-Semitism

Names and Narrative: It is Called ‘Area C’

The New York Times Major anti-Netanyahu Propaganda Piece

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The United States Should NOT be a Neutral Mediator in the Arab-Israel Conflict

A “Quartet” of official bodies was set up in 2002 to help facilitate peace between Israel and the Arab world. The four entities include the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia. The principal parties of the Quartet (the U.N. Secretary General, the U.S. Secretary of State, the Russian Foreign Minister and the High Representative of E.U. Foreign Affairs) meet regularly to assess the latest developments in the region.

Roughly 17 years later, there has been little advancement towards a broader peace agreement.

Lately, the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas (whose term expired a decade ago) said that the United States was too biased in Israel’s favor to be considered a mediator in the conflict sayingby recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel the US government has proved that it is not neutral, which led us to reject its peace plan.” Other complaints include America cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority and U.N. agencies which provide assistance to Palestinians (Abbas did not mention that the aid was cut because he helps fund terrorism).

However, the United States is just one member of the Quartet. Why shouldn’t it have its own bilateral relationship with Israel and approach toward the peace process?

Consider that the United Nations is extremely biased in favor of the Palestinians, essentially adopting them as a child decades ago. It has set up separate agencies just for the Palestinians, condemned Israel more than any country in the world, created new forms of “inalienable rights” uniquely for Palestinian Arabs, and generally has taken actions that make clear it regrets its role in helping establish Israel. The global body has over 50 Arab and Muslim countries, of which the majority do not even recognize the existence of the Jewish State. It is unlikely to ever side with the Jewish State in negotiations with a Muslim state.

The European Union has also been a biased actor in favor of the Palestinians. Several of its members have recognized the State of Palestine, and have promoted boycotts of Israeli goods and services. The proposed incoming High Representative of E.U. Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell Fontelles is a major critic of Israel.

Russia is an ally of several countries at war with Israel including Syria and Iran, which has threatened to destroy Israel. Russia has stated that it will propose an alternative peace plan than the one due to be proposed by the U.S.A.


Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) greets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia,
May 11, 2017. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

With three of the four members of the Quartet biased in favor of the Arabs, it would be a travesty of justice for there to be no party biased in favor of Israel. It is as though the court only has a prosecution with no defense, and the judge is the brother of the prosecutor.

In truth, not only should the United States be highly biased in favor of its strong ally, Israel, there should be at least one other member of the Quartet to be pro-Israel to have a balanced approach. As the United Nations is hopelessly biased against Israel, it should be removed from the Quartet and replaced with another country of Israel’s choice – perhaps Australia, Canada or even India.

Should the United States become the sole mediator of the Arab-Israeli conflict, then it would be worth a discussion of America playing a more neutral role. However, as long as there are four parties playing that role, the U.S. should forcefully advance the cause of Israel, and the U.N. should be replaced in the Quartet by another pro-Israel party to properly balance the discussions.


Related First.One.Through articles:

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Both Israel and Jerusalem are Beyond Recognition for Muslim Nations

Time to Define Banning Jews From Living Somewhere as Antisemitic

Jerusalem’s Old City Is a Religious War for Muslim Arabs

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

The Custodianship of a Child and Jerusalem

Arabs in Jerusalem

The Arguments over Jerusalem

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Taking it Straight to the People: Obama and Kushner

Political leaders normally engage with other political leaders. A president of one country would normally have meetings and calls with a person of the same rank from another country. On rare occasions, a politician would bypass elected officials and talk and negotiate with another county’s citizens, or maybe even third parties on behalf of those citizens.

Here is a review of two American politicians going to the Middle East on the same issue: U.S. President Barack Obama talking directly to Israelis, and U.S. Middle East Envoy Jared Kushner engaging with Arab countries on behalf of Palestinian Arabs.

Obama Bypasses the Knesset in Favor of Israelis

In March 2013, Israel invited U.S. President Barack Obama to visit Israel and speak to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Both of the two previous US presidents, Bill Clinton (1994) and George W Bush (2008) addressed the Knesset while they were in office, yet Obama declined the invitation. The administration explained that Obama had a speech for “the Israeli public and that really was our priority.” The White House arranged to have an audience of students from Israeli universities, except he barred students from schools located on the West Bank of the Jordan, to hear his remarks.


Obama speaking to Israelis, March 2013

Obama spoke to this group of young Israelis as if the Knesset wasn’t a democratically-elected represented government of the people. He sought an audience which he hoped would be more receptive to his feeble efforts to denuclearize Iran and remove a sadist killer from the head of Syria. He appealed to the Israelis to give peace a chance with the Palestinians – directly. “Peace will have to be made among peoples, not just governments.

His remarks about the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority spoke volumes. He gave the Israeli leader a single mention, “I’ve reaffirmed the bonds between our countries with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres,” while saying nothing about Netanyahu’s efforts to establish peace and prosperity – or really anything about the two Israeli leaders at all, just as formal points of contact.

Conversely, Obama’s comment about the Palestinian leadership made them out to be heroic figures seeking peace: “while I know you have had differences with the Palestinian Authority, I genuinely believe that you do have a true partner in President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad.  (Applause.)  I believe that.  And they have a track record to prove it.  Over the last few years, they have built institutions and maintained security on the West Bank in ways that few could have imagined just a few years ago.  So many Palestinians — including young people — have rejected violence as a means of achieving their aspirations.” Wars from Gaza in 2008 and 2012? Obama skipped those. The slaughter of the Fogel family in their beds in 2011? Abbas’ meeting in January 2013 to bring the terrorist group Hamas into the ruling government seemed to not be significant to mention. Or, more likely, a track record which Obama knew to be highly problematic.

Obama called for the Israeli youth to change their leadership to one more willing to make sacrifices for peace rather than for security: “Now, only you can determine what kind of democracy you will have.  But remember that as you make these decisions, you will define not simply the future of your relationship with the Palestinians — you will define the future of Israel as well.

Obama bypassed the Israeli leadership he loathed and whom he felt would not fulfill his vision for a peaceful settlement, and talked to the Israeli public – which had democratically elected that Israeli leadership – in the belief that his speech could influence the Israeli public and elections.

Obama’s efforts were all for naught. Netanyahu won elections in 2013 and 2015. Syria’s Bashar al-Assad still rules in Syria after slaughtering over half a million of his own people. Iran’s nuclear weapons infrastructure remains completely intact. The Palestinians continued to intensify their wars against Israel in 2014 and 2015, while Mahmoud Abbas gave speeches about Jews and Zionists which would have make Adolf Hitler blush.

Obama tried something new – and insulting to the Israeli government – and nothing changed, even now, many years later.

Trump Administration Bypasses Palestinian Authority
for the Arab Street

In June 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump would also try a new approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

With the political portion of his self-declared “deal of the century” still under wraps due to the pending Israeli elections, Trump’s point people for Middle East Peace assembled a conference in Bahrain to unveil the economic portion of his plan.

The Palestinians would not show.

Angered by various Trump moves over the first two years of his term as president including recognizing the fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. embassy to the city, as well as cutting aid to the broken United Nations agency which employees 30,000 Palestinians to hand out aid to the descendants of people who lived in Israel, the Palestinian Authority stayed away and urged others to boycott the event.

No matter. The team of Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt had a different audience in mind, just as Obama did six years earlier: the Palestinian people themselves.


Jared Kushner at Bahrain Conference, June 2019

The leadership of the Palestinians had long robbed the Palestinian people of a working economy, aid dollars and dignity. As detailed in the fascinating book Harpoon by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Palestinian leadership is rife with corruption. Yasser Arafat stole billions of dollars in aid meant for Palestinian Arabs and handed it to loyalists who kept him in power and funded terrorism at his command. The talent was passed to his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, who placates his henchmen with riches and supplies his terrorist families with money for life in a pay-to-slay program.

As described in The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity, the Obama administration and the United Nations believed that Palestinian dignity was predicated on undermining Israeli dignity in a zero sum game. Other people, like Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Eid believe that Palestinian dignity comes from economic self sufficiency. The Trump administration seems to agree.

The newly unveiled U.S. economic program would pump $50 billion into the Palestinian economy over 10 years and generate 1 million jobs. The monies would come mostly from the region, including $15 billion in grants, $25 billion in low interest loans and $11 billion of private capital. It would be administered by new multi-country agencies, including parties from neighboring Lebanon, Syria and Egypt which house many stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs). The power of the purse would no longer rest in the corrupt biased U.N. agency nor in the Palestinian Authority.

Not surprisingly, the Palestinian Authority rejected it completely. No money, no power.


Both the Obama and Trump administrations took new approaches towards peace in the Middle East, with each bypassing elected leadership to engage with the people who would ultimately realize peace. Obama talked directly to the Israeli people and urged them to ignore Palestinian terror, Muslim pathological killers in their neighborhood and their elected leadership to imagine peace. Trump’s approach was both more obtuse and direct: he sent his envoys to meet with the leaders of other nations and revealed a plan to direct billions of dollars in investment into the lives of the Palestinian Arabs. Obama’s prose was celebrated even though it contained no details and ultimately delivered exactly that – nothing. Trump’s plan has been derided by the liberal media and politicians who await the core political portion of the “deal of the century.”

Obama used his oratory skills to woo the Israeli public to replace their leadership and to imagine a peaceful coexistence. Trump put forward an economic plan to the Arab region to effectuate an enduring peace by bypassing Palestinian leaders.

Obama’s efforts brought nothing to the region but more wars and millions of refugees. Time will tell what Trump’s plan will yield.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

The Only Precondition for MidEast Peace Talks

“Peace” According to Palestinian “Moderates”

The Debate About Two States is Between Arabs Themselves and Jews Themselves

What’s Wrong with UNRWA

The Time Factor in the Israeli-Arab Conflict

Removing the Next Issue – The Return of 20,000 Palestinian Arabs

Abbas’ European Audience for His Rantings

Mutual Disagreement of Mediators and Judges in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

The Undemocratic Nature of Fire and Water in the Middle East

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

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The Debate About Two States is Between Arabs Themselves and Jews Themselves

The common refrain surrounding the Arab-Israeli Conflict is that the Israelis and Arabs need to find a compromise solution that will work for both parties. People on the left believe that Israel, as the entity which is much stronger than the Palestinian Authority, must make the majority of that compromise. For those on the right, Israel is the smaller party that has always been under attack by the surrounding Arab and Muslim world, and therefore will demand that Arabs must make significant concessions.

This viewpoint is valid in concept, but lacks any nuance to capture the situation as it exists today. In reality, it is the Palestinian Arabs themselves and the Israelis themselves who are torn on the path towards an enduring peace. Until each party can arrive at a consensus internally, the only bridge with consensus regarding a two state solution is found between the Palestinian Authority leadership and far left progressive Jews; a failed partnership, as the PA is despised by the Arab masses and fellow Jews in Israel and the diaspora consider the progressives a dangerous fringe group, as discussed below.

The Arabs

The Palestinian Arabs have three distinct viewpoints regarding the conflict, and a fourth approach among Israelis Arabs who share some commonality with Jews.

  1. Hamas. Hamas has no interest in a two-state solution as they believe that Israel has no right to exist. While it may make some short-term accommodations related to a cease-fire or an interim acceptance for a two-state solution, the concept of an enduring peace between two countries is abhorrent to Hamas and all of its supporters.
  2. The Palestinian Authority. The PA is a corrupt and inept kleptocracy which seeks a two-state solution to empower and enrich themselves. It has stated it will make the great “compromise” of not demanding the entirety of Israel as part of its state and “very reasonably” demand that its country be stripped of any Jews while refusing to accept Israel as a Jewish State. From such perch, the PA flies around the world with honor, pomp and circumstance while fattening their bellies as foreign nations pour money into the wallets of its leadership.
  3. The Palestinians. The Palestinian Arabs have no interest in a two-state solution according to their own polls, even if they get everything which the PA demands. They are fed up with everybody – the PA, Hamas, the Israelis and the Arab world which has forgotten about them. They view any and every deal with deep distrust.

This is not very promising. The only Palestinians who want the two-state solution today is a leadership which has no legitimacy as it is ten years past its stated term limit, and the majority of Palestinians want the acting leadership to resign.

A softer position in the Arab world which is closer to the Jewish positions on two states is held by Israeli Arabs.

Israeli Arabs. The Israeli Arabs are eager for a two state solution which looks very different than what the PA has proposed. They want NO RETURN of any Palestinian refugees into Israel. They want Israel to be recognized as the nation state of the Jewish people. They demand institutions that are transparent and devoid of any fraud – all desires which the PA will not accept.


Arabs in the Old City of Jerusalem
(photo: First.One.Through)

The wide range of opinions regarding a two state-solution is not limited to Arabs, as Jews also have their own spectrum of ideas.

The Jews

  1. The Far Right. Israel has a number of political parties including Yisrael Beiteinu, United Right (each with 5 seats in the new Knesset), Zehut and the New Right (which got zero seats in the 2019 election) who support annexing Judea and Samaria/ the area east of the Green Line (EGL) commonly called the “West Bank.” The extent of Palestinian “sovereignty” would be limited to Gaza which will be denied any standing army, and essential be an entity with autonomy but will likely need to be a territory of either Egypt, Jordan or Qatar. Israel would likely never permit it to be aligned with Turkey.
  2. The Right. Is represented by the majority Likud party and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is in favor of annexing blocs of the West Bank such as the Gush Etzion area and Maale Adumim, but would give the Palestinian Authority large sections of the West Bank where the majority of Palestinian Arabs live including Areas A and B and parts of Area C. There would be no admittance of any Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs). Good news is that the Israelis just held elections so there is clarity that this is the majority consensus view.
  3. The Left.The left is represented by the Blue and White party which came in second in the Israel elections. They would allow as many as 100,000 SAPs into Israel as part of a peace deal and give virtually the entirety of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem to the PA. A bit further to the left in Israel are the Labor and Meretz parties in Israel (6 and 4 seats, respectively) and in the diaspora in groups like J Street and the Israel Policy Forum who oppose the notion of Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish people.
  4. The Far Left. Believes that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish State. They advocate for folding all of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza into a bi-national state with no special rights or privileges for Jews. Essentially the Hamas platform, without the murder of Jews, but with all of the demonization. There is virtually no one in Israel with such views, but is in vocal extremist diaspora organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, the New Israel Fund and Code Pink.

Lining up the groups against each other reveals interesting bedfellows between Arabs and Jews:

  • Hamas <> JVP/ Code Pink
  • the PA <> Labor/ J Street
  • Israeli Arabs <> Likud/ Republican Jewish Coalition
  • some Israeli Arabs <> Yisrael Beiteinu/ the New Right
  • The Palestinians <> everyone who has given up hope for any solution

Hamas, JVP, Code Pink, Students for Justice in Palestine and similar groups have tried to gain legitimacy in the public sphere. Former US President Jimmy Carter blessed Hamas despite its vile antisemitic charter and the United Nations has sought to fold it into the Palestinian Authority. Groups like SJP are getting awards on college campuses like New York University. These are hate groups and should be condemned and boycotted by everyone who wants to see an enduring peace in the Middle East. They will never be accepted by any Israeli administration forging a peace settlement, and will only make Israelis move further rightward.

J Street and progressives around the world have been reaching out to the PA as the best chance for peace. However, the PA is despised and disrespected by Palestinians. Until there are legitimate Palestinian elections, reaching out to the PA is a fool’s errand. Most Jews and conservatives see through the chimera and think J Street’s moves to weaken Israel and go against the Israeli government by advancing condemnations at the United Nations and promoting a deeply flawed Iranian nuclear deal are dangerous and divisive. The liberal media mostly follows this narrative and will promote the PA as “moderate” which is counter-factual and J Street as “mainstream” which is liberal wishful thinking. However, if they can tack towards the center instead of continuing to lurch leftward, perhaps they can be part of forging an enduring solution instead of today’s alt-left miasma.

For their part, Israeli Arabs and Likud consider the past decade a tremendous success. While the neighboring region had wars killing nearly a million people in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other countries; with millions of war refugees scattered around the world; military coups taking over Egypt and almost Turkey; and heads of state chopped off in Libya, Israel was relatively calm. When the financial markets took the western world into an abyss, Israel emerged unscathed and its economy boomed. Riding the status quo has worked, and selectively extending that secret sauce with more global partnerships and annexing blocs of the West Bank are logical next steps.

However, the masses are unhappy. The lack of self-determination for the SAPs is not in anyone’s interest and everyone should want to see a resolution to their status. But with no consensus between the Arabs themselves and Israelis themselves, there is little hope for an enduring peace anytime soon.

It may therefore be time for some Israeli Arabs to assume a leadership role in the negotiations to help both the Arabs and Jews each reach a centrist consensus among themselves, and then ultimately with each other.


Israeli Arab women entering the Western Wall Plaza
(Photo: FirstOneThrough)


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

“Peace” According to Palestinian “Moderates”

The Only Precondition for MidEast Peace Talks

The Time Factor in the Israeli-Arab Conflict

The Hebron Narratives: Is it the Presence of Jews or the Israeli Military

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What the Palestinians Were Thinking While Israelis Were Voting

While the Israelis went to the polls again to elect their government in a democratic process, the Palestinian Arabs could only watch with envy. They have not held an election since 2006, when they elected the terrorist group Hamas to 58% of Parliament. They last got to vote for a president in 2005 for what was supposed to be a four-year term. Mahmoud Abbas has opted to not hold elections for 10-plus years passed his expiry date and counting.

Political pundits will comment about what the new Israeli government will mean for the peace process, as if the tango just involved a single party. In fairness, the ineptitude and corruption of Palestinian Authority which cannot even broker a peace between the rival Fatah and Hamas parties make them easy to ignore as a counter-party for Israel. But if one wants to actually be able to achieve an enduring peace, it is important to understand what Palestinian Arabs think about their situation and the Jewish State next door.

The latest Palestinian poll results were released on April 9, 2019, on the same day as the Israeli elections, and reflect polling done March 13-16. Here is snapshot of some of the findings:

  • 60% of Palestinians want acting-President Mahmoud Abbas to resign, with 62% being dissatisfied with his job performance
  • Only 54% of Palestinians believe that the PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, a low-water mark
  • More Palestinians blame their own leaders for the conditions in Gaza than Israel
  • 50% of Palestinians oppose the two-state solution; more people in Gaza support two states than people in the West Bank
  • Even if the Peace Plan contained everything that Abbas currently claims to desire (East Jerusalem capital, 1967 borders, return of refugees) only 43% of Palestinians would vote in favor of it and 52% would reject it
  • 47% support a return to armed intifada
  • 71% want an armed battalion to exist outside of the control of the Palestinian Authority
  • 64% oppose the Palestinian Authority engaging with the Trump Administration
  • 60% fear for their safety if their criticize the Palestinian leadership
  • 95% of Palestinians consider themselves religious

Based on these results, there is no pathway towards an enduring peace anytime in the near-future regardless of who leads the State of Israel. The Palestinian Arabs have no faith in their own leadership and no interest in accepting the most generous two-state solution (which Israel wouldn’t offer anyway).

It is therefore ridiculous to look at the Israeli elections through the prism of a peace process. Instead, the orientation should be about shrinking the conflict with the Stateless Arabs (SAPs); dealing with Iran and Hezbollah; establishing more diplomatic and trading partners around the world; continuing to build the economy; developing a comprehensive housing strategy; and bringing the devout communities (Haredi and Arabs) into the workforce and out of poverty.

We wish the new Israeli government best of luck in tackling these issues.


The Menorah outside of the Knesset
(photo: FirstOneThrough)


Related First.One.Through article:

In Israel, the Winner is… Democracy

Welcoming the Unpopular Non-President (Abbas) of a Non-Country (Palestine)

Related video:

The Changed Israel Knesset (music by David Bowie)

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Abbas’ European Audience for His Rantings

On January 14, 2018, the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech that surpassed his previous rantings about the Jews in the Middle East:

  • He not only said that Israel was a European colonial project as he has done many times, but added now that Jews have zero connection to Israel: “it constitutes a colonialist enterprise that has nothing to do with Judaism.
  • He not only said that the early Zionists hated European Jews and conspired with the Nazis to force Jews to move to Israel as he has done many times, but added that the early Zionists also despised the Jews from Arab countries “I hate them. They look like Arabs,” and worked with the Arab countries to expel the Jews

So Abbas doubled down on his fake history. Does it matter? Did he think he could negotiate a better deal with Israel with such additional insults? Obviously not.

But Israel was not his audience.

The entire Abbas rant was for European consumption. It is there that Abbas hopes he can force a better outcome in the Middle East.


Acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas

Consider the points which Abbas made:

  • The United States will no longer be an accepted mediator. “We will not accept America as a mediator with Israel. After what they did to us… A believer does not get bitten by the same snake twice, and we have been bitten a hundred times already.” Hey EU, we need you to step in. And if you accept Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, we will reject your involvement in the peace process as well.
  • Abbas is the sole man of peace to be a negotiating partner; the rest of the Arab world will pursue violence. “We don’t want war. We will not call for a military war with Israel. Whoever has [weapons] – go ahead and do it. I say this out in the open. If you have weapons, go ahead. I’m with you, and I will help you. Anyone who has weapons can go ahead. I don’t have weapons. I want the peaceful political path to reach a settlement. I see that there are only a few supporters of peace here. All the others are into war. The Americans are always telling us that we must stop paying salaries to the families of the martyrs and the prisoners. We categorically reject this demand. Under no circumstances will we allow the families of the martyrs, the wounded, and the prisoners to be harmed. These are our children, our families. We are proud of them, and we will pay them before we pay the living.” Abbas positioned himself as the peaceful reasonable man to run point on negotiations, even while he warns that the terrorism from all Arab Muslims will continue.
  • This situation in Palestine is completely Europe’s fault. “We have tried to raise the issue of the 100-year-old Balfour Declaration. Some people have rebuked us for this: After 100 years you bring this up again? Yes. We brought it up after 100 years, and we still do. We will continue to talk about it until Great Britain apologizes, pays reparations, and recognizes the State of Palestine. But the issue goes back long before that, my brothers. The late Egyptian intellectual Abdel-Wahab El-Messiri was among the most important people who talked about the Zionist movement and Judaism. His encyclopedias and volumes are well known throughout the Arab world. He describes that entity as follows: ‘The functional nature of Israel means that it was evoked by colonialism in order to fulfill a specific function, and thus it constitutes a colonialist enterprise that has nothing to do with Judaism… This did not begin 100 years ago. It did not begin with the Balfour Declaration. According to my humble knowledge – and I may be wrong and it actually began way before that… It began in 1653, when Cromwell ruled Britain. Cromwell staged a coup against the king and became the head of a republic in 1653. This was 300 years prior to the Balfour Declaration. He came up with the idea of transferring the Jews from Europe to the Middle East, to this region, because they wanted this region to become an advanced post to protect the interests and the convoys coming from Europe to the East. This is a well-known story, and there’s no need to repeat it – the East India Company and all that… He asked Holland, which owned the largest fleet in the world, to transfer the Jews, but the project was unsuccessful. This was in 1653.” Abbas told the European powers that they are the culprits that stole the land from Arabs to both rid themselves of Jews and create a safe outpost in the region to protect European interests. Jews are but tools in the European colonial project.

Abbas’s speech was not directed at the US nor at Israel. He views them as completely unhelpful to his plan to seize control of land and power in the holy land.

Abbas addressed the European powers to rectify the wrong that he believes they perpetrated on the Palestinian Arabs. He feels that it is not only Europe’s moral responsibility, but if they want to stop the bloodshed in the Middle East through peaceful negotiations, then the only people that can make that happen are Abbas and the European leaders.

Will the Europeans care that the speech was an insane antisemitic conspiracy of fake history? Why should they? J Street, a group of alt-left Jews, took the bait immediately and called on Europe to aggressively insert itself into the situation. “Now, however, in the absence of responsible American leadership, the international community must do everything in its power to prevent further backsliding and destructive measures by all parties.

Abbas knows his audience. J Street and the alt-left in Europe will support his view that Israel must be cornered and compelled to accept the Palestinian vision. They will adopt the revisionist history that Palestinian Arabs have been passive victims for hundreds of years of European, Jewish and American aggression, and it’s time for all of them to pay compensation.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Israel’s Colonial Neighbors from Arabia

Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies

J Street is a Partisan Left-Wing Group, NOT an Alternative to AIPAC

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

Enduring Peace versus Peace Now

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

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The Recognition Catch Up

The United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017 in a move that President Donald Trump said was a “long-overdue step.” Many countries disagreed, and viewed the announcement as premature, claiming that such recognition should be done in conjunction with a broader peace process and mirror whatever the Israelis and Palestinian Authority themselves agree to.

If anything, Trump’s move was very late considering the recognition that had been afforded to the Palestinian Arabs over the previous decade.

Recognition of Palestine

In 1988, the Palestinian Liberation Organization declared its independence. Israel and the western world ignored the declaration of the noted terrorist organization, while fellow Arab and Muslim countries quickly recognized the State of Palestine.

Within a few years of the PLO declaration, the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs signed the Oslo Accords (in 1993 and 1995) which put in motion a peace process, including the creation of a Palestinian Authority (PA). As part of those agreements, both parties agreed that the PA would have limited powers regarding international relations (Article IX), including having no ability to obtain official recognition from other governmental bodies.

In accordance with the DOP, the Council will not have powers and
responsibilities in the sphere of foreign relations, which sphere includes the
establishment abroad of embassies, consulates or other types of foreign missions and posts or permitting their establishment in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, the
appointment of or admission of diplomatic and consular staff, and the exercise of
diplomatic functions.”

When the leader of the PA, Yasser Arafat (fungus be upon him) failed to deliver on peace and launched a second intifada in September 2000, the peace process ground to a halt. Any movement by world organizations and governments to provide additional recognition on key issues for the Israelis and PA was put on hold.

Yet the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas pushed forward with seeking global recognition, even as he lost control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Abbas began with Costa Rica (2008) and Venezuela (2009) before making significant headway with the major countries in South America.

In 2010, Abbas got Brazil and Argentina to recognize Palestine, despite commitments in the Oslo Accords that the PA would not take such steps. The Israeli foreign ministry released a statement that  “Recognition of a Palestinian state is a violation of the interim agreement signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 1995, which established that the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be discussed and solved through negotiations….  All attempts to bypass negotiations and to unilaterally determine issues in dispute will only harm the trust of the sides and their commitment to agreed upon frameworks for negotiations.

No matter.

In 2011, other South American countries recognized Palestine including Chile and Uruguay. UNESCO followed suit and admitted the “State of Palestine.” Shortly thereafter, Iceland became the first country in western Europe to recognize Palestine, with borders based on the 1949 Armistice Lines. By the following year, the United Nations began calling the entity the “State of Palestine” in all official documents.

Remarkably, at the end of the third Hamas war on Israel in 2014, Sweden became the second western European country to recognize Palestine.

Recognition of Jerusalem

While Abbas’s PA actively sought recognition of a state since 2008, Israel was fighting three wars from Gaza and a “stabbing intifada.” Israel was not busy lobbying the world to recognize Jerusalem as its capital, but focused on getting the world to stop the Islamic Republic of Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons while it declared its intention of destroying Israel.

While the Palestinian Authority was playing offense, Israel was playing defense.

At this point in time, with over 20 countries and United Nations entities recognizing Palestine over the past decade despite the explicit statements in the Oslo Accords, isn’t it well past time for countries of the world to recognize the capital of Israel?

Alternatively, if countries are truly concerned with the peace process, they can strip their recognition of Palestine, and leave the Israelis and PA to negotiate their peace, including matters related to borders, settlements and Jerusalem, and ultimately embrace the conclusion of the parties. Impartiality demands one or the other.


Jerusalem from the air, facing north


Related First.One.Through articles:

Both Israel and Jerusalem are Beyond Recognition to Muslim Nations

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

The US Recognizes Israel’s Reality

The UN’s #Alternative Facts about the 1967 Six Day War

Welcoming the Unpopular Non-President (Abbas) of a Non-Country (Palestine)

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

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Reviewing the Rhetoric of Palestinian Arabs and Israelis

On September 25, 2017, Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process submitted a report to the UN Security Council. In it, he gave his thoughts about how the Israelis and Palestinian Authority were performing in regards to upholding the UNSC Resolution 2334.

Nickolay Mladenov

Here was his statement reviewing the rhetoric of both sides:

Mr. President, Security Council resolution 2334 called upon both parties to refrain from acts of provocation, incitement, and inflammatory rhetoric, and to condemn all acts of terrorism.

At the height of the July crisis around the holy sites of Jerusalem, officials and representatives on all sides employed provocative rhetoric.

In the midst of what were largely peaceful protests, Hamas and senior Palestinian Authority officials called for an escalation and a “day of rage” across the occupied Palestinian territory. Hamas and others continued to openly glorify attacks, describing the murder of three Israelis at their home in Halamish as “heroic.”

Meanwhile, President Abbas explicitly condemned the 14 July attack, and, in an attempt to calm tensions at the holy sites, some Palestinian leaders and religious authorities on both sides called on protestors to avoid violence and provocation.

With regard to settlements, Israeli officials continued to use provocative rhetoric in support of expansion. On 3 August, the Israeli Prime Minister delivered an inaugural speech at the launch of construction for 1,000 new housing units in the Beitar Ilit settlement in which he praised the achievements of his Government in promoting settlement construction. On the 28th of August, he said that “there will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel (…) we will deepen our roots, build, strengthen and settle”. Other senior Israeli politicians also made repeated calls for annexation of the West Bank, with one Member of Knesset expressing his desire to “destroy” hopes for Palestinian statehood, and stated that “there is room to define and realize the national aspirations of one people only — the Jewish people.”

The statement is remarkable in several respects.

  1. Abbas Gets Congratulated Rather than Admonished. The lopsided anti-Israel UNSC resolution included few calls on both parties. One was for both Israelis and the PA to stop incitement and provocations to violence. The Mladenov report to the UNSC praised Palestinian leadership, and Mahmoud Abbas in particular. In doing so, it ignored Abbas’ incitement to violence – specifically his bounty payments to the families of terrorists that kill Israelis. The US Congress is about to vote to withhold aid to the PA in the Taylor Force Act because of such incitement. Abbas’s political party repeated its incitement the following day on September 26, as a Palestinian Arab killed three Israelis, Fatah party once again praised the work of the “martyr.”
  2. Netanyahu’s Call for Calm Ignored. Mladenov praised Abbas’ condemnation of the July 14 Palestinian terrorist attack which killed Israelis, and noted that some Palestinian leaders called for calm. But he made no mention of Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders that repeatedly called for calm after the murders.
  3. Palestinian Arab incitement to violence equated with Israelis calls for building homes. The Palestinian Arabs call for the murder of Israelis time and again, while the Israeli government builds homes for Israelis in disputed territory. How can the UN seriously equate the construction of homes and schools with the calls for murder?
  4. The UN Wants Hamas to be part of the Palestinian Authority Leadership. While Mladenov admitted that Hamas openly glorifies attacks on Israelis, the UN still continues to push forward the notion of including such terrorist organization in the Palestinian government. Why?

Somehow the United Nations believes that promoting those that call for murder while slandering those that call for coexistence is a recipe for a “peace process.” How? I don’t know.


Related First.One.Through articles:

UN Secretary General Guterres is Losing the Confidence of Decent People

The United Nations’ Incitement to Violence

What’s “Outrageous” for the United Nations

The United Nations Once Again “Encourages” Hamas

The Only Religious Extremists for the United Nations are “Jewish Extremists”

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

The United Nations’ Ban Ki Moon Exposes Israeli Civilians

The Hollowness of the United Nations’ “All”

The United Nations’ Remorse for “Creating” Israel

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The UN’s #Alternative Facts about the 1967 Six Day War

On June 5, 2017, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres made a statement about the 1967 Six Day War. His opinion piece laid out a distinct narrative, or in common parlance, #AlternativeFacts. Below is a review of his actual remarks with a First.One.Through review of the same facts.


UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary General, UNSG:Today marks 50 years since the start of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which resulted in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians.”

First.One.Through, FOT:Today marks 50 years since a miracle thwarted Arab countries’ stated goal of annihilating the only Jewish State and millions of Jews.”

UNSG:This occupation has imposed a heavy humanitarian and development burden on the Palestinian people. Among them are generation after generation of Palestinians who have been compelled to grow-up and live in ever more crowded refugee camps, many in abject poverty, and with little or no prospect of a better life for their children.

FOT: Israel has built an amazing thriving democracy among its Jewish and non-Jewish populations since its brush with annihilation in 1967. Regrettably, the UN has continued to make the Arab population in Gaza and elsewhere its wards, pretending that descendants of internally displaced people have any rights as refugees. Worse, the SAPs continue to deny the basic history and rights of Jews to live in their holy land, offering little hope for living together in peace.

UNSG:The occupation has shaped the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis. It has fuelled recurring cycles of violence and retribution. Its perpetuation is sending an unmistakable message to generations of Palestinians that their dream of statehood is destined to remain just that, a dream; and to Israelis that their desire for peace, security and regional recognition remains unattainable.”

FOT: The denial of Jewish history, rights and dignity, and the Palestinian Authority leadership’s incitement to violence have continued a poisonous venom that has permeated the local Arab population since 1920. Until the Palestinian Arabs recognize the Jewish State’s rights in the land, the desire of both people for peace and security is just a dream. Recognition of the Jewish homeland is a means, not an ends to peace and security for all parties.”

UNSG:Ending the occupation that began in 1967 and achieving a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to lay the foundations for enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty. It is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”

FOT:The path of the Palestinian Arabs’ quest for legitimacy on the world stage is disappointing. Since Israel gave the local Arabs in Gaza the first taste of sovereignty by leaving the coastal strip in 2005, the local Arab population has squandered every opportunity. They elected a terrorist group, Hamas, to a majority of parliament. They spent most of their global aid building attack tunnels into Israel rather than developing their economy. They launched three wars against Israel, in 2008, 2012 and 2014. Their actions make this global body question the basic logic of statehood and sovereignty for the local Arabs, rather than having portions of the disputed land be incorporated into Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

UNSG:Now is not the time to give up on this goal. Continued settlement construction and expansion; violence and incitement; and the illicit arms build-up and militant activity in Gaza risk creating a one-state reality that is incompatible with realizing the legitimate national and historic aspirations of both peoples. Now is the time to return to direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, agreements and international law. Now is the time to end the conflict by establishing an independent Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel. 

FOT:Based on past actions, it is time to reconsider the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – which hasn’t held elections in years and cannot control its own people and territory – and to bring in Egypt and Jordan into the process now. Those two countries have made peace with Israel, and those two countries had administered the two areas in question.

UNSG: Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remove a driver of violent extremism and terrorism in the Middle East and open the doors to cooperation, security, prosperity and human rights for all.

FOT:The turmoil in the Middle East including in: Syria; Iraq; Yemen; Sudan; and Libya have finally put an end to the argument that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the driver of violent extremism. It proves conclusively that radical Islamic ideology and the goal for a pure Muslim caliphate drives terrorism. Combatting radical Islamic teachings will stop terrorism in Israel and the world, and help bring peace everywhere.”

UNSG:In 1947, on the basis of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, the world recognized the two-state solution and called for the emergence of “independent Arab and Jewish states”. On 14 May 1948, the State of Israel was born. 
Almost seven decades later, the world still awaits the birth of an independent Palestinian state. The Secretary-General reiterates his offer to work with all relevant stakeholders to support a genuine peace process.”

FOT:In 1947, the Arab world flatly rejected UNGA Resolution 181 and made clear that it rejected an independent Jewish State anywhere in the region. When Israel declared statehood, the Arab countries fought a war to destroy the Jewish State completely. In 1967, the Arabs again threatened to annihilate every Jew in the land. Even today, the Arabs state that they want a Jew-free state, have laws that call for the capital punishment for any Arab selling land to a Jew and refuse to recognize Israel as the Jewish State. The Secretary-General reiterates that human rights, decency and dignity demand that Arabs recognize the Jewish State and Jewish rights, and thereby put the region on a pathway to long-term peace and prosperity.”

Just saying.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

Considering a Failed Palestinian State

Nikki Haley Will Not Equivocate on the Ecosystem of Violence

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

Opinion: Remove the Causefire before a Ceasefire

Mutual Disagreement of Mediators and Judges in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

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