Encourage the 7% and 44% of Palestinians

There are many flowery quotes about peace that are aspirational but difficult to achieve if your counterparty cannot recognize anything decent or moral about you. In the face of ongoing terrorism, an approach of “make peace with those who will make peace, and fight those who want to fight you” is appropriate while inelegant.

There are segments of Palestinians society that neither hate nor want to kill Jews and they should be actively engaged and promoted.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) conducted a global poll about anti-Semitism and found that the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza were by far the most Jew-hating. Approximately 93% of those polled were found to harbor anti-Semitic prejudice.

The Palestinians polled themselves in June 2021 and asked the same question they ask every three months “Are you in favor of armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside of Israel?” Again, the majority of Palestinians, 52% either strongly support or support the idea; 44% opposed attacks.

These two polls are good examples about why the conflict continues: the majority of Palestinian Arabs despise and want to kill Jews.

But an optimist can look at the 7% of Palestinian Arabs who do not harbor anti-Semitic attitudes and the 44% who oppose attacking Jewish civilians and see a hopeful opening. Perhaps this segment of Palestinian society can rise above the systemic Jew-hatred and be partners for peace.

Bassem Eid, a Palestinian human rights activist who opposes BDS and actively engages with Jews to find common areas of trust.

While the Palestinian glass is far from half full, those wishing to see peace in the holy land should consider ways of promoting the sliver of Palestinians who recognize and support the dignity and basic human rights of Jews.


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Thomas Friedman Thinks Palestinians are Crazy in the Margins, While Israel is Crazy in the Mainstream

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

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Abbas Failed To Capitalize on Trump’s Gift

Not long after Donald Trump assumed the presidency of the United States, he made overtures to the Palestinians in the hopes of brokering a peace deal. He invited the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, to the White House on May 3, 2017. They discussed tackling terrorism and building economic prosperity for Palestinian Arabs and the promise of working together to build a better future for the region.

Shortly thereafter, on May 23rd, President Trump visited Abbas in Bethlehem and reiterated the need to confront terrorism, “Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded…. The terrorists and extremists, and those who give them aid and comfort, must be driven out from our society forever.  This wicked ideology must be obliterated — and I mean completely obliterated — and innocent life must be protected.”

Just a week later, Trump handed a peculiar gift to Abbas: on June 1 he removed the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

ANO was part of the October 1997 initial class of FTO’s along with HAMAS and Hizbullah. ANO carried out roughly 90 hijackings, assassinations and kidnappings of diplomats, and attacks on synagogues during the period 1974-1992 killing about 300 people to earn the FTO designation. The group targeted people viewed as moderates – including Palestinians – who contemplated the ongoing existence of the Jewish State. When Abu Nidal died in 2002, the group went inactive.

Which begs the question of why Trump took a 15-year defunct group off of the FTO list, right after meeting with Abbas.

Terrorist Sabri al-Banna, better known by his nom de guerre, Abu Nidal

Abbas was (and remains) a very unpopular leader among Palestinian Arabs who have wanted him to resign according to each poll taken over the last many years, with 64% holding such opinion at the time of the Abbas-Trump meeting. Abbas polled to come in third in a theoretical three-candidate presidential race at that time!

So Trump threw Abbas a bone to boost his standing among Palestinians, to demonstrate that he could deliver results with the new U.S. President. It was arguably a meaningless gesture as the group was inactive, but it was symbolic in clearing the name of one of the most radical and notorious Palestinian terrorist groups.

In exchange for the Trump pardon of the ANO, Abbas advanced the idea of stopping the pay-to-slay program in which the PA paid the families of terrorists in Israeli jails. The proposal landed with a thud among the Palestinians, with a nearly unanimous 91% of Palestinians standing opposed to messing with the martyr-moolah.

Things then soured at the United Nations.

Abbas met with Trump on September 20, 2017 and voiced optimism regarding the efforts Trump’s team had made with over 20 meetings with Palestinian officials in the first months in office, but he then launched his habitual screed before the United Nations General Assembly with comments about Israeli Jews living in “East Jerusalem” which will “stir religious animosity and may lead to a violent religious conflict,… playing with fire … drag[ing] us into a religious war. This is dangerous, extremely dangerous for you and us,” in a not so subtle threat of a global jihad against Jews.

Abbas further threatened Jews and insulted Trump by declaring at the end of his speech “I salute our glorious martyrs and our courageous prisoners in Israeli jails,” to appease his Arab base. This embrace of terrorism and public challenge of Trump’s demand to stop rewarding terrorism was too much. Less than three months later, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State.

Abbas squandered Trump’s gift of removing an evil jihadist group from the U.S. list of terrorist organizations to gain Palestinian support. Instead, he elected to boost his own jihadi bona fides and stood before the world glorifying Palestinian terrorists who killed Israelis and threatening a global jihad if Jews continued to live in their holiest city of Jerusalem. Trump’s reaction was swift in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Abbas’s political self-immolation continues to burn to this day.


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When Power Talks the Truth

Abbas’ European Audience for His Rantings

Trump Reverses the Carter and Obama Anti-Israel UN Resolutions

The Nerve of ‘Judaizing’ Neighborhoods

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

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The Palestinian-American You Never Heard Of: Issam Akel

The Time Factor in the Israeli-Arab Conflict

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Proposed Lame-Duck Actions for Israel

In the waning days of the Obama-Biden administration, President Obama decided to stick a finger in the eyes of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and all Israelis, breaking with decades of U.S. policy allowing UNSC Resolution 2334 to pass, declaring that Israeli Jews living east of the 1949 Armistice Lines was illegal. The action set the stage for various BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movements of Israel around the world.

Now, as the Trump administration heads into its final days, it is also considering some parting actions, following up on its pro-Israel initiatives according to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Below are some recommendations.

At the United Nations

The hostility towards Israel at the United Nations has not abated. While the United States will not be able to get any pro-Israel items through the UN Security Council, it could set markers for future U.S. administrations.

  • Ending Phrase “occupied East Jerusalem” and “Haram al Sharif”. The UN regularly passes resolutions which are incorrect and insulting to the Jewish State. As all of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem were separated in the 1947 UN Partition Plan (which did not pass) and the Jordanian annexation of eastern Jerusalem was illegal, there is no basis for calling the eastern part of the city as “occupied Palestinian territory.” Additionally, only calling Judaism’s most holy location, the Temple Mount, by its Islamic name is insulting. The US should declare that it will automatically oppose any resolution with such flawed verbiage, regardless of the contents of the resolution.
  • Dignity for Jews at the Temple Mount. UN resolutions routinely call for dignity of Palestinians but only security for Jews. They also calls for changing the status quo of Jerusalem but not for the holy sites. This outrage and hypocrisy is disgusting. A call for Jews to be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount at specific times just as the Muslims and Jews share the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron should be clearly articulated.
  • Biased Supporter of Israel. The Palestinians complain the United States is not a neutral mediator in trying to resolve the conflict. It should not be. Not only is Israel a strong American ally but the Palestinians have not abandoned the incitement and reward for terrorism. Further, until the UN stops singling out Israel in its resolutions, the U.S. should make abundantly clear that it will stand with Israel in the global forum and not pressure Israel into any concessions with the Palestinian Authority.

Refugees

The situation of Palestinian “refugees” going on for generations and not having self-determination must end. It is bad for the Palestinians and is bad for the peace process which cannot move forward as it undermines the very basis of two states for two people.

  • Prepare the Compensation Mechanism. UNGA Resolution 194 which passed in 1948, sought to bring refugees who fled the war back to their homes or compensate them for their losses, provided they were willing to live in peace with Israel. Many wars, intifadas, electing a Holocaust denier to the presidency and a terrorist group to the majority of parliament long sealed the fate of how this would play out. It is time to begin tabulating the compensation for ALL Palestinians who fled from the war (not just those under the UNRWA mandate). Similarly, compensation for the Jews who fled from Arab lands should also be calculated.
  • Demand Self-Determination Now. Every person as a human right to self-determination. The Palestinians who live in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan (even though almost all of them were born in those countries) should be granted citizenship and full rights in each respective country immediately. The people who live in Gaza, Areas A and B under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority should be able to vote in Palestinian elections, and all people – Jew and Arab – who live in Area C should be allowed to vote in Israel, if and until other dynamics change that administrative equation.
  • Dissolve UNRWA. The unique agency for Palestinians is bloated in terms of funding and personnel compared to the global UNHCR and foments hatred for the Jewish State. It’s duties should be folded into UNHCR immediately and ultimately the need for the group disappears with the actions taken above.

Jerusalem

Jerusalem has been home for the three monotheistic religions for over a thousand years, and only under the Modern State of Israel have all religions been able to live and pray in their holy city.

  • More Jewish homes. While the city has blossomed, it has done so very unevenly. The Arab population continues to grow dramatically (counter to the false claims that Israel is ‘ethnically cleansing’ the city), with the Arab population growing 38% between 2000 and 2010 and then 29% between 2010 and 2018. Meanwhile the Jewish population in the city only grew by 12% and 13% in those time periods, respectively. All of the growth for Jews was from births as there was actually a net migration out of the city of thousands of people (6,000 in 2018 alone) because of limited housing and costs. The US should support the building of additional homes in and around Jerusalem.
Muslim population of 196,900; 272,000; 349,600 and 439,600; 491,800; 555,800 for Jews

Security

Israel has the terrorists group Hezbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza at its borders. Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism which supports both groups, has threatened to wipe Israel off of the map. The Obama administration gave over $100 billion to Iran and a legal pathway to nuclear weapons threating the survival of Israel.

  • Bunker Busters. The United States is one of the few countries that has the weaponry to blast underground facilities. These armaments should be sold to Israel to enable it to deal with the nuclear facilities in Iran and the missiles in Lebanon.
  • Palestinian Terrorists. The US should make clear that no terrorist group will be allowed in a Palestinian government. Should any group not give up all weapons to the Palestinian Authority and commit to recognize Israel in becoming part of a Palestinian government, the US should cease all aid in all forms to the Palestinians, and label the PA itself a terrorist group.
  • Terrorism in Territories. The State Department under the Obama administration gave scant attention to terrorism that was not committed in Israel proper. Such approach fueled additional terror. It is bad enough when the UN and BBC blame the victims, but the US should make clear that any and all terrorism committed anywhere is appalling and commit to fighting terrorism aggressively, something the Obama administration only did for other countries.

Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is found throughout the world both in official laws and in civilian actions. The United States should encourage other countries to join Israel in routing this global scourge.

  • Jews Should Never Be Banned. The world has a long history of placing Jews in ghettoes and determining where they can and cannot live. It’s a disgrace. Israel is not the world’s Pale of Settlement and Jews should be allowed to live and work anywhere. Anti-settlements is anti-Semitism in its core and should be called out as such. The U.S. should call on all governments to condemn the notion of “Judaizing” a neighborhood, regardless of where it is located.
  • Anti-Kosher/Halal and Anti-Circumcision Bills. Many governments are advancing laws targeting Jews and Muslims, making it impossible to live peacefully as neighbors. The U.S. should be a beacon of openness by calling out anti-circumcision and anti-ritual slaughter laws which are thinly-veiled methods of getting rid of Jews and Muslims.

Overall, the Trump administration should recommit to the 2004 President Bush letter to Ariel Sharon which gave Israel assurances to take risks for peace. The formula led Israel to give up Gaza which rapidly became a hotbed for radical Islam and terrorism. There is no chance Israel will take any future actions to make additional concessions to the PA which not only give it moral support but guarantees for its dignity and security.

The politeness of politics catering to anti-Semites has hindered the promotion of Jewish rights for too long. The Trump administration can still take actions to right these historical wrongs.


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Anti-“Settlements” is Anti-Semitism

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NY Times Tries Hard to Paint Obama/Biden as Pacifists and Trump as Mercenary

It must be especially galling to the left-wing media that an outlandish person like Donald Trump could forge peace deals in the Middle East while its patron saints in the Obama administration could not.

Consider the deliberate twisting of facts in The New York Times on September 24, 2020 about U.S. arm sales to Saudi Arabia. In a “News Analysis” section called “A Fraying Rationale for U.S. Aid to the Saudis in Yemen,” the Times wrote that

“Mr. Trump decided in early 2017 to restart arms sales to the Gulf Arab nations that President Barack Obama had halted in late 2016.”

The sheer audacity of this line in the Times is outrageous.

Obama’s term ENDED in “late 2016.” From 2009 to 2015, the Obama administration sold more weapons to foreign countries than any administration in U.S. history – particularly to Saudi Arabia. Obama’s penchant for arms sales was so egregious that even liberal media firms like Vice were appalled, writing an article as Obama left office in January 2017, “Obama’s Administration Sold More Weapons Than Any Other Since World War II.” The sub-header to the article was “Many were sold to the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia.” The article noted that “Under Obama the overall sales, pending delivery of equipment and specialised training for troops, to Saudi Arabia alone has ballooned to $115 billion.” At the time of the article, the war Saudis were participating in in Yemen was well under way with “over 10,000 killed2.2 million displaced and nearly half a million children on the brink of famine from the ensuing crisis.

While the Times was factually accurate that in Obama’s final month of his presidency he halted the sale of precision-guided munitions, it was only of that particular weaponry and only after eight years of selling the Saudis over $100 billion in arms!

New York Times article written to paint Obama and Biden as pacifists and Trump as a mercenary on September 24, 2020, coupling a picture of destruction in Yemen with one of Trump with the Saudis sitting comfortably in the White House striking deals.

The Times article stated that “current and former administration officials, as well as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, say American involvement [in selling Saudi’s weapons] must end.” That’s quite a bit of “malarkey” as Biden would say, having been second in command in an administration that sold $115 billion in arms to the Saudis.

The Times added that “the State Department, starting in the Obama administration, sent a senior level official, Larry Lewis, on frequent trips to Saudi Arabia to advise on civilian harm,” making the Democrats appear worried about the death to civilians, but “the next year Trump administration officials pushed him [Lewis] out of the agency,” making Team Trump appear callous.

The attack on Trump continued to cast him as a simple arms merchant and uncaring of the damage done by the weapons: “Mr. Trump has offered a more transactional rationale [for selling arms to the Saudis]: that the United States should continue to sell weapons for the money. “They have nothing but money. Nothing but cash, and they pay us now.“”

The foreign policy failures of the Obama administration in the Middle East were plentiful, ranging from giving Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, a legal pathway to nuclear weapons; selling more weapons to Arab countries that any administration in history as a counter-balance the blessing of a nuclear-emboldened Iran; watching the arms sales be used to pound Yemen, the poorest country in the world, into sand; watching the plane-loads of cash sent to Iran get funneled into terrorist groups; failing miserably in negotiating between Israel and the Palestinians leading to Gaza wars in 2012 and 2014 and the stabbing intifada of 2015, to name but a few.

While U.S. voters don’t rank foreign affairs high on their priority list, The Times doesn’t want to take a chance.

During this particularly contentious election, The Times is actively recasting Obama and Biden as pacifists and Trump as a cold mercenary when in fact it was the Obama administration which enabled death and destruction in the Middle East and Trump who forged peace agreements in the region.


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Schrodinger’s Cat and Oslo’s Egg

Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger developed a thought experiment in 1935 in which he tried to explain a situation of a cat existing in a dual state – both dead and alive – as a way of explaining quantum mechanics. In the experiment, a cat in a sealed box may or may not have been exposed to a poison and killed. Only when the box is lifted, is the cat revealed to be one of the two states. The example demonstrates the divide between reality inside the box which is only known to the cat and the two possible outcomes considered by the blind observer.

The situation of the Israeli-Arab Conflict can be viewed in such a manner, particularly regarding the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995.

Since the League of Nations (the precursor to the United Nations) supported the re-establishment of the Jewish homeland one hundred years ago, the Arab world fought to destroy it. From riots to wars to terrorist attacks, the surrounding Arab countries and Arab residents in Palestine took upon themselves a jihad to annihilate the Jewish State.

The Oslo Accords seemed to reverse that course. On its face, the Palestinians appeared willing to lay down their arms and accept the existence of Israel subject to a variety of terms. Israel signed the agreement and handed the newly created Palestinian Authority several cities to govern. Over the next five years, despite numerous terrorist attacks, the Israelis continued to try to forge a deal together with the assistance of the United States.

Details of the negotiations were kept under wraps, much like Schrodinger’s cat. The world was hopeful that the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs would be able to conclude a lasting peace agreement. To the outside observers, there was the open reality of Arabs killing Jews and a Hamas charter which completely rejected Israel’s existence but the active involvement of the Clinton administration made people hopeful that peace would emerge at the end of the five year interim agreement in September 2000.

However, Yasser Arafat was unhappy to not get every item he desired in the negotiations and launched the deadly Second Intifada, killing and maiming thousands of civilians. President Bill Clinton told Arafat that he missed the best peace deal the Palestinians would ever see and bemoaned “I’m a colossal failure, and you made me one.

Arafat smashed the covered Israeli dove egg before it was hatched.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, U.S. President Bill Clinton and PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat at Camp David, July 2000

The Arab League tried to put Humpty Dumpty together again and save the Palestinians from the scorn of the world. It put forth the Arab Peace Initiative (API) in 2002 which basically repeated the Palestinians demands, with the promise of the full recognition of Israel by the Arab and Muslim world. While Israel rejected those specific parameters, it began to take steps to give the Palestinians additional land once it secured assurances from the U.S. George W Bush administration in 2004 that it would not have to adhere to exact terms of the API.

U.S. President Barack Obama pivoted and put significant pressure on Israel towards the API once he took office in 2009. Under Secretary of State John Kerry, Israelis and the Palestinian Authority (PA) worked under secrecy through the Spring 2014 to try to arrive at a final settlement. The world waited to see if the Second Intifada and Gaza Wars of 2008 and 2012 were going to be shadows of the past, and the imagined Obama magic would render Humpty Dumpty viable again.

But it was not to be. The PA signed a unity government with the terrorist group Hamas and Israel refused to hand over the last batch of prisoners as part of “good faith” measures as Kerry had inserted murderers on the list. Within weeks, the situation rapidly devolved into an intense war in Gaza. This time, the Obama administration blamed the failure on Israel, and ultimately allowed a United Nations resolution to pass in the waning days of its administration labeling the West Bank as “Palestinian territory” which Israel illegally occupies.

Humpty Dumpty has now observed to be shattered and dead for the second time. The only change in 2014 from 2000 was the charge of the U.S. administration as to the cause for the failure, which fanned the flames of antisemitism throughout Europe during the 2014 war with Hamas.

The Trump administration recognized the results of the various failed peace initiatives and laid out a new road map to coexistence which more closely resembled the desires of America’s ally, Israel, rather than the API which parroted Palestinian demands. The Palestinians have refused to engage with the administration and no secret talks are enabling the imagination to ponder whether the possibility of peace is alive or dead.

Today, there is no Oslo egg in Schrodinger’s box waiting to be hatched, but a single reality for everyone to recognize.


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While Lying About Israel, Democrats Demand Nothing of Palestinians

Thirty Democratic politicians under the Obama and Clinton administrations sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee on May 4, 2020. The letter began by completely misleading its audience which led directly into slandering Israel and absolving Arabs of any responsibility.

The letter stated

“Past party platforms have rightly stated a commitment to Israel’s security and included condemnations of threats and actions against our ally, in addition to embracing a two-state outcome. Those platforms have, however, also been nearly silent on the rights of Palestinians, on Israeli actions that undermine those rights and the prospects for a two-state solution, and on the need for security for both peoples.”

The phrase “embracing a “two-state solution” completely misleads a reader to believing that the Democratic party platform as recently as 2008 (pre-Obama) supported the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (1967 “borders”; Arab capital in “East Jerusalem,” repatriation of “refugees”). IT DID NOT. It envisioned a completely different kind of two-state outcome.

  • Borders: The 2008 DNC platform stated ““All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.” Today, Democrats talk about the “1967 borders” as the natural orientation of the two-states, but that was not their historic vision because those “armistice lines of 1949” were never designed by the parties at that time or after to become borders.
  • Jerusalem: The DNC was clear in 2008 that  “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” But the Democrats today are pushing for Israel to hand over half of its capital including the holiest sites for Judaism.

“Israeli actions” of living beyond the armistice lines including in eastern Jerusalem was something Democrats always supported until the Obama administration changed the party platform. These Obama employees who crafted the letter claim that Jews living freely somehow “undermines rights” of Palestinians. It does nothing of the sort.

The 2008 platform continued that the United States should isolate Hamas (Jimmy Carter still loves the terrorist group) and added that all “refugees” would be settled in a new Palestinian state, not in Israel. Under Obama, the statements were removed.

In 2012 and 2016, the Democratic platform became increasing less supportive and increasingly harsh in its treatment of Israel and has demanded less and less of the Palestinians.

Consider a simple desire from 2008: “a democratic, viable Palestinian state dedicated to living in peace and security side by side with the Jewish State of Israel.” The new letter makes no requirement of Palestinians living in peace. Instead, it just holds up Palestinian rights:

“The 2020 platform should expressly state a commitment to a resolution of the conflict that ensures both Israel’s security and future as a Jewish and democratic state with equal rights for all its citizens, as well as Palestinian rights, including self-determination, security and freedom. It should include clear opposition to ongoing occupation, settlement expansion and any form of unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank as well as clear opposition to violence, terrorism and incitement from all sides.”

Note that these Democrats seek an Israel that is “democratic with equal rights for all its citizens,” but says nothing about a new state of Palestine and demands nothing.

  • No demand to abolish the Palestinian law which calls for the death sentence for any Arab selling land to a Jew
  • No call for Palestine to be a democracy and move away from sharia law
  • No call for allowing Jews to live throughout the land
  • No call for allowing Jews to pray at their holy sites
  • No call for striking the Palestinian law which allows for men to get a light sentence for honor killings of women in their families

Past party platforms never used the word “occupation” as Democrats once understood that international law for the past 100 years encouraged Jews to live throughout historic Palestine, understood that the 1949 Armistice lines were arbitrary and not meant to be a border, and that Israel retook the “West Bank” in a defensive battle. It was only under the watch of these same thirty Democrats who blessed the Arab demand for a Jew-free state and therefore enabled UN Security Resolution 2334 (2016) declaring Jews living peacefully in their ancient holy land as illegal. THEY MADE a basic human right illegal, and now chastise Israel for ignoring their antisemitic actions. #ResistUN

Not only are Democrats standing tall by the horrific Obama decision at the UN, but are pushing forward with attacking Israel and asking nothing of the Palestinians: a sharia-inspired Jew-free state for Palestinians and a state with full equality and no preferences for Jews in Israel which should absorb millions of additional Arabs. It’s a two state solution based on 1.5 states for Arabs and 0.5 of a state for Israel.

Ben Rhodes, Former Deputy National Security Adviser in Obama administration

The letter penned by Obama’s politicians which argued for “a commitment to security, democracy, and human rights,” failed to seek democracy for Palestinians and human rights for Israeli Jews. It demonstrates that Israel is not becoming a wedge issue for American politicians but a symbol of Democrats abandoning the western world. Israel is just the first casualty of the their headlong embrace of non-Democratic antisemitic norms found in countries around the globe.


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The “1967 Borders” (music by The Kinks)

American Leaders Always Planned on Israel Absorbing Much of the West Bank

The liberal press is counting on people’s terrible memory and fondness for their cherished presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama to convey a false history of the Middle East. It boldly lies that American politicians have always viewed the contours of Israel to be roughly along the 1949 Armistice Lines, commonly referred to as the Green Line and that Israel would uproot its’ civilian population in the West Bank much as it did in Gaza. Consider The New York Times’ article “What’s in a Peace Plan: Settlements and a Goal of a Palestinian State” on January 30, 2020. The article was full of distortions including: “The United States has long voiced support for the creation of a Palestinian state with only slight adjustments to the Israeli boundaries that existed before the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, when Israel wrested the West Bank from Jordan, and Gaza from Egypt.”
The New York Times January 30, 2020 Page A8
That is total nonsense, meant to make Donald Trump’s plan look like a complete break with the past (a past which must be noted never produced a peace deal). To describe reality, read the letter that President George W Bush wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on April 14, 2004, after Sharon announced that he was going to withdraw all Israelis from Gaza: “In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.” That is the essence of the Trump plan – reflecting the reality of over half a million Israelis living in communities in the West Bank. This position of Israel incorporating Israeli population centers in the West Bank was reflected in the Democratic party as well, until Obama pivoted away from Israel towards the Muslim world in the hope of creating a “new beginning.” Look at the 2008 Democratic platform’s point on Israel: “All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.” The Democrats-of-old also agreed with the Trump initiative recommendation that Jerusalem remain a unified city and the capital of Israel. The 2008 Democrats stated: “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” But the current contenders for the president from the Democratic Party (other than Mike Bloomberg) have run from Israel and the notion that Jerusalem should remain the unified capital of Israel. They are the one’s who have turned on long-standing American policy, not Trump. But the liberal media will lie, distort history and tell you #AlternativeFacts like “Israel wrested the West Bank from Jordan” without adding that Jordan attacked Israel in 1967 and Israel took the territory – which Jordan had illegally annexed in 1950 – in a defensive war. The Times article likewise wrote that “[p]revious American proposals spoke of uprooting tens of thousands of Israelis from the settlements to return those areas to Palestinians.” As seen above, that’s a lie. Further, there could be no “return… to Palestinians” as the Israelis would have had to return the land to Jordanians who illegally occupied the land, not Palestinians who never controlled the area. Do not be swayed by the #FakeNews that the Trump peace plan is a radical change of American policy. It just appears that way after eight years of Obama distancing himself from Israel and the current anti-Zionist edge infecting the left-wing media and politicians. Before Obama, Israel truly was a bipartisan cause in which the contours of the Trump peace plan would have been endorsed by all.
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The Peace Proposal Monologues

The Trump administration put forward a new Middle East Peace Plan as the latest installment of a series of frameworks over the years to try to find an enduring peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Like every proposal before it, it was declared dead on arrival.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 28: U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a joint statement in the East Room of the White House on January 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. The news conference was held to announce the Trump administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images/AFP

The Israelis had made numerous direct overtures for peace through the years, from its founding in 1948, post the 1967 war and in 2008, when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented a plan that met nearly every desire of the Palestinian Authority. But in the end, the Arabs rejected every Israeli effort to find peace.

So third parties took a stab at putting forward their versions of a workable peace. The last serious attempt was advanced by the Arab League in 2002, known as the Arab Peace Initiative (API) which was advanced by Saudi Arabia. The API, not surprisingly, was heavily biased towards the Palestinian Arabs. The Obama Administration worked off of the API in trying to strike a peace agreement, and secured small adjustments from the Arab League to make it more palatable for Israel to accept, such as the notion of including “comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land” in 2013.

But the plan did not meet Israel’s basic security needs, and no peace agreement was advanced, particularly after Hamas’ 2014 war against Israel and the Palestinian Authority fomenting the “stabbing intifada” in 2015.

President Trump, in concert with his pro-Israel advisers including Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, realized that a new paradigm needed to be advanced.

Trump’s team spent years developing a new framework based on a long-term vision for the region, rather than simply trying to get Israel to accept the API which would have left it very vulnerable in a tumultuous region. This new initiative recognized several inherent flaws of the Obama-approved API, including lies which had become mainstreamed, or as US founding father Thomas Paine once said “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.

  • “East Jerusalem.” There is no place called East Jerusalem any more than there is a place called East Berlin. That name existed for only 18 years of the city’s 4,000 year history and was an artifice of war that ended in 1967.
  • “Occupied East Jerusalem.” Jerusalem was NEVER slated to be under Arab control in international agreements including the San Remo Agreement, the Mandate of Palestine or the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan. To call it “occupied Palestinian territory” is a complete lie.
  • Refugees. Refugees are people who left a COUNTRY, not a mandate territory or a specific town. To extend the farce of calling for a return of “refugees” when the mandate was later advocated to be split for two peoples is against the very nature of the goal. To continue the charade for several generations entrenches resentment and has long been an obstacle to peaceful coexistence.
  • “Inalienable rights.” The United Nations has pushed forward the notion that Palestinian Arabs have “inalienable rights” of sovereignty. That would make them the only people with such rights – do Hispanic people who lived in New York City in the 1970’s have inalienable rights to their own country? People only have inalienable rights to self-determination.

Beyond the outright lies which have permeated discourse in the Arab-Israel conflict, there has been a denial of facts:

  • Return of “territories.” Israel has already complied with UN resolutions to return territories won in the 1967 War: it returned the Sinai to Egypt and handed Gaza to the Palestinians, the first time Palestinians ever had self-rule of a territory.
  • War from Palestinian territories. Since the Palestinians have ruled Gaza, they launched thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian neighborhoods.
  • Inability to Compromise. The two Palestinians factions have not even been able to negotiate between themselves, so how realistic can it be that they will ever agree to peace with Israel.
  • Rights. Only under Israel has there been freedom of access and freedom to worship for all religions, as opposed to the Arabs from 1949 to 1967 which barred Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem and Hebron.
  • Growth. The Arab population in the West Bank has grown significantly more than the Arab populations in all of the neighboring countries from 1967 until now, demonstrating the positive and stable environment of Israel for all of its inhabitants.

The Trump peace plan takes reality into account as it seriously addresses the security risks of the region. It is a constructive document to counter-balance the flawed Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and will hopefully enable the parties to chart a course towards an enduring peace.

Like Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” play which included a series of skits meant to address violence against women, the Middle East Peace Monologues now has a new installment to address the violence against and isolation of Israel. The question is whether this latest addition will break the impasse to become a dialogue.


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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.


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