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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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.


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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:

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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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