Stop indulging Arab fantasies

Everyone is disappointed with Israel again:

[EU Foreign Affairs chief Catherine] Ashton urged Israel to “reverse” its decision to build 1,100 new housing units in Gilo, saying that “settlement activity” threatens the viability of a two-state solution.

Both Ashton and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague slammed Israel for seemingly ignoring the Quartet of Middle East mediators, which called last week for a resumption of peace talks and for both Israelis and Palestinians to resist “provocative actions” …

This new housing plan, Hague said, was just the kind of “provocative” move to be avoided. “Settlement expansion is illegal under international law [false -- ed.], corrodes trust and undermines the basic principle of land for peace,” Hague said, calling on Israel to “revoke this decision.”

Earlier, the United States said that Gilo plan was “counterproductive” and urged both Israel and the Palestinians not to take steps which could complicate resumption of direct peace talks.   “We are deeply disappointed by this morning’s announcement by the government of Israel,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

And Mahmoud Abbas said this in his UN speech last week:

The occupation is racing against time to redraw the borders on our land according to what it wants and to impose a fait accompli on the ground that changes the realities and that is undermining the realistic potential for the existence of the State of Palestine.

So where is Gilo? Let’s see exactly how it is “provocative” and “redraws the borders”?

Map showing Gilo neighborhood, 100 yards from 1949 armistice line. (h/t: Lenny Ben-David)

Map showing Gilo neighborhood, 100 yards from 1949 armistice line. Click for larger version (h/t: Lenny Ben-David)

Yes folks, this is what all the fuss is about: a few more apartments in an existing Jewish neighborhood where 40,000 Jews already live, located 100 yards from the Green Line, adjoining other Jewish neighborhoods and empty space.

Is it not 100% certain that if Israel and the Palestinians were to reach an agreement to create a Palestinian state that Gilo would end up on the Israeli side of the border? Let me put it another way: what imaginable Israeli government would agree to a treaty that would not place Gilo in Israel?

Palestinian Arab fantasies that the UN or the US is going to declare that everything outside the 1949 armistice line belongs to them so that they can move forward with their plan to expel the Jews are just that — fantasies.

So why do the US and Europe indulge them?

There are so many simply fraudulent issues here. One is the significance of the armistice line. It was not accepted by anyone — not the Jews and definitely not the Arabs —  as a border in 1949, and UNSC resolutions 242 and 338 clearly implied that it was not to become one. Jews lived on both sides of it, in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem until the Jordanian army ethnically cleansed the area in 1948. The UNSC resolutions and the Oslo agreement clearly indicated that the border would be determined by negotiations between the parties.

The idea that the land east of the line is ‘Palestinian’ has no basis in international law or treaty and has simply been repeated enough times by the Arabs and their supporters that many — apparently even those who should know better, like Ashton and Hague — have come to believe it or pretend to.

Another false issue is expressed by the comment I  heard recently that Israel is “gobbling up” the territories in order, as Abbas says, to “redraw the map.”  But no new settlements have been established since Oslo (unless you count tiny unauthorized ‘outposts’ that are torn down by Israeli police, sometimes rather aggressively). The construction that is so vehemently opposed is all within the boundaries  of existing settlements.

In fact, most of the population growth in Judea and Samaria is due to people having children. Only a net of 4000 people moved to the territories in 2010. So much for “gobbling up!”

Finally, the requirement that Israel refrain from construction across the Green Line is a new one, adopted by the Palestinians in 2010, with the help of Barack Obama. Settlements did not prevent Israel from returning the Sinai to Egypt or (unfortunately) from evacuating Gaza.

The Palestinian strategy is simple: promise  serious negotiations if Israel will just [fill in the blank]. Then let the ‘international community’ pressure Israel. If Israel concedes, then there is suddenly another ‘roadblock to peace’. Israel is weakened, new starting points are set, and the process begins again. Of course there can never be truly serious negotiations, because the Palestinians will never agree to end the conflict while a Jewish state exists.

Now that the Security Council vote is hanging over Israel’s head (as Caroline Glick explained recently), there is yet another club to beat Israel with.

But there are real subjects that could be discussed, if there were interest in ending the conflict on both sides. They are, for example,

  1. Israel’s security needs
  2. Recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people
  3. Agreement on a solution to the refugee problem outside of Israel

Unfortunately, there will be no agreement on these because they negate the heart of today’s Palestinian position and the Palestinian cause itself.  Until there is a Palestinian leadership that can accept the idea that there will be a Jewish state, there’s no point in talking.

Israel should make this clear to the US President, EU officials, and everyone else. It should not participate in a phony ‘peace process’ based on fraudulent issues like construction outside of the Green Line, which will only gnaw away at Israel’s security without bringing peace any closer.

If this means taking unilateral steps like annexing parts of the territories and letting the chips in the UN fall where they may, so be it.

The Israeli Left is fond of saying “the status quo is not viable,” referring to the status quo in the territories. I would prefer to say “continuing the so-called ‘peace process’ is unsupportable.”

If there can’t be an honest conversation, let there be no conversation at all.

Update [1806 PDT]: Read more about Gilo and its history here.

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One Response to “Stop indulging Arab fantasies”

  1. NormanF says:

    The 1949 so called “Green Line” was never a formal border, but simply an armistice line where the Israeli, Jordanian and Syrian armies stopped fighting on a certain day that year. No one until 1967 claimed it was ever a border as the Arabs did not then – and do not today – recognize Israel’s existence. The Arabs turned it into a border after Israel won the Six Day War to recover what they lost through a war of aggression against the Jewish State. This sleight of hand was a brilliant propaganda victory for them, which regrettably enough, Israel did nothing to refute. The Arab Big Lie then became accepted as fact, even by Western officials who should know better. In truth, as a result of fighting a defensive war, Israel has a better legal title to Jerusalem and Judea and Samara than any other claimant. None existed after 1967 and the Palestinian claim is not a superior one but simply a competing claim to the territory. By denying to Israel the right to assert its own claim, the West is only serving to perpetuate the conflict.

    Such claims are supposed to be resolved through negotiations. By indulging Arab fantasies they don’t have to compromise to make with Israel, the West is not only rewarding Arab intransigence, it is dismissive of Israel’s equally valid claim and setting back peace efforts for decades. Favoring the Arab side is not only blatant anti-Semitism; it reduces the credibility of the West as an impartial broker in Israeli eyes. There are real issues to be sure that divide Israel and the Arabs – phony lines on a map and alleged settlement expansion are not among them. Above all, the real reason negotiations won’t happen anytime soon is because the core of the Israel-Arab conflict has never been about land, it has always been about the existence of the Jewish State. That is the real issue blocking peace today that needs to be addressed – everything else is an irrelevant sideshow at best.