Published by The Freeman Center

The Maccabean Online

Political Analysis and Commentary
on Israeli and Jewish Affairs

"For Zion's sake I shall not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest."



NY Times Arab-Israeli Agreement Posed

by David Basch

13 February 2011

(Revised 15 February 2011) 



    "We must suspect that we have in this plan the
    opening gambit of a new 'peace plan' that ... will
    eventually involve pressure from President Obama as
    well as from the weak-kneed European nations.... It
    appears more likely a plan to achieve Phases II
    and III of the Arab plan to destroy Israel,..."

    "Besides finally relinquishing most of the Israel's
    territories, it would also relinquish the "holy"
    Jerusalem area to international control -- a sure
    loser for Israel since internationals don't support
    Israeli interests...."

    "Why in the world would any Israeli consider
    setting up a new Arab national entity that requires
    intervening foreign armies to keep the peace?..."

    "Netanyahu ... selects ... an unaggressive general to be the
     new head of Israel's General staff. Alas, the latter prevents any
     thinking outside of the box that Israel is in -- a box that
     accepts the Arab definition of the conflict .... If Israel is to survive,
     it will need to overcome these false Arab dictate. Dialogue will not
     be the way that Arabs will be convinced not to mess with Israel's
     existence."


The nature of negotiations between Israel and the Arabs is of a
curious kind. It involves an Israeli side that has peace as its goal
and an Arab side that has as its goal the destruction of Israel.
Naturally, there is little to compromise on a goal like destroying
Israel since, like death, it is or it isn't. On the other hand, the
Israeli goal of peace offers much room for give. After all, since the
Arab side will not budge, it is only the Israeli side that can
compromise, bargaining for various intervals of peace in return for
piecemeal, weakening Israeli concessions.

And there you have the history of Israeli peacemaking. Its proponents
say that it is designed to win, step by step, Arab hearts by Israeli
restraint and concessions. But after many decades, how many hearts has
Israel won over from the Arab side? On this, Caroline Glick reports
that Arab hatred of Jews and Israel remains in the neighborhood of the
80th and 90th percentiles. Clearly, returns from this policy over 40
years is, to say the least, meager. The mystery is why supposedly
intelligent Israelis tolerate governments and policies that have shown
such ineptness and ineffectiveness.

But hope springs eternal in the Jewish breast. We read in the NY Times
Magazine an article by Bernard Avishai, "A Plan for Peace That Still
Could Be" (2.13.11). Judging from experience, it must be expected that
we have in this plan the opening gambit of a new "peace plan" that is
about to be launched, one eventually involving the heavy hand of
President Obama as well as that of weak-kneed European nations. From
the looks of it, it appears to be a plan that is less likely to bring
peace than to achieve Phases II and III of the Arab plan to destroy
Israel, being set in the guise of solving the conflict by establishing
a new Arab state on Israel's territory.

All the assumptions made in the plan accept the Arab view of the
Arab-Israeli conflict. For example, the plan assumes Israel is the
"occupier" of Arab land -- East Jerusalem is meant here. This view,
the plan notes, is taken from current US policy -- a USA policy which
years before under Reagan considered these territories "disputed." How
come this transformation of view that is not based on any change in
conditions from that before and yet is still considered bedrock? Real
peacemaking ought to be practiced within a more neutral format.

Unfortunately, many of the Arab views also corresponds to view of
Israeli Leftists, who have long sought to relieve Israel of its
historic lands and who will probably be ecstatic about these aspects
of the plan since they think it will weaken the morale of the Right
wingers. The Leftists supporting the plan will probably include
Netanyahu, who was the first Prime Minister to champion a new Arab
state and proudly touts the 8% yearly growth of the Arab economy in
the territories as a harbinger of peace. (In his economist mind, he
thinks that strengthening the Arab economy in the territories will
weaken Arab support for destroying Israel -- not a very good bet.)

Netanyahu also keeps on as Defense Minister the noted surrender
artist, Ehud Barak, and selects (as I read in reports) an unaggressive
general to be the new head of Israel's General staff. Alas, the latter
prevents any thinking outside of the box that Israel is in -- a box that
accepts the Arab definition of the conflict that sees Israel as the
occupier of Arab territory. But unlike Leftist Israelis, the Arabs
mean by "occupation" all of Israel. If Israel is to survive, it will
need to overcome these false Arab dictates. Dialogue will not be
the way that Arabs will be convinced not to mess with Israel's existence.

The new plan unveiled was the result of the efforts of Ehud Olmert
negotiating with Mahmoud Abbas. Besides proposing to relinquish most
of the Israel's territories, it would also relinquish the "holy"
Jerusalem area to international control -- a sure loser for Israel
since internationals don't support Israeli interests. Besides, this
would be a major, divisive blow to a majority of conservative
Israelis.

In addition, the plan leaves open all the killer issues of the
conflict -- issues like the return of the millions of "Arab refugees."
While some formulas are discussed about compromises, mentioning low
figures of Arabs going to Israel, it tricks Israel's acceptance of the
validity of the right of millions of Arabs to come and overwhelm Israel,
a concession that would soon turn into a new press to bring in the
many millions not covered for return. There are just too many
ambiguities here that can eventually work for the Arab side when
they decide to abrogate the agreement, as they have done in the case
of ALL other agreements signed.

And then there are the matters of the control of air space over the
new Arab state and control of the defense line along the Jordan River
valley. The latter would be policed by international forces, no doubt,
the kind that was supposed to keep Lebanon's Hizbullah from arming
along Israel's northern border and that, in the past in other areas,
has high tailed when pressed by terrorists or other pressures.

Were the Arabs really serious about wanting peace, the fuzziness of
the plan would not be an enormous problem. But history does not offer
many good lessons about the strength of this Arab peace intent. What
is more, as we learn from reports by Caroline Glick, the unifying
issue of the Arab world is hatred of Israel and this is not different
among the Arabs of the territories. If anything, a strengthened Arab
side would release pressures on these Arabs and would intensify their
hatred and press for finishing the job of finishing off Israel and
they would be further empowered in doing so. Israel's destruction is
placed above the highest joy of the Arab masses and credible
protecting against this reality should be uppermost in formulating any
plan.

But given this reality of hatred, why in the world would any Israeli
consider setting up a new Arab national entity that requires
intervening foreign armies to keep the peace? If such intervention is
needed, then, in fact, there is no peace about to be established.
Certainly, there should be no interest in policies that only
strengthen the enemy in war. Far better for Israel to control its own
defenses (and work to increase them) rather than depend on others who
have less interest in defending Israel or, for that matter, in
supporting Israel's existence.

Sure, the Olmert plan forbids the new Arabs state from making
agreements with nations not at peace with Israel and provides air
rights for a number of years for Israeli air defenses. But how long
will that benign situation last in a new Arab state? Once brought to
life, this 800 pound gorilla would sleep where it wishes, as the
beasts of Lebanon and Gaza have done, despite the assurances given by
the US and even by Israeli military leaders (like Barak), who assured
each time he urged Israeli concessions of control of areas that Arab
violations would bring severe, decisive Israeli reaction -- the kind of decisive
military action that have not been seen since the 67 War, despite the
many such Arab violations of agreements.

I notice that one conspicuous element in the plan is the Arab demand
that Ariel with its 18,000 Jews be removed. This is among the divisive
issues of the plan that Abbas demands be incorporated, an issue
calculated to divide Israelis. While Olmert refused this, it remains
an Abbas demand. Notice, Israelis must leave Arab lands but no
requirement demands that Arabs leave Jewish land. Expelling Israelis
living in Ariel is the kind of demand that serves as a lingering
pretext and a "causes belli" reason for the Arabs to break their
agreement when the time is ripe for them.

This is a plan that attempts to sell the "snake oil" that the intense
hatred of Jews and Israel that is central to the Arab world is merely
a figment and that all those many solid indicators that tell of its
all too real presence are to be ignored. It is the kind of peace myths
that is easily sold to the 77% of US Jews that voted for Obama and who
believe in peace in the abstract as their highest aspiration. They
think this demand for peace shows how high-minded and wonderful they
are -- supposedly a high-mindedness that is different from that of the
kind of Jews that the Arabs universally revile. If this is not a
manifestation of a Stockholm Syndrome of deep fear motivating love and
cooperation with the fearful Arab enemy -- not at all a sign of love
of peace and high mindedness -- then decades of psychological study of
effects on threatened populations have no meaning.

About such insignificant things as the safety and security of a real
Israel facing the Arab menace, these are just fine with the 77%, just
so long as Israel doesn't attempt to make facts like a threatening
Arab enemy a barrier to the more important peace-or-bust goal that
this 77% aspire to and to which a world that likewise fears the Arabs
is demanding from Israel. That this new plan appears in the very bible
of Liberal Jewry, the NY Times -- the source of the propaganda that
promotes out their phony, self-serving reality -- is another giveaway
on the fact that this is a new scam on Israel. The NY Times hardly
misses an opportunity to denigrate traditional religion and religious
behests to weaken the ardor of the Jewish people and its supporters to
realize this religious heritage and we have one more instance of this
in this plan -- or haven't the 77% or their supporters noticed?

* * * * * * *

David Basch is an architect and city planner in New York as well as the Freeman Center's political philosopher. Basch is also an expert on Shakespeare and the author of the book The Hidden Shakespeare, which proves through talmudic and other Jewish sources that Shakespeare was in fact Jewish.