Thursday, November 10. 2005
The Case for Delusion
A review of Alan Dershowitz’s The Case for Peace (Wiley and Sons, NYC, 2005)By: David Bedein
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has written a book that is based
on commonly held assumptions about the Middle East. The surprise is that
a man of his stature never bothered to ascertain the veracity of these
PALESTINIAN WILLINGNESS TO COMPROMISE ON THE RIGHT OF RETURN?
Professor Dershowitz asserts that the “Palestinian leadership seems
willing to compromise on the right of return,” yet he cannot find any footnote to support any such newsworthy assertion. He also states that “Although
Mahmood Abbas insisted on a full right of return during his election
campaign, he has, since becoming president, moderated his stance
Yet Dershowitz only relies on a New York Times correspondent who
thinks that this is the case, and cannot point to any such statement by Abbas to his own people in his own language and media.
Meanwhile, Professor Dershowitz calls for the “symbolic recognition”
of the “rights of Palestinian refugees’ which would include a
“compensation package and some family reunification, without addressing implications of what it would mean for Israel if the Jewish State were to absorb a hostile population in its midst, without addressing the issue of who would choose which families would be “reunited”.
Professor Dershowitz does not address the legal precedent that such
recognition would create for all Palestinian Arab refugees and their
descendants who demand the ”right of return.” While he writes that
Palestinians stake claim to all lands lost in 1967, he neglects to
mention that the PLO claims all lands lost in all of their wars with Israel in
the context of the consistent PLO demands for the realization of the
“right of return” to lands lost in 1948.
Instead, Prof. Dershowitz calls on Israel to allow for a “reasonable
number” of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to
their “homes” in Israel, yet he does not address the situation that would be
created if, say, Israel were to allow 5% of the four million refugees
and their descendents now registered with UNRWA’s refugee camps to
“return,” an act that would force Israel to allow 200,000 people from a hostile entity to reside in Israel itself.
And he brings no source whatsoever to the possibility that the PLO
would accept any such “compromise.”
Professor Dershowitz asserts that the Palestinian leadership “would
have to waive or compromise the broad, collective political ‘right’ to turn
Israel into another Palestinian state by orchestrating a mass return of
Palestinians to Israel,” yet he produces no evidence that the
Palestinian leadership would make any such move. .
Professor Dershowitz posits that “Israel should declare, in principle,
its willingness to give up the captured territories in return for a firm
assurance of lasting peace,” yet he does not show any hint o evidence
that the PLO would be willing to provide any such “firm assurance”.
DIVIDING JERUSALEM LEADING TO PEACE?
Perhaps most astonishing of all is Dershowitz’s call for a “division
of greater Jerusalem,” with the “Arab part becoming the capital of the
Palestinian State,” without relating to the fact that Arab & Jewish
neighborhoods are intertwined in Jerusalem. For example, when you
drive from the Israeli neighborhood of Gilo to Katamon, you travel through
the Arab neighorhood of Beit Tzfafa. And when you travel from the Israeli
neighborhoods of Neve Yaakov to French Hill, you traverse the Shuafat
and Beit Hanina. And when you travel from Mount Scopus to the center of
town, you traverse Wadi Jose. Imagine what it would be like to have to
negotiate a PLO army base in the middle of Jerusalem. In other words, his suggestion would mean that PLO armed forces would be placed at the edge
of every Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. Yet he asserts that “Jerusalem must be divided for peace,” without saying on what basis he comes to the conclusion that relinquishing neighborhoods of Jerusalem to the PLO, which remains at war with Israel, would lead to peace. He advocates “Palestinian sovereignty in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem,” without explaining to the reader that sovereignty means guns in the hands of the PLO in Jerusalem, and that if his suggestion were implemented, it would be life-threatening to Jews throughout Jerusalem.
Prof. Dershowitz also asserts that the “Moslem Quarter should be under
Palestinian or Islamic Authority,” without taking into consideration
the Jewish population who live and own property in the Moslem Quarter,
which, by the way, has only been known as the “Moslem Quarter” since the
Mufti-inspired expulsion of the Jewish population in that part of
Jerusalem in 1936. He also asserts that the Temple Mount, on which two
mosques stand, “should be largely under the sovereignty and control of
the Palestinians and Moslems,” without taking into consideration that such
sovereignty would mean possession of weapons, which would allow armed
Palestinians to threaten lives of Jewish worshippers below at the
Western Wall Plaza.
PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP DESIRE FOR PEACE?
Somehow, Dershowitz comes to the conclusion that “mainstream Israelis
and mainstream Palestinians, along with their respective governments, are
largely on the same side: they all want peace, compromise and a two
state solution,” yet no one has ever found mainstream Palestinians who make such expressions of compromise in the official publications, radio or TV broadcasts of the official Arabic language Palestinian Authority media.
Professor Dershowitz posits that the “only real hope for peace is that
the current Palestinian leadership will be more like the pragmatic
leadership of the Jewish Agency in 1937 and 1948,” yet he provides no evidence that the PA leadership has expressed any such pragmatism in their public statements to their own people in the Arabic language.
Professor Dershowitz refers to preventive measures by PA armed forces
against terrorists, yet he brings no sources to support any such
Professor Dershowitz gives credence to the assertion of Tom Friedman
from the New York Times that “hot pursuit” of terrorists does not work ,
yet he does not say on what basis he accepts that premise. He does not
relate to the fact that the IDF’s dispatch of troops inside Palestinian
population centers, since April 2002, has served to curtail infiltrations of
Professor Dershowitz contends that Abbas condemned a terror attack in
Tel Aviv in February, 2005, yet brings no evidence from Palestinian
Authority Arabic language media to support that assertion, and makes no mention of the honor that the official Arabic language Palestinian Authority media afforded these killers..
Since monitoring the Arabic language expression of the Palestinian
Authority has become a cottage industry of late , Professor Dershowitz
could have accessed Palestinian Authority media from news
organizations that retain credible Arabic speaking professionals such as the Israel Resource News Agency, The Intelligence and Terrorism Information
Center, IMRA, PMW, MEMRI or Middle East News Line, all of which produce timely and publicly available updated reports from what is said in the PA public domain.
None of these organizations have found that “ mainstream Palestinians”
express support for “peace, compromise and a two state solution,” in
their own language and in their own media, except in Dershowitz’s
Furthermore Professor Dershowitz fantasizes that the Palestinian
state might become “economically viable, politically secure, religiously
free, and protective of individual rights,” yet makes no mention of the
rampant corruption in a PA regime which is currently devoid of human rights and civil liberties.
Is this the same Alan Dershowitz who has made his name synonymous with
his lifelong struggle for human rights and civil liberties?
Professor Dershowitz advocates a “secure elevated highway” between
Judea/Samaria and Gaza, without taking into consideration that since
the PLO remains in a state of war with Israel, this not give them the
opportunity to fire on Israeli lands from their “elevated road” on
Israeli vehicles and on Israeli communities in the Negev.
Professor Dershowitz quotes the covenant of the Hamas to dispossess
the Jews and destroy Israel, which remains in force, yet makes no mention of the PLO covenant which also remains in force with the same goals.
Professor Dershowitz asserts that the “only way that Israel is going
to have security is if the Palestinians provide it by restraining their
own…” , yet he does not relate to the fact that the PLO has not foresworn its war against Israel, raising the question of why an entity at war with
Israel would “restrain” their forces.
Professor Dershowitz gives credence to the statement of President
Bush’s press secretary that the Israelis and Palestinians “must work together to fight terror”, yet he does not relate to the fact that over the last
five years, the security services of the PA have been engaged in direct
acts of terror against the state and people of Israel.
Professor Dershowitz does mention that Palestinians have been raised in
hatred of Jews, and that this is a by product of their school
curricula, and then go on to mention The Hamas Charter, yet he does not mention the fact that the schools curriculum, available in English at
www.edume.org, is produced by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education, and not by Hamas.
Professor Dershowitz does report that the PA Minister of Information
requested that the Religious Affairs Ministry dismiss Sheik Ibraham
Mudreis from his position after Mudreis had delivered an anti semitic sermon, yet he does not report that the Religious Affairs Ministry simply refused the request to fire Mudreis, and that Mudreis continues to deliver his virulent message every Friday as a paid employee of the PA, and that his speeches are broadcast by the official PBC Radio and RBC TV.
Professor Dershowitz reports that the “elders of Zion” allegation was
removed from an official PA web site, yet he neglects to report
that.that the PA refused to remove the “Elders of Zion” lesson from its new
official tenth grade civics book issued this past year by he PA education
ministry, despite the protests of 34 congress people who petitioned Abbas when he visited Washington in May 2005 to remove such blatant anti-Semitism from the PA curriculum?
Incidentally, he writes that the PA negotiators at Camp David “seemed”
to accept the limitation of the PA armed forces to “only” have light
weapons, yet he brings no Palestinian source to support any such assertion.
Professor Dershowitz mentions that Al Aksa Brigades is one of the
terrorist organizations threatening the stability of Abbas’s regime,
yet forgets to mention that the Al Aksa Brigades remain an integral part
of the Fateh, and that Abbas remains the chairman of the Fateh.
Professor Dershowitz does mention “incitement to violence from
Palestinians themselves”, and yet only alludes to Hamas, and mentions
that the Imams who preach hatred on Palestinian-run radio and television,
official textbooks, and neglects to mention that this message of hatred
emanates from the official Palestinian Authority-run radio station and
TV, and that the Palestinian Authority employs these imams, and that the PA has done nothing to ameliorate the hatred which emanates from its education system
Professor Dershowitz expresses confidence that Palestinian pragmatism
will emerge, yet he cites no statements made by Palestinian leaders to
their own people in the Arabic language which would support any such
Professor Dershowitz devotes much space to resentment of those who
engage in holocaust denial, yet makes no mention of Abbas’s PhD. which
promotes holocaust denial.
Professor Dershowitz mentions the Palestinian “thirst for education”,
yet he does not address the connection between current Palestinian
Authority education and incitement to terrorism. He could have mentioned
how incitement to terror remains a focus of the curriculum at
Palestinian Universities., as shown in studies conducted by The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Herzelia, or he could have mentioned
the study of Palestinian school books conducted by the Center for
Monitoring the Impact of Peace.
Professor Dershowitz rewrites history when he asserts that Ben Gurion
sank the Altelana because he wanted to “prevent arms from reaching Israeli paramilitary groups such as Etzel...and Lechi.” And he ignores the fact
that the IDF fired on the Altelena and killed 19 Jewish passengers
only AFTER an agreement had been reached to hand over ALL of the weapons on board the ship to the IDF.
Professor Dershowitz even ascribes past peaceful intentions to Syria,
and writes that “Syria seemed willing at least for a time to make peace
with Israel in exchange for the Golan Heights and other considerations…,”
yet he brings no documentation of any kind that Syria ever sought peace with Israel.
COPING WITH REALITY?
Professor Dershowitz waits until page 91 in the eighth chapter
of his CASE FOR PEACE to comment that “ a Palestinian state may
probably evolve into a launching pad for terrorism”, and notes only on page 96 in chapter nine that “Abbas will not disarm terrorist
organizations”. Such statements, buried in the midst of his book,
undermine almost every premise of theoretical possibility of peace with
the Palestinian entity, and he then goes back to asserting assumptions that
the new Palestinian entity will make peace with Israel.
Professor Dershowitz suggests that US troops could be positioned to
respond to terror attacks on Israel, yet he does not relate to the danger that
US troops placed in the line of fire would be hurt in response to attacks
on the sovereign state of Israel.
Yet even after Professor Dershowitz notes that Abbas will not disarm
terrorists, he still advocates light weapons for the PA armed forces.
Why? Does he not know that the PA’s armed forces have used light
weapons to murder hundreds of Israeli citizens, especially over the past five years. His reassurance that the PA entity would have to “control
terror in its midst” is left hanging, since he gives no indication that the
PA will ever “control terror in its midst”.
Instead, he concludes with a bland wish for “democratic governance”
Professor Dershowitz makes no reference to the 51 dissidents against
Abbas who linger on death row, and makes no reference to
the proposed Palestinian State Constitution, which denies juridical
status to Judaism and to Christianity and which is based on the Sharia
Is this a prescription for “democratic governance”?
Is the PA attitude towards democracy since its inception not an
indication of how a PLO state would behave?
Then again, Professor Alan Dershowitz did not base his book on what
the Palestinian Authority conveys in the Arabic language, in their own
media, to their own people, but rather on what he hopes they would be saying.
However, Professor Dershowitz’s immense credibility and access to the
media , the damage that this book to Israel will be immeasurable.
Instead of using his immense skills to challenge questionable
assumptions that this book is based on , Prof. Dershowitz has written a book that joins the cacophony of detractors of Israel, adding his respected voice to their chorus.
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