The elephant at the 'peace talks'Yes, I crashed last night. Sorry. And that was after being out for several hours at the kids' PTA meeting.
Sunday's events show a huge elephant at the 'peace talks' table that has not been confronted. It's time to bring that elephant out in the open rather than letting it lurk in the shadows. I'm going to use Ethan Bronner's New York Times piece as a jumping off point (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Every year in mid-May, many Palestinians observe what they call “the nakba,” or catastrophe, the anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948 and the war in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians lost their homes through expulsion and flight. But this was the first year that Palestinian refugees and their supporters in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, inspired by the recent protests around the Arab world, tried to breach Israel’s military border from all sides.This is the key point, and unfortunately, rather than treating it as an objective fact, the Times treated it as just something Prime Minister Netanyahu said when it went on to quote Netanyahu,
“The Palestinians are not less rebellious than other Arab peoples,” said Ali Baraka, a Hamas representative in Lebanon.
“The leaders of these violent demonstrations, their struggle is not over the 1967 borders but over the very existence of Israel, which they describe as a catastrophe that must be resolved,” he said. “It is important that we look with open eyes at the reality and be aware of whom we are dealing with and what we are dealing with.”I often refer to the separation between Judea and Samaria on the one hand, and Gaza on the other, as an elephant in the room at the 'peace talks.' It's something that's staring us in the face, but no one wants to deal with it because all the 'creative solutions' in the World aren't going to resolve the fact that you would have to cross what would be left of Israel to get from one to the other - or cut Israel in half (God forbid) to make a contiguous 'Palestinian state' as the past two administrations have promised.
But that elephant is tiny compared with the 'refugees' and there has been less 'progress' on that issue than on any other issue over the last 18 years. That's because it's an issue that cannot be resolved and Sunday's events show why.
For starters, look what Abu Mazen - who according to the Palileaks papers was ready to make concessions on the 'refugee' issue - had to say about Sunday's events. Again from Bronner:
Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, saluted the protesters in a televised speech, referring to the dead as martyrs. “The blood of the nakba fatalities was not spilled in vain,” he said. “They died for the Palestinian people’s rights and freedom.”These people didn't die for Abu Mazen's alleged 'Palestinian state' in Judea and Samaria; they died trying to negate the existence of a Jewish state anywhere. What Abu Mazen has concluded is that the Arab countries will not let him cut a deal with Israel even if he wanted to make one, and that the Obama administration is going to do nothing to stand up to the rejectionists either. And so, he makes statements in support of those who keep pushing for maximalist demands.
Second, note that the Arab countries keep pushing the Saudi plan. The key feature of the Saudi plan that makes it a non-starter for Israel is... the 'right of return' of the 'refugees.' If these miserable lost souls who have been effectively held hostage for the last 63 years were to 'return' to Israel (a county that most of them have never seen in person), there won't be a Jewish state left. Of course, that's exactly what the Arab countries want. So they pretend that there's a separate 'people' known as 'Palestinians' (who happen to have relatives throughout the Arab world) and that these 'people' need a 'homeland.' Yes, folks, the entire concept of a 'Palestinian' distinct from the Arab people as a whole is a lie.
And so, at the 'peace talks' one of the things that 'everyone knows' - that there will be no 'right of return' for 'Palestinian refugees' to Israel - is something that those 'refugees' and the Arab countries in which they live don't 'know' and are vigorously fighting. The 'refugee issue' is put off to the end of the 'peace talks' since what everyone really does know is that there is no chance of reaching an agreement about it. In fact, the real stakeholders in the 'refugee' issue (other than Israel) aren't even sitting at the table. And if they were sitting at the table, what compromise might they reach? What could be given to them that would induce them to forfeit what they see as a 'right of return' so long as the consequences of that forfeiture would leave them stateless?
What Sunday should prove - for those who still needed proof - is that the conflict between Israel and the Arabs is not about the 'occupation' and ending the 'occupation' is not going to end the conflict. The Arabs don't define the 'occupation' the way the 'sane' Israeli Left does. The Arabs define the 'occupation' as including the entire State of Israel, including Jaffa and Acre and 'west' Jerusalem and Lod and Ramle and Avivim - the small Moshav that faces Maroun al-Ras from which Lebanese tried to breach our border on Sunday. All the talk about ending the 'occupation' and bringing 'peace' is therefore total and utter hogwash, except for those who are willing to commit suicide to make the Arab world, the Europeans, the UN and the Obama administration happy. Most of us are not willing to do that.
Make no mistake about it. It's us or them. Hopefully our leadership is wise enough to take advantage of our God-given gifts to do all we can to make sure that it ends up being us and not them. If we try to help ourselves, and pray a lot, hopefully God will help us to survive.