Tag Archives: Judea

Obama’s four-state solution

 

Israel has no reason to withdraw from Judea and Samaria. Absorbing the areas into sovereign Israel will not endanger the country demographically.

Palestinian rally in Gaza, December 2013.

Palestinian rally in Gaza, December 2013. Photo: REUTERS

Inadvertently, President Barack Obama just made an important contribution to our understanding of the Palestinian conflict with Israel.

Since Hamas ousted all PLO forces from the Gaza Strip in 2007, Gaza has operated as a separate political entity from Judea and Samaria. Indeed, it has been a de facto independent Palestinian state, controlled by Hamas.

Gaza’s only connection to Judea and Samaria has been financial. Every month, the PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria transfers tens of millions of dollars in US and other international donor funds to Gaza to finance the terror state.

Despite the clear distinction between the two areas, the US and the rest of the world have continued to insist that an Israeli-PLO peace deal will cover Gaza as well as Judea and Samaria. Obama always insists that a future Palestinian state must be “territorially contiguous,” meaning in a final deal Israel will be required to cut itself in half in order to give the Palestinians a land corridor connecting Gaza with Judea and Samaria.

But during his remarks at the Saban Forum on Saturday, Obama let the cat out of the bag. Gaza, he admitted, is a separate entity. A peace deal, he explained, “is going to have to happen in stages.”

As he sees it, a peace deal will involve an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. A post-Israel Judea and Samaria will be so wonderful that the Gazans will decide to join it.

Obama explained, “If there is a model where young Palestinians in Gaza are looking and seeing that in the West Bank Palestinians are able to live in dignity, with self-determination, and suddenly their economy is booming and trade is taking place because they have created an environment in which Israel is confident about its security and a lot of the old barriers to commerce and educational exchange and all that has begun to break down, that’s something that the young people of Gaza are going to want. And the pressure that will be placed for the residents of Gaza to experience that same future is something that is going to be I think overwhelmingly appealing.”

Before considering whether Gazans will likely behave as Obama expects them to, we need to consider the implications of his assertion that Gaza will not be automatically included in a peace deal.

Israelis and Palestinians engage one another for different reasons. Israelis are told we need to engage the Palestinians because they pose a demographic threat to our continued viability as a Jewish state.

In his remarks at the Saban Forum, Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that the Palestinian “demographic time bomb” is an existential threat on the level of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. If we don’t vacate Judea and Samaria as we vacated Gaza, he warned, we will be doomed as a Jewish nation state.

For the Palestinians, the peace process is supposed to lead to a satisfaction of their assumed yearning for self-determination as a nation.

Israeli demographics and Palestinian nationalism have been the basic assumptions upon which the peace process has been based. But the Obama-recognized fact that Gaza is a separate political entity demonstrates the emptiness of both.

The truth is that the “demographic time bomb” is a PLO-concocted lie. In its 1997 census, the PLO falsified its data and inflated the number of Palestinians by 50 percent.

They then projected natural growth and immigration rates that bore no relation whatsoever to reality.

In truth, demography is one of Israel’s strongest advantages, not an existential threat. Were Israel to absorb the Palestinian populations of Gaza and Judea and Samaria tomorrow, Israel’s Jewish majority would be reduced from 78% to well over 50%. While Israel’s Jewish identity would not be in doubt, it would be weakened.

On the other hand, without Gaza, there is no demographic threat to Israel’s Jewish majority. If Israel applies its sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and offers a path to citizenship to its Palestinian residents, Israel would still retain a two-thirds Jewish majority. And if current fertility and immigration rates hold, within 15 to 20 years, Jews could well restore their 80 percent majority overall.

Then there is the Palestinian nationalism issue.

Obama’s acknowledgement that Gazans will have to be convinced to join a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria exposes the lie at the heart of it. Since the League of Nations assigned both sides of the Jordan River to the Jewish people in 1922, the international community has insisted that the path to peace will be forged by taking land from the Jews and giving it to the Arabs.

First we had a two-state solution when Jordan, with its overwhelming Palestinian majority, was carved out of the Jewish territory.

For the past 20 years, we have been told that we need a three-state solution with another Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, we have had two Palestinian states – in Gaza and Jordan. And yet, the Gazans who we are told are motivated by nationalist aspirations have refused to declare an independent Palestinian state in Gaza. And now Obama is talking about a four-state solution – three Palestines and one rump Israel.

The Palestinians’ refusal to ever view the areas under their control as the focus of their nationalist aspirations indicates that there is something awry in the international community’s assumption that the Palestinians are motivated by nationalist aspirations.

And that brings us to Obama’s projection that once the Gazans see how great things are in post-Israel Judea and Samaria, they will join the peace train. We’ve been told things like this before.

In 1993 we were told that the Palestinians as a whole would embrace peace once Israel recognized the PLO and allowed it to set up an autonomous government in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In the event, the Palestinians became more violent and radicalized and anti-Jewish under PLO rule, until in 2006 they elected Hamas to lead them.

In 2005 we were told that once Israel vacated Gaza, the Gazans would abandon their war against Israel and use their energies to transform Gaza into a Middle Eastern Singapore. Instead they transformed it into a Middle Eastern Afghanistan.

In 2007, after Hamas ousted the PLO from Gaza, we were told that the international community would pour so much money into the PLO-run PA in Judea and Samaria that the Gazans would decide that they want the PLO back. Instead, Hamas has grown more popular in Judea and Samaria.

In other words, there is no reason to think Obama’s sunny projection is correct.

Clearly without meaning to, Obama told us the truth.

There is no demographic time bomb. Israel has no reason to withdraw from Judea and Samaria. Absorbing the areas into sovereign Israel will not endanger the country demographically.

And the fact that the Gazans do not see themselves as part of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, (or in Jordan), shows that the Palestinian national movement is not what it has been billed as. Obama’s four-state solution is not about demography or Palestinian nationalism.

It is about making up reasons to force Israel to surrender its strategic and historic heartland.

caroline@carolineglick.com

To the attention of US SecState John Kerry

Israel’s former UN Ambassador Yehuda Blum on Jewish rights in Judea and Samaria.

 

UN Agencies Prevent Peace in Israel

Asaf Romirowsky

The John Kerry-Martin Indyk negotiating team needs to come to terms with the fact that the crux of the Middle East conflict is rooted in the Palestinian “Right of Return,” the collective demand claiming a legal and moral right for Palestinian refugees, and more importantly, for their descendants from around the world, to return to ancestral homes in Israel that were once part of Mandatory Palestine. The “right of return” is central to Palestinian national identity and is the barrier to any successful peace agreement.

Indyk is very aware from his past involvement in Camp David in 2000 that insisting on the Palestinian Right of Return is a clear non-starter for Israel as it is mostly used to deflect attention from the real hard honest talks. The real issues include mutual recognition then a discussion about land swaps.

While it maybe easier or convenient at times to believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is purely territorial, a closer look at the reality reveals that Palestinian rejectionism of a Jewish State at large is what prolongs the conflict rather than the question of Jerusalem or the borders of 1949 or 1967. To that end, the Palestinian identity as perpetual refugees has become UNRWA’s raison d’être.

Consequently, those hoping to see genuine progress in this next round of negotiations face two major obstacles: UNRWA’s anomalous treatment of the Palestinian refugees which prolongs the conflict; and, second, the lack of an independent Palestinian identity which is not anti-Zionist at its core. Both have enabled UNRWA to become an integral fixture in Palestinian society that fuels the conflict rather than defuses it.

Toxic Enablers

Recently, the Guardian exposed a perversion in a report about global refugee trends by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In the report, the agency omits the Palestinian refugees in counting up the numbers of refugees worldwide. Further, the Guardian correctly noted that, “perhaps mentioning the Palestinian refugees might raise in people’s minds the question as to how it was that almost 5 million people and their descendants … became refugees.”

Such inquiries clearly would question UNRWA’s role in perpetuating and expanding the number of Palestinian refugees worldwide rather than decreasing its clientele — something its sister agency UNHCR, which has a more pragmatic definition of refugees, actually does.

There is a clear political agenda in having generation upon generation of Palestinians repeating the fallacies of 1948. It is remarkable that even the UNHCR seems to recognize this absurdity.Yet the agency has managed to keep itself in business for the past 65 years convincing the world that the Palestinians are “special.” As such agency officials have continually promised a right of return as UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness pointed out in 2011, “established principles and practice—as well as realities on the ground—clearly refute the argument that the right of return of Palestine refugees would disappear or be abandoned if UNHCR were responsible for these refugees.”

As Palestinian “refugeeness” above all is synonymous with Palestinian national identity it has been worn as a “badge of honor” and an evergreen reminder of the Nakba – the supposed catastrophe of Israel’s birth. In this story the Arabs of Palestinian are blameless and have no responsibility whatsoever for their unfortunate destiny; their own decisions and those of their leaders, go unmentioned.

In fact historically, the Arab world has a significant amount of responsibility for the situation, having encouraged and facilitated the refugees’ flight – to a large degree. But in this narrative it is none other than the UN and UNRWA who are the toxic enablers who are now helping fuel this story for generations.Why UNRWA does this is evident: Its continued existence is at jeopardy. It has every reason to entangle itself into Palestinian society and to become more of an obstruction to a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

It is exactly for this very reason that if these renewed talks are going to have any chance of success both Washington and Jerusalem need to learn from past mistakes and leverage the significant amount of dollars we have poured into UNRWA which only perpetuates the problem and look for real solutions starting with ending the right of return.

This article was originally published by Ynet News.