Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Where Tom Friedman Continues Believing Israel Has A Partner In Peace

Here's a memo to Tom Friedman about the chances for an Arab-Israeli peace deal (and particularly a Palestinian-Israel deal). No deal can be had when the Palestinians refuse to undertake their most essential obligation under Oslo - agreeing to a 2-state solution. Friedman believes that the problem isn't Hamas and Fatah, but rather Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu's refusal to make concessions.

That puts the cart before the horse. Why exactly would any Israeli leader make still more concessions when the Palestinians have refused to carry out their stated obligations under Oslo?

When Hamas, which has reconciled with Fatah and rejoined the PA, refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist and doesn't include Israel on a map other than to use as targeting data for its terror plots, Israel lacks a partner in peace.

Israel can and has shown an uncommon willingness to swap land for peace, but the Gaza disengagement should have disabused the world of the notion that land for peace will work when one party to the deal doesn't accept Israel's existence. Instead of using Gaza to build a productive society, the Palestinian leadership turned the region into an armed camp for a terror war against Israel using fellow Palestinians as human shields. Palestinian propaganda continues touting those killed in these attacks as martyrs for the cause of liberating all of Israel from Israeli control.

That is not the framework for peace, and Netenyahu and other Israeli leaders would not be carrying out their sworn obligation to defend Israel from its enemies if it granted still more concessions to Palestinians when Palestinian obligations go unfulfilled.

Housing can be swapped - and has been in the past - it was, and never has been, the real stumbling block to peace no matter how much the left in Israel and the pro-Palestinians try to spin it. The history of Israel's land swaps disprove that time and time again (Camp David, Gaza disengagement).

Palestinians simply can't accept a Jewish state of Israel alongside a Palestinian state - regardless of what borders are delineated on a map. The border incursions weren't about Israel capturing the West Bank, Golan and Gaza in 1967, but called for liberating all of Israel for the Palestinians; a tacit call for Israel's destruction.

These are the partners in peace that Friedman and others like him think Israel should be making still more concessions to in the hopes that the Palestinians will somehow moderate.

Frankly, the recent history has shown that whenever Israel has made concessions, the result has been to portray Israel as weak and terror groups, including Hamas (still part of the PA) has unleashed waves of terror. Israel makes concessions and gets terror as a consequence. Israel doesn't make concessions, and it still gets threats of terror. With that calculus, there's no reason to make further concessions. The onus should be on the Palestinians to show that they are truly committed to a 2-state solution.

To that end, that means a full repeal of the Hamas charter and PLO/PA charter provisions calling for Israel's destruction. Yet, we all know that will never happen since Hamas' raison d'etre is to seek Israel's destruction as a religious and political goal. Hamas considers Israel's very existence as an abomination against Israel, and phrases its call to jihad as a duty for all Muslims. This isn't a partner in peace, but the call by a terror group to commit genocide should it have the means at its disposal.

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