Rachel NeuwirthRachel Neuwirth is an internationally recognized political commentator and analyst. She specializes in Middle Eastern Affairs with particular emphasis on Militant Islam and Israeli foreign policy.
For parts I and II, click here.
This article is co-authored by John Landau, freelance journalist, independent scholar, and longtime student of world history and international relations.
Here we will conclude our review of the potpourri of misconceptions with which lame duck Secretary of State John Kerry loaded his infamous speech in defense of the equally infamous Security Council Resolution 3442. Kerry managed to incorporate into his 71-minute speech every misconception of the “international community” that has prevented peace from breaking out for the past fifty years.
If Israel continues to permit Jews to live in Judea-Samaria and continues to maintain security control over the area, it can be either a Jewish state or a democratic state, but not both.
Democracy is not a suicide pact. Israel would not retain its Jewish and democratic character if it handed over control of strategic territory only a mile, or even a few yards, from its major centers of population, to well-armed enemies committed to destroy it. It would cease to exist at all!
As long as the Palestinian Arabs continue to wage war against Israel and to seek its utter destruction—and their own statements and action give every indication that this is the case—Israel has no obligation whatsoever to hand over territory to them. Nor is Israel obligated to allow them to vote in Israeli elections—a privilege that they have never even requested.
In any case, the research of former Israel Ambassador Yoram Ettinger and a team of American demographers has demonstrated that Jews are the overwhelming majority of the population in Israel “from the river to the sea” once Gaza, from which Israel has already withdrawn, is excluded. Further, a Jewish majority will become permanent and even grow, as long as Israel maintains its control of Judea-Samaria and permits Jews to live there.
The Palestinian Arab birth rate has been falling rapidly while the Jewish birth rate has been rising. Arab emigration from the disputed territories—some of it to the United States—has been substantial in recent years. At least one entire “West Bank” village has now been completely deserted, because all of its inhabitants have emigrated to the United States! This emigration is occurring despite the absence of any pressure from Israel on the inhabitants to leave, but because of the corruption of the PA government.
On the other hand, incorporation of these territories into Israel is likely to spur Jewish immigration to Israel, further strengthening its Jewish majority. The claims that Arabs will soon be the majority in the Land of Israel are based on false statistics published by the “State of Palestine,” as Ettinger and his team of demographic researchers have shown.
The Arabs in Judea-Samaria are segregated and discriminated against and will remain so as long as they are subject to Israeli rule.
The Arabs living within “pre-1967” Israel have full equality as citizens with Jews. They are represented in the Israeli Parliament. There is an Arab judge on the Israeli supreme court. Israel has even instituted “affirmative action” programs to favor Arabs in college admissions and employment—including government employment. Arab communities elect their own mayors and city councils.
And despite claims that Israel is an “apartheid state,” Israeli Arabs are free to live anywhere in Israel; there are many Israeli communities, such as Haifa, Jaffa, Ramla, Lod, and Beersheva, where Jews and Arabs live side by side.
If the Arabs in Judea and Samaria genuinely want to have equal rights with Jews inside Israel, they should stop waging war against Israel and accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state. No nation can grant equal rights to people who are waging war against them—and by brutal and inhumane means forbidden by international law, at that.
The comparison with the situation of the Palestinian Arabs of African-Americans during three hundred plus years of discrimination against them is not valid, since African-Americans have always been loyal Americans, and have fought for the United States in every war since 1775!
The comparison of Israel’s treatment of the Arabs of Judea-Samaria with South Africa’s former apartheid regime is also invalid, since the indigenous black peoples of South Africa were living peacefully alongside whites when the apartheid laws were imposed on them. They posed no military and security threat to their white neighbors, nor was South Africa ever threatened by well-armed and wealthy states along its borders, as Israel has been for 68 years.
“But what if the Arabs of Judea-Samaria should request the right to vote in Israeli elections?” Kerry asks.
This hasn’t happened yet, and all indications are that it is extremely unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. Israelis should not be required to answer a hypothetical question, any more than anyone else should be.
Our guess is that if the Palestinian Arabs were ever to end their terrorist attacks on Israel, if they ever stop indoctrinating their children to hate Israel in their schools, if the Palestinian Arab media ever stops inciting their people to hate Israel and commit terrorist attacks on them, if the Ramallah regime ever stops demanding a never-ending torrent of anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, and if it recognizes Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish and democratic state, then the Israelis would seriously consider such a request from the Arabs of Judea-Samaria. Israel might then negotiate a “pathway to citizenship” for them, as Israeli journalist Carolyn Glick has suggested in her brilliant book The Israeli Solution.
What if the Ramallah regime makes good on Mahmoud Abbas’ “threat” to flee Judea-Samaria and transfer “full responsibility” for administering it to the “occupying” power? Would Israel then be willing to pay the costs of running the Palestinian Arab schools and providing for the humanitarian needs of the Arab population?
Here Kerry is just repeating a bizarre “threat” that Mahmoud Abbas has made repeatedly over the past year. Of course, this is a purely hypothetical and unlikely scenario, like Kerry’s other hypothetical question that we have just addressed.
The real question should be, “Why on earth is Abbas making such a ‘threat?’” Is he convinced that his Fatah regime will soon be overthrown by his own people, and is therefore preparing to take the money and run? Obviously, if Abbas ever actually implements this strange proposal, Israel should be prepared to take the opportunity to restore its administration of Judea-Samaria, take the appropriate measures to stamp out terrorism there, ban incitement to terrorism, and break up all terrorist groups operating there; in return, it should also provide for the humanitarian needs of, and government services required by, the Arab population.
Whether Israel’s government would avail themselves of such an opportunity in the rather unlikely circumstance that it should actually arise is anyone’s guess. But the very fact that Abbas would make such a “threat” suggests either that he has no concern for the welfare of his people, only for his own wealth and safety, or that he believes (correctly) they would be better off under an Israeli administration than under his present regime.
In either case, it is proof that Israel should remove the PLO-Fatah regime and resume its “occupation” of Judea-Samaria. A government that lacks even the commitment to govern should not exist.
Israel has “systematically” encouraged the growth of the "settlements" since the Israel–PLO accords were first signed in 1993.
Actually, Israel has done everything it can to discourage "settlement" growth since 1993. It has repeatedly imposed bans on new construction in Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem. Some of these bans have been public, and others theoretically secret but reported in the Israeli press. But since the “settlers” have a high birth rate, the Israeli government had no humane way of preventing all “natural growth” in their communities. In other words, it could not fairly deny to young couples the right to build a home of their own when their parents’ houses became too cramped to accommodate their growing families. Nor could they deny to these communities the occasional new school building when their existing schools became hopelessly overcrowded.
There have been no new "settlements" built since 1993. The Israeli government has only permitted, from time to time, some new houses in existing ones. The increase in the population of these communities over the past 24 years has resulted almost entirely from a high birth rate among the many young families living on them.
Undoubtedly Kerry would be outraged if Israelis were to suggest that Arabs should not have so many children. Is he now demanding this of Israeli Jews?
Kerry claims that negotiations between Israel and the PLO have failed because of a lack of “political courage” on both sides.
It would take far more courage for Arab leaders now to accept even one Israeli community outside the June 4, 1967, armistice lines now that the Security Council has declared all such "settlements," even Jewish neighborhoods in “East Jerusalem,” to be illegal. Would the Arab world tolerate it if Palestinians accepted something less than what the Security Council by a 14–0 vote, with one nominal abstention, has declared is their due? No chance.
Resolution 2334 is compatible with an agreement based on direct negotiations between the parties, and with “territorial swaps” that would permit some of the 750,000 Israelis living in Judea and Samaria to remain in their homes.
For the reasons we have just noted, this is untrue. The resolution also demands “the end of the Israeli occupation that began in June 1967.” That is incompatible with any territorial swaps. And there is no reference to such “swaps” in the resolution.
Israel’s government is the most rightwing in Israeli history, and is dominated by its most extreme elements.
This was too much even for Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, even though she is no great friend of Israel. She pointed out that such blatant interference in the internal politics of a fellow democracy is “inappropriate.”
And is the Israeli government really extreme rightwing? Its defense minister has repeatedly proposed the territorial swaps idea that Kerry seems to favor—only to have these proposals repeatedly rejected by the PLO, and even by Israel’s Arab parties, who were horrified by any suggestion that Arab Israeli citizens might have to live under a PLO government.
As far as the Israeli Arab leaders are concerned, that’s fine for other Arabs but not them.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has also proposed that Israel assist the Hamas regime in Gaza in constructing a port for the people of Gaza, without even demanding that Hamas end its armed attacks on Israelis and stop calling for the genocide of all Jews.
The Israeli government provides the Palestinian Arabs with water and electric power even while the Palestinians wage war against them, and doesn’t even insist that it pay for these services. The Israeli government also allows the Palestinians to use Israel banks and Israeli currency, and as we have seen, consistently favors Arabs over Jews in disputes over land ownership. Prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu has frequently offered to meet Mahmoud Abbas at any time without preconditions, and has also invited him to address the Israeli Parliament. Abbas refused both offers.
The Israeli government has banned books that it considers to be extreme rightwing, and incarcerates many Jews without trial whom it regards as rightwing extremists. These repressive measures are very rarely employed against Arab anti-Jewish extremists. On the contrary, Arab anti-Jewish extremists are allowed to sit in Parliament! Surely an extreme rightwing government should be made of sterner stuff.
Israel should apologize to the Palestinian "refugees" for all the harm that it has done them, pay them generous compensation, arrange permanent homes for them, and allow them the “option” of settling in Israel.
The Palestinians became refugees only when they launched an all-out guerilla-terrorist war against the Israelis in 1948, attacking nearly every Jewish community, attacking all Jewish-operated vehicles trying to drive on the country’s roads, seizing huge amounts of food and other supplies being sent to Jewish communities, reducing them to near starvation, etc. Israel owes them no apologies.
The so-called refugees are mainly people who have never lived in Israel, and in many cases have never lived in “Palestine” as it was defined under the British Mandate. Rather they have grandparents who claimed—in some cases falsely—to have once lived in Palestine before 1948.
Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s many people falsely claimed Palestinian refugee status in order to obtain generous UN financial assistance. Their ‘refugee camps’ are towns with paved streets, businesses and permanent houses—in some cases, quite luxurious ones built with money supplied by the “international community.”
While the UN gives assistance to refugees from other ethnic groups only if they themselves are refugees, not descendant of a past generation who were once refugees, it considers all descendants of Palestinian refugees or alleged refugees as refugees to the nth generation. It spends 30 times more money on each Palestinian “refugee” than it does on each real refugee from other countries, and it employs 30 times more staff per refugee (nearly all of these UN staff members are Palestinian Arabs). The international community should stop pampering these fake refugees. Certainly Israel has no obligation to pamper them.
The alleged Palestinian Arab refugees are brainwashed from birth in UN, Hamas or PLO schools to hate all Israeli Jews and to try to kill them whenever the opportunity arises. Obviously, Israel can’t admit these people to their country without putting the life and limbs of its citizens in mortal peril, and endangering Israel’s national existence.
As for compensation, the Israelis have offered it to the alleged Palestinian refugees many times, but these offers have repeatedly been refused.
A negotiated settlement should be based on the Arab League peace proposal and the United Nations Partition Resolution of 1947.
This is the heart of what Kerry proposed, and it is by far the most sinister proposal in his speech, The Arab League Peace Initiative demands that Israel withdraw from every inch of territory that it occupied in June 1967, and that it allow the supposed Palestinian refugees to “return” to what is now Israel in unlimited numbers. It is a complete non-starter for negotiations, for all the reasons we have given. Kerry claims the Arab League has accepted the ideas of “territorial swaps” and adjustments to the pre-1067 frontiers. But this is an outright lie. Arab League spokesmen made it clear over and over again that they will never accept any revisions to their demands.
Even worse, though, is Kerry’s suggestion that the United Nations General Assembly Partition Resolution of 1947 should be one of the bases for a settlement. That Resolution called for a Jewish state only two-thirds the size of even pre-1967 Israel. It proposed that the Jewish state be composed of three noncontiguous enclaves, connected only by two checkpoints. It would render Israel militarily indefensible. Millions of Israelis would be forced from their homes if this plan were implemented today. The plan also provided for an “international” government for Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and nearby villages. Such a regime would not be possible without a large military force under permanent UN military command—something the permanent members of the UN Security Council have never agreed to anywhere in the world.
While the Israeli Jews accepted the partition plan at the time it was adopted by the General Assembly, Arabs immediately declared their rejection of it and initiated all-out war against Israel to prevent its being put into effect. The UN Security Council declined to endorse or implement the General Assembly plan, which was only a recommendation unless the Security Council chose to endorse it. History and the Arabs passed by this plan 70 years ago. For Kerry to raise it now as a basis for a future settlement is by far the most outrageous element of a speech loaded with falsehood.
Will incoming President Donald Trump be able to pull the monkey-wrench that lame ducks Obama and Kerry have thrown into the machinery of Middle East diplomacy just a few days before they must leave office? Let us hope and pray that he will.