(Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” has just been published.)
Have you ever seen so many oxymorons in a single paragraph? The statement issued by four Jewish members of Congress challenging Israel’s prime minister may have set a new record.
The statement was issued by Representatives Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey of New York, Ted Deutch of Florida, and Brad Schneider of Illinois, all Democrats. They were responding to a remark made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a recent interview, in which he indicated he might propose extending Israeli law to Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria.
Anyone who is familiar with the actual situation on the ground in those territories knows that way back in 1995, the Palestinian Authority extended its laws to the cities in which 98% of the Palestinian Arabs live. So why the double standard? Why can’t Israeli law be implemented in the Jewish towns? Why do the Jews still have to be governed by the arbitrary and cumbersome system of the old Israeli military administration, while the Arabs get to live under their own laws?
The four congress members didn’t offer an answer to that question. You know why? Because nobody ever asked them. Journalists never pose such questions, because they might not get the answers they like. Even more risky—such questions might stimulate the members of Congress to give some genuine serious thought to these issues, instead of just regurgitating the talking points that their advisers pick up from the opinion pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post, and the talking heads on the Sunday interview shows.
The first oxymoron in the statement by the congressional gang of four was this doozy: “Israel’s ability to guard itself from threats is non-negotiable. We hope that any security measures are implemented within the context of preserving the eventual possibility of a two-state solution.”
The definition of an oxymoron is an expression that has within it two terms that contradict each other. The creation of a Palestinian state in Judea-Samaria, which these members of Congress are advocating, would make it impossible for Israel to “guard itself from threats,” as they put it.
One glance at a map of the region shows you why. The western-most cities under Palestinian Authority control are Tulkarm and Qalqilya. They are about nine miles from the Mediterranean. That is, there is nine miles of Israel between the Mediterranean and those PA cities. Since Tulkarm is the third largest PA city and, Qalqilya is the fifth largest, they obviously would be included in a Palestinian state. Meaning that in a “two-state solution,” Israel would be reduced to nine miles wide at its mid-section. That’s not even as wide as the Bronx, where parts of Congressman Engel’s district are located.
I think it would be very interesting if a reporter would interview some random people on streets in Engel’s district, and ask them if they think it would be reasonable to force Israel back to borders that would be even narrower than the width of the Bronx. Somehow, I doubt that the congressman bothered to ask his constituents what they thought of that prospect, before he added his name to the letter. But who cares what the voters think?
Here comes oxymoron number two. The letter calls for “Two states for two peoples.” Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Sounds fair, sounds even. The problem is that there already are three states for two peoples. There’s a Palestinian Arab state in 78% of historic Palestine. They used to call it “Trans-Jordan,” then they arbitrarily changed that to “Jordan.” But no matter what they call it, the people who live there are ethnically Palestinian Arabs. There’s also a de-facto Palestinian Arab state in Gaza. They have all the significant attributes of statehood except the right to import tanks and planes.
So, what the four members of Congress are proposing is to create a third Palestinian Arab state in historic Palestine. Hmm, when you put it that way—meaning when you acknowledge reality—somehow their “solution” doesn’t seem so fair or reasonable.
Ready for oxymoron #3? The congress members’ letter calls for “mutually agreed upon land swaps.” That’s a fiction dreamed up years ago by State Department Arabists. PA spokesmen have said time and again that they are not willing to “swap” even one inch of land. Thus, the terms “mutually agreed upon” and “land swaps” are inherently contradictory.
And finally, oxymoron number four. Actually, this is a two-fer. The members of Congress say they support “a democratic, de-militarized Palestinian state.”
Democratic? The Palestinians have controlled a large part of Judea-Samaria since 1995, and all of Gaza since 2006, and the result has been two Palestinian dictatorships.
“De-militarized”? The PA has rejected that concept time and again; in any event, Israel could never enforce it without starting a war, and the international community would prove mute and dumb if “Palestine” started importing tanks and planes.
My advice to the four members of Congress is simple: if you stop taking advice on Israel from people who pretend to be experts, your statements on Israel won’t be riddled with so many oxymorons.