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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jodi discovers reality

New York Times bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, who has been here for about a year now, is awakening to the reality of the 'peace process.' While most Israelis will tell pollsters that they want a 'two-state solution,' the devil is in the details. Virtually no Israelis favor a 'two-state solution' on the same terms as the 'Palestinians' want. What she still has not discovered is that while Israel has repeatedly expressed a willingness to compromise, the 'Palestinians' have yet to compromise on anything.
Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said there was a consensus in Israel favoring a Palestinian state, but not along the 1967 borders (as the Palestinian leadership insists); not with East Jerusalem as its capital (a cornerstone of every Palestinian plan); and not without maintaining an Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley (which Palestinians reject as a challenge to their sovereignty). Israelis have also become more vigilant about security and less trusting of so-called moderate Arab leaders in the wake of the Arab uprisings exploding around them.
“There’s the idea of a two-state solution in the abstract, and then there’s converting it into a map,” said Mr. Gold, a former peace negotiator and Netanyahu adviser. “Israelis want negotiations, they want to see a settlement that addresses the issue, but they also have certain red lines that they don’t want any arrangement to cross.”
The current tempest began when Danny Danon, a hawkish member of Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party and deputy defense minister, told the Web site The Times of Israel that “there is no majority for a two-state solution” within Likud or Israel’s governing coalition. Later, in a television interview, he said that the majority of the Israeli public “has given up the idea of land for peace”; that Israel should declare sovereignty over the Jewish settlements and empty areas of the West Bank; and that the fate of Palestinian “blocks” should be “determined in an agreement with Jordan.”
Opposition leaders called for Mr. Danon’s ouster. Palestinian leaders condemned his remarks as racist but said they revealed the “true face” of Israel.
“Danon is an honest man who discloses the Israeli real policies and plans,” Ahmad Tibi, an Arab-Israeli member of Parliament, was quoted as saying in gulfnews.com, the online version of a newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates.
And while Jodi wonders why Prime Minister Netanyahu has Danon as a Deputy Minister in his cabinet, she hints at another reality: The Prime Minister is well to the Left (at least in what he says) of his own party. And he's been fighting that reality for the last four years (at least).
Several analysts noted that while Israel’s Jan. 22 elections resulted in a less conservative Parliament than the previous one, the coalition Mr. Netanyahu assembled in mid-March tilts further to the right, particularly on the Palestinian question. David Horovitz, the founding editor of The Times of Israel, said that the most telling thing was not what Mr. Danon said but that Mr. Netanyahu had given him and the others who disagree with the prime minister’s stated support for two states prominent positions in the cabinet.
Some political experts here see the open airing of these divergent views as a sign of Mr. Netanyahu’s weakness within his own party, and of the fragility of his coalition. Others wonder whether Mr. Danon and the others may be voicing more than a fringe view. Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s defense minister, said Friday in Washington that Mr. Kerry’s initiative had “failed so far” and that he was not optimistic about the prospect of an agreement.
For some, Mr. Danon’s directness is instructive. “If you ask me, he tells us the truth, while they are playing with the image they would like to project,” said Tamar Hermann, vice president of Israel’s Open University and director of the Peace Index project. “The proximity between Danon and the real Netanyahu — not the Netanyahu talking to Washington — is much smaller.”
I'm not sure that Prime Minister Netanyahu himself knows what the 'real Netanyahu' believes. But real Israelis know what we believe. We're not going to commit suicide to give Obama and Kerry a foreign policy success.

Read the whole thing.

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