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Monday, April 10, 2006

A True Danger to Israel: Shlomo Ben Ami is Back

Hashem Yishmor - may God save us - Shlomo Ben Ami is back.

I wonder how many of you remember the forgettable professor who served as internal security minister (where he was responsible - but not blamed - for the police response to the Israeli Arab riots in October 2000) and then as foreign minister and 'chief negotiator with the Palestinians' under Ehud Barak. Shlomo Ben Ami was the genious who convinced Barak to go to Camp David and offer to give the country away. He followed up on that by conducting the 'Taba negotiations' to give the country away during an election campaign without a coalition at talks sponsored by a lame duck US President. But the highlight of Ben Ami's career was undoubtedly this night flight from Paris to Tel Aviv, which has forever engraved him in the annals of sleazy Israeli politicians.

Those of you who have been with me since the days when I was doing "The Matzav" as a mailing list may recall that I don't care much for Ben Ami. But this time he takes the cake.

Ben Ami, who is a long time supporter of 'unilateral separation,' going back to 2001, because of what he then called (referring to Arafat) 'the absence of a partner on the other side,' has now decided that Israel should be talking to - and funding - the Hamas-led 'Palestinian Authority.'

Hold on to your stomachs, keep your barf bags handy, and we will take a look:

"I think financial aid must be given to Hamas," Ben-Ami told a packed audience at the American Colony Hotel in east Jerusalem. "Giving to NGO's will not solve the problem. You cannot call for democracy in the Arab world and then punish the people who are elected," he said, speaking at the launching of his new book, Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy.

Ben-Ami expressed strong criticism of Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's convergence plan for unilateral withdrawal from parts of the West Bank, saying it would not be accepted abroad or bring security to Israel. [This is correct by the way. Ben Ami tends to see the problems but to mess up when it comes to finding the correct solution. CiJ]

"The convergence plan is based on fallacies," said Ben-Ami. "[Olmert] assumes that if he fails to reach a settlement with the PA - and the PA for him is Abu Mazen [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] - the international community will accept his unilaterally defined borders as final borders. They will not," he said.

Ben-Ami drew a parallel between withdrawal from the West Bank and Israel's withdrawal from the security zone in southern Lebanon. "All the years we held a security zone, we did not achieve the level of quiet that we have had since we returned to internationally accepted borders," he said. "Withdrawing to unilateral borders that include settlement blocs is not going to give us security." [No, it is not. But neither will withdrawing to the 1967 borders. And as to Lebanon, the quiet is completely illusory. There are thousands of Katyushas lined up against us in Southern Lebanon, and Hezbullah has filled the vaccuum that we left. CiJ]


Israel could keep Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank if this was negotiated with the Palestinians, he said. "The Clinton plan gave the Palestinians compensation and a land swap," said Ben-Ami. [Except that the 'Palestinians' rejected it. In fact, even when Israel has retreated to 'internationally recognized boundaries,' the 'Palestinians' have always found an excuse to say that it wasn't enough and have continued to fight (Lebanon: Shaba Farms; Gaza: Netiv Ha'Asara). And as we have seen every time someone has suggested trading land within the green line that is populated with Arabs for land over the green line, the Arabs who live there would rather be Israelis than 'Palestinians.' So anything the Clinton plan 'gave' us was illusory. CiJ] "But the Bush letter to [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon is like the Balfour Declaration. It only tells Jews what they will get and ignores the other side." Ben-Ami said that borders set unilaterally would be illegitimate. [Why are they 'illegitimate'? You all know I am against the unilateral withdrawal surrender plan, but who says that they are illegitimate? All 'international law' is binding only with the consent of the countries affected. So no international law can dictate to Israel what it can and cannot do regarding its borders. CiJ] President George Bush's letter of April 14, 2004 expressed understanding for Israel's need to retain some West Bank settlements.

Ben-Ami said the idea of spreading democracy in the Arab world was "based on a major conceptual mistake of the Neocons. They thought that if you give the Arabs a choice to vote, they will chose what you want. But if you give the vote today to Egyptians they will bring in an Islamist government which is not friendly to either the US or Israel."[This is true. The only solution is occupation and de-Nazification - as the US did to Germany and Japan after World War II. CiJ]

Hamas, he said, was different. "Hamas is not al-Qaida. It is an organization that has used terror in the service of well-defined national goals... You can argue the means are inadmissible, but the rationale is essentially nationalistic," he said. [This is a classic Ben Ami quote. This rates with many of the quotes in Shimon Says. This is exactly what President Bush was against when he said that "either you are with us or you are against us." Justifying Hamas' terror as 'different' from al-Qaeda's is absurd. You can bet that quote will find its way onto every Arab and Jew-hating website in the world. CiJ]

Instead of isolating Hamas, it should be pressured to accepting an Arab-drafted peace offer, said Ben-Ami. "If, for example, Israel would reach an end-game plan with the Palestinians based on the Saudi Initiative - which is part of the road map - then Hamas would be isolated by the Arab world if they don't follow through with it." [But the 'Saudi initiative' is worse than just going back to the 1948 borders. It also requires Israel to commit demographic suicide by accepting 'refugees.' No Israeli to the right of Ben Ami could agree to that. CiJ] According to Ben-Ami, diplomatic and financial isolation of Hamas will only cause it to "return to social work and terror."[As if that's not what it's doing now? CiJ]

Ben-Ami said Hamas should be required to meet two conditions for the renewal of diplomatic negotiations and to have relations with Israel and the international community: acceptance of a two-state solution and halting terror. [And they have not met either of those conditions. So what is he is talking about? CiJ]


Ben-Ami suggested that negotiations with the Hamas-led PA could begin without it extending formal recognition to the Jewish state. [In other words, without accepting a 'two-state solution' as he called for a few paragraphs earlier? CiJ]

"I think if Hamas offered a long-term cease-fire long ago, in contradiction to their basic ideology, then negotiations will likely lead them further," Ben-Ami said. But, he said, "they cannot be expected to change their long-standing policy... about accepting Israel without signs of a quid pro quo."

As usual, for a supposedly smart guy, Ben Ami is hopelessly naive and foolish. I wish the Israeli MSM would put him out to pasture already, and stop trotting him out to spout his drivel.


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