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Friday, January 11, 2008

If it was so simple, we wouldn't be where we are today

I would be negligent if I did not mention that President Bush attempted to dictate a solution to our dispute with the Arab world last night. You all know that I think that deep down President Bush is pro-Israel and that it's the fault of our own corrupt, incompetent politicians with the willing assistance of the US State Department that has gotten us into this ridiculous hole where we are being pressured to resolve a hundred-year old conflict in a matter of months. Nevertheless, I have to say that the President's 'solution' shows an appalling lack of a grasp of the dispute. It shows a similar type of naivete to what's being attributed to candidate Mike Huckabee, but Bush has been in office for seven years and should know better. Here's what he said last night:
"There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967," Bush said. He added, in language indicating a rejection of the idea of Palestinian refugees flowing into Israel, "The agreement must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people."

The president went on: "These negotiations must ensure that Israel has secure, recognized, and defensible borders. And they must ensure that the state of Palestine is viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent."

Bush said that reaching an agreement would require "painful concessions" by both Israel and the Palestinians.

"While territory is an issue for both parties to decide, I believe that any peace agreement between them will require mutually agreed adjustments to the armistice lines of 1949 to reflect current realities and to ensure that the Palestinian state is viable and contiguous," Bush said. "I believe we need to look to the establishment of a Palestinian state and new international mechanisms, including compensation, to resolve the refugee issue." Bush did not specify what these new mechanism entailed, and Hadley said the contours were still being worked out.

The president said the establishment of "the state of Palestine is long overdue. The Palestinian people deserve it. And it will enhance the stability of the region, and it will contribute to the security of the people of Israel."
Unfortunately, I am pressed for time, so I must keep this short. Leaving biblical entitlements out of this for the moment (and you all know I believe in them), I'm going to set out some general contours rather than parsing this statement line by line.

1. Although there were no 'Palestinians' until they were invented in the mid-1960's, the Arab world has never accepted the existence of an 'infidel' State of Israel in this region. This dispute is not about the 'occupation.' That's just a cover to make it palatable to the Western World.

2. There is no 'occupation.' The 1949 borders were artificial - based on where armies were when a cease fire was imposed. They are also indefensible. The territory beyond the 1949 lines was liberated in a defensive war in which Israel was attacked by Egypt, Syria and Jordan (three sides). Judea and Samaria were occupied by Jordan from 1949-67, an occupation that was recognized only by England and Pakistan, and even so Jordan was begged to stay out of the war - and attacked anyway. (By the way, during that nineteen year occupation, Jordan saw no need to create a 'Palestinian state' and neither did any of the other Arab countries. That ought to make you think about whether there really is a need for a 'Palestinian state.' Jordan's population is 70% 'Palestinian.' Hmm). The 'adjustments' that Bush concedes to us for the 'large settlement blocs' would not make the State of Israel defensible. We would still end up with all of our major cities and our international airport within easy shooting range from mountains that overlook them.

3. 'Compensation' is not a solution for the 'Palestinian refugees.' First, they won't accept it as a matter of 'honor.' Second, they would still need somewhere to go because their brother Arab states would not suddenly make them citizens the next morning and treat them like human beings. Third, while there may be room for all of them in 'Palestine,' 'Palestine' would not suddenly become economically viable because of them. The opposite is true. 'Palestine' would be a permanent basket case on the world dole living next to one of the wealthiest countries in the world, which would be populated by infidel Jews. Sounds like a great formula for 'peace,' doesn't it?

4. Calling for a 'contiguous' 'Palestinian' reichlet that includes Gaza is to ignore geographic realities. And it conflicts with 'secure, recognized, defensible borders' for Israel. You cannot have both unless you are going to randomly cut the country in half and give one side the north and the other the south.

5. He said nothing about Jerusalem. It's intractable.

6. There are no 'Palestinians.'

7. Abu Mazen is not a man of peace. Throwing $7 billion at him won't make him one.

Those are my quick thoughts on President Bush's call for a 'Palestinian' reichlet last night. More later.


At 11:15 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - good run down on the President's speech. Israpundit says the peace process is dead. The two elements the President laid down are mutually exclusive.

As I mentioned earlier, a contiguous Palestinian state is not just a flight from reality that would effectively mean cutting Israel in two, it would also mean dismantling the separation wall and the security checkpoints and IDF presence on the Palestinian side of the wall. That is effectively a non-starter and no Israeli politician is going to be elected who leaves Israel open to suicide terrorism. Simple and straight.

Ehud Olmert talked breezily of redividing Jerusalem but its impossible to draw a line that would just keep the Jewish parts of the city over the Green Line in Israeli hands while getting rid of the Arab part of the city. His coalition partners are opposed to it and the price the Arabs want to divide the city is going to be too high for even Olmert to sell the idea to the Israeli public. So its a can of worms that's never going to go beyond talk.

Finally, there is nothing to indicate the Palestinians want statehood. They can't even run an autonomous regime competently and to put not to fine a point on it, President Bush would not trust his own life with PA security during his visit to Ramallah. Why then should Israel be asked to place the lives of its children at risk with a regime known to be permeated with terrorists? As for Abbas, its pretty much irrelevant that he wants peace. He's in no position to risk his life to deliver it since he would be dead.

Annapolis is then - just going through the motions. The Palestinian reichlet will never be.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - you discussed earlier that a Palestinian reichlet would be economically non-viable without contiguity - which can only be at the expense of Israel's survival. President Bush also wants Israel to have recognized, secure and defensible borders. Just a glance at the map shows both of those aims cannot be met without either compromising Palestinian viability or undermining Israeli security. There is no way to square the circle. If it could have been done, the conflict would have been resolved decades ago.

The other point that needs to be stressed which is one every commentator, including President Bush overlooked - is the future of Jordan. The only way to make a Palestinian reichlet economically viable is to incorporate Jordan within it. That of course would bring about the end of the Hashemite dynasty. The truth is King Abdullah no more wants a Palestinian reichlet than does Israel - for good reason. So President Bush's prescription in the final analysis, is breathtaking fantasy, based a complete ignorance of geographic, demographic, economic, political and religious factors. And then there's the history behind them. All of which ensure a Palestinian reichlet will never get off the ground.

At 6:36 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Carl, please understand that James Baker's cronies and students have won the day. They are in control of foreign policy in this country, and are executing policies that are antithetical to the interests of my country and Israel. Dr. Rice heads this effort up.

Yesterday when asked why the US didn't bomb the railroad tracks, Rice came out with the same type and phrasing of words we have heard in the past.

With a foreign service, and foreign policy like this ...

If we can zero out their budget for a few years this would go a long way towards solving one of the US's major dilemmas, how to have a consistent and sane foreign policy. Start out by removing the insanity and inconsistency, and build a new foreign service.


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