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Monday, January 05, 2009

Bolton's static world

I like John Bolton. I really do. But he goes way off base in an op-ed in today's Washington Post. Bolton assumes that the State Department's view of the world is correct: that Israel's conflict with the Arabs is about land and not about Israel's 'right' to exist as a Jewish state in the Jewish homeland. And he makes the same mistake Menachem Begin made at Camp David: He assumes that what is will always be.
Let's start by recognizing that trying to create a Palestinian Authority from the old PLO has failed and that any two-state solution based on the PA is stillborn. Hamas has killed the idea, and even the Holy Land is good for only one resurrection.
That statement is correct. But what follows assumes stable Egyptian and Jordanian regimes that have wholeheartedly accepted Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state in the Jewish homeland. Sadly, there's no such thing.
Instead, we should look to a "three-state" approach, where Gaza is returned to Egyptian control and the West Bank in some configuration reverts to Jordanian sovereignty. Among many anomalies, today's conflict lies within the boundaries of three states nominally at peace. Having the two Arab states re-extend their prior political authority is an authentic way to extend the zone of peace and, more important, build on governments that are providing peace and stability in their own countries. "International observers" or the like cannot come close to what is necessary; we need real states with real security forces.
Forget for a minute that none of the Arab countries nor the 'Palestinians' will accept Bolton's ideas: Why does Bolton think there was a war in 1967 before there were any 'occupied territories'? And why does he think there won't be one again? Sure, we're 'nominally at peace' with Egypt and Jordan, but does anyone in their right mind really believe that peace will last forever?

Every war game that Egypt conducts assumes Israel is the enemy. Israelis visit Egypt as tourists and for business, but not vice versa. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in office for more than twenty years, has been to Israel exactly once - for Yitzchak Rabin's funeral in 1995. Egypt helped Hamas smuggle weapons into Gaza until the US told them that if they continued to do so, their foreign assistance would be cut.

But most important, let's look at what the Egyptian people think of peace with Israel.

But then I rememebrd that we- the majority of us anyway- don't want peace with Israel, and are not interested in any real dialogue with them. We weren't then and we are not now. The Entire peace process has always been about getting the land back, not establishing better relations. Even when we do get the land back, it's not enough. People in Egypt lament daily the Camp David treaty that prevents us from fighting. In Gaza they never stopped trying to attack Israel. In Lebanon Hezbollah continued attacking even after the Israeli withdrawel. And the people- the majority of the arab population- support it. Very few of us are really interested in having any lasting Peace or co-existance. I mean, if our left is asking for war, what do you think the rest of the population is thinking?

I think that the Israeli want peace with us because they don't want their lives disrupted. They don't want to have the IDF soldiers fighting in Gaza, rockets coming into their towns from Hamas or having to go to wars against Hezbollah to get their soldiers back. I think they want peace because they want their peace of mind. They view us as if we were a headache. We view them as if they are a cancer.

Menachem Begin assumed that Anwar Sadat would remain President of Egypt. But Sadat was murdered by the Muslim Brotherhood and Hosni Mubarak took over. Sadat was a man of peace. Mubarak is a man of power. And if the Muslim Brotherhood takes over from Mubarak or his son.... Do we really want an Egypt led by the Muslim Brotherhood staring across the sand at Sderot?

Then there's Jordan. In Jordan, as in Egypt, the tourism is all one way: From Israel to Jordan. If King Abdullah comes to Israel at all, it's in secret. In Jordan, professionals who do business with Israel are ostracized from their trade unions. Recall the incident last year when an Israeli journalist was expelled from a press conference with a Lebanese singer in Amman because he was Israeli. And one week ago today, the Israeli flag was burned in the Jordanian parliament. These aren't isolated instances. They reflect the Jordanian psyche.

In Jordan, as in Egypt, peace was made with one man - King Hussein - and not with a people. The Jordanian people have no interest in peace with Israel.

But most importantly, like Egypt, the Jordanian regime is not a rock of stability. Jordan is 70% 'Palestinian.' Jordan is an undemocratic state that is a coup d'etat waiting to happen. And when it happens, the battle cry will be "itabach al-Yahud," kill the Jews.

Israel cannot give up its security based on the assumption of the stability of the Egyptian and Jordanian regimes.

Worst of all, John Bolton has gone the way of the State Department and suddenly believes (apparently) that our conflict is about land, and not about Israel's existence as a Jewish state on the Jewish homeland. And that's the saddest thing of all.


More comments on this article from Pamela and David (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

Please vote for Israel Matzav as Best Midsize blog in the 2008 Weblog Awards by going here.


At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In many ways, this was the most depressing read in a long time.

Bubble burst.

At 6:32 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Good points, Carl. Israel cannot trust in a piece of paper when the regimes around are not committed to peace with Israel and Mahmoud Abbas is the first to go this year. In the case of the Palestinians too, Israel made peace with the leaders and not the people. The latter do not want peace with Israel. Neither Israel nor the U.S have any plans to deal with the day after.

At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




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