Powered by WebAds

Sunday, March 15, 2009

'Clear thinking'?

The Sunday New York Times has published what it calls an 'op-ed classic.' It's an October 2000 editorial by Chas Freeman on the 'Palestinian' war against the Jews. For those who are mystified by the date, October 2000 was about three weeks after the 'Palestinians' started the Oslo War. If this editorial is meant to show us the 'clear thinking' that Freeman was to bring to intelligence analyses, I believe that we (both the US and Israel) are better off without that thinking.
Israelis had hoped the Oslo accords would persuade Arabs to accept their presence on the West Bank and even to thank Israelis for giving back some land taken in 1967, not to mention give Israelis a greatly enhanced sense of security. They expected acquiescence in their continued control of Jerusalem. What they got was continued animosity from Palestinians, pressure for additional concessions, a near doubling of the rate at which Israeli Arabs murdered Israeli Jews, and a rising challenge to their sovereignty in Jerusalem. They now face a resurgent intifada.

Palestinians had expected that Oslo would lead to the end of Israeli land seizures, paramilitary colonization and martial law. They hoped for the rapid return of land seized by Israel, emergence of self-government in their own state and recognition of their right to establish their capital in Jerusalem.

What they experienced was expanded Jewish settlements, repeated delays in deadlines for Israeli withdrawal and the consolidation of Israeli-controlled corridors on the West Bank. They saw the emergence of a territorial jigsaw puzzle rather than a state, and Israel's stance on Jerusalem was far short of their political requirements. Fewer Palestinians were dying at the hands of Israeli soldiers, but settlers were killing twice as many as before.

The ill-timed and ill-prepared summit at Camp David in July clarified these gaps between expectation and reality, but did not narrow them. Israelis and most Americans acclaimed broad concessions by Ehud Barak as bold departures from Israel's previous stands on the core issues.

But Palestinians, other Arabs and most Muslims saw Israeli final offers that would produce a Palestinian Bantustan, relegate Arabs to a permanent position of inferiority in the Holy Land and force Muslims to bow to Jewish control of the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem -- what Ariel Sharon's heavily armed visit to the Haram al Sharif sought to emphasize.

Camp David thus set the stage for confrontation, not peace.
It may be a bit much to judge Freeman's op-ed with what we know now but only suspected then: That Yasser Arafat was planning the 'intifadeh' all along. However, there is still much to criticize in Freeman's thoughts, even based upon what was known in 2000.

The first paragraph cited above implies that the 'Palestinians' - and possibly others - expected Israel to give the 'Palestinians' all of the land that Israel liberated in Judea and Samaria in the 1967 Six-Day War. But that was never part of the Oslo Declaration of Principles or the subsequent Oslo Accords. Those accords did not provide for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria - full or otherwise. Israel did not agree to a 'settlement freeze' under those documents. It did not agree to the establishment - at any point in time - of a 'Palestinian state.' Don't be fooled by the references to UN Resolutions 242 and 338: They don't require Israel to give up everything. They require Israel to give 'territories' (not 'the territories' - a reading that was specifically rejected at the UN 40 years ago) .

Freeman's reference to 'Israeli-Arabs' murdering Jews may give the impression that 'Palestinians' did not murder Jews from 1993-2000. That is totally false. Here's a list of 'major terror attacks' in Israel between 1993-2000. The full list is here. Let's see who committed some of the most memorable terror atrocities in Israel during that period.
Apr 13 94 Rahamim Mazgauker, 34, of Hadera; David Moyal, 26 of Ramat Gan, an Egged mechanic; Daga Perda, 44, who immigrated from Ethiopia in 1991; Bilha Butin, 49, of Hadera; and Sgt. Ari Perlmutter, 19, of Ir Ovot in the Arava were killed in a suicide bombing attack on a bus in the central bus station of Hadera. HAMAS claimed responsibility for the attack.

Jan 22 95 Two consecutive bombs exploded at the Beit Lid junction near Netanya, killing 20 soldiers and one civilian. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. The soldiers killed were: Lt. David Ben-Zino, 20, of Ashdod; Lt. Adi Rosen, 20, of Moshav Bitzaron; Lt. Yuval Tuvya, 22, of Jerusalem; Sgt.-Maj. Anan Kadur, 24, of Daliat al-Carmel; Staff-Sgt. Damian Rosovski, 20, of Kadima; Staff-Sgt. Yehiel Sharvit, 21, of Haifa; Staff-Sgt. Yaron Blum, 20, of Jerusalem; Sgt. Maya Kopstein, 19, of Jerusalem; Sgt. Daniel Tzikuashvili, 19, of Jerusalem; Sgt. Avi Salto, 19, of Rishon Lezion; Sgt. Rafael Mizrahi, 19, of Ramat Gan; Sgt. Eran Gueta, 20, of Ashkelon; Cpl. Soli Mizrahi, 18, of Ramat Ramat Gan; Cpl. David Hasson, 18, of Ashkelon; Cpl. Amir Hirschenson, 18, of Jerusalem; Cpl. Gilad Gaon, 18, of Herzliya; Cpl. Ilie Dagan, 18, of Kochav Yair; Cpl. Eitan Peretz, 18, of Nahariya; and Shabtai Mahpud, 34, of Moshav Tnuvot.
Lt. Eyal Levy, 20, of Ashdod, and Cpl. Yaniv Weiser, 18, of Givatayim, who were seriously wounded in the attacks, later died of their wounds.

Feb 25 96 In a suicide bombing of bus No. 18 near the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem, 26 were killed (17 civilians and 9 soldiers).
The civilians:
Daniel Biton, 42; Yitzhak Elbaz, 57, Boris Sharpolinsky, 64; Semion Trakashvili, 60; Yitzhak Yakhnis, 54; Peretz Gantz, 61; Anatoly and Jana Kushnirov, 36 and 37; Masuda Amar, 59; Swietlana Gelezniak, 32; Celine Zaguri, 19 - all of Jerusalem; Navon Shabo, 22, of Bnei Brak; Michael Yerigin, 16, of Kibbutz Maabarot; Matthew Eisenfeld, 25 and Sara Duker, 23, of the United States.
Wael Kawasmeh, 23, of East Jerusalem, and Ira Yitzhak Weinstein, 53, of Maaleh Adumim, later died of their wounds.
The soldiers:
Sgt. Yonatan Barnea, 20; St-Sgt. Gavriel Krauss, 24; St.-Sgt. Gadi Shiloni, 22; Cpl. Moshe Reuven, 19; St.-Sgt. Maj. (res.) Arye Barashi, 39; Cpl. Iliya Nimotin, 19; Cpl. Merav Nahum, 19; Sgt. Sharon Hanuka, 19; Arik Gaby, 16 (student in pre-army boarding school) - all of Jerusalem.
HAMAS claimed responsibility for the attack.
Although the Foreign Ministry web site does not attribute the attacks to them, most of the other terror attacks listed were carried out by Fatah terrorists, and not by 'Israeli Arabs.' As of 2000 (and even today), Israel's foreign ministry has an institutional interest in promoting the notion that we have a 'peace partner' and that it is Fatah. Hence, they didn't attribute terror attacks to Fatah. But even they would not attribute those attacks to 'Israeli Arabs.'

Freeman complains about 'expanded Jewish settlements,' but as noted the Oslo Accords never required Israel to suspend 'settlement expansion.' They did, however, require the 'Palestinians' to stop inciting terror against Israeli Jews. To his dying day, Yasser Arafat, who signed those accords, continued to incite terror against Jews and other Israelis.

Freeman complains of 'repeated delays in deadlines for Israeli withdrawals,' but it was never contemplated that Israel would withdraw from anything without an agreement. While the Declaration of Principles called for an interim agreement within five years, the 'Palestinians' were never interested in agreements. They were only interested in gaining control of land. Any land over which they gained control was used for terror operations (see that list again). In 2002, Israel re-took control over large portions of Judea and Samaria, and was able to use that control to stop most 'Palestinian' terror two years later.

Freeman complains that Israel's offer on Jerusalem - which frankly was ridiculous (Israel offered to give the 'Palestinians' control over the surface of the Temple Mount, with Israel controlling the subsoil and the Western Wall) - was far less than the 'Palestinians' could accept. But from 1948-67 Jews were denied access to their holy sites in Jerusalem, while since 1967 the holy sites have been (nominally - Jews aren't allowed to pray on the Temple Mount) open to members of all religions. Freeman fails to mention that the 'Palestinians' refused to acknowledge any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, with Arafat himself going so far as to claim that the Jewish Temples never existed. The 'Palestinians' have used Wakf control over the Temple Mount under nominal Israeli control to destroy priceless archeological evidence of the Temples' existence. One shudders to think what the 'Palestinians' would do if Israel if ever makes the 'Palestinians' an offer that is not 'far short of their political requirements.'

Freeman's accusation of 'settlers' killing 'Palestinians' is an unsupportable canard and a blood libel. The only 'settler' who ever may have killed 'Palestinians' in cold blood was Baruch Goldstein in the attack on the Arabs at the Machpeila Cave in 1994, and there have been intimations (and there were intimations in 2000) that there was more to that story than what was released to the public (even the Wikipedia entry implies that). Goldstein allegedly killed 29 Arabs that morning in 1994 - far less than the number of Jews killed by 'Palestinians' during 1994.

Lastly, Freeman refers to Ariel Sharon's 'heavily armed visit to the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount in Arabic).' Here's a picture from Sharon's visit and you can all decide for yourselves where the 'heavy arms' are. And by the way, Freeman implies that Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount killed the Camp David summit, but it took place in late September 2000, while the Camp David summit took place in early August 2000.

I could go through Freeman's entire piece and show you the inaccuracies, but this post is already insufferably long. You all get the idea. Freeman's supposed 'clear thinking' is heavily biased in favor of the Arab point of view. He's not great loss to America's intelligence evaluation process. Good ridance!


At 9:29 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Chas Freeman seems to think the Palestinians are not responsible for killing the "peace process." It is precisely due to apologists like him who enable their extremism which is why they are further away from statehood than ever. It is not just Israel who could do without the kind of "clear thinking" that Freeman offers as insights on the Middle East.


Post a Comment

<< Home