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Monday, May 18, 2009

What the 'moderate' 'Palestinians' mean by a 'two-state solution'

With President Obama calling for a 'two-state solution' and Prime Minister Netanyahu pointedly refusing to even utter the words in their press conference today, let's look at what the 'moderate' 'Palestinians' mean when they say 'two-state solution.' Would they regard it as permanent? This is Abbas Zaki, the PLO ambassador to Lebanon in an interview on Lebanon's ANB TV on May 7, 2009.

Let's go to the videotape. A transcript and comments will follow:

Abbas Zaki: What is needed is a settlement, not a hudna [truce]. After 45 years of struggle, we have the right to reach a conclusion to this conflict, rather than extending the hudna>/i>, enabling Israel to expand on a daily basis. My advice is: we should not give Israel a hudna, because whenever Israel is given a hudna, it consolidates its position and becomes more deeply rooted. What hudna? If they do not withdraw from the 1967 lands – what hudna? Israel will become a fact on the ground, and we will end up as small enclaves, and should be driven out with time. Therefore, it is high time that we found a final, comprehensive solution. The Arabs talk about a comprehensive solution and present initiatives, and the world talks about a solution, yet we say: Let's stick to the hudna. No, my friend. I personally joined Fatah somewhat belatedly, in 1962. Work out how many years that is. Should I keep on extending the hudnas? Impossible. We want a solution now.

"They talk about a two-state solution, and when that is achieved... Even Ahmadinejad, leader of the rejectionists throughout the region, said he supports a two-state solution. Nobody fools anybody.

"With the two-state solution, in my opinion, Israel will collapse, because if they get out of Jerusalem, what will become of all the talk about the Promised Land and the Chosen People? What will become of all the sacrifices they made – just to be told to leave? They consider Jerusalem to have a spiritual status. The Jews consider Judea and Samaria to be their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse. It will regress of its own accord. Then we will move forward."
In the current issue of Commentary Magazine, Israel's ambassador to the United States, historian Michael Oren, lists seven existential threats to Israel's existence. This is the first threat he lists:
The Loss of Jerusalem.

The preservation of Jerusalem as the political and spiritual capital of the Jewish state is vital to Israel’s existence. This fact was well understood by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, at the time of the state’s creation in 1948. Though Israel was attacked simultaneously on all fronts by six Arab armies, with large sections of the Galilee and the Negev already lost, Ben-Gurion devoted the bulk of Israel’s forces to breaking the siege of Jerusalem. The city, he knew, represented the raison d’être of the Jewish state, and without it Israel would be merely another miniature Mediterranean enclave not worth living in, much less defending. [For a very different view of the 1948 Battle for Jerusalem see here and here. CiJ]

Ben-Gurion’s axiom proved correct: For more than 60 years, Jerusalem has formed the nucleus of Israel’s national identity and cohesion. But now, for the first time since 1948, Israel is in danger of losing Jerusalem—not to Arab forces but to a combination of negligence and lack of interest.

Jerusalem no longer boasts a Zionist majority. Out of a total population of 800,000, there are 272,000 Arabs and 200,000 Haredim--ultra-Orthodox Jews who do not generally identify with the Zionist state. Recent years have seen the flight of thousands of secular Jews from the city, especially professionals and young couples. This exodus has severely eroded the city’s tax base, making Jerusalem Israel’s poorest city. Add this to the lack of industry and the prevalence of terrorist attacks and it is easy to see why Jerusalem is hardly a magnet for young Israelis. Indeed, virtually half of all Israelis under 18 have never even visited Jerusalem.

If this trend continues, Ben-Gurion’s nightmare will materialize and Israel will be rendered soulless, a country in which a great many Jews may not want to live or for which they may not be willing to give their lives.
I don't share Oren's evaluation of Haredim. Much as they may not "generally identify with the Zionist state," nearly all of them identify with it more than they identify with the 'Palestinians.' Were the State of Israel to (God forbid) cease to exist, most of the Haredim would flee abroad just like most of Israel's secular Jews. But both Oren and Zaki are correct about Jerusalem: The loss of Jerusalem - God forbid - would render Israel soulless. That's what's at stake when people like Barack Obama talk about 'dividing Jerusalem.'


At 1:02 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Haredim have an emotional attachment to Jerusalem and so do Orthodox Jews like you Carl - no I don't think Jews who love Jerusalem will ever flee it. They will die to defend it. And there's more good news. 83% of the next generation of Israelis want Jerusalem to remain united and the eternal capital of Israel. I can never see Israel dividing it or voluntarily giving it up. It is never going to happen and its not for nothing Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in the Hebrew Bible and every Passover Jews the world over invoke returning to Jerusalem as a sign of gratitude for Jewish freedom. The original version of Hatikvah refers to the return to the City Of David. If a two state solution means giving up Jerusalem, then it will never be realized.

At 2:17 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Another theory re:Jerusalem that I have heard was that Ben Gurion ordered the Altalena massacre to prevent the Irgun-which would have been rearmed- from capturing Jerusalem. If they did, B-G was afraid that the first elections might have had a different outcome.

At 7:50 AM, Blogger LB said...

The Haredim do have an emotional attachment - Haredim have been living in Jerusalem for far longer than modern Zionists. Nevertheless, Haredim (not including Hardal) have removed themselves from much of the decision-making process by not actively committing themselves to "die to defend [Jerusalem]," as you said, Norman.

Regardless of who should or should not serve in the army, largely due to the fact most do not serve, the rest of the establishment views Haredi opinions as pertinent only to the Haredi community, and do not heed their views as much on national matters.


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