THE RIGHT ROAD
This website, periodically updated, is just a couple of years old but the views expressed
on its pages were espoused in substance by the writer as early as 1967.
It may be too late now. But than again it may be said that it is never
too late to do the right thing; if so it is certainly about time.
Updated August, 2005.
Peace Road Map Pointers
Drawing the border high on the Judean and Samarian mountains as depicted above, is the only way to give Israel a modicum of strategically sensible borders. Drawing the borders in the western lowlands and leaving control of the high ground and the Jordan-Dead Sea rift valley to Palestine and the Golan Heights to Syria, is tantamount to asking Israel to defend itself from a strategically suicidal position.
Why should Israel worry about defending itself? The answer is that on the evidence of the history of Arab hostility of the last one hundred years or so, the only prudent policy Israel can pursue is: hope for the best be prepared for the worst.
East Jerusalem, including the temple mount under a trusteeship, should go to Palestine to be its capital: with the border dividing the city as it was divided by the armistice line up to June 1967; with the exception that the borderline be drawn to include in Israel the Jewish Quarter of the old city and the Wailing Wall. There shouldn’t be any Jewish enclaves or presence in East Jerusalem or Arab ones in Israeli Jerusalem.
Palestine should encompass, the depicted area west of the Jordan river as well as that figment of British colonial perfidy, the Kingdom of so-called Jordan, it being no less Palestine in waiting than the rest. Recommended: Federal Kingdom of Palestine.
Except as just suggested for Jerusalem, only security considerations, being vital to the existence of Israel, should be relevant to the determination of the borders; under no circumstances religious or nostalgic yearnings.
Among the members of the UN there is only one Jewish state but numerous Arab and Moslem states and worldwide Arab populations outnumber Israelis better than 50: 1 while Moslems outnumber Jews some 100:1 to say nothing of the vast crude oil resources located in the Arab world. In view of these facts it takes a madman to believe that the menagerie of largely bastions of backwardness, corrupt fiefdoms and unprincipled nations grandly called the UN is a place where Israel can expect impartiality. On November 10, 1975 the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3379 equating Zionism with racism! Which resolution wasn’t rescinded until 1991. This antic alone is more than enough to drive the point home that whoever fails to take UN pronouncements with more than just a grain of salt does so at his own peril.
Thus, UN Security Council Resolution 242 isn’t seen here as a binding edict in need of interpretation but simply serves as a point of departure for the following discussion.
1. Right at the start the UN Security Council reminds us of the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”. That’s fine. But shouldn’t the attempt to gain territory by war—or throw your neighbor into the sea—be a crime? Aren’t we entitled to expect that heads of state and chieftains responsible for such a crime should face at least life in prison? And nations, making such leaders possible and then following them, bear the consequences of their violence?
Did the Security Council really mean to absurdly imply: “Wish to gain territory by war? Why not give it a try? You may not succeed — but then the UN is there to guarantee that your aggression is going to cost you neither your head nor any of your own territory.”
Not every one is impressed by such logic. After all: Germany had to give up 70,000 square kilometers of its territory after WW I and after WW II another 120,000; in all about a third of its erstwhile territory.
2. Then there is a call for: “withdrawal of
Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;” This
statement, speaking as it does not of – recently occupied – but of “the recent
conflict”, implies dishonestly or foolishly that the conflict is a self
contained episode; thereby obfuscating that what we have on our hands is a
permanent conflict and a constant threat. At that time, withdrawal of Israeli
armed forces was an exercise already tried before with no salutary effects to
show for the effort. So what sense would it have made to withdraw and than
reoccupy repeatedly to this day? As indeed is happening now.
The question of withdrawing its forces and to what extent, if at all, is of no relevance to the fundamental question of determining what borders do constitute strategically “secure boundaries”. Therefore determining Israel’s borders first (if necessary unilaterally, so that for instance the location of Israel's proposed security fence isn't confused with secure boundaries with which it may or may not in places coincide) and than pulling back accordingly at the appropriate time is the only sensible way to proceed.
3. Resolution 242 refers to states. The state of Israel was proclaimed in 1948 and immediately recognized by the Soviet Union and the US and others then followed. Israel is a state whose claim to territory is recognized but whose borders are still not conclusively defined. There is property owned by Palestinians but there is no Palestinian state whose territory could be taken by Israel by war or otherwise. All we have is a question of deciding on a border for Israel. This border will be shared by a future Palestinian state.
4. Resolution 242 recognizes the right to live in peace within secure boundaries. Needless to say security is the primary right to which all others are of a subservient nature. Nobody would be expected to be satisfied with the following assurance: “You are entitled to all the rights and privileges imaginable— but forget getting a fighting chance to live long enough to enjoy them.”
As the proverbial admonition “safety first” says security comes first. Other considerations, even if high minded, to the extent that they are incompatible with even a minimum of security, must take a back seat.
5. Time and again you will hear Very Important Fools, including Jewish luminaries, speaking publicly of an exaggerated Israeli hankering for security, pointing out apologetically that such oversensitivity is understandable considering the two thousand years of persecution the Jewish people had to endure in the Diaspora.
About the year 1880 Jews motivated by the wish to leave the hostile Diaspora behind them began trickling back to what they called the “Land of Our Fathers”. That land was Palestine, a term referring to an area west as well as east of the Jordan River; then a province of the Turkish Empire (there was neither then, nor ever before, a Palestinian state or nation). The Zionists who followed after 1900 arrived at a mostly desolate and under-populated stretch of land; the population of both sides of the Jordan combined, at the time, not exceeding, and probably being much less than 500,000 (it is now some 14,000,000!). The rallying cry of the Zionists was “To conquer the barrenness” in the sense of making the desert bloom, the weapon of choice: the plough. As a matter of fact, the early Jewish arrivals in Palestine admired the Arabs as “the proud Semites”, whose psyches, unlike those of Jews, weren’t scarred by the indignities of Diaspora.
The vision of the Zionists—of coexisting peacefully in the Land of Israel with their Arab cousins who wouldn’t fail to recognize that the influx of Jewish people is a god sent boon, greatly benefiting the hitherto backward and abjectly poor region as it brings with it investment and development—soon proved to be a mirage.
As with money, where base coins force good coins out of circulation, those preaching hate among the Palestinians progressively consolidated their sway over their society. This process—of agitation and violence against Jews as well as Arabs friendly to Jews—which started as early as the 1880’s with the early designation of the Jews as “sons of death”, i.e. those who deserve death, later adopting the battle cry of “drive the Jews into the sea”, is today more virulent than ever.
The point is: It isn’t religious fervor (which only serves to muddle the issue) and certainly not anti-Arabism. The force energizing modern Zionism—which isn’t an ideology, as some would have it, but an exercise in pragmatism—were those two millennia of persecution in the Diaspora that led Jews to seek to establish for themselves a safe haven in the land whence they came from. While this explains Zionism it has nothing to do with the security requirements of the state of Israel. The stark reality of Arab belligerence as experienced by the Jewish people in Palestine is the defining factor.
6. Often the advice is given Israel condescendingly: forget the past, look forward and make peace with the Palestinians. Two things are wrong with this advice:
First: Jews of pre-Israel Palestine, as Israelis, never desired anything but peace with the Arabs. The, in the main reactive, bellicosity of The Fighters for Israel’s Freedom “Lekhi” (comrades-in-arms of the later prime minister Shamir) and the National Military Organization “Etsel” (erstwhile leader later prime minister Begin) was considered an embarrassment by fully 80% of the Jewish population who backed the Defense Organization “Hagana” whose watchword was in the face of decades of murderous Arab provocation— “restraint” (havlaga). Fact is that when the UN offered in 1947, as an equitable solution for the Arab-Jewish strife, a partition of Palestine, the Jews accepted unconditionally while Arabs rejected categorically, stepping-up their attacks against Jews. To their chagrin, the Arabs’ uncouth behavior boomeranged.
Second: How about a notorious deadbeat telling a bank credit officer: forget the past just let me have that million. Ridiculous! Arab past performance must be factored into any arrangement covering the future.
The following facts should be pondered by anybody thinking otherwise: To hear them tell it, Palestinians are victims of Israeli Zionists. This is what Arab rulers, politicians, soldiers, clergymen, journalist, intellectuals, students, artists, professionals, merchants, tradesmen, workers, peasants, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters all over the Arab world without any perceivable exception will tell you. Obviously, in stark contrast to Israeli society, Arabs are not given to soul searching and diversity of opinion isn’t tolerated. So we are confronted with the fact that they obviously think to this day that there was nothing wrong with directing terror against Jews in Palestine and forcing wars on Israel. In the 1948 “War of Independence”, courtesy of armies of the surrounding Arab countries attacking not even a day-old Israel, 5000 Israelis out of a population of 700,000 were killed—equivalent to two million Americans getting killed in today’s US. All we hear is Arabs justifying Suicide Bombers, the latest bizarre twist in the some hundred years tradition of Palestinian terror, with one word: “occupation”. Palestinians apparently prefer the mess so typical of Arab countries, which they call freedom, to Israeli rule. But why don’t they ask themselves the obvious question: Why did it come to the "occupation" in the first place? Whose fault is it? Was it the Soviets faults that they occupied East Germany? Unlike the Palestinians Germans accepted their fate, loss of territory and a lengthy occupation, thus saving themselves a lot of unpleasantness.
Palestinians refuse to accept that their suffering is of their own doing, let alone are they and their Arab accessories offering any compensation for the thousands of Israeli citizens killed by them (it should be billions of dollars) nor did they even bother to apologize. In fact Arabs everywhere, who don’t seem to have any other worries, do not tire telling anybody who would listen that they hate America because of its “one-sided” support of Israel. Their perceptions are clouded by their addiction to hate—the thought that this support is as one-sided as Roosevelt’s support of Britain against German aggression was, and by this standard being not one-sided enough, doesn’t cross their minds. This absolute lack of a sense of guilt and readiness to accept the consequences of their hostility reveals them to be unreconstructed aggressors. They certainly cannot be trusted on their word.
It must be stressed that the problem Israel has with the Arabs is not one between individuals but between aggregates (ethnically oriented masses, nations).
7. Palestinians aren’t the underdog they are perceived to be by some; rather they are the encroaching tongue of the 270 million strong Arab sand dune. Israel isn’t in any way a threat to the Arab world. But the Arab world is a threat to Israel. If Israel decided to hold unto the land between the pre June 1967 armistice line and the Jordan River it was not in order to gain territory per se but in order to enhance its ability to discourage a repeated attack by Arab armies. Likewise, the settlements policy, derives its support from this, as of itself legitimate, quest for security: being as it is an irritating alternative strategy in lieu of “secure boundaries” obscuring the real issue; those messianic settlers being in the final analysis just useful fools.
The weight that security considerations deserve in determining Israel’s borders, stands in a direct relationship to the unreliability of its neighbors and the menace they represent. The more unreliable the neighbors the more territory Israel is entitled to in order to achieve the borders configuration it needs to counterbalance to some extent the menace. This has got nothing to do with the Bible: it’s predicated on the fact that Israel is a duly recognized state and as such has a right to “secure boundaries” as dictated by the prevailing circumstances; hence such boundaries must be recognized by the international community—recognition by itself however, doesn’t make any boundaries secure.
the benefit of the confused, who like to talk of percentages given or taken, it
should be pointed out that security isn’t a matter of percentages—of anything.
figuring percentages not counting Jordan's area as Palestinians' slice of
the erstwhile British Palestine Mandate is akin to Palestinians saying "what's
mine is mine and what is yours we'll divvy up" while thinking "it's also mine".
However, when figuring percentages not counting Jordan's area as Palestinians' slice of the erstwhile British Palestine Mandate is akin to Palestinians saying "what's mine is mine and what is yours we'll divvy up" while thinking "it's also mine".
8 . If there could be any doubt that Palestinians haven’t given-up their dream of destroying Israel, then Arafat, the father of Palestine, (tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you who you are) supplied the proof for the nth time: by springing at the time on ex-premier Barak—instead of demanding more negotiations on a reasonable basis—the rabbit-out-of-the-hat demand that the so-called Palestinian refugees’ “right of return” be recognized; this after Barak offered hitherto unheard-of and some very unwise concessions.
A right of return for Palestinian so-called refugees and displaced persons doesn’t exist. First as to the notion of innocent civilians. Who says they are innocent? Armed men are only the product of the way they were brought up by their parents, their education by their teachers, the preaching of their spiritual leaders, the influence of their politicians and the example of their peers. They are mere representatives of their society. If anything, the real culprits are the civilians who make-up that society. Some are indeed innocent, on the whole they are not if their cause is malevolent. The second notion, that Palestinian so-called refugees will be prosperous and happy if only they were moved to the vicinity of Tel Aviv is utter nonsense.
To say nothing of the counter-claim on account of a million Jewish refugees who had to flee Arab countries.
Even UN General Assembly Resolution 194, so beloved by Palestinians, recommends return of refugees conditioned on their peacefulness or compensation of those not returning by “governments or authorities responsible”. Chronic Arab belligerence being the root cause for the uprooting of Palestinians, Israel is eminently entitled to the opinion that returning so-called refugees are not going to be peaceful and are a threat to its security; it’s entitled to reject their return. Responsible for this situation are and were Palestinian society and its leaders and Arab governments, notably those of Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and they are the ones who are obliged to solve the problem justly by shouldering the damage jointly and resettling and compensating the refugees be they bona fide or so-called ones. Just as Germany was obliged to do in the aftermath of World War II.
The said General Assembly’s recommendation to the Security Council concerning return of refugees was in effect rejected in Resolution 242 as it envisages only a “just solution” with neither mention of “return” nor of “compensation”. What is just is the subject of this discussion.
9. Going to Article 1 of the UN Charter Palestinians like to raise the question of their self-determination. Let it be pointed out that self-determination has its limits. One can hardly believe that the black residents of Detroit, where they are the majority, could declare by way of self-determination the city an independent state, home of the Nation of Islam, if they wished to do so. There can be no Palestinian self-determination within the borders of Israel.
Article 1 of the notorious Palestinian National Charter states : Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation
Palestinians have already self-determined themselves as set forth in their National Charter. They consider themselves as a part of the Arab nation the same as Arabs see themselves everywhere, at least when they are up to some mischief directed against others. Now the Arab nation has at its disposal many millions of square kilometers. Thus making room for a few-square-kilometers-sized Israel is not going to diminish the Arab nation’s grandeur. On the other hand this writer has never (since 1947) seen any reason to deny Palestinians a state.
Putting Israelis and Palestinians in one state is a recipe for certain disaster. This is not ideology but reality. The British recognized it and the UN agreed, as in 1947 the General Assembly recommended creation of a Jewish state and a separate Arab entity in Palestine. The recommended partition lines were drawn so as to separate as far as practicable the Jewish population from the Arab one. Separation was then an imperative and it’s now even more so.
As there is no sure way to tell those harboring malice in their hearts from the truly peaceful there is no getting around requiring practically all Palestinians to move from within Israel’s borders to their state. Requiring them to be loyal both to Israel and the Arab nation is asking too much. Moving in itself isn’t really an evil. Millions of people are moving every year all over the world. Moving from village to village, from village to city, from city to city, from state to state, from country to country, from continent to continent. Material are the conditions under which one is moving. For this reason the resettlement of Palestinians should be an international effort under the auspices of the US, possibly seconded by Russia, over say ten years. Palestinian property owners should be given the opportunity to dispose of their properties at fair market value. Financing of moving and rehabilitation costs and the development of an adequate infrastructure to take up the arrivals in Palestine should come to a large extent from the Arab nation’s oil money (to be impounded if need be) as well as from other well meaning and able entities. Israel could contribute know-how.
Hypocritical Germany being a special case.
It goes without saying that Israeli settlers and soldiers should get out of Palestine: which must, however, be required to be no more than defensively armed and west of the Jordan river demilitarized. Any violation would constitute, at Israel’s sole discretion, a casus belli. In taking appropriate steps to enforce Palestinian non-belligerence Israel should be able to count on unequivocal support, as it may deem necessary, by the powers that be. It should be further understood that Palestinian/Arab belligerence will lead to dire consequences not excluding loss of Palestinian territory.
10. Tactical pronouncements of the day are meaningless: As words are just that and signed agreements are just paper words and vulnerability is an invitation to aggression, reasonably defensible borders and stable demographics are an indispensable first step if peace is to be achieved for Israel and the Palestinians. But don’t count on politics guided by good sense and forget the “negotiation table”.
Both parties should be made an offer they cannot refuse along the lines proposed above: —by the US.
THE RIGHT ROAD click here or