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No Room for Jews By: P. David Hornik
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, December 15, 2008

“There will be no room for Jews or settlements in the West Bank because their presence there will always be an obstacle to peace with Israel”—so chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) is paraphrased as having said to Palestinian reporters over the weekend.

Or as quoted in his own words: “There can be no peace with the presence of these settlement blocs in the West Bank. Our experiences have taught us that it’s impossible to coexist with these settlers…. Peace can be achieved only if Israel withdraws to the last centimeter of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.” (Note: from 1948 to 1967 the territories in question were ruled by Jordan and Egypt and no one in the Arab world referred to them as Palestinian or spoke of turning them into a Palestinian state.)

Qurei claimed in the same press conference that Israeli negotiators, in the framework of the Annapolis talks, had proposed that Israel retain 6.8% of the West Bank including four settlement blocs, while compensating the Palestinian Authority for the 6.8 percent with pieces of pre-1967 Israel.

To get an idea of what this means, it’s worth looking at a map of Israel’s strategic vulnerability from the West Bank. Yet according to Qurei, Israel—after having made a similar offer in 2000 that was immediately followed by a Palestinian terror war that killed over a thousand Israelis—was again offering to vacate just about all of this territory plus parts of Israel-proper itself.

And retaining only four settlement blocs would leave well over 100,000 settlers in the areas Israel would be committed to withdraw from—meaning, since these settlers include many of those who are most ideological and see their residence in these areas as divinely commanded, that much of this large number of people would have to be forcibly evicted by the Israeli army and police while, in many cases, violently resisting the eviction.

In other words, Qurei was saying Israel was offering to engage in a civil war so as to surrender land to a society steeped in hatred of Israel in order to render itself strategically indefensible.

And to this offer Qurei was saying—forget it; not a chance.

And that isn’t all. Qurei also claimed Israel had proposed, as part of a final deal, to take in 5,000 “Palestinian refugees” and that this, too, the Palestinian Authority had turned down flat.

That means the PA position as implied by Qurei, its top negotiator, is: not a single Jew to live in the West Bank; in addition to the over one million Arabs already living in Israel, now constituting roughly 20 percent of the population, large numbers of Arabs and their descendants who fled Israel in 1948 going to live in Israel as well. What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine, and what’s yours isn’t going to last long.

Note also that Qurei is a leading figure in what is considered the moderate faction of the Palestinians—just as Yasser Arafat, back in 2000 when Israel made him a very similar offer, was considered moderate. Nowadays the late Arafat is no longer considered moderate by any observer who can by any stretch be considered sympathetic to Israel; yet Qurei, Mahmoud Abbas, and Salam Fayyad still are even though they take the identical positions.

Meanwhile,it’s also reported that “the UN Security Council is poised to adopt a resolution calling for collective peace in the Middle East.” The resolution was drafted by the United States, and the council is supposed to reiterate “its vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders.”

United States UN ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad explained, “This is an important time for the council to express itself on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. There is a transition taking place here—by here I mean the United States—and there are of course also transition possibilities in other countries in the region.”

Vitaly Churkin, UN ambassador from Russia—that great force for international peace—chipped in with “We believe it’s very important to continue the momentum.”

And Jean-Maurice Ripert, UN ambassador from France—a country whose problematic record toward Israel includes giving Arafat a 2004 state funeral in Paris after his terror war had blasted hundreds of bodies to bits in cafes, buses, and streets—added that “for us it could be a very important milestone... to go forward to the solution of two states living side-by-side in peace.”

The Security Council will be adopting this resolution at a time when:
  • The “moderate faction” of the Palestinians is taking the same intransigent positions the Palestinians have taken since 1937, which can be summed up as: no sovereign Jewish entity in any part of Palestine.
  •  The west-of-the-Jordan Palestinians are (not counting those in Israel proper) divided into two separate, at present mutually hostile political entities: Gaza, ruled by Hamas; and the West Bank, ruled by allegedly-moderate Fatah whose current leader Abbas—in one of the “transitions” Khalilzad was referring to—may step down or be forced out in January while the only thing preventing a Hamas takeover is the Israeli military presence.
  • A new Israeli government—in Khalilzad’s other “transition”—is very likely to be elected in February that will be a good deal more security-minded than the previous one.

In the bad scenario, the new U.S. administration continues to push hard for the “two-state solution,” which means continuing to provide funding and military training to Fatah while sacrificing Israeli security and viability on the altar of perceived Western interests. In its waning days the Bush administration is doing its best to make sure that transpires.

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva. He blogs at http://pdavidhornik.typepad.com/. He can be reached at pdavidh2001@yahoo.com.

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