Remember the handshake that began it all? Under cover of a smokescreen charade of public negotiations that not even the Palestinian representatives knew were fake those clever peace loving Norwegians had pulled off the peace coup of the century. Secretly, behind the scenes they had organised top level talks that had led to an agreement. It is now over to you, they said. Our work here is done. We will be back next year to bestow a prize on one of you who we deem to have been the most worthy contributor to the noble cause of peace as at the end of the previous calendar year. "Who were those nice men?", the world asked in unison and entirely forgot about the whaling.
1993 was quite a year. It is interesting to reflect on how much has changed since then. Norway would not now be an acceptable good faith intermediary between the Israelis and the Palestinians and that’s just for a start.
But back then the world celebrated. It is well to reflect a moment on the scope of what was agreed and the pent up emotion it released.
At the core was the establishment of the Palestinian Authority with full support for all the limbs of civil administration including the training and equipping of a militia that was to steadily replace the IDF in Gaza and the West Bank. Billions of dollars came with the deal. Governments and NGO’s competed with one another to throw money, volunteers and sympathy at the poor wronged Palestinians and their agencies. Western liberals, including inevitably flocks of Jews, earnestly gave their time and resources to rebuild the newly minted ancient and noble nation of Palestine. For example Marcus Einfeld helped with the jurisprudence of the new court systems. George Soros, an enormously important financier of the “progressive agenda”, has also been an enormously important supporter of the Palestinian cause.
James Wolfensohn helped so much Abbas gave him the Palestine Prize.
Unfortunately there was one detail in the Accords that could have been in the finest of fine print for all the attention it has received from the liberal/left and the media yet has been there from day one on page one in plain view like a giant cow pat on the paper. It came with the Norwegians. This was the issue of “Palestinian refugees” and in particular the notion of an Arab right of return to Israel; all of Israel. All of the Arabs. That was deferred to a later phase of the peace process. (Not of course the issue of the larger number of Jewish refugees robbed and brutally expelled from Arab countries where they had lived since before there were Muslims – that subject was closed. In fact it has never really been open).
Alarmist nonsense, the left jeered. This is an ambit claim. The Palestinians know they can’t hold out for an unlimited Arab right of return. It would, in the words of Noam Chomsky, mean the destruction of Israel. They know this is a two state solution and if that means anything at all it means one of those states is the Jewish state. They must know that all this global outpouring of help and nurturing and myth making is conditional on that. The Palestinians are not stupid. They want peace too. So said the left.
The left were shamefully wrong.
They are in denial now. Soon anger and the spitting of blame will come (doesn’t it always with the left/liberals?) and there will be desperate attempts to retroactively forge new positions for themselves in their long and sordid history of feeding the forces of Palestinian and Islamist rejectionism. Then will come a deep and maudlin depression. Already “Palestinian rights’ has slipped off the agenda of left fringe parties, such as the Australian Greens, as if it was a policy to stone homosexuals to death; which of course among other things it is. The Greens have gone into the political party equivalent of chronic major depression; a speechless, no media allowed, moral fugue with a silence so profound they may as well be a caucus of mummies in a museum at midnight.
The terrible news for the left is that the Palestinians have now abandoned even the pretence of a two state solution and Condoleezza Rice has exposed the breathtaking scope and audacity of their bad faith. They are now out with it. No Jewish state. They had no choice really. They were offered everything and more. All but a few percent of Judea and Samaria with land swaps for that, a deal on Jerusalem which made it a shared capital, a multi-billion dollar Norwegian administered fund for the benefit of the “refugees” (can you believe this stuff? refugees from 1948? nothing for the Jewish refugees from Arab countries of course who ended up in Israel), some people taken back. Everything they could possibly conceivably want and so far more than what was reasonable it is on a different planet.
They could not take “yes” for an answer. They were cornered so they said “no” to yes. They demanded an unlimited Arab “right of return”, knowing this is the supercharged deal breaker from hell that leaves no room to move except war. They say seven million people around the place and abroad are eligible. That means no Jewish state of course. It means no state at all really if it doesn’t have sovereignty over its own borders.
We should have seen it coming with the Hamas Fatah shotgun wedding. The optimists thought the “moderates” might wean Hamas from their violent genocidal ways. They must have known that the opposite was true but as is so often the case with Palestine is was just easier to think that.
Certainly it was obvious from the Abbas UN speech and his speech to the American Palestinians that immediately preceded it.
On Friday afternoon, Abbas said he was adamant about not recognizing Israel as the Jewish state.
"They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state," Abbas said in a meeting with some 200 senior representatives of the Palestinian community in the US, shortly before taking the podium and delivering a speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
Should there be any doubt they have put a figure on it. Seven million.
Everyone must have known that the Palestinian narrative was the mother of all crocks (the sudden almost mystical rebirth of the ancient Muslim nation of Palestine that predates Judaism and the Jews, for instance) but what the hell. Ultimately this one is about religion for these people and it’s best to shut up about that because it hurts people’s feelings to question it let alone challenge it. These people in particular it seems and in certain parts of Europe it could be against the law on that count alone. As long as they recognise Israel and stop trying to kill Jews at every opportunity that is enough to expect, they thought. Everything else comes under legitimate multiculturalism and respect for the national narrative of a tragically wronged people who have been made to pay for a horrible European crime of which they are innocent. This includes the Jew hatred for which they can hardly be blamed. The Palestinians, indeed all Arabs, are victims of European crimes themselves, so the story goes, and the foisting of Israel on the Arabs, or as the Islamists would have it, on the Muslims, is one of them.
How many times have we heard variations of this? The liberal/left that infest our universities and mainstream media may well have succeeded in making this fantasy, or important parts of it, or worse, the accepted wisdom of the intellectual classes. It is certainly the prevailing orthodoxy of the urban commentariat across the West and this is no mean feat in liberal societies with a free press and free-flowing information and with liberal universities that are supposed to encourage scholarship, free thought and the pursuit of truth.
Back in 1993 all of a sudden it briefly became almost hip to be Israeli. Israel was in fashion from London to Paris to Rio but it didn’t last. It began to fade immediately with the new war against Israel and the Jews which was waged with a terrible fresh intensity everywhere but especially in Israel. In terms of lives and human misery Oslo has achieved more death, terror and horror than most other vacuous bumbling diplomatic interventions by stupid and supercilious people. The killings went on even more relentlessly than before and Israel brought the condemnation of the world upon itself, largely mobilised by the left/liberals, to stop it.
The left/liberals deluded themselves that the Palestinians were not serious about this (“well they couldn’t be could they? It would mean the destruction of Israel.”) must now dwell on the consequences of being so badly wrong for so long. They can no longer occupy the place that assumed the Palestinians were acting in good faith. They cannot. They will look like 9/11 truthers or worse. They will have to shift position.
They will have to accept the gut-wrenching reality that Israel was not the principal obstacle to peace in the Middle East after all. They will have to turn on their beloved Palestinians and ask the question are these men helping or harming their people and therefore are we helping or harming their people by helping them. Or they can conclude they never believed in the Jewish state themselves really and that in any event the best solution is to rob the Jews of their democratic state and deliver the survivors to dhimitude and say so, just like the Palestinians.
The academics have been speaking in code about this for some time. They lack the courage to come and say it and so it is all done on a nudge and wink just like the incessant antisemitism of the thirties. This one for instance.
Is Israel an unnecessary distraction for a West in economic crisis?
I would tend to agree. What has happened over the last 12 months has been really worrying for Israel and Israel’s strategic position in terms of the Arab Spring in particular, global economic crises. I think all of these things fold in to create an air of uncertainty and a questioning of priorities which when you get a provocative and seemingly needlessly provocative leader like Netanyahu, depending on your perspective and one could make the case in that regard, the brass tacks conclusion you come to is that Israel could be more trouble than it is worth.
This is a view that has been aired by people across both sides of the aisle in American politics in questioning the strategic value [of supporting Israel], particularly the Kissinger style foreign policy realists in the Republican party.
This is the old view that nations don’t have friends, just interests?
Exactly and if you weigh it up in a cost/benefit analysis, US national and strategic interest isn’t served by maintaining unquestioning support for not so much the state of Israel, but this particular Israeli government and their policies.
Their reasons for why Israel should be abandoned have been getting thinner for some time now. It has now reached the point where they can point at a single man. People who talk like this have concluded that the Jews are not worth the trouble and they have already primed themselves for what that means.
Hey, check out Geoffff's Joint, Bar and Grill. - Mike
Thank you for this.
Through the rest of this week I am only on-line for about an hour, or so, per day, but I want to thank you for your efforts here.
Those of us who care about Israel and who do not tend to blame the Jews and/or the Israelis for everything need to come together in our own self-defense.
This blog is a long term project and thank you for being a part of it.
Publish at will and I will edit and link back to the bar and grill.