Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We need to talk about Naftali

Empress Trudy

It is vitally important to see things as they are not as we wish them to be or how we need them to appear.  A few weeks ago Naftali Bennett spoke, possibly out of school, that Israelis would no longer support the ‘two state solution’ and that it was, effectively, DOA.  This created a firestorm of accusations both from the AJC here in the US and from some parts of the Israeli government as well as the media in and out of Israel. There were threats, condemnations, calls of racism of course, and the requisite spin management and ‘walking back of statements’ although to my knowledge Bennett himself hasn’t qualified or modified that statement since.

But what is Bennett saying? Did he say, as some have jumped on, that Israel is going annex all of Yesha? Did he mimic the Arabs reared on the mother’s milk of “one Palestine from the river to the sea”?

No and No.

What he said was that Oslo was over, the Peace ‘process’ is over and there is no purpose in flogging an idea that was stillborn 20 years ago and hasn’t magically come to life to since. He said simply, that Israelis are fed up with pretending there’s anyone on the other side of the table at all. There is not. Not an enemy, not a partner, nothing. No one.  He said that the tactic of talking to yourself at the behest of the President of the US or Tony Blair is a dead end. That the so called “Arab Plan” which was concocted by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and pulled off the shelf last month is still the dead letter it always was. He said the details don’t matter because the whole farce is imaginary.

But what is this mythical beast? A two state solution is the end result of hammering out the terms of separating the Arabs and the Israelis from one another. It is not and was never a statement of what or how the Israelis were going to create a national identity FOR the Arabs. No amount of concessions is going to do that. A ‘two state’ solution is the condition where the Arabs do whatever it is they do over there and they don’t muck with anyone else. And the Israelis pull up the drawbridges and do the same. This is the basic nature of countries. We do our thing and you do yours. Where we have something to do with one another is generally in the areas of trade and treaties.  “Two-states” assumes that a permanent state of war doesn’t exist between the two states.

But let’s sweep aside all the blather about Abu Mazen’s pre-conditions. Let’s look for example at the Israeli PoV suggested that ‘peace’ is preferable to whatever this is because it would afford a ‘peace dividend’ to Israel which could then be used for some other domestic purpose. The left we imagine expects the peace dividend to take the form of cash gifts to the Arabs.  But most Israelis, if current polling is to be believed don’t believe that a ‘two-state’ would result in a sufficient reduction of Arab terrorism to take advantage of that peace dividend. Israelis would be pressed back to the 1949 Armistice Lines AND have to defend themselves just as they do today. In fact it would cost a great deal more to accommodate the exodus of all the Jews in Yesha who would have to be evacuated since Abu Mazen and every single Arab leader since forever has stated categorically that the #1 or #2 requirement of any ‘palestinian’ state is complete ethnic cleansing of all Jews.

The very idea is absurd. Does anyone see the silliness of John Kerry coming to Israel and meeting with everyone EXCEPT their elected leaders? He visits Abu Mazen, Shimon Peres, and Livni, not Netanyahu or one from Israel either in a leadership role or a position of bargaining. And Bennett got TWICE the votes of Livni in the last election.

This is why the two-state has always been a dead letter. It relies on two people’s two governments that function to some goal. It doesn’t even have to be the same goal – just some direction at all. After 20 years of nothing most Israelis have come to the conclusion that there’s no Arab goal and no one to implement one if it were handed to them. They turned down three offers of statehood. Fair enough, now they can figure out whatever they can to do whatever they want in terms of their own future.
On June 21, Naftali gave an interview with Lally Weymouth of WaPo where he touches on these points and more. 

You can debate the merits and efficacy of annexing all of Area C, 60% of Yesha, as he proposes. Or you can look at it, as I do as a starting point to an annexation of perhaps no more than 8-10% of Yesha plus East Jerusalem. Or you can come up with your own plan.  Here’s one that proposes annexation of all of Yesha:

In any case it doesn’t matter what the Arabs think. We know what they think. They think ‘no’. Whatever it is, whatever you say whenever you say it. Doesn’t matter. “No”. 

The idea of ‘peace’ and the idea of a ‘solution’ have been inextricably linked for decades where the result has been neither of those things. Like Hank Hill (KotH) telling a Christian Rocker “You’re not making Christianity any better and you’re making rock and roll worse”. The time has come to end all of that. If ‘peace’ and a ‘solution’ are ineffable together then they might as well be ineffable separated from one another. Tackle them separately, or don’t tackle either one – not in any way that requires talking to anyone else. The peace process was never more than a force fit that suggested if you talk about talking about talking about these ineffable things long enough, someone will eventually get so tired of hearing it they’ll cave. It’s half-right. Everyone is sick of hearing it and they’re not going to cave. They’re just going to stop pretending.  

In Lionel Shriver’s book “We Need to Talk About Kevin”, a mother blinded to her own son’s sociopathy ignores what he does TO HER and others until he massacres his entire school. At the end, Kevin’s asked why he did it and he answers, honestly, that he doesn’t know why. As if that would matter now. It’s a story about denial, about sticking your head in the sand.  It’s a dark joke where the ending is a punchline spoken by God Himself to a man who drowns in a flood waiting for God to miraculously save him, and it goes something like “Hey! I sent two boats and a helicopter, what other miracles did you expect?”


  1. Israelis have been talking to themselves to death for twenty years about peace. The Arabs have never joined the conversation.

    At the end of day, we know the Arabs will say "no" to any compromise peace offer that's on the table. Pretending peace can be attained with them is akin to a thirsty man in the desert looking for a non-existent oasis.

    Real peace would strengthen Israel by giving it a chance to solve its problems, boost its economy, invigorate its culture and strengthen Israel's legitimacy and ties with the rest of the world. That along with reducing the defense burden would make Israel a normal country. They are all worthy goals and what real peace would bring to the table is create conditions for the country to breathe and flourish. This is not utopian, these are very realistic expectations on what the "peace dividend" would look like if the Arab-Israeli conflict was ever resolved.

    The problem is this precisely what the Arabs don't want - a stronger and more secure Israel. For this reason as well many others we are not going to get a peace agreement in the future. Israel has to find a way to attain all the national goals I listed without any deal with the Arabs. Israel should not allow them to have a veto over what kind of country the Jewish people decide to have and to bequeath to their children. Israel should end the farce and tell the Arabs Israel will turn its to its own affairs. Whether they like it or not, the Arabs and the world will have to accept the fact that Israel is moving on.

    The Netanyahu government offers the Arabs the last chance to end the conflict on terms favorable to them. They're not going to take it any more than they accepted the last three offers they got in the past. As a result, the future means Israel is going to keep Judea and Samaria. There is no other good option for Israel's national survival. And I am convinced that in the long run this would be the best outcome for Israel, the Arabs and the entire world. Its time to put the Oslo Era behind us.

  2. Two things seem extremely obvious to me.

    The first is that this stage of the conflict can end at any time, and all that is necessary for that to come about is for the Palestinian Arabs to finally say 'yes.' The second thing that seems extremely obvious to me is that the Palestinian Arabs never will do such a thing, not during the lifespan of anybody alive today.

    My question is why do so many honest people, even those of a pro-Israel bent, not acknowledge this? Or not realize this?

    Is it some sort of psychology of previous investment at play ("we've sunk twenty years into this, let's not give up now even though we haven't moved anywhere for years and never will!"), or what?

    I'd bet that even 'The Table' wants to move on to new and more satisfying, fulfilling and useful ventures these days. Somewhere between the Mediterranean and the Jordan, some table is screaming 'leave me out of this already, let them sit at you for once!'

    I dunno. All these continued 'calls' strike me as rather like that saying about the definition of insanity, and all that.

    The Palestinian Arabs have had numerous chances to settle this stage of the conflict on terms as favorable as realistically possible to them, and they've declined to do so each and every time. That's it, they lose. It's time for Israel to do whatever it is that is best for Israel, and end this on their own however they see fit. I have my ideas, others have theirs. All I hope for is that something is done to finally move on, and hope that it all works out for the best. It's time for the Palestinian Arabs to finally grow up and fend for themselves, too. Enough of all this.

  3. This slayed me:

    "Like Hank Hill (KotH) telling a Christian Rocker “You’re not making Christianity any better and you’re making rock and roll worse”."

    What a crack-up!

    In any case, I agree with this essay.

    There are those of us who are "Oslo minded," and who still seem to imagine that Bill Clinton is still president, and then there are those of us who have learned from the past who might call "post-Oslo."

    I am most decidedly post-Oslo.

    There will be no negotiated conclusion of hostilities because this is clearly not what the Arabs want.

    That being the case, Israel should take matters into its own hands.

    Declare final borders.

    Remove IDF to behind those borders.

    Toss keys over shoulder.


    1. I agree with the essay also. After tossing the keys, Israel should, in my opinion, formally recognize the State of Palestine, and invite the rest of the states to do likewise.

    2. So, you would agree on the basic proposition?

      {I think that you may have stated so before.}

      But you would agree, School, on the basic notion of unilateral withdrawal, annexing some pragmatic version of Area C, and then tossing the keys?

      That's similar to Bennet's idea and it's most definitely mine.

      Maybe we can build something of a consensus on the idea here at IT.

      I mean, I do not believe in official rules for this blog other than be fabulous!


      But things are wide open at the moment and maybe those of us who participate here can come to a majority agreement on this.

      In my opinion, all of that land - from the river to the sea - is Jewish land because it has been for something close to 4,000 years. Thus, whatever the persecuted Jews of the Middle East are so gracious as to give to the local Arabs (for whatever criminal, terrorist statelet that they create for themselves) is entirely up to those Jews.

      As I mentioned in an earlier comment, Martin Sherman wrote a very intelligent essay for the JPost against unilateral withdrawal to Area C and part of his argument is that the boundaries of Area C are chaotic. What I don't understand is why Israel cannot smooth those boundaries toward whatever makes sense in terms of security and demography.

      I am telling you guys, Israel needs to move on from the Oslo Delusion and John Kerry would do all of us a favor if he stayed home.

      Are we in agreement?

    3. We are!

      Personally, I'm in favor of applying Israeli sovereignty to ALL of Judea and Samaria and making the Jordan River Israel's sovereign and security border.

      As for the Arabs, I would grant them ger toshav status but no political rights! If they want those, they can move to a Muslim country to exercise them. Israel is not obligated to do more under Jewish law than to treat non-Jews who reside in Israel humanely.

      But that certainly does NOT mean Israel is compelled to grant them a say in either choosing the leadership of the Jewish State or in determining its policies. The demographic scarecrow is used to frighten children and keep Jews from rightfully exercising their sovereignty over the entire country as the Torah commands. And if you read it attentively, you will note it speaks nowhere of sharing the land with other nations. Just the exact opposite.

      The so-called TSS is an idolatrous concept embraced by Jewish leaders who ought to know better. Incidentally, which is why despite all their best efforts to achieve it, it will thankfully (Hashem be praised!) go nowhere.

    4. As I said, declaring borders and then recognizing Palestine may allow the rest of the the states to also do likewise and force the Palestinians to assume responsibility to themselves, not expect it from everyone else. I really think the world is tired of the Palestinian schtick and ready to move on.

      Yes, all of Palestine is/was to be Jewish, but that is not reality anymore.

    5. There is no need to recognize 'palestine'. Just annex what they can reasonably hold. There is simply no requirement to accede to 'palestinian' demands for legitimacy of any kind. Recognizing them turns them into a legitimate and equal partner which is not in anyone's interest. For one thing it would open the floodgates for endless new demands. But importantly the 'palestinians' themselves would reject it for two reasons 1) it would imply that the 'palestinians' also recognize Israel which they never will and 2) they don't want to be recognized and therefore handed a state that's less than their maximalist demands of now Israel anywhere. So recognizing them would only work to Israel's detriment. What I've been saying is that the only clear course of action for Israel is to work from the premise that there's no one on the other side at all. No one, no 'state', no organization, no people, nothing. John Kerry is coming to Israel and Abu Mazen refuses to talk any and I quote "Jews" unquote.

      Fair enough. There are no 'palestinians' they simply do not exist and there's no one there to speak to. It's a place bereft of people as far as Israel is concerned.

      It is also very important to understand were there ever this 'palestine' it would not in any way alleviate the plight of a single 'refugee' anywhere in the Arab world. The 'palestinian' government and UNRWA would never permit a single one to come to their new homeworld under any circumstances. For three reasons 1) the Arabs simply don't care and UNRWA exists to serve its own bureaucracy and budget 2) the 'refugees' are an eternal weapon against the Jews and 3) it would create a massive humanitarian disaster for 'palestine' which can't organize an animal shelter let alone a country where a million bedraggled foreigners who've never set foot in 'palestine' arrive one day.

    6. I have to say, I agree with Trudy on this one, School.

      There is no reason to recognize yet another Arab state, particularly if it is going to be on Jewish land.

      It does seem to me that we can develop a consensus around the following idea:

      Declare final borders.

      Remove IDF to behind those borders.

      Toss keys over shoulder.


      Walk away and go build computer parts and software and create more Natalie Portman's and like that.

      I honestly believe that the Jews of the Middle East are strong enough at this point that they can flex a little muscle and the rest of the world will bite it because Israel is a reality that can no longer be denied.

      Israel has too much financial and scientific and medical clout to be seriously boycotted.

      What keeps us on our knees is that we continue to think that we need to apologize, and make accommodations for, Arab racism and hatred toward us. It's the ghetto mentality. It's the dhimmi mind-set.

      But the Day of the Dhimmis is Done and it's time to move on.

      Let Israel annex what it needs for the purpose of Jewish security and whatever is leftover can go to the local Arabs.

      They will do with it what they will.

    7. I think you do not take into account that many people who really care about the lack of a Palestinian state, not to mention states, will no longer have grounds to complain.

      It does not matter if the Palestinians reject it. It will force their hand and show that Israel wishes friendly relations.

      It will lay bare, for many, the antisemitism that exists among them. Many people are ignorant of the truth. This is key. I think many that help drive the anti-Israel sentiment due to ignorance will not only be awakened, but decide that Palestinians no longer deserve the disproportionate attention they have received in the wake of far greater suffering elsewhere.

      In addition, it will turn Palestine into a state entity under international law. This, too, has significance because the norms and rules for states are more far reaching in terms of state customs and practice.

      Lastly, it will legitimize the international border that Israel declares and which other states may follow with recognition.

      This does not mean that Israel should not do what is necessary for security.

      I have heard no argument of a downside.

    8. I'm gonna go with School here.

      In particular, all of this -

      "It does not matter if the Palestinians reject it. It will force their hand and show that Israel wishes friendly relations.

      It will lay bare, for many, the antisemitism that exists among them. Many people are ignorant of the truth. This is key. I think many that help drive the anti-Israel sentiment due to ignorance will not only be awakened, but decide that Palestinians no longer deserve the disproportionate attention they have received in the wake of far greater suffering elsewhere.

      In addition, it will turn Palestine into a state entity under international law. This, too, has significance because the norms and rules for states are more far reaching in terms of state customs and practice.

      The 'downside' surely will be inevitably having to deal with the fact that the terror war against Israel won't stop, and a definitive end will have to be put to same.

      None of us here will be fighting that. Though there's no doubt as to who will win that.

      That's the only thing that makes me uncomfortable, but I honestly don't see any other way to end this mess.

      The Palestinians could have ended it themselves numerous times, yet they refuse to. They choose terror in international relations, and an economy based on international begging instead.

      They need to grow up, they need to fend for themselves, and Israel needs to put itself into a situation where it is no longer is responsible for these folks.

      I know ZIon disagrees, but I do believe that once the 'occupation' is officially over, most of the Western world will lose interest in the Palestinian 'cause.'

      That's the key advantage to be gained, the rest of us all agree on that I think.


      As for the 'recognition' thing, I don't know what that means in international legal terms, but I can't imagine it would be a negative toward Israel in the end. Hell, if Israel is the first nation to recognize 'Palestine,' in fact I think that's a fantastic PR move if nothing else...

    9. Let the 'palestinians' experience 'self emancipation' then. Don't recognize them and see of they recognize themselves, so to speak. Let them declare or not declare their own statehood. If they do they will proclaim a 'great victory' but it will be short lived. And if they don't they can declare a great victory in continuing the jihad. Either way it's up to them.

    10. Nonetheless, we are in agreement that Israel should take matters into its own hands, declare its final borders, and remove the IDF to behind those borders in a unilateral fashion.


      One thing is certain, there will be no negotiated conclusion of hostilities. If the history of the conflict has shown us anything it is that the Arabs have no particular interest in an additional Arab state on Jewish land that is at peace with the Jewish people.

      That much is a certainty, which is precisely why the so-called "peace process" is a chimera.

      I think that if Israel were to boldly take that step, take matters into their own hands, and if afterwards recognize a "Palestinian" state, it would not be the end of the world.

      Although I would ask you guys to consider the likelihood that if Israel were to recognize a "Palestinian" state within the Land of Israel, this will emphatically not end the complaints against the Jews within the international community any more than our departure from Gaza freed the Jews from accusations of occupation.

      For decades they screamed at us that Israel needed to end the occupation of Gaza and the "West Bank" and as soon as Israel yanked the last Jew out of Gaza, and as the rockets began to pour down on S'derot, they then told us that Gaza was open air prison.

      This is a sucker's game.

    11. It is a sucker's game if people unrealistically pin their hopes on recognition as a panacea.

      Of course it will not be the end of the world, but perhaps a new start.

      Of course it will not end the complaints of all. That is not the issue, however, but to create a situation where a sea change can result.

      I still have seen nothing presented as to why it is a bad idea, or addressing the possibilities presented by such a "bold" move.

      This is not really about the Palestinians, but the rest of us.

    12. School,

      the bold move would not be in recognizing an Arab state on Jewish land.

      The bold move would be in unilaterally declaring final borders and - to use a phrase that I think I swiped from Trudy - tossing the keys over the shoulder.

      If the question is, should Israel, or should Israel not, recognize an Arab state on Jewish land, once Israel declares its final borders, then I am at this point uncertain of the answer.

      I suppose my major concern would be that recognizing an Arab state on Jewish land would then entail all sorts of diplomacy and concessions and law suits and the United Nations would get involved and all the various entanglements and accusations and harassments that would go along with it.

      It would mean, in effect, not tossing the keys over the shoulder.

      I find myself exceedingly skeptical that it would in any genuine way ease the world's condemnation of the Jewish people in the Middle East.

      But I am certainly willing to consider it because what matters most is not another Arab state, but the finalization of the borders of the Jewish state... whatever those borders might be.

      It's an important question, however.

      I'm flexible on it, but concerned.

    13. First, I understand. I think both acts would be bold.

      Second, I see it as disputed land, not necessarily Jewish anymore, as Israel has acknowledged.

      Finally, I believe many people are agnostic when it comes to the conflict, and many others see Palestinian self-determination as the crux. If these people can be satisfied and segregated from the true anti-Israel crowd, that is a positive.

      If states line up to recognize Palestine, then the field will have been changed.

      It's all academic anyway, but I believe the additional boldness would be fruitful.

    14. School,

      "I see it as disputed land, not necessarily Jewish anymore..."


      If you feel that way, then what is there to discuss with our former Arab masters?

      I tell you one thing, the Arabians took over 99 percent of the entire land mass of the Middle East, after booting out or assimilating the Christians, and they do not consider the land "disputed."

      They consider all of it, including Tel Aviv, to be theirs as a matter of religious right.

      The Land of Israel is not "disputed" as Jewish land.

      Or, at least, it should not be among ourselves.

      That is Jewish land and we should claim it, because it has been the homeland of the Jewish people for something close to 4,000 years.

      Whether we should keep all of it, however, is an entirely different question.

      I think that Israel should be gracious enough to offer some portion of Jewish land to the local Arabs.

    15. The fact is that Israel sees it as disputed land also.

      I a perfect world, Israel would run to the Jordan River. But we cannot change what has occurred, only go forward.

      Israel can and should take part of the disputed land, which it will almost certainly do, and then recognize the rest is Palestine, for the reasons I have stated previously.

  4. O/T, but Michael Lerner's Tikkun Daily is now posting JVP screeds. I guess they felt the useful idiots they already have there simply aren't anti-Israel enough, eh? Time to bring out the big guns, apparently...