By: Lee S. Bender and Jerome R. Verlin
As the indefatigable John Kerry plods on, ignoring the huge unbridgeable gulf between the Israeli and Palestinians’ peace terms positions, Israel’s advocates must make clear to Western publics how incompatible the Arab side’s demands are with the survival of the Jewish state.
Palestinian Authority President Abbas’ December 8, 2013, letter to President Obama stated: “Firstly, we will not be able to accept Israel as a Jewish state. Secondly, we will not be able to accept a Palestinian state with 1967 borders without Jerusalem. Thirdly, we will not be able to accept any Israeli on Palestinian land, sea, air and border crossings following the completion of the gradual withdrawal.” A fourth condition was the “right of return” for potentially millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Israel.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Abbas stating that the current peace talks will not be extended beyond the nine-month term ending in April, and that “after that, we’re free to do what we want.” “ŽChief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat revealed another potential strategy: appeal for recognition to the EU and international community, engage in lawfare, and bring charges in the International Criminal Court against Israel.
Abbas’ “1967 Borders” Demand: “Ž”ŽThe 1949 Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement expressly defined its “green line” as exclusively a military ceasefire line without prejudice to either side’s claims on political borders. The post-1967 war UN resolution 242 did not demand an Israeli retreat from Jerusalem. Abba Eban referred to those perilously narrow 1949 ceasefire lines as “Auschwitz lines.” And Prime Minister Rabin, commanding general in the 1967 War, told the Knesset just before his assassination in 1995 that the borders of Israel would be beyond the lines that existed before the Six-Day War, that Israel would not divide Jerusalem, and that Israel would remain in the Jordan Valley. Indeed, with the current Iranian nuclear threat and instability of neighboring Arab states, these requirements have become more imperative.
Abbas’ “East Jerusalem“ Demand: “ŽCompare the Jewish and Arab claims to the heart of Jerusalem. Palestinian Arabs have not ruled any part of Jerusalem for one day in history. Antiquity’s two native states that ruled Jerusalem, the kingdoms of Judah and Judaea, were Jewish. Two Jewish Temples stood in succession as Jerusalem centerpieces for a millennium. “ŽModern Israel became the land’s next native state after Jewish Judaea – all the intervening rulers were foreign invaders. Jerusalem has had a renewed Jewish majority since 19th “Žcentury Ottoman rule. Indeed, Muslims have major religious sites in Jerusalem, to which Israel does and will grant peaceful access. Compare the Arab denial of Jewish access to the Old City during Jordan’s illegal rule from 1948-1967.
Abbas’ Demanded “Right of Return” and Non-Recognition of Jewish State“Ž: Jews are not strangers in Jerusalem, Beit El ,and Hebron – as Netanyahu recently declared, and we are not strangers to the broader Mideast, where the Jewish people have lived since Moses’ time. PA officials have repeatedly stated not only their opposition to a Jewish state living peacefully alongside a Palestinian Arab state, but that one of their red lines is the “right of return,” which will flood Israel with millions of descendants of refugees who left Israel during the 1948 War. This would destroy Israel as the Jewish homeland, and is racist in ideology and effect. And what the media hardly ever mentions is that Israel accepted a greater number of indigenous Middle Eastern Jews after 1948 who were forced from their homes and businesses in Arab and other Muslim lands, than the number of Arabs left tiny “ŽIsrael. These Jews and their descendants comprise a major segment of Israel’s population today.”Ž They not only offset the Arab-claimed “right of return,” but destroy the canard that Israel is an implanted colonial “Zionist” state in an Arab Mideast.
Incitement: The steady stream of anti-coexistence, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic rhetoric and incitement by the Palestinian Arab leadership in mosques, schools, camps, and media perpetuates the conflict. While Israeli defensive actions are routinely cast as obstacles to peace, it is the Palestinian Arabs’ refusal to recognize a Jewish state, in any borders, which is never described as the obstacle to peace, when it is the “Žsin qua non to mutual recognition and an end to the conflict. Instead, the world is fed the narrative of a seemingly poor, victimized, minority “Palestinian people,” who are not seen as part of the greater Arab region of 22 countries and 400 million people, nor as people with their own country – Jordan – which has a population two thirds of whom are “Palestinians” on 78 percent of the original Palestine Mandate. Israel has 6.2 million Jews, plus another 1.2 million Arabs living as full citizens, in a country of 8,000 square miles, versus 5 million square miles of the Arab world.
Abbas Has No Authority: The media fails to recognize that Abbas has limited and questionable authority – his term expired 8 years ago, and he only “rules” in PA-controlled areas in “the West Bank,” but not Gaza, which is under the thumb of Hamas. There is no proof that if Abbas signs an agreement that it will be binding on Hamas, which rejects Israel’s right to exist.
Prisoner Release: Israel was forced to release 104 Palestinian Arab convicted murderers with blood on their hands just to induce the PA to come to the negotiating table, a horrible and heartrending concession that has torn the fabric of Israel, while the Palestinian Arabs celebrated the releases, and pocketed them for nothing in return.
The Palestinian Arabs have not budged an inch from their maximalist, Israel-ending demands – “the 1967 borders,” the heart of Jerusalem as their capital, and destruction of even “green line” Israel through “the right of return,” and refusal to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People. Israel, however, has agreed to a two-state solution. These are the facts everyone needs to know.