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  • February 6, 2013

    The “peace process” is not dead

    Since the first publication of this article in April 2010, Obama committed to the idea that Israel must return to the ’67 lines subject to mutually agreed swaps. Though many argue that the peace process is dead, the truth of the matter is, that the US remains committed, as it always has been, to  ensuring that “the political struggle [between Israel and the Arabs] is settled in [a] manner satisfactory to [the] Arabs.”  Ted Belman

    By Ted Belman (first published in April 2010)

    After his inauguration, President Obama made it his business to end the Mideast conflict within two years. To achieve that end he embraced the “Saudi peace plan” and put enormous pressure on Israel to accept it.

    The hallmark of this plan was “ending the occupation that began in 1967 and the division of Jerusalem.

    Can we conclude from this that Obama is anti-Semitic, just hostile to Israel, or intent on changing U.S./Israel relations? The answer is not immediately self-evident.

    Let’s go back to Israel’s founding, when these relations began.


    Richard Holbrooke, in a fascinating article titled “Washington’s Battle Over Israel’s Birth,” explains the tug of war President Truman and Clark Clifford were involved in at that time: one side favored recognition, while Secretary of State George C. Marshall and his entourage at the State Department favored a UN trusteeship instead of partition.

    Secretary of Defense James Forrestal explained to Clifford what motivated his group:

    There are thirty million Arabs on one side and about 600,000 Jews on the other. Why don’t you face up to the realities?

    According to Holbrooke, what motivated Truman and Clifford was moral conviction. Acting on their convictions was made more problematic by “the substantial anti-Zionist faction among leading Jews, [including] the publishers of both the Post and the New York Times.”

    Nevertheless, the U.S., under Truman, was the first country to recognize Israel. Holbrooke concluded:

    [To] this day, many think that Marshall and Lovett were right on the merits and that domestic politics was the real reason for Truman’s decision. Israel, they argue, has been nothing but trouble for the United States.

    But Holbrooke begged to differ:

    Truman’s decision, although opposed by almost the entire foreign policy establishment, was the right one — and despite complicated consequences that continue to this day, it is a decision all Americans should recognize and admire.

    In the intervening years, the State Department has done its best to prevent Israel’s expansion. Presidents, to one degree or another, have lent their support. The U.S. maintained an arms embargo on Israel which commenced before the War of Independence in 1948 and ended after the Six Day War in 1967. During that period, Eisenhower forced Israel to retreat from the Sinai in 1956.

    After Israel’s stunning victory in 1967, the State Department collaborated with the Arabs to prevent Israel’s expansion. United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 started with the recital “Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” before going on to envisage secure borders which envisioned the retention of some land. Thus, full withdrawal was not intended. The Arabs were livid and refused to negotiate. As a result, the U.S. proposed the Rogers Plan in 1969, which adopted the Arab position with these words:

    We believe that while recognized political boundaries must be established, and agreed upon by the parties, any change in the pre-existing lines should not reflect the weight of conquest and should be confined to insubstantial alterations required for mutual security. We do not support expansionism.

    Why not? Under international law, Israel, because it fought a defensive war, had the right to retain territory.

    On Jerusalem, it provided:

    We cannot accept unilateral actions by any party to decide the final status of the city. We believe its status can be determined only through the agreement of the parties concerned.

    Specifically, we believe Jerusalem should be a unified city.

    It left unresolved how to reconcile withdrawal to the 1967 borders and Jerusalem being a unified city. As the Obama administration has now highlighted, there is a conflict between the two. Similarly — is a “unified” city synonymous with a “united” city?

    You will recall that Israel annexed East Jerusalem lands right after the war, but such annexation was not recognized by the U.S. and most other countries. So on the subject of Jerusalem, the U.S. has been consistent.

    When Israel was attacked in 1973 by Egypt and Syria, Kissinger did his best to put Israel at a disadvantage. Thanks to General Haig, and later President Nixon, Israel turned defeat into victory. But Kissinger was there to limit the victory. This was not good enough for the Saudis, who imposed an oil embargo on the West.

    In The Vast Power of the Saudi Lobbywritten in response to the publication of The Israel Lobby, John R. MacArthur notes:

    As the historian J.B. Kelly recounts, the U.S. ambassador to Riyadh, James Akins, did his best to placate King Faisal by urging the Saudi’s American-owned oil concessionaire ARAMCO to, in Aken’s words, “hammer home” to the White House that the embargo wouldn’t be lifted unless “the political struggle [between Israel and the Arabs] is settled in [a] manner satisfactory to [the] Arabs.”

    In 1975, Kissinger advised an Iraqi diplomat:

    On the contrary, Israel does us more harm than good in the Arab world. … We can’t negotiate about the existence of Israel but we can reduce its size to historical proportions. … I think the Palestinian identity has to be recognized in some form. … No solution is possible without it.

    Thereafter, the U.S. worked — surreptitiously at first, and then openly — to cultivate the Palestinian identity and entity. Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43 all did their part.

    In the lead-up to the Iraq War in 2003, Thomas Friedman introduced the Saudi plan and advised that he got it from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. But I think that it was in fact drafted by the State Department, who for one reason or another did not want to take ownership of it. I set out my reasons in my blog post “Unifying Theory.” The plan called for:

    Israel’s full withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied in 1967 in implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, backed by the Madrid conference resolutions in 1991 and the principle of land for peace, and for Israel’s acceptance of the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state, whose capital is East Jerusalem, in return for the Arab states’ establishment of normal [tabi’iyah] relations within the framework of a comprehensive peace with Israel.

    Its intent was to make a claim on East Jerusalem and to emphasize full withdrawal.

    The State Department, in exchange for getting Saudi agreement for the invasion of Iraq, agreed to incorporate the Saudi plan in the road map — which also was in the process of being drafted. The road map was announced one week after the invasion.

    The road map covered new ground in requiring that an independent Palestinian state be created which was contiguous and viable. Normally these three matters would be subject to negotiations. No longer. By incorporating the Saudi plan, it also endorsed the division of Jerusalem and insubstantial changes in the 1967 borders. If that weren’t enough, it required Israel’s commitment to stop settlement construction pursuant to the Mitchell Report. Israel’s fate and Kissinger’s prophecy were sealed.

    When Sharon announced his disengagement plan, he negotiated for the support for such a move by President Bush.  This support took the form of a letter from Bush to Sharon in ’04 in which Bush softened the State Department’s position with this paragraph,

    As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.

    Notice, he did not reference the Saudi plan and rejected the idea of a full withdrawal. While this wording may fall short of a binding commitment, this sentence in the letter doesn’t: “The United States will do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan.”

    Obama took the position that the U.S. was not bound by this letter as he wished to return to the Saudi plan with its “insubstantial changes” and division of Jerusalem. Elliot Abrams, who was involved in the negotiations surrounding the letter, was of the opinion that the letter did in fact amount to an agreement.

    By rejecting this letter as binding, Obama was now free to permit the imposition of another plan, i.e., the Saudi plan. By doing so he is also negating all the caveats inserted by Bush for Israel’s protection.

    President Obama does not have a new plan in mind. He just wants to force Israel to agree, and failing this, to impose a solution on Israel, thereby removing her one remaining right: the right to negotiate. This includes the right to reject offers.

    Throughout the years, the American people and their representatives in Congress and the Senate have been very supportive of Israel, though they never confronted, much less thwarted, the State Department as Truman did.

    Obama is not sensitive to American public opinion, but he is sensitive to Arab opinion, just as the State Department is. He is prepared to go to the mat on this. And why not? He has the backing of the liberal/left in America, Jews included.

    The time has come for Israel to say “no” to further concessions or the imposition of a solution not to her liking. She must appeal to the American people to thwart the Arabist State Department. It is not enough to get Congress to pass resolutions supporting Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, which they have done a number of times in the past.

    Congress and the Senate must commit to making it a reality.

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  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 6:55 am | 21 Comments »

    21 Comments to The “peace process” is not dead

    1. Andrew says:

      Good article Ted. I like the ironic title to the article as well. Its going to be interesting watching the next 4 years now that Obama has faced his last election.

    2. Shy Guy says:

      The “peace process” is not dead

      It’s pining for the fjords!

    3. NormanF says:

      Shy Guy Said:

      The “peace process” is not dead
      It’s pining for the fjords!

      I can just see Obama pressing Israel really hard to be the next Czechoslovakia. The silver lining is for all the Stupid Jews Israel has – the Arabs are not as accommodating as the Germans of the West’s need to allow appeasement “to save face.” There will be “no peace in our time” in March when Obama comes calling on Israel or in the future.

    4. Yidvocate says:

      Even the stupid, liberal, demented, leftist Israelis will be forced to confront the plain unvarnished truth that has eluded them to date, that is: that if Israel has no rights to Judea and Samaria, it has no rights whatsoever to to any land in pre-67 Israel and that if it is not uniquely the Jewish state, it lacks all justification and legitimacy for being. To this extend, Obama can be seen as a great friend of the Jewish state for without his hate and singular focus on undermining Israel, the stupid, liberal, demented, leftist Israelis, who rule the roost, would never have had the fog lifted from them. At the end of the day, I fear we will owe Obama a debt of gratitude because I don’t believe such revelation can come about without his evil machinations.

    5. Paul Lipof says:

      @ Yidvocate:
      You are too optimistic. That fog will never be lifted. They have eyes, but do not see. Some of my best friends who love Israel voted for Obama and are proud of it. When catastrophy strikes they will blame the hard-right Israeli government led by Bibi and not Obama. They still to this day worship the memory of FDR, despite his betrayal of european jews 80 years ago. Obama is right. We Jews don’t know what are best interests are.

    6. CuriousAmerican says:

      by Ted Belman

      The U.S. maintained an arms embargo on Israel which commenced before the War of Independence in 1948 and ended after the Six Day War in 1967.

      The embargo ended 5 years earlier under Kennedy.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_policy_of_the_John_F._Kennedy_administration#Israel_and_Arab_states

      Kennedy ended the arms embargo that the Eisenhower and Truman administrations had enforced on Israel. Describing the protection of Israel as a moral and national commitment, he was the first to introduce the concept of a ‘special relationship’ (as he described it to Golda Meir) between the US and Israel.Kennedy extended the first informal security guarantees to Israel in 1962 and, beginning in 1963, allowed the sale to Israel of advanced US weaponry (the MIM-23 Hawk), as well as to provide diplomatic support for Israeli policies which were opposed by Arab neighbours, such as its water project on the Jordan River.

      Kennedy’s only real issue with Israel was the Dimona nuclear program.

      This next one is odd.

      by Ted Belman

      In the intervening years, the State Department has done its best to prevent Israel’s expansion.

      What are you trying to say here? Expansionism is good? The US is obliged to assist expansionism?! Are you saying Israel is expansionistic?! Are you saying that this is good?

      That sentence is loaded. The US has tried to stop the expansionism of many nations.

      Please can you tell us what is meant by that. I doubt you meant Israel is aggressive.

    7. the phoenix says:

      CuriousAmerican Said:

      The embargo ended 5 years earlier under Kennedy.

      what’s important here you antisemitic moron, is that this friggin usa of yours, imposed an embargo when arms were needed like oxygen in an o.r.
      what was hoped, was that this lack of weapons would cause the demise of the newborn jewish state while still maintaining a lilywhite righteous (read HYPOCRITICAL) posture. …

      Kennedy’s only real issue with Israel was the Dimona nuclear program.
      .

      israel’s nuclear reactor should not have been any of his goddamned business. israel did not have any issues with the multitude of mistresses that that guy had

      by Ted Belman
      In the intervening years, the State Department has done its best to prevent Israel’s expansion.
      What are you trying to say here? Expansionism is good? The US is obliged to assist expansionism?! Are you saying Israel is expansionistic?! Are you saying that this is good?
      That sentence is loaded. The US has tried to stop the expansionism of many nations.
      Please can you tell us what is meant by that. I doubt you meant Israel is aggressive.

      american.
      understand a simple fact of nature.
      ALL LIVING THINGS are designed to grow. this is the genetic make up.
      and they will seek to grow to their FULL POTENTIAL and then they start to decline till they die (depending on the species, and a multitude of external factors the time frame may vary)
      you might want to think of NATIONS as living organisms as well (if you don’t know where your little nation is as far as this process goes, why, just ask me…i’ll be glad to tell you)
      israel, the jewish nation (now repeat after me american “israel the JEWISH NATION”…it has a beautiful ring to it doesn’t it?)
      so to comment on your innane questions whether ‘expansion is good, is not good, what should the us do/not do…

      israel the jewish nation will live forever!
      got that? american?
      and as such it goes unsaid that it will expand.
      for starters, it must expand to where you and your ilk said that jewish settlement should be encouraged….(read mr ross comments on any thread and you will understand (actually with you..i’m not so sure, but try it nonetheless. )
      having said that, you DO understand that this not a process that occurs overnight …

      let me ask you another question, american!
      should the sequoia be forced to become a bonsai…so it will not qualify as an ‘aggressive expansionist’???
      i hope you understand how idiotic the question is…

    8. Ted Belman says:

      @ CuriousAmerican:
      I don’t think that Kennedy lifted the embargo totally. Israel continued to get most of the arms and planes from France.
      As for “expansion”, Israel never started a war to enlarge its auschwitz borders. All her wars were defensive in nature. Israel has the right in international law to keep the land it conquered in such wars. This retention would amount to expansion. The state Department is committed to preventing such “exspansion” in order to keep the Arabs happy.

      You think of expansion as imperialism. Yes it can be but isn’t here. It is self defense and getting secure borders.

    9. dweller says:

      @ CuriousAmerican:

      “The U.S. maintained an arms embargo on Israel which commenced before the War of Independence in 1948.”

      I suggest that this is a (common enough) misstatement of the facts.

      In the name of “preventing bloodshed,” Truman credulously yielded to lobbying from his own, virulently pro-Arab & anti-Zionist, foreign policy bureaucracy — his much-vaunted “Wise Men”: Dean Acheson, Robert Lovett, Chip Bohlen, George F. Kennan, Loy Henderson, Director of UN Affairs Dean Rusk, Secty of Defense James V. Forrestal (and of course the SecState, Marshall himself) — to impose, shortly after Res. 181 was approved, an arms embargo [5 December 1947] on “the region.”

      The Wise Men — who would shape the foreign policy of USA for the next 40 years — were much committed to the numbers game. They wanted the vast petroleum reserves of the Middle East for America & they were determined that this country be on what they fully expected to be the winning side in the Arab-Zionist struggle.

      The greatest, most overriding concern of Undersecty of State Robert Lovett — as the diplomatic temperature rose, and the projected, 29 Nov 1947 voting date for the Resolution approached —seems to have been that, since it was beyond question that one side or the other was certain to be dissatisfied by the outcome, “the Arabs might use arms of U.S. origin against Jews, or Jews might use them against Arabs.”

      Of course, the Arab states (as the Wise Men & the pinstripes at Foggy Bottom knew perfectly well) would, regardless of the circumstances, never lack for weaponry:

      — which they received in massive quantities from HMG — who never made, or even intended to make, so much as a pretense of HONORING the embargo. (And what was “Give-‘em-Hell Harry” going to do about that — attack British shipping as an enforcement measure?)

      “… and [the ‘Israel’ embargo] ended after the Six Day War in 1967″

      “The embargo ended 5 years earlier under Kennedy.”

      The point I was making above was that the embargo was not on Israel specifically (altho that was the net effect of it), but on the REGION. Therefore it’s not really correct to characterize JFK’s actions in ’62 & ’63 as a lifting of an explicitly anti-Israeli embargo

      — but rather the halting, sputtering, rudimentary BEGINNINGS of an ongoing relationship between (among others) the Israel & USA defense and diplo establishments.

      Nothing MAJOR, however, happened on either of those two fronts until after the 1967 war — after which success, it began to dawn on the State Dept that Israel could be a potent, stand-alone outpost — I wouldn’t call the relationship a ‘partnership’ (let alone, an ‘alliance’) — in that part of the world, where American Cold-War interests were front-&-center.

    10. dweller says:

      @ CuriousAmerican:

      “In the intervening years, the State Department has done its best to prevent Israel’s expansion.”

      What are you trying to say here? Expansionism is good?”

      What are you trying to say here, Curio? — that ‘Expansionism’ can’t POSSIBLY be good?

      “The US is obliged to assist expansionism?!”

      No more than anybody Across The Pond was “obliged” to assist in the expansion of 13 original USA states across the fruited plain to the western edge of the No. American continent when that was under way.

      The US could merely resolve to stay out of the way; that would be nice.

      “Are you saying Israel is expansionistic?!”

      If you’ve familiarized yourself, Curio, with the San Remo Resolution & the Mandate Charter which are discussed here daily, then you know that what the Israelis actually ended up with in 1947-49 represented the tiny, largely indefensible, end product of some three decades of relentless & repeated jewing-down the Jews of their patrimony as outlined & earmarked in those international instruments.

      Are you saying they shouldn’t look forward to recovering any part of what was originally (viz., in 1920) internationally recognized as theirs

      — even if its recovery was strictly the consequence of persistent attempts to destroy her?

      What’s the proper punishment for aggression?

      Think Potsdam 1945. . . .

      “The US has tried to stop the expansionism of many nations.”

      Quite so

      — and your point would be . . . . what, exactly?

    11. CuriousAmerican says:

      @ the phoenix:

      what’s important here you antisemitic moron,

      I am neither anti-semitic nor a moron just because I do not subscribe to your viciousness.

      I was stating a simple fact. The embargo was lifted (at least partially) 5 years earlier.

    12. CuriousAmerican says:

      @ Ted Belman:
      don’t think that Kennedy lifted the embargo totally. Israel continued to get most of the arms and planes from France.

      That may be true; but the embargo was at least partially lifted.

      @ Ted Belman:
      As for “expansion”, Israel never started a war to enlarge its auschwitz borders. All her wars were defensive in nature. Israel has the right in international law to keep the land it conquered in such wars. This retention would amount to expansion.

      Your use of the term was vague. I wanted clarification. If you said the State Department tried to prevent annexation that would have been better stated.

      The state Department is committed to preventing such “exspansion” in order to keep the Arabs happy.

      Unfortunately, expansion can mean imperialism. A better word should have been chosen.

      I have no problem with Israel annexing Judea and Samaria if Israel either

      A) Pays the Arabs to leave
      -or-
      B) Slowly enfranchises the Arabs on the land.

      Even Caroline Glick has admitted that Israel would be 2/3rds Jewish if Judea and Samaria were annexed. And it does not have to be done overnight. A test for literacy in Hebrew could be required.

    13. CuriousAmerican says:

      @ dweller:
      The US could merely resolve to stay out of the way; that would be nice.

      The British tried to prevent our expansion on many occasions.

      I agree we should stay out of the way. But the term expansion is very loaded. I thought it was phrased awkwardly.

    14. the phoenix says:

      CuriousAmerican Said:

      I am neither anti-semitic nor a moron

      well american, you DO believe in democracy now, don’t you?…. shall we take a vote on this?

      I was stating a simple fact.

      as was i american… as was i

    15. CuriousAmerican says:

      @ the phoenix:
      ALL LIVING THINGS are designed to grow. this is the genetic make up.
      and they will seek to grow to their FULL POTENTIAL and then they start to decline till they die (depending on the species, and a multitude of external factors the time frame may vary)

      That is a justification that could have been pulled out of Hitler’s Lebensraum.

      I have no problem with Israel annexing Judea and Samaria; but your MachtPolitik logic is chilling.

    16. the phoenix says:

      CuriousAmerican Said:

      I have no problem with Israel annexing Judea and Samaria if Israel either
      A) Pays the Arabs to leave
      -or-
      B) Slowly enfranchises the Arabs on the land.

      wow wee!
      now, israel should consult with YOU???
      we’ve gone over this shhhhstuf onother threads ad nauseum… (at least you are consistent…)
      A. not only no payment should be made, but there should be payment exacted (in whatever form it takes) from arab countries as a compensation for the plight of some 800,000 jews displaced, evicted that NOBODY is talking about (and of course, not you)
      B. DISENFRANCHISE the arabs of the land. THEY MUST GO!
      which part don’t you get? american?!

    17. the phoenix says:

      CuriousAmerican Said:

      but your MachtPolitik logic is chilling

      why thank you, american!
      :)

    18. CuriousAmerican says:

      @ the phoenix:
      israel’s nuclear reactor should not have been any of his goddamned business.

      Wow! One might wonder if Iran makes the same statement.

      - Ahmedinejad’s version:
      Iran’s nuclear reactor should not have been any of Israel’s goddamned business.

      I know … I know … Not morally equivalent.

      The reason Kennedy opposed an Israeli nuclear weapon is because he feared that once Israel got nuclear arms, the Muslims would seek nukes, too.

      Prophetic?! Huh!

      Stop screaming anti-semitism just because someone does not hold your view.

      Kennedy did not want a nuclear arms race in the Mideast, which is what is happening now.

    19. the phoenix says:

      @ CuriousAmerican:

      Kennedy did not want a nuclear arms race in the Mideast, which is what is happening now.

      It ain’t gonna happen american!
      The Iranians will glow so that a blind Martian will be able to see on a very cloudy day!

    20. the phoenix says:

      CuriousAmerican Said:

      Wow! One might wonder if Iran makes the same statement.
      – Ahmedinejad’s version:
      Iran’s nuclear reactor should not have been any of Israel’s goddamned business.
      I know … I know … Not morally equivalent.

      ummm, american?
      please show me/us when has israel EVER threatened to wipe another country off the map (the fact that it SHOULD is besides the point , it is just my own humble opinion)
      so you see american, do you understand WHY i say you are a godamn antisemite and post after post you keep proving me right ?
      as they say in the good ole’ south ‘jes keep talkin’ whaah’l ahm loadin’

    21. yamit82 says:

      CuriousAmerican Said:

      I know … I know … Not morally equivalent.

      The reason Kennedy opposed an Israeli nuclear weapon is because he feared that once Israel got nuclear arms, the Muslims would seek nukes, too.

      Prophetic?! Huh!

      Stop screaming anti-semitism just because someone does not hold your view.

      Kennedy did not want a nuclear arms race in the Mideast, which is what is happening now

      It would be helpful if you admitted you hate Jews and why rather than denying the obvious which pisses some of us off. It’s more your denial than the actual substance of your anti Jew/Israel beliefs.

      I despise Christianity but like many Christians even Jew hating Christians I even have had some close friends who were Jew Haters. Then there are some Christians who would love Jews out of existence and for them I envy the Saudi Muslims methods of defending their faith from Christian soul thieving Buccaneers. More Jews were murdered in the name of Jesus than on the orders of Hitler—who was approved by Christian clerics. The Germans only carried the Christian ideas to their logical conclusion.

      Think of the absurdity of Christians coming to Israel with visible symbols of the denial of Judaism around their necks (CROSSES)..,I detest anti-Zionists like Jimmy Carter coming to Israel, but those Christian tourists reject the foundation of Zionism: Jewish faith. They go to Golgotha where their deity was executed—and all of them believe he was executed by us, and that we Jews shouted, “Let his blood be on us and our children.”

      I would willingly forgo Christian religious tourism and any support they may show the state of Israel. While I admit there are probably some sincere Christians who want to support and identify with Israel they must be kept at a respectful distance from us and Israel Not only can’t we trust them we can’t trust ourselves.

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