Israel’s choice: Capitulation or isolation and possible sanctions

By Ted Belman

Ami Isseroff continues his arguments detailing Israel’s predicament in light of the Palestinian Unity Government and argues what should be done in response.

The Palestinians have a strong hand. Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, are anxious to displace Iranian influence with the Palestinians and will support the Palestinians at their upcoming summit conference. At the same time, they will push their Arab peace plan, which, in contradiction to the Palestinian unity platform, calls for recognition of Israel, though likewise, at an unacceptable price – the return of Palestinian refugees, which would mean the end of the Jewish state. Because of the urgency of getting Arab cooperation in dealing with Iraq and Iran, and of course, the leverage provided by Arab oil and trade opportunities, Arab support for the Palestinian cause will carry weight with European governments and cannot be ignored by the US either. The UN of course, is usually inclined to go along with any measure that is bad for Israel.

Realistically, preservation of the current stalemate is intolerable to the US, European countries, Russia and the Arabs. All want to see “progress” toward a resolution of the conflict. Israel is going to be under increasing pressure to negotiate with the Palestinians, as they gain increasing recognition. Stonewalling is not going to serve Israel’s interests. The Arabs and Palestinians have set forth “peace plans” of their own. The Arab peace plan is surrender for peace. The Palestinians do not even propose peace in return for surrender. Neither plan is acceptable to Israel.

As a result he argues Israel must come up with a plan

    “based on the Quartet peace plan and consistent with it, and should be offered as a basis for active US and European intervention in the peace process. Arab states who really want peace should be able to accept such a plan as well.”

    [..] Everyone in the West understands that the solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict will have to look something like the Geneva Accord, the Clinton bridging proposals and the Ayalon-Nusseibeh plan. All these have in common several features: Recognition of two states for two peoples, real peace, a real end to violence exchange of territories, a solution for the refugees outside of Israel and a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem. Israel made such proposals in negotiations in Washington in 2000 and in Taba in 2001.

    [..] The Israeli proposal must have two parts. The principles of an end to violence and incitement and recognition of Jewish self determination as well as Palestinian self determination in two independent states are not negotiable. Israel is not going to commit suicide for any peace proposal. The US and EU must back this plan, which is consistent with all of their public pronouncements, the Quartet proposals and the Clinton bridging proposals, and they must intervene actively to enlist Arab support for the plan. If the Palestinians accept this plan, then they have essentially accepted the conditions of the quartet as well as those of Israel and committed themselves to peace. If they reject the conditions, then it is they who will be isolated by world opinion and seen as obstructing peace.

In essence he argues Israel should come up with its bottom line non-negotiable plan similar to the Geneva Accords and then get the EU and the US to fight for the Plan.

    “The principles already have the approval of the United States government and would be acceptable to Europeans and moderate Arabs. They would possibly be acceptable to moderate Palestinians, though not to the Hamas.”

Of course, this presupposes that the Arabs will make real peace with Israel. Rather than argue that this is likely he argues that “then it is they who will be isolated by world opinion and seen as obstructing peace.”

Why should they? They believe that if they continue their present policies they will destroy Israel.

Ami Isseroff in effect is saying Israel should offer everything short of committing suicide. One of Ami’s bottom lines is that Palestine must be demilitarized. When the Arabs reject this as a humiliation, will this bottom line issue also be abandoned. After all, according to Olmert, Israel is strong enough.

And then there is the question of real peace. Can anyone seriously argue that it is attainable given the Arab mentality and hatred. Just try to imagine all the issues that must be addressed for two states to live cheek by jowl competing for every possible advantage. Especially when you factor in the return of maybe two million refugees to Palestine. Surely a nightmare.

And then there is the question of the unreliability of any Arab agreement.

No thank you. I prefer isolation. I prefer the annexation of Judea and Samaria and endless war thereafter if that is what the Arabs want.

The real problem lies in whether the Quartet or parts of it, will impose sanctions on Israel for defying world opinion as they are doing with Iran or bombing Israel as they did Serbia.

March 21, 2007 | 19 Comments »

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19 Comments / 19 Comments

  1. I was not applauding Isseroff’s views, but just pointing out they reflect the western majority view that comes from most political camps and not just the leftist camp as so many contributors to Israpundit believe.

    Views expressed on Isrpundit, contrary to predominant Western thinking are for the most part consumed with railing against those views as being immoral, illogical, unreasonable, senseless, willfully blind and a host of other such descriptive words.

    If one is going to try to turn Western thinking around, it is not enough to focus on condeming predominant Western thinking is wrong for any number of reasons and to write volumes in that regard penned with frustration and anger.

    It would be more productive to accept that Western thinking is what it is and to offer suggestions as to how one can go about bringing a change in thinking to be reflective of the views of the majority on Israpundit, other similar blogs, and a relative few political pundits, political scientists and historians whose views, most on Israpundit admire.

    I agree and have noted many times that nations, like people are moved by self interest. I expect that one might go about effecting a change in Western thinking, if one focuses on how to convince Westerners it is in their greater self interest to see things as we see them.

    Offering suggestions on how to go about changing the predominant Western views by appealing to Western self interests is relevant not only to the issue of Israel vs. Palestinians/Arabs, but to radical Islam’s war against the West that the West acknowledges in only a very limited way thus far.

    What I am proposing in terms of a new way of looking at changing Western opinion is fertile ground for fertile imaginations to ponder. Hopefuly by engaging in such exercise, we in the minority can come up with feasible solutions to attract increasing numbers of Westerners to our view and ultimately make ours the majority view.

    It is a very tall order, but now is as good a time as any to begin.

    I would add that radical Muslims, including Palestinians or fundamentalist literalist Islamists, by their continuing to attack and spill blood of Westerners, Israelis and even their own, in the most outrageously insane and evil ways and their increasingly vile hate rhetoric, are perhaps a great ally and an unwitting one at that, to prepare Western minds to be more receptive to efforts to get the West to re-examine their priorities and broader self interests, the most important self interest being self preservation.

  2. Bill, Yes and no.

    While Ami is reflecting world opinion so what. The Arabs have their reasons, the EU has theirs and the US theirs. They all serve their own interests. Ami should be serving Israeli interests. He believes that it is in Israel’s interest to appease world opinion. Some would argue we have no choice.

    Others such as Israpundit argue while world support is important it is not the ultimate determinant. Israel policies must be made in Israel and put Israel’s interests first.

    Israpundit argues that Israel should not worry so much about world support. Can Israel defy the world? Maybe yes, maybe no.

  3. Thanks for the kind words Ted; though jetlagged and working on 4 hours of sleep, Israpundit is always a frequent stop for current events and analysis. Last week, I even bookmarked your URL at the internet cafe in Kiev airport!

  4. It is hardly the case as Charles Martel puts it when he writes,

    Ami’s piece is satire, right?

    Isseroff’s two part analysis as I noted in respect to Part I of his article, generally reflects the thinking of the majority of Western thinking and perceptions and not specifically a leftist view.

    His analysis of the great difficulties Israel has had to contend with due to Arab and Palestinian Arab hatred of Israel, Israelis and Jews and desire to see Israel gone and continues to faces also generally reflects the perceptions and thinking expressed on this blog.

    Even Isseroff’s thoughts on what should be done to bring Israel the peace it desperately wants, reflects the majority of Western thinking.

    How many times have we heard via the main stream media through speeches, comments, analysis, op-eds and editorials from one Western leader, political pundit, Isseroff’s words:

    Israel is going to have to come up with a peace plan. Not vague talk about a “political horizon” or equally vague promises about painful concessions and making life better for Palestinians, but a concrete and clear, public plan.

    In almost all cases the onus to come up with a peace proposal that could work is put on Israel, which onus put, is for Israel to keep giving concessions.

    This Western view probably comes from the Western belief that everyone has their price and in the Arab/Palestinian case, Israel just has not managed to meet the Arab/Palestinian price so Israel must continue to pay monies until that point is reached.

    The plan must be based on the Quartet peace plan and consistent with it, and should be offered as a basis for active US and European intervention in the peace process. Arab states who really want peace should be able to accept such a plan as well……

    There is such a plan out there. In fact there are several of them. The principles already have the approval of the United States government and would be acceptable to Europeans and moderate Arabs. They would possibly be acceptable to moderate Palestinians, though not to the Hamas.

    Again, Isseroff’s words reflect the majority of Western thinking. Even the wishful thinking found in Isseroff’s bolded words, reflects the wishful thinking of the West.

    Isseroff’s following words also reflects a broad general view of a majority of Westerners:

    Everyone in the West understands that the solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict will have to look something like the Geneva Accord, the Clinton bridging proposals and the Ayalon-Nusseibeh plan. All these have in common several features: Recognition of two states for two peoples, real peace, a real end to violence exchange of territories, a solution for the refugees outside of Israel and a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem.

    Saying that everyone in the West understands as Isseroff’s bolded introduction to yet another of his thoughts is an overstatement, but still generally reflects the Western majority view.

    Like the majority of Western pundits, Isseroff includes within his Israel must do suggestions, passing reference to the Arab/Palestinian hatred of Jews, Israel and Israelis and their intractable dreams for Israel’s destruction one way or another as being a stumbling block to peace.

    It makes no sense for Isseroff and the majority of the West to continue to call for Israel to be the one to make peace happen with more and more concessions to the Arabs/Palestinians, while noting in the same breath, the current mind set of the Arabs/Palestinians that there is no price at which their hatred can be bought and changed to love and no price at which they will let go of their dreams for Israel’s destruction.

    While it makes no sense, that nonetheless is still reflective of majority Western thinking.

    I can only conclude that Isseroff is a voice of Western majority thinking. Following from that, it is the majority of views expressed on Israpundit that are actually in the minority when it comes to predominant Western thinking.

  5. Ami’s piece is satire, right? Looking back over the last 60 years, there is an endless supply of peace plans. The Road Map happens to be the flavor du jour and the Arabs can’t successfully fulfill the overture to the prelude to the introduction to the outset of the first phase.

    I’m not a lawyer but it has been explained to me that contracts are intended to clarify the understanding of the parties within a legal framework. In other words, agreements are bound by law, specify the mutal understandings and commitments of the contracting parties, provide an enforcement mechanism, and presuppose that the parties are truly interested in abiding by their commitments. Modern legal agreements are a Western invention; they hold no weight or credibility in the Arab-Muslim universe. The only glue holding the cold peace together between Egypt and Israel for example, is credible military deterrence and $2 billion per year in US financial aid to Egypt. Israel actually gained nothing by surrendering the Sinai, for absent the nuclear threat and American jizya payments, there would be war today.

    Just as contemporary Western legal concepts are largely irrelevant to Arab Muslims, the Western mind is impermeable to Arab constructs like unremitting intransigence and eternal war. Steeped in Western culture and education, genteel intellectuals like Ami Isseroff simply cannot fathom that any human being would prefer this type of debilitating conflict to peace and reconciliation on mutually acceptable terms. So while they implicitly accept the fact that the Arabs wish for the eradication of Israel, they drone on endlessly about compromises, painful concessions, progress, peace plans, summits, and resolutions to the conflict.

    Gary is 100% correct in his analysis above. The solution is for Israel to have the courage to state what is obvious to all: a war has been raging for the better part of a century and this war will only end when the Palestinian Arabs surrender their militants, their weapons, and their aim to destroy the Jewish national presence. Palestinian schools must be de-Nazified and moderate (preferably Christian) Arabs brought in to deliver and administer services. The damage done by the Arab League, Arafat, Hamas, and Islam generally, will take years to repair but once achieved, conditions will exist for discussion on a settlement.

  6. I would think the Saudis would want Hamas out of the picture if they could make that happen without cost to the Saudis. It is obvious that Hamas is too strong to be pushed around by the Saudis, at least not too much and certainly the Saudis could not, without setting themselves up as the enemies of Hamas and wage war against them, get Hamas out of the picture.

    Getting directly involved in the Fatah vs. Hamas in a civil war on the side of Fatah, even if that would allow Fatah to beat Hamas militarily, would likely still fail to rid Palestinian of hardcore support for Hamas. Furthermore, by such a move, the Saudis exposed themselves to a serious risk that Iran would throw its support behind Hamas. Apart from the risk that Iran and the Saudis could be drawn into direct conflict, there was also an even greater risk that the tensions between those two nations would be ratcheted up. The Saudis hardly would want to incur such risks.

    In the circumstances, the Saudis by their interceding and acting as mediator in the Hamas Fatah conflict, served the Saudi interests of trying to maintain and enhance their presence, power and influence in the Muslim Middle East. Every step the Saudis take with that in mind is a measure taken to keep Iran from gaining greater influence to usurp the Saudis position in that regard.

    I doubt the Saudis believed that the Mecca Accord would sit well with Israel or America and the West. As indicated, I don’t think that is what the Saudi objective was.

    The Mecca Accord producing the unity Palestinian government boosted the Saudis’ stock on the Muslim Middle East power and influence index. It also prevented the Fatah – Hamas conflict burning out of control for now which, if and when that happens, the Saudis must see some risk to them selves, whether it is Iran that is drawn in, forcing the Saudis to be drawn in or Israel being drawn in.

    If Israel is drawn into a major battle with the Palestinians because of an out of control battle between Hamas and Fatah, which Hamas would likely win or because Israel would be threatened by both Fatah and Hamas as a result of their conflict, then the lines would be drawn between Israel and all the Middle East Muslim world and circumstances tumbling out of control could draw the Saudis into a war between a coalition of Arab/Muslim nations vs. Israel.

    For the foregoing reasons I believe the Saudi objectives were only to stave off the situation getting out of and beyond their control, which would very much put them at risk.

  7. I liked you last comment better though I do agree that preventing a civil war may have been their object, I am not certain why this matters to them given the war in Iraq. In a civil war in the territories, Hamas would lose because Israel would see to it. So why didn’t SA want Hamas to lose?

  8. The Saudis are feeling threatened by Iran. Iran is now challenging the Saudis for power, control and influence over the destiny of the Middle East. Apart from Iran’s rush to gain nuclear engery and weapon’s capacity, Iran is also instrumental in stoking the fires of civil war in Iraq by aiding the Iraqi Shia in their battle with the Sunnis, hoping no doubt that when the battle is over and the dust settles, Iraq will be a vassal state of Iran.

    Iran also supports Hamas and it is to Iran that Hamas owes at least a good measure of allegience. For the Saudis to stand idly by and let the Hamas Fatah war spin out of control, the likelihood is with Hamas’ fanaticism and aid from Iran, Hamas would emerge the clear victor and it too would become another arm of Iran.

    Because America with some help from other Western nations are trying to contain, control and end the civil strife in Iraq, the Saudis are quite content not to get involved and let the West shoulder the burden that really is the burden of the Middle East nations to shoulder.

    I expect the Saudis are not pleased that America is making sounds that it might leave before the job is done. If that were to happen, the Saudis would be faced with the prospect of having to get involved directly or let Iran take over Iraq which borders on Saudi Arabia. That would put a militant Shi’ite regime that is seeking to displace the Saudis as the main powerbroker and leader in the Middle East as the Saudi’s next door neighbor. That is hardly something the Saudis want to see.

    In conclusion, in Iraq America stands against Iran in a number of respects. In so doing, America impedes Iran’s ability to race undeterred for the power it seeks in the Middle East, which threatens the Saudis. If the Palestinian civil war is allowed to continue and Hamas wins, thereby increasing Iran’s powerbase, the Saudis will be feeling extremely vulnerable and may indeed with that happening have allowed Iran to unseat the Saudis as the dominant influence and power in the Middle East.

    The West would be better off, in terms of sparing their own human and financial capital by standing strong behind Israel, let the Muslim Middle East fight their own battles, but camp out on the Muslim Middle East doorstep fully armed, locked and loaded so that the Muslim Middle East knows they can fight all they want and do whatever they want to each other, but they had better not do anything to harm the interests and well being of Israel or the West, politically, militarily or economically or they will very deeply and painfully regret it.

  9. …but such war would threaten to send dangerous ripples throughout the Middle East and might even attract more radical Islamists to get involved, destabilizing the whole Muslim Middle East.

    Those “dangerous ripples” are at this time a Tsunami of Jihad throughout the Middle East – look at Iraq for instance. I don’t think that things could get much worse and the more Muslims fight each other and Hamas fights Fatah, the better it is for the world…instability means that terrorists will be killing terrorists rather than terrorists killing civilians throughout the world and especially in Israel. I don’t care about the battles between Shiites and Sunnis and between Fatah and Hamas; to the West they are all scoundrels and all the same.

  10. Ted,

    Unlike you, I do see practical sense in the Mecca Accord. I think you are viewing the Saudi role and objectives in bringing about the Mecca accord, with too much suspicion.

    There is enough known to put a relatively ordinary explanation for what happened in Mecca and why.

    The Saudis are a major influence in the Middle East. Their power and influence is being threatened by Iran. Iran is backing Hamas. Hamas has the upper hand with the Palestinians however Fatah is hardly a lamb about to be slaughtered. Without someone coming to the fore to turn the heat down on the brewing civil war between Hamas and Fatah, that civil war would break out and not only would throw Palestinians into total chaos, but such war would threaten to send dangerous ripples throughout the Middle East and might even attract more radical Islamists to get involved, destabilizing the whole Muslim Middle East.

    The Saudis as influential powerbrokers chose to play the role the Americans sometimes play as honest brokers with a view to quell the rising danger that could threaten to even envelop Saudi Arabia.

    As powerful and influential as the Saudis are, they were dealing with two Palestinian factions that themselves have revealed fanatical and difficult natures. Neither party, Hamas nor Fatah would stand for the Saudis telling them who has to win and what they will have to do.

    I have no doubt that the Saudis pushed both Fatah and Hamas to find a way to move away from open civil war and to find a way to live together even if they din’t like it. There were limits to just how far the Saudis could push.

    Hamas obviously had the greater power and no doubt was bent on retaining that power and its position vis a vis Israel, which incidentally as regards Israel, Fatah being in lock step with Hamas on that score, probably was the one thing in common that the two factions could build on.

    The Saudis The Mecca Accord in my mind was primarily aimed at bringing about order before the Palestinian descent into chaos could not be stopped. A unity government between Hamas and Fatah was probably the only way to achieve that, even if only for a while. Fatah no doubt was squirming over the upper hand Hamas was given by the terms of the unity government.

    The Saudis however have, through the Mecca Accord brought some semblance of stability, only relatively speaking to the instability of the Palestinian status quo and that probably was the Saudis objective.

    The Saudis need the Palestinians to play their proxy role against Israel and Palestinians warring amongst themselves takes them away from their role as the Arab Middle East proxy soldiers against Israel.

    Controlling the Palestinians before they spun out of control, even if for only for a while until the next time was very much in the Saudis interests. We already are seeing cracks developing in the Palestinian unity government and it looks like those cracks will widen which will likely force the Saudis to intercede again, sooner rather then later.

  11. Ami Isseroff writes:

    The Palestinians have a strong hand. Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, are anxious to displace Iranian influence with the Palestinians and will support the Palestinians at their upcoming summit conference. ”

    I know that Ami means well and he knows a great deal about life in Israel which I do not.

    But there are things that Ami does not know about.

    In the above statement Ami must know its weakness. It is true that the Saudis and the Iranians hate each other.

    But the point Ami is that they hate Israel much more and are united now, and forever, in their hatred of Israel. But Ami knows that.

    Second point made by Dr Case. If the Palestinian state happens then it will be flooded by Arabs, refugees call them what you will.

    This will mean even more crowding and impulse to war with Israel.

    There is no hope along that road. But does Ami not know this!

    What you have I think with Ami and with many like him in Israel is something similar to the way in which the Europeans like Kamm promoted Islam in Bosnia.

    These could not face the reality that Islam is taking over Europe AND INTENDS TO TAKE OVER EUROPE.

    They could not face that reality full stop.

    In that situation NEEDED URGENTLY IN THE SUBCONSCIOUS MINDS OF THESE PEOPLE IS REPLACEMENT THEORY.

    Now that replacement turned into hatred of the Serbs. AND ESPECIALLY HATRED OF SLOBODON MILOSEVIC AND THE VERY NAME OF MILOSEVIC, OR SLOBO AS THEY SOMETIMES USED.

    Ami does something similar in relation to this group of people who are now called “Palestinians” but the adoption of which title is actually part of the strategy.

    WHICH AMI KNOWS VERY WELL!

    I urge people to turn again to 23 Reasons by Joseph Norland. Use the search facility here.

    The bigger question is how to combat Ami and I will return to this. IT WILL NOT BE SOLVED BY WORDS.

    It centres around WHY do the Palestinians have a strong hand and it the answer centres around leadership. And ONLY around leadership.

  12. Ami wrote, “It is better to fight from more modest borders with the backing of the US and EU, then to fight from current borders with no help, no diplomatic support and no possibility of military resupply.”

    Although this statement, as well as the article is reasoned out, I doubt that capitulation on borders by Israel will make one iota of difference one way or the other as far as support from the US and the EU if everything turns ugly.

    For the time being the only real effect of Israeli policies as far as the US and EU are concerned will be mainly in outward political expressions of these governments; when it gets down to the nitty gritty and a serious conflict occurs the US and EU will, or will not support Israel regardless of whether or not Israel capitulates on their borders.

    Therefore, the main effect of capitulation is not so much political (at this time) as it is strategical, for not only will capitulation embolden the Arabs to press harder to constrict Israel, but it increases their strategic position. If conflict were to occur, even Israel should win the cost in lives would likely be greatly exaggerated.

    On the other hand, although we are not to the point where isolation is an eminent, even if Israel were isolated as Ami says “with no diplomatic support and no possibility of military resupply,” Israel still has the nuclear option.

    This puts pressure on the West to resupply Israel in order to avoid a nuclear doomsday scenario in the region should Israel come to the very edge of existence and run out of any other option.

    The bottom-line for those of us who view things further to the right than Ami does is that Arab aspirations for the destruction of Israel are not going to be assuaged by gifts or compromise – Furthermore, the West will do what it will do in its own self interest regardless of whether Israel compromises.

    If the West will not support Israel on moral grounds then there is no need pandering to gain their support, for it will fail regardless of any concessions or gestures of goodwill on behalf of Israel.

    My policy would be that Israel force the Wests’ hand to make them chose to support Israel without conditions, for any support that is based on preconditions and concessions rather than on a sound moral foundation is variable – it is there one moment and gone the next. Morality is fixed and stable, circumstances are not – Any support that is built upon a foundation of circumstances is very a risky wager indeed.

    I do agree with Ami that isolation is a threat, albeit a future one; for now I just don’t think that we are to that point. What Israel needs to do now is fight a PR battle and press their hand on the international stage while they still can rather than acquiesce, this will solidify true support. It may not be as much support as you will get by capitulating but it will be real; and that is the only kind of support that matters when it is relied upon anyway.

  13. Ami Isseroff is scary. He can predict the future. The only way I know of predicting the future is by actively working for your vision. Even then nothing is guaranteed. He believes that the world will sell the Jews down the river and so anticipates it by working for their vision. My understanding is that all the political world really wants is a stability that contains its own genre of predictability. Frankly, any solution will do that provides that stability. So if Israel and Isseroff dig in their heels and the Arabs decide that their goals will be too self-destructive, Israel will have the type of peace it has lived with between its wars. Frankly, after the first suicide bomber had blown up the first Israeli bus, if Israel had blown up ten Palestinian buses with innocent children and adults, their would have been no intifada. It was just that the Jews could not do such a thing and live with themselves. Thus, the Jews will not live with themselves, but with their enemies at their throats.

    Isseroff is saying, in essence, better we should die than they should die. It is not a formula for stability, since death will be by degrees, each step being inherently unstable. He also errs by invoking the mantra “moral high ground.” The “shitty little state” has no right to the moral high ground in world opinion. 1.5 billion Muslims cannot be wrong. At the moment of defeat Israel’s plight will merely elicit a “tsk, tsk” from the world as they immerse themselves in their new-found stability. This is what Mr. Isseroff is missing. No one will miss us, Mr. Isseroff.

    Finally, should Israel feel so threatened that it decides to go nuclear, it will be partially upon Mr. Isseroff’s head, and his fellow travelers, since he places Israel in a more vulnerable position. It is probably better to hold the topological high ground than the moral high ground, since it will reduce the likelihood of needing to go nuclear. This is the lesson of the withdrawal from Gaza. Holding Gaza reduced the long-term risk of sharp, highly destructive conflict. We will easily win militarily Gaza when it becomes necessary with the loss of “only” a few hundred dead, but we will again have lost the war because of the devastation that Mr. Isseroff and the left foisted upon us. The Gaza withdrawal , if my vision is correct, will have done more to undermine Israel than having kept it. We will see, Mr. Isseroff.

    Perceived weakness is just as important as actual weakness. That is the lesson we learned from the conflict with Hizb’Allah. Since our “defeat” in Lebanon, Syria has taken extraordinary measures to build their armed forces. Now we face modern Russian weapons instead of outmoded ones.

    My advice for Mr. Isseroff is to study for a year with Prof. Robert Aumann. Prof. Aumann deals with facts, while Mr. Isseroff deals with personal dreams. The left needs a serious reality check.

  14. The consensus is that Saudi Arabia and the “moderate” camp are worried about the threats from Iran. If that is the case, should they not be begging the US for help, not demanding further concessions for the Palestinians. The US should be dictating to the Saudis.

    Secondly, Saudi Arabia alleged that the Mecca Accords required Hamas to turn away from Iran. I have not seen anything to substantiate such a claim. If it were really the case why was not Hamas required to accept the conditions of the quartet?

    I can’t for a moment understand what the accord was all about. Nothing makes sense.

    My best guess is that the Saudis wanted the appearance of a Unity government, albeit one against the conditions, so that the conditions could be lifted as a quid pro quo for the unity.

  15. Ami acknowledges that Hamas wouldn’t accept such an offer yet he ignores that Saudi Arabia forced Abbas to yield to Hamas and did not force the two of them to accept the conditions of the Quartet. Also Fatah also wants to destroy Israel.

    Does the Mecca Accord not fly in the face of Ami’s argument. Does not the refusal of the Arab League to drop the demand for the right of return also fly in its face.

  16. Ami prefers to believe that the Arabs are rational and will prefer the peace deal he describes rather than perpetual war. What is the basis for such a belief. Does it not fly in the face of all the evidence and history.

    The Arabs have nothing to gain from such a deal. Creating another Arab State or helping the Palestinians are of little import to them. Getting rid of the refugees in their own countries has not been reason enough to resettle them. Better to use them to destroy Israel.

    As Moshe Sharon writes, the religion and culture of the Arabs demands that they not accept Israel as permanent or Jewish.

  17. If the Palestinians were not able to accept the Clinton plan – which was a dangerously generous offer from Israel, then it is unlikely that Hamatah, strengthened by Saudi money and venal support from Europe, Russia, Al Qaeda, Iran, the UN, etc., will ever be entirely acceptable. The Palestinians have opted for endless war and terror – but Israel has never given them the war that they were craving (which was a huge mistake on Israel’s part). Anyway, the ground the Pals might potentially gain now from any kind of agreement will just be the first step in the road to ruin for a smaller Israel inundated by Arabs and terrorists and weapons from Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon and all over the world of Jihad.

    There is a way out of this mess but it would require an independent policy from Israel absent of the longing to please their friends and enemies and separate from the regional and international politics: issue an ultimatum to the Palestinians – accept Israel and demilitarize their terrorists or face all out war. This would anger the usual array of Israel haters and Muslim supremacists but they will remain angry until the last Jew is forced from the Middle East. Remember that a strong Israel, respected for its resolve, will do a lot more for its image than a weak Israel pandering to terrorists and Israel haters and catering to foreign politicians who want to make gains from their own constituents at home by brokering a peace that would kill Israel.

    If the Palestinians were a normal group of refugees, then their needs could easily be met by an Israel and world anxious to help them and see them prosper; but they are not normal. Long ago they decided use terrorism to get what they want, what was never theirs, and what was lost to as a result of wars started by them.

  18. The choice is neither capitulation or isolation. Isolation for Israel is defeat. It will mean no trade partners, no military assistance, no diplomatic support no spares for IDF, and increasing support and legitimation for PA resistance. Any military move by Israel would risk UN intervention under Chapter 7, as the US veto would likely be withheld. We really do NOT want to be fighting French and German UNIFIL forces for control of Hebron. By trying to keep every millimeter of territory, we will lose not only Jerusalem but Tel Aviv as well. It is not an option.

    Israel must come up with a peace plan that is agreeable to the US and EU and that they can back. If it is an honest offer that is rejected by the Palestinians, it gives us a good moral basis and the means to fight with the backing of the United States and the EU. If it is accepted and brings peace, we are home free. If it is accepted and we still have to fight a war, well then, we are back to 1967. We did pretty well then, with much worse odds. It is better to fight from more modest borders with the backing of the US and EU, then to fight from current borders with no help, no diplomatic support and no possibility of military resupply.

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