Netanyahu is offering autonomy only

By Ted Belman

No doubt PM Netanyahu would have rather spent the last 18 months in hell than to have spent it participating in the peace process under brutal pressure by the Obama administration. Come to think of it, it must have been hell.

Keep in mind that Netanyahu was voted into office on a platform which denied the two-state solution.  The Obama administration succeeded in forcing a dramatic change in that policy.  Or did it? On June 14/09 Netanyahu delivered a speech at Bar Ilan University in which he appeared to accept a two state solution with these words,

    “In my vision of peace, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect. Each will have its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government.”

Although the world spun it as an acceptance, of a Palestinian state, I submit that the same words would apply to an autonomous entity.  Notice that the all important word “state” was not employed.

Then he placed the blame for sixty years of war where it rightly belonged,

    “And the simple truth is that the root of the conflict was, and remains, the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own, in their historic homeland.”

And he knew what to expect.

    “The closer we get to an agreement with them, the further they retreat and raise demands that are inconsistent with a true desire to end the conflict.”

With Pres Obama’s concurrence, he called for “immediate negotiations without preconditions”. He also laid out principles that he would insist on.

    “Therefore, a fundamental prerequisite for ending the conflict is a public, binding and unequivocal Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. To vest this declaration with practical meaning, there must also be a clear understanding that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside Israel’s borders. For it is clear that any demand for resettling Palestinian refugees within Israel undermines Israel’s continued existence as the state of the Jewish people.”

    “Clear commitments that in a future peace agreement, the territory controlled by the Palestinians will be demilitarized: namely, without an army, without control of its airspace, and with effective security measures to prevent weapons smuggling into the territory – real monitoring, and not what occurs in Gaza today. And obviously, the Palestinians will not be able to forge military pacts. “

Remember limited sovereignty or demilitarized state is autonomy only.

And finally he said “Israel needs defensible borders, and Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel”

Any student of the conflict would have known that all these prerequisites would never be agreed to and so, in effect, were non-starters.  Obama nevertheless ran with it because it was the best he could get.

Throughout the following six months Obama stumbled and fell in his attempt to get Arab cooperation.  He was left with no option other than to apply pressure on Netanyahu for a complete building freeze.  Netanyahu succumbed and agreed to a ten month partial freeze to the great chagrin of his supporters.

Now that the freeze has ended, Obama is pressing for a two month extension. On Monday, Netanyahu addressed the Knesset and laid out his conditions for the continuation of the freeze. “If the Palestinian leadership will unequivocally say to its people that it recognizes Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, I will be ready to convene my government and ask for another suspension of construction for a fixed period.” This was carefully worded.  First the Palestinians must say so then he will ask for a continuance. Of course it was rejected as Netanyahu knew it would be.

Dr Yitzhak Klein argued that this response was Netanyahu’s declaration of independence. By it, he was throwing down the gauntlet to four groups. To Obama, he said that recognition of Israel as a Jewish sate was a precondition to negotiations knowing that the American people in general and the Jews in particular would support his demand. To the Arab League, he was saying let’s move on to dealing with what really matters to you, namely, stopping Iran.  To Barak and the Labor Party he was saying go ahead and leave the coalition. I will be happy to fight the next election on the centrality of the recognition issue. To Mahmud Abbas, he said “get lost”.

At this juncture, it doesn’t look like the negotiations will get started again. But the real issue is that the parties to the conflict will not compromise their positions and therefore no agreement is possible.. The Arabs will look to have the UN impose a solution but so far both the US and the EU have not encouraged such option.  With the death of the peace process, perhaps they may change their minds.

Israel, on the other hand, must govern the territories as if there is no possibility of arriving at an end-of-conflict agreement. She cannot sit in limbo. Population growth on both sides must be accommodated. Infrastructure must be provided and security maintained. Arab construction has been without planning or oversight. Over 100,000 Arab homes have been built without permits. This must change.  There must be a Master Plan for Arab communities and no construction must be permitted other than in accordance with the Plan and the law.  There is a Master Plan for Jerusalem as an undivided city.  It must be implemented.

For the last thirty or so years, Israel has honored an agreement with the US, not build new settlements.  This agreement has restricted her building to the settlement blocs and to infilling in smaller settlements. She was also prevented from building in an area called E1 which connects Maaleh Adumin to Jerusalem.  Obama’s insistence that there be a complete construction freeze is a fundamental breach in this agreement and has thus rendered it null and void.  Israel is no longer bound by it. No doubt, Obama will try to resurrect it but Israel will resist and rightly so. Israel should return to building in the territories to accommodate its growing population there unfettered by the past agreement with the US.

To date, the law of occupation has been applied in these settlements.  I expect that Israel will change this and vote to apply Israel law to at least the settlement blocs if not all settlements. She owes her citizens living in these settlements, no less. Such an act is tantamount to annexation.  The settlements would thus become part of Israel.

Israel will continue to remove roadblocks and checkpoints and will continue to support the growth in the Palestinian economy. She will seek to normalize life as much as possible. The Palestinians can either reject such attempts or can cooperate with them for their own betterment. The US could also help by ending the peace process and leaving it to the parties to the conflict to work out a living arrangement.

Israel has been forced to devote a high percentage of its time to the peace process.  She needs the respite to focus on domestic matters and Iran.  Obama should take note. It is time that he too focused on solving his domestic problems and his Iran problem..

With the two-state solution in tatters, not likely to be restored, Israel should focus or providing the Palestinians with autonomy.  In Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan speech he said

    “We do not want to rule over them, we do not want to govern their lives, we do not want to impose either our flag or our culture on them.”

He also laid out a vision.

    “I call on the talented entrepreneurs of the Arab world to come and invest here and to assist the Palestinians – and us – in spurring the economy. Together, we can develop industrial areas that will generate thousands of jobs and create tourist sites that will attract millions of visitors eager to walk in the footsteps of history – in Nazareth and in Bethlehem, around the walls of Jericho and the walls of Jerusalem, on the banks of the Sea of Galilee and the baptismal site of the Jordan. There is an enormous potential for archeological tourism, if we can only learn to cooperate and to develop it.”

Obama should let Israel get on with the job.  He should help rather than hinder.

October 18, 2010 | 29 Comments »

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  1. Principles are indeed important but a party comes first, or rather there is a relationship between the two and you cannot have one without the other.

    I prefer to use the word idea in place of the word. Ideas develop into principles and principles sometimes into movements.

    Somebody should have Told Marx and Jesus your theories. It might have been world shaking.

  2. On the issue of using the word “Palestinians” please bring this into effect on this website. It has been in effect on 4international for a long time, since forever in fact.

    Please Bill Narvey, do not give up on this issue, Yamit82 is wrong and you are right. It is at bottom a philosiophical issue. First comes practice and not the Word.

    Yamit is an inveterate propagandisst and not a practitioner. Yamit will NEVER build or create anything.

    He is fairly happy so long as he can reach a keyboard.

    I do not agree TOTALLY with you Bill, but more than with Yamit.

    I say that YOU need to create that leadership Bill, and me and Ted etc.

    Do you understand the point I am making Bill? If you have questions ask.

    Principles are indeed important but a party comes first, or rather there is a relationship between the two and you cannot have one without the other.

  3. Its a no brainer. Peace like marriage takes two willing partners. This is like a prearranged marriage that neither party really want because they know it wont work. We have to go back to the basics. After WWII Israel was given back to the Jews. It wasnt even the Jews that demanded it back. The Palestinian issue should have dealth with then. They were lied to and it should not be a Jewish problem. The ultra orthodox did not think it was the right time. Its not that they dont believe that Israel belongs to the Jews, for them they need proof from G-d that it is the right time. May they get that proof because this has become insurmountable.

  4. Chutzpah redefined! An abstraction that denies reality! As if one Jewish home in Tel Aviv would not “provide Iran with an excuse to stir up trouble”!


  5. a significant chance that the Palestinians will try to go the Kosovo route and there have already been murmurs in the West that they will be recognized.

    THAT would open Pandora’s Box of Devolution. Would Britain risk Northern Ireland following suit? Spain and the Basques? Russia, China, India, even Pakistan would have fits. Turkey (and Iraq, Syria, and Iran) and the Kurds? Texas?!

    You all have to wait until after November 2, and see if Obama finally rethinks his grand plan as detailed in “The Jewish Problem With Obama” by Edward Klein which I think was republished (from HuffPo) in the JPost today: “…The current Jewish problem with Obama can be traced back to his first full day on the job. On January 21, 2009, he summoned his national security team to the Oval Office and laid out a tough new policy toward Israel. According to our sources, Obama said that in order to make good on his campaign promise to extricate 200,000 American troops from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. had to create a grand coalition of “moderate” Muslim states and Israel to isolate Iran, which has made no secret of its ambition to become the nuclear hegemon in the Middle East.

    The only way to accomplish that goal, the president stated, was to eliminate the poisonous effect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which provides Iran with an excuse to stir up trouble. Thus it was “a vital national interest of the United States” to stop Israel from building settlements in the occupied West Bank and housing in East Jerusalem, and force the Jewish state to resolve the Palestinian problem. …”

    Chutzpah redefined! An abstraction that denies reality! As if one Jewish home in Tel Aviv would not “provide Iran with an excuse to stir up trouble”!

  6. Katz defended Livni, who he was seen huddling with in the Knesset.

    “She is a friend of mine,” he said. “I have a very high regard for her integrity. I prefer one like her, who follows a crooked path in a straight way, than someone who follows a crooked path in a crooked way.”

    Almost my exact words before BB was elected. You and I predicted exactly what and even how BB would perform if elected. Ted and most disagreed with us then and they are doing here summer-salts to show otherwise. To what purpose though? Ego? Go with the plain truth and not look to put excessive makeup on the whore. A whore is still a whore with or without makeup.

    Shy and I would be, I’m sure happy if BB just lived up to his campaign promises and the Likud platform. That’s what he was elected on (23%).

  7. email

    Thank you . I have been receiving your emails for a long time now. I would like to thank you for the opportunity you provide to learn what is really happening in the middle east including but not limited to position and view of our state.

  8. email

    This is crap….I can use more undignified words than that.
    There is a arab town north of Ramallah being built with thousands of arab homes in land that is under our control.
    All the yeshuvim near there will be blocked off and all areas close by such as Modiin will be in DANGER. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Yamit, I am not challenging you on your views of Netanyahu. I simply was asking who in your view would, as PM serve Israel’s needs far better than Netanyahu and if there is such person, are they electable.

    Truthfully, who could be better than BB? Almost any of the major leaders in any of the parties to the right of Likud and in the likud any of the top 5-10 on their list would lets say not be worse.

  10. Yamit, I am not challenging you on your views of Netanyahu. I simply was asking who in your view would, as PM serve Israel’s needs far better than Netanyahu and if there is such person, are they electable.

    It’s been tried several time with third party reform groups once on the right a couple to the left. They after t-2 terms disintegrated.

    The must for reform here is principles before movements. You can’t have just a lot of disaffected citizens who say they want change there needs to be an underpinning of like minded ideology before any movement can coalesce into a political movement. Parties are easy to establish, becoming a strong national party is another can of worms. Problem here is everybody wants to be a chief and none want to be plain Indians.

  11. As for the analogy to Germany or Lebanon for that matter, it doesn’t apply. Germany was a sovereign country that agreed to dimilitarization.

    Germany was not given an option were they? When they violated the terms of Versailles, who stopped them? They not only weren’t stopped they were aided by the bankers and the industrialists not only of Europe but America as well.

    The Palis have a president a PM and Parliament, A school System, Courts, TV, radio and other communications services, jails and prisons, a flag, an anthem and a small well equipped army they call police trained and armed by America. They have banks and some light industry. They are recognized by most countries as sovereign in all but name and official status. Even in America. They have for all practical purposes a state with no defined and agreed borders were they to declare a state today most countries and I think America would recognize them. No other sovereign can dictate to another sovereign the nature of their sovereignty and even were they to agree to restrictive sovereignty what would Israel do if they at some point decided to not abide by their earlier understanding and agreements. Based on Israels performance to date I would say nothing. Israel endured thousands of rockets and didn’t respond for most of them. Every rocket was an infringement on our sovereignty. It’s a red herring by BB to make it sound palatable to the gullible.

    Livni was never a PM.

    All restrictions will be enforce by Israel.

    What gives you confidence to believe this?

    As Eldad says there ain’t no such thing as a limited sovereignty. Autonomy yes. Limited sovereignty is like a woman who is half pregnant.

    By the way neither Olmert or Sharon stated that they would help to create and recognize a Pali state. Sharon said that Israel was prepared to offer them that which none before him was willing “An independent state” BB recognized their rights to a state.

    He went the whole nine yards. If we admit they have the rights then we don’t and are occupiers in fact. So when we are accused of illegal occupancy and building on that which BB has given away for nothing. The worlds opinion might not be so wrong. That was the major sin of big mouth BB. All the rest was meant to cover that give away.

  12. Yamit, I am not challenging you on your views of Netanyahu. I simply was asking who in your view would, as PM serve Israel’s needs far better than Netanyahu and if there is such person, are they electable.

    You mentioned Eldad in I think a favorable light, but I took your comment to mean he is not electable as PM.

    If there really is no one other than Netanyahu to lead Israel now, should Israelis of similar views as your own, not be coalescing into political action groups to try to sway Netanyahu to take positions more in line with your thinking?

    I do not see how change can be effected from within the political system that has a number of inherent weaknesses and flaws that a number of writers and Israpundit contributors have commented on. It is for that reason I think the more likely impetus for change would be for dissatisfied Israelis coming together in a grass roots movements to demand change.

  13. Ted is quite correct that Bibi is carrying on in the tradition of all previous Israeli Prime Ministers in bending to America’s pressure. The question that must be asked, why are Israel’s governments allowing themselves to be placed in such a subservient position vis a vis America, when its economy amd military strength does not warrant the billions in U.S. aid.?

    Ted is incorrect in implying that sovereignty is not being offered to the Palestinians. He makes the statement without backing it up with tangible facts.

  14. Yamit, you are unrelenting in denigrating Netanyahu and challenging anyone who might say something positive about Netanyahu or the words he utters or the actions he takes.

    Unrelenting? I supported BB for two years despite his weaknesses and screw-ups, The he went to Wye, betrayed us all and signed the Wye River Memorandum The second he signed to that agreement I worked to see him deposed and opposed him politically ever since. He should have never been given a second chance but such is our dysfunctional system and electorate. He had a chance to redeem himself by opposing the Gaza withdrawal, taking a political risk to himself and led the way in opposing Sharon, He tried feebly, got cold feet when it mattered and was shown not to be in the same political weight class as Sharon. The very fact that Kadima out-polled the Likud with BB at the head should have told most pundits that most Israelis hate his guts and don’t trust him. BB is Pm today because the political right as a voting block out-polled the political left and they recommended BB be given first shot at putting a coalition together. Then he betrayed some of those who recommended him and took on Labor and Barak.

    It was BB who won in opposing Oslo but then accepted Oslo after the Likud won and it was BB who gave up Hebron and not the left. BB has always talked a right wing game but always voted and acted as part of the left. So we know who he is and what he isn’t there is no big secret or hidden agenda. If the majority had wanted a left of center coalition they could have voted in one but they didn’t. Obama is accused to acting against the majority but then so is BB.

    Israel like Canada is a parliamentary system where the central committees choose the candidates who go to primaries only of Likud paid members, lets say the Likud has 120000 members and lets say 60 % vote so 70,000 actually choose who becomes leader of a national party and thus a candidate for PM, in other-words the population of a single small town in Israel actually determines who is PM.

    A good example of why good people get shut out of our system. If I like say an Eldad and he has a small party of 3-5 seats he might to to the Knesset but not much more. The likud ceased being a right-wing ideological party when Begin formed with Sharon the Likud party and opened the gates for the Sephardim who are not ideological but anti labor who they blame for much of the racial bias and prejudices against them since they arrived in the fifties.

    I would say there are at least 5-6 in the Likud who are not my cup of tea but would I think make a better PM than BB.

  15. Yamit was right to post Eldad’s speech given after the Bar Ilan Speech. Essentialy he wrote two things.
    1) By mentioning two states for two peoples, Bibi opened a pandora’s box.
    2) Germany was bound not to militarize, yet they did.
    Keep in mind that that pandora’s box was opnened by the last four prime ministers including Barak, Sharon, Olmert and Livni. Bibi pulled back from their positions.

    As for the analogy to Germany or Lebanon for that matter, it doesn’t apply. Germany was a sovereign country that agreed to dimilitarization. Sovereingty is not being offered to the Arabs in my opinion. All restrictions will be enforce by Israel.

  16. Yamit, you are unrelenting in denigrating Netanyahu and challenging anyone who might say something positive about Netanyahu or the words he utters or the actions he takes.

    Assuming you are right about Netanyahu, I have asked you innumerable times to identify which other Israeli leader or leader waiting, would be better than Netanyahu and electable as PM who could lead Israel on the path you say Israel must set itself on for its long term survival as a Jewish state.

    I think we all would be most interested in your thoughts in this regard.

  17. email

    Ted, you may be correct on what Netanyahu intended to offer. However, the world (including me) understood it to be an offer of two states for two people. Whatever he intended to offer has become irrelevant, because Israel will now – if it “clarifies” it’s position – will be considered by the world to renege on its position.

    I think there is a significant chance that the Palestinians will try to go the Kosovo route and there have already been murmurs in the West that they will be recognized. “The intransigence of the Israeli government reneging on its stated position of two states for two people” will be used by the EU and maybe even Obama, as the justification for recognition. Just as Clinton did to Serbia – paint them as the “bad guys”, and then stick it to them!

    Sorry – just feeling pessimistic! Let’s not fool ourselves!

    Your suggestions for more facts on the ground make a lot of sense.

  18. The moment you use the name “Palestinians” instead of “the Arabs in Eretz Yisrael”, you are causing the Jewish People to loose (sic) the battle.

    Exactly, by constantly using this trumped-up name, we are all giving it legitimacy. It gets absorbed into our (and everyone else’s) consciousness like water into blotting paper.

  19. email

    1– several Western powers don’t want Jewish settlements or a Jewish state anywhere. The UK you recall connived with Arabs to drive Jews out of Hebron in 1929, as well as other places like parts of the Jerusalem Old City, Safed and Tiberias in that same year. they wanted to drive Jews away from the four Jewish holy cities and from the Jewish holy places.

    2– You are probably right about Netanyahu’s acceptance of a “demilitarized” state. Obama in any case is an enemy and agrees to go along with Israel, with Netanyahu, on a diplomatic, overt level. But his administration surreptitiously worked to undermine Israel, as with the Turkish armada where it clearly seems that white house goons were working with the Turks. [see my blog, Elders of Zion ]

  20. email

    Has Netanyahu or his PMO ever publicly offered “autonomy” that as their official interpretation of the Bar-Ilan address? Given how much the world understands it to mean two states, that would be a serious omission.

    I did an extremely quickly Google search of Netanyahu speeches and had no trouble finding this quote that contradicts the autonomony interpretation (this, from a meeting with American Jewish leaders in July):

    In “a very good meeting” that lasted 79 minutes, Netanyahu said, he and Obama discussed “our quest for peace with the Palestinians.” And during that meeting, he added, “I outlined my vision of a demilitarized Palestinian state” that would recognize “the Jewish state.”

    It is clear that Netanyahu has trouble saying the words “Palestinian state” for obvious reasons (at his White House address in September he never uses the words), but he has used them often enough and has never employed the term autonomy.

    I replied that limited sovereignty is the same as autonomy. He replied

    As far as I know the only limitation on Palestinian sovereignty will be demilitarization and borders. I assume Israel will try to limit the repatriation of Palestinian refugees into the future Palestinians state as well, although I don’t recall Netanyahu making such a condition as of yet.

    If the Palestinians have control over their foreign and economic policy, and gain membership in a range of international organizations, then they are a sovereign state. In any event, if Netanyahu in his opening position doesn’t use the word autonomy, then he can’t be said to be asking for autonomy. He has used the word state as have the other parties to the talks.

    It won’t have control of skies or borders.

  21. email

    Netanyahu in the end has educated the world that this land is not ours, the Arabs have a right to it and for security we are willing to give it back to its rightful owners (the Arabs).

    What his exact words are does not matter. What was the impression of the world after the speech? and after all his clever maneuvering.

  22. email

    The moment you use the name “Palestinians” instead of “the Arabs in Eretz Yisrael”, you are causing the Jewish People to loose the battle. For if there is a “Palastinian People”, don’t they deserve their own rights to a homeland? Historically, and truthfully, there is no such thing as the Palestinain People. This myth was started in 1964 to deligitimize the Jewish right to the land. (Check it out) That’s why Golda Meir would always say, “there is no Palestinan People.”

    Furthermore, your suggestion to give these people, who are enemies of the Jewish People, and want our destruction — to offer them autonomy, by surrendering our Land which was promised to us by G-d, is a betrayal of our destiny.

    Therefore, if you really care about the Jewish People and our land, you should re-think your position.

  23. Ted is always attempting to justify his previous support and positions in the face of everything that contradicts them by always placing his own positive spin on what at best could be described as a stretch. Sometimes Ted A Cigar is just a Cigar. BB has said many things to cover his own retreat from prior positions lest his supporters throw him out forthwith on his ass. He is our most prodigious Political liar and buffoon but also a dangerous buffoon who can’t even lie convincingly.

    The address at Bar Ilan came in the wake of the Obama administration’s insistence that Israel impose a complete freeze on West Bank settlement construction and recognize the two-state solution.

    During the speech, Netanyahu vowed that Israel would not build any new settlements and would refrain from expanding existing Israeli communities in the West Bank. Still, he said the government must be allowed to accommodate natural growth in these settlements.

    Netanyahu has until now been adamant that a settlement freeze is unfeasible and that he would concentrate on strengthening the Palestinian economy, rather than agreeing to their statehood.

    The Prime Minister’s website reports that Netanyahu had said on Sunday that while the PA refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, he himself has expressed repeatedly that Israel recognizes “the Palestinian national state.” Netanyahu said that this was a matter of “national agreement.

    Only a few years ago BB said:

    “We need not be concerned that the international community does not agree with us on this matter. Did the international community foresee the Holocaust? And if it did, did it do anything about it? Did it even lift a finger? It also did nothing about the threat to our existence that faced us from the Iraqi reactor – except to condemn us when Menachem Begin’s government destroyed it… On matters vital to our existence, we always took clear action, even if others didn’t agree with us. Because the bottom line is that saying ‘Yes’ to a Palestinian state means ‘No’ to a Jewish State – and vice-versa.”

    amenable to Palestinian state within temporary borders

    The formula of a Palestinian state within temporary borders was included in the second stage of the road map of 2003, but the Palestinians, and Mahmoud Abbas at their head, opposed it then and oppose it now, considering it a recipe for keeping Israeli occupation of the territories in place.

    Three Israeli politicians – Defense Minister Ehud Barak, President Shimon Peres and MK Shaul Mofaz of Kadima – tried to advance the idea of a Palestinian state within temporary borders during the past year, as a reasonable recipe for breaking out of the current political stalemate that was created since elections in Israel. Netanyahu is now leading toward their view, after losing hope of moving toward a permanent settlement with Abbas.

    And what about the first phase of the ‘road map’? BB seems to always be retreating from past agreements requiring that the Arabs live up to their end.

    Take any of his public positions from before his fist stint as PM to today and you will see he has not in deeds maintained his stated positions and has lied to everyone in the process. Not one word out of BB’s mouth should be believed even I’m sorry to say even when he does speak the truth.

    Never pay much attention to BB’s words only his actions and his actions are for helping to create a Pali State and being against the main duty of any PM. protecting Israel and Israli citizens.

    Removing roadblocks kills Israelis, not dealing painfully against Hamas endangers and kills Jews. Building Freezes harm religious and nationalist jews and sent the wrong message to all of Israels enemies. The territories are not ours and we are just holding out as Ted says for a better deal. That in itself weakens our cause and invites more pressure. Folding on past points of signed agreements only invites more pressure to ignore more obligations of the Arabs.

    Why because BB sees continued status quo relations with America more important than even the security of the state itself and the safety of the Jewish citizens of the State of Israel.

    Hundreds, even thousands of Jews have died and will continue to die for this mis-construed and faulty conception, but that’s what BB epitomizes! Lies, weakness and resultant dead Jews. His failure to deal with Iran in a timely manner might be the death of us all.