}

Abbas Confirms Olmert Gave an Insanely Generous Offer

The Washington Post reports that Mahmoud Abbas, the man who is president of the Palestinian National Authority and who once wrote a doctoral dissertation denying the Holocaust, received an exceedingly generous peace offer from Ehud Olmert, Israel’s previous PM, last year.

He passed.

Why did he pass on a chance for peace and for a Palestinian state?

Nonchalantly he answered that the gaps remained too wide.

What did Olmert offer?

97% 95.5% of the West Bank

Right of Return for Palestinian refugees

East Jerusalem though it’s unclear in what form

So what happened?

Abbas says the gaps were too wide. Saeb Erakat explained what gaps were too wide as reported on Al Jazeera and then on Jerusalem Post:

Erekat acknowledged that Israel had presented the Palestinians with a proposal in November 2008 which “talked about Jerusalem and almost 100% of the West Bank,” and he noted that Mahmoud Abbas could have accepted this proposal, just as the “Palestinian negotiators could have given in in 1994, 1998, or 2000.” Intriguingly, Erekat then proceeded to reveal what he considered a “secret”: he explained why the Palestinians had rejected the recent proposals just like the ones offered in 2000/01 during the negotiations in Camp David and Taba. What prevented an agreement every time – at least according to Erekat – was the Israeli request that the Palestinians acknowledge the central importance of the Temple Mount for Jewish history and religion.

It is worthwhile to quote Erekat’s description of a scene at Camp David, when Bill Clinton tried to convince Yassir Arafat to come to an agreement: “You will be the first president of a Palestinian state, within the 1967 borders – give or take, considering the land swap – and East Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian state, but we want you, as a religious man, to acknowledge that the Temple of Solomon is located underneath the Haram Al-Sharif.” According to Erekat, Arafat responded “defiantly” to Clinton: “I will not be a traitor. Someone will come to liberate it after 10, 50, or 100 years. Jerusalem will be nothing but the capital of the Palestinian state, and there is nothing underneath or above the Haram Al-Sharif except for Allah.”

Okay, so when Abbas says cryptically that “the gaps were too wide,” what he means is that if the Palestinians don’t get to be sovereign over the Temple Mount, they are not going to sign a deal.

This is called “lying.”

Lying, for those of you who forget, is what a person does when he denies a Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. Lying is what a person does when he claims the Jews do not have historical, religious or cultural ties to Jerusalem or to the Land of Israel. Of course, these ideas can be found in the Hamas and Fatah charters, and of course they are lies.

Where is the lie here? Well, there is more than one but the big one is that the Palestinians seek a two state solution.

If they sought one, they would already have their own state. As both Camp David and Taba already showed, and now we have the Olmert offer to prove that the first two were not accidental rejections of Israel’s offers, the Palestinians are willing to forego peace in order to make impossible demands. One of the impossible demands is the Right of Return. Yet it appears that Olmert actually signed off on that. My guess is that he offered something similar to the Taba offer Israel made where original refugees (‘1948 refugees”) are permitted to return to Israel.

He offered as much land as he could without cutting into the massive settlement blocs, and its probable that he offered an exchange of land inside Israel for the extra land, as did Barak at Taba and even at Camp David although there the ratio wasn’t 1:1.

But the Palestinians said no. They say no. Even Jerusalem wasn’t enough and even 100% of Gaza and 97% of the West Bank weren’t enough. Of course they’re not enough if you’re seeking to maintain a belligerent position against Israel.

In our meeting Wednesday, Abbas acknowledged that Olmert had shown him a map proposing a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank — though he complained that the Israeli leader refused to give him a copy of the plan. He confirmed that Olmert “accepted the principle” of the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees — something no previous Israeli prime minister had done — and offered to resettle thousands in Israel. In all, Olmert’s peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of Bush or Bill Clinton; it’s almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further.

Abbas turned it down. “The gaps were wide,” he said.

The Washington Post article lists the smugness of their leadership which is expecting Obama and Netanyahu to clash, ultimately leading to Netanyahu’s fall from power. The Washington Post article also suggests that with Obama in power, the Palestinians believe they can wait.

This is an error in the reporting. The Palestinians have believed for at least the past decade that they can wait. It is their strategy. As in, their long term strategy. If they wait, they believe, they get stronger and Israel gets weaker. Demographics play to their favor and so does a “frustrated” international community.

It’s a very good thing that this article and interview was published. It will hopefully provide some lessons to this administration about who is doing what to whom. it’s one thing to press Israel on certain things, but it’s another to give the Palestinians support when what they seek to do is torpedo any deals in the hopes they can wait things out. The Administration should also demand from the Palestinians that they recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The lesson for Israel is exactly what Sharon had already figured out: unilateral actions are the only way Israel can move forward. The enemy wants Israel to stay in its current status because it serves their long-term strategy.

UPDATE: Ehud Olmert confirmed that the offer on Jerusalem was to internationalize the city. Now that’s an insanely generous offer.

60 Comments

  1. Tom Morrissey

    5/29/2009 at 4:14 pm

    The Palestinians are proving some of the most skillful, patient negotiators since the North Vietnamese. They’ll stay put with their maximal demands until someone or something compels them to do a deal, despite the costs involved in waiting.

    Their judgment not to do a deal in November, 2008 was almost certainly correct, from their point of view.

  2. James

    5/29/2009 at 4:35 pm

    In other words, the so-called “two-state solution” will never work unless/until the Jewish people agree to permanently surrender the Temple Mount to the Palestinians and Islam. Actually, it probably would never work anyway, but that seems to be the gist of your blog.

  3. Tori

    5/29/2009 at 5:35 pm

    Newsflash: They aren’t going to budge on the Right of Return either which in their mind is all 2-3 million foreign born Arabs “returning” to green line Israel.

    I agree it’s time for more unilateral decisions.

  4. AlexK

    5/29/2009 at 5:41 pm

    The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process is Dead!

  5. AlexK

    5/29/2009 at 5:41 pm

    Long Live the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process!

  6. themiddle

    5/29/2009 at 6:09 pm

    As a comment on this interview, the Obama administration should give Israel the go-ahead to keep building E1.

    That will wake Abbas from his bored lethargic stance.

    Tom, they’re not only highly skilled negotiators. They’re also highly educated, very sophisticated and worldly. The Palestinian leadership has played the West like a piano in Elton John’s hands – and I include Hamas in this statement.

    Yet everybody, Israelis included, continues to underestimate them because of the brutal violence they sometimes display (remember when Hamas threw Fatah operatives from tall buildings to the ground, or the last time they blew up a restaurant in Israel?).

    It’s a mistake to see the Palestinians as anything but a very tough and dangerous opponent, yet as you look at the academic, diplomatic and political landscape, they are constantly underestimated around the world and perceived as an underdog in every sense. These are the same guys who used to blow up commercial airlines and today they are viewed with sympathy and admiration even as they refuse generous offers to make peace and build their own state. What a joke.

  7. Joshua

    5/29/2009 at 6:19 pm

    If you want to disengage, then you gotta prepare to re-engage, damn what the world says. Olmert failed to heed this, and look at where he is now.

  8. LB

    5/29/2009 at 9:43 pm

    Yet everybody, Israelis included, continues to underestimate them because of the brutal violence they sometimes display (remember when Hamas threw Fatah operatives from tall buildings to the ground, or the last time they blew up a restaurant in Israel?).

    It’s a mistake to see the Palestinians as anything but a very tough and dangerous opponent, yet as you look at the academic, diplomatic and political landscape, they are constantly underestimated around the world and perceived as an underdog in every sense. These are the same guys who used to blow up commercial airlines and today they are viewed with sympathy and admiration even as they refuse generous offers to make peace and build their own state. What a joke.

    Couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t understand how the world is blind to this. These are things that need to be repeated every time “The Conflict” is brought up. They are part of the very cause for the ongoing war.

    As a comment on this interview, the Obama administration should give Israel the go-ahead to keep building E1.

    I agree with your sentiment, but Obama should not give nor deny Israel the go ahead on anything. Israel is (should be?) a sovereign state and should stop deferring to other countries on its own matters.

  9. Tori

    5/29/2009 at 11:45 pm

    Middle, I totally agree with your point about Palestinian leaders/thugs. I also agree with LB that I don’t like this US giving Israel the “go-ahead” shpeel. If you keep talking like this, then you are just feeding into Arab conspiracy theories and talking points about Israel being a US colonialist outpost in the Middle East.

  10. themiddle

    5/30/2009 at 1:03 am

    I’m just dealing with reality here. The Israelis have been warned in the past not to proceed with E1, and they stopped for fear of alienating the Americans. One of the first things the Obama administration told Israel when it entered office, was not to proceed with E1.

  11. LB

    5/30/2009 at 1:10 am

    I know you are. Just the same, Bibi once said he wanted to give up on American money. I hope he does it already. Then he can tell Obama with a straight face to stay out.

  12. themiddle

    5/30/2009 at 1:27 am

    It’s not the American money going to Israel that’s the problem. It’s the Security Council votes, support in the UN, support in other international forums, economic support and influence on Egypt and Jordan who, in turn, keep the peace with Israel. It’s support with technology like the Arrow or advances weapons systems. It’s the confidence of knowing that the US is there to help in a terrible crisis.

    This is a deep and old relationship where one side is dominant because it is so big and strong. Without the US, Israel would be in deep trouble.

  13. LB

    5/30/2009 at 1:42 am

    Israel will be just fine, and better.

    Regarding technology – we’ll be fine, thanks. Israel will be forced to cut some fat, but at the end Israel develops most of the technology anyway, we’ll just find a way around the money. Industry will grow, not shrink. Israel was just found to have a more resilient economy than the US anyway.

    The UN? Are you serious? The Security Council should be ignored. And its resolutions are rarely backed up by force (chapter 7 as opposed to chapter 6, which most are). The one about Iraq which Bush used for the war, did grant the UN force to enforce it, btw.

    Egypt and Jordan are a mess BECA– USE of the US. If the US hadn’t been giving them ridiculous amounts of money for decades, there would be no threat from them.

    Today’s White House does not seem to be the one that will come to Israel’s rescue. It has decided that Israel must deal with the Palestinian issue before WW3 (Iran) can be averted. Trouble seems to be coming from America, not thwarted by it.

    Israel needs an alliance. Not a patron-client relationship. Zionism is about establishing Jewish sovereignty, not crying to Uncle Sam for pocket money. And if America does not want to be that ally – Israel has plenty to offer to others (India would be good). Cliche as it may be, it is very true – states don’t have friends, states have interests. Israel ought to start acting that way.

  14. LB

    5/30/2009 at 1:49 am

    Link about economy: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3721006,00.html

    Israel ranked higher in durability test.

  15. themiddle

    5/30/2009 at 1:59 am

    Fanciful thinking but not realistic in my view. The Russians and Chinese won’t be running to Israel any time soon and between India and the US, give me the US any day.

    As for dismissing the UN so readily, just ask all the generals who are currently on orders not to visit certain European countries how they feel about international law…which is what the SC determines.

    It’s interesting hearing your views because they actually resemble Chas Freeman’s from his viewpoint regarding America’s interests. Same with Walt and Mearsheimer. I would wager that Israel will find itself embroiled in wars with surrounding states very soon after a break-up with the US.

    In the meantime, both countries continue to act very much in their own self-interest. Israel gives up more than the US on that front, but it doesn’t hesitate to take chances and try things.

  16. LB

    5/30/2009 at 2:05 am

    The UN has nothing to do with generals not visiting these European countries. That is those countries’ laws, with imagined jurisdiction over the whole world, not the SC. And regarding who determines international law, that is a much larger issue than there is room here, but let’s just say there is no one body who does any such thing. In any case – since they are trying to prosecute Israelis, seem like the “help” Israel is getting isn’t really helping much, anyway…

    Israel is not acting in its self-interest. There is no full sovereignty as long money is being paid to meddle in Israel’s affairs. Alliance – good. Patron-client relationship – very, very bad.

    ” I would wager that Israel will find itself embroiled in wars with surrounding states very soon after a break-up with the US.”

    If that is the price of sovereignty – so be it. Regional peace is not the ultimate goal. Jewish independence is.

  17. Tom Morrissey

    5/30/2009 at 3:15 am

    Middle’s right about the US-Israel relationship, which would irk the hell out of me if I were Israeli.

  18. ck

    5/30/2009 at 1:16 pm

    civis pacem para bellum

  19. froylein

    5/30/2009 at 2:41 pm

    Et si vis pacem, para bellum. 😉

  20. Ben-David

    5/30/2009 at 4:35 pm

    1) Yes it’s the money. Israel has the technology, but it’s largely underwritten by various cooperative ventures with the US military. And if we have to buy our arms, that cuts into our R&D budget.

    2) The UN? Feh.
    The “no fly zones” for Israeli VIPs are just the wake-up-and-smell-the-karma slap that most of these idiots need… these are the pencil-pushing, politicized “generals” who climbed to the upper ranks during Oslo on political, rather than military, achievements.

    I think it’s great that the Europe-worshipping leftie pols who got us into this mess are now being “uninvited” to the party of the enlightened.

    And none of this has ever stopped the Europeans from trading with us, so who cares?

    3) We had this with Carter, and the American people remained solidly behind us. I don’t think that’s changed – it’s probably intensified post-9/11

    Israel is better equipped than ever to weather a dip in relations with the US – and it would be a healthy part of general backbone rehab.

  21. Ben-David

    5/30/2009 at 4:36 pm

    Hey CK – when did you learn German 🙂

  22. josh

    5/31/2009 at 4:30 am

    middle,
    so you still claim, after all these years I’ve known you, that the Arabs don’t accept a two-state solution, but we should unilaterally give it to them anyway?

    Frankly,
    the demographics are on the Jewish side. Jewish birthrate is steady at 3+, much higher in Judea and Samaria. Arab birthrate is plummetting (in demographic terms) and Arab emigration from ‘Palestinian Areas’ continues as well.

  23. themiddle

    5/31/2009 at 4:47 am

    Israel should unilaterally separate from them. At the very least Israel should separate its civilians from them.

    Demographics are not on Israel’s side, even if you accept the lower numbers being proposed out there. 50/49 just won’t cut it and anyway, they will state the numbers they want to state and the world will believe them.

    On the positive side, now that the Palestinian PM has promised that any Jewish settler who wishes to live among the Palestinians in their new state may do so, I can imagine the sudden secure feeling all the settlers must have now.

  24. Ephraim

    5/31/2009 at 7:45 pm

    Middle, why do you keep writing posts like this? You’re the one who says that Israel should unilaterally withdraw behind the fence and, as you say, “strike a deal”, even giving up Jerusalem to the UN if necessary.

    Yet is is beyond obvious, even to the blindest, deafest, and dumbest person, that with Pseudostinian attitudes like these, no deal can possibly be struck, at least along the lines you suggest the Israelis should follow.

    I have come to the conclusion that you are suffering from some sort of advanced terminal case of cognitive dissonance or dementia. There is no other explanation for your pattern of posting something about how Israel must unilaterally withdraw and “strike a deal” and then, in breathless anger, like some kid who has found the Magic Decoder Ring, post something like this which says, in neon letters 10 stories tall, that no such deal is possible.

    We KNOW that the Pseudostinians are liars, that they’re vicious and brutal murderers, that they don’t believe (or say they dont’ believe) that Jews have any right or connection to Israel, that they’re implacable anti-Semites, that they’re wily, stubborn negotiators, that they stick to their strategy like glue and never budge from it, etc., etc. Why do you constantly tell us stuff that some of us have known for years, if not decades?

    Or do you act like this is news simply because it’s the first you’ve heard of it?

    I really don’t get it.

  25. themiddle

    5/31/2009 at 8:19 pm

    Maybe you’re not as clever as you think you are?

  26. Ephraim

    5/31/2009 at 9:54 pm

    Is that all you can come up with?

    Pretty weak.

    Oh, yeah: when are you going to ask Josh if he has a son in the IDF?

  27. themiddle

    5/31/2009 at 10:31 pm

    Ask him yourself. Does he represent you by proxy? Or is it his son you’re fine putting up in war because of your ideology over on this side of the world?

    By the way, the question about your cleverness was serious.

  28. Ephraim

    5/31/2009 at 10:51 pm

    I know it was.

    The fact that you could ask such a question seriously just proves my point about your mental condition.

    Josh, AFAIK, lives in Israel. His views are, so far as I can tell, are even more “extreme” than mine. Yet you never ask why he is endangering Israeli youth through his recklessness and extremism.

    Why is that? Too patronizing? Too chutzpahdich for a gollus Yid to ask an Israeli why he’s such a warmonger?

    What?

  29. themiddle

    5/31/2009 at 10:59 pm

    The fact that you could ask such a question seriously just proves my point about your mental condition.

    Now reverse that and assume I’ve just said the same to you.

    I ask Josh the same questions I ask anybody. He and I disagree and he lives there and I don’t.

    But you’re evading my question.

    And I didn’t call him a warmonger. In fact, I spend a great deal of time defending settlers even though I disagree with their views and want those east of the Fence to move west of it.

  30. Ephraim

    6/1/2009 at 1:27 am

    I’m not evading anything.

    So far as I can tell, Josh feels pretty much the same way I do about your ideas. Yet I have never seen you ask him whether he has a son in the IDF or accuse him of putting the lives of other people’s children in jeopardy.

    I’m just asking you why you have never done so, that’s all.

    It shouldn’t be that hard a question to answer.

  31. themiddle

    6/1/2009 at 2:18 am

    I’ve been critical in the past of the need to protect certain settlements with IDF units. I think it’s another in a long list of wasted resources that could be put to better use in the Galilee or the Negev. Soldiers should be training, not wasting time defending outposts or small settlements. So my guess is that I have been critical of putting others (you get reservists, not just young soldiers doing these chores) in harm’s way.

    So, yes, I’ve been critical of people who live there and have done it directly.

    And yes, you’re evading the question.

  32. Ephraim

    6/1/2009 at 3:48 pm

    I’m not evading any question that I can see.

    Nor am I talking about you opposing the views of people who live in Israel.

    I’m talking about gratuitously insulting them and accusing them of bargaining with other people’s lives by saying that their political beliefs are putting Israel in existential danger and that they are, essentially, reckless cowards who are condemning other people’s children to death, all because they oppose your cockamammie scheme to hand over Jerusalem to the UN in the hope that it will make the goyim be nice to Israel.

    You don’t speak that way to Josh because he does something that you and I don’t: live in Israel. As far as I can tell, you don’t have the balls to speak to him like that.

    I double-dog dare you to quote Psalm 137 to him and tell him to his face that he will be to blame when Israel loses the next war that is caused by people like him.

  33. themiddle

    6/1/2009 at 4:21 pm

    Um, I’m not insulting anybody. Although I did finally respond to your insults by insulting you.

    I do believe the settlement movement is putting Israel in existential danger. That’s a political opinion that I have and I’ve shared it openly on this site for years. If they’re insulted because of this, too bad.

    I haven’t called anybody a coward. I have stated that some settlers live with constant IDF guard around their settlement, sapping strength for the IDF and wasting its resources and time.

    I haven’t said anybody is condemning anybody to death. I have said that the settlement movement is endangering soldiers’ lives both in the protection they have to provide currently and especially if the settlement movement becomes the reason Israel cannon resolve its future conflicts. As it stands right now, this post actually places far more of the blame on the Palestinians and their obstructionism than on the settlers.

    My “cockamamie” scheme to hand over the Old City, and solely the Old City, to an international monitor is an old idea that goes back to 1947 and which was accepted by the Yishuv’s leadership at the time. It seems to me a fair way to solve an impossible-to-resolve impasse.

    None of this is about making the “goyim be nice to Israel” although it will reduce pressure on Israel considerably and probably permanently. The idea, however, is to resolve the conflict with the Arabs. Remember peace, Ephraim?

    I’m not sure what you mean by your (stupid) accusation that I don’t speak to Josh a certain way. I’ve openly expressed my opinions in posts where he has participated in the discussion and when he’s been around to read them. He knows which of my opinions apply to him and which don’t. I don’t know him personally and can’t speak to him personally about any of my ideas.

    The next war may or may not be caused by people like him. If it is, I’ll let him know. If it isn’t, I’ll report it and place the blame where it lies.

    Mostly, as I write these responses, I have to conclude that you don’t read very carefully.

    As a final example, I point you to the question I posed to you and that you can’t find: “Or is it his son you’re fine putting up in war because of your ideology over on this side of the world?”

  34. Joshua (not Josh)

    6/1/2009 at 8:36 pm

    First of all, internationalization of Jerusalem was accepted by the Yishuv because it genuinely believed the UN. Who these days believes the UN? You? Certainly not me. Second, there are pros/cons to the things you proposed, starting with:

    Unilateral disengagement:
    Pro: Israel doesn’t give a s**t about what the Palestinians want, just gives them the s**t sandwich and tell them that it tastes great. It will leave the major settlement blocs intact.
    Con: Palestinians (and rest of the world) will never say it’s enough. Also, Palestinians will develop a regular army, forging alliances with other rogue nations and endangering Israel (erecting a cement-wall final border isn’t going to prevent missiles from flying). And then there are those pesky things like evacuating an entire city (Ariel) and ensuring the sanctity and FULL, UNFETTERED ACCESS to holy sites (Kever Rachel, Kever Yosef, Machpelah).

    Bilateral negotiations:
    Pro: Israel gets a demilitarized Palestinian state. That’s it.
    Con: Israel may be forced to capitulate completely (remove ALL settlement blocs, including Gush Etzion, new Jerusalem neighborhoods, and all cities established (including Beitar Illit, Modi’in Illit, and Ma’aleh Adumim) and relinquish sovereignty over all Jewish holy sites (Temple Mount, Machpelah, Kever Rachel, Kever Yosef)). While a treaty may “guarantee” full, unfettered access, we all know what type of inveterate liars and thieves Palestinians are. A future Palestinian leadership (which could, for all intensive purposes, be as little as 6 months to a year after signing of a bilateral agreement) could easily choose to ignore the papers, just like Jordan did when it turned the Western Wall Plaza into a garbage dump. And even in the best of situations, Jerusalem would essentially become New Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie and all. And who says the UN is EVER going to defend Jews’ access to ANYTHING? Oh, and I forgot to mention the possibility of Palestinian security forces and terror/militia groups becoming a little “chummy”, thus negating the demilitarization of the future Palestinian state, ESPECIALLY in the event of a coup. Which brings us essentially to an even worse bad-case scenario than above. And again, no guarantee the UN will back up Israel on ANYTHING! (for example, see UNIFIL lying through its teeth about Hizbullah)

    Status quo:
    Well, I don’t need to get into rehashed arguments about this.

    Which brings me to this: there is no good solution. Everything just sucks. If you can find something that minimizes all the very bad cons while getting some very good pros, you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Until then, Jacob will be fighting Esau for a LONG time.

  35. LB

    6/1/2009 at 8:51 pm

    Just a couple of points for the sake of fairness – a unilateral withdrawal would not necessitate the evacuation of Ariel – it is west of the fence. The biggest town to be evacuated would, most likely, be Qiryat Arba.

    Second, with regards to an agreement, in today’s world there is no way Israel will agree to evacuate any Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem, Gush Etzion, Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim or Beitar Illit (while the quickest route from Jerusalem is not, Modi’in is west of the green line).

    While on the topic of who would agree to what, even if Israel would (stupidly) agree to the rest of the Palestinian demands, the next stumbling block will be the question of a demilitarized state. They will not accept it. And the U.S. (with General Keith Dayton) is training an army – an army that has attacked Israel before – it is about as much as a police force as the Yamas is.

  36. Joshua (not Josh)

    6/1/2009 at 9:07 pm

    Modi’in Illit, not Modi’in, is across the Green Line.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modi%27in_Illit

  37. LB

    6/1/2009 at 9:11 pm

    Joshua (not Josh) – sorry, misread your comment – you’re right. I thought you wrote Modi’in – the city.

  38. Galit Sonah Menuvalim

    6/2/2009 at 12:41 am

    Yo Middle,

    You write like the typical Israeli left wing extremist.
    You seem to think that the truth is all on your side.

    Please answer this one question “O’Great One”.

    How can Israel defend itself if it is only 10 miles wide as you desire?

    Please don’t give us another dose of your “World Peace” left wing extremist drivel.

    Also, the President Barak Hussein Obama will “come to Israel’s rescue” line is kind of stale here in Israel.

    My guess as to what is really happening here is the following:
    Sharon and Bush agreed that Israel will evacuate Gaza in exchange for the US dealing with the Iran Nuke Threat.
    Sharon kept his end of the deal but Bush and President Barak Hussein Obama did not. Israel now finds itself in less defensible borders because of the US mandated Mass Deportation of 10,000 Jews from their homes. It also finds itself alone in pursuit of a solution to the Islamic nuke.

    The US screwed Israel again and is now attempting to prevent Israel from defending itself.

    6 million Jews’ lives are on the line. Obama wants Bibi to trust Iran.

    Best case scenario for Obama is Bibi capitulates and doesn’t attack Iran. Bibi also withdraws from the Liberated Territories of Judea and Samaria.

    Worst case scenario for Israel: Iran shoots its nukes and kills millions of Israelis. Arabs attack Israel from Gazza, Judea and Samaria easily cutting the country in 2 at the 10 mile wide mid section of the country.

    I would like to point out that despite my non leftist leanings I do not support any sort of attack on Iran.

    If Obama wants to promote nuclear non-proliferation, the time has arrived for him to act in North Korea and Iran.President Barak Hussein Obama despite his brave pop star image strikes me as a Chamberlain and not a Churchill

  39. themiddle

    6/2/2009 at 2:04 am

    Yo

    Middle,

    You write like the typical Israeli left wing extremist.
    You seem to think that the truth is all on your side
    .

    Yo Galit, I am a centrist and dislike equally both the right and the left extremists. I assume from the silly remarks and your rant that has nothing to do with what I’ve written that you are one of the extreme rightists I view with sympathetic disdain.

    Please answer this one question “O’Great One”.

    Flattery pleases me.

    How can Israel defend itself if it is only 10 miles wide as you desire?

    Ask Olmert and Barak that question. Wasn’t Barak Chief of Staff of the IDF and he thought it was doable and desirable.

    Please don’t give us another dose of your “World Peace” left wing extremist drivel.

    Never mentioned world peace, just peace between Arabs and Israelis. Sorry you think that’s drivel.

    Also, the President Barak Hussein Obama will “come to Israel’s rescue” line is kind of stale here in Israel.

    I never said or even thought Obama would come to Israel’s rescue.

    My guess as to what is really happening here is the following:
    Sharon and Bush agreed that Israel will evacuate Gaza in exchange for the US dealing with the Iran Nuke Threat.

    Wrong, but interesting,

    Sharon kept his end of the deal but Bush and President Barak Hussein Obama did not.

    Why are you including a President who has been in office a few months in the same attack on a President who who had years to do the job?

    Israel now finds itself in less defensible borders because of the US mandated Mass Deportation of 10,000 Jews from their homes. It also finds itself alone in pursuit of a solution to the Islamic nuke.

    Sorry, this was a Sharon plan. And Sharon was one of the best strategists of the 20th Century.

    The US screwed Israel again and is now attempting to prevent Israel from defending itself.

    Possibly true. They did screw Israel by forcing Hamas into the elections.

    6 million Jews’ lives are on the line. Obama wants Bibi to trust Iran.

    Best case scenario for Obama is Bibi capitulates and doesn’t attack Iran. Bibi also withdraws from the Liberated Territories of Judea and Samaria.

    Worst case scenario for Israel: Iran shoots its nukes and kills millions of Israelis. Arabs attack Israel from Gazza, Judea and Samaria easily cutting the country in 2 at the 10 mile wide mid section of the country.

    I would like to point out that despite my non leftist leanings I do not support any sort of attack on Iran.

    If Obama wants to promote nuclear non-proliferation, the time has arrived for him to act in North Korea and Iran.President Barak Hussein Obama despite his brave pop star image strikes me as a Chamberlain and not a Churchill

    Possibly true. But Israel will be stronger if it can push aside the responsibilities that accompany the burden of maintaining Judea and Samaria and their Palestinian population. At the very least you will have to admit that your analysis did not explain why you need Jewish civilians there. I can understand if you say the military needs to be there to prevent this 10 mile weak spot, but why do you need civilians? They are a liability.

  40. Ephraim

    6/2/2009 at 3:06 am

    Middle:

    I have to conclude that 1) you don’t read very well either, 2) you are deliberately missing my point, or (and this is probably the real answer) 3) are just too dumb to see it.

    You have basically accused me of being a warmonger who puts other people’s children’s lives in danger because I think your plan for Israel is dangerous. Yet you say that the next war “may or may not” be caused bt people like Josh. As I have said, his views are at least as “extreme” as mine. Yet after telling me that the next war will pretty much be on my head, you can’t make up your mind about Josh. Pretty hypocritical, it seems to me. I assume that it is because I live in galut and Josh lives in Israel. You don’t know me personally either, BTW, although why that has anything to do with anything escapes me. We exchange views on this blog. We don’t need to know each other personally to do that.

    Do you really, truly, and honestly think that you can just turn back the clock to the 1947 partition plan? That since the Yishuv reluctantly agreed to an internationalized Jerusalem in 1947 that Israel should agree to it now? And that this would magically take all of the pressure on Israel?

    On what do you base this insane idea? When have Israeli concessions lessened the pressure? They have done nothing but increase it. Don’t you remember how the Arabs rejected the whole idea and that even though Israel agreed to it the UN and the rest of the world did not do a single thing to stop the Arab attack? Why not just suggest that the original UN plan, with its borders, be implemented? After all, if you’re basing yourself on the partition plan, why should Israel get to keep any land beyond those borders? After all, the Yishuv agreed to it, didn’t they? Why are the 1949 “borders” sacrosanct? On what basis?

    Enough. Anybody who really thinks that since the Yishuv agreed in 1947 to an internationalized Jerusalem that magically going back to that will bring peace just cannot be taken seriously.

  41. themiddle

    6/2/2009 at 3:36 am

    No Ephraim, a great deal has happened since 1947 including a series of negotiations with the Palestinians. The key sticking point, perhaps even greater than the so-called “right of return” has been the Old City and particularly the Temple Mount. It has been reported that Arafat and now Abbas did not reject the land offers, the land swaps or the construction of the new Palestinian entity. Rather, their key problem appears to have been the Temple Mount.

    I’m proposing a way out of the impasse. They do not have to be angry that Jews control any part of it and Jews don’t have to be angry that they are denied respect, historical connection or especially the right to worship. Both sides get what they want without fighting over it and without the issue obstructing all the other gains that have been made.

    With the Old City taken care of, they can come to terms on everything else. I truly believe that. I also believe this is a desirable outcome for Israel. I realize you think it’s naive to believe there could be peace, but there are risks and there are controlled risks. I believe this is a controlled risk and the possible outcome is too important to simply reject it because you assume it won’t work.

    The idea that concessions have harmed Israel is a fair point. However, Israel has not conceded its desire to grow in the West Bank and that has been the key concession sought by the other side. This leads us back to the discussion about whether lording over another people is desirable or safe for Israel. I contend that it is neither. Look at the way you’re talking to me. It is a microcosm of a much deeper debate that divides Israel and also diaspora Jewry. The division is caused by the fact that the presence of Israel in Judea and Samaria is complicated and complicates matters in many ways. I would say the harm that the West Bank has brought Israel is far greater than its contribution.

    Finally, regarding extreme views and warmongering, I will note that many “settlers” live where they do because the land was cheap and the view was great. Most are not ideologues and most will leave quietly if asked to leave by the Israeli government. I suspect that Josh is more doctrinaire than the people I’m describing, but I’m not sure. You, however, have been very explicit with what you think Josh, his children and his government should do. If it leads to war, you understand perfectly. It’s also no skin off your nose. Josh may live there, but at least he lives there with the consequences of his decisions. For all I know, he may live there because he can’t sell his house at a fair price that would permit him to move west of the Green Line. These things do make a difference. You are not a warmonger but your ideas could easily lead to war but the risk isn’t placed upon you. It is placed upon Josh and any boys he might have.

    Now you may go back to not taking me seriously or calling me an idiot or whatever else you feel like calling me today. I feel like I’m in kindergarten and I took away your Lego set.

  42. LB

    6/2/2009 at 10:26 am

    themiddle-

    “Ask Olmert and Barak that question. Wasn’t Barak Chief of Staff of the IDF and he thought it was doable and desirable.”

    That’s not a fair answer. That’s not even an answer – if you support a policy, and if there’s a question about it – you can’t evade it by saying ask politicians – people who clearly have political motives for their actions (and Olmert isn’t an authority on anything anymore, except for how to be corrupt).

    “Sorry, this was a Sharon plan. And Sharon was one of the best strategists of the 20th Century.”

    G-d no. Sharon was a brilliant tactician. As a strategist, he was a horrendous failure. 1. War – read Rabinovich’s The Yom Kippur War, he nearly cost Israel a good chunk of the southern front, in his rush to try and invade African Egypt prematurely. And when it comes to Lebanon in 1982 do I really have to elaborate? (when it came to battle – no one was better than Sharon – I’m talking about the big picture) 2. Politics – despite his experience on the battlefield he was unable to make nice long enough to make Chief of Staff. He was considered a joke for most of his political career – until Bibi decided not to run in 2001. 3. Regional issues and foresight – Gaza. Need I say more?

  43. Ephraim

    6/2/2009 at 11:15 am

    Your problem, Middle, is that you take the statements the Pseudostinians give as reasons for their refusal to conclude a peace treaty as real reasons, when they’re just lies and lame excuses.

    Why do you think they would be satisfied with having a different bunch of infidels instead of the Jews in charge of their “Noble Sanctuary”? The fact that you actually seem to believe what the Pseudostinians say just shows how credulous you are. Earth to Middle: they’re LYING.

    Any “final solution” to the “Pseudostinian problem” that leaves Israel intact in any size, shape, or form will never be accepted by the Pseudostinians. It doesn’t matter how much land Israel gives up. That is why the only reason for Israel giving up land is if it puts Israel in a beeer position to be able to fight. You have not convinced me that your “plan” will do that, so I reject it and I think you’re a fool for proposing it.

    Last time I checked I still have my Lego set, so we’re good there.

  44. themiddle

    6/2/2009 at 12:19 pm

    Sharon didn’t win magically in 2001. He outmaneuvered Bibi the way a general outmaneuvers his grandson. in the Yom Kippur War, he moved against orders and was proven right. I can’t argue about Lebanon because that war was an abysmal failure on many levels. On Gaza he was absolutely correct.

    As for defending Israel with a limited width across, I believe Israel is safer in the long run with a narrow width than with the West Bank. I also don’t see why I can’t bring up the fact that one of Israel’s most celebrated soldiers and a former COS of the IDF envisions this as a safe plan for Israel. Olmert may not have been a general, but as PM he had access to every piece of intelligence and military assessments that you and I will never see. He felt proposing the deal that resembled Barak’s was the right thing to do.

    The question of whether the Palestinians will agree to be demilitarized is critical and whether the mechanisms to enforce the demilitarization are enforceable and enforced is also critical.

    The alternative is no peace, a growing Palestinian population that may overtake the Jewish one, growing pressure not only from the international community but from the USA, eventual isolation as a pariah state and continued wars and attacks by the Palestinians for decades to come.

  45. LB

    6/2/2009 at 12:52 pm

    We’ve already gone back and forth endlessly on withdrawal, but about Sharon, you’re wrong.

    I’ll start from the end:

    Gaza – The “crazy” rightwingers all said that Gaza will become a base for the Palestinians to launch missiles at Israel. They were laughed at, and told that was ridiculous. Sharon was clearly wrong. Further, Israel has fought TWO (Summer Rains and Cast Lead) major campaigns in Gaza since 2005 – both would not have been necessary if we were still there.

    In the Yom Kippur he was most certainly not right. He was asked to hold the line on the east coast of the canal, and he kept pushing for his brigade to cross early. He was continually yelled at by Dado and Dayan – and it is fair argument to say that Israel would have been in a far better position had he used the week or so leading up to the ceasefire to actuall secure the east coast of the canal – instead the Egyptian 5th army gained a foothold in Sinai – that it kept after the war.

    In 2001 he most certainly did just happen to win. Barak resigned, but under the law at the time, the Knesset did not disband and the new prime minister (eventually – Sharon) took over, with the makeup of the Knesset intact. Bibi was the chair of the Likud, but decided not to run for Likud chairmanship in the primaries because he did not feel that he could be effective with the Knesset as it was (left bloc – 41, right – 32, center – 18, haredi – 22, arabs (sans hadash) – 7).

    One more thing – Olmert and Barak, with access to intel (and Barak’s experience) thought one thing. But plenty of other (more, in fact) decorated generals and high ranking members of the security estabslishment think otherwise – so saying if they think so it must be true – is not an argument. (See: Aluf Effi Eitam, Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon, Tat-Aluf Arye Eldad, Tat-Aluf Avigdor Kahalani, Aluf Yair Naveh, current Mossad Chief Meir Dagan, not to mention Aluf Rehav’am Ze’evi).

  46. themiddle

    6/2/2009 at 2:04 pm

    Notice that there’s a right/left split among the generals? And you’ll forgive me but relying on their judgment is the only argument. You and I don’t know enough about this subject to evaluate what the IDF can or can’t do.

    Bibi didn’t run in 2001 because Sharon outmaneuvered him.

    It is fair to say that Dayan and Dado ran a piss poor war and he over-rode them to be able to push through. I have a relative who was close to this at the time.

    As for Gaza, Israel has saved enormous amounts in money and lives by not being in there. If it weren’t for the Hamas election and the reluctance of the Israeli government to fight fire with fire, Gaza would be very different today. The mishandling of Gaza took place AFTER they left, not in the leaving.

    Either way, we are going to disagree on these topics and I am very busy today….

  47. Tom Morrissey

    6/2/2009 at 2:09 pm

    The Arabic phrase, ‘the Jews have no connection to the Temple Mount area’ translates as ‘Obama-Biden ’08.’

  48. LB

    6/2/2009 at 2:09 pm

    That we’ll disagree on the latter topics is true.

    But Bibi was not outmaneuvered in 2001. He quit after losing in 1999, and Sharon was nominated as “temporary” chair which turned permanent upon the primaries, in which he beat Olmert, and in which Bibi did not even run.

    How was that outmaneuvering?

  49. themiddle

    6/3/2009 at 2:08 am

    Bibi didn’t run because he wasn’t permitted to run. There was a vote in the Knesset which would have permitted it but it went against him. He had returned to Israel because he wanted to run, not because he wanted to bow out. I’ve always believed that Sharon made sure the votes Bibi asked for wouldn’t be forthcoming.

    A couple of years later, in late 2002, Sharon outmaneuvered Bibi again to keep him away from the Likud leadership. Then, finally, just when Bibi could taste victory, Sharon went off and formed Kadima and remained PM. Basically, from 1998 on, Sharon made sure that he would not only retain power at the Likud, but that he would prevent Netanyahu from getting in the way. And he succeeded.

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