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Sunday, 8 April 2007

Israel doesn't want peace...

I actually really enjoy some of the writers in the Haaretz stable. They're willing to put forward ideas which don't always follow the most 'popular' path at the prevailing moment.

In reading this latest article Israel doesn't want Peace by Gideon Levy I can't help but think the alternative path Gideon has plotted has, well finally caused him to lose the plot.

I've looked at his latest article and it would seem on the basis of some of the hypotheses he puts forward and writes about, there's little I can agree.

Article from Haaretz.com

Israel doesn't want peace
By Gideon Levy
The moment of truth has arrived, and it has to be said: Israel does not want peace. The arsenal of excuses has run out, and the chorus of Israeli rejection already rings hollow. Until recently, it was still possible to accept the Israeli refrain that "there is no partner" for peace and that "the time isn't right" to deal with our enemies. Today, the new reality before our eyes leaves no room for doubt and the tired refrain that "Israel supports peace" has been left shattered.

I read this introductory paragraph by Gideon and beyond its apparent Journalistic hyperbole I get the sense Gideon has a great 'secret' to reveal to us. Something that will put strength to his rather grand claim Israel does not want peace, mm seems Dan Guillermans previous postion has been filled by Gideon. I'm never comfortable when I see an individual, especially a journalist assume they have the clarity of vision to make statements on behalf of the entire State of Israel.

Following Gideon's rather haphazard thought process is like walking the track of a blind mountain goat. Lets assume Gideon is actually on to something. Israel does not want peace. mm that seems to fly in the face of logic? If Israel doesn't want peace then why the cease fire? You know the cease fire we had when the Palestinians started actually firing more rockets than before at us whilst we chose to act like a soldier suffering from battle fatigue. I can easily envision Olmert wandering around the battle field with an arm blown off saying quietly to his follow soldiers its alright they really actually do love us.

Gideon would like to put forward that there really is a partner for Peace. I'm really wanting to see this partner. Is it the partner that refuses to accept the state of Israel? Or rather is it the one that has a charter in which its primary objective is the total destruction of Israel. Or perhaps its the partner that has sponsored an 8 month all expenses free holiday for three of our brave soldiers. You see, we really are just not understanding their intentions. Its us, the Jews which are at fault.

It's hard to determine when the breaking point occurred. Was it the absolute dismissal of the Saudi initiative? The refusal to acknowledge the Syrian initiative? Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's annual Passover interviews? The revulsion at the statements made by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, in Damascus, alleging that Israel was ready to renew peace talks with Syria?

The Saudi initiative. That was quite a piece of gamesmanship. Invite Israel to a peace conference but before you can accept, there's just one little requirement; openly make a statement in which you are going to return all the debated territories half of your capital City as a starting point, on the pretense that these points will somehow become debatable as the conference proceeds.

Excuse my cynicism towards the Saudi's, you know I'm not really an expert on peace negotiations but if I was going to buy a used car and the car salesman said, tell me the highest price your willing to pay and then we'll negotiate, I might think I was revealing information that might not be to my advantage. But don't worry about that Gideon, Tel Aviv should be safe, shouldn't it?

As for Nancy Pelosi's revelations that Israel is all too eager to begin peace negotiations, well that just ranks of political opportunism on behalf of Nancy, don't you think? Its not like Nancy might try to 'summarize' the Israeli position in a favorable light to try to bring a glow to her ' peace seeking mission' to Syria. Lets look at that in a little context Gideon, the opposition party whip goes to a country that her very own country would prefer she hadn't gone to and then proceeds to pronounce Israel's intentions, and you have a beef because the Prime Ministers office refutes her claim? I'm sorry its just I never realized that Nancy was acting purely in the interests of Israel let alone the United States.

Who would have believed it? A high-ranking U.S. official says Israel wants peace talks to resume and instantly her president "severely" denies the veracity of her words. Is Israel even hearing these voices? Are we digesting the significance of these voices for peace? Seven million apathetic Israeli citizens prove that we are not.

Your quite right Gideon who would believe it? That's why I would put it to you, you might want to read the article which appeared in Haaretz, U.S. Republican meets Assad day after contentious Pelosi visit just a little closer before rounding of the conclusion you give.

It would seem Gideon your summation isn't quite accurate, the Haaretz article includes this quotation from Haaretz sources:

"...The Prime Minister's Office was quick to issue a denial, stating that "what was discussed with the House speaker did not include any change in Israel's policy, as it has been presented to international parties involved in the matter."

In a special statement of clarification, the bureau stressed that Olmert had told Pelosi that Israel continued to regard Syria as "part of the axis of evil and a party encouraging terrorism in the entire Middle East."

According to sources at the Prime Minister's Office, "Pelosi took part of the things that were said in the meeting, and used what suited her." ..."

So it would seem Nancy was well, giving Israel 'the Nancy' when she started talking on behalf of Israel, of Israel's intentions.

How dare any Prime Minister of Israel, correct a member of another countries parliamentary system, when it comes to them misrepresenting Israel's Foreign policy. The sheer Chutzpah!

Why when are we going to recognize all other countries politicians always act in the interests of the State of Israel! That US partisan politics is some what behind the motive of the Prime Ministers office announcement isn't likely to be disputed, but It's time that Israel started representing its self and its own intentions in any peace process rather than 'elder statesmen' who rarely have Israel's real interests at heart.

I see any tendancy for the PMO or the State of Israel to correct misleading or factually incorrect statements by International Politicians as decidely a sign in the right direction.

Entire generations grew up here weaned on self-deception and doubt about the likelihood of achieving peace with our neighbors. In our younger days, David Ben-Gurion told us that if he were only able to meet with Arab leaders, he would have brought us peace in his time. Israel has demanded direct negotiations as a matter of principle and Israelis have derived great pride from the fact that their daily focus on "peace" has concealed their state's lofty ambitions.

This has to be the most nonsensical part of your article Gideon, is this ''weaning process' done whilst be subjected to endless attacks of suicide bombers? I wouldn't call it a weaning process, I would call it facing a situation with clarity and resolve.

You cast aspersions on Israel's 'lofty ambitions', well we have no doubt of our potential peace partners 'ambitions' do we, Gideon. You're quick to criticise Israel, do you use the same measuring stick when looking at Israel's 'pontential peace partners' ? Is it officail Israeli policy to teach its students to kill Arabs in Israel's schools yet?

We were told that there was no partner for peace and that the ultimate ambition of the Arabs is to bring about our destruction. We burned the portraits of "the Egyptian tyrant" at our bonfires on Lag Ba'omer, and were convinced that all blame for the lack of peace lied with our enemies.
Do you think Arabs actually wish us good health and prosperity Gideon? Is it just an over sight they refuse to trade with the state of Israel? Is it just an administrative glitch that Jews can't by properties of Arabs. Yes I think you're on to something Gideon, feel free to have a chat in Gaza over a coffee and a hookah, of your lofty idealism with you're peaceful Arab friends..
After that came the occupation, followed by terror, Yassir Arafat, the failed second Camp David Summit and the rise of Hamas to power, and we were sure, always sure, that it was all their fault. In our wildest dreams, we wouldn't have believed that the day would come when the entire Arab world would extend its hand in peace and Israel would brush away the gesture. It would have been even crazier to imagine that this Israeli refusal would have been blamed on not wanting to enrage domestic public opinion.

The entire Arab world extends its hand in peace? Please, your misrepresentations are appalling. The entire Arab world is unified in acting like a bully and forcing its real agenda on Israel. How many of these Arab peace makers have made gestures of any real peaceful intent?

Why is it that Israel must clearly state a huge list of concessions it is willing to make before it even gets an invite to the negotiating table? That doesn't sound like negotiation to me, it sounds like rank bullying and political opportunism.

What gestures of reconcilliation have the Arab countries made? Sorry I must have missed those gestures. Why is it that Israel must be seen to contiunually be the compromiser?

Has Jordan telegraphed they are willing to accept some responsibility for the Palestinian refugee problem?

Has Saudi Arabia withdrawn teaching aids that encourage the killing of Jews? Tell me Gideon when are the three soldiers coming home? Now that the Arabs have 'clearly signalled a willingness for peace', thats not too much to ask surely?

The world has been turned upside down and it is Israel that stands at the forefront of refusal. The policy of refusal of a select few, a vanguard of the extreme, has now become the official policy of Jerusalem. In his Passover interviews, Olmert will tell us that, "The Palestinians stand at the crossroads of a historic decision," but people stopped taking him seriously a long time ago. The historic decision is ours, and we are fleeing from this crossroads and from these initiatives as if from death itself.

I'm only thankful the historic decision isn't 'yours' Gideon. Stating the obvious, almost all Israeli's hope one day for peace, the difference is the majority of Israeli's aren't buying the lies any more. The deceptions are exactly that, political maneuvering to gain advantage and squeeze concessions out of Israel with little in return from its Arab neighbors.

Neighbors who can't even honor previous peace agreements. These are the peace partners you so willing recommend?

Once Israel gives all these concessions you so quickly advocate, what will you do when the Arabs, having an unassailable territorial, geographic and geopolitical advantage find a pretense to actually attack Israel and fulfill their ultimate and singular goal. The destruction of the State of Israel?

Terror, used as the ultimate excuse for Israeli refusal, only helps Olmert keep reciting, ad nauseum, "If they [the Palestinians] don't change, don't fight terror and don't adhere to any of their obligations, then they will never extract themselves from their unending chaos." As though the Palestinians haven't taken measures against terrorism, as though Israel is the one to determine what their obligations are, as though Israel isn't to blame for the unending chaos Palestinians suffer under the occupation.

I find your observations laughable. To actually suggest that the Palestinian authority is actually actively pursuing terrorists, and doing all it can to stop terrorism? Measures? What measures?, extending the range of its rockets fired into Israel? Or perhaps measuring how many more civilians a terrorist can kill with their new improved suicide bombs.

Please point me to a country that is unable to stop the firing of hundreds of rockets into another countries teritory. How many hundreds of arrests have been made this year for firing rockets into Israel Gideon?

Blaming Israel for the 'unending chaos Palestinians suffer under occupation', yes you're right that 140 Palestinians killed in intra factional fighting is completely Israels fault. The collapse of the sewerage levy, that too is completely Israel's fault. Yes and did you know the Jooz are poisoning the wells as well? and they've got uranium bombs, and are blowing chemicals into the air to stop Palestinian women having babies and ....

Israel makes a point of setting prerequisites and believes it has an exclusive right to do so. But, time and time again, Israel avoids the most basic prerequisite for any just peace - an end to the occupation. Of all the questions asked during his Passover interviews, no one bothered to ask Olmert why he didn't react with excitement to the recent Arab initiatives, without preconditions? The answer: real estate. The real estate of the settlements.

Israel does have the right to set prerequisites, as do the Arabs, and acceptance or refusal of those prerequisites is an option availble to both parties too. To infer that Israel has an exclusive right to set prerequisites is simply not true and thus very unconvincing as an arguement. You state 'the most basic prerequisite for any just peace - an end to the occupation' doesn't that actually bring up questions of which areas are areas under dispute and hence 'occupied'?

By making this statement your simply stating your belief in what suitable peace concessions would be in your eyes, that Israel does not follow your specific example this is because this is under dispute, and thus needs to be negoiated at the negioation table not at the table of sevitude of one, Gideon Levy.

Yes the Settlements, its the Settlers fault. Every one knows it, if we just get rid of this settlement, and that settlement and that settlement, then it will all be ok. Look at Gaza, that withdrawal has really paid dividends hasn't it Gideon.

The Arab penchant of claiming Settlements as being unjust is simply a progressive step towards getting rid of all Jews.

There's one question no one bothers to ask. Its a fact Israel has a large Arabic population, why is it so unfeasible that if Isarael has a large Arab population why any Palestinian territory concessions can't have Jewish Settlements? Surely your not advocating that Jews couldn't live safely with their peace loving neighbours? You wouldn't want to uproot these settlers from their historic homes now Gideon.

There's no logistical reason, except any Jews that chose to stay in any future Palestinian state would be simply murdered.

Israeli Arabs speak of equal opportunity and political representation, yet the irony is that in any Palestinian country there could never be any Jews. Why? Because the Palestinians don't just want a state, they want a state with no Jews, and they would commit the most horrible acts of genocide if the situation was reversed.

It's not only Olmert who is dragging his feet. A leading figure in the Labor party said last week that "it will take five to 10 years to recover from the trauma." Peace is now no more than a threatening wound, with no one still talking about the massive social benefits it would bring in development, security, freedom of movement in the region and by establishing a more just society.

Like a little Switzerland, we are focusing more these days on the dollar exchange rate and on the allegations of embezzlement leveled against the Finance Ministry than on the fateful opportunities fading away before our very eyes.
Not every day and not even in every generation do we encounter an opportunity like this.

It's simply naive to talk of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians have spent the best part of 50 years teaching their fellow citizens to hate Jews, to Despise Jews, to wish Jews dead. Now through some magical act the Palestinians, who have indoctrinated their youth since birth to hate Jews are all of a sudden able to come to the peace table with open loving arms and no hidden agendas.

As for fateful opportunities fading away before our eyes, your right the chances of peace are fading away, and its not on account of a lack of Desire from Israelis.

Its from the gut wrenching realisation there can never be peace, ever, when one side is adamant on the destruction of the other. Jews are no longer fooled by false promises, when you do business with some one and they swindle you of your money, would you really be so stupid to do business again?

No more lies, no more strategic hudna's, no more stages towards the ultimate goal of 'getting rid of the Jews in all of Palestine'.

Some of us have waited 2 millenia to return to our homeland , we can wait another two for peace especially the kind of peace you talk about.

Although it's not for sure if the initiatives are completely solid and believable, or if they are based on trickery, no one has stepped up to challenge or acknowledge them. When Olmert is an elderly grandfather, what will he tell his grandchildren? That he turned over every stone in the name of peace? That there was no other choice? What will his grandchildren say?

What will the average youthful Israeli say when they are grandparents. I have a pretty good idea Gideon.

"You know we were stupid to think the Palestinians wanted to peace, they made gestures of peace, they won concessions in the name of peace. Then they changed leadership and had no sense of respect for any of the agreements they had previously entered into and reached agreement with. "

Yes fifty years from now, the Palestinians will still hate the Jews, and use this hate to justify their lack of achievements or progress in society.

But there's one thing Palestinians wont be able to say in fifty years time...

We fooled those Jews, we wanted to trick them, make out we wanted peace, when our real agenda was genocide, we killed them all, ... something most Palestinian Grandparents would no doubt be proud to say to their offspring.

Except Israelis have started seeing with clarity, what really is the truth, its a hard and somewhat distressing realization for people who so desire peace, it seems Jews have had to learn the hard lessons of the past.

That's what we will pass on to our children the ability to see the brutal truth with clarity not with the cloudy sense of leftist idealism you Mr Levy, would like to be our legacy.

Peace? Peace is achieved when two sides desire it, not when one pretends it because it happens to suit them politically in the short term.

You are right about one thing Gideon Israel isn't interested in a Peace, based only on the terms of its Arab neighbors.

And for that I am thankful for.

Haaretz: Israel doesn't want peace

Picture Credits:
Cartoon original author unknown
Cartoon has been adapted and modified, original is located: here

For another same old same old,
Arab News: Peace With Israel: Arab Position Is Straightforward