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Truth, Lies & the Peace Plan

imemc.org

Allow me to reverse the order of the title and start with the Peace Plan. Yes, that Peace Plan: “The Deal of the Century!” It’s not a Peace Plan, let’s get this out of the way first: it’s an Annexation Plan. It’s a real estate deal meant to subdue the Palestinian People once and for all into submission, and solidify the Biblical inspiration of the zealotry, messianic settlers movement—pushed from behind by Netanyahu, Kushner, Friedman and Greenblatt—for eternity. There isn’t a lot of peace to be found in this plan; a plan which demands two sides; a plan which demands consultations ahead of time; a plan which demands compromise; a plan which demands an understanding of the complex situation and an agreement of principles. There is none of it in this Peace Plan. It’s one big lie.

Which brings me to the ‘lies.’ First lie: this Peace Plan will bring about a Two-State solution. Complete nonsense. It’s a plan which has one state, Israel, controlling and humiliating the other nation and its people, the Palestinians. It is, for all intents and purposes, a continuation of the occupation by other names. Therefore, the second lie to come out of it, that the Palestinians will have a state to call their own, is also complete nonsense. Again, calling something a state doesn’t make it so. That entity will be surrounded and controlled by Israel, with no borders with any other nation, and with no outlet to the sea or river—yes, my friends, the conqueror has taken away even the Jordan River from the Palestinians. It’s an enclave, at best. A ghetto, a… well, as a son of Holocaust survivors I won’t say more. You get the message though, I’m sure.

Lie number three: East Jerusalem will be the Palestinian capital. That’s a good one, really, for a skit on Saturday Night Live. There is no longer East Jerusalem, since it’s already unified into one big Jerusalem: The capital of Israel. Again, if you throw people out of the city walls, and tell them to call that wadi, that hill, that remote neighborhood outside the city wall a Capital, and call it East Jerusalem, doesn’t make it so. It probably makes it worse than your current situation. Live with it or die, the Palestinians are being told. Well, it seems clear from their collective reaction that they prefer to die, rather than live with it and the humiliation that comes along.

Lie number four: Land swap. So instead of all the land Israel is taken by force away from the Palestinians in the West bank, it will give them two small—separate, albeit—pieces of barn land in the western Negev Desert, where nobody lives, with no connection to either the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. This is not a land swap; it’s a land grab. I take your prime real estate—most valuable for its historical, cultural, economic, heritage reasons—away from you, and give you in return two small pieces of land of no value to you whatsoever. Which, nonetheless, some Israeli citizens are already claiming is important to them for agricultural purposes.

Lie number five: Some 250,000 Arab residents of Israel, citizens since birth, will become Palestinian citizens, including their cities and villages. Nobody had asked them about it, consulted with them about it, and upon learning of it they immediately voiced strong objections to relinquish their current citizenship. Jews too, are already objecting to it, including Netanyahu—the mastermind behind the Peace Plan—who just announced in a per-election campaign (trying in vain to bribe some Arab voters to vote for him) that he’s going to nix this part of the deal. I can go on. But in short: the whole ‘deal’ is one big lie.

Now to the truth: The Israeli settlers movement has won the day. And not from today. It pains me to say so (though I’ve said this before), but there is no going back. There is no peace, and there is no plan. What we have is a continuation of the occupation by a different name. There is no Two-State solution. It’s dead too (at best, it’s in a coma.) There is one state: The greater Israel. That state has two terrible options to make as result of its occupation and colonization of the West Bank. One: grant all the Arab, Palestinian People under Israel’s control Israeli citizenship and equal rights under the law (as president Rivlin has suggested, for instance), including voting rights. Sooner rather than later that would mean the end of Israel as predominantly a Jewish state.

Second: Don’t grant them citizenship and equal rights, as basically Israel is doing now, and solidify what already, and for some years, is in plain sight: An Apartheid State. (50 former European leaders just signed an open letter expressing “grave concern” over President Trump’s Peace Plan, criticizing the plan for allowing Israeli annexation… creating a situation tantamount to “apartheid.”) So the Jews, refugees of European Pogroms and the Holocaust, and refugees of Arab countries mistreatment, would then, in less than a century to the end of World War Two, will create an Apartheid State of their own. Making the Palestinians segregated, second class citizens. Behind a wall, barbed wire, and army guns. There is no escape from it. And there is no escape from the outlook that the free, democratic world—if such world will exist for long—will not live with it. And I don’t believe the majority of American Jews will live with it either. There will be a war. And another one. And so it goes.

* The ‘Leave a Comment’ link is the last tag below, in blue.

Where Israel & Jewish America Go From Here

timesofisrael.com

The two momentous announcements that took place this month in the space of four days, one in America and one in Israel, might bring a drastic change not only to Israel, but to the Jewish people the world over, especially here in America. These two announcements, though unrelated ‘supposedly,’ seem to this observer not only to be very much related, but also to pose grave questions both to the people of Israel and to American Jews. How the people in both countries will answer these questions, how they will react to the existential problems that they present, might determine the future of the Jewish State, and with it the destiny of American Jewry.

These are major statements, I’m aware of it. So allow me to explain, starting with America, where on November 18—seemingly out of the blue—Secretary of State Pompeo announced suddenly that USA no longer sees Israeli settlements in the West bank as illegal. This short announcement, clearly to my mind another Trump’s ‘assist’ to PM Benjamín Netanyahu, meant to derail his main rival to the premiership, Mr. Benny Gantz, last-minute’s efforts of forming a governing coalition, and to give Netanyahu another boost in his fight to retain his grip on Israel’s political power.

It succeeded, this move, on both fronts (in the short term, anyhow). By doing so it has also reversed the official American long-held policy, according with the Article 49 of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits an occupied power from transferring its own population into the territory it occupies. It flies in the face of numerous UN resolutions, which see the Israeli occupation as illegal, forbidden the occupier from settling a land. As with the other two ‘assists’ Netanyahu has received from Trump—moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the Golan Heights as an Israeli territory—the European Union, the United Nations, and 99% of all other countries don’t recognize this announcements and resolutions.

What gives then. It gives Netanyahu—who for almost a year now is serving only as a ‘transitional’ Prime Minister, and who has failed to win a majority in the Knesset and build a governing coalition in two consecutive elections—the permission from the super power that America is to continue the occupation, and to put in motion legalizing what is now a ‘de-facto annexation’ of the West Bank, which the Palestinians claim as their future state. Whether he is a Prime Minister in transition for another 6 months, or in a unity government for longer, he’ll make sure these trends, going on since the aftermath of the Six-Day War of 1967, are irreversible for good. Which, in effect, will render Israel an Apartheid state.

How the world, and especially American Jews will react to this development will determine the future not only of Israel, but of the Jewish people at large. Even more so: A second announcement came on November 21 by Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, indicting PM Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. It puts Israel in a critical moment in its short modern history. A critical moment like no other before that puts a big question mark on the future of the state as a democracy. The struggle now taking place in Israel, which will surely intensify in the coming weeks and month, will most definitely transform and determine the country’s future for years to come.

This announcement in Israel, charging a sitting Prime Minister—a first in Israel’s history—of serious crimes, launched Israel into a major crisis. The crisis is between sheer political power and the rule of law. It’s between Netanyahu’s desperate attempt of hanging on to power, at all costs, threatening the rule of law and democracy itself. It’s clear now to all, what was clear to many before: Netanyahu is set on continuing ruling Israel, avoiding prosecution by all means necessary, even if Israel will crash into ruins with him in the process.

Latest polls in Israel show a clear majority of Israeli citizens in favor of Netanyahu resigning as Prime Minister. By law, he doesn’t have to yet. Though by law, he does have to relinquish the four other ministerial positions he currently holds. This is uncharted territory for Israel. For instance, when Netanyahu’s predecessor, PM Ehud Olmart was investigated by the police for such crimes, Netanyahu, his rival for the leadership of the party said this: “A prime minister neck deep in investigations has no moral or public mandate to make fateful decisions for the State of Israel.”

Of course, now that he is the Prime Minister, the longest to serve in this role in Israel’s history, and being indicted already—not just investigated—on much more serious charges, he looks the other way. Blaming the investigators instead. He continues to hold an iron grip on his party, and continues to appoint his cronies (regardless if they are qualified or not) to positions of power in the government. Still, there are some signs of revolt in his party, which will determine much of the outcome.

The leader of the Blue and White party, Benny Gantz, which has one more seat in the Knesset than the Likud (Netanyahu’s party), spoke to the nation and offered a most generous solution: A unity government with himself as Prime Minister first. And in two years, should Netanyahu be found not guilty, the coalition agreement will grant him the opportunity to return as Prime Minister for the remaining two years of a government four-year’s term.

It will not happen. There will be blood. Figuratively and (possibly) literally. Which brings me to say this: On both these crucial, critical issues—settlements, occupation, annexation, the rule of law, democracy—American Jews cannot allow themselves to remain on the sidelines. Since the future of the Jewish State as a democracy is now at stake, they cannot allow themselves—they individually, and also their established organizations—to remain quiet. It’s time to take a stand and speak up.

* The ‘Leave a Comment’ link is the last tag below, in blue.

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