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Column One: Let’s embrace our friends


05/17/2012 23:17

In recent years, poll after poll has shown that majority of Israelis do not believe that two-state paradigm will bring peace.

Two weeks ago, US Congressman Joe Walsh published an op-ed in the The Washington Times in which he called for the US and Israel to abandon the two-state solution.

After running through the record of Palestinian duplicity, failed governance, terrorism and bad faith, he called for Israel to apply its sovereignty to Judea and Samaria. In his words, Israel should “adopt the only solution that will bring true peace to the Middle East: a single Israeli state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Israel is the only country in the region dedicated to peace and the only power capable of stable, just and democratic government in the region.”

The evidence that the two-state paradigm has failed is overwhelming. The Palestinians’ decision to reject statehood at Camp David in 2000 and launch a terror war against Israel made clear that they had not abandoned their refusal from 1947 to accept partition of the Land of Israel with the Jews.

So, too, the Palestinians’ election of Hamas in the 2006 elections, and their missile war against Israel from Gaza in the aftermath of Israel’s complete withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, all made clear that they are not interested in a Palestinian state. Rather, their chief desire is Israel’s annihilation.

Consequentially, there is no chance whatsoever that the two state paradigm can work.

Indeed, the fact that there is no Palestinian leader willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist makes clear that if a Palestinian state is established in Judea and Samaria – in addition to the de facto Palestinian state in Gaza – that state will be in state of war with Israel. All territory under its control will be used to attack the rump Jewish state.

Given the abject failure of the two-state paradigm, it is abundantly clear that for all the complications that may be associated with the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, it is a better option for Israel than Israeli surrender of the areas.

Walsh’s op-ed is not his first statement of support for Israeli annexation. Last September, ahead of the UN general assembly, Walsh authored Congressional Resolution 394 supporting Israel’s right to annex Judea and Samaria in the event that the Palestinians asked the UN to recognize a Palestinian state outside the framework of a peace treaty with Israel. Forty-four other congressmen co-sponsored the resolution.

And this makes sense.

The Palestinians’ decision to turn the issue of Palestinian statehood over to the UN constituted a substantive breach of the treaties the PLO signed with Israel. Those agreements stipulated that both sides agreed that their conflict would be solved through negotiations and not through unilateral actions. By ending negotiations with Israel and turning the issue of statehood over to the UN, the Palestinians canceled their treaties with Israel. Consequently, Israel is no longer bound by those accords and is free to take its own unilateral actions, including applying its laws to Judea and Samaria as it did in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in the past.

FOR HIS unstinting support for Israel, Walsh has been subject to an unbridled assault by leftist American Jews. Ron Kampeas from JTA, for instance, attacked Walsh, accusing him of being no different than Israel’s enemies who seek to destroy Israel by ending its ability to define itself as a Jewish state through what they refer to as the “one-state solution.”

Kampeas blasted Walsh for suggesting that Palestinians unwilling to live under Israeli rule could move to Jordan which, with its 75-percent Palestinian majority, is effectively the Palestinian state. To back up his condemnation, Kampeas quoted Robert Wright’s excoriation of Walsh in The Atlantic.

There Wright wrote, “Offhand, I don’t recall a member of Congress in my lifetime saying anything so grotesquely at odds with American ideals about ethnic relations and for that matter basic human rights.”

For its part, the Jewish-run anti-Israel lobby J Street is mobilizing its supporters to bring about Walsh’s defeat in the November elections by soliciting contributions to his Democratic challenger. J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami wrote that “Walsh’s prescription amounts to a call for an end to Israel as the democratic home of the Jewish people.”

It is hard to know where to begin a discussion of this assault in which Jewish Americans attacked one of Israel’s strongest supporters simply because he had the temerity to recognize reality and call for the US to support an Israeli victory against our enemies who seek our destruction.

First, it is important to consider the claim that Walsh went against the grain of American ideals by suggesting, “Those Palestinians who wish to may leave their Fatah— and Hamas-created slums and move to the original Palestinian state: Jordan. The British Mandate for Palestine created Jordan as the country for the Palestinians. That is the only justification for its creation. Even now, 75% of its population is of Palestinian descent.”

The fact of the matter is that the two-state paradigm rests on the assumption that the Palestinian state will be ethnically cleansed of Jews before it is established. Whereas Walsh somehow stands in opposition to American ideals for suggesting that the Palestinians may voluntarily immigrate to Jordan, Kampeas, Ben— Ami and their cohorts have no problem with the concept of a Jew-free Palestine and the forcible expulsion of up to 675,000 Jews from their homes in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem simply because they are Jewish.

Aside from their pernicious hypocrisy and moral blindness, what stands out in their assaults on Walsh is that they cannot tell the difference between Israel’s enemies that seek its destruction through the so-called one-state solution, and Israel’s friends, who want it to defeat its enemies and live with security and peace. For the likes of Kampeas and Ben-Ami, there is no difference between Walsh and Israel’s worst enemies.

PART OF this problem is their apparent unquestioning acceptance of the myth of a demographic time bomb. They seem not to have noticed that the Palestinian claim that by 2015 there will be an Arab majority west of the Jordan River is a complete fabrication.

The truth is that if Israel applied its laws to Judea and Samaria tomorrow and all the Palestinians in those areas received Israeli citizenship, Israel would still retain a two-thirds Jewish majority. Moreover, all the demographic trends for Israel, including increasing birthrates and positive immigration rates, are positive. And all the demographic trends for the Palestinians, including decreasing birthrates and negative immigration rates, are negative. According to Israeli demographic researcher Yoram Ettinger, by 2030, Jewish will likely comprise 80% of the population of Israel, Judea and Samaria.

So Ben-Ami’s argument that Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria means the end of Israeli democracy is simply incorrect.

But aside from their hypocrisy and refusal to accept simple arithmetic realities, what stands out most clearly in these leftist American Jews' assault on Walsh is how they have become addicted to the fable of the two-state solution. Their addiction to this fable – that argues that after a century of Palestinian devotion to the annihilation of Israel, the Palestinians are suddenly willing to meet Israel halfway – is what propels these Jewish activists to attack anyone who points out reality. It is what drives them to brand as a foe anyone with the temerity to suggest a better way forward.

The beauty of the two-state fable is that it puts the onus to make peace on Israel’s shoulders.

If it is true that the Palestinians want to make peace, then Israel must make peace. And if all the Palestinians require to make peace is for Israel to quit Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, then that is what Israel must do, together with the 675,000 Jews who live there.

The real tragedy is of course not that the likes of Kampeas and Ben-Ami maintain faith with the fairy tale of Palestinian willingness to live at peace with Israel. The real tragedy is that this myth has been the official policy of the government of Israel for the past 19 years. Since then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin launched the peace process with Yasser Arafat in September 1993, to greater or lesser degrees, every Israeli government has kept faith with the two-state solution lie.

It hasn’t mattered that the Palestinians rejected statehood and peace not once, but twice. It hasn’t mattered that the Palestinians received Gaza lock, stock and barrel with no strings attached and used the territory to launch an illegal missile war against Israeli civilians. The fact that both Arafat and his supposedly moderate successor Mahmoud Abbas rejected partition and maintained their devotion to Israel’s destruction did not stop Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from bowing to US pressure and embracing this fool’s game.

People like Kampeas are the first to bemoan Israel’s sorry state in the realm of public diplomacy. They decry Israel’s hasbara efforts as pathetic and failed. But what they fail to acknowledge is that it is the two-state trap that makes the construction and execution of an effective public diplomacy strategy impossible.

To maintain faith with this failed policy, Israel’s leaders and representatives are not merely required to ignore the history of the past 90 years of Palestinian rejection and aggression.

They are required to ignore current events.

They are forced to ignore not just what happened in 1947, but what happened at 7 o’clock in the morning.

And this brings us back to Rep. Walsh. There may be things to criticize about Walsh’s policy argument. For instance, he calls for the conferral of “limited voting power” on the Palestinians under Israeli sovereignty. In truth, there is no reason for them to receive anything but full voting rights.

But you have to be blind to reality to view him as anything other than a friend of Israel.

Happily, not everyone in Israel remains paralyzed. Members of Knesset have launched repeated attempts in recent months to debate legislation calling for Israel to apply its sovereignty over all or parts of Judea and Samaria. Next Wednesday, MK Miri Regev is holding a conference to launch a new Knesset caucus calling for the adoption of this policy.

IN RECENT years, poll after poll has shown that the majority of Israelis do not believe that the two-state paradigm will bring peace or that if a Palestinian state is formed, it will live at peace with Israel.

And yet, because of the choke-hold that Kampeas and Ben-Ami’s Israeli counterparts have held over the national discourse, the Israeli people have been given no other option to consider. Rather, we have been told over and over again that giving our enemies a veto over our rights, land and security is the only alternative.

Walsh and the 44 congressmen who co-sponsored his resolution are Israel’s friends. We should take heart in their willingness to buck consensus and support us. And we should give careful and responsible consideration to their reasonable and supportive policy recommendations.