Monday, 23 May 2011

RubinReports: Obama At AIPAC: Beneath The Flattery, He Revealed His Indifference to Israel’s Needs and His Tilt Against It

Obama At AIPAC: Beneath The Flattery, He Revealed His Indifference to Israel’s Needs and His Tilt Against It

This article is published on PajamasMedia.
By Barry Rubin

I expected President Barack Obama’s AIPAC speech would be a bunch of feel-good clichés to persuade the audience that he is Israel’s best friend. Thus there would be nothing worth analyzing in it. But as I read the speech carefully I was astonished at how thoroughly Obama reveals his underlying miscomprehension, indifference, and even hostility toward Israel.

Examine this speech and you see everything wrong—far more than in his Cairo or State Department speeches on the Middle East—with Obama’s view of Israel and why he cannot be trusted on this issue.

There are some remarkable Freudian slips in his formulations and they have nothing to do with his discussion of the framework for Israel-Palestinian peace.

He spoke at great length of his support for Israel, how he wants it to be strong and secure, and the common values of the two countries. Yet if he really thinks that, why didn’t he say such things in his State Department speech on the Middle East or elsewhere?

Obama stated:

“We also know how difficult that search for security can be, especially for a small nation like Israel in a tough neighborhood….When I went to Sderot, I saw the daily struggle to survive in the eyes of an eight-year old boy who lost his leg to a Hamas rocket. And when I walked among the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, I grasped the existential fear of Israelis when a modern dictator seeks nuclear weapons and threatens to wipe Israel off the map.”

Yet his regional policies have undermined Israel’s security:

--Without getting anything from Hamas (the group that shoots rockets at Sderot) he pressed Israel to reduce sanctions against Hamas, helped bring into power a pro-Hamas government in Egypt, and sent $400 million in U.S .taxpayer money that objectively strengthens the Hamas regime.

--By not actively opposing Hizballah and Syria taking over Lebanon, thus increasing the threat on Israel’s northern border.

--By waiting so long before he moved on Iran sanctions and by failing to support the Iranian democratic opposition.

--By acting as apologist for the Syrian terrorist-sponsoring dictatorship.

--By not keeping U.S. promises to Israel on countering Hizballah’s return to southern Lebanon and arms’

--By helping create a situation in Egypt that will definitely lead to a radical, anti-American, anti-Israel takeover and probably leading to an Islamist regime there.

--By becoming an apologist and booster of the most anti-Israel (and Islamist) Turkish government ever he has done nothing to help Israel deal with the enmity of its closest regional ally. Obama quickly capitulated to the Gaza flotilla.

--By never really criticizing or pressuring the Palestinian Authority on anything at all, even when it rejected his initiatives, broke its promises to him, or made him look foolish. Consider Vice-President Joe Biden’s temper tantrum about a Jerusalem zoning board okaying a construction project in the distant future to the administration’s basic indifference to ongoing PA incitement and the naming of things against terrorists who murdered Israelis.

That’s not a complete list.

(Incidentally, Obama doesn't even seem to grasp the existential fear of U.S. Arab allies about Iran's power or Islamist revolutions that will wipe them off the map.)

He may talk a good game on Sderot and Yad Vashem but in practice his policies have largely ignored the points he made to AIPAC.

“Because we understand the challenges Israel faces, I and my administration have made the security of Israel a priority. It’s why we’ve increased cooperation between our militaries to unprecedented levels.”

Obama is correct that U.S.-Israel military cooperation remains quite strong but his policy shows he definitely does NOT understand the challenges Israel faces.

“Today, Iran is virtually cut off from large parts of the international financial system, and we are going to keep up the pressure. So let me be absolutely clear – we remain committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Nice words but in fact Iran is finding a lot of loopholes; Obama is not cracking down on Russia, China, and Turkey (to name the three main countries that are helping Iran).

“As I said on Thursday, the Iranian government has shown its hypocrisy by claiming to support the rights of protesters while treating its own people with brutality. Moreover, Iran continues to support terrorism across the region, including providing weapons and funds to terrorist organizations. So we will continue to work to prevent these actions, and will stand up to groups like Hezbollah who exercise political assassination, and seek to impose their will through rockets and car bombs.”

As you already know, the Obama administration has distinguished itself by the minimum it has done regarding Iran’s repression of the democratic opposition. And how has the U.S. government stood up to Hizballah? In fact, it has most definitely NOT stood up to Hizballah.

“And I indicated on Thursday that the recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas poses an enormous obstacle to peace. No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction. We will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace: recognizing Israel’s right to exist, rejecting violence, and adhering to all existing agreements. And we once again call on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit, who has been kept from his family for five long years.”

Once again, though, the opposite is true. Up to Obama’s recent State Department speech, the administration’s talking points were NOT to condemn the agreement but to take a wait and see approach. Even Obama’s discussion of the issue in his major speech did not attack the agreement (much less pressure the PA against doing it) but merely said that they would have to prove to Israel they were going to adhere to the Quartet conditions. Indeed, the PA and Hamas have already come up with clever ways to get around these issues.

“As I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu, I believe that the current situation in the Middle East does not allow for procrastination.”

In principle, Obama’s idea that we must do something quick to resolve the Israel-Palestinian issue because of current conditions (I’ve been hearing that exact line for 40 years) sounds nice. In practice, though, here’s what it amounts to: The Palestinians are intransigent. They should not be punished. Israel must make more concessions.

Obama doesn’t take the Hamas threat seriously, nor does he take a real tough line on incitement. The only thing he presses the PA on is that it should talk, not that it should give.

Consider this carefully:

“There is a reason why the Palestinians are pursuing their interests at the United Nations. They recognize that there is an impatience with the peace process – or the absence of one. Not just in the Arab World, but in Latin America, in Europe, and in Asia. That impatience is growing, and is already manifesting itself in capitols around the world.”

So Obama doesn’t say that the Palestinians are trying to circumvent negotiations with Israel and mutual compromise! No, their problem is that they are too eager for peace.

Ok. Here’s a quiz for you: If the Palestinians are impatient with the slow pace of progress, who is responsible for the lack of progress? If the Palestinians are so eager to make a deal, the fault must be with…Israel.

That paragraph is a Freudian slip on Obama’s part. Yet since the PA wouldn’t negotiate for two years, including almost nine months during an Israeli construction freeze, that would throw into question its eagerness.

(I recall how in 2000 we were told the same thing about Arafat being in a hurry to make a deal. Then when he refused to negotiate more and went to violence, the same people told us how foolish we were in rushing him!)

“But the march to isolate Israel internationally – and the impulse of the Palestinians to abandon negotiations – will continue to gain momentum in the absence of a credible peace process and alternative.”

Think about how this is totally in contradiction to the history we lived through. The march to isolate Israel internationally will continue no matter what Israel does, whether it is involved in talks or now. Why? Because the goal of those behind it—mainly the Western leftists and Islamists—is to destroy Israel.

Again, though, there’s a Freudian slip here. For Obama’s failure to recognize the motivation means he doesn’t understand the problem. And Obama has contributed to the delegitimization of Israel. What’s he saying here: Israel hasn’t given enough and made enough concessions to move the peace process forward and that’s the reason for growing hostility to Israel.

That means he doesn’t realize the sacrifices Israel has made for the cause of peace: withdrawing from Sinai, southern Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and much of the West Bank; losing more than 2000 people murdered by terrorism; and so on.

Israelis have drawn the precise opposite conclusion. If years of demonstrating our desire for peace, making concessions, taking risks, and empathizing with Palestinian suffering has only intensified the hostility toward us, perhaps that hostility isn’t our fault and is due to something else.

On that point, Obama is totally clueless. For him, Israel still needs to prove it wants peace. But the PA doesn’t.

One more Freudian slip. Israel isn’t doing enough to keep the Palestinians to abandon negotiations. So the fact that the PA doesn’t want to make true peace is…Israel’s fault once again.

Incidentally, can you imagine Obama talking about how Palestinian and Arab behavior might create an “impulse” of Israel “to abandon negotiations”? Of course not.

Obama can quote the Talmud but he can’t deal with the impending catastrophe in Egypt. How can he speak at AIPAC and not mention that the most important country in the Arab world is moving quickly to tear up its peace treaty with Israel, end sanctions on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and create a massive new security problem for Israel! A fitting symbol of his total indifference about, “How difficult that search for security can be.”

On the surface, President Obama’s speech to AIPAC will reassure many about his care and commitment to Israel. Yet a careful reading of the speech shows the exact opposite.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist for PajamasMedia at His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is

RubinReports: Obama At AIPAC: Beneath The Flattery, He Revealed His Indifference to Israel’s Needs and His Tilt Against It

Israel Matzav: Will that be all, Saeb?

Will that be all, Saeb?

Former 'Palestinian' chief negotiator bottle washer Saeb Erekat says that if only Israel would agree in advance to withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines, we could start negotiating again. Of course, he doesn't say just what it is we might negotiate.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Will that be all, Saeb?

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian Authority' admits paying terrorists' salaries

'Palestinian Authority' admits paying terrorists' salaries

The 'Palestinian Authority' has admitted that it is paying salaries to terrorists in Israeli jails (as reported here). Moreover, it claims it has been doing so since 1994.

So where was our government this whole time?

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian Authority' admits paying terrorists' salaries

Israel Matzav: What Ketzaleh thinks Bibi should say to Congress

What Ketzaleh thinks Bibi should say to Congress

What will Prime Minister Netanyahu say to Congress on Tuesday night? National Union leader Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) wrote a speech that he sent to Netanyahu, and he asked Arutz Sheva to translate and post it (Hat Tip: Gershon D).

If only he would say it.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: What Ketzaleh thinks Bibi should say to Congress

Israel Matzav: Why did Obama do something so dumb?

Why did Obama do something so dumb?

J.E. Dyer believes that President Obama has no clue how to negotiate.

If Obama had merely recommitted America to seeking a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, without staking out a specific parameter for the negotiations, I doubt Bibi would have made the statements he did in the press conference on Friday. It all could have been left unsaid, for who knows how many more months. But Obama backed him into a corner by announcing a US position based on the pre-1967 armistice line. Failing to address that prejudicial announcement – appearing with the American president in seeming accord – would have made Israel look weak and out of options. Israel can’t afford that; indeed, no nation in that part of the world can.

So Bibi said what had to be said. Where Obama had stepped in and outlined a position the US has no business delineating, Netanyahu said what only the prime minister of Israel is in a position to say. It was not Obama’s place to say any of these things – that the “right of return” demand is “not gonna happen,” that the pre-1967 armistice line is not acceptable as a border – any more than it was his place to impose the pre-1967 line as a condition. The purpose Obama served – however inadvertently – was getting Bibi to say these things. And say them from the White House, sitting next to the president of the United States, to boot.

Obama served this purpose by hearkening to his particular muse: the Muse of Campaigning. I’m not sure he has ever heard from the Muse of Negotiation, but in the case of his Middle East speech, the two muses had conflicting advice.

Obama isn’t the first American president to give short shrift to the fundamentals of negotiation; most of our presidents know little about it. As a superpower, we are essentially a continent-size island with only two land borders, and our chief executive is his own separate branch of government, intended to counterbalance the legislature rather than emerging from it after years of parliamentary sausage-making. It is rare for our presidents to enter the office with any meaningful experience in negotiation, and even rarer for them to appreciate it as a political discipline and be good at it.

But I don’t know that we’ve ever had a president who seemed, as much as Obama does, to live in a galaxy far, far away from “negotiation,” the human concept. It’s not that he appears to dismiss the ramifications of his actions for ongoing negotiations; it’s that they don’t even seem to occur to him. In one of the most counterintuitive episodes in a long time, it took an attitude this blunderingly dysfunctional to corner the consummate statesman Benjamin Netanyahu and induce him to say, bluntly and unequivocally, what had to be said about Israel’s irreducible requirements for survival.

I was going to point out that Obama spent two years (or was it four?) in the Senate, but that seems kind of pointless. But what if Obama purposely wanted to degrade Israel's position? What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Why did Obama do something so dumb?

Love of the Land: The Thomas Friedman myth

The Thomas Friedman myth

Giulio Meotti
Israel Opinion/Ynet
22 May '11,7340,L-4071894,00.html

Op-ed: Columnist's application of globalization theory to Arab-Israeli conflict is delusional

Thomas Friedman is one of journalism's greatest celebrities, the single most famous US interpreter of the Middle East and the liberal columnist who has the most influence on the way Americans understand Israel. His 1989 book “From Beirut to Jerusalem” has been a best-seller, as was “The world is flat.”

Friedman also plays a major role in shaping Obama’s rhetoric about Israel’s return to the pre-1967 armistice line, which the late Abba Eban dubbed the “Auschwitz borders.”

For the first time now, the four digits (1967) have become formal American policy. It was also a Friedman victory. It was he, after all, who invented the so-called “Saudi plan for peace in the Middle East.” And it was Friedman who wrote that the White House is “disgusted” with Israeli interlocutors.

In Manhattan, Friedman is an elegant and wealthy Jewish intellectual. But what are the consequences of his ideas for Israel, the only UN member surrounded by neighbors willing to kill themselves to destroy the Jews, and the nation globally elected to be an emblem of evil?

Friedman has created a myth of personal disillusionment with Israel that is designed to lend credibility to his indictment against the Jewish State. His method is simple and delusional: Applying the globalization theory to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Mutual respect, money, education, computers, Internet, hedonism and modernity are Friedman’s solutions to the nationalistic bloodbath. Economics trumps politics in his technocracy.

As a Jewish reporter in Beirut and Jerusalem, Friedman confessed, he was unable to remain objective because of the “tribal” nature of the conflict. He has described his personal biography as the story of “a Jew who was raised on . . . all the myths about Israel, who goes to Jerusalem in the 1980s and discovers that it isn’t the summer camp of his youth.”

The famous columnist has always been a militant of the Palestinian cause. By the time he graduated from Brandeis University, he was identifying with “Breira”, a pariah group within the American Jewish community. He belonged to the steering committee of a self-styled “Middle East Peace Group” that vigorously opposed the mounting storm of protest among American Jews over Yasser Arafat’s appearance before the United Nations in a time when the Palestinian leader proudly claimed Jewish lives.

In 1985, after the Shiite hijacking of a TWA airliner, Friedman attacked Israel for not releasing the 700 terrorists whose freedom the hijackers were demanding. Israel’s refusal, he claimed, “certainly contributed” to the hijacking.

Friedman has always defended Yasser Arafat and failed to draw attention to his evident connections to terrorism. Friedman then demonized Ariel Sharon, while praising Arab dictators such as Saudi Prince Abdullah. Friedman also “criticized” the Israeli settlers, an entire population group that loyally serves in the army, pays its taxes and defends the state, demonizing them in global columns.

According to the US columnist, Israeli settlers are a “cancer for the Jewish people” and those who “collaborate” in the building of settlements are “enemies of peace” and “enemies of America’s national interest,” no less. Friedman has compared Islamist fanatics who want to destroy Israel to the “lunatics of the Likud” and Arab dictators whose endorsement of suicide bombings threatens Islam to the “collaborators” whose support for a “colonial Israeli occupation” threatens coexistence.

Friedman has always been diligently undermining Israel’s claim to the moral high ground by placing victims of terrorism on the same plain as their barbaric perpetrators. “What Israeli settlers and Palestinian suicide bombers have in common is that they are each pushing for the maximum use of force against the other side,” he wrote after the killing of Kobi Mandell.

For Friedman, building a home on disputed territory is apparently the moral equivalent of stoning Jews to death. To equate the two, as Friedman always does, is to create moral mush. At age fourteen, Kobi was immobilized and stoned to death, his body hidden in a cave. The terrorists soaked their hands in the boy’s blood and smeared the walls of the cave with it.

Friedman also compared terrorist militias in Iraq, who butchered Americans and Iraqis alike, to the Jewish inhabitants of Judea and Samaria. One of Friedman’s columns in 2004 was particularly shocking: “...Mr. Sharon has the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat under house arrest in his office in Ramallah, and he’s had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office. Mr. Sharon has Mr. Arafat surrounded by tanks, and Mr. Bush surrounded by Jewish and Christian pro-Israel lobbyists, by a vice president, Dick Cheney, who’s ready to do whatever Mr. Sharon dictates.”

Friedman’s language resembled that of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. His incredible words, coming at a time when anti-Semitism is skyrocketing globally, were repulsive. From Friedman’s mansion in the Maryland’s woods the Middle East maybe looks really flat. But that’s not an excuse for pushing what can be called Zionicide.

Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of the book A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism

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Love of the Land: The Thomas Friedman myth

Love of the Land: Language Matters in the Middle East

Language Matters in the Middle East

Michael Rubin
22 May '11

One of the more irresponsible press habits during the Iraq war was the inconsistent use of the passive voice. Americans might kill five Iraqis in an operation gone awry, but when a bomb went off in a school yard, the major networks and newspapers would passively report, “20 children killed in Iraq.” Never would they say, “Terrorists killed 20 children in Iraq.” Over time, the message of the language matters: When people talk about the tens of thousands of civilians killed after Saddam’s fall, they ironically assumed American responsibility rather than realize that it was the terrorists killing Iraqis whom the Americans and Iraqi government jointly were fighting. To abandon Iraq amidst the terrorist insurgency would not (and will not) bring peace and security, but would be the equivalent of handing Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge.

In the Arab-Israeli conflict language also matters. Israel’s borders today are the 1967 borders, modified only by the annexation of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and some minor arbitrated settlements with Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. Why do we talk about President Obama demanding that Israel go back to the 1967 borders when he technically means withdrawal from the West Bank and portions of Jerusalem to return to the pre-1967 border, i.e., the 1949 Armistice Lines?

Technically, the West Bank is disputed territory, not occupied territory. There was no independent Palestine in 1967 before the Six-Day War. The status of the territory was just as unresolved before 1967 as it was after. If the Israelis “occupy” the portions of the West Bank unresolved under Oslo and subsequent accords then the Palestinian Authority also “occupies” those areas. To resolve the dispute takes negotiations and compromise, not mob rule or executive fiat. Make no mistake: I personally favor a two-state solution and believe that Israel will not ultimately possess the entirety—or even the majority of the West Bank—but I also believe that after so many wars launched from the West Bank, peace requires defensible borders, not an advanced front line for Arab, Iranian, and perhaps Turkish rejectionists bent on Israel’s annihilation.

Along the same lines, the term settlement shows tremendous bias. If portions of Jerusalem are unresolved, then new Palestinian construction on disputed lands are as much “settlements” as new Israeli construction. To speak of Palestinian civilians and Israeli settlers is to accept a false narrative and a dehumanizing one.

It behooves those who believe that Israel matters and its security and Jewish identity are important to be accurate with language. Otherwise, they simply cede points in negotiations and risk putting Israel in an even more precarious position as diplomacy continues.

If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

Love of the Land: Language Matters in the Middle East

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Israel Matzav: Hamas finds a use for women

Hamas finds a use for women

Hamas has found a use for its women aside from bearing children. Can you guess what it is?

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Hamas finds a use for women

Israel Matzav: Why Bibi gets it and Obama doesn't

Why Bibi gets it and Obama doesn't

What Bibi gets and Obama doesn't is the depth of 'Palestinian' hatred for Jews and Israel.

Here's one example.

Let's go to the videotape.

Here's more about the same woman.

Israel Matzav: Why Bibi gets it and Obama doesn't

Israel Matzav: No great surprise here: Canada says Nobama

No great surprise here: Canada says Nobama

Coming just a few weeks after the stunning (due to its margin) re-election of Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Canada is not going to back Barack Hussein Obama's pressure on Israel (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
“What the government of Canada supports is basically a two-state solution that is negotiated,” a senior federal official said. “If it’s border, if it’s others issues, it has to be negotiated, it cannot be unilateral action.”

Pressed by reporters, federal officials said both the Israelis and the Palestinians have to decide on their bottom lines, which the Israelis have said will not include a return to the 1967 border.

“If the two parties are of the view that this is a starting point, that is fine for them,” said the federal official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Prime Minister’s director of communications, Dimitri Soudas, added that Canada’s position continues to be the search for a two-state solution.

“No solution, ultimately, is possible without both parties sitting down, negotiating and agreeing on what that final outcome will look like,” he said.
Canada under Stephen Harper is a true friend of Israel.

Israel Matzav: No great surprise here: Canada says Nobama

Israel Matzav: Some American Jews rethinking support for Obama

Some American Jews rethinking support for Obama

At least two prominent American Jews are rethinking their support for Barack Hussein Obama: Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch (pictured) and billionaire publisher Mort Zuckerman (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
"He has in effect sought to reduce Israel's negotiation power and I condemn him for that," former New York Mayor Ed Koch told Reuters.

Koch said he might not campaign or vote for Obama if Republicans nominate a pro-Israel candidate who offers an alternative to recent austere budgetary measures backed by Republicans in Congress.

Koch donated $2,300 to Obama's campaign in 2008, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

"I believed that then-Senator Obama would be as good as John McCain based on his statements at the time and based on his support of Israel. It turns out I was wrong," he said.


"I have spoken to a lot of people in the last couple of days -- former supporters -- who are very upset and feel alienated," billionaire real estate developer and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman said.

"He'll get less political support, fewer activists for his campaign, and I am sure that will extend to financial support as well."

Zuckerman backed Obama during his 2008 presidential run and the newspaper he owns, the New York Daily News, endorsed the president.
I wish this were a trend, but I'm skeptical, unfortunately. Koch is nothing new. He's said before that he believes he was mistaken in supporting Obama. Zuckerman hasn't been quite as explicit, but he's also given some hints that he was dissatisfied with Obama. Is this a trend? I'd like to see more evidence.

Israel Matzav: Some American Jews rethinking support for Obama

Israel Matzav: Knesset preparing to slap Turkey across the face

Knesset preparing to slap Turkey across the face

The Knesset is preparing to give the Turkish government a smack across its arrogant face. With Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan making false accusations against Israel, the Knesset looks like it will finally fight back. After years of succeeding Israeli governments avoiding giving it recognition, the Knesset is on the verge of officially recognizing the Armenian genocide (Hat Tip: Joshua I).
Shortly before the one year anniversary of the Free Gaza Flotilla that marked a low point in Israel-Turkey relations, the Knesset made history Wednesday afternoon when it held its first open discussion on recognition of the Armenian genocide.

With a number of Armenian religious and lay leaders watching in the visitors’ gallery, MKs ranging from Shas to Meretz took the stand to speak in favor of officially recognizing the series of massacres and deportations that killed an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in the years during and shortly after World War I.

For years, consecutive governments had blocked attempts by MKs to raise the subject of recognizing the genocide out of concern that such recognition could damage relations with Ankara. This year, however, the government did not block the hearing.

MKs voted by a unanimous vote of 20-0 following the hearing to refer the subject for a further hearing to the Knesset’s Education Committee, a hearing that will also be broadcast, at least via Internet. In contrast, any previous discussions concerning the genocide had been held exclusively behind the closed doors of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Isn't this great? In one move, we're doing the right and moral thing and b**ch-slapping a government that has become a bitter rival.

Here's hoping the Mavi Marmara sinks the day after Israel officially recognizes the Armenian genocide.

Israel Matzav: Knesset preparing to slap Turkey across the face

Israel Matzav: What's the difference between Bibi and Obama?

What's the difference between Bibi and Obama?

What's the difference between Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu and Barack Hussein Obama? Answer: One is a statesman and the other is the former junior Senator from Illinois who is currently President of the United States.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday said that news of a disagreement with US President Barack Obama over the resumption of peace talks was "blown way out of proportion."

"It's true that we have some differences of opinion, but these are among friends," the prime minister was quoted as saying by a spokesman.

Netanyahu believed that Obama had "shown his commitment to Israel's security, both in word and in deed," the spokesman added. "And we are working with the administration to achieve common goals."
Obama must have begged him to put out that statement.


Israel Matzav: What's the difference between Bibi and Obama?

Israel Matzav: Al-Guardian on the 'Palestinians' gift to the Arab world

Al-Guardian on the 'Palestinians' gift to the Arab world

I'd expect an editorial like this from a newspaper coming out of the Arab world. Oh wait, al-Guardian has become an Arab newspaper, hasn't it?
The leaders of Fatah and Hamas were obliged to reconcile by the forces stirring the Palestinian street. The negotiators of Fatah had stopped negotiating, and the fighters of Hamas had stopped fighting. Both had to respond to a simple idea: if one million Egyptians can fill Tahrir Square demanding Palestinian rights, why can’t Palestinians, who taught the Arab world how to mount insurrections, and mounted two intifadas of their own.
You got it. Al-Guardian believes that 'intifadas' are the 'Palestinians' gift to the Arab world.

Much more here.

Israel Matzav: Al-Guardian on the 'Palestinians' gift to the Arab world

Israel Matzav: Does anyone still believe this?

Does anyone still believe this?

Arab League President Amr Moussa (left) explains why there is so much instability in the Middle East:
"The Palestinian issue is at the heart of instability in the Middle East," Moussa said, calling on the United States to move in "the coming weeks and months towards establishing a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital."
Really? The guy in Tunisia set himself on fire because there's no 'Palestinian state'? Egypt overthrew Hosni Mubarak because there's no 'Palestinian state'? Yemen is trying to overthrow Saleh, Syria is trying to overthrow Assad and Libya is trying to overthrow Gadhafi because there's no 'Palestinian state'? Bahrain tried to overthrow the Emir because there's no 'Palestinian state'?

What a load of bull dung. There's only one person outside the Middle East who's taken in by it: Barack Hussein Obama.

Israel Matzav: Does anyone still believe this?

Israel Matzav: Abu Bluff's fairy tale

Abu Bluff's fairy tale

Ephraim Karsh tells the real story of 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's Tzfat (Safed).
But was he expelled? Hardly. Not only did Abbas reveal a couple of years ago, in an Arabic interview, that his family had not been forcefully expelled and that his father was affluent enough to provide for them for a year after their flight (so no canvas tent), but none of the 170,000- 180,000 Palestinian Arabs fleeing urban centers, in the five-and-a-half months from the passing of the UN resolution to Israel’s proclamation on May 14, 1948, were expelled by the Jews.

Quite the reverse in fact, huge numbers of these refugees were driven from their homes by their own leaders and/or by Arab military forces which had entered the country to fight the Jews, whether out of military considerations or to prevent them from becoming citizens of the prospective Jewish state.

In the largest and best-known example, tens of thousands of Arabs were ordered or bullied into leaving the city of Haifa (on April 21-22) on the instructions of the Arab Higher Committee, the effective “government” of the Palestinian Arabs, despite strenuous Jewish efforts to persuade them to stay. Only days earlier, Tiberias’s 6,000- strong Arab community had been similarly forced out by its own leaders, against local Jewish wishes. In Jaffa, Palestine’s largest Arab city, the municipality organized the transfer of thousands of residents by land and sea; in Jerusalem, the Arab Higher Committee ordered the transfer of women and children, and local gang leaders pushed out residents of several neighborhoods.

And what about Safed? Having declined an offer by Gen. Hugh Stockwell, commander of the British forces in northern Palestine, to mediate a truce, the Arabs responded to the British evacuation of the city with a heavy assault on the tiny Jewish community, less than a quarter their size. “Upon the British evacuation on April 16, we occupied all the city’s strategic positions: the Citadel, the Government House, and the police post on Mount Canaan,” recalled a local Arab fighter.
Read it all and see what a liar Abu Bluff is.

Israel Matzav: Abu Bluff's fairy tale

Israel Matzav: The indefensible 'borders'

The indefensible 'borders'

The map above should show you why Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel cannot go back to the 1949 armistice lines. And if you don't get it from there, here's Dore Gold.
The cornerstone of all postwar diplomacy was U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, passed in November 1967. It did not demand that Israel pull back completely to the pre-1967 lines. Its withdrawal clause only called on Israel to withdraw "from territories," not from all territories. Britain's foreign secretary at the time, George Brown, later underlined the distinction: "The proposal said 'Israel will withdraw from territories that were occupied,' and not from 'the' territories, which means that Israel will not withdraw from all the territories."

Prior to the Six Day War, Jerusalem had been sliced in two, and the Jewish people were denied access to the Old City and its holy sites. Jerusalem's Christian population also faced limitations. As America's ambassador to the U.N., Arthur Goldberg, would explain, Resolution 242 did not preclude Israel's reunification of Jerusalem. In fact, Resolution 242 became the only agreed basis of all Arab-Israeli peace agreements, from the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace to the 1993 Oslo Agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.

How were Israel's legal rights to new boundaries justified? A good explanation came from Judge Stephen Schwebel, who would later be an adviser to the State Department and then president of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Writing in the American Journal of International Law in 1970, he noted that Israel's title to West Bank territory—in the event that it sought alterations in the pre-Six Day War lines—emanated from the fact that it had acted in lawful exercise of its right to self-defense. It was not the aggressor.

The flexibility for creating new borders was preserved for decades. Indeed, the 1993 Oslo Agreements, signed by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn, did not stipulate that the final borders between Israel and the Palestinians would be the 1967 lines. Borders were to be a subject for future negotiations. An April 2004 U.S. letter to Israel, backed by a bipartisan consensus in both houses of Congress, stipulated that Israel was not expected to fully withdraw, but rather was entitled to "defensible borders." U.S. secretaries of state from Henry Kissinger to Warren Christopher reiterated the same point in past letters of assurance.

If the borders between Israel and the Palestinians need to be negotiated, then what are the implications of a U.N. General Assembly resolution that states up front that those borders must be the 1967 lines? Some commentators assert that all Mr. Abbas wants to do is strengthen his hand in future negotiations with Israel, and that this does not contradict a negotiated peace. But is that really true? Why should Mr. Abbas ever negotiate with Israel if he can rely on the automatic majority of Third World countries at the U.N. General Assembly to back his positions on other points that are in dispute, like the future of Jerusalem, the refugee question, and security?

Mr. Abbas's unilateral move at the U.N. represents a massive violation of a core commitment in the Oslo Agreements in which both Israelis and Palestinians undertook that "neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of Permanent Status negotiations." Palestinian spokesmen counter that Israeli settlements violated this clause. Yet former Prime Minister Rabin was very specific while negotiating Oslo in preserving the rights of Israeli citizens to build their homes in these disputed areas, by insisting that the settlements would be one of the subjects of final status negotiations between the parties.
Read the whole thing.

The Wall Street Journal agrees.
But all attention is now focused on the coda he offered about the Arab-Israeli conflict, in which he said that "the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines." Though he immediately added that those lines should be adjusted "with mutually agreed swaps" of territory "so that secure and recognized borders are established for both parties," it's the 1967 line that is sticking.

And with good reason. At its neck, the distance from the Mediterranean coast to the West Bank is nine miles. Foreign analysts may imagine that strategic depth no longer matters, but Israelis know better thanks to the thousands of short-range rockets fired at their towns from Hamas-controlled Gaza. As candidate Obama said when he toured one such Israeli town in 2008, "If someone was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."

Well, exactly. Which is why it was strange to hear Mr. Obama, in a speech otherwise devoted to urging change in the nature of Arab societies, suddenly revert to the tired land-for-peace formula that has so often failed. Since the rest of Mr. Obama's speech borrowed heavily from President Bush's Freedom Agenda, he might also have taken a cue from his predecessor's June 2002 speech, which conditioned Palestinian statehood on renouncing terrorism and liberalizing politics.

That concept is all the more appropriate now that Hamas has joined the Palestinian government, a point Mr. Obama acknowledged in his speech. Most Israelis would not object to a Palestinian state, even on the 1967 lines, if its politics resembled those of, say, Canada. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's problem is that political trends among the Palestinians lean more in the direction of Iran, despite some recent promising economic trends.

Nor does it help that Mr. Obama wants Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory even before the two sides resolve the issues of the status of Jerusalem and of the 1948 Palestinian refugees, recently in the news with their attempt to force their way through Israel's borders. No Israeli leader is going to give up the West Bank without resolving those existential issues, since it would merely allow the Palestinians to pocket the territorial gains while perpetuating the conflict.

The President's team is explaining the speech as an attempt to restart the moribund Israeli-Palestinian talks, but it will accomplish no such thing.

Although right now, I doubt most Israelis would agree to any 'Palestinian state.' Most of us have had enough.

Israel Matzav: The indefensible 'borders'

Israel Matzav: A deal on Shalit?

A deal on Shalit?

There are reports of a deal in the works for the release of kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit. It's not a great deal, but it's much better than some of the deals to which former Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert was ready to agree: The terrorists with 'blood on their hands' would be sent out of the 'Palestinian territories' (i.e. away from Israel) so that hopefully they cannot rebuild the terror infrastructure.
According to a report in the Arabic-language London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Israel has agreed to release 20 Palestinian murderers with blood on their hands as part of a prisoner exchange for the captive soldier. As part of the potential agreement, the released prisoners would not be allowed to remain in the Palestinian territories after their release.

No deal has yet been signed, but the report stressed that negotiations were in final stages.

According to the report, Turkey, Egypt and Germany were privy to these most recent negotiations.

On Friday, Palestinian sources told Chinese news agency Xinhua that Egypt and Turkey are sponsoring indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel on the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. Germany's role was not mentioned.

The negotiations are still in the early stages and it is "still too early to talk about a breakthrough," the sources told the Chinese news agency.

On Thursday, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said Egypt is making vigorous moves to advance a prisoner exchange deal that would see Schalit released.

"Schalit's release depends on the Israeli position," Mashaal said. "The ball is now in [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu's court," saying Netanyahu is responsible for the lack of progress in the deal.

Also on Thursday, the US added The Army of Islam, one of the organizations responsible for the capture of Schalit, to its list of terror organizations.
I'll believe it when I see it.

Israel Matzav: A deal on Shalit?

Israel Matzav: Bibi owned Obama

Bibi owned Obama

Say what you will about Friday's joint press availability with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Hussein Obama, this much is clear: Bibi owned Obama. Rush Limbaugh wishes Bibi could run for President of the United States, and urges potential Republican candidates to watch and listen.
Benjamin Netanyahu: "We cannot negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas. Hamas just attacked you, Mr. President, for getting rid of Bin Laden." Netanyahu is saying this to our young man-child president. We can't go back to the '67 borders. So you strip everything else away here, folks, and it's obvious to me who's coming off as the more serious man in that room. And I gotta tell you, I can't wait to see what the media does with Netanyahu. I can't wait to see how the media characterizes this. Will they say he showed profound disrespect, that these comments should have never been made in public. It would be fine to share these sentiments with President Obama in a private meeting, but to go public like this and to slap the president.

Maybe they don't look at it that way. Maybe they don't look at the president being slapped down here. Maybe it isn't the president. I gotta give myself a wide berth here because right now I'm visual only and reading closed-captioning. So it appears to me that what Netanyahu is saying is, essentially, "Look, that stuff you said yesterday, we really appreciate how you feel. We can't do any of it." Is that how it's coming across? It says we're not gonna do anything. We can't. Now he's talking about the Palestinian refugees. He is not gonna accept them. He said that's not gonna happen. And everybody knows it's not gonna happen.

I have to be right. Look at Obama. Look at Obama. He's sitting there as though Bibi is Paul Ryan at the health care -- oh-ho, folks. Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho, mama! Cool this is. Cool this is. We're rolling tape on it, and we'll have audio of this as soon as we can assemble it and put it together for you. Obama hasn't said a word in four minutes now. He's sitting there with his hand on his chin and it's covering his mouth, and you can't tell if he's smiling. Netanyahu has not stopped talking. He's looking alternately at Obama and then at the cameras. The US and Israel, they have differences here and there. So can't go back to the '67 borders. They don't take into account the changes that have taken place on the ground. Israel cannot negotiate with the Palestinian government backed by Hamas. Hamas just attacked you, Mr. President, for getting rid of Bin Laden. He said that.

Hamas is a terrorist organization. We are not gonna negotiate with a terrorist organization. A terrorist organization just attacked you, Mr. President, and of course, unstated here is that yesterday you, Mr. President, aligned yourself with Hamas, which is a terrorist organization. Obama has his hand up like Hillary had her hand in the Situation Room photo during the Bin Laden raid. You know, when Hillary had her hand over her mouth with that wide look on her eyes (gasping), but Obama does not have that expression. Netanyahu says that the Palestinian leaders are going to have to choose between a pact with Hamas or peace with Israel. Whoa! This is the gauntlet!

Folks, the gauntlet's being thrown down here. Can Bibi run for the Republican nomination? Would you people in Indiana support Bibi? I'm just teasing, of course. Obama's not gonna say anything. They ended this thing without Obama saying anything. They cut out of it. Obama did not say a word. The thing just ended. The last word was Netanyahu. The only word was Netanyahu. Well, Obama opened it up. Okay. So now, folks, I don't think there's any question that Obama's mad.


And I'm looking at this today, and I'm asking myself, "Why did Obama allow this to happen?" Obama just allowed himself to get slapped on national TV in front of the world. Now, Bibi was respectful, don't misunderstand. That's what makes this even better. How could Obama, after talking to Bibi, not know what he was gonna say? You're president of the United States. Okay, you got this joint thing planned, but if you get wind that Netanyahu's gonna go out and say these kind of things, creating that facial reaction, that visual reaction on your part, you cancel it and you come up with some explanation. Whatever explanation the cancellation ends up being is not nearly as bad as what happened.

This looked like Obama had no control over the events, or else it looked like the same thing, he was so arrogant, he was so cock-certain that Netanyahu had to go along with whatever Obama proposed 'cause he's Obama, he's the first black president, he's the president of the world, everybody loves Obama, Bibi's gonna have to automatically cower. Maybe Bibi in their private meeting didn't say these things, maybe it's a total sandbag, I don't know, but you're president of the United States, and you don't allow yourself to get sandbagged this way. And he did. Obama did. I'm stunned at this. Where's the staff? Even if Obama's too young and idealistic and impressed with himself, where's an adult around here warning, "You know, Mr. President, you don't want this to happen."

I'll be eager for you people to see this later on today, if you haven't yet when you get yourself near a television. When you see Netanyahu and Obama you'll see a true leader, and you'll see a lightweight in direct side by side contrast, a true leader and a lightweight. You know, Netanyahu said, "Israel is my responsibility." He didn't say it's not yours to Obama, but the implication was clear. Now, the meeting prior to this presser, this little joint presser they have here -- it wasn't a presser; the appearance -- meeting went on more than an hour than was scheduled, so I would assume that Netanyahu had a lot of things to say to Obama.


NETANYAHU: The third reality is that the Palestinian refugee problem will have to be resolved in the context of a Palestinian state, but certainly not in the borders of Israel. The Arab attack in 1948 on Israel resulted in two refugee problems: A Palestinian refugee problem and Jewish refugees in roughly the same number, who were expelled from Arab lands. Now, tiny Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees, but the vast Arab world refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees. Now 63 years later, the Palestinians come to us, and they say to Israel, "Accept the grandchildren, really, and the great-grandchildren of these refugees; thereby wiping out Israel's future as a Jewish state." So it's not gonna happen, everybody knows it's not gonna happen, and I think it's time to tell the Palestinians forthrightly: It's not gonna happen.

RUSH: This is unprecedented? (laughing) This is unprecedented! Gosh, folks, I can't tell you! This is orgasmic. So simply stated: "It's not going to happen. It just isn't Linkgonna happen and everybody knows it's not gonna happen." He just said, in effect, "Your speech yesterday was just a bunch of worthless words. Your speech yesterday was just a bunch of pap. You know this isn't gonna happen; everybody knows this isn't gonna happen. It would be the end of the Jewish state if we had the grandchildren of these refugees flowing into our country." It's not gonna happen, just isn't gonna happen." By the way, Netanyahu also went to Harvard and MIT, and I'm telling you: In his life he's done more in five minutes than Obama has done in his whole career.
Read the whole thing.

Jeffrey Goldberg agreed that Netanyahu owned the President, but he's insulted by it.
So Netanyahu "expects" to hear this from the President of the United States? And if President Obama doesn't walk back the speech, what will Netanyahu do? Will he cut off Israeli military aid to the U.S.? Will he cease to fight for the U.S. in the United Nations, and in the many international forums that treat Israel as a pariah?

I don't like this word, "expect." Even if there weren't an imbalance between these two countries -- Israel depends on the U.S. for its survival, while America, I imagine, would continue to exist even if Israel ceased to exist -- I would find myself feeling resentful about the way Netanyahu speaks about our President. Netanyahu had an alternative, of course: He could have said, as he got on the plane to Washington, where today -- awkward! -- he will be meeting with President Obama: "The President today delivered a very fine speech. His condemnation of Hamas and Iran, his question about whether the Palestinians actually seek peace; his strong language against Syria; his recognition of Israel as a Jewish state; his re-assertion of the unshakeable bond between our two nations -- all of this and more brought joy to my heart. There are a couple of points in the speech, having to do with borders and refugees, that I would like to clarify with the President when I see him, and I'm looking forward to a constructive dialogue on these few issues."

Of course, he didn't say this. Instead he threw something of a hissy fit. It was not appropriate, and more to the point, it was not tactically wise: If I'm waking up this morning feeling that the Israeli prime minister is disrespecting the President of my country, imagine how other Americans might be feeling. And, then, of course, there's this: Prime Minister Netanyahu needs the support of President Obama in order to confront the greatest danger Israel has ever faced: the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran. And yet he seems to go out of his way to alienate the President. Why does he do this? It's a mystery to me.
Read the whole thing.

I'm with Limbaugh more than Goldberg on this one, as you might imagine. But the problem with Bibi is that he talks a great show - and then he caves anyway. Will it happen again?

Israel Matzav: Bibi owned Obama

Israel Matzav: Davutoglu threatens Israel AGAIN

Davutoglu threatens Israel AGAIN

It's still a month before the scheduled departure date, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is once again threatening Israel not to touch his flotilla.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a television interview, "It should be known that Turkey will give the necessary response to any repeated act of provocation by Israel on the high seas," AFP reported.
What does that mean? He wants to come here and fight and then ask NATO to protect him from a response?
Asked about his government's efforts to prevent the flotilla from taking place, Davutoglu repeated a statement he made last week, asserting that while Ankara has "never encouraged any convoy," it "cannot give instructions to civil society" not to embark on the attempt to bust Israel's blockade, according to the report.

"We have shared our views about the safety of our citizens with all related parties," he said. "That was the case last year and it is not any different this time."
In other words, they give a wink and a nod and tell their citizens to go join the IHH.
The Turkish foreign minister also addressed the recently-announced Palestinian reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, urging the West to back the deal. "If the division of the Palestinian authorities is healed, the conditions that serve Israel's justification for the blockade will be eradicated ... and there will be no need for an aid convoy," AFP reported.
I don't understand that one at all. Because Hamas and Fatah kiss and make up, we should let weapons into Hamastan? Or perhaps he thinks that we're only blockading Gaza to keep Abu Bluff happy? What a moron....

Israel Matzav: Davutoglu threatens Israel AGAIN

Love of the Land: Correcting President Obama: 242 does not set the size of the land mass under Arab control (Update)

Correcting President Obama: 242 does not set the size of the land mass under Arab control (Update)

Dr. Aaron Lerner
22 May 2011

Speaking at the AIPAC Conference in Washington President Obama argued that by mentioning land swaps, President Obama did not actually call for Israel to withdraw to the indefensible '67 lines since Israel can trade [off huge chunks of the Negev] to avoid the '67 line.

But that's not really the point.

The point is that President Obama handed the Palestinians a tremendous concession by embracing the Palestinian assertion that it somehow has the implicit right to every square millimeter beyond the Green Line and thus must be compensated on a 1:1 basis for any adjustment to the line so that the final land mass under its control remains the same.

This was not - repeat not - the meaning of UNSC 242.

And the record on this is absolutely clear.

The framers of 242 were well aware that secure borders for Israel would be achieved by Israel retaining territory beyond the '67 lines - and this without any requirement of some quid pro quo in return to the Arabs to somehow compensate for the retention of said land.

[See below for references]

There is no reference in the series of Oslo documents, that serve as the basis and framework continuing from 242, to the concept that the size of the land mass to be ultimately under Palestinian control is not subject tonegotiation.


Let there be no confusion here.

Israel never asked President Obama to say that he endorses Israel swapping the Negev for parts of the West Bank.

Israel has instead every right to make it crystal clear that we completely reject attempts to change the rules of the game - in particular after we have made so very many extremely painful and expensive concessions based onpromises and commitments regarding the rules of the game.

Let's not forget that the tens of thousands of assault rifle armed Palestinians are deployed today in the West Bank along with many thousands of rockets in the Gaza Strip along with Israeli graveyards packed with "sacrifices for peace" because we decided to take a chance for peace and lifted Yasser Arafat from the dung heap of history - bringing him from his exile in Tunis. Israel's security situation at the time was nothing short of fantastic.

Each month the size of the "terrorist wanted list" got shorter as Israeli security forces captured or killed terrorists faster that the Arabs could produce new one.

Nothing on the Arab side compelled Israel to agree to Oslo.

President Obama argues that some previously democratically elected Israeli Governments engaged in negotiations that reflected the concept that any change from the '67 lines would be offset with transferring sovereign Israeli land to the Palestinians.

But that's not the point.

These negotiations were not concluded.

And in point of fact, the Israelis engaged in negotiations warned their Palestinian counterparts that if they failed to cut a deal with them before Israeli elections they ran the very real risk that the Israeli democratic process would erase whatever gains they may have made in talks not finalized.

Because while we cannot rescind a treaty we have already signed via the ballot box, we can most certainly revise our negotiating positions.

And that is just what we did.

So when President Obama tells Israelis that former PM Olmert embraced the positions he now wishes to dictate, we Israelis have a simple answer: Olmert's Kadima Party is not in power.

The Palestinians walked away from Olmert "negotiating stall" and thought he [or Livni who replaced him at the head of Kadima]would keep offering more. But instead the Israeli People spoke on Israeli election day and put a coalition headed by Binyamin Netanyahu in charge.

Israel has absolutely no obligation to promise the Palestinians that they will end up with a land mass equal in size to every square millimeter beyond the Green Line.

242, and in turn Oslo, never predetermined the size of the land mass under Palestinian control.

That, like everything else is a matter for negotiations - not American dictate.


Statements Clarifying the Meaning of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242

Even before the beginning of the Jarring Mission (the Special Representative as mentioned in the Resolution), the Arab States insisted that Security Council Resolution 242 called for a total withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories occupied in the Six-Day War. Israel held that the withdrawal phrase in the Resolution was not meant to refer to a total withdrawal. Following are statements including the interpretations of various delegations to Resolution 242:

A. United Kingdom

Lord Caradon, sponsor of the draft that was about to be adopted, stated, before the vote in the Security Council on Resolution 242:

"... the draft Resolution is a balanced whole. To add to it or to detract from it would destroy the balance and also destroy the wide measure of agreement we have achieved together. It must be considered as a whole as it stands. I suggest that we have reached the stage when most, if not all, of us want the draft Resolution, the whole draft Resolution and nothing but the draft Resolution." (S/PV 1382, p. 31, of 22.11.67)

Lord Caradon, interviewed on Kol Israel in February 1973:

Question: "This matter of the (definite) article which is there in French and is missing in English, is that really significant?"

Answer: "The purposes are perfectly clear, the principle is stated in the preamble, the necessity for withdrawal is stated in the operative section. And then the essential phrase which is not sufficiently recognized is that withdrawal should take place to secure and recognized boundaries, and these words were very carefully chosen: they have to be secure and they have to be recognized. They will not be secure unless they are recognized. And that is why one has to work for agreement. This is essential. I would defend absolutely what we did. It was not for us to lay down exactly where the border should be. I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory border, it is where troops had to stop in 1947, just where they happened to be that night, that is not a permanent boundary... "

Mr. Michael Stewart, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in reply to a question in Parliament, 17 November 1969:

Question: "What is the British interpretation of the wording of the 1967 Resolution? Does the Right Honourable Gentleman understand it to mean that the Israelis should withdraw from all territories taken in the late war?"

Mr. Stewart: "No, Sir. That is not the phrase used in the Resolution. The Resolution speaks of secure and recognized boundaries. These words must be read concurrently with the statement on withdrawal."

Mr. Michael Stewart, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in a reply to a question in Parliament, 9 December 1969:

"As I have explained before, there is reference, in the vital United Nations Security Council Resolution, both to withdrawal from territories and to secure and recognized boundaries. As I have told the House previously, we believe that these two things should be read concurrently and that the omission of the word 'all' before the word 'territories' is deliberate."

Mr. George Brown, British Foreign Secretary in 1967, on 19 January 1970:

"I have been asked over and over again to clarify, modify or improve the wording, but I do not intend to do that. The phrasing of the Resolution was very carefully worked out, and it was a difficult and complicated exercise to get it accepted by the UN Security Council. "I formulated the Security Council Resolution. Before we submitted it to the Council, we showed it to Arab leaders. The proposal said 'Israel will withdraw from territories that were occupied', and not from 'the' territories, which means that Israel will not withdraw from all the territories." (The Jerusalem Post, 23.1.70)

B. United States of America

Mr. Arthur Goldberg, US representative, in the Security Council in the course of the discussions which preceded the adoption of Resolution 242:

"To seek withdrawal without secure and recognized boundaries ... would be just as fruitless as to seek secure and recognized boundaries without withdrawal. Historically, there have never been secure or recognized boundaries in the area. Neither the armistice lines of 1949 nor the cease-fire lines of 1967 have answered that description... such boundaries have yet to be agreed upon. An agreement on that point is an absolute essential to a just and lasting peace just as withdrawal is... " (S/PV. 1377, p. 37, of 15. 11.67)

President Lyndon Johnson, 10 September 1968:

"We are not the ones to say where other nations should draw lines between them that will assure each the greatest security. It is clear, however, that a return to the situation of 4 June 1967 will not bring peace. There must be secure and there must be recognized borders. Some such lines must be agreed to by the neighbours involved."

Mr. Joseph Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State, 12 July 1970 (NBC "Meet the Press"):

"That Resolution did not say 'withdrawal to the pre-June 5 lines'. The Resolution said that the parties must negotiate to achieve agreement on the so-called final secure and recognized borders. In other words, the question of the final borders is a matter of negotiations between the parties."

Eugene V. Rostow, Professor of Law and Public Affairs, Yale University, who, in 1967, was US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs:

a) "... Paragraph 1 (i) of the Resolution calls for the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces 'from territories occupied in the recent conflict', and not 'from the territories occupied in the recent conflict'. Repeated attempts to amend this sentence by inserting the word 'the' failed in the Security Council. It is, therefore, not legally possible to assert that the provision requires Israeli withdrawal from all the territories now occupied under the cease-fire resolutions to the Armistice Demarcation lines." (American Journal of International Law, Volume 64, September 1970, p. 69)

b) "The agreement required by paragraph 3. of the Resolution, the Security Council said, should establish 'secure and recognized boundaries' between Israel and its neighbours 'free from threats or acts of force', to replace the Armistice Demarcation lines established in 1949, and the cease-fire lines of June 1967. The Israeli armed forces should withdraw to such lines as part of a comprehensive agreement, settling all the issues mentioned in the Resolution, and in a condition of peace." (American Journal of International Law, Volume 64, September 1970, p. 68)


Mr. Vasily Kuznetsov said in discussions that preceded the adoption of Resolution 242:

"... Phrases such as 'secure and recognized boundaries'. What does that mean? What boundaries are these? Secure, recognized - by whom, for what? Who is going to judge how secure they are? Who must recognize them? ... There is certainly much leeway for different interpretations which retain for Israel the right to establish new boundaries and to withdraw its troops only as far as the lines which it judges convenient." (S/PV. 1373, p. 112, of 9.11.67)

D. Brazil

Mr. Geraldo de Carvalho Silos, Brazilian representative, speaking in the Security Council after the adoption of Resolution 242:

"We keep constantly in mind that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East has necessarily to be based on secure, permanent boundaries freely agreed upon and negotiated by the neighbouring States." (S/PV. 1382, p. 66, 22.11.67)

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Love of the Land: Correcting President Obama: 242 does not set the size of the land mass under Arab control (Update)

Love of the Land: The Politics of Palestinian Demography

The Politics of Palestinian Demography

Michael Rubin
22 May '11

Diplomats, CENTCOM commanders, and now President Obama have cited demography and, more precisely, the growing Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza, as a reason why two states must come now rather than later. “The fact is, a growing number of Palestinians live west of the Jordan River,” Obama explained.

Certainly, demography should be a concern if Israel is to remain both democratic and a Jewish state. So much of the demography that’s floating around, however, is little more than junk statistics. When I was editor of the Middle East Quarterly, we published “The Politics of Palestinian Demography,” a must-read article by Yakov Fatelson, who looks at the statistics the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics provides and which many Americans accept at face value. The problem is that the Palestinian Authority lets politics influence its numbers. Their Central Bureau of Statistics isn’t allowed to report Palestinian emigration, double-counts Jerusalem (which is also counted by Israel), and has made revisions at the request of the Palestinian leadership when the population in Jerusalem, for example, was found to have declined. The error today may exceed one million people throughout areas claimed by the Palestinian Authority.

In computer science, the old quip is “garbage in, garbage out.” When it comes to policy based on bad numbers, the same adage applies.

If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

Love of the Land: The Politics of Palestinian Demography
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