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Tel-Aviv will be fun city, Jenin a riot


I studied the foreign policy plans of the Likud and Kadima parties as best I can to learn the differences. The profound differences are: The Likud wants to keep half the West Bank and make the Americans sore. In contrast, Kadima wants to withdraw from half the West Bank and make the Americans happy.

Withdrawing from half the land is much more peaceful than keeping half the land, and making the Americans happy is certainly preferable to making them angry. The Arabs of Palestine don't enter into these considerations at all. That may explain why polls say Kadima will get about twice the mandates of either Labor or Likud.

Ehud Olmert explained to Ha'aretz newspaper that by the time he leaves office in 2010, Israel will be a country that's fun to live in. Olmert will set the permanent borders of Israel unilaterally, and magically, the rest of the world will agree. From the Israeli point of view, this is a much better partition plan than was ever proposed by the British or the UN or President Clinton. What do these borders include? Sugar and spice and everything nice. According to Ha'aretz,

Olmert is preparing the Israeli public for a withdrawal from most of the territories of the West Bank and for setting a new border behind the separation fence, which will surround the large settlement blocs and "united" Jerusalem.

The emphasis above is mine. As part of the Israeli public however, I don't see that Olmert is preparing me for anyting of the kind. What he says in fact is not that he will withdraw from most of the territories, but something else:

"I believe," says Olmert, "that in four years' time Israel will be disengaged from the vast majority of the Palestinian population, within new borders,

Israel will disengage from Palestinian population, and not necessarily from Palestinian land. As was shown in the Oslo withdrawals, Israel can withdraw from about 10 or 12% of Palestinian land, and in so doing disengage from over 90% of the Arab Palestinian population. Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilia, Ramallah, Tulkarm, Bethlehem Jericho and Hebron contain most of the Arabs living in the West Bank, except Jerusalem. Israel doesn't really rule any of those cities exactly, so already we are "disengaged" from the Palestinian population, and Israel can already be fun to live in. Let the good times roll.

What will Israel withdraw from? It is not clear. It is clear what Israel will not withdraw from:

...everyone knows that Gush Etzion will remain inside the state of Israel and that the Jerusalem envelope will be part of the state, and Ma'aleh Adumim....

It is completely clear that the contiguity between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim will be built up....

...In any case, our security border will be along the Jordan

Most interesting too, is the role of the security fence in this utopia:

...the route of the fence - which until now has been a security fence - [will be] adjusted to the new line of the permanent borders. It could be that there will be cases in which we move the fence eastward, and it could be that there will be cases in which we move it westward, in accordance with a line that we will agree upon.

If the Jordan is the border, then the fence must be moved eastward to the line of the permanent borders - to the Jordan. If that is not Olmert's intent, it is not clear what his intent might be. Perhaps the fence will surround enclaves of Arab Palestinians, or perhaps "security border" is not the same as international border. However, this "security border," it will be discovered, requires some protection. Therefore, the Jordan valley will also need to be kept, even if the settlements there are evacuated.

Ha'aretz thereupon asked the logical question in their interview of Olmert, the question that we all want answered:

The international community has not recognized the full withdrawal from Gaza as "the end of the occupation." Why would it give backing to the partial withdrawal you are proposing in the West Bank?

This is Olmert's answer, read carefully:

"We did not ask that the disengagement in Gaza be accepted along with recognition of the issue of the Green Line. But for weeks, every day, we have been carrying out targeted interception actions in the Gaza Strip, with a stunning level of implementation and with a very high level of accuracy."

You do not see the answer to the question there, because he did not answer the question. Olmert is following the famous dictum of former U.S. Secretary of state Robert McNamara, regarding his lies about the Vietnam war:

Never answer the question they ask. Always answer the question you wanted them to ask.

He could add, "and don't answer that one truthfully either." The truth is that while the Qassam rockets rain down on Israel, Israel has "stunning accuracy" in killing some terrorists and along with them some innocent bystanders, but zero success in stopping the rockets. Of course Olmert could not answer the question itself, because it is difficult to imagine that any country will recognize de facto Israeli annexation of any part of the West Bank or Jerusalem as the de jure international border. The UN has passed countless resolutions about the internationalization of Jerusalem, and is unlikely to abrogate them to suit the convenience of the Kadima government. Who will recognize this border?

On all fronts, the Israeli government is choosing to disengage not only from Palestinians, but from reality. Reality forces unpleasant choices. In reality, you can't have the Jordan valley and peace too, and you can't get the international community to recognize the Jordan River as the border of Israel, but in election fantasies it is possible.

While Israel will be setting its permanent borders and having fun, what will the Palestinians be doing? The Palestinians disengaged from reality in their own way. They elected the Hamas, which promises to return all the Arab refugees to Israel and wipe out Zionism. What the Arab countries with their guns and tanks and airplanes could not do in 1948 or 1967 or 1973, Ismail Hanniyeh promises to do by praying to Allah and sending suicide bombers to blow up in discotheques. So the Palestinians will be preparing the Jihad against Israel, which according to the Hamas Charter is run according to the principles enunciated in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Large crowds will gather frequently in the Palestinian cities shouting "death to Israel, death to Zionism" just as they do today in Iranian cities. While Tel-Aviv becomes Fun City, Jenin, Tulkarm and Nablus will be a riot. A generation of Palesinians will be educated to believe that all of Palestine is a holy waqf given to Muslims by Allah, and that the dissolution of Jewish self-determination is part of Palestinian "rights" as Hamas claims. Inevitably, talk will lead to action. Eventually some of the riot must spill over into Israel. No fence will be high enough to keep Palestinian terrorists out of Israeli discotheques and hotels and universities, or to keep Palestinian rockets confined to the other side of this "international" border.

And what of the road map, that is still declared day and night to be the one true prophet of the lords of Washington, Brussels and Moscow? It is true that U.N. human rights envoy John Dugard pointed out the the road map is out of date. The road map called for a Palestinian state and a negotiated settlement by the end of 2005. Dugard however, is apparently a lone heretic. The child cries "The Emperor is Naked" but the adults persist in their fantasy. In Washington, they apparently didn't notice that it is 2006 and there is no settlement, no Palestinian state and no end to either terrorism or the occupation. The road map, like any theological construct, is eternal and unshakable. The Messiah did not come, the world did not end. The prophecies were not fulfilled, but the faithful are unshaken. Here too, there has been disengagement from reality.

Israelis and Palestinians and Americans and Europeans and Russians are not stupid, but the will to believe what is convenient overcomes all logic. If they are taken in by such obvious nonsense, it is because it suits them. Everyone wants to believe they can be rich without working, they can solve problems without trying and without unpleasant decisions. There is some logic to this. Right now, there is really no better alternative. Mahmoud Abbas can talk about peace, but he hasn't the power to guarantee a solution on his side, and he can't produce an Israeli partner who will give the Palestinians what they want. Amir Peretz can talk about peace, but he can't deliver any Palestinian partner other than the Hamas, and the Hamas do not want peace. Instead, each side withdraws into their national fantasies. Olmert is right. It can be fun to live in a fantasy, as long as it lasts.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000438.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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Replies: 6 comments

Ami, you are a master of words. Nobody as you can reflect the mix of drama and comedy which is the outcome of human use of language.

Posted by Aleph @ 03/14/2006 05:33 PM CST

One question
What happens when the fantasy ends? All Fantasy worlds must end some time.
By the way I agree with your article.

Posted by Butros Dahu @ 03/14/2006 08:56 PM CST

Some Israelis seem to have given up the fantasy world of greater Israel and settlements; the fantasy world of Oslo also seems to have lost currency. But they have replaced it with a another fantasy world. Presumably, when that comes to an end another wil be created. The same is true for the Palestinians. Even despite five years of futility neither side has come out of their fantasies.

Posted by Micha @ 03/14/2006 09:45 PM CST

Olmert's dovish comments of the weekend can now be put into perspective. Since I wrote the article, Olmert told Ariel settlers that Ariel will be part of Israel forever and ever, and a benign providence also handed him the Jericho jail incident. On Saturday he was ruler of the roost among the doves, and by Tuesday he had become the kind of the hawks as well: First in war, first in peace. What more could he ask for? And he has gotten all this by doing very close to nothing at all!

Ami Isseroff

Posted by Ami Isseroff @ 03/15/2006 12:12 AM CST

I want to know about Ra'ananna, the town north of Tel Aviv.

Posted by Caroline Schmitz @ 03/21/2006 05:55 AM CST

I Live in the US. But I do not agree with how the US is dealing with Isreal. Isreal was given land to live on for all time by GOD Himself not man. The US nor any other government should be allowed to dispute this nor to try to strong arm Isreal into giving up any part of the land that they were given. No matter what are race is or what our religion is. If we know it to be true that the land was given to Isreal then we all need to learn to put our differences aside and stand up for Isreal.I Pray that the Lord GOD protects Isreal.
Isreal is in my PRAYERS each and every day.

May God Bless each and everyone.


Posted by Rodney Askay @ 03/21/2006 04:01 PM CST

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