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June 12, 2009

Israpundit: Memo to Bibi

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives, Political News and commentaries

Ted Belman has a memo up that suggests a no-nonsense approach for Benjamin Netanyahu's much-anticipated response to President Barack Obama's Cairo speech and demand that Israel stop all settlement growth. Belman's memo to what Netanyahu's speech should entail suggests that Netanyahu accept the two state solution, but utterly reject the Saudi Plan (which makes no sense for Israel). The memo should be read with the perspective recently offered by George Will (also see further down in this post) - that Israel is an embattled salient of our values in a bad neighborhood, and it is unworthy of the United States to aspire to be even-handed between those who would destroy and those who would preserve the only democracy in that region.

Memo to Bibi. What your speech should entail.
By Ted Belman

The League of Nations granted to Jews everywhere the right to settle in Judea and Samaria. The Palestine Mandate recognized our right to reconstitute our ancient homeland there. The United Nations is bound by this document.

While that is our right as Jews, we are prepared to relinquish our rights to some of the land pursuant to the Roadmap, providing it is based on Res 242 which authorized us to remain on all the land until we had secure and recognized borders. We insist on borders which are defensible and include all settlement blocks. We further insist that it is our right to keep this land without giving anything in return. Res 242 did not require an exchange of land. It is for us alone to determine what are defensible borders.

Negotiations on all matters must be carried out without undue influence and pressure by the US and the international community. It is our right to say "no" to further compromise and to end negotiations if the Arabs are not willing to compromise.

We insist that the settlements are legal according to international law.

The Roadmap included a settlement freeze "consistent with the Mitchell Report". This report recommended a settlement freeze as a goodwill gesture by Israel in return for the Palestinians ending terror and incitement. It was predicated on a spirit of compromise expected of both sides. Israel will not make such a gesture until the Arabs comply with the spirit and the letter of this report.

Just as Israel can't have the lives back which were ended because of Arab terror so too, can't the Arab have back the land on which our settlements grow.

If the Arabs were willing to compromise as required by the Mitchell Report, there would be no need for a settlement freeze. Without compromise there will be no deal.

Furthermore the Mitchell Report didn't contemplate the split between Hamas and Fatah. Until there is unity among the Arabs, the Mitchell Report is inoperative.

Res 242 is silent on Jerusalem. Jerusalem is ours.

The Arabs must recognize Israel as a Jewish state and absorb all their own refugees.

We insist that any Arab entity created be demilitarized.

Based on these parameters, we accept the two state solution. Based on the Saudi Plan, we utterly reject it.

After reading George Will's perspective given in his responses to questions at the dinner Monday evening at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, in celebration of the Claremont Review of Books, Belman's suggestions as to what Netanyahu's speech should entail make a lot of sense. In Will's speech he noted that President Obama has an apparent belief that disharmony among nations results from misunderstandings that can be cured by dialogue and communication (and the force of his own personality) -- a view that Will characterized as reflecting a 1930s approach to foreign policy. (I believe that Will is being kind - I'd go so far as to say the Obama is clearly favoring Muslims over Israel, and his 1930's approach to foreign policy is clearly erroneous.)

George Will's perspective (from his responses to questions at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica - via Rick Richman):

We've seen this in his treatment of Israel in that remarkable speech, the atmospherics of which were fine, the specifics appalling.

I mean, in the 61 years since Israel was founded on one-sixth of one percent of land in that area described as land of the Arab world, there has not been a moment of peace for Israel, not as peace is properly understood.

How many Americans understand that when Israel was founded in 1948, no Palestinian state was invaded, no Palestinian state was destroyed? There had not been a Palestinian geographic entity since between the departure of the Romans and the arrival of British rule.

How many know that the West Bank, referred to by the President as "occupied territory," inferentially as occupied Palestinian territory, is under international law [an] unallocated portion of the Palestine Mandate rightfully occupied by Israel, because it occupied it in repelling aggression that came from that territory in 1967. [Applause].

How the President believes that if we return to the 1967 borders, the antipathy to Israel, which predated the 1967 borders, will disappear, I do not know.

It would help if he . . . spent some time [there]. George W. Bush, for all his defects, went to Israel shortly before he was elected and was squired around by another rancher named Arik Sharon. He took him up in a helicopter, to where Israel was at one point nine miles wide, and George W. Bush came home and said "My God, in Texas we have driveways longer than that." [Laughter]. He sort of got the picture.

I remember -- if I could go back to an autobiographical moment -- in 1979 I was invited to talk to the B'nai Brith of Beverly Hills - not a nest of conservatives - and they said "Who should be the Republican nominee?" And I said, pick Howard Baker, George Bush, Ronald Reagan. And they said "Well, who would be best for Israel?" And I responded "Of course it would be Ronald Reagan." They said "Why?"

I said -- "Two reasons: he believes in aircraft carriers. He believes in the projection of American power. Second, he is a romantic. He's got the story of Israel, plucky little Israel."

You need both. You need aircraft carriers and you need to appreciate the fact that Israel is an embattled salient of our values in a bad neighborhood. [Applause]. It is unworthy of the United States to aspire to be even-handed between those who would destroy and those who would preserve the only democracy in that region. [Applause].

Given Will's perspective, how could Obama expect Netanyahu to respond any other way than that proposed by Belman? The Saudi plan would result in the destruction of Israel, and from what we're seeing from the Obama administration, he'd be overjoyed should that occur.

Posted by Richard at June 12, 2009 6:12 AM



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