And now, to the UN's 2011 Main Event....
Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu plans to speak unpopular truths; perhaps the canard about Arabs forced to flee in 1948 will be one of the myths he debunks. The UN delegates will not listen, but the world will hear the truth at last. Lee Smith sees Bibi possibly turning tables at the UN this Friday. For that it what today's opportunity for Bibi is all about: Can Israel begin to displace the false narrative that has taken root in global politics, or is Israel forever prisoner of regnant mythologies about Israel depriving Palestinians of their chance for statehood and peace?
Three Myths. Three myths above all must be taken on: (1) that Jews forced Arabs to flee in 1948; (2) that Israel has not bargained in good faith since then; (3) that resolution of the Palestinian conflict is central to the Mideast's problems.
History: Arabs Caused the Conflict. Fouad Ajami puts historical perspective on matters, noting that Palestine could have been the 59th state in the UN (Israel was 58th), and now seeks to become the 194th. Alas, such are the wages of intransigence.
To begin rebuilding Israel's global standing, how about rebutting what Sol Stern shows to be "the Palestinian Big Lie": that Jews drove Arabs out of Israel in 1948? Omri Ceren documents this lie in a recent post; here are his key paragraphs (the whole article is worth a read):
Mahmoud Abbas, Falastin a-Thaura (official PLO journal), March 1976:
"The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from Zionist tyranny but, instead, they abandoned them, forced them to emigrate and to leave their homeland, and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which Jews used to live."
Mahmoud Abbas, New York Times, May 16 2011:
"In November 1947, the General Assembly made its recommendation and answered in the affirmative [regarding partition]. Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued. Indeed, it was the descendants of these expelled Palestinians who were shot and wounded by Israeli forces on Sunday as they tried to symbolically exercise their right to return to their families’ homes."
Historian Efraim Karsh exposes the myth of Palestinian statehood that dates back to 1948 and, sadly, endures to this day:
In 1948, Israel came into being due to the extraordinary cohesion of Palestine’s Jewish community (the Yishuv). Armed with an unwavering sense of purpose and an extensive network of institutions, the Yishuv managed to surmount a bevy of international obstacles and fend off a pan-Arab attempt to destroy it. Likewise, it was the total lack of communal solidarity—the willingness to subordinate personal interest to the collective good—that accounted for the collapse and dispersion of Palestinian Arab society as its leaders tried to subvert partition.
Sixty-four years later, Palestinian society seems no better prepared for statehood. And the U.N. would be doing the Palestinians a great disservice by accepting the corrupt and dysfunctional Palestinian Authority as its newest member. While this would hardly be the first failed state to be delivered by the world organization, the unique circumstances of its possible birth make failure a foregone conclusion, and the consequences are too dire to contemplate.
The building of the Jewish state began in the Swiss town of Basel in 1889 at the First Zionist Congress, which defined Zionism’s goal as “the creation of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine to be secured by public law,” and established institutions to promote it. By the time the League of Nations appointed Britain as the mandatory for Palestine 23 years later, the Yishuv had been transformed into a cohesive and organized national community that provided most of Palestine’s Jewry with work, trade union protection as well as with education, health care, and defense.
By contrast, it was the tragedy of the Palestinians that the two leaders who determined their national development during the 20th century—Hajj Amin Husseini and Yasser Arafat—were far more interested in destroying the Jewish national cause than leading their own people. As far back as 1978, Arafat told his close friend and collaborator, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, that the Palestinians lacked the traditions, unity, and discipline to have a successful state. Once given control of parts of the West Bank and Gaza, this prognosis became a self-fulfilling prophecy, as his regime quickly became oppressive and corrupt. Later it helped launch the second intifada, the bloodiest and most destructive confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians since the 1948 war. In the process, he destroyed the fragile civil society and relatively productive economy that had developed during the previous decade.
Israel Forum collected additional examples of Arabs over the past six decades acknowledging that the Arabs ordered their brethren to leave Palestine west of the Jordan River during the 1948 War.
The Arabs Have Obstructed Peace. Jennifer Rubin shreds Obama & Clinton falsehoods re Israel and peace. Elliott Abrams writes that Clinton "reinvents Israel"--and details how Clinton misrepresented the Israel right:
First, Ariel Sharon embraced Palestinian statehood in 2003, at the Aqaba Summit, and then took all Israeli settlements and bases out of Gaza in 2005. Sharon broke up his Likud Party over this, forming Kadima to back his policies. Likud fought those new Sharon policies for years, but Netanyahu is now bringing Likud, or most of it, around to supporting the basic Sharon view—that there should indeed be a Palestinian state. In his speech to the Knesset on Israeli independence day this year (May 16), ignored by Clinton (as it was by the Obama administration), Netanyahu agreed again to Palestinian statehood and the compromises it entails: “These compromises, by the way, will be hard to make because, no matter what, they involve parts of our homeland. It is not a strange land, it is the land of our forefathers, to which we have historic rights as well as security interests.” In his speech, Netanyahu also said Israel “must maintain the settlement blocs,” thereby tacitly acknowledging that every other settlement outside those few blocs may have to be given up.
Clinton also failed to note what Israel has done under Netanyahu to help the Palestinian Authority’s state-building project: Israel has allowed more and more Israeli Arabs to shop in the West Bank to help its economy, and removed scores of checkpoints and obstacles that limited mobility and economic activity there. The burst of Palestinian economic progress in the last several years, with growth rates far exceeding our own or Israel’s, must be attributed in part to Netanyahu’s policies.
Abrams nails Clinton's absurd claim re "great tragedies" and Israelis:
“The two great tragedies in modern Middle Eastern politics, which make you wonder if God wants Middle East peace or not, were Rabin’s assassination and Sharon’s stroke,” Clinton said. I can think of some others: The fact that a terrorist and thief, Yasser Arafat, led the Palestinian people for decades; the fact that he turned down Israeli peace offers at Camp David; the fact that the Palestinians turned down Ehud Olmert’s even more generous peace offers in 2008; the fact that thousands of Israelis were wounded or killed in the first and second intifadas; the fact that no Palestinian leader has ever spoken with candor to the Palestinian people about the compromises they will need to make in any peace agreement; the fact that for the last two and half years the Palestinian leadership has adamantly refused to come to the negotiating table.
Efraim Karsh cites economic statistics showing that only after Israel occupied the Palestinian territories in 1967 did Palestinian prosperity bloom. That, tragically, was short-circuited when Yasser Arafat took power after the 1993 Oslo Accords. Karsh notes that recent polls of East Jerusalem's Palestinians show they prefer living under Israeli governance to alternatives.
The Palestinian Conflict is NOT Mideast Central. Bill Kristol exposes the nonsense re Turkey's rift with Israel being caused by the Palestinian mess, instead of by a wily Islamist Turkish leader. Nor is Iran's drive for nuclear status, opposed by all Arab states, in any way related to the Palestinian conflict. Nor is the Arab Spring in any meaningful way related to it. Nor was Saddam's quest for WMD and his serial aggressions caused by it. Nor anything else of consequence in the region. The Arab-Israeli conflict is central only to western intellectuals and their Palestinian pets.
Only an American President or Israeli Prime Minister can puncture these falsehoods, and thus possibly reframe the entire Arab-Israeli conflict. America's Arab allies will scream, but the Arab Spring makes such alliances shakier than ever. Put simply, Arabs, like everyone else, per the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's famous formulation, are entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. But the "faithless lover" Wes Pruden sees in Obama, from the viewpoint of Palestinians who thought he would deliver them statehood this year, will not puncture any falsehoods that buttress Arab claims. The ball thus is in Bibi's court.
Bottom Line. Palestinians are marching, yet again, over the cliff. They will win the battle at the UN, eventually. But they will lose the war, in the sense that the Palestinians will remain immiserated wards of international charity, consumed with hatred for Israel and world Jewry--and America. It is a recipe for more decades of Palestinian failure--and, tragically, more wars.
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