My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Friday, December 11, 2009

Why is there no peace in the middle east...

Barry Rubin goes over the many peace proposals that have been continually turned down by the Palestinians...
The Arab-Israeli, or Israel-Palestinian, conflict is the most misrepresented subject in the entire world. The most basic facts are often distorted and the most fantastical of narratives provided, even in college classrooms, about what has actually happened.

On the most single important issue in this framework - why isn't there peace, who wants and doesn't want peace and how can peace be achieved - there is a common set of arguments against Israel.

It goes like this: How can the Palestinians make peace when they are suffering so much and when Israel builds settlements, or Israeli leaders make statements saying they want to keep some of the territory or won't give up east Jerusalem, or do a variety of other things? The idea that the Palestinians don't yearn for peace, are eagerly trying to make some kind of agreement, but are only stopped by Israeli intransigence seems completely self-evident to the point that any challenge of this idea is ridiculed, ignored or treated as some kind of dishonest manipulation.

By the way, many of the things said are factually wrong. Israel has neither constructed new settlements nor expanded their boundaries for 15 years. But for the moment let's leave aside the factual issues.

Nothing could be simpler than to answer these claims.

If the Palestinians are miserable and want to get rid of settlements they have and have had a very simple solution: make peace. Their "interest," in the framework of these claims, would be to make a good deal for themselves as fast as possible.

Yet they have refused to do so on numerous occasions going back decades. In fact, this is the 30th anniversary of the Egypt-Israel agreement at Camp David which first opened the door to a Palestinian state. Then there was the Reagan plan and US-PLO dialogue of the 1980s, followed by the peace process of the 1990s, the Camp David II and president Bill Clinton offers of 2000, and the offer of prime minister Ehud Olmert (who was absolutely desperate for a deal to save his political career) and most recently the Israeli cabinet's peaceplan.

If the Palestinians made a deal, they would get an independent state with its capital in east Jerusalem. They would enjoy tremendous sympathy in the West to help them get the best possible terms. What wouldn't they get? They'd have to swap, say, 3 percent or 4% of the West Bank in exchange for an equal amount of Israeli land and they wouldn't get all of east Jerusalem.

That's about it. Oh, and they'd also get many billions of dollars in compensation.

What else would they have to give up? They'd have to agree that a peace treaty ended the conflict, which makes sense. They'd have to resettle Palestinian refugees in Palestine, which also makes sense. They might well have to accept security guarantees for Israel and some limits on their own armaments. But, okay, they could bargain on that and get the best deal possible.

Again, though, there would be no Jewish settlements on Palestinian state soil, though some would become part of Israel due to the land swaps.

NOTE THAT right now the Palestinian Authority is refusing to negotiate at all, nominally because Israel is building a few apartments inJerusalem. So what? That should be an incentive to negotiate faster so that the construction doesn't go on and on, becoming even more irreversible.

Why is it so hard for people to understand these basic points? Of course, they have been misinformed and nobody's pointed these things out to them. To some extent, the demonization of Israel has distorted their comprehension.

But the truly fundamental problem is that understanding that the solution for the Palestinians is to make a peace agreement - and that Israel isn't blocking this outcome - is that it leaves them with a paradox to resolve: Why, if the Palestinians are suffering so much, won't they make peace?

The answer: The Palestinian leadership wants total victory and Israel's elimination. It is willing to go on letting its people suffer for a century in pursuit of that goal. It hopes that the world will give it everything it wants without having to make any concessions. It realizes that saying "no" and letting the conflict continue gives it more - not less - leverage internationally because this makes Israel look like the guilty party and, consequently, is punished through European policies.


Blogger Lucy said...

INTERESTING STATEMENT: If the Palestinians are miserable and want to get rid of settlements they have and have had a very simple solution: make peace.

While Hamas were firing rockets into Israel, not a single one came over from the West Bank during the time. West bank top banana Abbas bent over backwards and gave into every demand Israel made. Still the settlements continued to spread, settlers violence increased and incursions into its territory continued by Israeli forces, killed over 50.

Abbas made peace and still lost land and suffered fatalities at the hands of Israel. Fighting back Hamas style ends in violence and being peaceful Abbas style ends in violence. What to do?

2:06 PM  
Blogger GayandRight said...

Lucy: You just don't know history. As I blogged earlier, Abbas didn't even respond to the generous offer that Olmert made. Not a peep.

It's only thanks to the separation barrier that suicide attacks have dropped substantially from the west bank. Still, the israelis foil attacks every week - if they didn't actively arrest terrorists in the west bank, there would be tons of attacks.

What to do? Negotiate peace. Accept the fact that Palestinian refugees will be resettled in Palestine, not Israel. Accept the fact that there will be Jewish state in the Middle East. And, accept the fact that incitement and violence will lead nowhere.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Lucy said...

The deal where by Israel gave the Palestinians a bit of empty desert alongside Gaza (smaller than the land they were losing and still kept firmly under Israeli control) and Israel kept the areas that they have built upon in the West Bank? That generous deal?

As far as i can remember Abbas and quite a few others peeped quite a lot about it. Maybe you should read a wider range of newspapers Fred because i just don't know where you get your information from sometimes.

7:29 AM  

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