Goldberg vs. Beinart | Netanayhu did reject Oslo

Posted: May 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Right, the US and us | Tags: , , , , | 25 Comments »

Jeffrey Goldberg accuses Peter Beinart of fabricating facts in claiming that Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the Oslo agreement.

Goldberg quotes Yaacov Lozowick:

Once he won he never (never: not once) rejected the Oslo process. He slowed it down, he added conditions, he did all sorts of things. But the leader of Likud was elected in 1996 on a platform that explicitly accepted the principle of partition.

14 years later – that’s all – a noticeable voice in American Jewry can glibly invent a story about Israel that contradicts the facts, and no-one calls him out on it because no-one knows any better, or if they do they join him in preferring to imagine a fantasy world rather than face reality.

But in an interview to Arye Golan in 2002, while serving as Foreign Minister under PM Ariel Sharon, Netanyahu firmly rejected Oslo:

Minister Netanayhu: “… the Oslo Accord is canceled. After all, what’s left…”

Q: “Your name is signed under the Hebron agreement.”

Netanyahu: “These agreements were in fact canceled by Arafat. We signed and I inherited the agreement, approved by the Knesset as part of the Oslo accord, and I’ve said on the campaign that I will fulfill my part while minimizing their damage but I will demand reciprocity and so I did.”

Q: “that means that the Hebron agreement is canceled as well as far as you are concerned.”

Netanyahu: “absolutely…”

One might argue that Netanyahu viewed the agreement as canceled only at the time of the interview (and not in 1996, as Beinart implied). Still, I would expect Goldberg to mention the fact that as Foreign Minister Netanyahu publicly declared Oslo to be canceled (without going to everything he said against the agreement prior to 1996, as leader of the opposition).

I also think that while serving as Prime Minister Netanyahu did everything in his power to bury Oslo, but that’s a different story.

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Here is the transcribed of the Arye Golan interview in Hebrew:

תוכנית:הבוקר הזה תאריך:17/11/2002 שעה:07:21:00 רשת:רשת ב

אריה גולן : שלום לשר החוץ מר בנימין נתניהו. השר בנימין נתניהו : בוקר טוב.

אריה גולן : קודם כל האם תתמוך היום בממשלה בהצעתו של השר שרנסקי לבטל את הסכם חברון שאתה חתום עליו כראש ממשלת ישראל?

השר בנימין נתניהו : קודם כל אני רוצה לנחם את משפחות שנים עשר החיילים הגיבורים שנפלו, וביניהם אלוף משנה דרור ויינברג שהוא אחד הקצינים המבטיחים והמזהירים שהיו לצה”ל, ואני רוצה גם לאחל איחולי החלמה לפצועים. ובאשר לשאלה שלך

אריה גולן : כן.

השר בנימין נתניהו : הסכמי אוסלו כולם בטלים ומבוטלים הרי מה נשאר

אריה גולן : הסכם חברון זה חתום על שמך זה

השר בנימין נתניהו : כל ההסכמים הללו כל ההסכמים הללו בוטלו למעשה על ידי ערפאת. אנחנו חתמנו אני ירשתי את ההסכם הזה שאושר על ידי הכנסת במסגרת הסכמי אוסלו, ואמרתי במערכת הבחירות שאמלא אותם תוך הקטנת נזקיהם, אבל אדרוש הדדיות להקטין את נזקם וכך עשיתי.

אריה גולן : כלומר, גם ההסכם הזה בטל ומבוטל מבחינתך הסכם חברון.

השר בנימין נתניהו : ודאי. אני רוצה להבהיר גם שבתקופה שלי כמעט ולא היו פיגועים לא בחברון ולא בשום מקום בארץ, במשך שלוש שנים היו ארבעה פיגועי התאבדות בסך הכל, היום כמובן יש זמנים שזה קורה בשבוע אחד. עכשיו, הסיבה שהיה שקט הוא שהבהרתי לערפאת שאם הטרור ימשך הוא ואנשיו יסולקו מכאן, ומאז פתיחת מסע הטרור הנוכחי ערפאת מאמין שיש לו חסינות ואת זה יש לשנות, צריך לעבור להכרעה. אם נעבור ממלחמת התשה למלחמת הכרעה ונכריע בין השאר על ידי גרוש המשטר הזה, המשך טיהור השטח והשלמתו ובניית הגדר, אלה הדברים שיביאו להפסקת הטרור.


25 Comments on “Goldberg vs. Beinart | Netanayhu did reject Oslo”

  1. 1 anonymous said at 7:43 pm on May 26th, 2010:

    Two problems: 1. he asserts that he did accept Oslo and in fact signed Hebron. 2. He does not state that he rejects Oslo but that he believes Arafat and the Palestinian war of the early 2000s made the agreements null and void.

    Neither one of these fits either your description of why Beinart is right or the general assertion that Netanyahu is a rejectionist who abuses the peaceful intentions of Oslo.

  2. 2 Marcel said at 5:53 am on May 27th, 2010:

    ‘Netanyahu publicly declared Oslo to be canceled’
    What a tragedy.
    The blind and naive idol worshipers of Israel are so depraved as to trust and follow their lying,corrupt,FAILED secular political class of the psuedo right and perverted left.

    What was is what is.

    Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with them, for what their hands have done shall be done to them.
    As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people, your leaders cause you to err, and they confuse (destroy and swallow up) the course of your paths.
    The Lord stands up to contend, and stands to judge the peoples and His people
    Isaiah 3

    ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! …
    Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against His people, and He has stretched forth His hand against them and has smitten them.
    And the mountains trembled, and their dead bodies were like dung and sweepings in the midst of the streets. ‘
    Isaiah 5

  3. 3 noam said at 6:08 am on May 27th, 2010:

    anonymous-
    Accusing someone of not doing his part in the agreement, and than declaring that the agreement is canceled as far as you are concerned won’t pass for acceptable move in any court, given the fact that Netanyahu didn’t do his part either – and that was well before the second Intifada. As you might know, Under Netanyahu, Israel not only failed to meet the Oslo timetable, but didn’t hand the Palestinians the entire territory it agreed to give.

    But my point was much simpler. Lozowick claims Netanyahu “never (never: not once) rejected the Oslo process”. I simply wanted to show he did.

  4. 4 anonymous said at 10:07 am on May 27th, 2010:

    Netanyahu actually did do his part. Israel actually had to retake Areas A in 2002 because he did his part. Israel never completed its removal as per the agreements he signed, but as you know that had a little something to do with Palestinian violence and their refusal to meet their own obligations.

    The point Beinart was making was that Israel has this obstructionist right wing government that is part of a trend that has accelarated in the past several years. He tries to emphasize Netanyahu’s anti-Oslo position while de-emphasizing Netanyahu’s acceptance of a two state solution. In other words, to make his point, he has to go back to the distant past while ignoring the present. It’s a weak position to take, and I say this without criticizing his article which contains many truths.

    I think the problem is that both sides can pick and choose the parts of the conflict that suit their argument. In this instance, it’s unfair to Netanyahu, and plays a part of the demonizing that affects Israel detrimentally and often unfairly. The guy accepted a two state solution and in return asked that Israel be accepted by the Arabs as a Jewish state. It seems basic enough. Why demonize him?

  5. 5 noam said at 3:33 am on May 28th, 2010:

    Annonymous-

    First, Netanyahu unilaterally decided not to complete the the Wye River agreement, that he insisted signed before fulfilling Oslo. So basically, he didn’t follow through with Oslo nor with Wye. This was before the 2ed Intifada, so it has nothing to do with “Palestinian violence”. If anything, the opposite is true: valance broke once Israel failed to follow through with the agreements is signed.

    It’s not about “being fair” to Netanyahu. Personally, I don’t have anything against him, and I prefer him to Olmert or Barak. But the fact that he was able to say one sentence about the two state solution more than a year ago – which is in Israel’s immediate interest, BTW – is not a reason to give him the Noble prize. He did everything he could – throughout his career – to delay, postponed and make any sort of agreement impossible, and that’s what he is doing now. Note that all he does in his speeches is preparing the Israeli public for the failure of negotiations. This says a lot. If Godberg still thinks that Netanyahu is the man to lead Israel out of the WB, as he wrote when he became PM again, than he might know something everyone here don’t, but there is no evidence what so ever to this.

    I hope I will be prove wrong on this one, but I think Netanyahu doesn’t have the will nor the courage to carry out such a thing, and by now, even most Israeli pundits who believed in him when he came into power have given up hope that something real happening during his term. I ask you – can you really say you feel in Israel’s actions any urgency to reach an agreement or to evacuate the WB – the kind of urgency Rabin, and even Barak and Sharon showed at certain points?

  6. 6 anonymous said at 8:42 am on May 28th, 2010:

    “After transferring 2 percent of Area C to Area B and 7.1 percent of Area B to Area A, as stipulated in the timetable, Israel did not see reciprical steps being taken by the Palestinian Authority (such as the collection of illegal arms)” (pg 143, Eran, Oded. “Arab-Israel Peacemaking.” The Continuum Political Encyclopedia of the Middle East. Ed. Avraham Sela. New York: Continuum, 2002).

    In other words, Israel was implementing. It was just doing it cautiously. In the meantime, the Palestinians did not meet any of their obligations under Wye. Then, as of September 2000, they began their war against Israel. It is understandable why Netanyahu would state that he thinks the agreement is dead.

    And let’s be clear: the violence of 2000 broke out after Arafat recognized that he was getting criticized for not accepting or negotiating more seriously at Camp David on EVERY official visit to both Western AND Arab countries after the peace talks. The war was planned in advance (Husseini admitted this in an interview before he died) and suited their desire to buy time instead of agreeing to peace that would not include all of Israel.

    You don’t have to be right wing to know what I’ve just written – it is this sequence of events that turned me into a cynic about Palestinian desire for any form of compromise.

    As for urgency in advancing peace talks, I don’t think the situation is the same as any of the PMs you’ve mentioned enjoyed. First of all, there’s an administration in Washington that appears to be deeply hostile to Netanyahu and deeply sympathetic to Palestinian claims over eastern Jerusaslem. That alone is a serious red flag that suggests to any Israeli PM that they should proceed with prudence and great caution. I would.

    Second, unlike previous PMs, Netanyahu came into office after the previous PM extended a very serious offer to the Palestinians. Not only was that offer rejected, but the PA demands that any further negotiations begin where that offer ended. Even if Netanyahu was Ahmed Tibi, what is there left to give after the Olmert offer and why would any Israeli PM agree to play such a game where a new Israeli administration makes an offer, the Palestinian administration which doesn’t change and doesn’t have elections to worry about says “no” or launches a war and then demands that the next round begin where the last offer ended?

    Third, the Palestinians indicated publicly that they intended to wait and do nothing in the expectation that within two years friction between Obama and Netanyahu would cause the collapse of Netanyahu’s government. Why enter negotiations with a partner who indicates they have no interest in negotiations? Any concession that you make to them will lead to nothing, but will appear in the next Israeli PM’s list of expectations from both the Americans and Palestinians.

    So even without Netanyahu’s own politics coming into play, you have three strong objective reasons for proceeding with caution.

    Despite these legitimate reasons – and let’s not even get into Palestinian incitement, global movement to brand Israel an apartheid state, global movement to boycott Israel, incessant demands for all of eastern Jerusalem and refusal to modify their outlook at the Fatah Sixth Congress regarding settling the conflict – Netanyahu has conceded that he would accept a two state solution and has repeatedly asked Abbas and the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table. Michael Oren recently stated in public that Jerusalem was a subject open to negotiations.

    So, no, there’s no urgency in the way there was with Olmert or Barak, but there are very good reasons to proceed with extreme caution right now.

    Let me turn it around on you, however. Why is that none of your friends on the Left are pushing the Palestinians to urgently enter peace talks or to accept difficult compromises?

  7. 7 noam said at 10:23 am on May 28th, 2010:

    anonymous – thanks for the detailed response. I happen to think your quote proves my point; that Israel unilaterally decided the Palestinians were not doing their part and stoped implementing the agreement. The excuses it used are just what they are – excuses. And you can always find those if you want to.

    On E. Jerusalem: the Palestinian claim for it to be their capital was backed by all administrations since Clinton. It’s not a new element – nor is the demand for a settlement freeze. The only difference is that it looks as though Obama really means it.

    Regarding Netanayhu: I have much to say on the PM’s conduct, but since it needs some organizing and time for writing, I’ll do that in a post next week.

    The Palestinians have a very good argument against going into talks with Netanyahu, as they give Israel legitimization and free it from the pressure to move towards an agreement. They should only enter when they get a sense that Israel is actually willing to evacuate territory, and this is not the case. I would have done the same.

  8. 8 anonymous said at 11:53 am on May 28th, 2010:

    What do you mean, Israel “unilaterally decided?” How else would it decide? The Palestinians did not meet their clear obligations under Wye. Objectively, they didn’t. So when Israel says, “Wait, we started and we’re expected to finish but they’re doing nothing” this is somehow wrong?!

    Come on! It’s an agreement between two parties and you simply excuse the party that didn’t meet its obligations at all and didn’t even try to meet its obligations because they’re not Israel. It’s ridiculous. My quote proves MY point, not yours.

    On eastern Jerusalem, what you write is untrue. American administrations have thought along the lines of Clinton: divided city with Jewish neighborhoods (new ones included) staying in Israel and Arab neighborhoods going to Arabs. This adminstration has placed that equation at risk and the key problem with that, since we’re talking about Netanyahu and negotiations, is that it removes an element of leverage from the Israelis. These are supposed to be negotiations, not a give-away. In any case, this division of Jerusalem has been the one under discussion since Taba. It’s the Palestinians who won’t even give up “horizontal sovereignty” over the Temple Mount, remember?

    As for your last paragraph, it simply ignores the facts. Israel extended an official offer in 2008. Netanyahu offered to go to negotiations with no preconditions and publicly stated support for a two state solution. According to you, that’s not enough because if Abbas wakes up in the morning and “feels” that the Israelis don’t mean it, then he shouldn’t negotiate at all.

    That’s ridiculous. You have become blinded by your ideology that Israel is all bad and the Palestinians are always victimized. There is not only no excuse for not negotiating, there is actually no excuse for them not having accepted Olmert’s offer or replying with a serious counter-proposal. No excuse!

    Go back to the beginning of your blog. Beinart placed the blame for the current status on Israel’s rightward shift. You embellished by trying to prove that Netanyahu opposed Oslo. Since then, our conversation has been me showing you that Israel under Netanyahu accepted Wye and Hebron, acted on them even if not to the end, had him accept a two-state solution and state a desire for full negotiations, had his ambassador speak openly that Israel will negotiate over Jerusalem, and this is without even getting into the assistance this government provides the Palestinians with checkpoint removals and security for their leaders.

    To all of this, you can only answer “But Netanyahu doesn’t really mean it and since I believe he doesn’t mean it, I don’t believe Abbas should either and I excuse the Palestinians not going into negotiations at all and also for not implementing any part of a previous agreement that Israel should have concluded anyway even after seeing the Palestinians ignore their own commitments.”

    Sorry, but your position is a weak one. It also leads to endless war.

  9. 9 noam said at 1:24 pm on May 28th, 2010:

    if Israel can back up from any agreement because it decides the Palestinians didn’t do their part on some ambiguous issue, then there is little point in signing anything. with Wye, Netanyahu just came up with the first excuse he could find when he thought that he is losing hi coalition. if it wasn’t the arms, then he would have said something about incitement, if not then something else. he simply thought it too risky politically to withdrawal.

    BTW, Haim Ramon – and I’;m not a big fan of his – published an account of these days a few days ago in Yedioth. It’s very interesting, showing how Netanyahu took the sharp turn to the right exactly when his political troubles began.

    You accuse me of being blind, but i get the feeling that it is you who refuse to see things, insisting on claiming that Netanyahu is willing to withdrawal based on 7 words he was forced – forced, i remind you – to say, and not on everything he did since.

    regarding the negotiations: in short, the game is that Israel is giving land and receiving legitimization. but the Palestinians start paying when the negotiations begin, and Israel only pays when they end. that’s why, as one diplomat in the US state department put it, Israelis want to negotiate and and never do anything, and Palestinians want to skip negotiations altogether. we have seen this dynamic at work in the past year. as I said, I don’t blame the Palestinians for refusing to talk, but lets say I agree with you that this game will also have to end sometime. on the other hand,Netanyahu will have to move from talking to action – and removing roadblocks” won’t work here – if we want to make something happen. so both sides will have to make an effort to break the current dynamic.

    I hope I’m wrong here, but I haven’t seen much from Netanyahu to suggest he is willing to make this move. It is my feeling that he wishes to talk forever in order to contain the international pressure, and as I said, this is where I think Beinart got it right. A good litmus test is the fact that Netanyahu still has the settlers support. the minute he loses it, we know he means business.

    One word regarding Olmert in 2008: Unlike in Camp David, Israel made no formal offer to the Palestinians then – and the Palestinians did send their reply (they didn’t completely reject it, but rather had their reservations). but by then, Olmert lost support and the negotiations broke.

  10. 10 anonymous said at 2:11 pm on May 28th, 2010:

    Olmert explained that the Palestinians took the maps after he extended his INCREDIBLE offer, and never responded to the maps or to his offer. That they later provided a response to the Americans only proves that they weren’t serious from the beginning. This was a serious proposal and you know it. This was Olmert, a right-winger for his entire life, offering the Palestinians a state with an internationalization of the Holy Basin! Forget Barak and Taba, this was miles ahead of that offer and it didn’t matter to the Palestinians. They purposely ended the discussions then and there.

    As to the argument that he was weak, it is the poorest argument there is. If an Israeli PM commits his name to an offer, you and I and everybody knows that the piece of paper is going to count. If you want to challenge this assertion, consider how weak Barak was at Taba and yet, despite his proclamation that if the Palestinians don’t sign, then any Israeli offers made at Taba will be null and void, the Taba offer became the starting point for Olmert.

    And all of this is to say that the Palestinians were extended a very strong offer and they could have closed the deal. They could have asked for another percentage of land here or there and Olmert would have agreed. To have peace? And end of conflict? You and I both know that all an Israeli leader would have to hear – and I include Netanyahu here – from the Palestinians is “yes, end of conflict,” and they will agree. As Abbas cynically said a couple of days ago, a deal can be closed in a week. Yes, it can. Even with Netanyahu. The Palestinians, however, are not playing to close a deal and that’s where your support of their position undermines everything. It is unconscionable that a person claiming to be an advocate for peace and who is so intent on finding “justice” actually supports doing nothing or playing games that serve those who oppose a settlement between the parties.

    Finally, I will refer to this business of “the game is that Israel is giving land and receiving legitimization. but the Palestinians start paying when the negotiations begin, and Israel only pays when they end.” What legitimacy did Olmert receive? His offer was never even publicized, it was only hinted at in the media. It was the Abbas interview after Obama’s election that finally revealed that there was an offer and only after that did Olmert discuss it publicly. So who paid a price for that? Nobody. Not the Palestinians, not the Israelis. Nobody. What did the Palestinians lose by negotiating at Taba? Nothing. It only costs them among their extremists, but that’s true of Israeli politics too and extremists are not the ones who are going to make peace.

    Let me end my part of this discussion by proposing to you that preconceived ideas about who is doing what aren’t as important as what is happening today. It was Sharon who built the security barrier and left Gaza! It was Begin who left every last inch of the Sinai! Undermining Netanyahu because he’s Netanyahu serves the Palestinians well because it means they don’t have to come to the table and when they do, they can blame failure of talks on him. However, you, as a knowledgeable and engaged Israeli who works in the media, should know better. It will be much more likely that a final compromise – if the Palestinians would ever agree – will have to come from an Israeli government that is either led by the Right or where the Right has a substantial role in the coalition of that government. Instead of rejecting the possibility, where you could be most useful in the efforts to make peace is to stop justifying Palestinian reluctance to engage Israel seriously, and instead to make every effort to make their friends on the Israeli and international Left push them to negotiations and compromise.

    Because, let’s be honest here, as long as you and your compatriots on the Left continue to EXCUSE Palestinian rejection of serious negotiations, there will not be peace. You are making them feel not only empowered in their rejection, you are giving them hope that they can actually wait this thing out long enough to take over Israel.

  11. 11 noam said at 6:24 am on May 29th, 2010:

    in short, it’s not just about peace. I really don’t know if we can have peace right now. it’s about ending the occupation.

  12. 12 anonymous said at 9:58 am on May 29th, 2010:

    Wow.

    Think about what you’ve written in that last statement.

  13. 13 noam said at 1:53 pm on May 29th, 2010:

    I do, all the time:
    http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=2259

  14. 14 anonymous said at 2:47 pm on May 29th, 2010:

    We have a fundamental disagreement then. About approaching peace and needing peace.

    As your own essay pointed out, “ending the occupation” may well simply create more violence as it did in Gaza. In fact, I would propose to you that this is the lesson Hamas wanted Israel to learn.

    I also find your pseudo-enlightened view of how any peace negotiations are, by definition, unequal, to be ridiculous. I don’t mean that I disagree only. I mean, ridiculous. The Palestinians have had a UN presence since the 1970s. They have every advantage over Israel in that forum except one: the American vote. And yet, the history of the UN shows that Israel has always been the outlier and the Palestinians the driving force behind a great deal of the anti-Israel activity.

    On other fronts, the Palestinians have often had the support – on any number of fronts – of other Arab and some Muslim nations. A good example can be seen in the nuclear talks just completed where Israel became the target and was singled out. This didn’t happen by accident. Of course, in wars, the Arabs have attacked Israel in groups of countries and this was true in 1948 just as it was in 1973.

    So in military and diplomatic terms, the Palestinians have been far from the sad, lonely, weak and disadvantaged opponents you claim they are. If there was any doubt, all one has to do is read the Abbas interview yesterday where he states that the Palestinians are not negotiating with Israel, but with the US.

    The manipulative nature and the hubris of that statement are not those of a people without a sense of, at a minimum, equal status. If they had felt that way, they would have compromised long ago. Do you think the Kurds would hold out or say something like what Abbas said about Turkey if the Turks agreed to carve out an area for a Kurdish state?

  15. 15 noam said at 2:56 pm on May 29th, 2010:

    you might have missed my point. the negotiations are not unequal because one side is stronger. as you said, Israel has the upper hand in some areas, while the Palestinians in others. I meant that the dynamic of the negotiations is unbalanced at certain points. it tilts towards Israel at the beginning, and to the Palestinian side as we come closer to an agreement.

    and also note that I didn’t say that I don’t want peace or that we don’t need one. i simply think that it will take years, maybe decades, to stabilize our relations with the Palestinians. it happened this way with all of israel’s borders – from south to north. I don’t think we should sell the public the notion that once we leave the WB all will be well. there are no guarantees, and in the short run, it might be difficult. but in the long run, what other option do you have (except giving the P citizenship, which i don’t mind but I guess you object).

  16. 16 anonymous said at 4:40 pm on May 29th, 2010:

    My solution is a two state solution. We know the parameters and we know that what has been offered is fair. The Taba discussions are the template. I think that the problem is that people are misapplying pressure. Instead of pressuring the Palestinians, they are pressuring Israel. This places the Palestinians in an advantageous position that eliminates any benefit to accepting a deal.

    The Israelis have been ready for a deal for about a decade now. This is the great mistake the Left is making. You are making a mistake. There could be peace and we know what it will look like. The problem is getting the Palestinians to agree, not the Israelis. The Palestinians as a people have not internalized – and I say this based on polls, not some imaginary idea I have of the Palestinians – a compromise that accepts a two state solution. That’s the solution.

  17. 17 noam said at 4:45 pm on May 29th, 2010:

    I agree that applying pressure is the key issue we are discussing. I explained why I think pressure should be applied mostly on Israel at this point in time here:

    http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=2487

  18. 18 anonymous said at 6:53 pm on May 29th, 2010:

    Your premise in that article is disproved by the Gaza evacuation which was unilateral and by Olmert’s and Barak’s offers.

    But I challenge you to play a little game with yourself. Do it with complete integrity. What would happen if you applied pressure on the Palestinians today, in light of the offers Israel has made?

  19. 19 noam said at 12:44 am on May 30th, 2010:

    I wasn’t talking about offers, but about action. as for the Gaza withdrawal it actually proves my point: Israel could have done in years before, but only the second intifada made us leave.

    regarding applying pressure on the Palestinians: first, not that Netanyahu never endorsed Olmert’s offer (or Barak’s). but if he does – I doubt it – and we force the Palestinians to sign, I still don’t think he will be able, or willing, to pull of a withdrawal.

    But all this is very theoretical, and we can’t rule out the possibility that Netanyahu woiuld surprise us. I wanted to say something about the political dynamic on the Israel side, and the need to raise the price of the status quo. in the past, this has been done by the Arab side through military action. it always took a greater toll from the Arabs, but it made Israel withdraw. Naturally, I don’t support this approach, so I think the only thing that would make an Israeli leader evacuate settlements is real international pressure.

    One last note: for someone who advocates negotiations so passionately, you seem to have a very one-sided view of them, consisting mainly of Israeli “take-it-or-leave-it” offers. this are no real negotiations. Couldn’t we say just the same that it was us who refused the “generous offers” from the other side (for example, the Saudi initiative)?

  20. 20 anonymous said at 10:56 am on May 30th, 2010:

    Sure, and we could also say that Israel refused the generous Hamas offer to have negotiations for a 50 year hudna after Israel moves back to ’49 lines. Oh, sorry, they called them ’67 lines.

    The Saudi deal leaves two key problems in place: “refugees” (quotation marks on purpose) and the Holy Basin.

    Since these are the two prime sticking points to any deal, suggesting that the Saudi deal is some sort of progress is laughable. Talk about take it or leave it deals!

    Israel has made offers that are not “take it or leave it.” On the contrary, these are deals where negotiations could happen. However, there are going to be red lines and a deal that works needs to find a balance between preserving the Jewish state and ensuring that its holiest sites are in some way ensured from being closed off to Jews. If that is one-sided in your opinion, then you’re putting blinders on. The other side is offering a deal where Israel is not assured of being a Jewish state and its holiest sites go into the hands of those who, in the past, have restricted access to Jews. Is that a deal? Is Israel negating Palestinian self determination or control over holy sites in its offers?

    Noam, in the course of seeking to find “justice” for the Palestinians, you have forgotten that Israel exists for some clear reasons, including Jewish continuity, Jewish self-determination and a Jewish historical connection to this land.

    You can apply all the pressure you want to place on Israel, but in the end, you’re actually serving those who would destroy the state and these fundamental reasons for its existence. This morning, the Gaza bound boats had activists chanting Khaybar, khaybar al yahud. Don’t kid yourself, these are the people in your bed.

  21. 21 noam said at 1:45 pm on May 30th, 2010:

    Oh, come on, I thought we had better arguments on our little debate. It’s like me associating you with Yizhar’s settlers or Baruch Goldstein. I can be pro-Palestinian on certain issues and not support Hamas. surly you understand that.

  22. 22 anonymous said at 2:29 pm on May 30th, 2010:

    The pressure you wish to place on Israel, whether it’s through boycott or through endless criticism, appears to be intended to end the occupation but without a permanent arrangement. That’s what you wrote in the comment from 6:24 am on May 29th, 2010.

    I’m suggesting to you, with complete seriousness, that your approach benefits the enemies of peace. I am not suggesting that you represent Hamas or their views, or that you subscribe to their views. I am suggesting that your activism puts you in bed with them. There’s a difference, but it is still an indirect partnership.

    I understand your repulsion at this notion, but I ask you to think about it. Your ideas are that no peace can happen right now, only an end to the occupation. Is that different than what the Palestinians are advocating? The difference is that for them it is another stage in this war.

    You strengthen their hand and their claims. I appreciate that you want to find a way to bring about justice and respect for all people, but I am proposing to you – again, with all seriousness – that in fact, you are helping to push peace farther and farther away.

    Just play the following imaginary game. Let’s say you succeed. What happens the day after? There’s no peace and Israel is out of the WB. Now what do you do? Tell Israelis it’s tough? What do you do when the rockets start falling only on Tel Aviv this time?

    As for me, I don’t support settlement activity other than in the neighborhoods surrounding Jerusalem, which I and Israel’s supreme court don’t consider settlement activity. I can point clearly to the fact that I support plans which many of the settlers oppose. I agree with Taba and with Olmert’s offers, for example. How many Yizhar settlers or Goldstein grave visitors would say that?

    On the other hand, your notion of end to occupation without peace is precisely what the Palestinians want.

    I am suggesting that where you and anybody who really wants peace and justice really belong, is with those of us who support the Barak and Olmert deals. That’s the real peace and justice camp. Your pressure is misdirected when you point it at Israel. It’s fine and good to be critical of Israel, but regarding finding peace, the pressure should be directed at the Palestinians.

  23. 23 anonymous said at 12:56 pm on June 1st, 2010:

    I thought you would find this interesting:

    http://www.jpost.com/Features/InThespotlight/Article.aspx?id=177107

    The Israeli Left today is on a different page.

  24. 24 noam said at 1:41 pm on June 2nd, 2010:

    I love Eliav. If Israelis listened to him we wouldn’t have been be in this mess. he proposed evacuating territories in the 60s and early 70s, and opposed settlements from the start, fearing they would lead us to a national catastrophe. even left governments because of that. glad you agree with him.

  25. 25 anonymous said at 1:06 pm on June 3rd, 2010:

    I do agree with him. But I don’t agree with you. I encourage you to read that interview with him again. Ask yourself whether you’re on the side that believes Israel is founded from an “original sin” or, if it’s not, which is Eliav’s position, how to reconcile your desire for peace and justice with the realities. I propose to you that your activism should be directed toward making the case to pro-Palestinian activists that they should be expending maximum efforts to convince the Palestinians to negotiate and accept an agreement along the lines of what Olmert offered.