Should Israel/Palestine Merge?

The U.S. appears on the verge of a new war in the Middle East, between Israel and Iran, but much of the casus belli traces back to the long-running dispute over the rights of Palestinians. In that context, Lawrence Davidson asks again if a one-state solution might be the only viable answer.

By Lawrence Davidson

In January 2011, I wrote an analysis in support of a one-state solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian struggle because the Israelis themselves had made the one-state solution the only practicable approach. Through their incessant and illegal colonization of the West Bank, they simply eliminated all possibility of a viable and truly independent Palestinian state.

Israeli behavior has not changed in the past year and so I still stand by the position. That being said, it is important to point out that even a one-state solution capable of bringing justice to the Palestinians, and in doing so, saving the Jews from the folly of Zionism, will not be possible without worldwide intervention.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Photo by Michael Thaidigsmann)

What is necessary is a struggle on two international fronts: A) a strong growing international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel and B) growing popular pressure in the United States that forces a change in foreign policy toward Israel. Without achieving both of these goals the fate of both Palestinians and Jews looks very bleak indeed.

The necessity of this two-front international approach was reinforced for me upon reading a speech given by Noam Chomsky in Beirut in May of 2010. When commenting on a one-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, he made the following points:

1. For the indefinite future, “Israel will continue doing exactly what [it’s] doing … [taking] the water resources, the valuable land … the Jordan Valley … and send[ing] corridors through the remaining regions to break them up into separated cantons…”

2. In the process, the Israeli government will make sure that “very few Palestinians [are] incorporated in the valuable areas that Israel will take over” and they will do so in order to preclude “any civil rights struggle.”

3. The Israelis can do this as long as the United States supports them. Chomsky calls this the “mafia principle.” He notes that in the case of South Africa, the apartheid state was able to hold out against an international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign as long as the United States did not participate in it. And the primary reason the U.S. gave for not doing so was that the leading resistance organization fighting apartheid, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress, was a “notorious” terrorist organization.

4. However, international anti-apartheid sentiment did help push Washington to finally cease its support of South Africa and then apartheid collapsed. Chomsky concludes: “When the godfather [that is, the U.S.] changes his policy, things change. … I think this could happen with Israel. If the United States changes policy and decides to join the world[‘s growing opposition to Israeli behavior], Israel will have no option but to go along.”

Chomsky’s analysis is a bit too reductionist for me. That is, he tends to bring everything down to positions taken by the U.S. government. But there is no denying that changing U.S. policy is one of two necessary international parts to any solution. And, he makes a seminal point when he tells us that the Israeli government has no intention of incorporating the mass of West Bank Palestinians (to say nothing of the Gazans) into the Jewish state.

Using “Transfer”

Indeed, Israeli strategy necessitates allowing a fake “Palestinian state” in the form of West Bank Bantustans, and then deporting their Arab Israeli citizens into those enclaves. No Arabs in Israel, no civil rights struggle.

An interesting piece of news that speaks to this possibility appeared on Jan. 31. According to Associated Press reports, the Israeli Interior Ministry plans to deport thousands of Southern Sudanese refugees. Why so? Because, according to a ministry spokeswoman, “since the Southern Sudanese have an independent state, they will no longer be given protected status in Israel.”

The first step will be to offer them “voluntary deportation and around $1.300″ in “thanks for leaving” money. After that, forced deportation and no money, will be the policy.

As the American Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah notes, “Israeli leaders have already hinted that they could use the same type of logic to justify removal of Palestinian citizens of Israel if a nominally independent Palestinian state is established on scrapes of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

This is known as a policy of “transfer” in Zionist parlance and it has been discussed at least since the time of Theodor Herzl. In recent years it has been suggested by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (now head of the Israeli opposition in the Knesset) and the present Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as well as a slew of other Israeli politicians.

Abunimah’s conclusion is that a “two-state solution would be more likely to lead to further ethnic cleansing of Palestinians than to peace.”

So what do we have here? On the one hand, Noam Chomsky points to the very real possibility that the Israelis will not allow a one-state solution that creates the conditions for an internal struggle for civil and political equality. And, on the other hand, Ali Abunimah points to the very real possibility that any two-state solution will lead to forced deportation of Palestinians into Bantustans.

Is there a way out of this? Well, if the South African experience is to be a guide it is this: The sine qua non of any solution is the collapse of Israel’s ethno/religious — that is Zionist — ideology of governance. Just as the racist apartheid form of governance had to be changed for there to be a resolution of the South African struggle, so the Israeli Zionist form of governance has to be changed for there to be a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle.

And, I think that Chomsky is right when he says the Israelis have no intention of allowing such a change in governance to come about through an internal civil rights struggle. Therefore, the pressure for the necessary transformation will have to come from outside.

It will have to come in the form a two-front movement: one front building the worldwide boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, and the second front concentrating on making support of Israel a national scandal in the U.S. and therefore a domestic voting issue.

While there are good organizations in the U.S. (such as the U.S. Campaign To End The Occupation and Jewish Voices for Peace) involved in building this second front, I think that the effort has not been given enough attention by Americans involved in supporting the Palestinian cause.

It is time this changed for, as Noam Chomsky suggests, it is unlikely that there will be a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle unless Israeli treatment of the Palestinians becomes a strong enough cause to impact U.S. policy.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

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47 comments on “Should Israel/Palestine Merge?

  1. Pingback: Should Israel/Palestine Merge? | Consortiumnews | My Marketing File

  2. Hillary on said:

    As Helen Tomas said these Jewish interlopers are Europeans with no historical connection to the Middle East and they should return to their homes in Europe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Thomas#Resignation_following_comments_on_Israel_and_Jews

    As thees Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews who control Israel would never agree the best solution would of course be to Merge Israel/Palestine and A.S.A.P.

    • Dina Hafe on said:

      Hillary, Israel should never ever merge with terrorists and no one should. The so called Palestinians are ARABS, most are daily indoctrinated to destroy the Jewish state and the West.

      And you too I am afraid brain-washed. Israel is comprised of more than 50% Jews who are Middle Eastern. Also there were always Jews in Israel/Palestine. IN fact it was the Jews who also built Medina and many of the towns in the Middle East. Jews were and are integral part of the Middle East.

      And Helen Tomas was fired after her disgusting comment, wasn’t she?

      IN fact the ARABS who reside in Judea & Samaria/west bank and many of the GAZANS, hate to be called “Palestinians” as it means paganism too..get your fact straight!

      • Jesse Schultz on said:

        Just because someone happens to be of Arab descend doesn’t mean that they’re automatically “indoctrinated” to destroy Israel. And just why do you spell Arab with all capitals anyway?
        And Palestinian doesn’t mean paganism.
        And that’s irrelevant anyway.

        • Dina Hafe on said:

          And what spelling the word ARABS in capitals mean to you? I like some Arabs.

          And the word Palestinians means paganism as the word is derived from the word Philistines as in biblical times who were pagans. Most Arabs can’t even pronounce the letter P, they only called themselves so after the 1967 for political reasons. See here: http://www.wnd.com/2002/07/14501/
          Here is an expert among many:

          “…on March 31, 1977, the Dutch newspaper Trouw published an interview with Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Zahir Muhsein. Here’s what he said:

          The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.”

          And this is relevant because the article itself is a shameless gross misrepresentations of factual historical truth relying on discredited sources.

          • Jesse Schultz on said:

            Writing things in all CAPITALS on the internet is usually a sign that you’re a nut.

      • flat 5 on said:

        Hillary is just a medievalist arab state lover and an antisemite. She and many others on this site continue to demonize Israel and Jews. She doesn’t deserve a response.

        • eandrews on said:

          the Jews demonize themselves by their actions

          • Yes, some of them are just like any others of the human race. Indeed, there is a trash-can in every house, and a rotten apple in every barrel, isn’t it?

            A perfect example of Jews demonizing Jews is the author of this article, Davidson and his heroes Chomsky and Pappe, true distortions and poison.

          • eandrews on said:

            i was thinking more on the lines of bulldozing peoples homes and lands, and a bit of ethnic cleansing

          • Well you , eandrews, has it all wrong. First the houses that were bulldozed were the homes of the terrorist and those who sport them, indeed bulldoze the terrorists!!!

            Second, that land was awarded to the Jewish people under international law. And in fact those Arabs who lived there only came en mass after the Jews began to rebuild their ancestral homeland, most were Arab squatters who encroached on the land and didn’t have any title to it. And I hope Israel does cleans the terrorist from this planet let alone her own home land. This land was never an ARAB country..

            See here: Palestine Never An Arab Country http://www.cdn-friends-icej.ca/never_arab.html

      • hammersmith on said:

        actually the palestinians r more jewish that the israelis, most of whom’s bloodline do not extend to the old sod. read “the invention of the jewish people,” by an israeli.

    • Dina Hafe on said:

      Allow me to add and repeat perhaps some common sense can enter your vacuous and hateful mind-set, Ms. Hillary et al.

      Jews like Christians, Hindus, atheists etc. were and are integral part of the Middle East until the Islamomanicas chased, slaughtered and confiscated their properties from there and continue to do so to date.

      I hope that you and other here can keep an open mind and apply cause and effect or rather let go of your hatred for Israel/Jews/West, that eclipses common sense, facts, and the capacity to tell the difference between lies and truth.

  3. Dina Hafe on said:

    Further reading: Myth of the middle East http://www.wnd.com/2000/10/1696/

    “Palestine has never existed…as an autonomous entity. There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.

    Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 percent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of one percent of the landmass. But that’s too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today…No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough.”

    From Myths of the Middle East, Joseph Farah, Arab-American editor and journalist, WorldNetDaily, 11 October 2000

    • Dina Hafe on said:

      [Oops another typo, sorry,

      To the editor, since this missive awaits moderation, please, re-post the following, I corrected the typos and added omissions et. You should have an edit button at the end of comment just as humanevents.com has ii. Thx]

      This article is a shameless and gross misrepresentation of factual historical truth. Indeed Professor Davidson and this publisher is engaging in crime of the minds by rewriting history to set an evil agenda, ["the final solution" is on the move] Make no bones about it, very sadly.

      Professor Davidson to top it off cites the notorious anti-Israel and Orwellian professor Noam Chomsky who sided with the terror organization such as Hizballah, tells us much. And in his analysis he also cites Ilan Peppe, another anti-Israel who was discredited long ago by his own words.

      Professor Davidson like many is adopting the “Palestinian” false narrative created with one goal in mind, to destroy Israel as a Jewish democratic state. And why can’t a tiny Hebrew/Jewish state cannot be if most of the world is either Christianized or Islamized?

      Here are a few issues that are blatant lies:

      1. Palestinian people do not exist as we speak. Read here: http://www.wnd.com/2002/07/14501/

      2. Palestine was never a sovereign power. http://www.cdn-friends-icej.ca/never_arab.html

      3. “Occupied territories”, is never the term, see here: http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp470.htm

      Mr. Davison completely ignores the fact that Palestine, a territory that comprised what is Jordan and Israel today, was awarded to the Jewish people under international law after WWI. Please, read The 1922 Palestine Mandate document, valid to date and under sacred trust That even the Israeli government cannot abrogate. See here: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/palmanda.asp And see interview with Howard Grief – The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law – part 2
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF4_hM8kbfc
      Read Part 1 too and his book And for more fascinating illustration of this topic, The Jewish People right to the land of Israel/Palestine, read this short book on Amazon via Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Peoples-Rights-Israel-ebook/dp/B0065WZM14

      Indeed the Israelis liberated Judea and Samaria/West bank from the real illegal occupier Jordan in the 1967 war. In fact, prior to the 1967 war the Arabs held all these territories but no one ever heard a call for a “Palestinian” State.

      Should these Arabs/Palestinian get rewarded for their hell bent day and night call to destroy Israel and the West engagingly in the most horrific terror acts? Let them merge, have political aspirations, with Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia from where most were originated to begin with. They certainly have proven not to relinquish their hatred and ultimate dream of destroying the Hebrew/Jewish state.

      One also should read what professor Ruben Gur of psychiatry at Penn states about those useful idiot, Jewish Voice for Peace and the like here: http://thedp.com/index.php/article/2012/02/professors_take_sides_on_bds_conference

    • Jesse Schultz on said:

      You really don’t like Arabs do you? lol

      • Dina Hafe on said:

        In fact I am from Arab decent… It is just that you don’t like Jews or those who support them.

        • Jesse Schultz on said:

          You got that I don’t like Jews from what little I wrote? Wow! You’re psychic! How many fingers am I holding up?

          • Dina Hafe on said:

            Then, Mr. Schultz what is your motivation to support blatant distortions when it comes to Jews? And your comment about the word ARABS being all in capital that it entail being “nuts”, applies perfectly to your own sick mind!

          • Jesse Schultz on said:

            (below)What distortions have I supported here? Please give an example. So far I haven’t mentioned the above article at all. All I questioned was your generalizations about Arabs.

      • Dina Hafe on said:

        o.k. you may not have said a thing about this egregiously false article by this pseudo professor Davidson, but you tried to support the clearly ant-Semite Hilary here. Then you claimed that I said that ALL Arabs are terrorists, and that was never the case. I said: “The so called Palestinians are ARABS, most are daily indoctrinated to destroy the Jewish state and the West.”

        And it is the sad truth, do profoundly look into this link: http://www.palwatch.org/

        • Jesse Schultz on said:

          Actually I didn’t even notice Hillary’s posts until you mentioned them.
          And I never stated that you were calling all Arabs terrorists.

  4. flat 5 on said:

    the usual bullshit from Davidson

  5. Hillary on said:

    Israel is a terrorist state, an illegal occupation , and any moral high ground Jews may have had from WWII has been lost by their actions towards the Palestinian people.

    Amongst the Jewish thinkers I admire are Giliad Azamon and Norman Finkelstein .

    Zionists like Alan Dershowitz and Joseph Lieberman are not to be admired as they put the interests of Israel above the interests of the countries they live in and claim all who don’t agree with them are anti-Semites.

    Yes gladly the days are ending when Americans cower in fear of some bigot falsely labeling them “antiSemitic”

    • Dina Hafe on said:

      Israel is a thriving Jewish/Hebrew/Israeli democratic state, Ms. Hilary. The time of the Orwellian is ending and they never survive. Hitler committed suicide and you can follow his foot step all you want but evil never prevail.

      Despite your hatred, lies and the horror Israel has endured, she miraculously excels in many ways, in science, medicine, technology, art, fashion etc..

      Go fix your own backward despotic backyard before you dare to criticize Israel even if she is imperfect, but then who is? You, the Arab/Muslim world?

      The Palestinian People do not exist as we speak, it is a pure hoax. http://www.wnd.com/2002/07/14501/

      Like many anti-Semites, Hilary, is twisting cause and effect blaming the victims, Israel. She like this pseudo professor Davidson and his ilk, parrots the false narrative created by the Arabs/Palis with one goal in mind to destroy the Jewish/Hebrew State. Indeed you also gravely lack common sense. In effect you like Davidson are helpful to no one, Arabs and Jews.

      The Arabs now called “Palestinians” are used as pawns by the ARAB, their cohort and the Anti-Semites out there whose self inferior complex and hatred eclipses reason, and rewrite of factual historical truth.

      • hammersmith on said:

        Israel is and artifact of european colonialism. Like the crusader states, IT will end up in the dustbin of history.

  6. Hillary on said:

    The foundation of Israel is based on myths fairy tales.

    Top Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein has denied the existence of Jewish roots in the city of Jerusalem, contrary to Israel’s claims that have prompted continued Judaization of the city.

    http://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/top-israeli-archaeologists-contest-jewish-ties-to-jerusalem/

    Finkelstein, a professor at Tel Aviv University, said Jewish archaeologists have failed to unearth historic sites to support some of the stories in the Torah. Among those stories are the Jewish Exodus, the forty-year wandering in the Sinai desert, and Joshua’s victory over the Canaanites.
    He also said there was no archaeological evidence that concludes that the alleged Temple of Solomon ever existed.

    http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/top-israeli-archaeologists-contest-jewish-ties-to-jerusalem/

    • flat 5 on said:

      such bullshit from the queen antisemite on this site

      • hammersmith on said:

        no, no, flat 5, u really must read “the invention of the jewish people” by shlomo sand. you r an ignorant person following a bigotted myth.

  7. flat 5 on said:

    Some reality sane responses from todays NY TIMES:

    When I read these comments I often come away wondering if the writers and I are living on the same planet. There clearly are people who believe that if Israel had never been established all would be well in the Middle East. But, it doesn’t matter what they believe. Israel was established and has had over 60 years of time in which it has become a vibrant economy and a democratic entity in a region whose progress stopped in 1100 AD. No one – not Iran, not Egypt, not Lebanon – will eliminate Israel. So, it would be better to let go of that fantasy and instead figure out a way to coexist peacefully. In fact, if they do it well, everyone in that region will benefit from that peace. When Arafat at Camp David was negotiating with Israel for a solution, he did not insist that all construction in the settlements be suspended, and he got the best deal that is ever likely to be struck. What did he do? He rejected it. Now, saying that construction in the settlements must stop before negotiations can begin is just throwing a roadblock where there need not be one. In the end, if peace is to be achieved, both parties have to deal with facts on the ground. There are half a million Israelis in those settlements that extend from Jerusalem. Give that land to Israel and take a commensurate amount of land from Israel. Trying to undo what exists is a recipe for failure.

    Another view from the NY TIMES:
    One question -why was Hamas leader Meshal, a Jordanian citizen, banished from
    Jordan? The answer is because Jordan, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE
    want nothing to do with these misfits. Arafat, an Egyptian, was despised by Sadat
    and invented a home country and a population called “Palestinian” when his Arab
    brothers tossed him out for trying to overthrow them. Meshal cannot own land
    in Jordan. Israel is supposed to deal with these thugs when their fellow Arabs
    won’t. Hamas wants Israel to disappear-the world would be better off, as would
    people now called Palestinians, without Hamas. They have blocked peace.

    • eandrews on said:

      joshua was born in Egypt, was he Egyptian and most of the free world think settlements are a roadblock to peace

      • eandrews, do you mean the ARAB settlements in Judea & Samaria/West bank? There are about 261 of newly Arab Settlements that were built after the 1967 war and are used as terrorist nests for the most part but no one speaks about the Arab Settlements in Judea & Samaria/West Bank. The Jewish communities in Judea & Samaria/West bank are legal under international law, see the 1922 Palestine Mandate document as Ms. Dina Hafe refers to above.

  8. eandrews on said:

    getting Israelis and Palestinains to merge isn’t going to happen overnight, even if America bought into the idea. It took over 400 years for catholic and protestants to start living togather in peace here in Belfast and it still could go either way. the best way is the two state solution with israelis who want to stay in their settlements paying rent to the Palestinain government.

    • Dina Hafe on said:

      The Arabs “Palestinian” should merge with their own brethren in the more than 5 million sq. miles they got after WWI. Obviously they openly proclaim day and night that their goal is to destroy the one tiny Jewish/Hebrew state/Palestine. They don’t want a state or they could have had one in the ample opportunities they had to do just that. Instead they repeatedly turned to terrors, suicide bombing and rocket launching on Israeli civilians. Terrorists do not deserve a state!

      And why should Israel pay the price for the constant instigation of war on the Jewish state by the Arab/Muslim world which they luckily repeatedly lost?

      No other country ever gave away territories that it gains in a defensive war, let alone allocated to them by international law!

  9. Marc Rogers on said:

    Davidson has never, in all his political screeds ever presented the Israeli side. He does not have to agree with Israel’s positions or actions, but in the interests of honest scholarship and nonpartisanship( and in the hopes of commencing a dialogue, rather than a diatribe), he needs to give voice to all sides and their polemics.

  10. It’s going to come down to one single state sooner or later because both Israelis and Palestinians are part of the same land, and have more in common than it appears.

    And there’s absolutely nothing Hasbarists in the United States and Canada can do about it. My impression is that they’re spewing revisionist propaganda because they have real estate interests in the West Bank.

  11. flat 5 on said:

    Iran: Genocide of Jews is a Moral Obligation
    Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorsed a new doctrine explaining why it would be ‘legally and morally justified’ to commit genocide and wipe Israel off the map.
    The article was written by Khameini’s close adviser Alireza Forghani and endorsed by the Supreme Leader whose writings played a critical role in its drafting.
    The article has since appeared on numerous Iranian government and military websites.
    “Israel is a cancerous tumor in the Middle East,” the article in the ultraconservative Farsi-language Alef news site said. “Israel is a satanic media outlet with bombers. Every Muslim is required to arm themselves against Israel.”
    “I have already noted the usurper state of Israel poses a grave threat to Islam and Muslim countries. Islam and Muslim states must not lose this opportunity to remove the corruption from out midst. All of our problems are because of Israel – Israel of America.”
    “The first step should be the absolute destruction of Israel. To this end, Iran could make use of long-range missiles. The distance between us is only 2,600 KM. It can be done in minutes.”
    The crux of the piece says Iran would be justified in launching a pre-emptive strike against Israel because of the threat the Jewish state’s leaders are posing against its own nuclear facilities.
    However, during a lengthy discussion of the ‘jurisprudence of Jihad,’ the article makes it clear that an Israeli strike ‘isn’t required’ and would ultimately serve as a pretext for genocide.
    Instead, he says ‘defensive Jihad’ justifies annihilating Israel and targeting its civilian population because Israel has “spilled Muslim blood” and “oppresses” its Muslim neighbors.
    “With regard to the fake state of Israel in Palestine, which is included in the first Qibla of Muslims, we must defend the sacred blood of Muslims in Islamic Palestine using any means necessary,” it goes on to explain.
    “If the enemy should invade Muslim lands and spill Muslim blood, it is obligatory upon the Muslim masses to use every means possible to defend the lives and property of their brothers. It does not require a judge’s permission.
    “But regardless of the Israeli aggression against Palestine and the Muslims, it is clear the heads of this fake regime seek to dominate other Islamic lands on its borders and to develop hegemony over the region,” it reads.

    The article makes it clear Iran sees no place in the Middle East for the Jews.

    “Political subdivisions of states and political boundaries between units are not relevant and what is important is to divide the nations and territories based on beliefs and religions groups, blood and blood. Muslim blood must be separate from Infidel blood,” it says, citing Khameini’s writings.
    The document then cites statistics saying 5.7 million of Israel’s 7.5 million citizens are Jewish – as a justification for attack. It then proceeds to break down Israel by region and demographic concentrations in order that the most Jews possible would be killed.
    It specifically states that Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa ,contain more than 60 per cent of the Jewish population, which could be hit by Shahab 3 ballistic missiles to “easily kill everyone.”
    The publication of the doctrine comes after Khamenei announced that Iran would support any nation or group that attacks the ‘cancerous tumor’ of Israel.
    Since its publications several Iranian officials have called for a strike on Israel “within the year.”
    Source: IsraelNationalNews

  12. Israel, the “Arab Spring,” and the Wishful Thinkers
    David Harris
    February 13, 2012

    When it comes to Israel, advice is never in short supply.
    It’s doled out steadily by diplomats, scholars, editorial writers, columnists, you name it.
    The onset of the so-called Arab Spring – in actuality, it more closely approximates an Islamic Winter – has unleashed another tidal wave of counsel and critique.

    They are summed up along the following lines:

    “[T]he Arab Spring holds out a historic opportunity to complete the peace process in the Middle East” (French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé);

    “The Arab Spring is an Opportunity for Israel” (Natalia Simanovsky, The Journal of Turkish Weekly);

    “Netanyahu’s prescription is to do nothing” (New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman);

    “There is a need [for Israel] to look over the horizon” (Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center).

    It’s as if some observers, wanting desperately to wax optimistic about the moment, fail to take note of another reality, one far more sobering for Israel.

    Since the upheaval began in Tunisia, Israel’s immediate security environment has become more, not less, challenging. The chances for peace, already remote, seem still more distant.

    I say this with profound regret.

    As a long-time supporter of a two-state agreement, I wish for nothing more than the day that enduring peace will come for Israelis and Palestinians alike – and a more comprehensive settlement with the Arab world as well.

    But wishful thinking has its limitations, especially in this rough-and-tumble neighborhood.

    Consider the stark reality that Jerusalem faces today:

    Let’s begin with Lebanon, long under Syria’s iron grip and now increasingly in the hands of Syria’s – and Iran’s – dependable ally, Hezbollah.

    Named a terrorist group by the U.S., Hezbollah operates a state within a state. It has a well-trained militia and stockpiles of missiles and rockets estimated in the tens of thousands. The group’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, boasts that his weaponry can reach every part of Israel, a nation that, in his view, has no right to exist.

    Then there’s Syria. Yes, the very same Syria that’s in the news every day for the savagery of its regime.

    Should President Bashar al-Assad be ousted, could Israel then rest peacefully? Hardly.

    Who would replace him? Most probably, Sunni Islamists. Al-Qaeda has already endorsed the opposition forces. And who would control Syria’s stockpile of advanced weapons, courtesy of Russia and Iran?

    And if Assad somehow manages to hang on, with help from Tehran and Moscow, Israel now has an even better idea of the unbridled brutality of its northern neighbor.

    To the east looms Iran.

    Here is a nation that flouts UN Security Council resolutions and International Atomic Energy Agency strictures, while developing nuclear-weapons capability and calling for Israel’s elimination. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on January 29th that Iran could get the bomb within a year.

    Closer to the east lies Jordan, which has had quietly convergent interests with Israel for decades – largely driven by common fear of Palestinian radicalism – but may yet be touched by street protests and surging Islamist political muscle.

    To the south is Gaza, the Hamas stronghold.

    Want to understand Hamas? Read its charter, which sets forth its worldview in chilling detail. There is no place for Israel and not much love of Jews, either.

    Listen to the words of Gaza’s prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, who was just in Iran, where he declared for the umpteenth time that his group “will never recognize Israel.”

    And consider the thousands of deadly missiles and rockets in Gaza, supplemented regularly by the smuggling of weapons across the lawless Sinai and through the tunnels.

    Then there’s Egypt.

    We all pray that, whoever ultimately gains power in Cairo, the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty will hold.

    But with two-thirds of Egyptian voters choosing the Muslim Brotherhood or even more extreme Salafists, who today can be optimistic about the direction of Egyptian-Israeli ties?

    And take note that, in the past year alone, there have been 12 separate terrorist attacks on the Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel (and Jordan).

    Then there is the West Bank and the ruling Palestinian Authority.

    President Mahmoud Abbas has been billed as Israel’s best hope for an accord.

    Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

    Abbas, missing in action for most of the last three years, has had an odd way of demonstrating his commitment to the peace process. And his PA keeps undercutting the spinmeisters by glorifying Palestinian terrorists who have murdered innocent Israelis, and by teaching incitement to children.
    To make matters still worse, Abbas has now embraced Hamas, the very group that ousted his forces from Gaza in a bloody coup nearly five years ago.

    I don’t know how long that marriage will last, but even if it turns out to be short-lived, what message does it send to Israel and the world?

    The PA is ready to join forces with a group openly calling for Israel’s destruction, and whose leader in Gaza travels to Iran to embrace its rulers. And yet Israel is supposed to see in all this an “historic opportunity”?

    Oh, and by the way, one of Hamas’s demands for tying the knot was dropping Salam Fayyad as prime minister. There goes the one Palestinian leader who, more than any other, invited hope for a better future.

    And in this tour d’horizon, a word about Turkey.

    Once a close regional partner of Israel, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken the country in a different direction.

    He has embraced Hamas, pandered to the Arab street, and lambasted Israel every chance he gets, including in the recent dust-up with American author Paul Auster.

    New chances for Israel thanks to the “Arab Spring”?

    Much as I’d love to see them, where exactly are they?

    So, to the advice givers, at least the well-intentioned among them, here are my two cents: Please show more restraint and greater understanding of Israel’s difficult regional situation today.

    Maybe in speeches, editorials, and columns there are easy answers. In Israel’s real world, alas, there are not.

  13. • Warning Iran Against Hitting ‘Soft’ American Targets
    The Obama administration should deem an attack on a synagogue or embassy as tantamount to a military attack on the U.S.
    By ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
    The Iranian government has now made crystal clear that it is at war not only with Israel and Zionism but with Jewish communities throughout the world. As Iran’s Rafah news website—identified with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—threatened last month, Iran plans to “take the war beyond the borders of Iran, and beyond the borders of the region.” And last week an Iranian News Agency headline declared that “Israeli people must be annihilated.”
    These and other recent threats have, according to news reports, led Israeli and American authorities to believe that Iran is preparing attacks against Israeli embassies and consulates world-wide, as well as against Jewish houses of prayer, schools, community centers, restaurants and other soft targets.
    If this were to happen, it would not be the first time that Iranian agents have bombed or attacked Israeli and Jewish targets in distant countries. Back in 1992, Iranian agents blew up the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians, many of whom were children. The Argentine government conducted a thorough criminal investigation and indicted several Iranian officials, but those officials were well beyond the reach of Argentine legal authorities and remain at liberty.
    The U.S. government should deem any Iranian attack against Israeli or Jewish soft targets in America to be an armed military attack on the U.S.—to which the U.S. will retaliate militarily at a time and place of its choosing. Washington should not treat such an attack as the Argentine authorities did, merely as a criminal act.
    Under international law, an attack on an embassy is an attack both on the embassy’s country and on the country in which the embassy is located. And under the charter of the United Nations, an attack against a nation’s citizens on its territory is an act of armed aggression that justifies retaliatory military action.
    An attack on an American synagogue is no different than an attack on the World Trade Center or on American aviation. We correctly regarded those attacks as acts of war committed by al Qaeda and facilitated by the government of Afghanistan, and we responded militarily. All American citizens, regardless of their religious affiliation, are equally entitled to the protection of the American military.
    U.S. retaliation could take the form of military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Though such action might be pre-emptive in its intention, it would be reactive as a
    matter of international law, since it would be in response to an armed attack by Iran. It wouldn’t require Security Council approval, since Article 51 of the U.N. Charter explicitly preserves the right of member nations to respond to any armed attack.
    This is not to argue against such an attack if Iran decides not to go after soft American targets. It may become necessary for our military to target Iranian nuclear facilities if economic sanctions and diplomatic efforts do not succeed and if the Iranian government decides to cross red lines by militarizing its nuclear program and placing it in deep underground bunkers. But the legal justification for such an attack would be somewhat different. It would be predominantly pre-emptive or preventive, though it would have reactive elements as well, since Iran has armed our enemies in Iraq and caused the death of many American soldiers.
    If Israel were compelled to act alone against Iran’s nuclear program, it too would be reacting as well as pre-empting, since Iran has effectively declared war against the Jewish state and its people. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently confirmed Iran’s role as Hezbollah’s active partner in its war against Israel, claiming that it “could not have been victorious” in its 2006 war without the military support of Tehran. Iran’s ongoing support of
    Hezbollah and Hamas, coupled with its direct participation in the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, constitute sufficient casus belli to justify a reactive Israeli military strike against the Iranian nuclear program.
    The best outcome, of course, would be to deter Iran from both foreign aggression and domestic nuclearization by making the costs too high, even for the most zealous or adventurous Iranian leaders. But for deterrence to succeed, where sanctions and other tactics appear to be failing, the threat of military action must be credible. Right now it is not, because Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other administration officials are sending mixed signals, not only with regard to the U.S. but also with regard to Israel.
    The administration must speak with an unambiguous and credible voice that leaves no doubt in the minds of Iranian leaders that America won’t tolerate attacks on our citizens or a nuclear-armed Iran. As George Washington wisely counseled in his second inaugural address, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”
    Mr. Dershowitz is a law professor at Harvard. His latest book is “Trials of Zion” (Grand Central Publishing, 2010).

  14. On Monday, Israeli embassy workers in the capital cities of India and Georgia were targeted in terrorist attacks that Israeli officials believe were planned and carried out by Iran and its client, the militant group Hezbollah. The bomb in Tbilisi was defused, but the bomb in New Delhi, planted in an embassy worker’s car, exploded and injured at least two.
    The Iranian Threat to New York City
    As the West’s conflict with Iran over its nuclear program heats up, New York City—with its large Jewish population—becomes an increasingly attractive target.
    Iran’s next target could well be on American soil. In Senate testimony last month, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated that Iranian officials “are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime.”
    As evidence, Mr. Clapper cited an alleged plot foiled last October in which a naturalized U.S. citizen of Iranian descent, directed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, hired a member of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. The plan involved blowing up a Washington, D.C., restaurant—potentially killing hundreds of Americans in the process.
    Iran has a proven record of using its official presence in a foreign city to coordinate attacks, which are then carried out by Hezbollah agents from abroad, often leveraging the local community—whether wittingly or not—as facilitators. Most notable are the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Israeli and Jewish targets in Argentina, which killed 29 and 85 people, respectively. The New York City Police Department, where I work as director of Intelligence Analysis, sent a team to Argentina to study the modus operandi of those attacks and to meet with Argentine security officials who worked the investigations. Coupled with open source information, this is what the NYPD learned:
    Iranian agents were sent to Argentina years before the attacks, where they integrated into society and became Argentine nationals. Mohsen Rabbani is believed to have been in charge of coordinating the 1994 attack and is subject to an Interpol arrest warrant for his involvement. He first came to Argentina in 1983, where he subsequently became the main imam at At-Tauhid, an Iranian-funded mosque in Buenos Aires.
    After traveling to Iran in August 1993 to participate in a meeting that allegedly gave the planned attack the green light, Mr. Rabbani returned to Argentina as a cultural attaché to the Iranian Embassy, conveniently providing him diplomatic immunity. Then, Hezbollah agents from abroad received logistical support from members of the local Lebanese-Shiite community and the Iranian Embassy to carry out the attack.
    The Argentine attacks were by no means isolated incidents. Hezbollah has been tied to failed attacks in 2009 against Israeli and Jewish interests in Azerbaijan, Egypt and Turkey. Last month, Thai officials arrested a suspected Hezbollah militant for possibly planning attacks there or perhaps facilitating the movement of weapons through Bangkok.
    The NYPD must assume that New York City could be targeted by Iran or Hezbollah. On Feb. 3, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatened that Iran “had its own tools” to respond to sanctions and threats of military action against it. Indeed, as the West’s conflict with Iran over its nuclear program continues to heat up, New York City—especially with its large Jewish population—becomes an increasingly attractive target.
    This is neither an idle nor a new threat. As one example of Iranian agents acting in New York, in 2004 two security guards attached to the Iranian mission to the United Nations were sent home by the State Department after being caught conducting surveillance of city subways and landmarks. Iran’s U.N. mission allows officials from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence to live and operate in New York with official diplomatic cover.
    Iran also has a presence in New York via the Alavi Foundation, a nonprofit ostensibly devoted to charity works and promoting Islamic culture. In December 2009, Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, described Alavi as having “effectively been a front for the government of Iran.” A contemporaneous complaint filed by Mr. Bharara’s office led to the seizure of Alavi’s assets—including the Islamic Institute of New York, the largest Shiite mosque in the city and the location most closely affiliated with Iran’s U.N. mission. The NYPD Intelligence Division also played a role during the initial stages of the Alavi investigation.
    Hezbollah and its supporters have a presence in New York and the surrounding area as well. In 2008, two Staten Island men pleaded guilty to providing material support to Hezbollah. Just down the road in Philadelphia, 26 people—including a former Brooklyn resident—were indicted in federal court in 2009 for conspiring to provide material support to the terrorist group.
    Lebanese-linked businesses in the tri-state area and elsewhere have been implicated in a massive money-laundering scheme benefiting Hezbollah. This scheme was revealed in a civil suit filed against several Lebanese financial institutions last December by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Meanwhile, at least 18 other Hezbollah-related cases have been brought in federal courts across the United States since 2000.
    Given the alleged plot against a foreign diplomat in Washington, Iran’s increasingly bellicose rhetoric and its long history of sponsoring terror attacks abroad, the NYPD must remain vigilant in attempting to detect and disrupt any attack by Iran or its proxies. Anything less would be abdicating our duty to protect New York City and its residents.
    Mr. Silber is director of intelligence analysis for the New York City Police Department

  15. http://www.mideastweb.org/zionism.htm (very complete detail)

    Zionism and Land – Several misconceptions about Zionism and land exist.

    The first is that Zionism did not particularly aim to settle the “Holy Land” (Palestine) and that Zionists were willing to settle in places such as East Africa and Cyprus. The latter were considered for a time as temporary asylums in order to alleviate the suffering of Russian Jews, but they were never accepted as end goals for settlement by the Zionist movement.

    In order to further the goal of settlement outside Palestine, Israel Zangwill left the Zionist movement and founded the Territorial Zionist movement, a separate political and ideological stream, that tried to secure a national home for the Jews in other territories. Zangwill also became a champion of immigration to America and of assimilation.

    Another myth is that Zionism aspires to extend the borders of Israel throughout the Middle East. Zionists certainly wanted the largest possible territory for the Jewish state, but the main goal was always to have a national home for the Jewish people within the ancient territory of Israel and Judea, and the Zionist movement accepted partition of the British mandate in 1922, a tiny truncated state offered in 1937 and the UN partition resolution of 1947.

    A peculiar claim of anti-Zionists offered as “proof” of “Zionist expansionism” is the claim that Israel is the only country whose constitution does not define its borders.

    Israel does not have a constitution, and many or most constitutions do not define the borders of the state, as for example the United States constitution. The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel does not declare its borders, but neither does the United States declaration of Independence.

    Herzl negotiated with the British regarding the possibility of settling the Jews on the island of Cyprus, the Sinai Peninsula, the El Arish region and Uganda. After the Kishinev pogroms, Herzl visited Russia in July 1903. He tried to persuade the Russian government to help the Zionists transfer Jews from Russia to Palestine.

    At the Sixth Zionist Congress Herzl proposed settlement in Uganda, on offer from the British, as a temporary “night refuge.” The idea met with sharp opposition, especially from the same Russian Jews that Herzl had thought to help. Though the congress passed the plan as a gesture of esteem for Herzl, it was not pursued seriously, and the initiative died after the plan was withdrawn.

    In his quest for a political solution, Herzl met with the king of Italy, who was encouraging, and with the Pope, who expressed opposition. A small group, the Jewish Territorial Organization (“Territorial Zionists”) led by Israel Zangwill, split with the Zionist movement in 1905, and attempted to establish a Jewish homeland wherever possible. The organization was dissolved in 1925.

    The insistence of Eastern European Jews on Palestine as the Jewish homeland, coupled with the failure of alternatives, maintained the focus of the Zionist movement on Palestine