Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mr. President, It’s Time To Think Outside Of The Box


The box President Bush refuses to think his way out of is the two-state solution confined to Israel and the territories.

Hamas’ takeover in Gaza, and Fatah’s takeover in the West Bank have dealt a blow to the advocates of the two-state solution. But it has provided them with a perceived opportunity.

In the coming months we are likely to witness one more STRONG push to cement a two-state solution.

But such a “solution” cannot work in the long run, even if an independent Palestinian State is forcibly created and billions of aid money is bestowed upon it. This “solution,” if it comes about, will seriously weaken and imperil Israel, will serve to ruin the lives of many Palestinian Arabs, and will ultimately bring the world that much closer to a regional conflagration.

It is a pity that President Bush no longer appreciates the significance of his own principled words from 2003.

“Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe, because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place for stagnation, resentment and violence for export.”

The President abandoned his words in Iraq. Somewhere along the line, when the fight to win became difficult, the United States looked to cut deals with mini local tyrants who have non-democratic agendas. The willingness of the U.S. to cut deals—and purchase stability at the expense of liberty—was perceived by all as weakness.

As Tony Blair said back in 2003: “weakness in the face of a threat from a tyrant, is the surest way not to peace but to war.”

This applies to all tyrants, big and small, and whether in kaffiyeh or a business suit.

The principle abandoned in Iraq is now ignored in Israel and the territories because the fair election of Hamas—a group that wouldn’t say it accepts the existence of Israel, when it doesn’t—led to “inconvenient” problems for Washington.

Take a look at the new American tactic with respect to the Palestinians. President Bush has decided to choose sides between tyrants. He has decided to back Fatah’s dubiously created unelected government in the West Bank. This is the perceived opportunity to salvage the “two-state solution.”

How shortsighted.

We’ve come along way since the days when the PLO was treated as a pariah for its terrorist activities. It is now, once again, the benefactor of U.S. largess.

Since being resurrected from near death in 1993 by the Oslo-accords, the PLO in guise of the PA has received, according to noted historian Michael Oren, more international aid than any entity in modern history. It has abused this aid by buying weapons, maintaining in the West Bank the highest percentage of policemen-to-population ratio in the world, and stuffing its leaders’ private bank accounts.

Expecting Fatah to reform itself financially, ideologically and structurally defies all past experience.

It is oxymoronic—dare I say un-American—for the United States to side with and prop up one essentially anti-American non-democratic group (Fatah) in a fight with another anti-American non-democratic group (Hamas).

But this is exactly what the United States is doing.

And unfortunately the Israeli government is right there to help.

As the leader of a U.S. dependent State in mortal danger, perhaps Prime Minster Olmert (may he soon be replaced) has no real choice but to go along with President Bush in propping up the remnants of Yasser Arafat’s organization. But it sure smells.

Perhaps the Prime Minister figures that going along with the U.S., in exchange for the extra aid/bribe money Israel will receive for doing so, is worthwhile since the American endeavor is likely to fail anyway.

One thing is sure: a truncated Israel will need all the extra bribe money it can get. A truncated Israel will not be viable. It will not be strong into the future.

In the Middle East, the Western proclivity to seek expedience and compromise to solve problems has proved to be a long and unending road. This path hasn’t worked.

Utterly defeating the enemy and imposing terms of unconditional surrender is painful, but it is the shorter and only road to peace. It will free the millions who simply want to live decent lives with their families.

Who is the enemy? Those who will not support the ideal of live and let live but rather, insist on destroying it. Those who wish to see Israel, the United States, and the rest of modern civilization destroyed, and seek out means to do so. Those who will not make fair room in the Middle East for Israel to thrive, not merely survive. Those who will not grant the Palestinian Arabs citizenship or a State of their own in the vast Arab lands that are 1 ½ times the size of the United States, and 99.8% the size of Israel and the territories.

Mr. President, propping up a regime such as Fatah is unworthy of America.

Propping up Fatah does not serve the Palestinians, Israel, or prospects for long-term peace between Israel and her many Arab neighbors.

The forced implementation of the two-state solution is a path to ruin.

Mr. President, it is time to think outside of the box.

--David Naggar

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What Do Regional Shopping Centers Have To Do With The Case For A Larger Israel?


In his new book, Threshold Resistance, American shopping mall pioneer A. Alfred Taubman, describes the difficulty he had over 50 years ago convincing retailers such as Macy’s that his new concept—regional malls—would work.

Imagine the difficulty he faced trying to convince smaller retailers that are found inside the mall to give up their street store fronts altogether? The fact that malls work for stores and customers may seem obvious today, but this was not the case back then. In fact, it was counterintuitive at the time. Mr. Taubman and a few other retail pioneers had the foresight that changed humanity’s shopping experience around the world.

But it wasn’t easy. Mr. Taubman had to overcome what he called threshold resistance with retailers, bankers and civic leaders.

Getting people over a threshold so that they will even listen to a new idea is extremely hard when the old way of doing things, or thinking about things, is so entrenched.

Like Mr. Taubman’s successful efforts in the shopping center arena, the case for a larger Israel must overcome tremendous threshold resistance—threshold resistance that simply causes most people to dismiss the idea before it is presented.

Here are a few threshold resistance points I’ve heard from many who actually support the Jewish State:

1. The Arab States will never agree to a larger Israel, so it’s a waste of time to discuss it.
2. The international community will never agree to a larger Israel, so be practical.
3. It isn’t feasible (or fair) because of the Palestinians who live there.
4. If Singapore can succeed in a small space, so can Israel.
5. It’s a land grab: the same as Nazi Germany.

The above is STRONG threshold resistance to the case I make for a larger Israel.

But imagine the threshold resistance all democratic reform leaders throughout the Soviet Union heard before the Soviet Empire crumbled.

Imagine the threshold resistance Mahatma Gandhi heard when he said the British would one day leave India.

Imagine the threshold resistance Chaim Weizmann or Theodor Herzl heard in their pursuit for world recognition of any Jewish entity at all.

Well I’m sure they heard plenty, and they proceeded to overcome threshold resistance anyway.

As Mr. Taubman writes in his book, the most difficult challenges can be overcome if they are understood and confronted forcefully.

Many of yesterday’s casually dismissed ideas are today’s conventional wisdom. Remember when anyone advocating that Israel talks to the PLO was vilified? Pendulums swing.

Before dismissing my ideas for reframing the Middle East debate as errant or unrealistic, know that merely giving them a fair public hearing will strengthen Israel when the day comes to negotiate a durable peace with the Arab and Muslim world.

I believe a larger, viable Israel will in the long run benefit Israel and Jews, Arabs and Muslims, and all of humanity as well.

Allow me the opportunity overcome your threshold resistance.

Please have a look at my book, The Case for a Larger Israel. It is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from your local bookstore. While I prefer that you buy a copy so that you can display it on your coffee table and more easily discuss it with your friends and neighbors, it is also available for free at

--David Naggar

(Note: Some people have suggested that making the book available for free takes away the perceived value and harms the seriousness with which its ideas are taken. I bet Mr. Taubman would agree with this. I hope you don't.)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Three Wrongs Don’t Make a Right; Pursuing Three Wrongs Won’t Bring Peace, Dr. Rice


“The Palestinian issue "is at the core of a lot of problems in the region," Rice said. She said, "There is no substitute for trying to get to the place where the Palestinians finally have their state and the Israelis finally have a neighbor who can live in peace and security with them."

The "Israeli-Palestinian track is extremely important" because it "unlocks the key" to "further engagement between the Arabs and the Israelis," Rice said.” By staff, the Jerusalem Post 5.30/07

* * *

Sadly, Dr. Rice is flat out wrong—three times.

She is wrong when she says: The Palestinian issue is at the core of a lot of problems in the region.

At the core of SOME of the regional problems is that Arabs throughout the region would like to see Israel’s existence extinguished. The Palestinian issue is a manifestation of this. It is one effect of the larger problem, not the cause of the problem.

She is wrong when she says: There is no substitute for trying to get to the place where the Palestinians finally have their state and the Israelis finally have a neighbor who can live in peace and security with them.

There are indeed substitutes, Dr. Rice. Better substitutes.

Whether or not Palestinians have “their” State shows the blind eye of a Western leader regarding States. Dr. Rice seemingly fails to recognize that the majority of Palestinians are a subset of a larger Muslim group who (1) don’t particularly identity with the Western concept of Nation States, and (2) would strongly prefer that Israel be removed from “the Muslim world.”

Whether Palestinians have a State of their own, or are invited to settle in with the larger group in the vast neighboring lands (to be first class citizens of an imposed, but not appreciated Western concept State), or are allowed by international consensus to join in the establishment of a peaceful Caliphate which reverses the travesty of the British and French imposed regional borders, the goal ought to be to make sure Palestinian lives are better (without perpetual UN, US or international support), and to make sure Israel is viable in all respects.

The truth is that a separate Palestinian State may temporarily serve the international community’s interest in the current world order, but it is unlikely to serve the Palestinians. It won’t serve Israel. And it won’t serve peace.

Finally, Dr. Rice is wrong a third time when she says: The "Israeli-Palestinian track is extremely important because it unlocks the key to further engagement between the Arabs and the Israelis.

The key to further engagement between Israel and the Arabs, at least the kind of engagement that leads to true peace, will be the unmistakable conviction by Arabs that Israel isn’t going anywhere, ever.

This will not occur with a truncated Israel as envisioned by Dr. Rice. A truncated Israel will be seen by its neighbors as weakened and vulnerable. History is a pretty conclusive guide that this is no incentive to peace. Only a strong Israel will lead to peace.

If Dr. Rice wants to unlock the key to further engagement, she should spend her time in the Arab/Muslim world promoting the establishment of Islamic learning centers that teach about Israel’s legitimate place in the Middle East.

Until Dr. Rice revisits her thinking, American peace efforts will be unproductive. Her three wrongs don’t make a right; pursuing her three wrongs won’t bring peace.

--David Naggar