Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Dear President Obama, Saying You are Speaking the Truth, and Actually Speaking the Truth, are Two Different Things.


Many Arab Muslims opine that Israel exists because of European atrocities committed in World War II. In Cairo last month, President Obama, in essence, agreed with this presumption regarding the existence of Israel. He stated, "The aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.”

President Obama’s statement is ignorant, untruthful, and disconcerting—disconcerting because many Muslims will simply never accept a Jewish homeland on “holy Islamic territory.” They feel Israel was imposed on them by outside colonial powers.

One can say the Romans came to Judea (present day Israel and environs) as a colonial power. One can say Arabs from present day Saudi Arabia came to present day Israel as a colonial power. But one cannot truthfully say Israel is a colonial power. This is the Jewish homeland. There is no other. In this land, the Jewish identity was forged.

President Obama needs to be more truthful in his rhetoric.

The truth President Obama should speak to Arabs across the Middle East is this: Israel is not a colonial power. Israel does not owe its existence to the hate and misery the world has heaped on Jews. The root of Israel’s existence is not tragedy. And finally, Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people.

Of course, I’m not holding my breath waiting for this President to be truthful with regard to Israel.

President Obama compounded his well crafted but egregious Cairo speech by pressuring Prime Minister Netanyahu to recognize a future Palestinian state in the West Bank.

The President can do this because Israel is not independently viable, and Prime Minister Netanyahu knows this. Reluctantly then, the Prime Minister agreed to accept a Palestinian state on the West Bank. Of course, Netanyahu made this concession contingent on many conditions, conditions that no Palestinian leader could ever accept.

As I’ve written previously, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s list of conditions are disrespectful to Palestinian Arabs. Though disrespectful, Netanyahu’s concession is also disheartening for the future of Israel. Here’s the reason why, in Netanyahu’s own words (December, 2002). It’s worth reading.

“The question is whether in a future settlement, the Palestinians would indeed enjoy self-rule. I, for one, have no desire whatever to rule over even a single Palestinian.

The question is whether we can agree that they have sovereign authority, power that goes beyond self-rule, which every country has. This power would include:

The right to have full control over borders, through which they could import unlimited arms and solders. States control their own air space – a Palestinian state would have the right to shoot down any Israeli plane overflying it without permission. States have the right to make military alliances with other countries – a Palestinian state would have the right to make such alliances with Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc. States control the water sources underground – a Palestinian state would have the right to control the mountain aquifer which supplies about 30 percent of Israel’s water and most of our drinking water. Even those who support the establishment of a Palestinian state are unwilling under any circumstances to give this power to the Palestinians. But the moment we agree to give them a state, that is exactly what we would be giving them!

It must be understood that sovereignty has its own power. Even if an agreement limiting certain sovereign rights were signed, within a short time, this Palestinian state would demand to have all these rights and would realize them, whether we agreed or not.

The world would not stand in the way of allowing the Palestinian state to appropriate all this authority, which would give it the power to destroy the State of Israel, but it would stand in our way if we tried to prevent it from realizing these rights.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu knows his words put Israel in peril. He knows that a Palestinian state on the West Bank makes Israel more vulnerable, and less viable, in many ways. He obviously felt he had no choice given the Obama presidency.

So what happens next? Netanyahu will stall for time and hope world events radically change the political situation. President Obama will continue to pressure Israel.

No doubt, Israel and Palestinian Arabs will be hurt. Only if President Obama recalibrates his thinking—for instance, because of recent events in Iran—can a future calamity be avoided.

President Obama saying he is speaking the truth, and actually speaking the truth, are two different things.

Here are some truths I wish would be at the center of future “peace” efforts.

1. Israeli Jews do not want to govern over Arabs.
2. Few, if any Arabs would choose to live under Jewish sovereignty if they could live in a democratic Arab state. (Not a possibility today).
3. There is plenty of room in the Middle East for everyone.
4. There is room for a Palestinian state somewhere (if Palestinian Arabs really want a separate state).
5. Israeli Jews want to live in a country that is self-sustaining.
6. Neither Israel nor a Palestinian state is viable in the territory world leaders are determined to allocate to each.

It is in the world’s best interest that Israel becomes larger, and that Palestinian Arabs be afforded the opportunity to live better lives. The formation of a feckless, non-viable mini-state won’t help better the lives of Palestinian Arabs (read my book!)

David Naggar

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