By David Isaac
In a 1983 article, “Washington’s ‘Arab mistake,’” Shmuel Katz writes, “The ignorance displayed by today’s world statesmen about elementary, often crucial, facts – particularly in foreign affairs – has lost the power to astonish. The Middle East, about which they all pontificate so readily, is a specially fertile field for their fatuities. Most important here inevitably are the pronouncements of American spokesmen, directly involved as they are in its problems.”
Katz was referring to statements by Former Secretaries of State Alexander Haig and George Shultz and Former President Jimmy Carter. But he would have said the same thing of Vice President Joe Biden, who stated at a press conference with the PA President, that:
“Our administration is fully committed to the Palestinian people and to achieving a Palestinian state that is independent, viable, and contiguous. … Everyone should know by now, that there is no viable alternative to a two-state solution, which must be an integral part of any comprehensive peace plan.”
This outrageous plan, which, if put into effect, would mean stripping Israel of its historic heartland in Judea and Samaria, robbing it of its strategic depth and returning it to the 1949 Armistice lines – what even the noted pacifist Abba Eban described as “Auschwitz borders.” On top of which, no one seems bothered by the fact that a “contiguous” Palestinian State means cutting the Jewish State in two.
To add insult to injury, Biden condemned an announcement by Israel’s interior ministry that same day to build 1,600 new homes in “East Jerusalem.” “The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now,” Biden said. To show his disapproval, he arrived 90 minutes late to a dinner, snubbing Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Shmuel would say, as he had many times before, that this should finally put to rest the dangerous notion that America is, or ever was, an “honest broker.” What emerges from an examination of American-Israel relations is that regardless of whether the U.S. administration is friendly toward Israel (George W. Bush), or hostile (Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama), each one accepts the same false premise that a two-state solution – which returns Israel to the dangerously vulnerable borders of 1949 – is the answer.
What Shmuel wrote in a 1983 article “Lessons for Reagan” is equally applicable now:
“American policy hitherto has taken no account of the fact that for 19 years (1948 to 1967) Judea and Samaria were in the hands of the Arabs, illegally annexed and ruled by Jordan.
“Yet nobody (not even the PLO) then even hinted that here was the home of a “Palestinian people,” thirsting for self-determination. Nor do the American policy-makers remember that precisely the control of the territory by Jordan made attractive the idea of war on tiny Israel.
“The absence of Jews from Judea and Samaria after 1948 did not bring peace. It brought war – in 1967.
“For an American president to persist in the demand that Jews refrain from making their homes in Judea and Samaria because it is not helpful to the peace process is not only to perpetuate one of the great hoaxes of the century, and an attack on the national rights of the Jewish people in its homeland; it is an insult to the intelligence.”
As destructive as American pressure is, worse is Israel’s repeated collapse in the face of such pressure, which merely invites more. Take the reaction of Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai to Biden’s criticism of the planned construction:
“We had no intention, no desire, to offend or taunt an important man like the vice president during his visit,” Yishai told Israel Radio. “I am very sorry for the embarrassment. We need to remember that approvals are done according to law even if the timing was wrong. … Next time we need to take timing into account.”
And Netanyahu, after being kept waiting 90 minutes by a sulking Vice President, reportedly apologized for the timing of the announcement, too, which he said also took him off guard, and assured Biden that he had no intention of sabotaging his visit, nor did he have any plans to begin construction soon.
That this is how sovereign leaders of a supposedly nationalist government should react after being told that they can’t build homes in their own capital beggars belief. Whatever the reason, whether Israel’s leaders don’t feel they can stand up to America, or fear losing economic assistance – that the “tap might be turned off” – the truth is that their weak-kneed response betrays the real, broad American support they have.
As poll after poll demonstrates – most recently one by Gallup on Feb. 26 showing 63% of Americans favor Israel over Palestinian Arabs in the conflict – America is squarely in Israel’s camp. It’s American policy crafted by the State Department that favors the Arabs. The State Department is not America. It can be faced, and with the help of the American people, defeated.
Only the day before Biden’s visit, Netanyahu addressed a summit of Christian Zionists in Jerusalem. He told them to stay the course in their defense of Israel. No doubt, his words boosted their morale. But wouldn’t it boost it still more to lead by example?
Biden’s visit was a missed opportunity in a long line of missed opportunities to put the lie to the scam that is the two-state solution. Netanyahu should have explained that the two-state solution is nothing more than the two-phase solution for Israel’s destruction. Indeed, in his conversation with Vice President Biden, the prime minister could have quoted nearly verbatim from Shmuel Katz:
“If the United States wishes to avoid further embarrassing debacles it must make up its mind first of all that at this moment there is no “solution” to the Arab-Israeli dispute; and that if it wishes to help bring about a solution in the course of time it must insist that the Arab nation give up its purpose of annihilating the Jewish state; that it content itself with its own 22 component states, and that the Arabs of Palestine content themselves with their one state in eastern Palestine, called Jordan.”
“Holding out such a prospect is purely more closely in keeping with the American ethic than its present promotion of Arab doctrines and policies which, it so happens, aim at the destruction of the State of Israel and the attempted dispersal or genocide of its people.”