(February 6, 2023 / JNS) It’s hardly a new story for the international narrative regarding Israel to be rife with factual errors and misunderstandings. Yet now, in the midst of considerable turmoil, distortions regarding Israel’s interactions with the Palestinian Arabs are particularly troublesome and counterproductive.
It comes as no surprise that statements made by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his recent visit to Israel displayed astonishingly skewed perceptions of Israel’s position. Of course, he was simply advancing the line of the Biden administration and, in broad terms, much of the Western world.
Still, while Blinken’s statements were not surprising, they did highlight an ongoing problem.
To begin with, Blinken declared that his immediate goal is “calming the tensions” between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs “instead of inflaming them.” He added, “We’re urging all sides now to take urgent steps to restore calm, to deescalate.”
How has it eluded Blinken that the only way to restore calm is for Israeli forces to defeat terrorists at every juncture? We must not deescalate. We must make it clear to all forces intent on hurting Jews that they will be countered. That Blinken even implies that Israel should pull back when Arab terrorists clearly have no intention of doing so is insulting. He seems to be suggesting that if we were “nice” then the terrorists would change their ways. This is a leftist delusion.
Blinken also set to work promoting the defunct “two-state solution.”
“Our goal is to bring about equality between the Israeli and Palestinian citizens, who will both enjoy the same freedoms,” he said. “Anything that takes us away from a two-state solution is harmful to Israel’s long-term security.”
As to the presence of a Palestinian state adjacent to Israel bringing long-term security, he could not be more wrong. Apparently, he has not noticed that the logo of the Palestinian Authority shows “Palestine” as constituting the entire Land of Israel.
Blinken also does not seem to be familiar with the Palestinian National Charter, which says, “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it.”
Clearly, there is no provision here for sharing the land with the Jews in any way.
Lastly, Blinken’s comment about Israeli and Palestinian citizens enjoying the same freedoms is an oft-repeated mantra of his. Elsewhere he has stated, “Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy.”
Unfortunately, the idea that providing the Palestinian Arabs with a state would, by definition, enable them to secure freedom, security, prosperity and democracy is an illusion.
Freedom? The Palestinian Authority, which would presumably lead the new state, denies its citizens basic human rights.
Prosperity? The Palestinian Arabs have secured more largesse per capita from the international community than any other group. There is no prosperity, however, because P.A. leaders are notoriously corrupt and pocket large sums of aid money rather than investing in development.
Democracy? There is no tradition of democracy in the P.A. Its leader Mahmoud Abbas is still in power even though he was elected to a four-year term in 2005.
Some years ago, when doing research for an article, I attempted to discover if the rumor was true that parliamentary elections for the P.A. were going to be held. I called a P.A. office and spoke to a clerk who told me that, yes, there would be elections.
In an effort to be friendly, I said, “You must be excited, there haven’t been elections in some time.” To which he replied, “We had elections once, we don’t need them again.”
It is not difficult to understand why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his public appearance with Blinken, made no attempt to counter some of Blinken’s assertions. Netanyahu’s focus was on Iran and he wants to bring the U.S. on board with his position. He seems to have succeeded. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant subsequently praised a new level of defense cooperation with the U.S. in regard to Iran.
There is little else to say other than to express gratitude for a government in Israel that understands these issues and will stand strong in the face of American and international pressure. It is regrettable that the U.S. and others make it so difficult to do so.
Arlene Kushner is a freelance writer, investigative journalist and author. She has written books on the PLO and Ethiopian Jews, and major reports on UNRWA. She is a co-founder of the Legal Grounds Campaign, which provides courses to law students regarding Israel’s legal rights in the Land of Israel. Her blog, focusing on political and security concerns in Israel, can be found at www.arlenefromisrael.info.
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