|Compromise Versus Victory…|
by Gerald A. Honigman
Speaking at a State Department conference recently regarding the history of American involvement
in Southeast Asia, former secretary of state and national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, basically summed up what we faced in Viet Nam by stating, "America wanted compromise…Hanoi wanted victory."
Right next to that AP story reporting the above conference in my local September 30th newspaper was an article about tensions mounting in the Middle East over Israel's ending its temporary building freeze in the disputed territories--including Jerusalem itself.
The reality, of course, is that there is no doubt that the same assessment which Kissinger gave for Viet Nam holds true for the Arab-Israeli conflict as well.
Jews living and building in Jerusalem should not be "news"--despite ups and downs of their numbers due to others' slaughter and expulsions of them over the centuries.
Jews have resided in Jerusalem since King David made it his capital over three millennia ago. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible many hundreds of times. It is not mentioned in the Arabs' Qur'an even once.
David's son, Solomon, built the Temple to G_d there, upon the very ground where, some sixteen centuries later, the next and latest imperial power to conquer the city--the Arabs--would cap their own temporary conquest by erecting a prominent Islamic shrine right on the very site of the Temple of the Jews' Holy of Holies--the Dome of the Rock. Now, think about that a bit in terms of the proposed "Ground Zero" Mosque...
No one, besides Jews, has ever made Jerusalem their capital nor made it the very centrality of their collective being. The very name for the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, Zionism, embodies this itself. Over the ages, Zion, a hill, became another word for Jerusalem and a reference to the Jews themselves.
Back to the current news regarding compromise and victory…
In recent history, the mistakes have been many on Israel's part--not that others did not force its hand, repeatedly, and especially those calling themselves "friends."
In the last several decades, the crucial moment occurred during the Camp David and Taba negotiations between Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak in 2000.
Up until that time, since the end of the June ("Six Day") War in 1967, successive American administrations held that Israel would never be forced back to the suicidal armistice lines imposed upon it in 1949. Presidents from both parties--despite the perpetual hostility towards Israel emanating from the State Department (which opposed Israel's rebirth right from the get-go)--held to the wisdom of the final draft of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, the primary basis for future peace-making between Arab and Jew in the region.
Despite all the debate over the wording of 242, it is clear to anyone who has actually read the writings of its architects (Lord Caradon, Eugene Rostow, etc.) that Israel was not expected to withdraw back to the deadly, absurd armistice lines of the status quo ante--from which it was repeatedly attacked and threatened. Those lines made it a mere nine to fifteen miles wide, an open invitation to be bisected by Arabs who refuse the rights of Jews to Israel, regardless of its size. That being the case, bigger is better.
Armistice lines simply mark the spot where fighting officially comes to a halt. The UN watched Israel being attacked by a half dozen Arab armies in 1948, did nothing, and only intervened after the Jews (at horrendous cost) finally turned the tide. It did so to limit Arab losses--not to stop their aggression. And that's how Israel became virtually invisible on a world globe.
After the Arabs renewed attempt on Israel's life in 1967, this was all supposed to change. During that spring, they blockaded Israel (a casus belli), amassed hundreds of thousands of troops, tanks, aircraft, and so forth right up to the armistice lines, ordered the UN peace keeping force out of Sinai, daily called for the extermination of the Jews and their lone, miniscule state, etc. and so forth. The Jews took them seriously--and in six days it was over…at least temporarily.
242 said that Israel was entitled to secure, defensible, real political borders (not armistice lines)--like any other nation expects. And any withdrawal at all from territories was to occur after treaties of real peace--not ceasefires--were concluded. Withdrawals were to be made in such a way that Israel would get far more security than it had in the past.
While the word "recognized" was/is also part of 242's language, Arabs refuse to recognize a state of the Jews that is nine-miles wide…so the chances of them granting recognition to anything larger are less than your getting hit in the derriere by Haley's Comet.
The point is...Israel does not need recognition from Arabs to exist within more reasonable and secure real borders--not the Auschwitz Lines it had to endure prior to '67.
At Camp David and Taba in 2000, President Clinton pressured Israel's Ehud Barak into relinquishing those secure borders promised by 242 in an offer to Arafat which would have returned far more than Israel was required to do. While Arafat refused the offer, it then became the starting point for all subsequent "negotiations."
Thus the problem…and it's not about apartment buildings nor building freezes.
Israel cannot get somewhat defensible, more secure, real borders unless the territorial compromise envisioned by 242 becomes reality.
To do this, Judeans--Jews--will have to be allowed to once again live, as they did for millennia up until their massacres by Arabs in the 1920s and 1930s, in Judea and Samaria. The latter also became known as the West Bank only since the days when British imperial shenanigans, during the last century, carved out the first Arab state in "Palestine" from almost 80% of the original 1920 Mandate in 1922.
To distinguish the Emirate of Transjordan on the east bank of the Jordan River (along with other related reasons of empire as well) from the rest of the Mandate, the term West Bank came into use. When that first Arab state in Palestine later conquered the non-apportioned (not "purely Arab," as Arabs contend) territory of the west bank during its attack of a new-born Israel in 1948, it changed its name to Jordan since it now held both banks of the river and was not just the entity "across" (trans-) it.
From 1948 until 1967, Jordan took possession of Judea and Samaria as Egypt did likewise with Gaza.
Note, please, that no second state for Arabs was created nor demanded during this time by the United Nations nor anyone else. Not to mention the fact that, in 1947, Arabs were indeed offered roughly half of the 20% of the original 1920 Mandate's territory left after the creation of Transjordan in 1922 and refused this next partition. 90% of the territory was not enough for Arab nationalism in its various stripes…Kilab yahud (Jew dogs) were entitled to nothing in Arab eyes--the same mindset which murderously subjugates scores of millions of the region's other non-Arab peoples to this very day as well.
As Kissinger told the tale of compromise vs. victory related to America's defeat in Viet Nam, recall that this story unfolded many thousands away from home--not in our very backyard. The enemy we faced did not seek our destruction nor deny our very right to exist. And we are a nation three thousand miles wide, over three hundred million strong, and separated from most potential enemies by two vast oceans which buffer us…You need a magnifying glass to find Israel on a map of the world.
Slanted, daily news stories, accusing Israel as jeopardizing alleged peace negotiations (aka, Jew arm-twisting) because it will not abandon 242's promise of relatively secure, defensible borders instead of a forced return to a former nine to fifteen- mile wide sub-rump state status created by earlier armistice lines, merely take their cues from what the world tells them--especially the White House and State Department.
Cues originating from most other sources can be ignored. The United Nations, for example, has become a bad joke in terms of pursuing any real justice for anyone else but Arabs in that region of the world. For such alleged fountains of morality, it's such things as Jews building and living in Jerusalem that's the problem--not Arabs who refuse to see justice in any other terms except for themselves. For the latter, there is no compromise in terms of Arab-Israeli "negotiations," and they have openly stated this repeatedly. Jews alone are expected to give while the Arabs' sole expectation is to take.
President Mahmoud Abbas and his team have said the above over and over again, and they have been supported in this approach to "negotiations" by the current American leader himself--not to mention the perennially anti-Israel State Department. President Obama has said several times--including before he was elected--that Israel would be crazy to reject the Saudi Peace Plan--the one that current "negotiations" are largely based upon. One of the main provisions of that plan demands a total return by Israel to the '49 Auschwitz lines.
Regardless, Israel must get the territorial compromise promised by 242. Other nations--including our own--have acquired territories and possessions thousands of miles away in the name of their own national security.
To achieve this, Jews must once again live in parts--not all--of Judea and Samaria (and perhaps elsewhere as well). And that brings us to the next major mistake (there were others) I want to mention before ending this analysis regarding Israel's moves…
Prime Minister Netanyahu should have never agreed to a temporary building freeze in the first place.
Regardless of the enormous pressure he was placed under, all that was achieved by doing so was to give the Arabs more of a taste for blood…like sharks detecting a wounded prey from far off.
In Arab eyes, like Israel's earlier unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, this was just another display of weakness, and it came at the cost--like Ehud Barak's forced abandonment of the promise of 242 by President Clinton in 2000--of further weakening Israel's demand for some semblance of justice.
The birth of the Arabs' twenty-second state and second, not first, one in "Palestine," should not require the suicide of the Jews' sole, resurrected nation. Yet that is what is expected, and when the Jews resist, they are called the impediments to peace, while Arabs are given a free pass.
The enemies israel faces see only victory in their plans…not compromise.
Kissinger's words regarding Viet Nam must be reflected upon seriously, for they explain what the real obstacles in the current and any future negotiations in the Middle East are--and will remain to be--all about.