As a result of that it also attracted the notice of a certain blogger in the Council, Big Lizards. While I have neither the time or the interest in this devolving into a blogwar, suffice it to say that this person devoted a considerable amount of time and electrons to what amounted to a `factual' attack on the piece in question, as well as..oh let's be kind and call it my motivations for writing it.
These `facts' he raised I feel need an answer and merit this one post and this one post only...not as a pushback,per se, but hopefully to shed a bit of light on the subject.
Big Lizards starts out by referring to me as `one of those Israel boosters' and wonders whether I'm posting `from here ( meaning the US) or there'(meaning Israel). I hate to disillusion anyone, but this site does not originate from Mossad headquarters, and there's no `dual loyalty' or question of my patriotism involved here. Like a lot of Americans, I simply happen to think that the strategic partnership between the US and Israel has been exceptionally good for both countries, that Israel is one of America's most valuable and important allies, that Israel is a major front in the War on Jihad and that creating another terrorist enclave with US largess and weakening an ally like Israel is folly.
This person goes on to suggest that George W. Bush is `the most pro-Israel president America has ever had' and that I consider him to be `Israel's enemy' .
In fact, President Bush is not Israel's `enemy', (we haven't had a truly anti-Israel president since the execrable Jimmy Carter) but he's extremely challenged on the issue. In my opinion, he's far from the most pro-Israel president we've ever had...that distinction belongs to Richard Nixon, with Ronald Reagan as a close second.
President Bush is severely conflicted on this issue as he is on so many others. Part of his psyche is extremely pro-Israel,( and it's also been good for him politically, since a lot of evangelicals and indeed most Americans are pro-Israel) but it conflicts with his family's long time relationship with people like the Saudis and the UAE, his family history and most importantly, the relationship of people like the Saudis and the UAE to his family's money, i.e. the Carlyle group. This conflict explains the considerable gap between President Bush's deeds and his actions on a number of fronts. Some examples:
- The president campaigned in 2000 saying that he would move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem..and has blocked it ever since he's been in the White House, even in the face of congressional legislation.
- The president famously said `you're either with us, or with the terrorists' when formulating the Bush Doctrine. He's conspicuously failed to apply that to the Palestinians, among others, especially when it comes to Fatah. As a matter of fact, Secretary of State Condi Rice actually met with the Tanzim.
- The president formulated a document known as `the Road Map' as a Middle East peace formula without any input from Israel ( or Jews, for that matter) whatsoever, although several Arabs and Arab-Americans had a major part in it. He then put together an entity known as `the Quartet', consisting of three anti-Israel partners (the EU, the UN, and Russia) and one pro-Israel partner ( The US) to implement something that directly affected Israel's security. Ariel Sharon of Israel accepted the Roadmap, but with certain conditions outlined in a letter to the president, which included a united Jerusalem as Israel's capital and incorporation of long standing Jewish communities such as Ariel and Gush Etzion as part of Israel, which the president accepted...and is now trying to renege on, using the weakest and most corrupt leader in Israel's history as a tool.
- The Roadmap had a number of conditions for both the Israelis and Palestinians to meet, and the president, in his famous June 24th speech said explicitly that the Palestinians could not expect support from the US for a state unless they met those conditions, including an end to terrorism against Israel's civilians. They have yet to meet any of those conditions,yet the US is still providing them with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military and civilian aid, much of which has ended up going to Hamas.
- The president and Condi Rice put considerable pressure on Israel to withdraw from Gaza as a `sacrifice for peace' and created a fictional network of security guarantees involving Egypt and the Palestinians to control the borders..none of which were kept in the least, with the result that Israel is now subjected to daily rocket and mortar attacks on its territory from the Palestinians. Neither Egypt nor the Palestinians have suffered in the least for this failure at the hands of the US. In fact Israel is being pressured for additional concessions as I write this, as the Bush Administration appears to have acquiesced to the Saudi peace ultimatum in full.
Big Lizards then goes on to attack as factually false the premise of my piece, that asking Israel to give up Judea and Samaria and half of Jerusalem is analogous to the US giving up Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona as a `sacrifice to peace' to create a second Mexican state, Atzlan.
Actually, the analogy is fairly decent. While this person may ridicule the idea of the reconquista movement simply because they're not quite firing rockets at us or blowing up pizza parlors yet, I provided a link to one extremely well established group, MeCha, that believes exactly that and has the current mayor of Los Angeles as an alumnus member and there are a number of adherents here in America. Big Lizards should do a search on this, particularly in American academia. And perhaps on terrorism by the likes of the Zetas on our borders. The idea that the American Southwest is part of Mexico is also rather widespread on the other side of the border, as one might guess from the respect given our sovereignty by Mexico. Of course, that's another one of those issues the president appears to be conflicted on.
Big Lizards goes on by misusing a certain amount of history to prove his point, referring to the 1967 occupation of the area in question by Israel and comparing it with the US acquisition of the four states in question after the Mexican War.
In fact, there was no `occupation' by Israel, since that term commonly refers to land owned by another country taken in war, like Sinai, or California, no matter what Ariel Sharon or Ehud Olmert had to say about it. And the areas in question, Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem were never a part of any country legally, since the Arabs never accepted any part of Palestine as being part of Israel and rejected the 1948 UN partition out of hand. In fact, it was Jordan, aided by British arms and officers who occupied this area illegally, ethnically cleansed it of Jews and annexed it, an annexation that was only recognized by Britain and the other Arab countries but nowhere else, not even by the UN.
Since Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem contained a great deal of Jewish land legally purchased from the Arabs (the Gush Etzion bloc and Ariel, among others) through the Jewish National fund, one could make a strong legal case that Israel was merely retrieving stolen property.I don't expect Big Lizards was aware of that.
This blogger goes on and makes the point that Israel never annexed Judea, Samaria or East Jerusalem and therefore has no claim. He's incorrect when it comes to East Jerusalem, but I would also make the point that Israel annexing anything is a moot point, since the Arab bloc in the UN and their willing enablers would never recognize it regardless - and Jerusalem and the Golan, which Israel has also annexed and is now being leaned on by the US to return to Syria are good examples of why this is a moot and frankly disingenuous point on his part.
Another aspect of this is that the US actually invaded and defeated Mexico and forced the Mexicans to sue for peace on America's terms and end the conflict.Israel has always been stopped short of total victory by the UN and the US because of concern over Arab `humiliation'.
He then further states that Jews were never a majority of the population in Judea, Samaria or East Jerusalem and that these areas always had a majority Arab population. This is demonstrably false. I would refer this person to Joan Peter's prize winning book, `From Time Immemorial' which cites original Ottoman and British sources for the census on the population of these areas as well as Dr. Giv Kornfeld's sadly out of print `Origins of Palestine'. Most of the area in question was a depopulated wasteland until the Jews began emigrating in force in the 1880's. The Ottomans actually encouraged the Jews to enter, because they felt that they might actually make something of the place and create a reasonable yield in taxes. And Jerusalem was always a Jewish majority city until the Jordanians ethnically cleansed the Jews from the Old City and created what the AP and al-Reuters refer to as `traditionally Arab East Jerusalem.'
The vast majority of the Arab population came to Palestine from places like Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and the Hejaz, especially during WWII, when almost a third of the Jewish population was in uniform fighting for the allies and the British allowed unlimited Arab emigration to Palestine - while denying it to Jews.Yasir Arafat, an Egyptian who grew up in Cairo and later magically became a `Palestinian' is a perfect example.
The areas of Judea and Samaria were likewise desolate until the Jews moved there and created a garden, on land they purchased from the Arabs at exorbitant prices. They've now returned to many of the places they originally settled and were driven out of in 1948.
Big Lizards is again perhaps unaware of the fact that in the original 1947 UN Partition - which the Jews accepted and the Arabs rejected - 90% of the land alloted to the Jews had a clear Jewish majority, despite the fact that the British did everything they could to prohibit Jewish immigration and encourage unlimited Arab immigration, even arming and facilitating the Arabs in their attempt at a second Holocaust in 1948. If the Arabs made the choice to attack and lost some territory as a result, it's hardly an injustice or an `occupation'. Choices have consequences and the Casino of History rarely gives you back your chips......unless we're talking about the special rules of the game established for Israel and the Arabs.
As for the Arabs themselves, they now want someone else's land returned to them - now that it's worth having - as a matter of `peace' and `justice'...exactly the stance of the reconquitas.
Again, Big Lizards has unfortunately swallowed the dinosaur media's script on this issue, just as with the so-called `occupation'. I can't truly blame him, since the Arabs have spent millions of dollars foisting this notion on the world, and most people aren't aware of some of the history of the region.
My entire point in writing the essay. `Land for Peace - American Style' was a simple one..that the Bush Administration is leaning on Israel to make concessions for `peace' that they would never consider asking the people of the US to make.
Big Lizard's outraged reaction to the notion is the proof of that, if nothing else. Hopefully, this will enable him to see the other side of things.
The main premise of people like Big Lizards is that appeasement of the Arabs and enfranchising the Palestinians will lead to peace in the region. The sad reality is that the Arabs are mainly concerned with weakening Israel so as to speed its demise...and what's more, they've never made a secret of it.
The central issue of Middle East peace isn't `occupation', or a second Arab Palestinian state. It's the inability of the Arabs to live next to Jews in peace and equality. As Israel has proven, the reverse is certainly not the case.
That's the real key to Middle East peace, in a nutshell. And it has nothing to do with the Palestinians.