Some Rules Only Apply To Israel
I know I’m a little late to it but this post by Hussein Ibish at Foreign Policy magazine’s website is an excellent example of the double standards to which Israel is held.
Ibish’s point is basically that Netanyahu is setting back the “peace process” (Definition- Noun, mythical being much like a unicorn) by insisting that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the “Jewish state”.
The idea that a state — or in this case a potential state — should participate in defining the national character of another is highly unusual, if not unique, in international relations. The Palestinian position, stated many times by President Mahmoud Abbas, is that the PLO recognizes Israel, and that Israel is free to define itself however it chooses.
There are several crucial concerns that make Palestinian acceptance of this new demand, particularly as a prerequisite to further negotiations, extremely difficult.
But what’s wrong with a party to a negotiation adding demands to get a better deal in the end? Why should Israel’s negotiating points be frozen in amber while the Palestinians are free to ignore their agreements, all the while trying to find new ways to force concessions from Israel?
an additional and quite recent complication to an already tangled knot
The Palestinians have never, until recently, threatened to go to the UN to seek recognition as a state outside the negotiating frame work with Israel (a step even the Obama administration rejects). Is that effort, which is doomed to failure, not, “an additional and quite recent complication to an already tangled knot”?
Remember the Wye River agreements in 1998?
The agreement allowed for the building of an international airport in the Gaza Strip. Israel agreed to pull back from an additional 13 percent of the West Bank and to release 750 Palestinian security prisoners. (Ultimately, only half of the pull-back is done and only 250 prisoners are released.) The Palestinian Authority agreed to combat terrorist organizations, arrest those involved in terrorism, and to collect all illegal weapons and explosives. (Little or none of this is ever done.)
Moreover, Palestinians are concerned that recognizing Israel as a Jewish state might be seen as endorsing discrimination against the Palestinian minority in Israel, which is approximately 20 percent of the population. They point out that Jewish Israelis do not agree at all on what the Jewish character of Israel means. Important sections of Israeli law, life, and society are structured in a discriminatory manner based on “nationality” (i.e., “Jewish,” “Arab,” and scores of other classifications made by the state) as opposed to citizenship. This discrimination applies to housing, education, military service and its many benefits, access to publicly owned lands and other important aspects of social and economic life. Palestinians are understandably uncomfortable with anything that might smack of acquiescence to these structures of discrimination that permeate Israeli society in favor of those classified by the state as “Jewish.”
This is weak tea for a number of reasons.
First, Netanyahu himself made hash of this in his speech to Congress.
Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they’re all citizens of Israel!
This is an irony people never seem to want to talk about.
And let’s be realistic, most Jews have been run out of Muslim, er, Arab countries in the Mideast. Why for example does Gaza have to be Judenfei?
More to the point, for all the supposed talk of Apartheid in Israel, I’ll take it a lot more seriously when this changes.
If tolerance is the most important virtue to modern day liberals, their beloved Palestinians fail to exhibit it on nearly every level.
Palestinian apologists who attack Netanyahu may want to consider this is a problem of their own making. Since the 2000 Camp David Summit with the rejection by the Palestinians of Ehud Barack’s offer and the Clinton “parameters”, successive Israeli governments have been increasingly conservative. Israelis are are free people and they regularly hold their elected government to task for failed policy initiatives (though they clearly like what Bibi is doing now). The Israeli people have given land but have yet to see any peace. This is the bitter fruit of the Palestinian miscalculation that Barack’s terms were a starting point from which they could force greater concessions. Ten years later we see that it was exactly the opposite.
The world now expects Israel to make good of the misjudgements of its enemies. There’s nothing new in that either. After all, Israel would still be living within the Palestinians precious ’67 borders if forces from nearly a dozen Arab states hadn’t lost a war they launched. No other country in history has ever been expected to give back land it won on the battlefield.
But as we know, some rules only apply to Israel.