Obama and the 1967 Borders
Apparently, Obama touched a nerve by mentioning the 1967 borders. I listened to the speech and did not think much of it. Most of what I heard has been said before and was consistent with the two state solution proposal which I support. Frankly, I was a little surprised at the reaction to the 1967 borders comment by the president. A solution that has borders somewhere near the 1967 borders is so common in negotiation circles that no one who pays attention to these matters could have been surprised.
Netanyahu reacted strongly because he does not want to begin negotiations or assume that final borders will be along 1967 lines. Netanyahu would like to have an Israeli presence further east toward the Jordan River and makes a security argument. Such an argument is defensible. The vehemence toward Israel by the Arab world in general and the Palestinian Authority in particular is palpable. I have provided an abbreviation of a report below that demonstrates this point. The distortions of history and politics and culture are so great in Palestinian Authority media that it seems difficult to imagine sensible negotiation. In an earlier post I was supportive of the unity government between Hamas and the PLA. Others have joined me in believing that such a unity government must be developed before there can be any real conflict resolution. But I support the convergence of Hamas and the PLA only because I think it’s a necessary road to accommodation. Hamas clearly must evolve and accept Israel’s right to exist. As of now, they are a long way from that.
In the meantime, language and distortions such as that reported in the Palestinian media – see below – must change.
If you read the report, one can easily imagine the 1967 border lines as offering insufficient defense of Israel.
The full report can be retrieved at Isranet here.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL
IN PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY IDEOLOGY AND EDUCATION
Itamar Marcus & Harel Zioni
Palestinian Media Watch, May 18, 2011
On the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of Israel’s independence, Palestinian Media Watch has prepared a comprehensive report describing how the establishment of the state [of Israel] is depicted in the Palestinian Authority’s educational system and official media, both of which operate under the supervision of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The report documents how the establishment of Israel and its continued existence are demonized by spokesmen and representatives of the PA in the official controlled media.
The report does not include quotes from the media controlled by Hamas, since the Hamas position concerning Israel’s existence is well-known and its charter calls for the destruction of Israel. The aim of the report is to document the PA positions expressed in internal Palestinian discourse in Arabic that are not expressed to the outside world. The report focuses on statements by senior PA officials, columnists in the official PA press, and program hosts and reporters on PA TV, from 2010-2011.
“The Zionist gangs stole Palestine…and established the state of Israel”–this quote, from an official PA 12th Grade schoolbook, is an accurate depiction of how the PA educates its population to view the establishment of the State of Israel. Presenting the creation of the state as an act of theft and its continued existence as a historical injustice serves as the basis for the PA’s non-recognition of Israel’s right to exist.
In order to create an ideological basis for this, the PA denies there was an ancient Jewish history in the Land of Israel and also distorts modern history, presenting Zionism as a demonic Nazi-like phenomenon. In order to explain what made Jews come to Israel, since they claim there was no historical connection to draw them, Zionism is presented as a colonialist movement created by the West to further its interests.… Israel is further demonized through images and descriptions, such as “the foster child of the Nazis,” “an organized terror state,” “the cruelest enemy,” etc. Accordingly, the idea of the State of Israel ceasing to exist is presented as the achievement of justice.
Today, following the establishment of a Fatah and Hamas unity government, many countries are demanding that Hamas recognize Israel’s right to exist as a condition for the world’s recognition of their new government. Ironically, this very condition is violated daily by the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas.
1. “THE ZIONIST GANGS STOLE PALESTINE”
“The Zionist gangs stole Palestine” is a quote from a Palestinian Authority official 12th-Grade schoolbook. It encapsulates how the PA views–and educates its population to view–the establishment of the State of Israel.… The establishment of the state is presented as the result of crime, robbery and theft by foreigners with neither the right nor any historical connection to the place, with the deliberate aim of harming the Arab inhabitants of the land. The term “Zionist gangs” is prevalent in Palestinian discourse and refers to the generation that founded the state. The word “theft” refers to the acts of developing the land and establishing the state.
2. NOT RECOGNIZING ISRAEL’S RIGHT TO EXIST
In order to substantiate the claim that the establishment of the State of Israel was an act of theft, the PA engages in historical revision. The ancient Jewish history in the Land of Israel is erased, while modern Jewish history is distorted in order to present Zionism as a demonic phenomenon.
Thus, the PA leadership creates the ideological basis for negating Israel’s right to exist. PA spokesmen have claimed that the Jewish nation is an “invented nation,” intended to justify Zionism; this ignores the reality of Zionism as the expression of the aspirations of the Jewish people returning to its homeland. This…erasure of the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel results in the verdict that the State of Israel has no right to exist.
3. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL PRESENTED AS “COLONIALIST” PLAN
In order to explain Israel’s existence as a country of immigrants who have no connection with the land, the claim is made–in President Mahmoud Abbas’s name–that “the Zionist movement is not Jewish, nor did it flow from the desire of the Jews themselves; rather, it was an imperialist colonialist movement which sought to use the Jews and to enlist them for the benefit of the west’s colonialist plans.” (See source below.) In other words, the State of Israel is the result of an international imperialist plot. The PA argues that the countries of Europe (led by Britain) tried to rid themselves of the Jews, who were a burden to them. They wanted a foreign body in the heart of the Arab world and establishing a state for the Jews there served this colonialist purpose.
4. DEMONIC IMAGES AND DESCRIPTIONS OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL
The Palestinian Authority demonizes Israel through horrific visual images and descriptions….
The following are some examples:
Coordinator of the Prisoners’ Committee of the National and Islamic Parties, Yasser Mazhar, on behalf of the Committee: “Israel is the foster child of Nazism, and a strategic ally of racism, which has disappeared from the world–except for there.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 27, 2010]
Jamal Tamimi, a lecturer in communications at Al-Quds University, responding to the question, Where is Israel is headed? “To what is beyond Hitlerism, what is beyond fascism, what is beyond Nazism.” [PA TV (Fatah), Oct. 12, 2010]
Senior Fatah member, Marwan Barghouti, serving 5 life sentences in Israel for his involvement in terror activities, in an interview from prison: “The great Palestinian people–generators of the longest armed revolution in modern history, and proprietors of the two mightiest and greatest Intifadas in the region, facing the cruelest enemy and Zionist settlement colonialism that is unparalleled in the modern history of colonialism…” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 28, 2010]
5. JUSTICE WILL BE ACHIEVED WHEN ISRAEL CEASES TO EXIST
The Palestinian Authority policy is to present the conflict with Israel as a struggle between Palestinians who are said to be innocent, with justice on their side, and Israel, which is said to be oppressive and cruel, void of legitimate rights. For this reason, the PA objective–having a world without the State of Israel–is not perceived as negative or unjust towards the citizens of Israel. Rather, it is presented as the attainment of historical justice.