Sunday, June 14, 2009

What Netanyahu is right about

Netanyahu's speech today set out the Zionist point of view as well and as honestly as could be asked or imagined.

The problem is that most people in the region, Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians, do not agree with Netanyahu or other Zionists on many points about the legitimacy and necessity of Israel as a Jewish state.

This is an actual dispute between Israel's region and Israel. The US can, at great cost, work to ensure that Israel's side of the dispute prevails. But the cost of propping up Netanyahu's vision of a Jewish state is becoming increasingly expensive. As I've written before, Obama and Clinton are both worried, rightly, that there will come a point where the US is no longer able to bear the expense of ensuring that Israel continues as a Jewish state.

But following are excerpts and responses to Netanyahu's speech given Sunday June 14, 2009:

[Netanyahu] The simple truth is that the root of the conflict has been - and remains - the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish People to its own state in its historical homeland.

Yes. This is the root of the conflict. Netanyahu believes that the Jewish People have a right to a state. Obama agrees. Most Egyptians do not believe there is a group right of the Jewish People that supercedes, or ever superceded, either the right of Palestinians to deny the creation of a Jewish state where they lived in 1948 or the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the territory with full rights today.

This simple truth means that Egypt from now on can never have a government that represents the ideals and values of Egyptian people as long as this disagreement with Netanyahu and Obama remains. Keeping the leadership of Egypt under control against the sensibilities of the Egyptian people is far too expensive, by itself, for Israel to do and so it needs constant US assistance. Of course the previous statements are equally true for Jordanians, Iraqis and across the Middle East.

[Netanyahu] The right to establish our sovereign state here, in the Land of Israel, arises from one simple fact: Eretz Israel is the birthplace of the Jewish People.
Wow. A person raised in Israel, who interacts mostly with other Zionists probably has no idea how unreasonable, even crazy, this sounds. This is an idea that can only be sold in Israel's region by force.

[Netanyahu] This is why we are now asking our friends in the international community, headed by the USA, for what is necessary for our security, that in any peace agreement, the Palestinian area must be demilitarized. No army, no control of air space. Real effective measures to prevent arms coming in, not what's going on now in Gaza. The Palestinians cannot make military treaties.

So we are talking about a reservation like that of the US Native Americans, territory with nominal independence but under the military control of its owning power. But at least we are openly talking about that. It will be very difficult to get this passed in a referendum.

[Netanyahu] I call upon Arab leaders and Palestinian leaders: Let's go in the path of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein.
Sadat and Hussein's paths depended on the fact that these dictators did not have to worry about putting their agreements to electorates. Sadat and Hussein are the ultimate examples of dictatorial regimes exploiting the conflict between Palestinians and Zionists to ensure Western, especially US support. It seems as if that is the plan for either Abbas or a successor to be chosen by the US and Israel.

Over the long term, Netanyahu's vision is just not viable in Israel's region. If Egypt is kept under a US financed dictatorship for 60 more years, when Egypt after that comes under control of Egyptians it will render Netanyahu's idea of a state for the Jewish People immediately non-viable.

Netanyahu's speech is actually the best possible argument for a one-state solution that may not necessarily have a Jewish majority but that will not require a constellation of friendly unpopular dictatorships (what Netanyahu describes as a "circle of peace") for its continued existence.

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