Monday, June 13, 2011


Arlene Kushner

It is coming not from one source, but from multiple analysts -- including some with impeccable credentials:

The Obama administration is leaning on Israel to accept what Obama proposed regarding the '67 lines (the armistice lines of '49, although they are not referred to as such) as the starting point for negotiations.

Says Eli Lake in the Washington Times:

"Steven Simon, the new White House National Security Council senior director for the Middle East and North Africa, told representatives of the American Jewish community Friday during a conference call: 'We have a month to see if we can work something out with the Israelis and Palestinians as accepting these principles as a basis for negotiations. If that happens we are somewhat confident that the Palestinians will drop what they intend to do in the UN.'" "...The request of Mr. Netanyahu to publicly endorse those lines was made June 6 to the prime minister’s top peace negotiator, Yitzhak Molcho, at a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the National Security Council, according to an Israeli diplomat based in Jerusalem."


What is unprintable, then, is my response to this tactic of Obama, designed to protect him from the public "embarrassment" (before the Muslim world, that is) of vetoing in the Security Council any PA attempt to unilaterally establish a state via that venue.

That it represents a gross injustice to Israel is beside the point for him. That pushing us back to indefensible borders represents a security threat to the Jewish state is also apparently irrelevant -- in spite of the fact that he has repeatedly declared an undying commitment to Israel's security concerns.

But...I've covered all of this ground in previous postings.


It seems that Obama was not listening when Netanyahu told him no, and no again, we are not going back to those '67 lines.

Or, perhaps he was listening but refused to take the Israeli prime minister at his word. In point of fact, several readers have sent me "inside" information -- which I declined to cite directly because it was not solidly documented -- regarding Obama's alleged private fury that Netanyahu would have responded as he did. Not solidly documented, but sure fits the pattern.


Jonathan Tobin, writing in Commentary, has this to say about the Obama ploy:

"While the administration is trying to sell this pressure as being part of a master plan to head off a vote in the UN on Palestinian statehood, the administration is misjudging both the Palestinians and the diplomatic situation.

"It should have already been made clear to both Obama and Clinton that any time they call for a unilateral Israeli concession in the hope that it will entice the Palestinians to return to peace talks, their move has the opposite effect. Obama's calls for settlement freezes in the West Bank and Jerusalem only caused the Palestinians to adopt these as preconditions for talks. The same is now true of the president's ill-advised emphasis on the 1967 lines.

"Since the Palestinian Authority knows that it cannot sign a peace accord recognizing the legitimacy of Israel no matter where its borders may be drawn, they will seize upon any excuse not to talk and Obama has supplied them with just what they wanted.

"Moreover, the reported desperation of the Americans to avoid casting a veto in the UN of the Palestinian attempt to gain a state without recognizing Israel and ending the conflict is also misplaced. Appeasing the Palestinians in this manner will damage Israel's position..."’s-not-done-hammering-israel-on-1967-lines/


The good news is manifold, however.

First, and most importantly, Israel is not going to agree to start negotiations based on this premise. Even more so is this the case when Fatah has not renounced its intention to form a unity government with Hamas. And, I must note, there has been no call from Obama for Fatah to do so, which means that he seems to think he might get Israel to the table with a government that includes Hamas.

And then, the American administration appears committed to that "distasteful" veto even if Israel does not agree to the Obama premise.


Add to this the fact that the Germans have decided they are not eager to back a unilateral PA move:

Development Minister Dirk Niebel has told Der Spiegel magazine that he and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle would be conducting a high-level diplomatic mission to the Middle East, to try to convince PA leaders to drop plans to gain UN recognition for an independent state: "We must convince the Palestinians that a unilateral declaration of independence is the wrong way to go."

Germany is a major European player and this has to be a blow to the PA.


The PA, for its part, anticipating the US veto of its efforts in the Security Council, is considering an alternate approach. What's important in this regard, it seems to me, is simply clarifying that what is being discussed is absolute nonsense:

According to Al Hayat, Nabil Sha'ath, PA negotiator, has explained that the PA may demand the implementation of the 1947 Partition Plan as it was proposed in General Assembly Resolution 181.

In 1947, Great Britain, weary of its role with regard to the Mandate for Palestine -- which called for establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine from the river to the sea, with dense Jewish settlement to be encouraged -- turned the situation over to the General Assembly. Great Britain had been charged with responsibility for the Mandate by the League of Nations, but the UN had assumed all responsibility for League actions.

In Resolution 181, the General Assembly recommended to Great Britain that Palestine be partitioned into states for the Jews and the Arabs. Recommended: this is the operative word here. That resolution carries no weight in international law.


What is more, while the Jews -- eager to take what they could get! -- readily accepted this recommendation, the Arabs refused it because they did not want to give legitimacy to a Jewish state. So now, 64 years after the Arabs turned down the opportunity for a state in Palestine, they want to enact this recommendation??

Says Sha'ath: Even though the Partition Plan called for two states, "Israel announced its independence unilaterally and was recognized by the UN."

Give me a break! The Jews announced on the lines specified by the Plan. Nothing stopped the Arabs from announcing their state alongside. Nothing but Arab intransigence.


And here we come, again, to a serious misrepresentation of reality. The UN, while it recommended the formation of a Jewish state, did not "recognize" Israel (that is, bring it into existence). Israel came into being by virtue of its declaration of independence. The UN subsequently accepted Israel as a member of the UN, which is another matter. Sha'ath is, deliberately, I have no doubt, conflating two issues:

"Even if the US uses the veto, there will be 131 UN members that recognize Palestine. The US then won't be able to stop these countries from treating us as a state."

But the PA doesn't need the General Assembly for this. It simply has to declare a state and wait on recognition by various other states. What the US can, and will do, is block the membership in the UN of such a state, should it be declared.


A few points should be made here, before we move to other subjects (undoubtedly to return to this in due course).

The PA speaks about the Partition Plan with a very specific and devious intent -- not because it needs the UN to "recognize" a state:

Israel declared independence on the area that the UN General Assembly had recommended. Then the Arab League attacked, and in the course of the ensuing war, the area of Israel was somewhat enlarged. Whatever additional area was taken was legitimate because it was in the course of a purely defensive war. Subsequent to that war, armistice agreements were signed recognizing armistice lines (with the understanding that final borders would be negotiated at some point in the future). These lines are essentially what is meant by the '67 lines -- the lines that defined Israel until the 1967 Six Day War.

The point here is that the Partition borders and the 1949 armistice lines (i.e., the '67 lines) are not the same thing.

Make no mistake about this: What the PA is saying is, Oh, you won't agree to go back to the '67 lines, we'll fix you. We'll remind the world that all you had originally were the lines circumscribing a smaller area as defined by the General Assembly Partition Plan. We'll push you back to that.

(Of course, the PA is demanding Jerusalem as its capital, but under the Partition Plan Jerusalem was to be internationalized -- NOT part of an Arab state -- with a referendum to be held at a future time. But why would the PA allow facts to get in its way?)


I cannot let this discussion end without making one very specific point: When Israel agreed to accept the area defined by the Partition Plan, as deficient as it was with regard to what had originally been promised under the Mandate, it was an expression of the eagerness by Zionist leaders to bring a Jewish state, of whatever size was possible, into reality. We'll take it! was the cry.

Compare this please, with the constant harping by the Palestinian Arabs that this offer was no good and that offer was not sufficient. There is a palpable lack of eagerness to bring that state into existence -- in spite of the shockingly generous terms that were offered first by Ehud Barak and then by Ehud Olmert. Their constant refrain is, Not good enough yet! We intend to have it all.


JINSA in its latest Report, # 1098, addresses another issue with regard to the PA and the UN:

In essence what it says is that the Palestinian Arabs may be pushing too hard this time. Until now it was easy to cut the PA slack --"to prevent the Arabs from paying the price of their rejection of the independence of Israel in 1948" -- because it didn't affect any other countries.

But now UN member states suddenly realize that bending the UN rules in order to recognize a Palestinian state "might work against them as they face secessionist movements of their own."

"There are 37 recognized and recognizable secessionist movements in Africa. There are 65 in Asia, including 13 in Burma, five in China (Uighurs, Tibetans and Mongolians among them). Russia straddles continents and faces five secessionist movements in Asian Russia and 13 more in European Russia, including Chechens. The rest of Europe has more than 50, including 18 in Italy and nine in Spain. France has four irredentist movements, four secessionist movements, five autonomist movements and several movements to change the borders of Departments. There is one each in Poland, the Netherlands, Romania and Switzerland..."

Suddenly what the PA wants of the UN, which would set a precedent, might not seem like such a good idea. Interesting, indeed.


Yale University has just decided to close the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of anti-Semitism, a move that has generated considerable concern.

See Caroline Glick's take on it here:

"...The move has been widely criticized as politically motivated. For its part, the university claims that the move was the result of purely academic considerations.

"While not clear-cut, an analysis of the story lends to the conclusion that politics were in all likelihood the decisive factor in the decision. And the implications of Yale's move for the scholarly inquiry into anti-Semitism are deeply troubling."

Subsequent to this piece, Glick made one correction that I note here:

"...I mistakenly wrote that YIISA was the only institute in a North American university dedicated to the study of anti-Semitism. As it turns out, there is another one at Indiana University run by Prof. Alvin Rosenfeld. I had heard of the center, but was under the impression that it was still in the planning phases. So sorry for the error and congratulations to Indiana University for doing the right thing."


Please, also see this June 10th article, "Reclaiming a historical truth," by Efraim Karsh, the very fine historian who has recently assumed the position of director of the Middle East Forum.

This is a piece that sets the record straight, and merits broad sharing. Documenting the fact that many Arabs in 1947 and 1948 fled Israel at the bidding of their own leaders, or were driven out by the "Arab Liberation Army" that had entered Palestine before the end of the Mandate, it puts the lie to the Arab myth of Nakba -- that Jews drove the Arabs out.


"The Good News Corner"

A group of scientists, headed by Professor Michael Ovadia, of the zoology department in the life sciences faculty of Tel Aviv University, have isolated a substance from cinnamon that inhibits Alzheimer's disease in rats. The promise for human beings is considerable, but further study is necessary.

The substance in cinnamon not only inhibits the creation of amyloid molecules (that form fibers that interfere with brain function), but also breaks down those that already exist -- suggesting curative as well as preventative properties.

One of the reasons for excitement here is because cinnamon is a natural substance without side effects in controlled quantities. Professor Ovadia is already drinking tea with the cinnamon extract in it, but warns that those who want to try this should not ingest more than 10 grams of cinnamon a day. That's a lot of cinnamon.

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

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