Déjà vu

“Westerners habitually and ignorantly misconceive the responses they are likely to encounter from the Arabs, unsuitably and even laughably projecting their own political and moral attitudes where these cannot apply.” [David Pryce-Jones]

Donald Trump no less than any other leader, seems to think that he can resolve the Arab-Israel conflict through Abbas. The answer must lie on his total lack of judgment despite his creative abilities. Following on Trump’s recent visit to the Middle East, there is need to assess to what extent he will recall his previous pronouncements and to prophecy its impact on the future.

David Horovitz, Times of Israel editor-in-chief’s “ For now, Trump’s peacemaking approach is all unfounded optimism” of May 25, 2017, as a statement, does indeed capture the mood of the moment. However, his follow up is exceedingly surprising for a man of his stature. “The former administration experts on our region, and the best brains the US think tanks can produce — thus far, at least, almost none of them has been drawn into the Trump administration brain trust.” Since Horovitz clearly has in mind the likes of Dan Kurtzer, Aaron Miller and Denis Ross, former Secretary of State Jim Baker’s Jewish advisers, who were routinely called “Court Jews” one must question “best brains”. Engaging the same failed policy over and over again ad nausea is hardly consistent with intelligence.

Who could possibly forget Martin Indyk, Henry Kissinger, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and more recently Dan Shapiro? The words of German philosopher,Theodor Lessing as informed in his 1930 book on Jewish self-hatred wrings out to us; “The Jewish people are the first and perhaps the only nation that always seeks guilt only in themselves.”

Dennis Prager’s March 2017 address to the IAC Conference echoes the same theme in that he unequivocally asserts that Americans who desire to criticize Israel, must make Aliyah. Michael Laitman in a Jerusalem Post column of March 30, 2017, reminds us that if there is any hatred more enigmatic than antisemitism, it is Jewish antisemitism. He points to our self-hatred as being sinister, an undying fountain, but it will not dry out until we find its trigger and defuse it.

Of all the Jewish detractors, Kurtzer at one time a dean of Yeshiva University origin of bias originated during his graduate school days. In his PhD dissertation [Columbia University, 1976] Kurtzer said Israel’s counter-terror actions were the “catalysts to interstate violence”, and blamed Israel for “radicalization of the Palestinians to violence”. Throughout the dissertation, Kurtzer referred to Palestinian Arab terrorists as “guerrillas”, not as terrorists – even though he was discussing the groups that carried out such horrific massacres as the Lod Airport massacre of Puerto Rican tourists and the slaughter of Israeli athletes [including an American] at the Munich Olympics. It can be said that already at the time, Daniel Kurtzer represented a continuum of old, tired, and failed policy of fruitlessly trying to appease Yasir Arafat and his terrorist dictatorship.

Following the 20th anniversary of the failed Oslo Accords in 2013, he was given to express the view that the US should “now lay out very strong parameters that define quite narrowly the issues still to be negotiated—-” One can summarize Daniel Kurtzer such as “—has a track record of pushing for Palestinian rights [using] his Jewishness as a protective cover for his anti-Israel views” and “refusing to include the PLO in the peace process—-constituted the main obstacle to peace” crowd the history literature on the Arab-Israel conflict.

No great science is required in that problem resolution necessitates an understanding of its origin. Anshel Pfeffer writing in the Guardian of November 20, 2014 recognized the crux of the problem. He pointed to the conflict not being just about land but being a bitter religious war. To Pfeffer, the massacre in a Jerusalem synagogue of 4 rabbis and a police officer earlier in the week, plus 1 of 7 injured male worshipers who died 11 months later, was what “a religious war looks like” and typical of occurrences elsewhere in the Middle East. He notes that the first major clashes in the last century between Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land were not sparked by the establishment of new Jewish agricultural settlements, but by disputes over prayer rights at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. He also recalls similar murders in European synagogues in the early 80’s.

In conclusion, Pfeffer states that by acknowledging the extent to which both Palestinian and Israeli leaders exploit religious feelings, this would be a step towards holding them accountable for the actions of extremists within their own camps. One could question the moral equivalence.

Eric R. Mandel, on March 29, 2017, provided a sequel to Anshel Pfeffer in a Jerusalem Post Op Ed, “The West’s Refusal to Recognize the Religious Basis for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”He offers an interesting observation in projecting a future Palestinian state having Islam as the dominant aspect of its governing system, despite western wishful thinking to the contrary. In referencing Trump’s “great real-estate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians, Mandel opines that one cannot have an “ultimate deal” if not factoring in the primary Islamic roots of the conflict.

The Palestinians have a way of engaging in double speak by having Americans believe that if only Israel returns the “stolen land over the 67 borders”, all will be well. Over and over again, past US administrations have convinced themselves that they can solve the subject conflict. For over 100 years the strategy has been one of territorial division advocated by the western powers and Arab claims to being indigenous to the Land of Israel.

Understanding the meaning of religion provides a ready comprehension as to the non-acceptance of the generous offers to the Palestinians by Barak and Olmert. What has largely been forgotten is that neither Egypt nor Jordan accepted Israel as a Jewish state. Why then express surprise at Abbas’ refusal?

Leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist groups met in Gaza during May, 2017 to preserve Palestinian rights in the face of any schemes to eradicate the Palestinian cause. Mahmoud Zahar, the Hamas leader specifically stated Palestinian “principles are part of our [Islamic] religion, and we cannot make any concessions on them. We will not give one inch of our land and holy sites. We will continue to work until the liberation of each inch of Palestine.”

Donald Trump, prior to his electoral victory promised to eliminate the 800 plus page Obamacare on the 1st day of entering the White House. This, of course, could not and did not happen. He also pledged to relocate the US embassy in Tel Aviv and nos has elected to delay this event for 6 months. What does he anticipate will occur during this period? The “unfounded optimism” referred to by David Horovitz is rapidly diminishing.

How will Trump face up the charge Saeb Erekat’s claims that the Palestinians are the indigenous people of Palestine? It is doubtful that he would ask him of the Palestinian whereabouts at the time of the Jewish wars against the Romans during the Temple times. In his now willing to entertain a supposed two state solution, has he any idea of Mahmoud Abbas’ past? That he was known as “Arafat in a western suit”, an admirer of Arafat and a faithful servant of his. Known for supporting terrorism, financing them and encouraging continuous incitement against Israel despite commitments made under the Oslo Accords. Trump’s limited understanding of the minds of Muslims with talks of deals as if they are westerners makes him hardly a match for Abbas.

During his conversations with Abbas, it is most unlikely that Trump had in mind some of the worst acts of barbarism and savagery caused by the PLO, Hamas and their affiliates.

On March 11, 1978, the eve of PM Menachem Begin’s planned departure for the US for peace discussions with Egypt , a group of eleven Palestinian terrorists, who had departed from Lebanon by boat, landed on a beach head north of Tel Aviv and embarked on one of the worst terrorist attacks in Israel’s history, the Coastal Road massacre. They killed 38 civilians, including 17 children, before a shootout with the Israeli police ended the attack. The intention of the murderess was meant to derail the planned peace talks between Israel and Egypt.

Regarded as one of the most brutal terrorist attacks in Israel’s history, on April 22, 1979, at the age of 16, Sami Kuntar participated in the killing of an Israeli policeman and the deaths of four Israelis in Nahariya. He took 31 year old Danny Haran and his 4 year old daughter Einat to a nearby beach where he shot Danny at close range, dragged him into the sea to assure his death by drowning, watched by Einat and then killed her by smashing her skull against the rocks aide by the butt of his rifle. Newsweek remarked that the details of Kuntar’s attack were “so sickening that they give pause to some of Israel’s enemies.”

On Sept. 9, 2003, Dr. David Applebaum and his daughter Nava from Cleveland were slain in a bombing in a popular restaurant in Jerusalem right before her wedding. Both were among the seven Israelis killed in the suicide bombing. In the past, Dr. Appelbaum, who had moved from the US, was often among the first to treat terror victims.” He would appear at the site of every attack, volunteer, get in the ambulance to evacuate the injured to the emergency room” said Dr. Kobi Assaf, director of the emergency at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, in Jerusalem

“He would appear at the site of every attack, volunteer, get in the ambulances to evacuate the injured to the emergency room,” said Dr. Kobi Assaf, director of the emergency room at Hadassah Ein Karem hospital, also in Jerusalem. Dr. Applebaum founded the Terem immediate Care Center., which revolutionized emergency care in Jerusalem.

March 11, 2011: Five members of the Fogel were cruelly massacred in cold blood in their own home by two terrorists from the neighboring village of Awarta. Toys strewn everywhere, broken glass covering the floor, and five members of the family surrounded by pools of blood. This is the crime scene that 12 year old Tamar found upon returning home to the town of Itamar.

“Why the “two state solution” hasn’t worked, and can’t”; “When it comes to territorial compromise, Israel doesn’t have a choice” and “Ex UN envoy John Bolton to J Post – Trump has no chance at Ultimate Peace Deal” newspaper headlines reflect a comprehension on the part of Israel’ citizenry. By embracing the two state solution and in accepting Abbas as an effective Arab leader, Trump hardly differs in his approach to resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict.

We learn from Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA that as recently as 2 June, 2017 that the “Best Case Scenario” Allen Plan was questioned in terms of under mining Israel. Apparently, in the first weeks after US President Donald Trump entered the White House, his special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process Jason Greenblatt, held a number of meetings with past peace negotiators – including former officials in the Obama administration . They discussed “the Allen plan” named after US Marine Corps General John Allen, who was charged with creating a plan to address “the day after the establishment of a Palestinian state! Seems like placing the cart before the horse.

Now, Sam Soloman’s plan, practically of the same name which appeared in the Jerusalem Post, dated May 17, 2017 is substantive. He assumes quite correctly that Trump will fail for the same reasons that all his predecessors did and that I Israel should have a fall back position, designated Plan B. This would entail Israel extending full sovereignty over Area C of the West Bank, granting the same rights to all Israeli citizens living there – nearly 460,000 – as well as a vetted pathway to citizenship for Arabs living
there – of whom there are less than 100,000. This plan is consistent with peaceful coexistence embracing human rights, dignity and security. Subsequently, Areas A and B could be addressed in concert with Jordan and Saudi Arabia..

Following a complete dissertation on “Why the ‘two state solution” hasn’t worked, and can’t”, Moshe Dann in his JPost peace of May 23, 2017, draws attention to a confederated Israeli-Palestinian- Jordan model, similar to that which the PLO approved in 1985 – based on local Palestinian self-government, minus statehood. This would remove Abbas and resemble an improved Begin autonomy arrangement.

John Bolton in his “—Trump has no chance at ultimate peace deal” of May 29, 2017 [JPost], said both Hamas and the PA were not viable peace interlocutors and that any two-state solution would lead to a terror state or an anarchic state. He proposed “giving Gaza to Egypt “ and dividing the West Bank between Jordan and Israel.

Of the many aids Donald Trump has, who will provide him the necessary background to deal with a two state solution that is not? Who will hand him a copy of David Pryce’s “The Closed Circle – An Interpretation of the Arabs” or”Making David into Goliath – How the World Turned Against Israel” or a treatise on Arafat’s Phased Plan of 1974 – using diplomacy instead [?] of terrorism [“Any step of liberation is a link in realizing the strategy of the PLO for the establishment of a Palestine-democratic [?] State, as resolved by the previous Councils]”?

Mr. Trump don’t believe the myth that the Jews were forced into the diaspora by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70AD and then, , 1,800 years later, suddenly returned to Palestine, demanding the country back. It is not reality. In fact, the Jewish people have maintained ties to their historic homeland for more than 3,700 years. Who else has maintained a nation language and a distinct civilization for this period? The territory we have has been re-captured in defensive wars and the international community has granted us political sovereignty in Palestine.

Donald Trump is undoubtedly a highly creative individual, although given to reckless verbal expressions at times. He deserves the necessary support to avoid his becoming an idiot like John Kerry.

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.