Greenblatt, Kushner and the lessons not yet learned

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” [ George Santayana ]

According to a report in Haaretz on June 3, 2016,within a few weeks of President Trump entering the White House, his assigned representative for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Jason Greenblatt held several meetings with previous peace negotiators, and in particular, former officials in the Obama administration. So much for rejecting Obama’s plans!

The subject meetings were rather lengthy and Greenblatt was briefed about a detailed security program following the establishment of a Palestinian state, referred to as “the Allen plan”, named after retired US Marine Corps General John Allen, charged with its creation.

As noted by Haaretz, despite being written by dozens of US officials and experts over a period of many months, “was never presented to the public, and most of its contents have remained secret—–.” Why then would you make this your commencement point? The answer, can only suggest – what else would you expect from novices?

With H.R. McMaster at the helm, they even delved into two two other security plans created over the last year, one by former IDF General Gadi Shami, who was the commander of Israel’s Central Command and the other by “Commanders for Israel’s Security””, an organization consisting of former senior IDF officers , both plans having ideas and concepts based on the Allen Plan.

The most updated version of the plan was presented to Netanyahu and Ya’alon in 2014 at a meeting in the prime minister’s office. Both he and Ya’alon raised many questions. At one time, the latter referred to Kerry as “obsessive and messianic”, surely an understatement, while dismissing Allen and his plan. Ya’alon subsequently apologized to Allen.

One unnamed Israeli participant insight-fully observed, “They didn’t understand the impact of our list of traumas in the wake of what happened after Oslo, the Gaza disengagement, and the regional instability.”

Today, what has become particularly troubling, after Trump’s reaching out to Israel, is his display of warmth towards the PA President Mahmoud Abbas, whom he welcomed at the White House and whom he visited in Bethlehem. Mort Klein who heads the ZOA, had this to say, “I’m disappointed he brought a guy, who rewards terrorists who murder Jews to the White House, as known for the PA subsidies for families of jailed and killed terrorists.”

Speaking on the final day of the World Summit on Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Avi Dichter, no hawk, lamented, “Twenty-four years after the Oslo Agreements were signed, we must admit, the Oslo Agreement failed. ———-We are more threatened today by Palestinian terror than we were before the agreements that were signed in September 1993.” One is forced to ask the question why negotiate with the man once looked upon as Arafat in a western suit, a Holocaust denier in an earlier era and a financier of the Munich massacre.

Perhaps the greatest interpretation of the enigma Trump’s behavior is afforded by the Wall Street’s John Podhoretz in his brilliant Commentary essay, of August 14, 2017 “Explaining Trump’s Chancellorsville Behavior”.By way of explanation, Podhoretz commences his masterful analysis through Trump’s climb to election.”One of the mysteries of Trump’s rise in 2015 was just how meteoric it was.”

Podhoretz then looks into whose early support for Trump represented a key role in leading others to regard him seriously and assisted in propelling him into the nomination. In examining Trump’s root of support, he found that within a month he gained 14%. Even more importantly, those early supporters had been primed to rally to him for a long time. Trump reached out to a group of disaffected Americans entirely on the margins of American life, politically and culturally and organizationally.

Over the years with the guidance of political guru Roger Stone, Trump built a powerful and loyal following through what could be called “the proletarian media.”He made use of radio shows, National Enquirer, , the Star, the Sun, Weekly World and talking heads like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

Trump became known for promoting the “birther issue” a major one for a month in 2011 on “Meet the Press” and “Good Morning America” on network TV. His relationship with the Post and the Daily News was replaced in time by a different relationship with a different kind of tabloid media. In this, one should not lose sight of the fact that there was a time when the Post outsold the New York Times in Manhattan.

He appealed to a nucleus and what they knew is that he didn’t dismiss them. “They knew he was listening to them.” They were also aware he desired to talk to them and wanted to hear from them. Bottom line in John Podhoretz’s assessment is that the real Trump “was the one we saw on Saturday when he decided to condemn violence ‘on both sides’ in repose to the deliberately provocative and intentionally violent neo-Nazi march——when he decided to refer to the events as ‘sad’— and when he wished ‘ best regards’ to those injured by the car—-.When he acted in that way, he was operating according to his instinct.”

To be sure, Mr. Trump is no racist. One could refer to him as having questionable judgment, as being foolish at times, at talking before thinking and at overdoing his reference to self, but never a racist. Apparently, however, there is large segment of the US populous who prefer Islam First to America First. And too many of them are marginal Jews.

If Greenblatt and Kushner truly want to succeed, on the Arab-Israeli Conflict, they need to look beyond hackneyed politicians. Already back on August 09, 2005, Rachel Neuwirth had penned her “Win-Win solution” to the conflict. It represented thinking out of the box as relevant as it is today. Perhaps even more so now, given certain key Arab states willing to accept Israel’s existence. At the onset, she sets out 4 demonstrably false arguments:

[1] Israel should trade “land for peace” to create yet another Arab country.
[2] The “Palestinians” are a distinct separate people who deserve their own country.
[3] WE can have a viable “Palestinian” state in the so-called West Bank and Gaza next to a viable Israel.
[4] The Arabs were betrayed by the British. In fact, they gained possession of 22 countries and 5 million square miles legitimately and this cannot be challenged.

Neuwirth refers to these senseless myths which propose to invent a people that never was, seize land from Jews having virtually no land, transferring the little Jewish land to those with too much land coupled with unrelenting murderous hatred, and then allowing them to grow in numbers subject to suffocation inside of a coffin-size territory – all in the name of peace and justice!

Such is the thinking in this insane world. “The [Bush] Road Map guarantees a lose-lose outcome – we need a win-win outcome.”

Rachel Neuwirth points to Saudi Arabia’s 800,000 square miles and very low population density of only 33 per square mile vs. 1,000 for Israel including the territories. She continues with , “A modest 4% of Saudi Arabia, some 30,000 square miles should be set aside for a new Palestinian state. It would be 13 times the size of the present Palestinian area proposed under the Road Map and would have ample space for natural growth.

Neuwirth correctly remarks that it is time to demand that the Saudis make a major contribution to the subject conflict since they significantly contributed to it.

These words come from British author Richard Mather, a freelance journalist ;.”Until it is acknowledged by the UN and other bodies that a Jewish people and not the Arabs are the indigenous inhabitants of Eretz Israel; it is going to be difficult to break the impasse of anti-Jewish prejudice that is the real obstacle to peace.” They represent the introductory comments in his Op-Ed, “So-called Palestinians have no history in Israel – except as terrorists” published on January 7, 2017.One has to wonder when, if ever, work of this nature will find its way to Trump’s ME emissaries.

Daniel Pipes, a historian who has served in the US departments of State and Defense is the president of the ME Forum, has taught at the University of Chicago , Harvard, Pepperdine, and at the US Naval War College offers yet another well reasoned approach to the given conflict , framed as a question “Peace Process or War Process?”

He commences by noting that there were 14 US government failed initiatives during the two George W. Bush administrations and the Obama approach, displaying a touching, if naive approach which did not encourage any more hope of success. Pipes assured opinion is that failure resulted from an Israeli illusion about avoiding war and that Washington should urge Jerusalem to forego negotiations and instead return to its earlier and more successful policy of fighting for victory.

A review of the consequence of Oslo and the Gaza disengagement surely demonstrates Pipe’s wisdom. Comparing pre-Oslo and the consequence thereof , Pipes notes that the Palestinians benefited from the rule of law and had a growing economy, independent of international welfare. They enjoyed functioning schools and hospitals; they traveled without checkpoints and had free access to Israeli territory. They even founded several universities. Terrorism declined as acceptance of Israel increased.

In support of his ideas, Daniel Pipes offers a profound thought contrary to Rabin’s outlook; “Peace nearly always requires one side in a conflict to be defeated and thus give up its goals. He is able to assemble a multitude of examples. He quotes the ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu, “Let your great object [in war] be victory”,his 19 century Prussian successor, Karl von Clausewitz in 1832, “War is an act of violence to compel the enemy to fulfill our will”and Douglas MacArthur in 1951, “—war, there is no substitute for victory.”

Pipes review of the past Israeli leadership leaves one to understand that they aimed to finesse war rather than win it. “Not one of them addressed the need to break the Palestinian will to fight..” Palestinians have come to perceive Israel as economically and militarily strong but morally and politically weak. Unlike most Israelis, Uzi Landau, as a rare exception, has argued that “—when you’re in a war you want to win the war.”

Daniel Pipes is a realist and fully understands the hard work of winning. In this, he recalls the defeatist words of Olmert’s proclamation, “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning; we are tired of defeating our enemies” and subsequently, as PM, “Peace is achieved thorough concessions.” How much greater encouragement did Israel’s enemies need?

Unlike the observation of the Shalom Center’s Yoram Hazony who has characterized Israelis as “—an exhausted people, confused and without direction”, Israelis will require through deterrence- the tedious task of convincing Palestinians and others that the Jewish state will endure and that dreams of elimination will fail.

Trump has shown himself receptive to Israel’s desires and thus Israel must demonstrate the alternative way for an effective resolution which cannot succeed through the creation of yet another Arab state. To aid and abet Israel, Trump must direct his aids to consult truly knowledgeable individuals. They should fall into one of the following categories; security, history and international law.

Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer and author of “The attempted murder of the Jewish state” [Politico] and “The Counterfeit Arabs” [Arutz Sheva 20/11/2013]. Quoting from the latter:

They are the ones who call themselves “Palestinians.” “They are indistinguishable from those Arabs who live in the surrounding artificial states such as Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia or the other entities throughout the ME created by the colonial powers, France and Britain.”A few points made by Sharpe in his comprehensive essay:

[1] No such name as Palestine occurs in any ancient document.
[2]There is no “Palestinian” people ever mentioned, not even by the Romans who invented the term.
[3]” Never forget this one point. There is no such thing as a Palestinian people, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria. You are an integral part of the Syrian people. Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefor, it is we , the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people.” [Syrian dictator Hafez Assad to the PLO leader Yasser Arafat].
[4] “The country had remained ‘The Holy Land’ in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants – both Jewish and Arab.”[The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913]

Colonel Richard Kemp spent most of his 30 year career in the British army commanding front-line troops in fighting terrorism and insurgency in hot spots, including Iraq, the Balkans, South Asia and Northern Island. He was commander of British forces in Afghanistan in 2003. From 2002-2006 he headed the international terrorism team at the Joint Intelligence Committee of the British Prime Minister’s Office. His paper “Israel’s Security and Unintended Consequences” of October 24, 2014 speaks volumes to today. A glimpse into its contents: from this righteous gentile:

[1]The blatant military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank. That is to say, there can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Arab state west of the Jordan..
[2]If Western leaders actually desire to assist, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
[3] The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.

There is ample opportunity for Greenblatt and Kushner to seek guidance from qualified academics and to research worthy sources. Failure to do so, will serve neither Jew nor Arab.

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.
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