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Palestinians had no choice

In Notes from the Underground, Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote: “But men love abstract reasoning and neat systematization so much that they think nothing of distorting the truth, closing their eyes and ears to contrary evidence to preserve their illusions.”

His observation resonates in the current conflict raging in Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen as the detractors of Israel have imposed a narrative they wish existed instead of the one that is extant in fact.

The left’s Capella response to the October 7 atrocities came with the proverbial ‘but.’ First, they were lukewarm in their criticism. Subsequently, they started to justify and explain the unjustifiable and the unexplainable by resorting to the time-dishonored excuse that the Palestinians had no choice given the ‘fact’ that they had been denied their freedom under the brutal Israeli occupation. If I were to list all those who exculpated a documented pogrom by ‘placing in context’ the massacre – not to mention the Illuminati who argued that Israel ‘had it coming,’ no ifs and buts – it would fill volumes constituting penances for the readers and me!

In reality, the ‘Blame Israel’ vaudeville show provides a smoke screen for the latter-day aficionados of the Die Grosse Lüge, Goebbels’s Big Lie: the Palestinians had no choice!

The indisputable and documented facts prove that Abba Eban, one of Israel’s former Ministers of Foreign Affairs, who famously quipped that the Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” was spot on! One example for those not ensconced in the cumbersome detritus of medieval anti-Semitism and not theologically blind to the verities of history should suffice.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally implemented the removal of 9,000 Israelis living in 25 settlements in Gaza and the entire infrastructure, including villages, factories, hospitals, and agriculture, in 2005. It was a Gaza First attempt designed to give Palestinians a chance to build a state. Two years later, Hamas defeated the Palestinian Authority and took over the strip in 2007. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni engaged the Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas in negotiations that resulted in a comprehensive peace plan presented on September 16, 2008. The highlights of the astonishing Israeli offer, summarized by the Virtual Jewish Library, were as follows:

  • Israel would cede almost 94% of the West Bank for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
  • Israel would retain approximately 6.4% of the West Bank. “All the lands before 1967 were buffer zones between the two populations would have been split in half. In return, there would be a swap of land (to the Palestinians) from Israel as it existed before 1967.” Condoleezza Rice states, “Olmert gave Abbas cause to believe that he was willing to reduce that number to 5.8 percent.”
  • Sparsely populated settlements would be evacuated, but Israel would annex Gush Etzion, Ma’ ale Adumim, and Ariel. In exchange, Israel offered to give up the area around Afula-Tirat Tzvi, the Lachist region, an area near Har Adar, and zones in the Judean desert and around Gaza, equaling 5.8% of Israeli territory.
  • Maintain the contiguity of the Palestinian state and create a safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza. “It would have been a tunnel fully controlled by the Palestinians but not under Palestinian sovereignty. Otherwise, it would have cut the state of Israel in two.”
  • Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem would be under Jewish sovereignty, and Arab neighborhoods would be under Palestinian sovereignty so that it could be the capital of a Palestinian state.
  • No one would have sovereignty in the holy basin in Jerusalem containing sites holy to Jews, Muslims, and Christians, including the Mount of Olives and the City of David and part of the Arab neighborhood of Silwan. This area “would be jointly administered by five nations, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Palestinian State, Israel, and the USA.
  •  There is no “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. Still, Israel would agree on a humanitarian basis to accept 1,000 refugees every year for five years “on the basis that this would be the end of conflict and the end of claims.” An effort would also be made to establish an international fund to “compensate Palestinians for their suffering.” The agreement would also include recognition of the suffering of Jews from Arab countries who were forced out of their homes after 1948.
  • Palestine would have a strong police force, “everything needed for law enforcement.” It would have no army or air force.
  • The Palestinian border with Jordan would be patrolled by international forces – possibly from NATO. The Palestinians would not allow any foreign army to enter Palestine, and its government would not be permitted to enter into any military agreement with a country that does not recognize Israel.
  • Israel would retain the right to defend itself beyond the borders of a Palestinian state and to pursue terrorists across the border.
  • Israel would be allowed access to airspace over Palestine, and the IDF would have rights to disproportionate use of the telecommunications spectrum.

“My idea was that, before presenting it to our peoples, we first would go to the UN Security Council and get a unanimous vote for support,” Olmert told author Bernard Avishai. “Then we would ask the General Assembly to support us. Then we would go to a joint session of Congress, then to the European Parliament, then a big ceremony on the White House lawn with 25,000 people, with all the region leaders where we would initial it.”

Olmert showed Abbas a map he considered to be the final proposal, including the abovementioned points. He told Abbas, “‘This is the offer. Sign it, and we can immediately get support from America, Europe, and worldwide. I told him he’d never get anything like this again from an Israeli leader for 50 years. I said to him, ‘Do you want to keep floating forever – like an astronaut in space – or do you want a state?'”

When Abbas rejected the accord and engaged in his usual invertebrate flimflammers, the US Secretary of State, intimately involved in the negotiations, observed wistfully that Rabin had been assassinated for offering less.

President Abbas repudiated the deal because he wanted the return of millions of refugees, believed that the incoming US President Obama would offer him more, worried the rejectionist Arab front would sabotage the agreement, and feared assassination. Let us bear in mind that a similar offer at Camp David negotiated between President Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and the President of the Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat in 2000 was also snubbed by the Palestinian leader, who told the US President that if he were to accept the deal, he would be killed!

After October 7, notwithstanding the Lazarus-like resurrection of “two states living side by side in peace” deringolade (a nonstarter as the new position of the Palestinians and their cheerleaders is ‘one state from the river to the sea’), the tectonic plates of Israel-Palestinian conflict collided in such a way as to add more layers of complexity and irreconcilable enmity to an already burning issue. When the US equivalents of 50,000 Israeli civilians were murdered, the epitasis was reached: nothing could be the same in the lands of ill fortune. Yet, those pusillanimously acquiescing to any proposal detrimental to Israel (in the name of a ‘just and durable peace’) and those indulging in the usual macabre fantasies embedded in irredentist obsessions will continue to spew proposals from every principle disclaimed and contain every term rejected ad nauseam. For Israel, making ‘peace’ by the unrealistic terms offered by the denizens of the so-called international consensus amounts to internationally assisted forced euthanasia, camouflaged as the promise of eternal peace between the parties.

Jerusalem is not in the suicide business. The Palestinians had their chance, they had a choice, and they, in common parlance, blew it big time! Thus, the incantation that they had no choice but to wreak havoc on so many Israelis in so short a time with such ferocity is an astringent lie.

About the Author
Erol Araf is a strategic planning analyst and international business development consultant with years of experience in global marketing with an emphasis on developing and managing international projects. Before consulting, he was National Director of Public Affairs at the Canadian Jewish Congress and was Director of National Marketing & Quebec Regional CEO at Canada Israel Securities Limited. Canadian [born in Turkey], Conservative Party of Canada, Morachist League of Canada, International Churchill Society. He designed and developed the concept for the movie "Mozart in Turkey," which was filmed on location at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. It won the Golden Rembrandt Award in 2002. B.A. Business Administration, University of Hertford, U.K.
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