Josef Olmert

Peter Beinart and Gaza -facts and no myths

Peter Beinart strikes again, this time in Ha’aretz , 30 July 2014, where he continues his crusade against the American Jewish leadership[who exactly does he refer to?], this time over Gaza. This article is intended to dispel the ”myths” of the pro-Israeli community, so Beinart takes the plunge and yet again
shutters Israeli propaganda, or so he thinks. My current piece does not constitute the full, detailed answer to each one of Beinart’s points, rather it is an attempt to portray an historic context which can explain a lot, if not everything about the current situation, with which I will deal separately.

Well, let us begin with Beinart’s starting point , and this , of course, is the war of 1967.Why 1967?, why not 1948/9?, well, when facts , not myths tend to contradict the theory, than historical facts are the first victim. On 21 1948, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem[yes, Hitler’s friend], declared the establishment of the All-Palestine Government in Gaza, the beginning of an independent Palestinian state. This was a counter move to the maneuvers of King Abdallah of Jordan who occupied the West Bank and later annexed it in 24 April 1950. Who stopped the Grand Mufti from establishing a Palestinian entity/state in Gaza? surely not Israel, rather the Egyptians which brought the Mufti there in the first place, and then threw him out when they did not need him anymore.
From 1949 until 1956 Gaza was a base of terror against Israel, so in the Sinai Campaign of 1956, Gaza was occupied by Israel, and was RETURNED in full
to Egyptian control when Israel was forced out of Sinai in 1957, due to the combined American-Soviet pressure on her.
This was the first Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, but surely not the last.

Then in 1964 the PLO was established under Egyptian tutelage, but NO Palestinian government was allowed to exist in Gaza. Israel was not there, Egypt
of Nasser was. 3 years later, came the 1967 war of self-defense, when Gaza was taken again by Israel. Beinart starts his narrative with the ”occupation”
as if it was yet another case of Israeli aggression. Just out of the blue, the Israelis who coveted this precious piece of land known as the Gaza
Strip decided to occupy it. Does Beinart not know what led to this war of self defense?. I believe he does, but he , like many of his ”liberal Zionist”
friends simply ignores all that, because they want to destroy the basic justified Israeli argument, that the fate of the territories taken in 1967
should be decided in negotiations, and there is no automatic obligation for Israel to leave these territories. In fact, It is a bigger issue , as Beinart
and co. want to portray Israel as the constant aggressor, as part of the campaign to de-legitimize Israel.They do not admit that this is what it is all
about, but when EVERY Israeli move is an act of ”aggression”, then this is the inevitable impression left in the minds of many, especially
”Liberal Zionists”…

It was through negotiations, the Oslo process and subsequent accords in 1993-4, that Israel left Gaza for the second time. Not yet all the civilian
Jewish population, not all the military personnel, but Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority [PA]asserted their control there and it was part
of the Gaza-Jericho First strategy which was in the basis of the Oslo Accords.
When Gaza became an Arafat -controlled territory, it was to be expected that the new masters of the strip will get into the
business of reconstruction , particularly dealing with the refugees in the strip. After all, this is the problem which the Palestinians refer to as
the core issue of the entire conflict. Billions were pumped into Gaza , as well as the West Bank, something which turned the PA into the largest
recipient per capita of foreign aid in the entire world. Guess what WAS NOT done with the money, yes, any building of new housing for refugees, so much for it being the ”core problem” of the conflict. Guess what WAS done with money, yes, more and more arms , all kinds of militias and seurity and intelligence
agencies and many mansions for the Palestinian leadership . Go to Rimal and see the housing of the leaders, and that was done by Fath leaders. Beinart is right about Fath being corrupt, and he is also right thatb this may be the reason for Hamas election victory years later. But then ,how this argument serves him in making the point that Hamas is a legitimate ruler of Gaza.
Here is something about elections and the legitimacy they give to those who win them. Indeed, Hamas defeated Fath and did not ”seize ” power, so what? Does an election victory give the winners the right to declare a Jihad against anyone? does the victory over Fath give a certificate of Kosher to an organization which wows to annihilate its neighbors? Did the election victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad give him the right to threaten to wipe Israel off the map? did the election victory of Adolph Hitler his subsequent perfect legal appointment as Chancellor by President Hindenburg give him the right to do what
followed? It is fascinating to see how Liberals like Beinart are mesmerized with election victories which suit their ideological slant, and try,at the same time to question the legitimacy of perfectly democratically-elected governments, say [just as an example…], the Israeli government
led by P.M Netanyahu , a government elected by sections of Israel’s society which Beinart and his friends do not like because they do not conform with their liberal vision about Israel.

About the Author
Dr Josef Olmert, a Middle East expert, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina