Peter Beinhart, You Need 2 for Tango / DR.Rivka Shpak Lissak

Feb.17 2012
This article is dedicated to Peter Beinhart, an American Jew, author of THE CRISIS OF ZIONISM. He pretends to speak for Liberal Zionists. I am a Liberal Zionist. I support a 2 state solution, reject settlements and support equal rights for Israeli Arabs. Yet, I detest what Peter is doing to Israel. Peter totally ignores we need 2 for tango and the Palestinians – not only Netanyahu – refuse to dance.

My article tells the story of the Palestinian responsibility for the crisis:

The Arab World, the Palestinians, the UN officials and the International Media, are blaming Israel for refusing to end the "Occupation" and make peace with the Palestinians.

A..Arab and Palestinian refusal to accept a 2 State Solution: History

The League of Nations recognized after First World War, the historical connection of the Jews to the Holy Land, decided to adopt the Balfur Declaration and nominated Britain to lay the foundations for a National Home to the Jews (the Mandate).

The Arab inhabitants of the country refused to accept that decision, and a conflict started between the Jews and the Arabs which brought the British rulers to form the Peel committee in 1936, in order to solve the conflict.

The Peel committee heard both sides and decided that the only solution to the conflict is to divide the country into 2 states: a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted the proposal, but the Arabs rejected it and started the Arab Rebellion (1936 – 1939) against the British Mandate which was crushed by the British army. During the rebellion Jews were attacked and there were casualties.

During Second World War the leader of Palestine Arabs, Hag Amin Al- Hussaini, joined Hitler against the Democratic Nations who fought against the Nazi Regime, and supported the "Final Solution" of the Jewish people, the extermination of the Jews.

After the war, the UN decided to solve the "Palestinian Problem." The 1947 resolution called to establish 2 states in Palestine: a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Arab World and the Palestinian Arabs rejected the 1947 resolution and started a war against the Jews proclaiming their aim "to throw the Jews into the sea" and prevent the establishment of a 2 state solution.

Unfortunately for them, their plan failed, the Jews won the war of 1948/9, and the state of Israel became a fact. 6,000 Jews were killed during the war, 1% of the Jewish population. The Arabs still occupied the Western Bank and the Gaza Strip where the Palestinian Arabs were the only population, after the Jewish population was forced to leave.

The Arabs occupied these territories between 1948 and 1967, and could establish an Arab state for the Palestinian Arabs. They failed to do so, and the Palestinian Arabs themselves started no Intifada in order to gain a state. They joined the Arab world in trying to eliminate the Jewish state through terror and war (1956, 1967). They failed again.

When Israel was attacked by Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1967 it conquered the Western Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Desert and the Golan. After the war was over Israel suggested "land for peace" but the Arabs and the Palestinian Arabs responded with the "Hartum Decision" namely, the "3 nos:" In short, they rejected the offer.

Strangely indeed, Palestinians became aware of their nationalism only when they were under Israeli occupation. Only then, in 1968 the Palestinian National Movement was established, the PLO and the organization started a terrorist war against Israel.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians lived under Israeli occupation.

The continuous attempts to put an end to the state of Israel resulted in a shift in Israeli public opinion. Israelis became disillusioned. Many stopped believing in the chance for peace and the new policy of Israeli governments was to settle Jews in the occupied territories.

The Arab World and the Palestinians share a least partial responsibility for the Shift in Israeli public opinion.

B. Who is responsible for the continuity of the conflict today?

The Palestinian Intifada convinced Israeli public opinion in the necessity to solve the Israeli- Palestinian Conflict and since the PlO declared its willingness to negotiate, the result was that the Labor party won the elections and Prime Minister I.Rabin signed the Oslo Agreement.

The Oslo Agreement caused a conflict within Israeli society between the supporters of a 2 state solution and those who wished to establish a Great Israel.

But, the Palestinian Authority under Arafat did not put an end to its Terror policy, as it promised at Oslo, and the acts of terror against Israeli civilians shifted back public opinion in Israel. Every time the acts of terror took Israelis lives the Likud, a right wing party, returned to power.

In other words, the Palestinians share partial if not whole the responsibility for the shifts in Israeli public opinion.

In 2000 the Labor party came to power and another attempt was made to end the conflict. The Camp David Summit in September 2000 failed because Arafat rejected a very generous proposal, the Clinton – Barak proposal, without even suggesting an alternative proposal. After the Summit another Intifada was started.

The proposal included 97% of the Western Bank + 3% compensation in Israeli territory, for annexing part of the settlements, division of Jerusalem into 2 capitals and de- faco control of the Holy mountain by the Muslims, resettling the refugees in the Palestinian state with international funding and ending the state of war.

The rejection of the Clinton – Barrak proposal and the terror which became worse than before, brought again a shift in public opinion and since then the Likud is in power, and the Labor party lost most of its voters and became a small party.

1n 2008, another attempt was made to come to an agreement with the Palestinians. Prime Mister E.Ulmert, a former Likud member, met with Abu Mazen several times and gave him a new proposal, which Abu Mazen himself admitted before a Washington Post journalist, was even better than the Clinton- Barak proposal. Yet, Abu Mazen did not say Yes. Read C.Riis's book on this.

Today, the past supporters of a 2 state solution in Israel are disillusioned. They do not believe the Palestinians really want a 2 state solution. They suspect (me included) that the Palestinians never gave up their dream to eliminate the Jewish state.


First, the Palestinian Authority refuses to recognize Israel as the national state of the Jews, while Israel recognized the Palestinian right for a national state. They refuse to recognize the right of the Jewish people for self- determination and deny any historical connection of the Jews to the Holy Land. They declare that the country has been "Arab land" from time immemorial and accuse the Jews of being European Colonialists like the Whites of South Africa.

This is an effort to rewrite history for a political cause. In fact, the Arabs occupied the country only between 640 – 1099, but it was not inhabited by Arabs. Since the 4th century BCE, the Hellenistic occupation of the Middle East, and even more after the elimination of the Jewish state by the Roman Empire, in 63 BCE, a dual process started: the European colonization of the country and a policy to eliminate the Jewish majority. As a result, the Jews became a minority and the country became a non- Jewish country. These colonists – descendants of Geeks, Macedonians, Roman retired soldiers and others- converted to Christianity between the 4th and 5th century CE, and they consisted the majority of the population from the Second century CE up to the 14th century.

The Christian majority was eliminated during the Mamluk occupation of the country (1260 – 1516) in the 14th century. The Mamluks were Turkmen- Muslims, who conquered the country from the Crusaders in 1260. They massacred many Christians, destroyed their churches and forced them to convert or leave the country.

From the 14th century until the 16th century, the country was very densely populated. Less than 100,000 Muslims, only part of them Arabs, lived in the country, and 3 minorities: Christians, Jews and Samaritans.

Most Arabs and Muslims immigrated to the country from Arab and Muslim Countries during the 19th and 20th centuries as Labor immigrants.

Second, the Palestinian Authority refuses to give up its demand for "a right of return" to the state of Israel of the refugees who left or were expelled during the 1948/9 war. The refugees were not peaceful people who ran away or were expelled because of a so called "Ethnic Cleansing Policy" by Israel. They were part of the effort to "throw the Jews into the sea" and put an end to the Jewish state. The demand to return them to an Israeli territory (they were never Israeli citizens) is a Trojan Horse to turn the Palestinians into a majority in Israel and put an end to the Jewish state.

In Camp David it was proposed to resettle the refugees in the Palestinian state by an International project. Arafat refused to accept this proposal and the Palestinian Authority has not change its policy on the subject ever since.
Third, Abu Mazen admitted in a recent interview in the Washington Post that Prime Minister E.Ulmert proposal in 2008/9 was very generous, but Abu Mazen did not say Yes or gave an alternative proposal. The reason is obvious: he is not interested in ending the conflict.

So, after Israeli voters gave another chance to peace, they were rejected by the Palestinians. This is why we have a Likud right wing government again. The Palestinians refusal to compromise brought another shift in Israeli public opinion.

Forth, Arafat rejected another proposal to solve the Settlement Problem. The Clinton – Barak proposal was to concentrate the settlements in groups, and eliminate those outside the groups, and annex them to Israel, but compensate the Palestinian state by an Israeli territory. It seems that Abu- Mazen is not willing to accept this proposal.

The demand from Israel to stop building in the Western Bank as a condition to restart negotiations is the Palestinian way to prevent negotiations. The Settlement Problem should be part of the negotiations – not a pre- condition.

Conclusion: the Palestinians do not want to end the conflict. They came to the conclusion that they can't defeat Israel by terror, but they can defeat Israel by a campaign of demonization and delegitimation. They have been holding this propaganda with the help of the Arab and Muslim states in the UN and its organizations, taking advantage of the ignorance of the rest of the world in history and rewriting the history of the country. And last but not least, they encourage Anti-Semitism, using it against the Jewish state.

Unfortunately, the Palestinians get cooperation in their propaganda against Israel from the International media, Human Rights Organizations and Leftist Intellectuals in Europe and Israel. They joined the Arab- Palestinian effort in accusing Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity and deny the right of self- determination to the Jewish people and their right to a national state.

Nazi Germany killed 60 million people during Second World War and was accused of war crimes. Did anyone reject the right of the German people for a national state?

This is an on- going Festival of Hatred. This is a new version of the old Anti – Semitism.

C. Does Israel deserve the treatment it gets from international media and public opinion?

While more than 22,000 Israelis were killed in wars and terrorist acts by Arabs and Palestinians, less than 3,000 Palestinians were killed during the years 1987 – 2009 (most of them terrorists) in which Israel is accused for war crimes and crimes against humanity. During the same years, hundred thousands of people, mostly Muslims, have been massacred by other Muslims, and much more civilians were killed by the Western armies in former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afganistan, but only Israel is accused of war crimes.

The Chineese conquered Tibet in the 1950's and the people of Tibet have been under a very cruel occupation ever since, but no investigation committee was formed by the UN Council of Human Rights to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity by China. Only Israel is accused of the occupation of the Western Bank and Gaza Israel.

Only Israel, whose citizens are constantly targeted by Palestinian rockets from Gaza, is condemned for closing its borders with Gaza, while Egypt, an Arab country, under Mubarak, had done the same without being accused for starving their brothers.

Israel is the victim of double standards by the world who ignores the Anti- Semitism and racism promoted in the Arab and Muslim world. The Arab world does not want peace. They wish to eliminate Israel as they have been doing to other minorities in the region.

Israel was established by a Social- Democratic society. The Palestinians have partial responsibility (there are domestic reasons, also) for the shift to the right of Israeli society.

We, the Jews of Israel, ask: why are we discriminated? We are fighting for our survival in a hostile region? We are hated everywhere for the wrong reasons. Don't we have a right to live in peace in part of our homeland, a small state, not even as big as New Jersey?

PLO was founded in 64

PLO was founded in 64

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