He begins his article by talking about President Obama visit to the land of Israel. Unfortunately this article, like all of Siegman's, is going to be about who said what and political double-talk. That's not my favorite subject but half-truths of all kinds must be responded to so here we go. Siegman says that President Obama said that Israeli settlements on the Palestinian side of the border (whatever border that is) will be removed. But then he says that Netanyau's government feels otherwise:
"But Netanyahu has explicitly rejected that Road Map provision. Even before Obama left Jerusalem, Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, declared that the President's visit had not changed Netanyahu's position. "It cannot just be that one side makes demands and the other side makes concessions," he said. "I was curious to find out the context for Mark Regev's remark, because on its own it doesn't seem that controversial nor does it relate to settlements and borders necessary. So I googled it and the only source that I found for it was Siegman's article. If anyone would like to help me out with the context that would be great. For now Siegman has to get back to the negotiations. He points out that Netanyahu's government does not think that the "Green Line" should be "the line" for the peace deal, acting shocked and horrified as if every Israeli government in the past hadn't had the exact same point of view. What else is new?
Next he tries to establish parity between Naftali Bennett's party and Hamas while whinging, "it's not faaair:"
"He [Obama] ruled out recognition of Hamas and its participation in a Palestinian unity government as long as it refuses to recognize Israel's legitimacy. He also expects them to renounce resort [sic] to violence. Now that Bennett has informed Obama that he mirrors precisely Hamas' positions in his own view of Palestinian claims--denying Palestinian rights to a state anywhere in Palestine and justifying the use of IDF violence in the implementation of that denial (it certainly will not be self-implementing)--will Obama apply the same standard to Netanyahu's government that he applies to the Palestinians?"For the record, Naftali Bennett thinks that Israel should end the occupation of some areas of the West Bank so that there is an economic peace but not form a Palestinian state. Hamas wants to wipe every Jew off the face of the Earth. Naturally Siegman only tells half the story to try to establish a classic left-wing moral equivalence. Of course the IDF doesn't answer to Bennett and neither does Netanyahu, while Hamas answers to nobody except Iran, but who cares about the truth? This is the Huffington Post after all.
The reality is that the Palestinians remain the obstacle to peace and President Obama and the Quartet Powers are right to sideline Hamas. This bothers Siegman a lot, for reasons we can only speculate. So let's move on to the next ridiculous claim.
He talks about Secretary Kerry for a while, tries to blame both sides equally for the failures of peace, then relies on the Fifth Great Anti-Zionist Strawman to "prove" that the Israeli governments not only don't want a Palestinian state but they never have ever wanted one. Their actions in the Oslo process (when the Palestinians didn't care about the settlements either) go completely unmentioned as usual. After much waffling and demanding from Kerry, he gets to the first of his many ridiculous claims:
"In fact, neither Netanyahu nor any previous Israeli prime minister has ever offered any concessions to the Palestinians, painful or otherwise, on the Israeli side of the 1967 border. Without exception, their position on every permanent status issue --whether territory, refugees, Jerusalem, water resources or security--is that Palestinians must make the concessions on their side of that border....Abbas never demanded any Israeli concessions. He has never asked that Israel allow a Palestinian settlement on Israel's side of the 1967 border, or water from Israel's aquifers, or for any Israeli demilitarization. "So ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands of people and giving up their capital to the most entitled people on Earth isn't enough for Henry Siegman. Now he demands a concession on the Israeli side as well. Gee, you'd almost wonder who is the superpower here and who is the rabble of professional "refugees."
Israel has offered land swaps, not that the Palestinians deserve it, which I think would qualify as concessions on Israel's side of the Green Line, which Siegman refers to dishonestly as a "1967 border." And I know that Siegman doesn't much care about what Israelis think, but offering to divide their country's capital and the home of Judaism for thousands of years would qualify as "painful concessions." I like this classic left-wing logic: If I don't think Israel giving up Jerusalem is "painful," then it isn't.
With that in mind, it's time for Siegman to engage in a classic Arabist argument: rewrite the history so that Palestinians have only ever lost land, and never rejected any peace treaties. If this sounds too unbelievable to be true, just ask him:
"John Kerry must bear in mind that the only painful compromise that was ever made by either party was Arafat's decision not to seek the return of Palestinian territory that was lost to Israel in the war of 1948 when Arab armies invaded the newborn state."The Palestinians rejected the Partition Plan, they have no Palestinian territory that was lost in any war. Arafat could have tried to claim that it was theirs but he wouldn't have gotten anywhere with it because he has no claim: legal, moral or political. I guess he's a little bit smarter than this author. Siegman doesn't have to live with the consequences of his ideology, however, so he can claim this was a "painful compromise." Too bad he's probably the only person involved who actually thinks that.
Just when you thought Siegman couldn't get any more ridiculous than that, he endeavors to become even more "Palestinian than the Palestinians:"
"Arafat did not give up 22 percent of the West Bank but much more: 22 percent of Palestine--fully 50 percent of the territories recognized in the UN Partition Resolution of 1947 as the legitimate patrimony of the Palestinian people. And instead of acknowledging that this concession was a gut-wrenching one-sided Palestinian contribution to peace, Peres described it as "our [i.e., Peres's] greatest achievement.""Classic Palestinian supporter argument. First you fight the wars, then if you lose land in the wars you claim it was a 'gut-wrenching one-sided Palestinian contribution to peace.' No one is stupid enough to actually believe that.
Also Siegman is a hypocrite, to add to his list of bad qualities. He spends the first half of his article screaming to anyone who will listen about how evil Netanyahu is for not accept the 1967 lines as the basis of negotiations. Now he says that the Palestinians actually have claim to all of Israel and that should be where the negotiations should start. You can't have it both ways: either Israel is Israel and the Palestinians have to accept that or it is "Palestinian land" that they "gave up for peace," contrary to all facts and logic.
Just when you thought Siegman couldn't be any more extreme, he demands ethnic cleansing:
"Netanyahu and his supporters will of course argue that withdrawing from any part of the West Bank is a painful Israeli concession that deserves Palestinian reciprocity, i.e., granting Israel the right to hold on to the rest of the stolen parts of the West Bank. That is a novel principle that will welcomed by criminal enterprises everywhere. And theft, or more precisely robbery, is exactly what the settlement project is. For if the UN's Partition Resolution of 1947 lost its legal standing when Arab countries rejected it, as Likud ideologues claim, then the State of Israel, whose Declaration of Independence cites the UN Partition Plan as the source of its legitimacy, is also left without international legitimacy."No one except for the Palestinians and their apologists seriously thinks that every single inch of the West Bank will be cleaned of the scourge of the filthy Jews (or as Siegman prefers to call them "settlements"). Not Clinton, not Barak (either of them), not the Saudis nor even Arafat knew that it was logical or moral to ask Israel to remove hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
Siegman doesn't care about practically though, he cares about ideology. So he resorts to the classic "international law" argument, an argument that is nowhere to be found when Hamas calls for genocide or Fatah blows up buses full of civilians. By now of course being disingenuous and Palestinian supporters go hand in hand.
The Palestinians can try and make their case that the settlements are "stolen parts" of the West Bank, but until there is a clear legal ruling on it the West Bank remains disputed territory in which people of both religions can live on. No matter how much Siegman doesn't like it.
The majority of settlements will not be removed. Deal with it. But if you can not murder people over it, that would be great.
As for this latest attack on Israel's legitimacy, it's another fail, though I'm sure Siegman's true colors come shining through here. The Arab countries did reject the plan, including the Palestinians. That's a fact, it isn't something the Likud said. So the plan was never put into action. Israel declared itself a state and was recognized by the UN. No one made the UN recognize them, but now they are a recognized state and have international legitimacy no matter how much the peanut gallery like Siegman don't like it.
The Partition Plan is history. Time for the Palestinians to make peace and take what land is offered them. And if that isn't fair, then tough noogies. Life isn't fair.