Earlier today I posted a comment about Israel/Palestine from Dan Diker, the foreign policy analyst at the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs. He stressed that any kind of Middle East peace deal was impossible as long as Iran, Hamas, Hizbollah, terrorism and polluted water (!) was in the way (he may not have mentioned the last reason). In other words, virtually exactly mirroring the current Israeli government position.
A few hours later, Dan emailed me with the following:
Dear Mr Leowenstein,
Appreciate your quoting my contribution to Powerline.
Just a couple of Questions/ comments. How can the Palestinians hope to secure their own state at this moment if:
1. The Iranian backed Hamas has its own state in Gaza and is in control of many local municpalities in the West Bank
2. Thousands of armed Iranian backed militia operatives still hold their weapons at home in the WB such as Islamic Jihad and Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade. They fought alongside the Hamas in Gaza
3. PA leadership commands little Palestinian public support at the moment due to massive corruption and violations of Civil and Human rights. US and European favorite Salaam Fayad has been threatened almost daily by Fatah and Hamas because he does not come from within their ranks
4. Iran totally rejects the concept of a Western, free, democratic, Palestinian state and togther with proxies Hamas and Hizbullah will never permit its establishment.
5. the Israeli Defense Forces is currently protecting the PA from Hamas takeover in the West Bank and the PA Leadership has asked the US not to allow Israel to withdraw too quickly for fear that the Hamas would kill them within hours– just like hat happened in Gaza
6. If Israel withdraws its security forces currently protecting Jewish communitities in Judea and Samaria- The Israeli (not neo con) term for the West Bank, then easily maufactured Kassam rockets will ber fired from the hilltops over looking Ben Gurion Airport –just 10 kilometers West ( bear in mind that when Israel Left the gaza Strip- every last soldier and every last “settler” our civilians – towns and cities were hit with 10,000 Iranian rockets fired by Hamas.
Peace would be great, but we need to deal with staying alive first.
I do realize that many in the international “peace camp”, activists, human rights folks- many of them Jews– would prefer that Israel did not survive, thinking that the Middle East would be a more peaceful place without us. But we at the JCPA , (a conservative policy institute not “neo-con”) as well as great folks like Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, believe that Israel’s existence must be defended.
Senior Foreign Policy Analyst
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
I then responded:
thanks for your email.
suffice to say, i fundamentally disagree with your perspective. there’s no doubt that major obstacles exist before a comprehensive piece could exist in the middle east, but your description below of a rampaging iran, irrational and crazy, is utterly removed from reality, in my humble opinion. and you don’t even mention the settlements or occupation. the jewish communities of which you speak in judea and samaria are in fact illegal under international and most under israeli law, too.
would i be able to publish your response on my site?
A few minutes later, Dan wrote:
First, yes, please do publish my response and this one too. With Respect, allow me to correct two errors in your email response.
1. If you doubt Iran’s race to subvert the PA areas via Hamas, PIJ, al Qaeda groups and Hizb’uh Tahrir– the Islamic Liberation party, I invite you to accompany me to the West Bank where I have very close relationships with very senior members of the PA security apparatus. I am sure they will convince you.
2. Israeli settlements on unpopulated state land in Judea Samaria- West Bank are perfectly legal according to Israel’s supreme court which is touted in the West as one of the best in the world. International law has never passed a piece of legislation deeming Israeli settlements illegal. This is different that some of the settler outposts that have been erected illegally according to Israeli law. The West Bank is in fact disputed territory and it is expressly not Palestinian land. A good example of this is UN Security council res 242 of Nov 22 1967 that called for israel to withdral to Secure and recognized bounderies neither of which Israel had before it was dragged into the West Bank by incessant Jordanian attacks on June 5 1967. ( BTW is it your understanding that Before Israel came into the West Bank when Jordan had occupied the West Bank that Jordanian settlements were illegal?)
Israel has no Eastern border as you know.The distortions of fact online are unfortunate. The last act of binding international law that refers to Israeli settlement was the League of Nations mandate of July 23, 1922 that was ratified by the Prinicple members the League during the British mandate period. The league’s decision that called for “close Jewish settlement of the land” was transferrred as a UN decision via article 80 of the UN charter.
Such dialogues are instructive. First it proves that many hardline Zionists don’t regard the occupation as even an occupation. Second, there will always be excuses why Israel can’t make peace or compromise. Years ago it was the PLO and Yasser Arafat and today it’s Hamas, Iran etc. This is why international pressure is the only way to resolve this crisis. Dan doesn’t discuss it, of course, but his plan would ensure a system of apartheid forever in the West Bank, something that probably doesn’t bother him, as long as international support follows.
This is the Zionist mindset.
We must fight it.