The Zionist Conspiracy
Monday, October 13, 2008
President Obama, Secure Borders and Peace Now Jews
I've never bought the notion that Barack Obama has any malice or ill will toward Israel. Instead, my concern about Obama all along has been his position that Israel must withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines. Obama has rejected the idea of Israel having any legitimate claim to anything beyond those borders. That position is also consistent with Joe Biden's, who has been a longtime vocal opponent of settlement in Judea and Samaria.
Lots of Jews will have access to the Obama Administration, but not so many Jews whose views on the Mideast differ from the Peace Now line. We will presumably experience a return to the situation during the Clinton years, when the likes of Michael Lerner were frequent White House guests. U.S. Jews for whom settlement is not only not anathema, but something to celebrate and financially support, will not have a chance to present the bases for their views to Obama's administration.
Unlike many observant Jews, I do not believe that God will unilaterally determine Israel's borders. This is not because I do not believe in God, but because I believe that whatever the degree of God's intervention in the matter, ultimately we should and must assume that the actions and decisions of people on earth will make this determination.
I also disagree with those who say things like, "the terms of an agreement are already clear." Would a settlement be based on Israel's proposals at Camp David II, in which Israel would cede 91 percent of Judea/Samaria and outlying Jerusalem neighborhoods? Would it be based on the Clinton proposals and the Taba talks? The Geneva Accords? The Saudi plan?
There is a big difference between ceding 91 percent - or even an egregious amount like 95 percent - and 100 percent. Dividing the Old City will mean the end of the Jewish Quarter and access to the Western Wall. Anybody who thinks it would feasible to enter the State of Palestine at Jaffa Gate, and then safely walk the half-mile or so to the Jewish Quarter, is delusional. Instead, visits to the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall would be akin to what visits to Rachel's Tomb at the northern border of Bethlehem have entailed since Oslo II.
Of course, Israel and the Palestinians would have to negotiate the terms of a deal. But the position of the U.S. administration would still be a significant factor.
Furthermore, just because the "two-state [non]solution" has been the flavor of this decade does not mean this will remain the case forever. Let's not forget that throughout the 70's and 80's - and until the mid-90's, a confederation among Jordan and the Palestinians was the consensus preferred solution.
Israel may agree to a Palestinian state on nearly all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and to a divided Jerusalem. But that would still not provide an actual solution.
As I have been arguing for years, the real solution must involve Jordan, regardless of whether or not King Abdullah likes it. As Giora Eiland - the former head of Israel's National Security Council - has been stating, the "two-state solution" is untenable, and any real solution must involve Jordanian security control over Judea and Samaria and active regional participation in a deal.
Polls indicate that nearly 30 percent of Palestinians would approve an agreement based on Eiland's outlines.
If Israel would make this its policy, more Palestinians would get on board. Would President Obama then join, and pressure Jordan and Egypt to participate? The peace processors in an Obama Administration, and the homogeneous voices of the Jews with access to it, would render that very unlikely.