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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

From Haaretz:
The French government wants the foreign ministers meeting in Paris on Friday about an international Israeli-Palestinian peace conference to agree that future negotiations between the two sides will take place within a limited timeframe, according to a document disseminated by the French Foreign Ministry to the countries taking part in the meeting.

According to the document, the French propose that a goal of the discussions starting Friday will be to formulate parameters for a solution to the core issues of a permanent peace agreement. All direct negotiations in the future would be based on these parameters.
Why the rush?

The document surveys the background of the French peace initiative and determines that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the key issue in the Middle East. The conflict “creates precariousness and insecurity. It fuels radical rhetoric and extremist violence. Moving towards its resolution is as urgent as ever,” according to the document.
You hear that? If it wasn't for the stubborn refusal by Israel to give up the Jewish ancestral homeland and turn itself into a country that you can cross three times in a single marathon run, then we wouldn't have any problems in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq or the Sinai. No human rights violations in Egypt or Jordan. Lebanon would be a single, happy, multicultural country.



Ever since 1948, Arab diplomats have told anyone willing to listen that Israel is the cause of al lof their problems. Every single meeting with their Western counterparts began and ended with their insistence that Israel is the cause of all the Middle East's problems. Every speech to their own people blamed their problems on the Jews.

Every article, every UN speech, every public event was another excuse to push the lie that a Jewish nation was an affront to morality, to international law, and mostly to their pride.

In the 1970s they changed the meme a little bit, to saying that the "occupation" was the issue and Palestinians were the ones who were being hurt. The Arab leaders had decades to integrate the Palestinians into their own nations but the stateless people were much more valuable as PR tools. "Refugee camps" were kept open for no reason other than the possibility that one day the swelling ranks of Palestinians would "return."

But the overarching message was relentlessly on point. Israel was to blame for every ill in the Middle East, and if Israel would just go away, things would be great. No terror, no Islamic fundamentalism, no sectarian violence. Just ignore the civil wars that erupted every few years.

Finally, the absurd message started gaining currency in the West.  And the irony is that just when the West was starting to accept the ridiculous "linkage" argument, Arab governments started realizing that they have much bigger problems and blaming Israel was no longer the panacea that could push off the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the resurgence of sectarianism.

France, and much of the EU,  is still holding on to the old fashioned thinking of linkage. Rocked by its own terror attacks and the realization that a significant proportion of their own residents are sympathetic to jihadism, France desperately wants to find a way out of a situation that is getting more dire every year. Pretending that Israel's existence (or "occupation") is radicalizing its Muslim citizens is an easy way to push off the hard decisions needed to fight the main battle of the 21st century - against radical Islam. France is acting like Arab nations did from the 1950s through the 1990s, at least.

What is the logic behind saying  that the Israeli-Arab conflict is the main driver behind Middle East upheavals (and, by implication, terror attacks in Europe)? There is none.  It is fantasy created to pretend that the solution to real problems in the Middle East and beyond can be solved by Jews just conceding more and more.

Those for whom wishful thinking has replaced actual facts and analysis want Israel to be the problem so they don't have to blame themselves.

The clinging to false hopes based on anti-Israel propaganda doesn't end there. The French document also says, "Time is not a neutral factor, given the steady erosion of the two-state solution. An open-ended approach would be oblivious to the reality on the ground and the constant risks of escalation. "

There are practically no more new approved settlements built since the 1990s. There may be many more Jews living in the existing communities of Judea and Samaria but the facts on the ground have not changed. The Clinton parameters and the Olmert proposals are exactly as viable today as they were when they were proposed. Less than 2% of the West Bank were being taken up by Jewish settlements in 1994 and the figure is less than 2% today. The argument that the two state solution is becoming more difficult by the day is simply another anti-Israel talking point that is being used to force Israel, and only Israel, to compromise on its security and its history.

These are the facts. They can be easily checked. "Linkage" and "the erosion of the two-state solution" are not facts, they are fallacies whose only reason for being believed is because they are repeated over and over again.

One would hope that national leaders and diplomats would be smart enough to tell the difference between fallacies and provable facts.  Unfortunately, they prefer to stay in the dark, because the actual truth contradicts the most cherished bases for decades of international diplomacy.

Israeli concessions, or Israel's disappearance (which is the next stage after a "peace agreement,") cannot and would not solve the problems of Islamic extremism. Israel has proposed many peace plans that would result in a Palestinian state - somewhat less than what they are demanding but one that would give them 90-98% of what they say they want. It is Palestinian intransigence that is stopping peace, not Israeli actions. And any clear-headed diplomat should realize that the pressure should be put on Palestinians to accept a peace plan and move on with their lives. And the Gulf nations are already starting to realize this.

France, and Europe, choose to be willfully blind rather than looking at the facts.



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