10 thoughts on “Hamas Proposes Long-Term Truce in Return for Israeli Withdrawal to 1967 Borders – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I usually find that Daniel Pipes has very little to say that is worthwhile, but the article you link to is excellent and (I surprise myself in saying this) it is very well argued and worth reading. He convinces me that Al-Zahar’s statement is calumny of the highest order and this gives Hamas yet another black mark in my eyes & the eyes of the external world. I hasten to add though that his reference to the Bible is correct though the passages in question have never been taken as serious or literal territorial aspirations by any Zionist figure.

    But none of this detracts from the problem that Israel IS expansionist (even if the territory in question is much less than the ridiculous “Nile to Euphrates” reference) in its territorial aims which only gives the Palestinians stronger grounds for doubting Israel’s sincerity and reliability as a partner for peace.

  2. The fool!

    Considering Hamas bases its charter on the Protocols, you would assume it knows what it’s talking about.

    Everyone knows what the two lines represent. The Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, and all us Zionists own in between.

    As for “expansionist goals” you would think that canard would also go out the window as far back as, oh, I don’t know, 1979. Because Israel gave up the Sinai back then. The fact that they assert a claim to some of the contested territory does not make them “expansionist.”

  3. I’m not talking about the Sinai. Besides that happened as you say nearly 30 yrs ago. And Israel does know how to return territory it has little need or affinity for like Sinai & the Gaza settlements. The West Bank is an entirely diff. story.

    If you believe that Israel doesn’t have expansionist territorial goals can you explain to me why the Wall eventually will steal 10% of West Bank territory from the Palestinians? Why couldn’t the Wall follow the Green Line, an internationally accepted border (except by Israel)? Why can’t Israel seem to settle on what its precise borders are? Why is Israel further eroding Palestinian territory with the Maaleh Adumim project which essentially cuts E. Jerusalem Palestinians from the rest of the West Bank? Can you explain to me why Hebron settlers are allowed to essentially expel the rightful Palestinian owners of property in the market area in order to allow these settlers to become squatters & eventually “owners” of the property?

  4. Richard, you are going to far in relying on Pipes, who never writes without a (frequently mad) agenda. Nile-Euphrates is of course an extreme version. (Though I know some Jewish religiousos who hold to it.) But “greater Israel” is not entirely fiction or Arab paranoia. He (and Joshua) mention Israeli acquisitions in the Sinai, and later relinquishment as proof of no “greater Israel” designs. With only a little more cheek, one could consider Saddam Hussein’s retreat from Kuwait as proving that the idea of Iraqi territorial aggrandizement is a base calumny.

    The evidence that the Revisionists wanted an Israel larger than the British Mandate is overwhelming e.g. the slogan you quote. Such expansionist slogans were at least until fairly recently still official Herut party slogans. Israel under Ben-Gurion, not just the Revisionists emphatically did plan territorial expansion in 1956; Ben-Gurion’s speech claiming (parts of) the Sinai as part of the ancient land of Israel notably “turned off” many, e.g. Uri Avnery and Israel Shahak from their earlier uncritical Zionism. His “fantastic plan” at Sevres presented while plotting the war with the British and French contained designs on Lebanon, and IIRC Jordan and Syria too. Expansion was only thwarted by immediate vigorous Soviet and American reaction. Gaza and Sharm-al-Sheikh were held on to for 4 months, relinquished only after UNSC chapter VII action was threatened.

    Similarly, expansionism in the Sinai after 1967 was only thwarted by the unexpected character of the 1973 war, which is what convinced Israel to eventually accept the same offer from Sadat that they internally called “generous” in 1971-2, but had refused, preferring expansionism, in full knowledge that this would lead to a war that they thought they could win effortlessly. Syria’s lesser military showing is the main reason Israel still holds and quasi-annexed the Golan.

    Joshua, Israel has been offered peace by the Arabs for decades; all that would have to be done is to renounce expansionism, which would improve everyone’s strategic and security situation. Every life that has been lost in the conflict for the last 30 years or so has mainly been a human sacrifice on the altar of mad and stupid Israeli expansionism. Finally, Israel has never formally asserted any claim to the post 1967 “contested territories” in the normal, old-fashioned way – that it is rightfully ours. It has only made the even more preposterous claim that it needs to hold on to parts of these territories for its security, when of course holding on to them is what is endangering its security. If this behavior is not expansionism, then nothing is.

  5. As I think I implied, I detest Pipes and trust nothing he says. I’ve taken him on before here over his calumnies regarding Tariq Ramadan. But in this one particular case I think his argument was on target.

    As for Israeli expansionism, I accept this notion generally. Though if you want to criticize Israel I think it is important to do so carefully & judiciously. The Betar anthem which talks of Israel on both banks of the Jordan is of course a perfect example of this. The Wall & other examples I raise above are further proof. As is your example of Ben Gurion’s 1956 invasion of Egypt.

    But when a Hamas representative makes such bald face calumnies as this one, it destroys not only his credibility in the eyes of the world but potentially hurts the credibility of anyone who talks about the general issue critically.

  6. Richard, the Arab opponents of Israel made very clear, when they signed armistice agreements after the war of independence, that they were just that, armistice agreements. They explicitly rejected those lines as borders.

    Israel nevertheless has given back the overwhelming majority of territory seized in 1967. It will not, however, give the Arabs a “do over” and go back to the prior armistice lines. That does not make Israel “expansionist.”

  7. Again, the Green Line is an internationally recognized border (except by Israel & you). Israel’s forced acquisition of addition territory is not recognized as legitimate by anyone except Israel.

    A border is a line agreed upon by two parties. It matters very little now what the Arabs intention was in signing the Armistice. What matters is figuring out a border that is acceptable both to Israel, its neighbors & the world community. Israel will never be a fully accepted member of the world community until it comes to terms with this problem & reaches agreement w. its erstwhile enemies. It may be that Israel’s neighbors might accept a final agreement with borders that don’t fully conform to the Green Line. That would be up to those parties.

    The “overwhelming majority of territory” argument holds no water whatsoever. The majority of the conquered territoriy was uninhabited Sinai desert. Israel returned that territory to Egypt & gained a cold peace in return. Israel has not returned the most problematic & incendiary (to the Arabs) territory in the West Bank & Golan. That is the crux of the matter. Neither the Arabs nor the international community accept Israel’s rettention of this conquered territory.

    [Israel] will not, however, give the Arabs a “do over” and go back to the prior armistice lines.

    Interesting that you should feel so confident in speaking on behalf of Israel & saying it will not return to the Green Line. History sometimes has a way of making fools of people who make blithe & overconfident predictions.

  8. Richard, you are simply incorrect. An armistice line does not become a border unless all sides agree that it does.

    Your next argument is a non-sequtur. You claim that Israel cannot simply unilaterally annex portions of the West Bank. Maybe so, but they can receive such territory through negotiated agreement. The whole point of UNSC 242 was that the parties would have to negotiate the final borders, not that Israel would be forced to go back to previous armistice lines. No one is saying that Israel’s annexation is recognized. What I am saying is that the final borders are up for negotiation.

    Last I checked, Israel IS an accepted member of the world community. There are several racist states that refuse to recognize it, and Israel is given second class treatment at the UN. But it is widely recognized as a sovereign state. Except by extremist bigots (like Hamas).

    “History sometimes has a way of making fools of people who make blithe & overconfident predictions.”

    I can say with utmost confidence that the thriving city of Ariel will remain Israeli, even after a negotiated agreement. I can also say with confidence that Israel will not give up all four quarters of the old city of Jerusalem. If these are the case, will you apologize, or admit that you are a fool? Or perhaps you will just stop pontificating on matters with which you demonstrate little knowledge.

  9. An armistice line does not become a border unless all sides agree that it does.

    Well, yes & that’s precisely what I wrote above. But on one point you’re wrong again. A border recognized by the international community does not stop being one merely because Israel rejects the notion. Israel does NOT have the right to unilaterally determine which border it will accept or reject. Of course, it can get away with such an outrageous notion for years or even decades. But maintaining such a charade brings a cost paid in lives and blood unfortunately & delays the day when peace might come.

    they can receive such territory through negotiated agreement.

    Indeed they can…and what has the Sharon government (& now Olmert) done to make such negotiations come about? Given the current government which appears slated for renewal of its mandate, how will there ever be negotiations? Can you even say that Israel does want final status negotiations? Of course not because Israel has shown absolutely no interest in bringing this about.

    Being a member of the UN and having ambassadors in one’s country does not constitute being a fully accepted state in the international community. Israel is not an “accepted state” in the same terms as the United States, Mexico, Canada, Great Britain, etc. which have internationally recognized borders and are not in a state of perpetual war with their neighbors.

    Let’s grant that Ariel will remain Israeli territory after a peace agreement (though this is by no means as guaranteed as Joshua maintains). Let’s also maintain that Israel may not give up the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. I never said these things would never happen. In fact, in this blog & perhaps even in this comment section I said it was likely that the settlement bloc (which includes Ariel) would be retained by Israel since this was part of the original proposed Camp David plan of Bill Clinton. I never said that Jerusalem would be returned in its ientirety to the Palestinians. In fact, I made the point that borders are to be negotiated & agreed upon by both parties. I conceded that the eventual border might not fully conform to the Green Line. What more would you have had me said?

    And why is it our opponents always seem to have such “little knowledge” compared to our own voluminous amounts of it? If after reading my Mideast peace posts here you can claim with a straight face that I have “little knowledge” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, then it would you whose judgment would be severely in doubt.

    BTW, I’m sorry if my “fool” comment struck a nerve, Joshua. I only meant to point out how foolish it is to predict the future with such certitude on behalf of someone else when so many events can intercede to prove us wrong.

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