While pro-Israel groups on the left-wing side of the spectrum tried to counter AIPAC’s lobbying efforts this week by urging their supporters to call their members of Congress, the right-wing Zionist Organization of America criticized AIPAC from the other side. Ron has more on this if you click here, and after the jump you can read ZOA’s full press release. The group says it is "mystified that AIPAC is supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state despite the fact that Mahmoud Abbas refuses to accept Israel as a Jewish state and other PA leaders refuse to accept Israel at all." [[READMORE]]
ZOA CRITICAL OF AIPAC’S PROMOTING CONGRESSIONAL LETTERS PROMOTING PALESTINIAN ARAB STATE
The ZOA has expressed deep concern that the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a leading pro-Israel lobby, has endorsed establishing a Palestinian Arab state alongside Israel’s longest border on the assumption that such a state will produce peace. In this year’s lobbying effort by AIPAC, AIPAC activists were instructed to ask their congressmen to sign on to letters addressed to Obama that explicitly promotes the need for a “viable Palestinian state.” ZOA is mystified that AIPAC is supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state despite the fact that Mahmoud Abbas refuses to accept Israel as a Jewish state and other PA leaders refuse to accept Israel at all.
Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, last week displaying a map of all of Israel labeled as “Palestine”. Notice at top of map the word “Palestine” in English.
AIPAC has always said that it supports the policies of the Israeli government, but it now supports a Palestinian state while the Netanyahu government has taken no such position. This is untrue. On other occasions, it is also true that AIPAC has not supported Israel’s policies. For example, when Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir asked AIPAC to support the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria, AIPAC refused. In May 2002, Binyamin Netanyahu, in a major speech, clearly spelt out the dangers of a Palestinian Arab state and the reasons its creation under existing conditions had to be opposed:
“The biggest mistake that can be made is to promise [to the Palestinians] the establishment of their own independent state … it will demand all the powers of a state, such as controlling borders, bringing in weapons, control of airspace and the ability to knock down any Israeli plane that enters its area, the ability to sign peace treaties and military alliances with other countries. Once you give them a state, you give them all these things, even if there is an agreement to the contrary, for within a short time they will demand all these things, and they will assume these powers, and the world will stand by and do nothing – but it will stop us from trying to stop them … We will thus have created with our own hands a threat to our very existence. On the day that we sign an agreement for a state with limited authorities, what will happen if the Palestinians do what the Germans did after World War I, when they nullified the demilitarized zone? The world did nothing then, and the world will do nothing now as well. Even now, the Palestinians are removing all the restrictions to which they agreed in Oslo – they are smuggling in arms, polluting the water sources, building an army, making military deals with Iran and others, and more… But when we try to take action against this, the world opposes us – and not them… Arafat said it best when talking to reporters the day he signed the Oslo Accords: ‘Since we can’t defeat Israel in war, we must do it in stages, we must take whatever area of Palestine we can get, establish sovereignty there, and then at the right time, we will have to convince the Arab nations to join us in dealing the final blow to Israel.’ Self-rule, yes. But a state with which to destroy the State of Israel – no … We are told that the idea of a Palestinian state is just a vision for the future, not for right now. Well, our nation, too, has a vision for the future: ‘The wolf shall lie down with the lamb.’ When this vision is fulfilled in the Middle East, then we’ll convene this Committee again and re-consider the issue … On matters vital to our existence, we always took clear action, even if others didn’t agree with us. Because the bottom line is that saying ‘Yes’ to a Palestinian state means ‘No’ to a Jewish State, and vice-versa” (Hillel Fendel, ‘Netanyahu: Why We Must Oppose a Palestinian State,’ Israel National News, April 30, 2009)
However, today, AIPAC is supporting a Palestinian Arab state even though the Netanyahu government has not done so. The letters being circulated to law makers on Capitol Hill are especially troubling in that they promote Palestinian statehood while Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah (strongly supported by Palestinian opinion) refuse to accept Israel or even to depict the country on PA maps, atlases and the Fatah emblem; continue to permit incitement to hatred and murder against Jews and Israel in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps; do not arrest and jail terrorists or outlaw terrorist groups; retain the Fatah Constitution with its calls for terrorism and Israel’s destruction; and honors terrorists like George Habash and Samir Kuntar. Negotiating the creation of any Palestinian Arab state should be conditional on ending all these things and transforming Palestinian society. In the absence of this, ZOA has argued that this is no time to be endorsing or promoting the creation of a Palestinian state.
ZOA criticism is therefore two-fold: it opposes this move by AIPAC because supporting or promoting a Palestinian Arab state under prevailing conditions is seriously mistaken and because AIPAC is thereby supporting a major policy affecting Israel’s vital interests despite the fact that the Israeli government has not supported such a policy. As the Jerusalem Post report, “While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is refusing to explicitly endorse a two-state solution to resolve the Palestinian conflict, participants at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference will this week be urging their elected representatives to press President Barack Obama for precisely that” (Hilary Leila Krieger, ‘AIPAC delegates to lobby for two-state solution,’ Jerusalem Post, May 4, 2009).
Polls of both American Jews and Israelis show less than majority support for establishing a Palestinian state:
The 2007 American Jewish Committee poll showed that 55% of American Jews don’t believe that current negotiations can lead to peace, while only 36% were hopeful that it would; 58% of American Jews reject Israeli concessions on Jerusalem, even in context of permanent peace, with only 36% supporting the idea. It showed 81% of American Jews agree that “The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel.” Also, less than half (46%) support the creation of a Palestinian state.
A March 2007 McLaughlin & Associates poll shows that non-Jewish Americans as well, by a margin of 5 to 1, oppose Israel land concession to the Palestinian Arabs and by 2 to 1, believe that a Palestinian state will be a terrorist state, not a peaceful democracy.
February 2009: Israelis oppose 51 percent – 31 percent the creation of a Palestinian state, as opposed to merely 31 percent that favor its establishment; Israelis believe 52 percent – 22 percent that the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria will lead to rocket fire on Jerusalem, Kfar Sava and other cities in central Israel. (‘Poll: Israelis oppose Palestinian State 51%:32% – 31% of Kadima voters would drop support if thought Kadima supports Pal State,’ Independent Media Review & Analysis, February 9, 2009).
July 2008: Jerusalem’s residents (including Israeli Arabs) oppose the division of the city with physical barriers 73 percent – 27 percent, (‘Polls: 73%:27% Jerusalem residents oppose physical separation in city in wake of attacks,’ Independent Media Review & Analysis, July 24, 2008).
An October 2007 Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research and the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution of Tel Aviv University poll has shown that a clear majority of Jewish Israelis – 59% to 33% – oppose, even in return for a peace agreement, Israel handing over to the PA various Arab neighborhoods in the eastern half of Jerusalem.
Moreover, the Palestinian leadership of Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas does not accept Israel’s existence, let alone as a Jewish state:
Mahmoud Abbas, PA president and Fatah chairman: “Alluding to the dispute over whether the Palestinian government should recognize Israel and abide by past Palestinian agreements, Abbas noted that ‘forces don’t need to accept what the government accepts, and we say that the government has to accept the international legitimacy.’” (‘Abbas calls for all-inclusive unity government,’ Ma’an News [Palestinian wire service], April 27, 2009); “I say this clearly: I do not accept the Jewish State, call it what you will.” A smiling Abbas held up a large framed map of ‘Palestine’ covering the entire area of Israel, which was featured on the front page of both PA daily newspaper, with ‘Palestine’ printed in English (Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, ‘Mahmoud Abbas: “I do not accept the Jewish State, call it what you will,” Palestinian Media Watch, April 28, 2009).
Abbas: “The Palestinians do not accept the formula that the state of Israel is a Jewish state.” (David Bedein, ‘Olmert reports to Israel Cabinet Meeting,’ Bulletin [Philadelphia], December 3, 2007).
Abbas: “Hamas is not required, Hamas is not required to recognize Israel… It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel, all right? The PLO, in 1993, recognized Israel … But the government which will be formed, and which will function opposite the Israelis on a daily basis … every hour and perhaps every second, there will be contact between Palestinian ministers and Israeli ministers … [Abbas then gives an example of 500 million dollars in taxes intended for the Palestinians, but put on hold by Israelis. The Palestinian finance minister has to come to an agreement with the Israeli finance minister regarding the transfer of that money.] So how can he make an agreement with him if he does not recognize him? So I do not demand of Hamas nor any other [organizations] to recognize Israel. But from the government that works with Israelis in day to day life, yes” (Al-Arabiya [Dubai] and PA TV, October 3, 2006, Itamar Marcus & Barbara Crook, ‘Abbas dupes US: “Recognition” is functional, not inherent,’ Palestinian Media Watch, October 5, 2006).
Senior Fatah commander, Muhammad Dahlan, former commander of Fatah forces in Gaza: “[Hamas says] that the Fatah movement wants Hamas to recognize Israel. This is a gross deception. And I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas movement not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel, even today … We of the Fatah do not recognize Israel; we recognized [corrects himself] recognize that which the PLO recognized, but that does not obligate us as a Palestinian resistance faction. It is not being demanded of Hamas that it recognize Israel … The entire Palestinian economy is dependent on Israel. The government’s role is to manage the day-to-day life of the Palestinian people. I cannot force my thinking and my position [non-recognition of Israel] on the government, and then [were I to do so] – should the Palestinian people pay the price for this position? … It’s not the political parties [that must recognize]; it’s required of the government and not of the parties. It’s required of the government but not of Hamas; it’s required of the government but not of the Fatah” (Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, ‘Western funders misled: Fatah still refuses to recognize Israel, PA’s “recognition” only to receive international aid,’ Palestinian Media Watch, March 17, 2009)
Abu Ahmed, Fatah commander: ‘“The base of our Fatah movement keeps dreaming of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa and Acco. …There is no change in our official position. Fatah as a movement never recognized Israel,” the terrorist, calling himself Abu Ahmed, explained. He went on to say that the Al-Aksa Brigades is ‘one and the same’ with the Fatah party.’ (David Bedein, ‘The American Sanitizing of a Terrorist Group,’ Israel National News, October 5, 2006).
Palestinian society opposes Israel’s existence and supports terrorism against Israel:
January 2009 poll: Jerusalem Media & Communications Center poll that found that 55.4 percent of Palestinians support continued suicide bombings against Israel, as against 37.6 percent who oppose it. (Jerusalem Media & Communications Center, Poll No. 67, January 2009).
March 2008 Poll: 83.5% of Palestinians approve of the March 6 terrorist attack on the Mercaz Harav seminary in Jerusalem in which 8 people, mainly teenagers, were murdered and a further 40 wounded; 63.6% support rocket attacks on Israeli towns, as against 32.6% who oppose it. (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research poll, March 2008).
February 2007 Poll: 75% of Palestinian Arabs do not think that Israel has a right to exist; 70% of Palestinian Arabs support a one-state solution in which Jews would be a minority, not a two-state solution with a Palestinian Arab state living peacefully alongside Israel (Near East Consulting (NEC) poll, February 12-15, 2007, ‘NEC 12-15 February Poll: 75% of Palestinians do not think that Israel has the right to exist,’ Independent Media Review Analysis, February 16, 2007).
September 2006 Poll: 57% of Palestinian Arabs support terrorist attacks upon Israeli civilians; 75% support the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in a bid to obtain the release of jailed Palestinians terrorists; 63% are inspired by the Lebanese Islamist terror group Hizballah and seek to emulate it (Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) poll, September 2006).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, National Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt, Executive Committee Chairman Dr. Alan Mazurek and Treasurer Henry Schwartz said, “We are perplexed and critical of the fact that a major pro-Israel organization like AIPAC has taken this step. It constitutes a major reward for Palestinian terrorism and non-acceptance of Israel when we should only be rewarding moderation and acceptance and fulfillment of written agreements of Oslo, Wye and the Roadmap. By doing this, AIPAC is sending a message to Palestinians that they need to do nothing but accept unilateral Israeli concessions, rather than extirpate their armed extremists and reform their society for peace with and acceptance of Israel.
“For an organization that prides itself as one that gives support to the democratically elected Israeli government of the day, AIPAC is helping to increase pressures on the Israeli government to accept creation of a Palestinian state at a time and under conditions in which creating a Palestinian state would mean giving birth to a new, unreconstructed terror state on Israel’s longest border.
“If a Palestinian Arab state were to be established next door to the U.S. in the near-certainty that it would be a corrupt, terror-promoting state which would also be beggar state, dependent on an infusion of billions of dollars, would Americans agree to this? Of course, not – yet that is the sort of idea that AIPAC is now urging upon Congress.
“Under prevailing conditions, there is no sound basis for working to create a Palestinian Arab state, which would become simply another terror state. It’s the height of naiveté to think that sovereignty will resolve this conflict. It would not cause Palestinians to moderate or their leaders to act like good neighbors. On the contrary, it would give Palestinians enhanced capacity to wage war against Israel and further their rejectionist agenda. Remember, Iran, North Korea and Syria are sovereign states. Has that made them peace-loving and moderate?
“There is a growing number of people who oppose the establishment of a Palestinian State, including military and intelligence figures who are speaking out on this issue. They include former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon; former head of the CIA, Jim Woolsey; Mideast scholar, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University, Bernard Lewis and Dr. Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum.
“Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon, has observed that ‘the establishment of a Palestinian state will lead, at some stage, to war … The idea that a Palestinian state will achieve stability is disconnected from reality and dangerous.’ Similarly, James Woolsey, CIA director under Bill Clinton, has argued that ‘the Palestinians should not be granted the right to statehood until they start to treat Israeli Jews who settle in the West Bank as fairly as Israel treats its Muslim citizens … As long as Wahabbis are running Palestinian education, and little boys are taught to be suicide bombers, I don’t see any reasonable prospects for settlement.’
“Since the Palestinian Authority (PA) was established in 1994, Palestinian Arab society has been educated for terrorism, war and the destruction of Israel. Remember, Palestinians turned down offers of statehood in 1937, 1947 and 2000. If they truly desire statehood, they could obtain it by stopping terrorism. They haven’t, because they prefer to pursue Israel’s elimination.
“PA maps do not show a country called ‘Israel.’ Nor does Fatah’s 43rd anniversary emblem, which shows Israel labeled ‘Palestine’ and draped in a Palestinian headdress. Fatah’s Constitution, to this day calls for the “complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence” (Article 12) and for terrorism as “ a strategy and not a tactic … this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished” (Article 19). Fatah’s own Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has murdered over 500 Israelis in eight years of suicide bombing, roadside attacks and shootings. Why is AIPAC supporting the creation of a Palestinian state when the Palestinian leadership and society as a whole does not accept Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state?
“Under such conditions, AIPAC should not be supporting the creating of a Palestinian state. In addition to being the wrong policy at this time, such support will increase pressures on Israel’s democratically elected government, which was approved by an electorate that voted overwhelmingly for right-of-center parties that oppose creating a Palestinian state under current conditions.”
“We urge AIPAC to stop promoting the establishment of what would be a Palestinian terrorist state in which Hamas and Iran would wield considerable power and influence. Such an outcome is in the interest of neither Israel nor the United States. In this scenario, Israel will be reduced to a narrow waist a mere 9 miles wide, which would render Israel indefensible – what Abba Eban used to call the ‘Auschwitz borders.’ It would also be a humanitarian disaster, as hundreds of thousands of Jews living beyond the pre-1967 lines may well be uprooted in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria. There will surely be a demand for their forcible removal from their homes. Yet while AIPAC is presently telling Members of Congress how concerned they are about Palestinian suffering, they have said nothing about the 10,000 Jews forcibly removed from their thriving communities in Gaza. What will they then have to say about hundreds of thousands of Jews ousted from their homes to create a judenrein Palestinian state? We need to end terror states, not create new ones.”