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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nicholas Kristof, "Is Israel Its Own Worst Enemy?": With Friends Like Kristof, Who Needs Enemies?

Rarely have I witnessed a more distorted, sickeningly myopic opinion piece than that written by Nicholas Kristof in today's New York Times, entitled "Is Israel Its Own Worst Enemy?" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/opinion/kristof-is-israel-its-own-worst-enemy.html?_r=1&hp). Kristof's begins:

"These days, the world has been turned upside down. Now it is Israel that is endangered most by its leaders and maximalist stance. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is isolating his country, and, to be blunt, his hard line on settlements seems like a national suicide policy."

Netanyahu stands in the way of peace? Let's have a look at Netanyahu's "maximalist stance" in his September 2011 speech to the UN:

"The settlements have to be -- it's an issue that has to be addressed and resolved in the course of negotiations.

. . . .

President Abbas, stop walking around this issue. Recognize the Jewish state, and make peace with us. In such a genuine peace, Israel is prepared to make painful compromises.

. . . .

Ladies and gentlemen, I continue to hope that President Abbas will be my partner in peace. I've worked hard to advance that peace. The day I came into office, I called for direct negotiations without preconditions. President Abbas didn't respond. I outlined a vision of peace of two states for two peoples. He still didn't respond. I removed hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints, to ease freedom of movement in the Palestinian areas; this facilitated a fantastic growth in the Palestinian economy. But again -- no response. I took the unprecedented step of freezing new buildings in the settlements for 10 months. No prime minister did that before, ever. Once again -- you applaud, but there was no response. No response."

Netanyahu offered to meet with Abbas that same day at the UN. Abbas refused.

Earlier this month, Israel accepted the Quartet's proposal to resume peace talks (http://www.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Israel-Accepts-Quartet-Proposal-to-Resume-Peace-Talks-130938678.html). Abbas refused.

Kristof would have us believe that future Israeli construction of 1,100 housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo means that Israel now demands sovereignty over all of Jerusalem:

"With that diplomatic fight at the United Nations under way, Israel last week announced plans for 1,100 new housing units in a part of Jerusalem outside its pre-1967 borders. Instead of showing appreciation to President Obama, Mr. Netanyahu thumbed him in the eye.

O.K., I foresee a torrent of angry responses. I realize that many insist that Jerusalem must all belong to Israel in any peace deal anyway, so new settlements there don’t count. But, if that’s your position, then you can kiss any peace deal goodbye. Every negotiator knows the framework of a peace agreement — 1967 borders with land swaps, Jerusalem as the capital of both Israeli and Palestinian states, only a token right of return — and insistence on a completely Israeli Jerusalem simply means no peace agreement ever."

This is pure sophistry on Kristof's part. Every peace proposal proffered by former Israeli prime ministers Barak and Olmert to their counterparts Arafat and Abbas have been premised upon the 1967 lines with land swaps and a division of Jersualem, and, in the case of Olmert's proposal, with sharing of Jersualem's holy places. Although they refused these peace agreements, Arafat and Abbas never contested that the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo would remain with Israel. Nevertheless, Kristof would have us believe that future construction of 1,100 housing units in Gilo is the equivalent of Israeli annexation of all of Jerusalem. Sorry, Nicholas, but your claim amounts to scurrilous bunk.

Kristof continues:

"The Israel Defense Forces can deal with suicide bombers and rockets fired by Hezbollah. I’m not sure that they can defeat Palestinian women blocking roads to illegal settlements and willing to endure tear gas and clubbing — with videos promptly posted on YouTube."

Kristof, are you referring to those same Palestinian women who are repeatedly subjected to "honor killings" by their Palestinian male kin? Peculiar, how Kristof has avoided writing about this horrifying phenomena. Kristof's attempt to conjure up a picture of the IDF systematically clubbing Palestinian women is little less than a blood libel.

But wait, there's more. Kristof blames only Israel for a deterioration of relations with Turkey:

"Mr. Netanyahu has also undermined Israeli security by burning bridges with Israel’s most important friend in the region, Turkey."

No mention by Kristof of the increasingly radical Islamic stance adopted by Turkey's ruling AKP party and its attempts to curry favor with Iran and offer succor to the terrorist Hamas regime in Gaza. By the way, where is Kristof's story about Turkey's oppression of its significant Kurdish minority? Where is Kristof's story of Turkey's imprisonment of journalists? Where is Kristof's story of how Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan accepted the Qaddafi 2011 Human Rights Prize, then refused to participate in NATO's operation to dislodge the Libyan tyrant.

Nicholas writes:

"If Jews in the West Bank can vote, then Palestinians there should be able to as well."

Peculiar, how Kristof fails to mention that Abbas insists that the future Palestinian state will be free of Jews ("judenrein")and that Abbas will never accept Israel as a Jewish state.

Kristof concludes:

"Today, Israel’s leaders sometimes seem to be that country’s worst enemies, and it’s an act of friendship to point that out."

Nicholas, with friends like you, who needs enemies.

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