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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Daniel Levy, "Seven Lean Years of Peacemaking": Hokum

Almost immediately after it became known that President Obama had refused Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's request to meet later this month at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, The New York Times published another Israel-bashing guest op-ed, this time by Daniel Levy, entitled "Seven Lean Years of Peacemaking" ( Daniel, we are told, "directs the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council on Foreign Relations and is a fellow at the New America Foundation." The op-ed "forgets" to tell us that Levy was a founder of J Street and continues to serve on its advisory board (see: Levy writes:

"The years from 2005 to 2012 have been seven decidedly lean ones for peacemaking and withdrawal and seven gluttonously fat ones for entrenching Israel’s occupation and settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

. . . .

In terms of land mass, the Gaza Strip encompasses just under 1.5 percent of the total area of British Mandate-era Palestine, (or 'Greater Israel' as the settlers like to call it). However, that same tiny area is today home to approximately 1.7 million Palestinians, or over a quarter of the total Palestinian population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. So, in divesting itself of just 1.5 percent of the land, Israel significantly recalibrated the so-called 'demographic equation' (the ratio of Jews to Arabs in the area under its control).

The 1.5 percent doctrine paves the way to permanent Israeli control of 98.5 percent of the land. West Bank Palestinians can either join their left-behind-in-1948 confreres as second-class citizens in an enlarged Jewish state or continue their stateless existence in insecure and disconnected enclaves of limited autonomy, a kind of Bantustan status."

Queries for Daniel:

• When he refers to "the total area of British Mandate-era Palestine," is he including Jordan, which was a part of the Mandate?
• How does Daniel avoid observing that even according to the Palestinians, Israeli settlements cover only 1.1 percent of the West Bank (see:
• Why does Daniel ignore the fact that Netanyahu was personally responsible for reducing the number of West Bank checkpoints from 41 to 15 over recent years?
• How in blazes does darling Daniel avoid reference to Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's 2008 offer, rejected by Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas, to create an independent Palestinian state, based upon swapping Israeli territory for settlement blocs, sharing of Jerusalem, and a safe passage corridor between the West Bank and Gaza?

You see, Daniel, I favor a two-state solution, providing Palestinians with independence, security and prosperity, but which also demands that the Palestinians recognize my right to exist. Notwithstanding Olmert's peace proposal and those of Israeli Prime Minister Barak before him, that basic recognition of my right to exist has not been forthcoming.

Meanwhile, while we await this long delayed recognition, I live in the 8-mile wide corridor of Israel between the Palestinian Authority and the Mediterranean Sea. Daniel dearest, I hope you will forgive my preferrence not to be buffeted with the same rockets and missiles that are fired from Gaza at the civilian population of southern Israel almost every day.

[I sent an e-mail to Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times, inquiring whether there is some minimal level of objectivity or adherence to the facts demanded of his newspaper's guest op-eds. Let's see if he replies.]


  1. Yes, I just can't understand how people can live without any conscience.
    I googled the guy. Yes, he is British, yes, he's J Street.
    Indecent, despicable opportunists.

  2. Ah, I missed the fact that you had mentioned his J Street connection. Sorry.

    1. In fact, I added this connection after receiving your comment. Again, many thanks!

  3. The New York Times is hopeless. I canceled my subscription some time ago. Another Pink Washing oped is doubtless around the corner. The days of William Safire and some degree of even handedness are long gone.

  4. Are you disputing the 1.5% figure? The precise figure is not so important as the fact that Gaza is a very small part of pre-Israel Palestine (and that Israel is by far the major part, even if you exclude the West Bank).

    1. Sorry, John, but you are mistaken. Jordan comprises the vast majority of what was once the Palestinian Mandate. Moreover, Palestinians comprise an overwhelming majority of Jordan's population.