Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Once again, we find ourselves in the position of clearly defending the facts of history, not the narrative of any one people, and especially not the narrative being used by a U.S. president trying desperately to cement some sort of foreign policy legacy against a setting of Aleppo’s all-but-disappearance from the map, not to mention the world migrant problem. In this conflagration of major worldwide catastrophes, effectively nothing was done by the world’s lone superpower.

The facts, not the narrative, are true and fly in the face of Senator Kerry’s last stand on Wednesday, defending President Obama’s abstention and non-veto of the vote regarding Jewish settlements at the U.N. Security Council. In 1947, when the Arabs were given a state through U.N. Resolution 181, alongside a Jewish state, the Arab leadership not only refused, they declared war against Israel. The fledgling state had a ragtag air force and World War I-era weapons, and yet it won, like the Maccabees against the Greeks.

Fast forward to 1967, Israel’s pre-emptive attack on Egypt’s air force stopped the Arab powers of then-Syria, Jordan and Nasser’s Egypt in their tracks. Even then, after a humiliating defeat, the Arabs would do no better than agree to a ceasefire.

We could go through the parameters of the 1973 Yom Kippur War and then the 1979 peace agreements with Egypt, which resulted in the return of the Sinai Peninsula and the dismantling of settlements. Later came a peace agreement with Jordan.

But here we are in the 21st century, and historic fact shows that in the year 2000, Israel in its negotiations with the PLO offered well over 90 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians, but the Barak government was turned down flat by Yasser Arafat. The Olmert government did much of the same in 2008, again only to be turned down.

Mr. Kerry did not mention any of these three key setbacks to Palestinian statehood in his biased, 70-minute speech.

The plain truth is that the right of return, of whom the Palestinians identify as 5 million of their people to land established for Israel by U.N. 181, was the key reason its leadership turned their backs on statehood. Mr. Kerry, this result rests on the backs of Arafat and Abbas, not Netanyahu or anyone who came before him.

Settlements? Sorry, sir, but this is not the critical issue here. Clearly Israel wants peace, but the Palestinian leadership, Palestinian “street,” whatever we choose to call it, still is caught up in humiliation and defeat. Largely because this is exactly what their leadership wants for them.

It’s almost as if the Palestinians are empowered and defined through resistance, terrorism and an inability to fathom a strong, thriving Israel.

Also, Mr. Kerry, remember Gaza?

Israel pulled out and destroyed its own settlements, having to relocate Jews in an emotional, gut-wrenching operation that we can suggest quite safely that no other government would even consider. The reward for the withdrawal? You know the answer, Mr. Kerry.

You mentioned the 1967 borders and the Saudi plan that the Arab nations would recognize Israel should it withdraw to those borders?

Mr. Kerry, you know well that it is in the best interest of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and others to continue to build its behind-the-scenes friendship with Israel. They see what Iran has done in the area. Look up Syria, Mr. Kerry—that is, if you can still locate it on a map.

Israel and these Arab nations have common interests more than ever, thanks to Iran. Also, Mr. Kerry, the U.S. has a great responsibility for bringing these countries closer together with Israel. As soon as the Iran nuke deal was pushed through by the Obama administration, it became regionally critical for Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan to come together.

Lastly, Mr. Kerry, the Obama administration’s single biggest catastrophic inaction was standing by as Russia and Iran gained a foothold in Syria. Mr. Kerry, you should have been spending 70 minutes on TV Wednesday discussing what trapdoor the administration fell through.

We can’t deny that the issue of West Bank settlements continues, yet as long as the Palestinians refuse to come to the peace table without the right of return on their plate, then settlements are not the real issue. History will show clearly that Israel has offered up peace in exchange for West Bank territory. The Palestinians have balked every time.

As Naftali Bennett, Israel’s minister of education, said about Mr. Kerry’s speech, “It’s divorced from reality but with good intentions.”

Last Friday’s non-veto before the United Nations Security Council will do nothing but empower those who use knives, cars, ball-bearing bombs and other weapons to kill and injure Jews who live in Judea and Samaria.

Good intentions?

It’s not the settlements, Mr. Kerry.

It’s Israel. It’s U.N. Resolution 181.

The Arab world, out of necessity, is finding it needs to connect with Israel for better economies, cleaner water and military cooperation.

A disaster or calamity happens in this world? Does Iran send in emergency medical teams? When bombs hit Sderot from Gaza, who gets hurt?

When Israel can be sure that a border is safe, that the Palestinians choose an infrastructure of libraries, economy, commerce, education and social services instead of tunnels, terrorism and hatred, perhaps the Jewish state can make its own decisions and sit with responsible Palestinian leadership to talk peace. But there’s so much to do. It can’t be tied up with a pretty bow under the guise of the administration’s urgency.

Sadly, Kerry missed the mark. But that happened last Friday in the U.N.

Wednesday was a sad effort to justify a non-veto. Sad effort. Maybe that best describes this entire scenario.