Slog through Benny Morris’ latest screed about who’s to blame for the collapse of the two state solution at your own risk… It’s like a ride on a quadruple loop roller coaster. The twists and turns of the rampant intellectual dishonesty, complete with the requisite comparison of “dealing with the Palestinians is like appeasing Hitler,” will leave your stomach in your throat. A few rebuttals to Morris:
Palestinian political elites, of both the so-called “secular” and Islamist varieties, are dead set against partitioning the Land of Israel/Palestine with the Jews…. Fatah’s leaders, led by Palestine National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, flatly reject the Clintonian formula of “two states for two peoples”…
Anyone who’s spoken personally with Fatah’s senior leaders, as I have, cannot with a straight face claim anything other than that they are desperate to partition Palestine. Really, where does Morris get this stuff?
Now let’s address the persistent “Hamas myth” — the myth that Hamas would block a viable two state solution. Israel’s apologists like to drag this one out of the fridge like expired, three-week old, moldy meatloaf. Morris writes (yawn!):
Hamas, which may represent the majority of the Palestinian people and certainly has the unflinching support of some 40 percent of them, speaks clearly. It openly repudiates a two-state solution. Hamas leaders, to bamboozle naïve (or wicked) Westerners…occasionally express a tactical readiness for a long-term truce under terms that they know are unacceptable to any Jewish Israelis (complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and acceptance of the refugees’ “Right of Return”), but their strategic message is clear, echoing the Roman statesman Cato the Elder: “Israel must be destroyed.”
Let’s turn the microphone over to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh – other Hamas leaders, by the way, said virtually the same thing several years ago:
Ismail Haniyeh…signaled a softening of Hamas’s long-standing position prohibiting the ceding of any part of the land of what was British-mandated Palestine until 1948….
“We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees… Hamas will respect the results (of a referendum) regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles.”
And what about the Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for a “just, mutually agreed” solution to the refugee crisis? Benny Morris sends the words “just, mutually agreed” through his reality distortion field, and says:
The idea that the refugees must return to their homes has been the ethos, the be-all and end-all of Palestinian politics and policy, since 1948….In their public utterances during the past two years, Abbas and his colleagues have been rock-solid in their advocacy of an unrestricted “Right of Return”—and why not take them at their word?…
In reality, every Arab state/member, including the PA, including Abbas, has signed on to the Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for a “just, mutually agreed” solution. In what universe would Israel “mutually agree” to an “unrestricted” Right of Return? Israel would not. Abbas is rock-solid in endorsing “mutually agreed.”
I could go on and on about Morris’ distortions and slights of hand, for example, not mentioning that the Gaza pullout was explicitly intended not to give the Palestinians justice or a fair start at a state, but instead to expand Israel’s hold on West Bank colonies and put the “peace process” into formaldehyde. Or I could mention the massive elisions about what’s really blocking the two-state solution, namely, Israel’s insistence on continuing to gobble more pizza – steal land, steal water, build more illegal colonies — while the two parties pretend to negotiate about the pizza.
But perhaps the most interesting parts are where Morris happens to drop some pearls of wisdom:
I believe that the successive Israeli prime ministers—Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Benjamin Netanyahu—were (and are) mistaken in not following up this Arab [Peace] Initiative…
What remains, in the absence of a basic change of Palestinian mindset, is a bleak picture. No viable peace agreement is remotely in prospect. Neither is the emergence of a full-fledged Palestinian state.
…Continued Israeli rule over the territory and its people, obnoxious to most Israelis and to the rest of the world, raises the prospect of a bi-national state or an apartheid state…
Minor corrections to the above… change the words “Palestinian mindset” to “Israeli mindset that support endless colonization” and also change “prospect of an apartheid state” to “current reality of a de facto apartheid state from the river to the sea” and we’d be getting somewhere.