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Isaac Herzog ‘NYT’ op-ed shows Knesset opposition indistinguishable from Netanyahu coalition

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People of good will outside of Israel seeking justice for Israel and Palestine should not be deceived that the the Israeli political reality is anything but what it is—that is, not only Netanyahu’s official right-wing coalition but also the faux liberal opposition fully supports Israel’s colonial occupation. The difference is that the latter employs the sleight of hand of confusing language to suggest that it doesn’t.

Isaac Herzog, leader of the Israeli “opposition,” outlines for the readers of the New York Times his recently announced separation plan, aimed at keeping the colonial project intact while affording the world the illusion of something en route to a state for the Palestinians. In the op-ed, “Only Separation Can Lead to a Two-State Solution,” Herzog is explicit that the plan eschews the establishment of a State of Palestinian at this time; instead it allows Israel to take what it wants while maintaining complete control. Neat trick.

Herzog comes at this proposal out of fear of the potential grief to come to Israel from the obvious one-state fact on the ground that is causing Israel so much trouble internationally—causing trouble because (of course, unnoted by Herzog) the current situation is an apartheid reality and because one state that accepts all the residents between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River as citizens is unacceptable to Israelis. Thus he offers up his interim “separation” plan. In its way, it is reminiscent of Sharon’s 2005 Gaza disengagement, which at the time was intended to head off the Saudi peace plan (to which Israel never even responded), to get rid of the overly costly settlements in Gaza, to shore up the settlement project in the occupied West Bank, and to mislead the West into thinking that Israel was looking to end the occupation.When Isaac Herzog speaks of “separation,” he explicitly does not mean separation resulting in two viable states. Rather, he intends unilateral separation that gives Israel what it wants, while leaving the rest of Palestine cut off, nonviable, not independent, and wallowing. Not Israel’s problem, in a sense. No wonder Israelis love it. And naturally, the resultant zone of leftovers would still (as now) be responsible for guaranteeing Israel’s security.

Herzog’s been pushing his plan, the height of Israeli chutzpah, for some months now. This latest presentation, aimed at the readers of the New York Times and beyond, is founded on falsehood after falsehood.

1. Herzog begins with the foundational Israeli lie, the talking point that undergirds all the rest: that Palestinians time and again have spurned the  unbelievably fabulous, generous offers proffered by the likes of Ehud Barak (Camp David, 2000), Ariel Sharon (they could have had a great little state, even a Singapore, according to Thomas Friedman), and Ehud Olmert (in his last year as PM). I can’t rehash the histories here, but each of these has been thoroughly debunked. The ugly corollary of the lie of first resort is, to this day, that “there is no partner” (invented by Ehud Barak) and that not only is Abbas not a partner but he is also today the great inciter. This comes from the truly great Israeli inciter-in-chief, Benjamin Netanyahu.

And let me interject the following on one of these points: Ehud Olmert actually wrote in the New York Times on September 21, 2011, that Abbas had never turned down his “offer.” Olmert itemized the parameters of the agreement under discussion (regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state, “mutually agreed-upon land swaps,” shared Jerusalem, as the capital of both countries, a resolution of the refugee question “within the framework of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative,” and the resolution of security concerns). As for Olmert’s “offer” (for which, by the way, he never produced any maps; ditto for all other Israeli negotiators), Olmert writes:

These parameters were never formally rejected by Mr. Abbas, and they should be put on the table again today. Both Mr. Abbas and Mr. Netanyahu must then make brave and difficult decisions.

2. Herzog’s second, third, and fourth whoppers:

The largest settlements, known as settlement blocs, are adjacent to the 1967 lines, constitute a tiny percentage of the West Bank’s territory and hold the vast majority of settlers. These are essential to Israel’s security. Most stakeholders accept that they will remain part of Israel in any permanent peace agreement, in return for land swaps. The security fence currently being built around these blocs should be completed, yet with allowance given to ensure the territorial contiguity of Palestinian lands and prevent the isolation of Palestinian villages.

It should come as no surprise that, regarding the settlement blocs, Herzog’s glib reference to “most stakeholders” does not include the Palestinians. The accepted international premise (admittedly accepted by everyone but Israel and as stated by Olmert) was for “mutually agreed-upon land swaps.” Further, “adjacent to the 1967 lines” is a relative concept, as any Palestinian will tell you. The Palestinians have never accepted the idea that Ma’ale Adumim and the controversial E1 area bisecting Palestine in the South and the Ariel bloc bisecting Palestine in the North will be part of any such swap.

As for “tiny percentage,” well that’s definitely an eye-of-the-beholder problem. When it comes to the theft of their land, Palestinians do not buy the Israeli notion of “tiny.”  The tiny land area that was supposed to constitute the entirety of the Palestinian state—the occupied West Bank and occupied Gaza—is 22 percent of historic Palestine. If the Israelis had been willing to cut a deal, Israel would have had its borders set by international law on 78 percent of historic Palestine (but greed, hubris, and stupidity led them to do otherwise; hence the mess that Herzog is desperately trying to clean up).

And as for that “security fence” (see the picture in the article; it’s nine meters high), the International Court of Justice ruled more than a decade ago that every meter of that fence built within occupied Palestine (that is, over the Green Line) is illegal. The court made clear that Israel is most welcome to build its wall on its own turf, but not on someone else’s turf.

So Herzog has presented another unilateral plan for solidifying the Israeli theft of Palestine. It is not all that different in spirit from Bennett’s annexation plan and no one should be fooled by it. Is it any wonder that, per Herzog, “[p]olls show that our separation plan has earned the support of over 65 percent of Israelis”? Israelis love “unilateral.”

Bottom line: Zionist Union/Labor Party = (in essence) Likud and its coalition partners. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Ilene Cohen

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17 Responses

  1. echinococcus on March 2, 2016, 10:57 am

    Excellent dissection, Ilene Cohen. Thank you.

    Let’s just add a reminder to the unaware reader that Mr Herzog and his Labor are none other than the heirs of those Zionists who brought you the colonization itself, the illegitimate partition proposal, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the illegitimate, unilateral statehood declaration, the repeated additional wars of aggression and the first 35+ years of genocidal occupation.

  2. on March 2, 2016, 11:49 am

    The only legitimate opposition to Netanyahu’s government is being done by Jews who reject the entire Zionist narrative of Israel’s existence. The Jews who are loyal not to fascist ideals and supremacist delusions, but to the moral values and ethics of their faith and heritage which transcends petty politics and meaningless borders. Jews who are actually proud to be Jewish, who embraces their identity, ancestry and faith wholeheartedly, and are at peace with themselves. They don’t need Israel, they don’t need Zionism. The fact that Israel exists on the reasoning that it is for their ultimate benefit, is a dire insult to them, their faith and their strong bond with each other. Israel is as much as a threat to Jews and Jewish way of life as the worst of antisemitic establishments.

    • amigo on March 2, 2016, 2:40 pm

      How can anyone expect honesty or honour from this lying toad,The man who spawned him was a terrorist in the hagganah gang.The apple does not fall far from the tree.

      • on March 3, 2016, 11:04 am

        The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree indeed. I believe this also applies to a vast majority of white people, whose genetic ancestors were as racist, sexist and homophobic as the worst of Zionists today. I mean, these people didn’t even see their own daughters as equally human to their sons until just a few decades ago.

      • RoHa on March 3, 2016, 12:42 pm

        “I mean, these people didn’t even see their own daughters as equally human to their sons until just a few decades ago. ”

        Whereas the yellow, brown, and black people of the world have always treated their daughters as equals to their sons. They never imposed any restrictions on girls that were not imposed on the the boys. Being female has never been a disadvantage in China, India, the Middle East, or Africa.

      • amigo on March 3, 2016, 1:05 pm

        “I believe this also applies to a vast majority of white people,” rugal b.

        Hey buster , I resent being referred to as a _______ person. I am a Chalkcasian and proud of it.

        Btw , if you look closely at the space above , you may notice the word “white ” typed in white text.

        Have a nice day rugal and try to avoid _______ people.You seem to be suffering from WPSD.

      • Mooser on March 3, 2016, 4:13 pm

        “The apple doesn’t…/… a few decades ago.” “rugal b”

        As usual, “rugal b” is trying to incite a racist reply.
        He’s hoping somebody will respond with something like :”Yeah, well what about this? (something about black people)”

        I get a lot of natchez from the fact that nobody bites.

      • Mooser on March 3, 2016, 4:15 pm

        A reply like: “Being female has never been a disadvantage in China, India, the Middle East, or Africa.” is just what “rugal b” wants.

      • gamal on March 3, 2016, 4:29 pm

        Rugal the apple applies thing was nice but darling

        ” whose genetic ancestors were as racist, sexist and homophobic as the worst of Zionists today.”

        but more importantly their ideological ancestors have been various, but perhaps their genes do make them racist which I guess they would feel was kind of a vindication of their world view.

        Then they can love themselves and one another, without shame, I am not implying anything Mr.b but Daddy Uroy has an observation “can’t love another” you may find enlightening, racists genes make them that way, I see it now.

        https://youtu.be/_sTsolxuDF4

      • on March 4, 2016, 3:51 am

        “Being female has never been a disadvantage in China, India, the Middle East, or Africa” – Roha

        It was never close to being as bad as during and after colonisation and erasure of native culture and indigenous gender roles, by white imperialists who were extremely patriarchal, sexist, anti-feminist and anti-gender equality. You don’t get to invade a nation, subvert its power structure and destroy its culture and then blame its people for being backwards or undeveloped, unless of course you are a racist.

        Please don’t make a fool of yourself trying to defend or deflect white people’s horrendous treatment of white women, both historically and at present through their own, indigenous culture. The key word here is indigenous…as in nobody tried to forcefully implant these horrible values and practices into white culture. It is innately problematic and putrid, and naturally, gave birth to the billions of problematic and putrid white individuals we have now. whose main source of pleasure in life is to denigrate and disrespect women.

      • Mooser on March 4, 2016, 2:11 pm

        ” It is innately problematic and putrid, and naturally, gave birth to the billions of problematic and putrid white individuals we have now. whose main source of pleasure in life is to denigrate and disrespect women.”

        And go to monster-truck rallies? You know, my dear Mother had a pick-up truck. She used to go to all the momster-truck rallies.

        ‘And his face, at first just ghostly, turned a…’

      • RoHa on March 4, 2016, 4:10 pm

        “A reply like: “Being female has never been a disadvantage in China, India, the Middle East, or Africa.” is just what “rugal b” wants.”

        You are right. It gave him an opening to produce another dollop of tosh. But then, he does that without prompting anyway, so I’m not too bothered.

  3. Stephen Shenfield on March 2, 2016, 5:24 pm

    The article in the NYT does not say whether Israeli withdrawal from the Jordan Valley is part of his plan. Does anyone know? The Jordan Valley adds many points to the so-called “tiny percentage.”

    Another misleading thing about the “tiny percentage” is that it doesn’t include the string of big Jewish settlements around Jerusalem, all of which are incorporated into Greater Jerusalem, the whole of which is now counted as part of Israel proper. It is clear that Herzog has no intention of sharing Jerusalem — the only change he wants to the status quo is to transfer a few Palestinian villages from Greater Jerusalem to the West Bank.

    The next question is what he would offer by way of land swaps? It would fit the overall goal of separation if the bits of land transferred to the PA from within the Green Line just happened to be populated mainly by Israeli Palestinians — the Triangle and perhaps a stretch of the Negev left to the Bedouins. Though only Lieberman pushes for this in public, Tsipi Livni also favors it and it is probably considered desirable by all the big Zionist parties.

    • echinococcus on March 2, 2016, 5:44 pm

      The next question is what he would offer by way of land swaps? It would fit the overall goal of separation if the bits of land transferred to the PA from within the Green Line just happened to be populated mainly by Israeli Palestinians — the Triangle and perhaps a stretch of the Negev left to the Bedouins. Though only Lieberman pushes for this in public, Tsipi Livni also favors it and it is probably considered desirable by all the big Zionist parties.

      Oh yeah? What is immediately visible just as the nose on a face is the absence of plebiscite and the foreseeable resistance of most Palestinian residents, insisting that all of Palestine is their land, PA or no PA or other traitors. Opening up a new, pesky front. I expect that can get so bad that Chipie Livni ends up looking like what she is inside.

      That kind of bullshit will never take anybody anywhere.

  4. Talkback on March 3, 2016, 8:23 am

    Israeli “peace solutions” have always been just modications of an occupation.

  5. amigo on March 3, 2016, 11:47 am

    The New York times spreads it,s wings to shill for Israel in the Irish times , compliments of Isabel Kirshner.Any story that makes Israel look good.

    “In his native Iran, leaders openly wish for Israel to be wiped off the map. Yet Payam Feili, a poet and novelist, developed what he called a “special relationship” with the place, imagining it in his stories, which are replete with gay themes and Jewish symbols.

    Now Feili, who is 30 and openly gay, is living in Tel Aviv as he seeks asylum in Israel. He has tattooed a Star of David on his neck. “The more I gained a reputation outside Iran, the harder it became for me to live in Iran,” Feili said of the Islamic republic, where gay people have been executed. “Long before I left Iran,” he added, “I thought that the only other place in the world I could live was Israel.”

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/middle-east/gay-poet-blacklisted-in-iran-seeks-asylum-in-israel-1.2558550

    This what the Irish times offers it,s readers as “News”.No mention of the daily incursions and murder of Palestinians or the ongoing theft of their land.Nope , we cannot have that information getting to the wrong audience.

    Sickening.

  6. iResistDe4iAm on March 5, 2016, 9:01 am

    Only Separation Apartheid Can Lead to a Two-State Bantustan Solution

    As the land under Palestinian control shrinks in size, the number of de facto Palestinian bantustans is actually increasing. Excluding the 43% of the West Bank that is off-limits to Palestinians (reserved for Jewish-only settlements/councils and roads, closed military bases and zones, Israeli declared nature reserves, areas cut off by separation wall, etc), leaves Palestinians with only 13% of their original homeland. It’s ironic that this is equivalent to the 13% that the other Apartheid regime tried but failed to impose in the form of 10 Bantustans.

    De facto Palestinian Bantustans:
    1. Area A – Palestinian Security & Civil Admin control (18% of West Bank land).
    2. Area B – Israeli Security and Palestinian Civil Admin control (21% of West Bank land).
    3. Area C – Israeli Security & Civil Admin control (61% of West Bank land).
    4. East Jerusalem – Illegally annexed by Israel.
    5. Gaza Strip – Besieged by Israel (via air, land & sea) and Egypt (land).

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