Fields: Listen To Former Israeli Leaders, Not GOP

Guest Columnist

Now that President Barack Obama has called for a Palestinian peace agreement based on the 1967 boundaries–except where the parties agree to local land swaps—Israel’s right-wing and its supporters in the United States are denouncing him.

I wonder if their denunciations will include two other groups:

  • Every American President since 1967.
  • A major portion of the Israeli political establishment.

You may not know about the difference of opinion in Israel.  It is drowned out in this country by the cacophony of the Republican Party, which is only concerned by scoring political points in 2012.

Here is what the respected Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote last weekend:

“Netanyahu’s decision to have Israel clash with Obama is not only a dead end, it could remove the only protective wall Israel has left and sacrifice the country’s future on the altar of hollow ideology and unbridled nationalism.

Netanyahu is lying to the Israeli public and leading the U.S. administration astray when he portrays Israel’s current borders as defensible. The occupation of the West Bank, the planting of more settlements on the rocky hilltops, control of the Jordan Valley or the construction of thousands of homes in East Jerusalem do not remove the Iranian threat, prevent the firing of Qassam rockets or end Hezbollah’s willingness to fire missiles at Israel.

Borders themselves do not guarantee security. But borders that are recognized by the international community give a country the legitimacy to defend its sovereignty. Israel has no such borders, and more and more countries are finding it difficult to defend Israel’s position, which seeks to persuade others that occupation is a means of defense.”

Pretty strong words from a main street newspaper.

The editorial reflects the opinion of 12 of the last 18 heads of the Israeli Defense Forces, Shin Bet (the Israeli FBI) and the Mossad (the Israeli CIA). They have called for precisely the same solution as President Obama.,

They come at it from a simple prospective. The hodge podge of Jewish settlements on the West Bank are militarily indefensible and politically untenable.

Even a cursory glance at a map of the West Bank shows that in case of war it would take the entire Israeli army to protect settlements that stick out like the Florida Keys. Like the Keys, many are noncontiguous to Israel.  Imagine that the next time a hurricane is bearing down on us, rather than evacuate, we decide to build a levee from Duval Street to Key Largo.

This Fall the United Nations General Assembly will likely vote to recognize Palestine as a nation and a member.

Once it is a member it will have protections like any other member.  The occupation will give a leg up to the nascent movement that wants to delegitimize Israel.  Think pre-1990 South Africa.

Netanyahu and his government don’t give a damn.

Israel’s Divided Government

Why? The core problem in Israel is the way government is constituted.  Netanyahu’s own party is does not hold a majority in the Knesset. So he put together a coalition among the dozen political groups that required him to stay firmly to the far right.

This close division in the Israeli electorate has given the single-issue West Bank settlers and their supporters far more power than their numbers.

Thus you end up with governments that are committed to a path that can ultimately only lead to Israel’s isolation and demise. That does not matter to Netanyahu whose main concern is holding his political coalition together.

The simple fact is that the Palestinians, even if they were headed by Hamas and backed by all the terrorist groups, are NOT an existential threat to Israel.

While deplorable, a suicide bomber in a Tel Aviv is not going to bring down Israel any more than attacking the Twin Towers brought down America.  It’s overreaction that is the real danger.

If you base a national policy on emotionalism you will undoubtedly go down the wrong road.

The Palestinians have no real army.  They don’t have an air force, or a single tank. Their economy is based on jobs in Israel. They get their electricity, gas, etc. from Israel.

With the exception of Iran, the rest of the Muslim world has long since given up on pulling Palestinian chestnuts out of the fire. All they get is rhetoric.  The Arab world fears and hates Iran as much as Israel.

Israel has nothing to fear but its own politics.

If you don’t believe Obama, I suggest you give more credibility to all those Israelis who support him you give to the GOP and Fox News.

5 Responses to “Fields: Listen To Former Israeli Leaders, Not GOP”

  1. H. T. says:

    Suicide bombers attacking a country and your citizens being shot are a threat, Mr. Fields.

  2. Kyle Jacobs says:

    Why do you print such garbage? How anybody can say having an army of terrorists on your border dedicated to throwing you into the sea is not a threat? This man is stupid and probably anti-Semitic.

  3. Elroy John says:

    Why is it anti-semitic to have an opinion about Mideast peace that runs against the mainstream? On the basis of this article alone, I saw nothing racist or even mean-spirited from the author. In fact, the most provocative language in the piece seems to have been quoted from an Israeli publication. The fact is that PM Netanyahu’s political survival IS inextricably tied to his ability to maintain a tenuous coalition government, rapidly expanding settlements do create a more difficult space to defend, and an increasingly frustrated international community is hurtling toward a vote in support of recognizing a Palestinian state. Pres. Obama will likely veto that resolution putting the US and Israel at odds with a large chunk of the rest of the world. How is that helpful for either country in the long term? Ultimately, my point is casually labeling someone a racist is pretty irresponsible, even on a blog. This issue deserves more thoughtful and respectful debate.

  4. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear H.T., Jacobs and Readers,

    These two responses are exactly what you should expect from the Neo-Zionist Right.

    They wave a phony flag of anti-Semitism to silence all critics of the Netanyahu/Likud government policies. If you oppose the Lebensraum movement of the West Bank you are Eichmannn or a self hating Jew.

    My bar mitzvah was in an orthodox synagogue; my father helped run guns to Israel in the 1940’s.

    Are the 12 former heads of IDF, Shin Bet and Mossad also anti-Semitic? [4 of the remaining 6 are silent and the other two are in the Netanyahu regime].

    Maintaining the West Bank settlements will bring Israel world isolation and final destruction.

    That will please the Christian Right since it will fulfill the prophecy of The Book of Revelation.

  5. Ron says:

    Save the lipstick, Sam. Nobody but the loony left – her or in Israel seriously proposes that Israel GIVE back Jerusalem and the Golan haights (from which the Syrians can them shell Israel into oblivion).

    Obama said it and he can’t take it back. The media’s spinning notwithstanding.