Palestinian official calls Netanyahu’s speech a declaration of war

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s parameters for a peace deal, outlined in a speech to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, fell far short of what is needed to resume negotiations, Palestinian officials said.

Nabil Shaath, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Netanyahu’s insistence on keeping key parts of the territories the Palestinians want for their state is a “declaration of war against the Palestinians.”

Israeli settlers, the Islamic militant Hamas and Netanyahu’s moderate parliamentary opposition also expressed criticism.

The Palestinians want to establish their state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. They have said they are ready for minor border adjustments through land swaps, to enable Israel to annex several of the largest of the dozens of Jewish settlements it has built on war-won land since 1967.

Netanyahu said Tuesday that he is willing to make “generous” territorial concessions, but also told Congress that Jerusalem must remain united as Israel’s capital and that Israel wants to keep key areas of the West Bank where tens of thousands of Jews have settled, as well as areas of strategic importance.

Abbas is set to meet with leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization and his Fatah movement on Wednesday to discuss their next move. The Palestinians have developed an alternate strategy to moribund negotiations, largely on hold since 2008, and have said they will seek U.N. recognition of their state in September.

Shaath said the Palestinians would continue to pursue these strategies. “We have nothing but to continue our struggle in the international arena and to continue building our state and to continue our popular struggle,” he said, referring to demonstrations and protests against Israel. “We don’t have a partner for peace,” he said.

In two policy speeches in recent days, President Barack Obama said that the pre-1967 war line must serve as the basis for negotiations, while allowing for mutually agreed land swaps. The Palestinians have said negotiations can resume only if Netanyahu commits to that principle and halts settlement construction.

“What Netanyahu said in his speech tonight is a clear rejection of the suggestions of President Obama concerning the borders of 1967,” said Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh. “Actually, what he did is that he put more obstacles in the path of peace.”

In Gaza, the Islamic militant Hamas was equally critical. “Netanyahu denied us all our rights,” said Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman. “We must work to adopt an Arab and Palestinian strategy based on the right of resistance.”

In his speech, Netanyahu demanded that Abbas tear up his recent reconciliation agreement with Hamas, which seized Gaza four years ago and refuses to recognize Israel.

Under the unity deal, the two sides are to forge a transition government until elections are held. Abbas has rejected criticism of the deal, saying he would set policy and that the transition government would consist of independent professionals, not politicians from either Hamas or Fatah.

Netanyahu’s speech also drew criticism from some quarters in Israel. Jewish settlers reacted angrily to Netanyahu’s willingness to cede parts of the West Bank, while the centrist opposition said Netanyahu offered nothing new to promote peace efforts with the Palestinians.

Dani Dayan, head of the West Bank settlers’ council, said he “really did not like” Netanyahu’s admission that some settlements will be outside Israel’s final borders. “I console myself with it being theoretical because of course nothing will grow from this move,” he told Israel’s Channel 2 TV.

Speaking on the same program, Shaul Mofaz, a leading member of the centrist opposition Kadima Party, said Netanyahu “just said over and over again that he doesn’t intend to do anything, he does not have a plan and doesn’t intend to reach an agreement.”

He warned that Netanyahu is “bringing us toward conflict” and said Israel would be best off holding new elections.

Forbes

Full text of Israeli PM Netanyahu speech To A Joint Meeting Of The U.S. Congress

(Tuesday, May 24th, 2011)

I am deeply honored by your warm welcome. And I am deeply honored that you have given me the opportunity to address Congress a second time.

Mr. Vice President, do you remember the time we were the new kids in town?

And I do see a lot of old friends here. And I do see a lot of new friends of Israel here. Democrats and Republicans alike.

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Israel has no better friend than America. And America has no better friend than Israel. We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism. Congratulations America, Congratulations, Mr. President. You got bin Laden. Good riddance!

In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability. In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America’s unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American. Israel will always be pro-American

My friends, you don’t need to do nation building in Israel. We’re already built. You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it. You don’t need to send American troops to defend Israel. We defend ourselves. You’ve been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own. Thank you all, and thank you President Obama, for your steadfast commitment to Israel’s security. I know economic times are tough. I deeply appreciate this.

Support for Israel’s security is a wise investment in our common future. For an epic battle is now unfolding in the Middle East, between tyranny and freedom. A great convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar. The tremors have shattered states and toppled governments. And we can all see that the ground is still shifting. Now this historic moment holds the promise of a new dawn of freedom and opportunity. Millions of young people are determined to change their future. We all look at them. They muster courage. They risk their lives. They demand dignity. They desire liberty.

These extraordinary scenes in Tunis and Cairo, evoke those of Berlin and Prague in 1989. Yet as we share their hopes, but we also must also remember that those hopes could be snuffed out as they were in Tehran in 1979. You remember what happened then. The brief democratic spring in Iran was cut short by a ferocious and unforgiving tyranny. This same tyranny smothered Lebanon’s democratic Cedar Revolution, and inflicted on that long-suffering country, the medieval rule of Hezbollah.

So today, the Middle East stands at a fateful crossroads. Like all of you, I pray

that the peoples of the region choose the path less travelled, the path of liberty. No one knows what this path consists of better than you. This path is not paved by elections alone. It is paved when governments permit protests in town squares, when limits are placed on the powers of rulers, when judges are beholden to laws and not men, and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule.

Israel has always embraced this path, in the Middle East has long rejected it. In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out. It is different.

As the great English writer George Eliot predicted over a century ago, that once established, the Jewish state will “shine like a bright star of freedom amid the despotisms of the East.” Well, she was right. We have a free press, independent courts, an open economy, rambunctious parliamentary debates. You think you guys are tough on one another in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset. Be my guest.

Courageous Arab protesters, are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies. We’re proud that over one million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they’re all citizens of Israel!

This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East.

Israel fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely. We long for the day when Israel will be one of many real democracies in the Middle East.

Fifteen years ago, I stood at this very podium, and said that democracy must start to take root in the Arab World. Well, it’s begun to take root. This beginning holds the promise of a brilliant future of peace and prosperity. For I believe that a Middle East that is genuinely democratic will be a Middle East truly at peace.

But while we hope and work for the best, we must also recognize that powerful forces oppose this future. They oppose modernity. They oppose democracy. They oppose peace.

Foremost among these forces is Iran. The tyranny in Tehran brutalizes its own people. It supports attacks against American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. It subjugates Lebanon and Gaza. It sponsors terror worldwide.

When I last stood here, I spoke of the dire consequences of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Now time is running out, and the hinge of history may soon turn. For the greatest danger facing humanity could soon be upon us: A militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.

Militant Islam threatens the world. It threatens Islam. I have no doubt that it will ultimately be defeated. It will eventually succumb to the forces of freedom and progress. But like other fanaticisms that were doomed to fail, militant Islam could exact a horrific price from all of us before its inevitable demise.

A nuclear-armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger throughout the world. I want you to understand what this means. They could put the bomb anywhere. They could put it on a missile. It could be on a container ship in a port, or in a suitcase on a subway.

Now the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads in the sand. Less than seven decades after six million Jews were murdered, Iran’s leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people, while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state.

Leaders who spew such venom, should be banned from every respectable forum on the planet. But there is something that makes the outrage even greater: The lack of outrage. In much of the international community, the calls for our destruction are met with utter silence. It is even worse because there are many who rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against Iran’s terror proxies.

But not you. Not America. You have acted differently. You’ve condemned the Iranian regime for its genocidal aims. You’ve passed tough sanctions against Iran. History will salute you America.

President Obama has said that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. He successfully led the Security Council to adopt sanctions against Iran. You in Congress passed even tougher sanctions. These words and deeds are vitally important.

Yet the Ayatollah regime briefly suspended its nuclear program only once, in 2003, when it feared the possibility of military action. That same year, Muammar Qadaffi gave up his nuclear weapons program, and for the same reason. The more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation. This is why I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message: That America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously. We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.

My friends, while Israel will be ever vigilant in its defense, we will never give up on our quest for peace. I guess we’ll give it up when we achieve it. Israel wants peace. Israel needs peace. We’ve achieved historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan that have held up for decades.

I remember what it was like before we had peace. I was nearly killed in a firefight inside the Suez Canal. I mean that literally. I battled terrorists along both banks of the Jordan River. Too many Israelis have lost loved ones. I know their grief. I lost my brother.

So no one in Israel wants a return to those terrible days. The peace with Egypt and Jordan has long served as an anchor of stability and peace in the heart of the Middle East.

This peace should be bolstered by economic and political support to all those who remain committed to peace.

The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are vital. But they’re not enough. We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: A Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.

I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace.

This is not easy for me. I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the Jewish homeland. In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo.

This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace. No distortion of history can deny the four thousand year old bond, between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.

But there is another truth: The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they will be neither Israel’s subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people in their own state. They should enjoy a prosperous economy, where their creativity and initiative can flourish.

We’ve already seen the beginnings of what is possible. In the last two years,

the Palestinians have begun to build a better life for themselves. Prime Minister Fayad has led this effort. I wish him a speedy recovery from his recent operation.

We’ve helped the Palestinian economy by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people. The results have been nothing short of remarkable. The Palestinian economy is booming. It’s growing by more than 10% a year.

Palestinian cities look very different today than they did just a few years ago. They have shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, banks. They even have e-businesses. This is all happening without peace. Imagine what could happen with peace. Peace would herald a new day for both peoples. It would make the dream of a broader Arab-Israeli peace a realistic possibility.

So now here is the question. You have to ask it. If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us? Because all six Israeli Prime Ministers since the signing of Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state. Myself included. So why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.

You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes. The Palestinians said no. In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War.

They were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

My friends, this must come to an end. President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn’t easy for me, and I said… “I will accept a Palestinian state.” It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say… “I will accept a Jewish state.”

Those six words will change history. They will make clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end. That they are not building a state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it. They will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace. With such a partner, the people of Israel will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise.

This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967. The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines, reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and Greater Tel Aviv.

These areas are densely populated but geographically quite small. Under any realistic peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical strategic and national importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.

The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations. But we must also be honest. So I am saying today something that should be said publicly by anyone serious about peace. In any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel’s borders. The precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated. We will be very generous on the size of a future Palestinian state. But as President Obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible lines of 1967.

We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, independent and prosperous. President Obama rightly referred to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, just as he referred to the future Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people. Jews from around the world have a right to immigrate to the Jewish state. Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state. This means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.

As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city. Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I believe with creativity and goodwill a solution can be found.

This is the peace I plan to forge with a Palestinian partner committed to peace. But you know very well, that in the Middle East, the only peace that will hold is a peace you can defend.

So peace must be anchored in security. In recent years, Israel withdrew from South Lebanon and Gaza. But we didn’t get peace. Instead, we got 12,000 thousand rockets fired from those areas on our cities, on our children, by Hezbollah and Hamas. The UN peacekeepers in Lebanon failed to prevent the smuggling of this weaponry. The European observers in Gaza evaporated overnight. So if Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be unchecked. Missiles fired from it could reach virtually every home in Israel in less than a minute. I want you to think about that too. Imagine that right now we all had less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket. Would you live that way? Would anyone live that way? Well, we aren’t going to live that way either.

The truth is that Israel needs unique security arrangements because of its unique size. Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world. Mr. Vice President, I’ll grant you this. It’s bigger than Delaware. It’s even bigger than Rhode Island. But that’s about it. Israel on the 1967 lines would be half the width of the Washington Beltway.

Now here’s a bit of nostalgia. I first came to Washington thirty years ago as a young diplomat. It took me a while, but I finally figured it out: There is an America beyond the Beltway. But Israel on the 1967 lines would be only nine miles wide. So much for strategic depth.

So it is therefore absolutely vital for Israel’s security that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized. And it is vital that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace, they are necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels. For in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow.

And when I say tomorrow, I don’t mean some distant time in the future. I mean — tomorrow. Peace can be achieved only around the negotiating table. The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace. It should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end.

I appreciate the President’s clear position on this issue. Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated. But it can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace.

And Hamas is not a partner for peace. Hamas remains committed to Israel’s destruction and to terrorism. They have a charter. That charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, but says ‘kill the Jews wherever you find them’. Hamas’ leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior. Now again I want to make this clear. Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future of peace for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda.

So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas! Sit down and negotiate! Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this. Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so.

My friends, the momentous trials of the last century, and the unfolding events of this century, attest to the decisive role of the United States in advancing peace and defending freedom. Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty. All peoples who cherish freedom owe a profound debt of gratitude to your great nation. Among the most grateful nations is my nation, the people of Israel, who have fought for their liberty and survival against impossible odds, in ancient and modern times alike.

I speak on behalf of the Jewish people and the Jewish state when I say to you, representatives of America, Thank you. Thank you for your unwavering support for Israel. Thank you for ensuring that the flame of freedom burns bright throughout the world. May God bless all of you. And may God forever bless the United States of America.

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49 responses to “Palestinian official calls Netanyahu’s speech a declaration of war”

  1. kareemthehippy Avatar
    kareemthehippy

    What a speech filled with nonsense. I can’t believe Netanyahu is able to fool the world today.

    He wants peace, but wants it HIS way. Otherwise, it’s not a peace effort. He might as well rewrite dictionaries, and rewrite ALL of international relations theory, because clearly this man wants peace! LOL

    The 1967 borders agreement, ending all Int’l law violations (settlements freezing, maritime blockades, checkpoints within West Bank terrirtory) woudl be worth MORE THAN ANY peace agreement between Palestine and Israel.

    Camp David was a Cold Peace. I’ll challenge that to anyone.
    Oslo Accords is like a drop of water on a forest fire
    Camp David 2? What was that? Oh it was nothing.

    I think this time, it was Israel that backed out from potential peace. True potential peace.

    1. eblashko Avatar
      eblashko

      You’re right. I don’t like him either, but when you say he wants peace his way, don’t the Palestinians also want peace “their way”? I certainly want peace my way. Do you not want peace your way?

      The UN resolution 242 which deals with the issue calls on Israel to withdraw from land it captured in the six-day war. Not “ALL” land. And that wording was intentional. The 1949 border agreements, according to both sides, were not meant to be permanent. Netanyahu isn’t obligated to pull back to any border dictated to him.

      And his call for the Palestinians to accept Israel as the Jewish state receives broad support here in Israel. He my see it as a way to perpetuate the conflict and avoid giving back land, but if the Palestinians are so convinced that he won’t make peace, why don’t they call his bluff, and enter negotiations, or at least say, if you compromise on Jerusalem, or on the border, we’ll compromise on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. But by refusing to do so, in the eyes of Israelis, they still are unwilling to accept us here, and if that’s the case, than any peace agreements signed will be worthless.

      Aside from the international arena, the Israelis are right now not in a bad position. Until yesterday, I would have said that time is not on our side, but it seems the Americans have cozied up to us in a big way, and Obama is not going to want to lose the Jewish vote. And to tell you the truth, I’d rather have America on my side than the rest of the world. The Palestinians won’t achieve their state at the UN. They’ll achieve it by negotiation. So far, they have only thought of reasons not to, because their petrified of disappointing their own people by making concessions, and their people, much of whom are religious, ignorant, and generally proud and vengeful, will never accept Israel, let alone Israel as a Jewish state.

      Perhaps Lieberman is right. The time is not ripe. Maybe in 1 or 2 generations. In the meantime, the Palestinians have a lot of growing up today until we grant them their state. And although a true peace would certainly be beneficial for everyone, I would prefer the status quo to a fake peace that the Palestinians use to perpetuate the conflict, whose ultimate goal it the removal of a foreign occupier from their lands.

  2.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    What a speech filled with nonsense. I can’t believe Netanyahu is able to fool the world today.

    He wants peace, but wants it HIS way. Otherwise, it’s not a peace effort. He might as well rewrite dictionaries, and rewrite ALL of international relations theory, because clearly this man wants peace! LOL

    The 1967 borders agreement, ending all Int’l law violations (settlements freezing, maritime blockades, checkpoints within West Bank terrirtory) woudl be worth MORE THAN ANY peace agreement between Palestine and Israel.

    Camp David was a Cold Peace. I’ll challenge that to anyone.
    Oslo Accords is like a drop of water on a forest fire
    Camp David 2? What was that? Oh it was nothing.

    I think this time, it was Israel that backed out from potential peace. True potential peace.

    1.  Avatar
      Anonymous

      You’re right. I don’t like him either, but when you say he wants peace his way, don’t the Palestinians also want peace “their way”? I certainly want peace my way. Do you not want peace your way?

      The UN resolution 242 which deals with the issue calls on Israel to withdraw from land it captured in the six-day war. Not “ALL” land. And that wording was intentional. The 1949 border agreements, according to both sides, were not meant to be permanent. Netanyahu isn’t obligated to pull back to any border dictated to him.

      And his call for the Palestinians to accept Israel as the Jewish state receives broad support here in Israel. He my see it as a way to perpetuate the conflict and avoid giving back land, but if the Palestinians are so convinced that he won’t make peace, why don’t they call his bluff, and enter negotiations, or at least say, if you compromise on Jerusalem, or on the border, we’ll compromise on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. But by refusing to do so, in the eyes of Israelis, they still are unwilling to accept us here, and if that’s the case, than any peace agreements signed will be worthless.

      Aside from the international arena, the Israelis are right now not in a bad position. Until yesterday, I would have said that time is not on our side, but it seems the Americans have cozied up to us in a big way, and Obama is not going to want to lose the Jewish vote. And to tell you the truth, I’d rather have America on my side than the rest of the world. The Palestinians won’t achieve their state at the UN. They’ll achieve it by negotiation. So far, they have only thought of reasons not to, because their petrified of disappointing their own people by making concessions, and their people, much of whom are religious, ignorant, and generally proud and vengeful, will never accept Israel, let alone Israel as a Jewish state.

      Perhaps Lieberman is right. The time is not ripe. Maybe in 1 or 2 generations. In the meantime, the Palestinians have a lot of growing up today until we grant them their state. And although a true peace would certainly be beneficial for everyone, I would prefer the status quo to a fake peace that the Palestinians use to perpetuate the conflict, whose ultimate goal it the removal of a foreign occupier from their lands.

      1.  Avatar
        Anonymous

        I didn’t say all land did I? Neither did the Palestines. They got over the fact that their land is occupied and most of their hometowns are now in the dustbins of history. They’re alot more realistic than you put them out to be

        Okay, then let Israel follow UN resolution 242. Sinai is back with Egypt, but return the Golan heights, and dont’ tell me the West Bank is free..there are illegal check points in the territories, and ILLEGAL settlements. Also, Israel can’t say its a secular state when it, like most Arab countries are technically theocracies.  The religious symbol of Judaism is on the flag, and the only people who don’t need to enter the army are orthodox Jews, and financial incentives are given to Jewish Israeli women who give birth in their younger years of adulthood because of the Arab-Israeli population increasing, am I wrong? This isn’t that much of an improvement than the confessionalist government system of Lebanon or the labor laws of the Gulf which have minimum number of locals needed for a firm to legally exist.

        How can the Palestinians accept Israel as a Jewish state when Hamas, an Islamic group was democratically elected in Gaza. For the 100th time since I joined this website, I dislike Hamas, but the elections were monitered by the UN and Jimmy Carter, who said there were no flaws in the election process! How can the Palestinians say Israel is legitimate when their own elected governments aren’t viewed as legitimate? When Israel calls for respect from the Palestinians when it is violating International Law formally since 1967? Jews from Europea and the Middle East lived with Arab Muslims and Christians in these territories before the state of Israel, so clearly the fact that Israel is Jewish isn’t the problem! Of coursem any will not want to be best friends with Israel, and understandbly so.  Do you know how it feels to have a hometown wiped off from the map? With all due respect, never again should apply to EVERYONE.  This is to end genocide and exploitation of people of ALL backgrounds. At least that’s what I LEARNED when my dad and I first talked about the Holocaust when I was about 12 years old. If the Lebanese were violating international law and abusing Israelis or Lebanese Jews, I’d stand with the oppressed.

        The concept of the UN is diplomacy and negotiation. If the US, Israel, and the rest of the world claim its importance, and play a direct role in solving their problems and backing up their arguments, then the Palestinians have a right to do so as well.  The only reason Bibi wants to avoid the UN is because he doesn’t want UN Resolution 242 and all the other ones shoved in his face. The Palestinians will be content with an independent West Bank (WITHOUT SETTLEMENTS), without that division wall which is blocking roads between west bank cities, without checkpoints, without ILLEGAL maritime blockades, and Gaza border restrictions.

        You think Palestinian mentality has been the same since 1948? You really should read some Mahmoud Darwish, since he represents a huge portion of the Palestinian people. He was empowered by indepencen and liberation, but in his latter yers (mid 90s to 2008) he just wants a just peace, coexistence, and the right to life for the Palestinians. Most Palestinians will say the same. I think when Israel stops viewing Palestinians like a bunch of lunatics, it’ll make things alot better.

        Antisemitism does exist, but remember us Arabs are semites too, and Islamophobia does exist. Racism towards Arabs exists. So Jews are not alone in the realm of racism and intolerance. I come from a Druze background and my ancestors were slaughtered by Muslims, Christians, and Jews for almost a century as we were “pagans” and “infidels”.

        Fake peace is no peace. The only “peace” in a fake peace is the word written beside the word “fake”.  Negotiation is compromise, and Netanyahu is not willing to compromise. He wants the Palestinians to compromise but not Israel. That is just wrong.

        1.  Avatar
          Anonymous

          Whoah whoah. I agree with you. The peace should be based on the 1967 lines. I actually don’t think that’s at all just or right, but I’m a pragmatist and think it’s worth it to take a blow in order to have true peace. That’s the difference between me and Netanyahu.

          I’ve read Darwish. They hang his poems on big banners along with poems of Jewish Israelis in Tel Aviv on Israeli book week. He does NOT represent a huge portion of the Palestinians. How can he?? He’s an Israeli Arab. He knows us. He lived among us. He speaks Hebrew. He’s seen our faces and knows that we are actual people and not just an evil force. So even if all Palestinians like him, they can never understand him. Like you said. They voted for Hamas. That seems hardly in line with Darwish’s views.

          You talked about the Hamas government and legitimacy. You seem mad that Israel and the world doesn’t recognize it on that basis that it was elected according to the poplar will of the people. On the same token, not that I like it, but unfortunately, Israel’s government, elected totally democratically, is extremely right wing, as you already know. So how can you be angry at Netanyahu. He’s just honoring the campaign pledges he made to the electorate. If you’re not angry at the Palestinians for voting Hamas in, then how can you be angry at Israelis for voting Netanyahu in (including the majority of Druzis who love him), especially after 5 years of peacenik governments of Kadima that for their efforts to bring peace only brought rockets from Gaza. In Netanyahu’s defense, the past two years have been relatively peaceful.

          In his own eyes, Netanyahu is willing to compromise. He’s willing to give up land which in his heart he sees as ours. Or put it this way – his speech was not meant to restart negotiations, but to get the world off his back, and I thin it will work. He’s a good speaker. He knows the Palestinians don’t have to courage to negotiate with him. If the Palestinians called his bluff and sat down, and recognized our presence here, they would get a state, but they won’t compromise either. Nobody will. In the end, both parties are afraid of looking like wimps to their electorates. Especially in light of the “Palestine Papers” from AlJazeera, which showed how close we actually were to peace, and how angry that almost-peace made so many Palestinians.

          You’re right about Israel drifting towards theocracy. It’s sickening and troubling. It’s disgusting how a segment of society that takes so much from society contributes so little to it. So many kids. None of them work. None of them recieve taxes. All of them receive welfare. And the worst part is that these parasites areanti-Zionist and hate the state which supports them. Shameful. But to be fair they’re not the only ones who receive generous government welfare that evade the army – the Arabs do too. And in my opinion, it’s just as shameful. (They don’t have to join the army. I’d understand why they wouldn’t want to, but they should somehow contribute 3 years of their life to the country like everyone else, even in their own communities).

          In Israel, we LOVE the Druze. Like really LOVE them. They’re great citizens, contribute so much to the state, and also benefit a lot from it. they have become generals, politicians, air force pilots (a huge honor), athletes, and have penetrated every level of society. They speak Hebrew like natives and give their children Hebrew names. I have many Druze friends from the army, and I go to Isfiya, a Druze village near Haifa, for lunch at least once a week. Through their loyalty, they have earned our high opinion of them, and this country is just as much theirs as it is ours. On their own urging, they send every one of their sons to the army just like us. We share the same tragedies and rejoice in the same victories. I know they were hunted by Muslims for being infidels, (which is why they all live in the mountains) but by Jews?? I don’t think so. I don’t think we ever hunted anybody. Can you produce any evidence of Jews killing Druze for being infidels?

        2.  Avatar
          Anonymous

          Just got your response now. I think because there was a link in it, it was delayed. I’ll check it out. But just to be clear. There are MANY MANY anti-Zionist Jews in Israel. Probably 100,000 – 200,000 and rapidly growing. I’m not saying all Orthodox Jews are anti-Zionist. Hardly the case. Almost all settlers are Orthodox. I’m talking about a sect, which we call, Haredim, which oppose the state for religious reasons, speak Yiddish instead of Hebrew, don’t work, study Torah all day, don’t join the army, riot like animals whenever people drive cars through their overcrowded neighborhoods on Shabbat (our day of rest), and still receive our taxes. Shameful on Israelis part, and on Netanyahu’s part for whoring himself out the the state-hating religious parties (something the dignified Tzipi Livni was not willing to do, even though it cost her the prime-minister’s chair).

          Arabs do have worse conditions, as I’m sure your website will tell me, but they certainly get more from the state than they give. I’m 24. Many of my Arab classmates are 21, since they never had to do the Army. Fair? Should they be rewarded for not giving their time to the country they live in like everyone else. And it doesn’t have to be the army. They could contribute their time in their own communities (and many do),

          About Darwish, and Israeli Arabs in general, most consider themselves Palestinian. But master09 was right in that whenever a proposal is floated around to switch the border so that we absorb settlements and their villages end up on the Palestinian side of the line, they flip out in protest, claiming to have always been loyal Israeli citizens. Of course they don’t want to leave. They get so much from the state and contribute nothing. Good deal. Same reason that the Israel-hating anti-Zionist Haredim don’t go the Brooklyn. They’d be idiots to leave a state that treats its citizens so well.

          In the next election, I’ll vote for Yair Lapid’s party, if he ever forms one. Separation of religion and state. And no state benefits to those who don’t contribute 3 years of their lives to the state. You want equality?? That’s the way to get it. Men, women, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Druze, everyone. Then let’s see how many bloodsucking Haredim or non-appreciative Arabs want to stay in our borders.

          And also just to clarify, the law you said about Jewish women getting paid to have children is not just for Jewish women, but for all women, and Muslims get the money too. again.

        3.  Avatar
          Anonymous

          Just got your response now. I think because there was a link in it, it was delayed. I’ll check it out. But just to be clear. There are MANY MANY anti-Zionist Jews in Israel. Probably 100,000 – 200,000 and rapidly growing. I’m not saying all Orthodox Jews are anti-Zionist. Hardly the case. Almost all settlers are Orthodox. I’m talking about a sect, which we call, Haredim, which oppose the state for religious reasons, speak Yiddish instead of Hebrew, don’t work, study Torah all day, don’t join the army, riot like animals whenever people drive cars through their overcrowded neighborhoods on Shabbat (our day of rest), and still receive our taxes. Shameful on Israelis part, and on Netanyahu’s part for whoring himself out the the state-hating religious parties (something the dignified Tzipi Livni was not willing to do, even though it cost her the prime-minister’s chair).

          Arabs do have worse conditions, as I’m sure your website will tell me, but they certainly get more from the state than they give. I’m 24. Many of my Arab classmates are 21, since they never had to do the Army. Fair? Should they be rewarded for not giving their time to the country they live in like everyone else. And it doesn’t have to be the army. They could contribute their time in their own communities (and many do),

          About Darwish, and Israeli Arabs in general, most consider themselves Palestinian. But master09 was right in that whenever a proposal is floated around to switch the border so that we absorb settlements and their villages end up on the Palestinian side of the line, they flip out in protest, claiming to have always been loyal Israeli citizens. Of course they don’t want to leave. They get so much from the state and contribute nothing. Good deal. Same reason that the Israel-hating anti-Zionist Haredim don’t go the Brooklyn. They’d be idiots to leave a state that treats its citizens so well.

          In the next election, I’ll vote for Yair Lapid’s party, if he ever forms one. Separation of religion and state. And no state benefits to those who don’t contribute 3 years of their lives to the state. You want equality?? That’s the way to get it. Men, women, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Druze, everyone. Then let’s see how many bloodsucking Haredim or non-appreciative Arabs want to stay in our borders.

          And also just to clarify, the law you said about Jewish women getting paid to have children is not just for Jewish women, but for all women, and Muslims get the money too. again.

        4.  Avatar
          Anonymous

          Just got your response now. I think because there was a link in it, it was delayed. I’ll check it out. But just to be clear. There are MANY MANY anti-Zionist Jews in Israel. Probably 100,000 – 200,000 and rapidly growing. I’m not saying all Orthodox Jews are anti-Zionist. Hardly the case. Almost all settlers are Orthodox. I’m talking about a sect, which we call, Haredim, which oppose the state for religious reasons, speak Yiddish instead of Hebrew, don’t work, study Torah all day, don’t join the army, riot like animals whenever people drive cars through their overcrowded neighborhoods on Shabbat (our day of rest), and still receive our taxes. Shameful on Israelis part, and on Netanyahu’s part for whoring himself out the the state-hating religious parties (something the dignified Tzipi Livni was not willing to do, even though it cost her the prime-minister’s chair).

          Arabs do have worse conditions, as I’m sure your website will tell me, but they certainly get more from the state than they give. I’m 24. Many of my Arab classmates are 21, since they never had to do the Army. Fair? Should they be rewarded for not giving their time to the country they live in like everyone else. And it doesn’t have to be the army. They could contribute their time in their own communities (and many do),

          About Darwish, and Israeli Arabs in general, most consider themselves Palestinian. But master09 was right in that whenever a proposal is floated around to switch the border so that we absorb settlements and their villages end up on the Palestinian side of the line, they flip out in protest, claiming to have always been loyal Israeli citizens. Of course they don’t want to leave. They get so much from the state and contribute nothing. Good deal. Same reason that the Israel-hating anti-Zionist Haredim don’t go the Brooklyn. They’d be idiots to leave a state that treats its citizens so well.

          In the next election, I’ll vote for Yair Lapid’s party, if he ever forms one. Separation of religion and state. And no state benefits to those who don’t contribute 3 years of their lives to the state. You want equality?? That’s the way to get it. Men, women, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Druze, everyone. Then let’s see how many bloodsucking Haredim or non-appreciative Arabs want to stay in our borders.

          And also just to clarify, the law you said about Jewish women getting paid to have children is not just for Jewish women, but for all women, and Muslims get the money too. again.

  3. Sussy09 Avatar
    Sussy09

    Instead of talking about war, accept the state of Israel, and make Peace!

    1. kareemthehippy Avatar
      kareemthehippy

      Sussy09 it’s way more than just that. Read what I responded to Eblashko

      1. Sussy09 Avatar
        Sussy09

        Kareem –
        With all due respect, and i really mean it, your views and mine are way to different on this topic. But let’s not rehash and argue over things that, we both, are clearly not in any agreement on, and let’s Agree to Disagree on the merits, if you don’t mind.  All i’m saying at this point is, both sides have their truth. in order to move on, both sides need to make concessions. the way to do it is to sit around the table and talk. threats of war, of going to the U.N. , of another Intifada, or anything else the Palestinians may come up with, wont bring them or Israel Peace. so, with that being said, i still maintain that, to make peace with your Enemy, you must first acknowledge them as a state, and  accept their right to exist side by side next to you. Unfortunately, most of the Palestinians, keep saying, they will never accepted the right of ANY Jews, to live on this land. most of them talk like Helen Thomas, (where do you think she got her ideas to send all Jews back to Europe and, ‘GET THE HELL OUT OF PALESTINE’, in her own words. On the other hand, i can assure you, That most Israelis, will accept a neighboring Palestinian state, as long as that state , will agree to cease all fighting and all hostility, in exchange for a true, meaningful viable peace. It is as simple as that Kareem. for the sake of their children, and future generations, They should say yes. Abba Eben once siad :’They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity’, will they do it again? Only time will tell. PEACE 😀

      2. eblashko Avatar
        eblashko

        Aside from the long response I wrote on the bottom of the page, I just want to add in response to your reply to sussy below:

        “settlements are ILLEGAL under international law and are violating the West Bank’s sovereignty and the Palestinian human rights. Ending settlements is one of the BIGGEST issues for Palestine, and it is not a
        compromise Netanyahu is willing to make; therefore, how can the Palestinians make a returning one if Netanyahu isn’t willing to discuss settlement freezes?”

        I’m no fan of settlements. I think they’re an unnecessary provocation. But as proven by Israel’s withdrawal from Sinai and Gaza, settlements should not be an obstacle to peace. They aren’t a reason not to negotiate, they’re an excuse not to negotiate.

        And if the issue of settlements was so important, you should be equally angry with China, which is one of many examples, who still today continue to settle Tibetan land, or with Armenia, who still settles Azerbaijani territory. Somehow though, I assume you don’t care as much about those cases. I wonder why….

        And just to clarify, the West Bank has no sovereignty. Israel won it from Jordan. Not Palestine, as until 1967, there was no such thing. Jordan has since given up its claim, Israel has not annexed it, so it has no sovereignty. It’s people deserve rights, but it’s land, especially the empty land that settlements were built on, was Jordanian, and before that British and before that Turkish. It’s interesting to note that until 1967, the “Palestinian” freedom fighters claimed all of what was the Mandate of Palestine EXCEPT the West Bank and Gaza. Ironic, no?

        1. Sussy09 Avatar
          Sussy09

          you say :”how can the Palestinians make a returning one if Netanyahu isn’t willing to discuss settlement freezes”?
          You are wrong! Netanyahu said :”No preconditions”! “Let’s sit down and talk”. The Palestinians are saying – we want the END result, before we sit down and BEGIN negotiating! why is this so hard for you to admit, that something is clearly wrong with this picture? Negotiations means Negotiating, about EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING, including , The borders, Jerusalem, The right of return, etc.
          Now kareem, as for who’s land it is more, who’s land it is less etc. how many Arabs and Jews lived on this land , when it was called Palestina. Let me refer you to this uncontested Historical document below. this may put a little order in the confusion you may have, about who, what, and how many..
          you said you like to get your information from multiple sources, so do i. Please reed this document carefully, I’m convinced it’ll open your eyes, as it did many others who needed a little more education about the facts. PEACE 😀
          http://www.art-gallery-yona.com/demogra-eng.html – This comment was by mistake addressed to eblashko – it was meant for Kareem.

        2. Sussy09 Avatar
          Sussy09

          my long response to you is on it’s way Kareem…  waiting to be approved by yalibnan…:)

  4.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Instead of talking about war, accept the state of Israel, and make Peace!

    1.  Avatar
      Anonymous

      Sussy09 it’s way more than just that. Read what I responded to Eblashko

      1.  Avatar
        Anonymous

        Kareem –
        With all due respect, and i really mean it, your views and mine are way to different on this topic. But let’s not rehash and argue over things that, we both, are clearly not in any agreement on, and let’s Agree to Disagree on the merits, if you don’t mind.  All i’m saying at this point is, both sides have their truth. in order to move on, both sides need to make concessions. the way to do it is to sit around the table and talk. threats of war, of going to the U.N. , of another Intifada, or anything else the Palestinians may come up with, wont bring them or Israel Peace. so, with that being said, i still maintain that, to make peace with your Enemy, you must first acknowledge them as a state, and  accept their right to exist side by side next to you. Unfortunately, most of the Palestinians, keep saying, they will never accepted the right of ANY Jews, to live on this land. most of them talk like Helen Thomas, (where do you think she got her ideas to send all Jews back to Europe and, ‘GET THE HELL OUT OF PALESTINE’, in her own words. On the other hand, i can assure you, That most Israelis, will accept a neighboring Palestinian state, as long as that state , will agree to cease all fighting and all hostility, in exchange for a true, meaningful viable peace. It is as simple as that Kareem. for the sake of their children, and future generations, They should say yes. Abba Eben once siad :’They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity’, will they do it again? Only time will tell. PEACE 😀

        1.  Avatar
          Anonymous

          That’s why negotiations exist, because two sides disagree but they come to a mutual compromise! “Agreeing to disagree” on all basis and just avoiding any dialogue shows lack of interest, so you can just admit it! You just tossed an argument at me and you don’t expect me to reply. Helen Thomas said that yes, but how many settlers claim that Palestinians should flee to Saudi Arabia? it’s the same crap.

          I’m disappointed with your contradictions and that entire post.  You should told me to not bother arguing or discussing with you, then you gave me this ENTIRELY one-sided view and don’t expect me to reply.
          You can live in your own little world. I understand. How do you think it feels to be in the grey area between the two oppressive forces in this world: one being Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas..etc and the other being the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia

          It’s a mental and emotional burden, and when more people can take that burden, then we’ll see some good change in this world. I don’t mean to belittle you, but I don’t know what else I can say with any legitimacy whatsoever.

          Peace isn’t ignoring, but understanding. You want me to understand but you don’t want to understand me, so you agree that we disagree.

          Thanks for redefining diplomacy for everyone. I hope you don’t go into politics lol

        2.  Avatar
          Anonymous

          You say :”That’s why negotiations exist, because two sides disagree but they come to a mutual compromise!”
          That’s precisely what i was trying to tell you before i got this long ‘all over the place’ speech from you. you don’t need to convince me of that. But can you explain this point to the Palestinians, who refuse to come to the to ‘Negotiate’?? They said :”No negotiations before a settlement building freeze”, 9 month went by, and they refused to come to the table and as you say ‘Negotiate’.. why? now , they want to start all over again.. who are they kidding Kareem, you??

        3.  Avatar
          Anonymous

          @Sussy09:disqus  settlements are ILLEGAL under international law and are violating the West Bank’s sovereignty and the Palestinian human rights.  Ending settlements is one of the BIGGEST issues for Palestine, and it is not a compromise Netanyahu is willing to make; therefore, how can the Palestinians make a returning one if Netanyahu isn’t willing to discuss settlement freezes?

          Besides, the Palestinians have compromised with thousands dead, thoursands more displaced, and with most of their land gone. We have to take that into consideration too.  They are willing to compromise most of their land (1967 borders) just to end the war.

          My opinions come from reading multiple news sources, even Israeli-based..my opinion doesn’t directly come from a certain political party or leader..so nobody is kidding me.
          I may seem naiive, but I’m not that foolish 🙂

          PS: if you thought that was a speech, look at the stuff I’m discussing with Eblashko 😉

      2.  Avatar
        Anonymous

         In response to your reply to sussy below:

        “settlements are ILLEGAL under international law and are violating the
        West Bank’s sovereignty and the Palestinian human rights.  Ending
        settlements is one of the BIGGEST issues for Palestine, and it is not a
        compromise Netanyahu is willing to make; therefore, how can the
        Palestinians make a returning one if Netanyahu isn’t willing to discuss
        settlement freezes?”

        I’m no fan of settlements. I think they’re an unnecessary provocation. But as proven by Israel’s withdrawl from Sinai and Gaza, settlements should not be an obstacle to peace. They aren’t a reason not to negotiate, they’re an excuse not to negotiate.

        And if the issue of settlements were so important, you should be equally angry China, which is one of many examples, who still today continue to settle Tibetan land, or Armenia, who settles Azerbaijani territory. Somehow though, I assume you don’t care as much about those cases. I wonder why….

        And just to clarify, the West Bank has no sovereignty. Israel won it from Jordan. Not Palestine, as until 1967, there was no such thing. Jordan has since given up its claim, Israel has not annexed it, so it has no sovereignty.

      3.  Avatar
        Anonymous

         In response to your reply to sussy below:

        “settlements are ILLEGAL under international law and are violating the
        West Bank’s sovereignty and the Palestinian human rights.  Ending
        settlements is one of the BIGGEST issues for Palestine, and it is not a
        compromise Netanyahu is willing to make; therefore, how can the
        Palestinians make a returning one if Netanyahu isn’t willing to discuss
        settlement freezes?”

        I’m no fan of settlements. I think they’re an unnecessary provocation. But as proven by Israel’s withdrawl from Sinai and Gaza, settlements should not be an obstacle to peace. They aren’t a reason not to negotiate, they’re an excuse not to negotiate.

        And if the issue of settlements were so important, you should be equally angry China, which is one of many examples, who still today continue to settle Tibetan land, or Armenia, who settles Azerbaijani territory. Somehow though, I assume you don’t care as much about those cases. I wonder why….

        And just to clarify, the West Bank has no sovereignty. Israel won it from Jordan. Not Palestine, as until 1967, there was no such thing. Jordan has since given up its claim, Israel has not annexed it, so it has no sovereignty.

        1.  Avatar
          Anonymous

          my long response to you is on it’s way Kareem…  waiting to be approved by yalibnan…:)

  5. Sussy09 Avatar
    Sussy09

    This is unfortunate, that this site finds it OK, to censor comments, for no apparent reason. (i Guess adding a link, is not OK here, otherwise i can’t understand why you censored my comment, Am i the only one this happened to?..) Have you guys heard of a ‘Freedom Of Speech’? I was under the impression Lebanon was a Democracy.. 

    1. eblashko Avatar
      eblashko

      It’s not the site, it’s disqus. It always waits if you include a link. 

  6.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    This is unfortunate, that this site finds it OK, to censor comments, for no apparent reason. (i Guess adding a link, is not OK here, otherwise i can’t understand why you censored my comment, Am i the only one this happened to?..) Have you guys heard of a ‘Freedom Of Speech’? I was under the impression Lebanon was a Democracy.. 

    1.  Avatar
      Anonymous

      It’s not the site, it’s disqus. It always waits if you include a link. 

      1.  Avatar
        Anonymous

        Thank you for clarifying, you are right, it’s been finally posted here last night, as you can see. 

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