With the appointment by President Obama of Samantha Power to replace Susan Rice as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations; the Israeli leadership has been put on notice that they no longer have a friend in the leadership of the United States. There is no reason for anybody who supports Israel to be comfortable with this appointment. Ms. Samantha Power has been quoted responding on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that it may necessitate using armed military forces, “a mammoth protection force” and an “external intervention”, to impose a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. This was to be implemented even if it would result in “alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import…or investing…billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new State of Palestine.” Where Samantha Power has not actually called directly for the use of troops to force Israel to remit their control and forcefully remove all Jewish influences from the West Bank in order to fully complete founding of a Palestinian state, this has been the heavily implied and many have taken the collective body of her commentary on this subject and concluded she would be supportive of such a policy and be pleased with such an outcome. This appointment of Samantha Power as United Nations Ambassador is a perfect complement to having John Kerry as Secretary of State and tasking him to mold a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by any means necessary. It has been made perfectly clear that President Obama and his entire Administration favors the formation of a Palestinian State utilizing all of the West Bank as the basis for the State’s borders with Eastern Jerusalem, including the entirety of the Old City and Temple Mount, to serve as the Capital City for said State. The recent moves, appointments, press releases and comments by President Obama and members of the foreign policy departments of his Administration with the new changes made for his second term should give the Israeli leadership sufficient warning that they will need to take actions to resolve the impasse with the Palestinians using whatever political force and capital necessary.
There will be those who will support Samantha Power explaining that she is not anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist or anti-Israel but simply stands up for the Palestinians’ rights to their own State and respect for their human rights. Ms. Power is a well-respected human rights activist and a leader in that movement. As such she takes the ‘human rights record’ of Israel as a habitual offender as factual. This goes a long way to explaining why after the United States had withdrawn most of its diplomatic participation from the noxious United Nations’ World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, better known as Durban I, Ms. Power remained to participate in the discussions. This was the conference which transformed from a conference to discuss and address problems relating to racism, xenophobia, and hatred but almost immediately broke down and wallowed in the fetid swamps of anti-Zionist, anti-Israel anti-Semitic blood libels and hatreds while ignoring every other human rights ills anywhere else in the world. The conference was chaired by Samantha Power’s friend Mary Robinson who had no difficulty allowing the laser focus on the purported human rights violations by Israel on the Palestinians, Arabs, and all non-Jews worldwide. With her background and track record displaying such a deep seated disdain and contempt for the State of Israel, how is it going to be possible for the United States to continue to support the Israelis in the United Nations Security Council when a United States veto is politically desired, or even convince Israeli leadership that the United States still presents a credible supporter? The new reality taking shape in President Obama’s second term administration should give Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his coalition pause and question exactly what steps Israel needs to initiate to avoid being overrun by an adjusted, pro-Palestinian United States Middle East policy.
There will most certainly be some who profess to be pro-Israel and pro-Zionist who will claim that Ms. Power’s promotion gives Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu the perfect opportunity to finally prove that Israel truly wishes for peace. They will point out that should Netanyahu make some unilateral compromises that then President Obama along with Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Power would work with him to bring Palestinian President Abbas to the negotiation’s table and the Two State Solution would finally be achieved. One group which is suspected to take such a position would be J Street. Backing them in the media one might expect that Tom Friedman of the New York Times and Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic would pen flowing and glowing editorials exclaiming that a Palestinian-Israeli peace is at hand if Prime Minister Netanyahu would just grab the opportunity that would bring Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Power to Israel’s side and force Palestinian President Abbas to finally negotiate honestly yielding a resultant Two State Solution with peace and security guaranteed for both peoples. Unfortunately, such optimism ignores the one truth which nobody seems willing to identify; the truth that President Abbas cannot make peace. The Palestinian population, especially those under thirty years of age, has been raised on a visceral hatred for Israelis and Jews. They have been finely tuned to accept only a one Palestinian State solution in which the Jews are either second class Dhimmis or killed. Should Abbas ever sign a peace treaty with Israel which does not include a complete Israeli surrender his life would be forfeit in less time than Egyptian President Sadat lived after making peace before being assassinated by one of his military guard. Further, as long as the world continues to demand that Israel and Israel alone must continuously make unilateral sacrifices and surrender territory and other negotiation points, why would Abbas ever make any move towards negotiating a real peace as all he needs to do is agree to appear once every few years before the media cameras with the Israeli Prime Minister, whomever it may be, and then refuse to return to negotiate and wait for the world to force Israel to surrender everything piecemeal one unilateral concession at a time.
There is another path that would actually be productive and make Abbas and the Palestinians anxious and truly eager to negotiate and make a real and possibly lasting peace. This path demands that Israel make unilateral moves but not giving anything, especially land, to the Palestinians to bribe them to come and negotiate but to take concessions they might desire from the Palestinians, especially territory. Perhaps the first step Prime Minister Netanyahu might take to signal with a minor move would be to replace the Muslim Waqf from their supervisory role over the Temple Mount and limit their jurisdiction to the actual Islamic buildings while placing the Israeli Antiquities Authority to supervise the everyday activities and visitation to the Temple Mount. The Israeli Antiquities Authority could be tasked to form a Temple Mount Security Force in conjunction with the Shin Bet and new rules would need to be enacted allowing freedom to pray and freedom to wear religious symbols and universal access for all peoples of all religions to the Temple Mount with allowances made for major religious holy days. This would end the odious limitations currently enforced which limit prayers or other actions deemed to be of a suspected religious nature forbidden to all except Muslims. This condemnable religious stranglehold by Islam and the Waqf has been tolerated and accepted as equal religious rights under the current arrangement. Cancelling this oppressive and hateful arrangement would bring a fresh and liberating transformation to a place that is of primary religious importance to three of the world’s major religions and should never have been allowed to be restricted such that only one sole religion had rights to these holy grounds.
Should this reassignment of responsibility over policing the Temple Mount and granting equality to all to visit, pray and enjoy these hallowed grounds and religious shrines not get President Abbas and the rest of the Palestinian leadership’s undivided attention, then Israel should take a second step towards further limiting what Israel would be willing to consider to be negotiable. Annexing permanently a half dozen of the major and closest to the Green Line Jewish residential communities and the industrial, commercial, educational areas etc. would hopefully awaken the Palestinian leadership to realize that the rules have changed and they can negotiate in good faith or find Israel eventually annexing Area C and whatever locations in Area B or even Area A that are desired. Eventually Israel could inform the Palestinian leadership that Israel has annexed all the areas Israel wishes to retain as part of Israel and they have two choices, either form a demilitarized state on what remains or if they still refuse to negotiate then Israel will consider the remaining areas to be under Israeli security control while allowing it to be a semi-autonomous area within which the Palestinians living there have limited self-rule but they will not be granted Israeli citizenship. Meanwhile, whenever Israel annexed lands they would grant the Palestinians residing within a temporary status placing them on a path towards full Israeli citizenship. They would receive new identification cards which would be different from Israeli or Palestinian identification cards currently in use. They would be eligible for full citizenship in five years provided they did not support, participate, harbor, commit or allow the occurrence of any terror related activities. It has become obvious that as long as Israel is forced to give concessions there will be no peace so perhaps it is time to attempt a new approach where Israel no longer surrenders in small unilateral steps but rather takes a positive step establishing a new pro-Israel fact on the ground one annexation at a time. When you are running out of carrots and it has become obvious that carrots are not working, then it is time to try a few sticks and save whatever remaining carrots you have for when the other side truly and honestly desires to negotiate a permanent peace with security and tranquility for both peoples living side-by-side or together in the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
Beyond the Cusp