The Latest Generous Offer

This is my response to Netanyahu's speech last night. The full English transcript can be found here or you can watch it in English here.

If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu proved anything last night, it was that he has no idea what the definition of the word, "state" is. Generally accepted features of a modern state, include: a permanent population living in a definted territory and excercising sovereignty within and control over own borders and having the ability to enter into agreements with other states and recognition by other recognized states. If you don't believe me, look it up. These are pretty universally accepted requirements to be a state.

Bibi's conditions for the future Palesitnian state include: demilitarization, no control of borders, no sovereignty over water and other natural resources (many of which have been strategically confiscated underneath the settlements), a closed airspace, inability to enter into military pacts, no control over any part of Jerusalem (the national consensus-based capital of Palestine), and a glaring lack of any sort of territorial contiguity.

Now, I can see why Israel believes it needs a demilitarized state, but Israel would never accept this for themselves. Palestinians have, for more than 60 years, "suffered pogroms, blood libels, and massacres" which have culminated in ethnic cleansing and 1000s of deaths. Cannot Bibi recognize that Palestinians, too, "need a sovereign power of self-defense"? This, though, is not the real issue with this speech.

The real issue is that for about the millionth time in history, Palestinians are being asked to take all the first steps, with no guarentee from anyone or anywhere that Israel will ever live up to her "generous" promises. Yet again, the blame for the conflict and the responsibility to move forward are placed on the occupied population. Bibi references the withdrawl from Gaza as an example of when Israel took the first move, only to be "hailed" on by missiles. Let's take a closer look at this. Yes, Israel removed settlers from Gaza (and payed them copious amounts of money to take up new residency in the West Bank). However, Israel has yet to allow Palestinians to control their own borders, to move and trade freely. Israel has yet to grant full access to Gaza to foreign institutions, including those who want to invest there. Israel has yet to end military operations, provoked or not, in Gaza. Israel has, since 2005, maintained a prison-like grip on Gaza with frequent and devastating military incursions, the worst (but not most recent) of which was its 28-day-long massacre there between December 2008 to January 2009. There has not been a single day that Israel had "withdrawn" completely from the Gaza Strip and it has never even pretended to do so from the West Bank.

Another issue I have is that Bibi insists that the "final status issues" (which, according to anyone who knows anything about Palestine are: water, borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and settlements) will only be discussed after Palestinians agree to his totally unagreeable terms. What he really means is that the one issue he is willing to talk about is the border and what he means by that is that it WILL NOT be the internationally recognized 1949 armistice (or pre-1967) line. The other "final status issues" he's already made decisions about. Water is to be controlled (vis-a-vis the settlements) by Israel. Jerusalem will be the undivided capital of Israel and Palestinians may or may not have the right to go there, live there, work there, or worship there based on how well-behaved they are percieved by the Israelis to be on any given day. The refugees have no right of return: end of story. Settlements will remain. He may be willing to concede some small settlements or outposts, but it is a given that at least the majority (the "settlement blocs") will be annexed to Israel, thus creating unavoidable cantonization of the West Bank and probably creating a "need" to keep at least some Israeli-contolled checkpoints within the Palestinian "state". Not to mention that all these settlers will need to travel, so there will be a network of roads and walls (mostly in place already) to connect them with each other and with Israel that weave through and futher disects the Palestinian "state"

This is not a plan. He knows this. His plan was, as is always the case with Israel, to propose something that sounds understandable to people who don't understand and sit back while the Palestinians yet again "refuse his generous offer"! Each of these 'generous' offers has been far less 'generous' than the last and they have all been unacceptable.

The one thing that Bibi said that I agree with is that the problems in Palestine started, "fifty years before a single Israeli soldier ever set foot in Judea and Samaria". What Israelis forget is that even if they were to retreat to the pre-1967 border and abandon their precious settlement project and move their stupid wall to the officially recognized line and even if they only let refugees return to either the West Bank or the Gaza Strip: they still own, control, have sovereignty over 78% of Palestine! Bibi references the "Arab" refusal of the 1947 partition plan. In 1947 the Jewish population made up less than 20% of the population and Jews owned just 6% of the land. The rest of the land (94%) was owned by Palestinians and the other 80% of the population was Palestininian. The UN which, (by admission of people who sat on the committee) had no idea of the real sisuation and never stepped foot on this ground, proposed to GIVE to the Jews 52% of the land. If you owned 94% of something and I told you you had to give me 52% of it for no good reason, you'd reject my offer, too. If you say otherwise, you are a liar. This, my friends, is why Palestinians who are willing to live on the 22% of their land that makes up the (unimpeded) West Bank and Gaza (which, as discussed, is not even on the table), are the ones who are generous! Israelis really should be thankful that they can find a single Palestinian willing to accept that, let alone what seems to be a majority.

Other terms Bibi should probably look up: sovereignty, pioneer, rule of law (re: Israeli lack of it), tiny (keeping in mind their military and economic ratings on a global scale), homeland (since he seems to think this land means this only to Israelis), withdrawal, trade, justice.


  1. Good analysis of his speech. Thank you.

  2. I just want to add that Bibi forgot to talk in his speech about dividing Palestine into small tiny cantons right now. Removing checkpoints and adding others in strategic areas to control the movement of Palestinians and take more lands. This is the " Palestinian State(s)" that he was talking about. They removed Bet Reema Checkpoint which was in the Nablus's gate to Shafy Shamroon Road before the Road 60 Junction. In this way they control the traveling movement for Palestinians of Nablus and Jenin, and there are more facts in West Back happening right now proving their plan of Palestinian State(s).

  3. Rami, he didn't mention these things because his goal is to fool the world into believing that as long as Palestine is "demilitarized" they will have a viable state. Anyone who knows anything knows this isn't true, but it's his strategy. He wants the Palestinians to reject his "plan" so that the world can again blame you guys for rejecting "PEACE".

  4. This is not new. They always try to show that we are rejecting "peace from their prospective".

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  6. I reject Benjamen Netanyahu's/ Israel's plan for a Palestine.
    I also reject the current Palestinian plan for a Palestine.
    The land lost in 1948 to this day feels to me, and to most Palestinians, as our righteous land. I do not think the Palestinians actually realize that by having a one state or multi-states ion 22 percent of the historic Palestine is a final substitute to their historic presence on that map.
    I was watching Netanyahu's speech on CNN sipping on my tea, and between each enragement and the other I would laugh, because frankly no Palestinian should expect less.
    Then you get the SOB chief negotiator on the behalf of Palestine (who's long history of allowing the current status quoe to happen is well-documented) claims it is a leap in the foot steps of the already "turtle-slow" peace process.
    I think both sides are buying more time, killing more time to buy more time, and each is doing it before the clock ticks its final seconds. When the oblivious Israelis realize they really are not the only ones to exist over the "Land of Israel", and when the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Ltd. realizes you cannot gamble over a burning house.
    I liked how Al-Jazeera put Bibi's two "historic"-words together: looked like he was tasting something rather sour, well he was. Actually the words "Palestinian State" seems alot sourer to me coming out his mouth than to him. I want a fully functioning state that is for all of its citizens, that teaches tolerance rather than legalized-racism, while allowing me to fully adopt and maintain my own heritage. If that means Israel, then be it, but "Israel" not as my oppressor nor as my occupier, but as a fully democratic nation that extends the "Aleyah" to my fellow Palestinians.
    Salam :)

  7. Thanks for that, Sari. Very well said! "Palestinian Liberation Organization, Ltd." Haha! Classic.

  8. Marhaba,
    May I call your articles: TTP: Thoughts to Palestine. This article is clear, concise and comprehensive, as I said in Twitter. It also proves that you know about the Palestinian Question better than many Palestinians and Arabs.
    I liked the word:" Generous" in the title. Netanyahu does not want to give us peace; he wants to give us pieces! pieces of places, ghettos, cantons to live in without dignity, without sovereignty, without freedom .. etc.
    You have explained all that in an orderly and thoughtful way. The article should be posted on many internet sites. You may also publish it in local or international newspapers.
    Go on, TTT! Good Day!

  9. It is so nice to see someone else who understands the issue a little better than just knowing Israel's side. Your blog is amazing and I want to thank you for writing.

  10. KirBir, thanks for your kind comments. I peeked at your profile: WI, huh? I'm from MN! ;)