Monday, January 24, 2011

5 Myths about Al-Jazeera leaks

Women's section inside the Western Wall Tunnels, facing the Kodesh

First, some myth-busting about all the supposed Palestinian generosity:

1. Anyone who has been to Israel knows there is nothing surprising about Palestinians 'forfeiting' French Hill, Ramat Eshkol, Mt. Scopus and other neighborhoods deeply integrated into Jerusalem. Any Palestinian who is even half-serious about achieveing a settlement knows that Israel is not going to give up Hebrew University, much less the Jewish quarter of the Old City. "What Al-Jazeera put out is not new, we've known it for a long time," said 60-year-old Abed Dandis who runs a grocery store the Old City. (AP)

2. The 'generous' offer by the Palestinians failed to provide basic provisions, such as safe passage between Jerusalem and the proposed Gush Etzion enclave, home to 60,000 people who travel daily to Jerusalem.

3. One of the maps proposed Pisgat Ze'ev and French Hill be separated by Palestinian territory. An Israeli negotiator asks how these two neighborhoods, which today are practically in each others backyard, will be connected. Palestinian negotiator Samih responds: "A bridge can be built to connect them" !! Yeah, a bridge through Hamastan to take my kid from school to his violin lesson. Genius! How could Israel have refused?

4. The Palestinian 'offer', which gave Israel control over most Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, still maintained control over Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem, such as Isawiya. Palestinians did not give up their claim for East Jerusalem.

5. One map suggested a territorial link between the West Bank and Gaza. In other words, Israel would be cut in half by a passageway from radical Hamastan to moderate Hamastan. Sounds enticing.

Regardless of the futility of these Palestinian 'concessions', the peace process is history. Netanyahu will never give what Olmert the businessman offered. In the Arab world, the Palestinian leadership is making every effort to deny the leak, fearing backlash from their populace, who would never accept even the impractical arrangements listed above.

In this time, when two-state solution's days are numbered, it's time to make the real case for the Jewish state, on our own terms, without kissing up to Europe or the U.S. We need to clarify to the world why we are here, and what it means that we are here.

Rashi on Genesis 1:1 is a fine place to begin. 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1)

Rashi (medieval commentator): Why does the Torah open with the story of Creation, rather than with the first commandment? So that if the nations of the world say to Israel: You are occupying a foreign land, Israel can say to them: This world belongs to God. He created it, and he gives it to those who find favor in His eyes. Of His Will He gave it to them, and of His Will He took it from them, and gave it to us.

בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ

אמר רבי יצחק לא היה צריך להתחיל [את] התורה אלא (שמות יב ב) מהחודש הזה לכם, שהיא מצוה ראשונה שנצטוו [בה] ישראל, ומה טעם פתח בבראשית, משום (תהלים קיא ו) כח מעשיו הגיד לעמו לתת להם נחלת גוים, שאם יאמרו אומות העולם לישראל לסטים אתם, שכבשתם ארצות שבעה גוים, הם אומרים להם כל הארץ של הקב"ה היא, הוא בראה ונתנה לאשר ישר בעיניו, ברצונו נתנה להם וברצונו נטלה מהם ונתנה לנו

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