by Hugh Fitzgerald
Stephen Flatow has just reported on the Biden Administration’s plans for bringing peace (or “peace”) to Israelis and Palestinians. It’s the same old “two-state solution” (if we call it a “solution,” it surely must be that): squeeze Israel back within the 1949 armistice lines, forcing Israel to give up the Golan Heights and most of Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the “West Bank”), leaving the Jewish state with a nine-mile-wide waist from Qalqilya to the sea. And after that Israeli surrender, we can all just hope for the best. His report is here: “Biden’s ‘Nine-Miles-Wide Plan,’” by Stephen M. Flatow, JNS, March 22, 2021:
The Biden administration reportedly intends to demand that Israel return to the nine-miles-wide pre-1967 armistice lines. Should we be surprised? How dangerous would that be? And what should American Jews do about it?
According to numerous media reports, an outline of the Biden plan has been prepared by Hady Amr, the deputy assistant secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs. Amr worked on the same issues during the Obama administration. So, it’s hardly surprising that the plan he has drafted reflects the same positions that were taken when Barack Obama was president and Joe Biden was vice president.
The central theme of Biden’s Israeli-Palestinian policy in the short term, according to the Amr memo, will be a series of rewards to be given to the Palestinian Authority, even though the PA has done absolutely nothing to merit any of them.
Despite the PA’s financial support for terrorists, harboring of fugitive terrorists, constant anti-Jewish incitement and unrelenting anti-American propaganda, the Biden administration intends to “reset the US relationship with the Palestinian people and leadership” by:
- Sending the PA at least $15 million monthly ($180 million annually) as “humanitarian assistance,” starting in “late March or early April.”
- Soon expanding that PA aid package to include “a full range of economic, security and humanitarian assistance,” including funds for the corrupt, pro-terrorist UNRWA agency. By “security” aid, Amr undoubtedly means the pro-terrorist, de facto army that the PA calls its “security services.”
- Resuming diplomatic contacts with PA officials by reopening the PLO embassy in Washington, DC, and using the old (but still functioning) American consulate in Jerusalem as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians.
- Inviting the United Nations and the Quartet, both of which are militantly pro-Palestinian, to “engage” in the diplomatic process.
- Resuming “country of origin labeling,” which means declaring that goods made in much of Jerusalem, as well as Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, will be forced to carry “Made in Palestine” labels since the Biden administration has decided that all those areas belong to the Palestinian Arabs.
That’s quite a cornucopia of benefits for the Palestinians, who have not done a thing to merit them. How does the Biden Administration hope to get around the Taylor Force Act, which requires the government to end aid to the Palestinians as long as they continue to finance their “Pay-For-Slay” program? That provides fat monthly stipends to imprisoned terrorists or, if the terrorists died in the “performance of their duties,” those subsidies are given to their families. These subsidies are three to four times as large as the Palestinians’ average wage, and both reward past and incentivize future acts of terrorism.
If the Biden plan goes through, the spigot of American to the PA that Trump had turned off would be open at full throttle. The PA would start this spring to get $180 million a year, likely to soon be increased if not much fuss in made in Congress about the initial amount. But it remains to be seen how the PA will repackage the Pay-For-Slay stipends so as not to run afoul of the Taylor Force Act; none of the possibilities suggested so far are convincing.
In addition to aid to the PA, the Administration plans to renew the aid to UNRWA, which Trump had also ended. UNRWA, riven by sexual and financial scandals at the very top, continues to treat the status of “Palestinian refugee” as an inheritable trait, so that it may be passed down to children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on, without any logical limit. That is why UNRWA insists there are more than five million “Palestinian refugees,” when the actual number of real refugees – those Arab who left Mandatory Palestine and Israel between 1947 and 1949 and are still alive, come to at most 30,000. While the real refugees decline in number, through deaths, every year, the number of UNRWA “refugees” continues to expand. Of the tens of millions of refugees in the world, only the “Palestinian refugees” have been allowed this unique definition that includes in their number both the original refugees and all subsequent generations. No one has offered a coherent explanation as to why this should ever have been allowed, or why such a definition should continue to be observed by UNRWA. That was one reason the Trump administration ended aid to UNRWA. The other reason was the continued refusal of UNRWA to delete the great number of antisemitic passages in its schoolbooks; it had promised to revise those texts many times before but never did. Exasperated, the Trump administration had had enough of UNRWA’s hollow promises to “fix the problem,” and cut its aid to UNRWA.
The Biden administration has only two demands of the PA. First, it will seek “to obtain a Palestinian commitment” to stop paying terrorists, which will probably be as genuine and durable as all the previous PA commitments to stop aiding terrorists.
The Palestinians have made many promises to stop terrorism, beginning with commitments in the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995. But the PA never has done so. Not only does it reward terrorists, or their families, financially, with very generous stipends, but it honors terrorists by naming streets and squares after them. Right now the PA is trying to figure out how best to disguise the Pay-For-Slay program so as to get around the Taylor Force Act; no doubt the Biden people are eager to help Mahmoud Abbas out with that task of deception.
Second, Biden will “emphasize to the PA” the need for “reductions of arrests of bloggers and dissidents.” What a joke! The PA won’t even be expected to stop arresting dissidents; it just has to arrest a few less.
Abbas has called elections, but in the meantime his men have been rounding up, as they have throughout his reign as President-for-Life, now entering the 16th year of his four-year term, those they suspect of being insufficiently enthusiastic about their rais in Ramallah. Right now, having called for parliamentary and presidential elections, Abbas has been dealing. harshly with dissidents as he always has. When Nizar al-Kidwa dared to break with Abbas and announced his intention to field his own list of parliamentary candidates, Abbas promptly cut off all financial support from the PA for the Yassir Arafat Foundation, where Al-Kudwa – Arafat’s nephew – is employed. Abbas’s goons have been threatening supporters of his two most likely rivals for the Presidency, Mohammed Dahlan (who has been living in exile in the U.A.E.) and Marwan Barghouti (who is currently serving five life terms for murder in an Israeli prison).Arafat has also exacted a promise from Hamas not to field a presidential candidate. For Mahmoud Abbas, elections are fine — as long as no one else dares run against him.
What’s most important, however, is the end goal of the Biden plan. Amr’s draft negotiated two-state solution … based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps.
In plain English, that means a sovereign “State of Palestine” in all, or nearly all, of Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip (and part of Jerusalem).
The plan is, put simply, the “Nine-Miles Wide Plan.” It has to be. Because any Palestinian state has to include the third-largest PA city, Tulkarm, and the fifth-largest PA city, Qalqilya. The PA is not going to make those cities part of Israel. So, they will be part of “Palestine.” Tulkarm and Qalqilya are nine miles from the Mediterranean Sea. Israel won’t even be as wide as Washington, DC—or the Bronx, NY.
One terrifying anecdote from 1967 tells you all you need to know about the dangers of Biden’s “Nine-Miles Wide Plan.” On the eve of the Six-Day War, as hostilities seemed increasingly likely, numerous Israeli mothers residing along the coast kept their children home from school. Why? Because they knew that the country could be sliced in two by a Jordanian tank column in a matter of minutes, and they didn’t want their children to be trapped on the other side. Imagine living with that kind of fear.
It is hard to convey to those who haven’t actually visited Israel, just how tiny the Jewish state is – after all, it looms so large on the world stage. When asked to guess Israel’s population, foreign college students have in the past guessed “60 million,” when the real number at the time was “6 million.” How much tinier, and more vulnerable, Israel was within the 1949 armistice lines – lines which Israel in 1949 had offered to make into permanent borders, but the Arab states rejected the offer, intent as they were on going in for the kill a second time. Israel has had to fight three major wars – in 1948, 1967, and 1973 – for its very survival. It has also had to fight four wars against terror groups — in 1982, the PLO in Lebanon; in 2008-2009 and 2014, Hamas in Gaza; in 2006, Hezbollah in Lebanon. It has also been forced to fight the “wars between the wars” when Hamas and Hezbollah have launched thousands of rockets and missiles at Israeli cities, as well as build terror tunnels into Israel. Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has intercepted more than 2,500 incoming projectiles from Gaza alone.
All that Arab aggression which Israel has had to fight off has earned it the right to retain territories it needs in order to have, as the key phrase in Resolution 242 put it, “secure [i.e., defensible] and recognized boundaries.” It was the author of that Resolution, British ambassador Hugh Caradon, who made clear that Israel was not required, as the Biden Administration apparently thinks, to withdraw from “all the territories” it had won in the “recent conflict” (the Six-Day War), as the Arabs had tried, and failed, to make U.N. Resolution 242 read, but only from “territories.” But more on the Biden Administration’s miscomprehension of Israel’s rights, the West Bank, and International Law will be dealt with tomorrow.
First published in Jihad Watch.