September 26, 2018

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The biggest Israel-related story of the decade that no one (right or left) wants you to know
Graphic by Haaretz

In June, Haaretz published a major investigative report (excerpted here) on the negotiations between Israel, the US and the Palestinians in 2013 and 2014.

The report shows that Netanyahu approved a framework, created by John Kerry and his team, that would have resulted in a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines with land swaps. When it was presented to Mahmoud Abbas, he angrily rejected it.

When Kerry came back with a sweeter offer that addressed Abbas’ concerns – without consulting the Israelis – Abbas never responded and let the talks die.

This story, published in an ultra-left wing newspaper, it the biggest news story of the year for Israel.

It proves that Netanyahu is far more flexible towards a two-state solution than any reporter has ever written. It proves that Abbas is more intransigent and uninterested in peace than any reporter is willing to admit.

It completely up-ends the conventional wisdom about Israel and the Palestinians.

And no one wants to talk about it.

The media and world diplomats don’t want to upset their carefully crafted mythology of an intransigent Likud government and a moderate PA. This story destroys that.

Worse, the Government of Israel doesn’t want to mention this story either – because Netanyahu needs to portray himself as someone defending Israel’s interests in the face of his more right-wing coalition partners.

So no one, right or left, is touching the more important story of the year.

Literally every day over the past two weeks we have seen op-eds and editorials castigating Britain or Balfour or Israel for blocking a Palestinian state that would fulfill a part of the Declaration that was never written.

Typical is The Guardian which wrote:

The Guardian of 1917 supported, celebrated – and could even be said to have helped facilitate – the Balfour declaration. However, Israel today is not the country we foresaw or would have wanted. It is run by the most rightwing government in its history, dragged ever rightward by fanatical extremists. …

 For Palestinians the situation is even more desperate. Almost 5 million live under a military occupation, which has lasted for five decades. ….

This is all the fault of the Palestinian leadership which has consistently rejected every single peace offer. Including peace offers supported by the “most rightwing government in [Israel’s] history.” Clearly, Israel’s right wing extremists are more liberal and supportive of peace than the most moderate and liberal Palestinian  leaders.

But no one is willing to admit this – from the right or the left.

The government of Israel is not going to help spread the best pro-Israel story of the year (perhaps the decade since Netanyahu has been Israel’s leader since 2009.)

The mainstream media is not going to spread it.

Haaretz, which broke the story, has treated the issue like Kryptonite since then.It’s own op-eds have ignored the story and continued to use the conventional wisdom of evil Likud and wonderful Fatah.

Competing Israeli media don’t want to credit Haaretz with the scoop. They haven’t reported it.

John Kerry didn’t want to mention this when he cravenly pushed Israel, and only Israel, to make even more concessions- even though he knows the truth.

Neither right-wing nor left-wing websites want to admit that Netanyahu was willing to make sacrifices for peace similar to what Olmert and Barak were willing to do, and considerably beyond what Yitzchak Rabin was willing to do.

And Israel suffers because of it.

But you could do something. Every time someone writes or speaks about Israeli intransigence and Palestinian suffering, respond with the facts: Even Netanyahu accepted a Palestinian state, and Mahmoud Abbas rejected it. Force Israel’s detractors to respond to this. Because the only rejectionists in the Israeli-Arab conflict has always been the Palestinians.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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