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Maariv, Israel

Don’t Say “No” to
Obama’s Political Plan

By Ben Dror Yemini

You don’t build a country like this. That’s how you build a Potemkin village-style illusion.

Translated By Viktoria Lymar

26 April 2011

Edited by Hois­han Chan

Israel - Maariv - Original Article (Hebrew)

Netanyahu will need to put a lock on the ministers’ mouths so that they won’t be too quick to reject Obama’s plan. The Palestinians will do the job for us.

It’s not that we’re having easy days, but those ahead of us are going to be way harder. In the political arena, if that wasn’t clear, we’re on the verge of defeat. Israel is usually portrayed as an objector, primarily because you can’t call for “two states” and yet insist on expansion of the settlements. It’s true that Netanyahu is building much less, but sometimes, it is not only the deeds which are important — but the declarations are, too. The government that has rejected the proposition of the president of the United States for freeze of an additional three months — is a government harming the national interest.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, are emerging as ones who have been raising for themselves an orderly state. Salam Fayad’s patent for a properly functioning state is essentially a figment of imagination, because this is all about gaining huge capital flows from the rest of the world. The Palestinians, per capita, are the most subsidized community in the world, with a total dependence on foreign aid. You don’t build a country like this. That’s how you build a Potemkin village-style illusion.

The coming summer heralds both Obama’s plan and the expected vote on the Palestinian state in the U.N. Out of these two, Obama’s program is much more meaningful. The U.N. can embarrass Israel. It did so in the past, it will do so again. Obama’s plan is the real story. But only either with all the sorrow of it, or with all the joy for the observer, it can be assumed in advance that nothing would come out of it, as nothing has come out of the Clinton plan, the Geneva initiative or the Olmert proposals. So that the name of the game is “Who will say no?”

It’s not a simple plan. There is no Israeli government able to return to 1967 lines, and certainly not to evacuate hundreds of thousands of settlers. Should this be the plan — then Obama has lost his mind. The limit of Israel’s capacity lies somewhere between Clinton’s proposals and those of Olmert’s; proposals that grant to the Palestinians, from one side a Palestinian state out of nearly 100 percent of the claimed territory, but from the other side, most of the settlers and the settlement blocks remain part of the sovereign state of Israel.

It Has to Be this Way

What matters more is that the program comprises a central and required paragraph, which, although supposed to be obvious, yet the very mentioning of it explicitly is not a marginal issue — the denial of the right of return. This section poses a difficult test for the Palestinians. Too many Israelis, in addition to all the other useful idiots in the world, delude the Palestinians to think that they are allowed to demand everything they want. In recent years, they have fooled themselves into thinking that objection pays. Here, after every offer they decline, an improved one is laid down at their feet — and somehow, at the end of the day, the responsibility rests with Israel. The Clinton plan? It was Israel that has sabotaged it. The Olmert proposals? It is Israel that hasn’t been serious. They say “no” — and the “no” gets stuck to Israel.

Therefore, if a little wisdom has remained in the heads of the decision makers, they must not, really must not, react like simple-minded jerks with the answer “no.” Let them bite their lips. Let them keep their mouths shut. Just do not let them jump with screams that “Obama is an anti-Semite” or claims that “there is nothing to talk about.” Netanyahu needs a team of locksmiths in order to seal the mouth of Eli Yishai and other ministers, whose every statement turns into an asset for Palestinian publicity.

Silence should be kept for the reason that the Palestinians will already do the job. They will say “no.” They have already begun to play the tune. Nabil Shaath has already made clear that there will be no Palestinian concession on the right of return. There is a continuation of the old and permanent line here — of dismissing any arrangement, simply because they haven’t given up on termination of “the Zionist project,” as domestic and outsider destroyers call the Jewish nation-state. Instead of saying “destruction,” they say “the right of return.” And since the program does not recognize the right, which is purely a product of propaganda, the Palestinians are already up in arms to say “no.”

This is sad, but the only question concerning the plan is who will be held responsible for the failure. The only way out of the trap is for the Palestinians to open their mouths… We should only keep quiet, we should not say “no” — they will do the work. It was always this way. It has to be the same this time, too.

*Translator's note: The translation of the text in the image reads — "On the way to freedom and independence."



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