Netanyahu Blames Everything on Palestinians, Tells Everyone to "Go Cheney Themselves"
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Benajamin Netanyahu is an unrepentant right wing Israeli Prime Minister. Yesterday he gave an interview with Jeff Glor, a CBS News Correspondent (never have quite figured out what a news correspondent does, have you?) which is worth the time to read over. Here are some key excerpts from that interview: On a Palestinian State as part of a "two state" solution:
I said, "Here's what we are prepared to do for peace. We're prepared to have-- a Palestinian state next to a Jewish state." And there are two points here. One, that the Palestinian state-- recognize the Jewish state just as we're asked to recognize-- the Palestinians. And second, that the Palestinian state would be demilitarized so that we don't-- experience once again the-- the-- hurling of thousands of rockets on our cities.
Netanyahu claims this was a breakthrough proposal by Israel and a deep concession on his part. It's not. It has been the official stated position of several prior Israeli governments, so this broke no new ground. Israel has always claimed that it will agree to a Palestinian state if that state has no ability to defend itself from outside aggression. That is the key Israeli demand, and always will be (the condition of mutual recognition is not really all that significant -- everyone understands that there can be no two state solution without mutual recognition between the parties. Its not even worth mentioning).
Israel wants to have the ability to invade the borders of the Palestinian state whenever it wishes, much as it has the ability to invade and bomb Lebanon whenever it chooses to do so. One can see why the Arab states in the region would prefer something more substantive such as specific security guarantees of the new state's borders and sovereignty (perhaps involving the UN or the United States) . Otherwise, the two state solution is nothing more than a Chimera. It would be merely recasting the current occupation of Gaza and the West Bank into another Lebanon, a failed and weakened state on Israel's borders, which Israel dominates militarily, and whose sovereignty it violates with impunity. So, in effect Netanyahu offered the Palestinians and the other Arab states in the region nothing of substance, and certainly nothing new, despite his claims to the contrary.
On Palestinian terrorism:
The problem you have is how-- how do you interdict the flow of weaponry? You know, for example, in-- in Gaza or in South Lebanon, you have the-- coming in of thousands and thousands of rockets, indeed, in South Lebanon, tens of thousands of rockets. [...]
And of course, you understand that we want to-- make sure that we have security arrangements and effective monitoring that prevent that. That's an essential part of-- demilitarization. And I think anybody who-- is grounded in the real world and how things really operate here in the Middle East would say that Israel has every right to expect that the Palestinian state would be demilitarized. That I think is an-- an essential component of peace.
Netanyahu in his answer here elides the covert efforts that the Bush administration and the prior Israeli government made to destabilize the Hamas' regime in Gaza, which was the primary reason Hamas reinstated its campaign of rocket attacks. When you are a weak and only semi-autonomous government in a territory facing a much more militarily dominant neighbor with the world's only superpower as its ally, and both of them are choosing to interfere directly in your affairs and bring down your government, you really have few options. You can surrender and disband allowing the Israelis to place a puppet ruler in your place or you can fight back with asymmetric terror attacks. I don't condone the choice Hamas made, but did Bush and Israel's prior regime give them any opportunity to govern responsibly? No. Thus, it's disingenuous of Netanyahu to imply the security problem is all the fault of the Palestinians.
On permitting the Palestinians a small, well armed militia:
[O]bviously we don't wanna see a-- an army with rockets-- tanks, mortars, artillery-- because the Palestinians don't really need that to govern themselves. To govern themselves or even to-- deal with terrorists internally you don't real anything-- need anything beyond-- small arms and-- rel-- relatively-- simple-- security measures.
And we also want to ensure in demilitarization that the Palestinian areas do not-- become infiltrated with rockets-- rockets and missiles because that's what Iran is pushing. Iran is pushing into Lebanon and into Gaza-- an-- an enormous amount of-- rockets.
I am sympathetic to Netanyahu's concerns, but again, he makes no mention as to why the Palestinian groups have resorted to rocket attacks against Israeli cities. If one wants true security, one has to be prepared to give something in return to the other side to address their legitimate grievances and concerns. Netanyahu is simply unwilling to concede anything to assure Palestinians, whose civilian populations have suffered far greater violence from the attacks of the Israeli military forces, that Israel will respect the borders of any Palestinian state or take steps to insure that it will not treat this "New Palestine" any differently than it does now under the occupation. Such demands are not grounds for negotiation, they are merely talking points in a propaganda war.