Re. my Open Letter to the Palestinian People (The Signal, Jan 2, 2018) I will not dwell on the (American) partisan politics that enabled Mr. Trump to ascend to the presidency of the US — as they are obvious. Nor will I comment on Israel’s hegemonic objectives (the latest being the further strangulation by the country’s theocratic majority of any initiative that would lead to a two-state solution). I will simply cite facts:
In an attempt to solidify Israel’s power and control over Jerusalem, the Knesset enacted a law on Tuesday (January 2) making it almost impossible to negotiate Jerusalem as part of a peace process. A few days earlier, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s disciples voted unanimously to apply Israeli law to West Bank settlements, a move that could be seen as de facto annexation of the territory. The law was passed as an amendment to Israel’s Basic Law — the closest thing Israel has to a constitution — which gives it more political weight. The amendment stipulates that any attempt to transfer sovereign control of Jerusalem to a “foreign entity”(?) needs to be approved by a supermajority of 80 Knesset members out of 120. Previously, the requirement was a majority of 61 members. And in a move that is surely to be met with Palestinian outrage, the amendment also authorizes the Knesset to change the municipal borders of Jerusalem with a simple majority.
Israel’s Basic Law, is simple and unambiguous: Israel has no implied or explicit plan to make peace with the Palestinians — even if they recognized the Jewish state’s right to exist. Instead, as history has shown, patience, attrition, expropriations, expulsions, force of arms, and psychological warfare are intended to (1) weaken Palestinian aspirations for statehood and self-rule; and (2) to trivialize and enfeeble international efforts that would lead to a two-state solution.
Last, to those who would choose ad hominem attacks on this writer’s person instead of dispassionate analysis of facts, I say this: I am unapologetically proud to be a Jew and I continue to support Israel’s unconditional right to protect itself against domestic and foreign enemies. Having said that, if decrying the colossal inequities committed against Palestinians during the past 70 years earns me the befouling epithet of “anti-Semite,” so be it. It’s infinitely better than being a soulless hypocrite.
As for Senate Bill 1322 (the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995) it was an act of feel-good political posturing. The fact that it laid dormant for 22 years speaks volumes about its urgency, not to mention the sincerity of its proponents. Its ill-timed resurrection is nothing short of colossal chutzpah.
W. E. Gutman is a widely published journalist and author, a former press officer at Israel’s Consulate General in New York, and a former Signal commentator. He lives in the AV.