W.E. Gutman: Followup to my open letter to the Palestinian people

By Signal Contributor

Last update: Saturday, January 6th, 2018

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.

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W.E. Gutman: Followup to my open letter to the Palestinian people

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.

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  • Gary Bierend

    “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”

    “…Netanyahu’s disciples…”

    You call writing like this a “dispassionate analysis of facts”?

    You’ve got to be kidding.

  • Ron Bischof

    “As for Senate Bill 1322 (the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995) it was an act of feel-good political posturing.”

    You ignore that it’s the stated policy of the US and the videos of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama confirmed this fact. You tried to blame Trump unsuccessfully by a material fact omission and your follow-on assertion isn’t a rebuttal.

    Your credibility is damaged when you’re selective with objectively verifiable facts.

  • Brian Baker

    One of the major problems with Gutman’s “analysis” and position is that the “Palestinians” aren’t a nation; they’re an ethnic/political group within whatever actual country wherein they happen to reside, be that Israel, Lebanon, Syria, or anywhere else. That’s a fatal flaw in his argument.

    As such, they have no actual standing to make any actual claims on Israeli territory. Israeli Muslims are already granted citizenship rights in Israel. Those who call themselves “Palestinians” have no more “right” to demand separate territory than do American Latinos to demand the “return” of California to Mexico.

    Israel also has no legal obligation to negotiate with Lebanese (for example) Palestinians, either, as they’re not the official government of Lebanon, and therefore have no legal standing.

    So in reality, any concessions at all, large or small, that Israel makes are acts of largesse, especially when one remembers that the “Palestinians” have an abysmal record of honoring their agreements made in the past.

    • Ron Bischof

      An accurate history of “Palestinian” interaction with area nation states is readily available.

      Example:

      1970: Civil war breaks out in Jordan
      The Jordanian army has launched a full-scale attack on Palestinian guerrillas in towns all over Jordan following weeks of sporadic fighting between the two sides.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/17/newsid_4575000/4575159.stm

      Egypt and Jordan were able to sign peace accords with Israel so it doesn’t appear to be Israeli intransigence.

      More details:

      https://www.prageru.com/videos/why-isnt-there-palestinian-state

      • Brian Baker

        Yep. This is typical of Gutman’s drivel.

        The Signal used to publish his stuff years ago, and then stopped. I have no idea why they’ve decided to give him a forum again. They must be desperate for material.

  • Gil Mertz

    Gutman starts his column by promising that he won’t make any political comments or remarks about Israel’s objectives….followed by an entire column of political comments and Israel’s objectives.

    But here’s the funniest part. He then accuses anyone who disagrees with his narrow worldview as a “soulless hypocrite”

    To Mr. Gutman’s ironic charge of hypocrisy, I think Indigo Montoya from The Princes Bride said it best, “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means”

    • Brian Baker

      Yeah, it’s just standard-issue hard-left hypocrisy and rhetoric.

      SOP for Gutman.

  • Richard Birchoff Mertz

    Israel is RIGHT. You are WRONG

  • Gil Mertz

    BTW Mr. Gutman, we do not need a third follow up of your opinions about Israel. Take it up with the Palestinians.

  • Brian Richards

    If the “Palestinians” put down their weapons, there will be peace. If Israel puts down their weapons, they will cease to exist. It’s amazing to me that people like Gutman supports a people who don’t recognize another peoples right to exist. Israel, a country with Muslims and women in positions in government, being lectured to by a people who desire a second holocaust and who torture and criminalize gays and treat women worse than farm animals. Unbelievable.