A response to Bill Clinton’s “Netanyahu is to blame for failure of the peace process”

I was outraged to read this morning the account former U.S. president, Bill Clinton, gave yesterday regarding the current “no process” status of the Middle East peace process (meaning, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians). In a speech to prominent bloggers as part of “Clinton Global Initiative” conference in New York, Clinton blamed the the deadlock of negotiations solely on Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. This is completely outrageous. I have already stated, more than once, how the Palestinians contributed greatly to the fact that there haven’t been much peace talks in the past two years. Moreover, I’ve given my account to how the Obama administration unintentionally drove the parties away from the negotiations table and helped progress the Palestinian unilateral move.

In responding to Clinton’s bizarre claims, I am not advocating for Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, himself but I am advocating for Israel as a whole. Blaming Netanyahu, and in such a way, for the  moratorium of the peace process is basically blaming Israel for it alone. That is completely false!

Bill Clinton has said: “Israelis always wanted two things that once it turned out they had, it didn’t seem so appealing to Mr. Netanyahu. They wanted to believe they had a partner for peace in a Palestinian government, and there’s no question — and the Netanyahu government has said — that this is the finest Palestinian government they’ve ever had in the West Bank.”

I must agree, actually. This is the finest Palestinian government and partner Israel has ever had. In the West Bank. While rockets are still being fired from Gaza and an entity named Hamas controls the strip and forces its’ 1.5 millions to live in a constant state of war against Israel, the Palestinian government residing in the West Bank is the most moderate one ever in power. However, the keyword here is “most”. This is only spoken about in relativity.

What can also be said about the Palestinian government of the West Bank:

  1. They are building a country honoring terror. Despite U.S. and European Union requests that they would stop naming streets and squared after terrorists who have taken part in killing dozens of innocent Israeli men, women and children, the Palestinians have continued to do so. No public condemnation, if any, not one to speak of. When the Palestinians refused Joe Biden demand that they would not name the square outside their government building after terrorists Dlal Mugrabi (responsible for the death of over 30 Israelis, among them 12 children), the world was completely silent. As recent as last March, the Palestinians refused to refer to the Fogel family murder as inhumane when talking to the Palestinian people. Outside of Western media, they only iterated “terror is an helpful to our cause today.”
  2. Palestinian Authority Abbas has written a complete distortion (one could even say lies) of history in an op-ed article on May 17th (published in The New York Times). The tone he used, as well as the fabricated story he told, show once more than the Palestinians refuse to accept that this conflict is made of two sides who make mistakes throughout the years and have shown clearly he is unable to make concessions on key issues – maybe the most important concession he is not willing to make is regarding the fictitious Right of Return.
  3. The events of last May 15th, the Nakba day (today used to distort and incite against Israel rather than to truly commiserate over a tragedy), and the aforementioned article written a few days after it, are another example of that. Four weeks ago in a visit to Lebanon, Abbas has promised Palestinian refugees (most of them descendants of refugees but are awarded the title – only the Palestinians offspring receive refugee status from the UN) they will go back home. He is not referring to the future Palestinian state, but is in fact perpetuating the fictional claim to one day return and flood the state of Israel with thousands of refugees. He is referring to people who were born in refugee camps or have been living there for over 60 years, without getting a single right from the regime they are under (in this instance Lebanon, but much more acute is the refugees on Syrian territory) and all he has to say is that their situation won’t change until they will get the chance to live one day.. not in a Palestinian state. But in Israel. This is of course unacceptable to Israel, nor should it be. But Abbas continues, to this day, to make that promise in stead of speaking the truth: “This is unrealistic. “We should be working towards our own country, not to demographically destroy another”.
  4. The current Palestinians government has no control whatsoever over Gaza or its’ people. The farcical unity between sworn enemies, Fatah and Hamas, is futile and only becomes more ridiculous as the days go by. No government to speak of, no real elections on the horizon. Nothing to make this unity more than a piece of paper signed in Cairo. Yet with Abbas unable to represent Gaza, or ensure that a peace treaty and security would be enforced to Israel’s citizens who are still, to this day, living with the barrage of rockets fired upon them,  Clintons only faults Netanyahu and by proxy Israel.
  5. The past two years the Palestinians have made it clear – this is not about a negotiations for peace, this is about negotiations  for the purpose of negotiating peace. The hoax of the settlement freeze is only one of the examples to how they’ve been avoiding negotiations which would force them to make concessions. Painful ones. Concession they are unwilling to make. Concession they must make in order to achieve peace. But instead, they’ve been going around the world, screaming and crying over the oppression and mistreatment. Yet when the entire world (seriously, the ENTIRE world) work to get them out of said miserable situation, they put up demands. They have conditions to how their oppression will end. Until these demands will end, they will continue with the status-quo. In fact, not only in the unilateral move won’t change anything in the short-run, in the past two years, the Palestinian leadership has done nothing to actually get its’ people out of the “Israeli oppression”. By the way, all the while ignoring the oppression of Hamas in Gaza who imposes a strict dictatorship and an extreme Islam law on its’ citizens.
Much much more can be said about the current Palestinian leadership. To claim that they wholeheartedly want peace while the Israeli leadership doesn’t is an outrageous distortion and a very blind view of the situation.
But former U.S. President Clinton did not stop there. Another claim he made can clearly show how wrong he is. “[Palestinian leaders] have explicitly said on more than one occasion that if Netanyahu put up the deal that was offered to them before — my deal — that they would take it. For reasons that even after all these years I still don’t know for sure, Arafat turned down the deal I put together that Barak accepted. But they also had an Israeli government that was willing to give them East Jerusalem as the capital of the new state of Palestine.”
Clinton is referring to former Israeli Prime Minister (and currently Minister of Defense) Ehud Barak’s acceptance of the peace deal while Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rejected it. But what is Clinton basically saying? In 2000, the Palestinian rejected a deal offered to them. Today, they are willing to accept that deal but Israel refuses to offer them a deal they’ve already declined and it’s Israel’s fault?? Seriously?
It seems Clinton is overlooking a lot of things in his claims. For instance, when he only attributes the chances is Israeli society since then to immigration from the former Soviet Union. He is conveniently forgetting that after the Palestinians rejected his deal, in September of 2000, the Palestinian launched the deadliest and most horrifying terror attack against Israeli citizens. In a span of 18 months (September 2000 to April 2001), over 1,000 Israeli were murdered in terror attacks raging from shooting to suicide bombers and car bombs (and of course it did not end on April 2001, this is only when the Israeli retaliation became serious).  He is forgetting the constant barrage of rockets fired upon them. He forgets to mention how Israel has attempted peace many times before, how the previous government of Israel was even more generous on some issues than he was with the Palestinians and still no deal was made. He forgets the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in August of 2005 that only intensified the terror from the Gaza strip that Israeli citizens must endure on an almost daily basis, even six years after the withdrawal.
Clinton’s disdain for Netanyahu was clear enough in Netanyahu’s first term with Clinton as president (though Netanyahu made concessions during that term and handed half of Hebron to Palestinian Authority control. He has also made concessions during the beginning of this term but none of them was fruitful or helped get the Palestinians to a negotiations table. But to put all the blame on Israel or on Netanyahu, to try to place it on demographic changes and immigration alone, and to completely absolve the Palestinians is not only ridiculous, it is also dangerous. The only reason they have felt so secure to not enter negotiations and turned to a unilateral move instead of concessions, it’s because of that distorted look of one side in the wrong alone. This conflict is at the very least about TWO sides.
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