Micha Gisser’s article in the August 2010 Link – “President Obama’s Unfriendly Foreign Policy toward Israel” – consists of discredited Zionist myth and historical distortion. Unfortunately, these views are common among those who blindly defend Israeli policy. Gisser begins with Arab rejection of the 1947 UN Partition Plan. Does that rejection justify all subsequent Israeli behavior? Does it justify Israel’s refusal to halt the seizure of Palestinian land for illegal Jewish-only settlements as a condition for peace or Israel’s failure to respond to the 2002 Saudi proposal, which would have granted full relations with all Arab states?
Gisser ignores the actual facts. In 1947 Jews owned 7% of the land yet the Partition Plan allocated 56% to Israel and 43% to the Palestinians. Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the remaining one percent, were designated an international zone under UN administration. The Jewish state would have a tenuous 51% Jewish majority. Such a division was utterly unacceptable to the Zionist leadership. However, Ben-Gurion, Allon and the Jewish Agency were unequivocal that acceptance would provide a tactical foothold in Palestine that could be exploited to take over more Palestinian land.
Gisser then claims that Arab leaders “prodded” Palestinians to flee their country. Two independent studies, which looked at Arab archives, newspapers and CIA and BBC reports that monitored every Arab radio broadcast proved that Arab leaders urged civilians to remain in their homes. When Israel was asked by the UN to provide evidence of Arab “prodding” it could not come up with one scintilla of evidence.
Gisser then coldly dismisses a Palestinian right of return because Jews fled Arab countries in 1948, thereby making even unborn Palestinians responsible for the reaction of other countries in the region to Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians. He continues by citing the 1967 War and Egypt, Jordan and Syria’s “premeditated plan to destroy” Israel. Were Levi Eshkol, Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin alive today they would disagree with Gisser.
Eshkol: “The Egyptian layout in Sinai . . . testified to a militarily defensive Egyptian set-up, south of Israel.”
Rabin: “Nasser didn’t want war. The two divisions he sent to Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.”
Begin: “We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack. . . .”
Gisser moves on to the Yom Kippur War where he ignores Golda Meir’s rejection of Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat’s 1971 peace proposal, which was virtually identical to the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty. Thousands of lives could have been saved had Meir been willing to speak with the Egyptians.
Next is Gisser’s account of the 2000 Camp David Summit. Here he repeats a blatant falsehood that Israel offered the Palestinians 95% of the West Bank. Numerous scholars and negotiators who participated at the Summit have shown that the true figure, after accounting for an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley, Jewish-only roads attached to settlements and various buffer zones, was significantly less than 95%. Israel’s chief negotiator Shlomo Ben-Ami stated that the concessions required of Israel to establish peace “fell far short of even modest Palestinian expectations.” Gisser’s analysis of the Gaza withdrawal and Ehud Olmert’s peace offer are similar misrepresentations that conveniently ignore pertinent information that would show Israel in a negative light.
By substituting his own version of history for the facts Gisser insures that this terrible conflict, with its harmful global ramifications, will persist far into the future. If Gisser and his ideological colleagues desire peace for Israel they need to commit themselves to an actual and honest investigation into the history of Israel-Palestine. If they take that step most will be relieved of their lack of compassion for the true victims of the struggle, thereby establishing a common reality for peace talks.
Finally, former Shin Bet head Avraham Shalom, echoing the feelings of many prominent Israelis and Jews, who have rediscovered their humanity, said: “Everything we’re doing, everything, everything, is shameful; we’re humiliating the Palestinians as individuals and as a collectivity. None of us could endure what we’re making them go through.” Richard Forer