By Akiva Eldar, Ha’aretz – 19 Sept 2011
No Palestinian leader can allow himself to give up at the outset on the right of return and alienate himself from Israel’s Palestinian citizens.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised that in his speech at the United Nations on Friday, he will “tell the truth”. This is no trivial matter when it involves a politician who invented an encounter with British soldiers that happened before he was born. Nor is it obvious for a person who retroactively brought Rehavam Ze’evi into his government after the latter had already passed away.
One of the rare times Netanyahu told the truth was when he admitted that he had (also) misled his third wife. Then, too, he did so out of fear of the release of a tape supposedly revealing an extra-marital affair. After the fact, Bibi learned that he did not have to tell the truth, since the tape was nothing but a rumor.
The following lines are an attempt to formulate Netanyahu’s truth ahead of one more speech of a lifetime.
“I came to this chamber, in which 64 years ago the nations of the world declared the establishment of a Jewish state, although the Arabs have an automatic majority here. Yes, I know that that does not matter much, since we have the automatic veto of the United States in the Security Council. More importantly, we have an automatic majority in the U.S. Congress and our lobby, AIPAC, has a grip on President Obama in a sensitive place. But how can we even compare the automatic majority against Israel to the automatic majority for it?
“Having already made Sara come all the way to New York, I will present to you my truth with regard to the Palestinian request that you recognize, ostensibly, a state of their own in the 1967 borders whose capital is East Jerusalem.
“I do not understand why they are making do with one country. I am ready to offer them at least four: one in Gaza, the second an enclave in the Nablus area – with perhaps a tunnel to Tul Karm, the third in the Ramallah district, and the fourth in the Hebron Hills, without, of course, Baruch Marzel and the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
“You can learn about my truth with regard to the Jordan Valley from the tape of the meeting with settlers in Ofra 10 years ago. I told them that during my first term as prime minister, the Americans promised me that I would be the one to sketch the borders of ‘defined military sites’ in the territories that according to the Oslo Accords would remain in Israel’s hands. I told the settlers that the way I see it, the entire Jordan Valley is a military zone and I boasted that ‘from that moment I stopped the Oslo Accords.’
“I said in my speech at Bar-Ilan University that I support a two-state solution. That was shortly after President Barack Hussein Obama’s Cairo speech, when I was afraid he would call my bluff and go all the way with his Muslim friends.
“I understand that if I keep wasting my time distributing macho pictures to the media, even Glenn Beck, if he is elected president of the United States, will not be able to ensure that the State of Israel does not become a pariah state like apartheid South Africa. And so I have to toss the ball into the Palestinian court.
“Despite the political price I will pay for this, and the rebuke I’ll get from my father, I will reveal to you today for the first time things that were unknown until now: I told Obama I was willing to withdraw from 95 percent of the West Bank and to conduct negotiations over exchanges of territory. But don’t get too excited, since I conditioned this revolutionary proposal on two things: First, the Palestinians’ express agreement that the negotiations will result in a peace treaty between the state of the Palestinian people and the nation state of the Jewish people; and second, a pre-understanding that the agreement on the establishment of a Palestinian state will constitute the end of the conflict without hearing any more about the return of refugees. From my perspective, these are iron-clad conditions.
“I know that from the point of view of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, accepting these conditions is like suicide. No Palestinian leader can allow himself to give up at the outset on the right of return and alienate himself from Israel’s Palestinian citizens, particularly at a time when we are settling Jews in all parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The truth is that this is the reason I invented these conditions. It is clear to me that among the Arabs, just like with us, politicians are prepared to kill and be killed on the altar of their country. See you at Masada.”