By Geoffrey Cook, TMO
San Francisco–Your writer will go to any lengths for peace and to, hopefully, to save lives. So, I went into a Synagogue in this City to hear the (former) Director, Danny Yalom, of the infamous Israeli external spy-agency, the Mossad.
The agencyâ€™s reputation for immoral malevolence is one of the reasons why Israel itself has gained the reputation for being a â€œpariahâ€ State within many countries of the world. If Tel Aviv was not â€œprotectedâ€ by the United States, and, let us say, this man came from one of the more notorious African countries, he might very well have been investigated for violating various international statutes for Crimes against Humanity. That is not to imply guilt, but is to suggest the over-zealousness in protecting the interest of Israel rampant within that republicâ€™s commonwealth. As one of the young Jewish-American members in attendance uttered, â€œHow can he sleep at night?â€
I have chosen to approach this narration as opinion (therefore, it will be in the first person) rather than reportage due to the (recent) Directorâ€™s thick Hebrew accent which I had to clarify with what otherâ€™s heard in attendance in comparison with my notes. I am, also employing a secondary source, an interview with the Major General (retired) by a Brandon Fastman in the February 20th issue of the Santa Barbara Independent of this year.
The purpose of this piece is to show how certain members of the Israeli eliteâ€™s attitude towards the peace process differs from those who currently hold the fasces (the Likud), and should be advantageous for our own positions of negotiation, and might even open up the door towards reconciliation.
I am alluding to segments of the upper-ranking class of the military, intelligence community, some Foreign Service professionals and, of course, a significant swath of civil society. That is way Mr. Yalom is a particularly good individual to whom to talk and listen to his comments here in Northern California because he has the most invested in the success of the Zionist Movement as foreseen by its creators. Because he is so extreme in his dedication (whatever one may think of that dedication), his core position is pithy to the resistance and the possibility for a change within Israel, which will lead to a change for the better for the aggrieved party, the Palestinian Arabs who are largely Muslims, but contain a significant percentage of Christians.
Yalom has had several different capacities in the civil, military and intelligence sectors of his government. Most, of those, who have done their careers in the military and intelligence communities, gravitate to the (Israeli) Labour Party in retirement, as he, and often serve in the civilian administrations (i.e., from the Santa Barbara interview â€“ â€œâ€¦most of theâ€¦very high-rank[ing]â€¦career officers [in the IDF — Israeli Defense Forces]â€¦if they entered politicsâ€¦went to the Labour Party.â€ That Party, in the Jewish State, is considered Left-of-Center, while the dominant member in the current coalition is the Likud, which is described as Center Right — although your author considers them to be fairly far Right and extreme by European and American standards, but have the votes to form a government. The core of their support lies within the (Jewish) Settlers on the Occupied West Bank who are the largest impedimenta to a negotiated peace at the moment. In the judgment of your correspondent, there would be a better chance for a peace settlement with a modicum of justice for the Palestinians with a Labour Party in Tel Aviv and the Obama Administration as the third party negotiator, but the time for a bi-State solution is quickly shifting through our hand.
He feels the Israelis and Palestinians are near to striking a peace deal. â€œAccording to the [Israeli] polls,â€ (and) he senses there are two basic concessions that each side has to make, and they are the Palestinians have to concede the Right of Return. (In a dual-State settlement, which is now highly unlikely in Real Politik, the Right of Return, is viable at least within the Palestinian State itself.)
Secondarily, our spy-master concedes that Israel should agree to the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem becoming the Palestinian capitol. Succinctly, he is advocating a bi-State solution which most of Labour and the parties to its Left largely favor, and, also, â€œâ€¦the majority of Israelis will support it.â€ The military and intelligence elite in that contentious country seem to be opposed to the Likud, and were to take the proposed Obama solution which the Kerry Initiative outlined out as a fitting basis for negotiation.
(This writer has questions about whether that solution is still viable due to the Settlements and the recent Prime Minister Netanyahuâ€™s rejection of (U.S.) Secretary of State Kerryâ€™s Initiative, which should prompt an American harder line towards its non-NATO â€œally.â€ The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation within Palestine herself should strengthen those Arab national unity vis-Ã -vis its neighbor. With these events becoming evident, a Plan B for both sides should be formulated.)
There are many reasons for this: The 1967 borders are defensible, and are required since there has been a long-standing piece with its Nation-State neighbors â€“ besides the largest security risk for that national political entity is terrorism, and the initial defense against that threat are secure, non-porous borders that at the moment the Zionist State does not have.
Danny Yalom sees a peace settlement would be a mutual independent sharing between two countries over our mutual Holy Land of the spiritual descendants of the Patriarch Abraham (PBUH). He feels the antagonisms are ancient between Arab and Jews (which is not true â€“ they are sixty-six years old –since the birth of Israel which has upset the primordial balances within the Middle East and any peace agreement has to address reforming that equilibrium. This means Israel must renounce its stratagem of a Jewish hegemony over the Fertile Crescent into one of integration with it neighbors within its Middle Eastern environment.)
He emphasized the miniscule territory, which is agreed upon by the overwhelming majority of the world to be its borders, is, also, dependent on the irrational good-will of the United States. Therefore, both Arab and Jewish-Americans — who can — should become politically active and to declare the interests of their antecedents from their natal nations, and talk together within the States as representing their â€œrelativeâ€™sâ€ interests as civil society. It is not in the Board Rooms of diplomacy that this horrendous situation will be solved, but within Civil Society itself â€“ especially in America because it is the third faction and the enabler of the crisis.
Although his tour of North America was sponsored by J-Street, whom this critic considers to be offering the most â€œnegotiableâ€ real politik positions from any segment of Jewish-American society, Mr. Yalom rejected the 1967 frontier as indefensible; and, therefore, would not accept them to be the basis of the future boundaries of Tel Avivâ€™ State. Also, the largest city on the West Bank, Hebron, which is over overwhelmingly Palestinian, would have to be annexed by Israel in any swap of territories in the final draft of any agreement. This is totally unacceptable for Ramallah, and would guarantee the derailment of any future peace process, and exposes the current Israeli attitude to any such exercise. Also, those sites that have historical significance to Judaic religious sensibilities should be assimilated into the Jewish State, and, by the way, stand dramatic contrast to the Jewish-American civil society group, J-Street, who sponsored his engagement in this West Coast City. Their position is based on the â€™67 boundaries with discussions on (land) swaps if required, and form a tolerable starting point for discussion.
In my reading of the Old Testament, the narrative is not so much centered on the Godhead, but on sacred-space which the Monotheistic entity (God, Allah, Jehovah, Theos, Deos et al. â€“ â€œI am called by many Names but I am One and the Sameâ€) has granted certain semitic-speaking tribes, who came out of their ancient Egyptian captivity, to annex the lands of the primordial Canaanites there c. 1,000 B.C. (or one thousand years before the Common Era or c. 1600 years before the Hijra) as their Numen had granted them to do — as the fundamental or Zionist Jews (and certain fundamentalist Christians also affirm) today, and still is the rational for their current robbery of real estate.
I must assert this is a minority view within Jewry of the Diaspora and even Israel itself. For Most Jews and, certainly, by Christian theology, this part of the Old Testament are symbolic — or at least meaningful towards — the inner truth. In those Suras Koranic suras, I believe, the first Covenant (i.e., the Hebrew Bible) â€“ and please correct me if I am wrong â€“ show a portion of Allah (a.k.a. Godâ€™s) revelation to man and places Mohammed (s) within that context of the historical.
Therefore, many in the Likud and their further Right partners in the current coalition government desire to see Palestine deserted to plant a â€œgreaterâ€ Israel, but many who are responsible for the defending and preservation of that State are against that vision alone. â€œâ€¦the only way to stabilize Israelâ€¦is to strike a deal with the Palestiniansâ€¦,â€ but here is the â€œkillerâ€ (reason), â€œâ€¦ we need to have a vast majority [to preserve the State as Jewish] of [the] Jewish people in the area under our sovereignty.
Those who support a bi-lateral solution to the conflict on the Israeli side do so to preserve the Jewish exclusivity to the Zionist State of the (former) Mandate of Palestine.