Israel's Road to Peace:
The Role of American Jews

Plenary Address by Congressman Barney Frank
(D-MA)
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on Capitol Hill
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom's 2nd National
Conference
November 1 , 2003
Boston, MASSACHUSETTS

I was a little impatient with security since two hours of my life was messed up on Thursday because somebody brought a plastic toy gun to work. That shut down the Congress for two hours. My view is if young members of the staff are going to play trick-or-treat at the checkpoint, we should give M&Ms to the police and that would resolve the whole issue. I think there was sometimes an element of self-dramatization in the security. It is almost a badge of honor to be important enough to be threatened. I haven't quite made it myself. I was asked once by a particularly stupid journalist, who was doing a story about death threats, who wanted to know if I got a lot of death threats. I said, 'No, I don't get that many death threats, what I get is a lot of after-death threats. They don't worry me because the power of the threateners to carry them out seems to be quite eviscerated.' I very much appreciate the chance to talk to you today.

The issue of what American policy ought to be in regards to the Middle East, particularly Israel, and the Peace Process is a very difficult one. It's probably the issue on which I most often find myself criticized by people on both sides. Now, sometimes people say that, 'Oh, I've been criticized on both sides; that must mean I'm right.' That is of course, nonsensical. This passion to be in the center seems to me wholly indefensible. On any given issue, the center is a result. It is not an intellectually coherent position. In fact, the job of responsible committed people who want to affect public policy is - yes, to wind up at the center, but not to begin there. You don't search out the center and say, 'Look at me, here's where I am.' You try very hard to make the values you stand for be the new center.

With regard to Israel, I cite that though, only as an example. I think of the difficulty, and it is a difficult issue. And the issue to me is this (by the liberal values that got me into politics and keep me there) Israel is without question the most desirable society in that part of the world, has been and continues to be. There are aspects of Israeli politics which I wish America would emulate. Gay officers serving in the Israeli Defense Force have domestic partner benefits. We talk in the US about the silliness of an American policy that says if you acknowledge being gay or lesbian you can get kicked out of the military. And we say but militaries all over the world have that. They say, 'Oh right, Belgium, Denmark, what do they shoot? What do they count?' I mean, they are treated as kind of comic opera back-drops. No one denies the sad necessity of the IDF's members to be involved in the toughest kind of fighting. No one can denigrate the IDF as a fighting force. Though people can be critical of the way in which it's been deployed. It's interesting that the leaders of the IDF have recently emerged as critics of the way it's been deployed.

By the way, while I'm on the subject of ways in which we could emulate Israel. I must say, as a 'small d' democrat, the reality of high-ranking military officers criticizing the inhumane and self-defeating tactics they have been told to employ, is really quite inspiring. That's an example I'd hope we'd spread. I trust they will not be unduly punished, they won't be disciplined and that's a very important thing. Contrasted to the US where when the Chief of Staff of the US Army General Eric Shinseki, said it turns out, quite accurately (when we were contemplating going to war in Iraq) that it would take several hundred thousand American troops to occupy Iraq after the war. He was harshly rebuked by Paul Wolfowitz, partly because he said he was wrong subsequently, partly because he dared to speak out. And here was a case of the Chief of Staff speaking on a military matter on which he was, of course, correct. He was rebuked and humiliated. He only had a few more months to serve, and they made his life miserable. So there's another example where the IDF showed something we can learn from.

But there's another area where I think Israel has a great deal we can learn from. Israel was created under siege. From the moment that Ben-Gurion announced the existence of the state, Israel was at war. Unjustly, in my judgment, attacked by neighbors who sought to prevent it from ever existing. It has been in combat for fifty plus years. People can differ as to whose fault this or that aspect has been. But it's a state that has been in difficulties, no matter whose fault they were, militarily for a long time. It's a state with serious security problems. Despite that it remains, within the Green Line, a flourishing democracy.

I remember when, Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by a right-wing fanatic. I wrote at the time how in not many countries of the world would that have been so seamless a transition when a political leader had been murdered by an enemy.

The fact is that the security issues in Israel have not been used to shut down debate within Israel. There've been some efforts, and I was glad when they were repudiated. The effort to disallow Palestinian members of the Knesset from running in the last election was a terrible moral, as well as political, mistake. Fortunately, it was overturned. That doesn't mean there aren't people who try to do that. I think, frankly, John Ashcroft scratches his head sometimes when he looks at the freedom that still exists in Israel and wonders why it's allowed. I wish I could be confident that if the US was as embattled as Israel, we would be as respectful of fundamental democratic rights. So, there's a great deal about Israeli society that is very attractive. I also believe that the fundamental cause of the problem there was the unwillingness of the great majority of the Arab World, until very recently, to accept the idea that there should be an Israel. It wasn't simply the problems in 1948. Many of us believe that recently we've seen come forward some in Israel who think, a Palestinian state consisting of Gaza and the West Bank would be a good idea. It is a problem that we haven't reached that yet.

It ought to be clear that from 1948, until 1967 if the Arab World had wanted to create a Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza, they could have done that. Maybe by '66 or '67 the Israelis would have stopped it. But certainly in the '50s and early '60s that could have happened. It was a refusal by the Arab World to accept the existence of an Israel that prevented them from doing what they had the legal and political and military power to do: create a state out of Gaza and the West Bank. They controlled Gaza (the Egyptians), the Jordanians controlled the West Bank. They could have created a Palestine. So, historically I think that's a problem. It's a problem partly because it shakes people's views.

On the other hand, I believe that the settlement policy is a serious error from every perspective. Economically, obviously. Militarily. I read, today and yesterday in the Washington Post, the residents of a settlement said 'Well, we're very important here because we're an outpost for the military.' Now I am not a military strategist. But the story began by talking about the children of this particular family taking their pillows and blankets and rushing to the safe room. That is, I know enough military strategy to know that no military has ever decided that the way to defend a difficult position was to send several hundred small children to live there. So the notion that the settlements are in fact a strategic asset, is just wrong. If in fact, people really believed that there needed to be IDF in certain places that's a separate argument. But let's be clear, the settlements (some of them were picked by the government, some of them were self-starting) they are drains on the military. Certainly and I do feel confident as a military strategist to say, that no one in charge of a military deploying limited forces (and all forces are limited, no one has everything he or she wants)… I cannot imagine that you would decide strategically it was very important to defend the right of several hundred extremely Orthodox people to live in Hebron. I cannot think of a worse use of military resources, if in fact, you're thinking strategically. So clearly, the settlements are not there for strategic reasons and are more of a strategic drain than they are of an asset. They are a serious economic problem. Israel has encountered a significant economic problem. There were problems with trying to provide for people the good life they want. I recently met with a representative of the Ethiopians. I thought Israel's willingness to actively to go to Ethiopia and bring the Ethiopian Jews into Israel was an extremely important humanitarian move. There is some complaint now that it is not being fully implemented. Obviously the money drain is a part of it.

Also, I am not sure that there is a Palestinian willingness to accept the kind of peace plan that's recently been put forward by the two groups, by Yossi Beilin, by Ilan, etc. I think those make great sense. It is of course not clear if there exists on either side, that willingness. I know we met with Sari Nusseibeh in Washington (a group of about 7 or 8 Jewish members) because we wanted to stress our willingness to listen as people who have a record of believing that Israel ought to continue in existence. His argument was that he believes that the petition they are getting signed on behalf of his plan will succeed to the point where no one will be able to argue that there is not a significant Palestinian sentiment in favor of peace. I think that is very important. But I argued to Israeli friends that whether or not they believe that there is a Palestinian willingness to make peace on terms that a majority of Israelis would live with, the settlements continue to be a serious problem.

First of all, it ought to be perceived in Israel that it is in their interest that it be clear that they are ready to make peace. Obviously peace only comes with a two-state solution. The two-state is all of Gaza and 98% of the West Bank with the kind of land swaps that were talked about on an equal basis. If it does not look as if Israel is prepared to do that, then Israel gets some of the blame for there not being a peace process. The point that I think that people in Israel and some of Israel's allies in the US have forgotten is that support for Israel in the US is very strong. Stronger than it's been in a long time. But people should not assume that it will stay there. A lot of that has to do with September 11.

Go back to 1991 when George Bush Sr. and I must say, the longer his son is President, the more it seems it seems to me George Bush Sr. is the appropriate appellation as opposed to George Bush Jr. When Bush Sr. was President, he reduced American aid because of settlements. As you may remember the triggering element was Yitzhak Shamir saying on the West Bank, 'This land will remain Jewish for as far as the eye can see.' I suggested to Israelis they might mitigate that by pointing out that Shamir was very short and very old and couldn't see very far. But when some tried to overturn that it was not very successful. There was not even an effort in Congress to take a vote against George Bush there because he was successful. That wouldn't succeed today. George Bush Jr. had some people in his administration (he didn't set them up but some people in the State Dept. did) suggested a similar action with the mistake I believe Israel is making with regards to the contours of this wall of separation. Basically the extent to which it is de facto incorporating Arab areas, bending out to take in settlements. And the Bush Administration backed away from that. September 11 is a part of that, Americans were of course horrified and deeply angered by the murders of innocent Americans on September 11 and the apparent approval of that in some parts of the world. There is today in America, an unhappiness and anger, a distrust of, not just fundamentalist Islam, but of Islam. It goes too far and it's something that needs to be dealt with when we have an Asst. Sec. of Defense Gen. Boykin engaging in a bigotry equal to that of Mahatvir in Malaysia. Yes, Mahatvir should be condemned but so should Gen. Boykin. The failure to condemn Gen. Boykin, in fact continuing Gen. Boykin in an important position is going to mean that our condemnation of Mahatvir will look hypocritical to a lot of people. And I hate to see that because Mahatvir ought to be criticized very rigorously. But what I'm saying is this, there is an artificially high, there is a temporarily high degree of support for Israel now because Israel is the front line against the Islamic community that is seen by so many Americans as a threat to us. Ironically the entire world may now be suffering from the maxim, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

There are people now, who are pro-Israel on the right in America because of their theology and their view that Jewish control of Israel plays before you can have ultimate Armageddon. I remember when Binyamin Netanyahu came here in 1995 and bonded with Newt Gingrich and Gary Bauer, and not those two individuals but others I said at the time were starting an organization of Anti-Semites for Israel. They may remain.

Within the kind of broader middle spectrum of the US, let's not forget that 12 years ago, George Bush when he was President was able to get aid to Israel cut back because of the settlements. Now that doesn't happen today but if people in the government of Israel and in support of Israel think that's always going to be the case, they are fooling themselves. It is as I said because there is this, I believe, temporary view because of September 11. So, let me just start pragmatically, it is a mistake for Israel to follow a policy regarding settlement which will lead people to doubt Israel's willingness to arrive at a genuine two-state solution. I say that, even to Israelis who are skeptical that even if they were willing, that this solution could come. In fact, I think it is most important to try and reach that solution. But even if it can't, it is not in Israel's interest to be blamed for it.

Beyond that, the argument for the settlements, is not pragmatic for most of us in that sense, it is moral and this is the dilemma. What do you do, to me, when you are basically in support of somebody, something, some country, but disagree with some aspects of its behavior? I'm familiar with the phenomenon, I was asked a few years ago how would you define political base, what's a politician's political base? I said, 'Oh, that's very easy. Your political base is the people who are with you when you're wrong. Because you're always wrong somewhere.' That is, there are people who believe in you sufficiently in general to make allowances for you in the particular. That to me, is this situation. I believe strongly, that Israel is a very positive force in the world and is very important. I am critical of some aspects of its policy. What do you do about that? That's the hardest part. But let me make the point as to why I think, again, it's not in Israel's interest (of course as I said, the settlements economically and militarily bleed Israel), they cause the kind of anguish that we are seeing from some of the people in the IDF being forced to do this. By the way we have an analogy. We have a problem in the US now among us, people serving in Iraq. We have, not so young people even on into their 40's, finding themselves in situations where they are confronting Iraqis and they can't tell whether these Iraqis are innocent or guilty. Whether they're friend or foe, and yes, innocent civilians are getting killed in Iraq. Let's make this clear, whenever there is armed force being used, innocent bystanders will be killed. Only in old Western movies can you calibrate the gunshot so it goes around the corner, under the swinging door, through the bar and hits only the bad guy in the hand. In real life, when people start shooting, unintended people get hit. That's very anguishing for the American troops; it's a great source of anguish within Israel.

There is the fundamental problem with the settlements that, of all people Ariel Sharon articulated. I believe that it is important for Israel to continue to exist as a Jewish democratic state. A Jewish state because I think you cannot expect people to forget the experience of the late 30's and 40's with Jews seeking refuge from a monster who got turned away, a democratic state because I have no interest in supporting anything that is not fully democratic. A Jewish democratic state does not mean a theological one. You can be Jewish without imposing the sort of restrictions on personal freedom that unfortunately still exist in parts of Israeli policy. As Sharon said himself, it is impossible for Israel to remain a democratic Jewish state and keep control of the West Bank and Gaza. That is, even if you were someone who believed that there was still continued hostility or whatever reasons among the Arabs and you were never going to be able to reach a negotiated settlement. It seems to me still overwhelmingly in Israel's interest to withdraw from the settlements as I said politically, economically, and militarily in terms of making clear to the world that they would have been willing to have a solution. Most importantly because I don't understand how Israel can remain a democratic Jewish state with several million residents in Gaza and the West Bank. Either they are allowed to vote in Israel, in which case it will not be Jewish and may not even stay democratic. Or, they're not allowed to vote and it's clearly not democratic.

It's not totally new to us. America had this dilemma, 105 or 102 years ago when America took over for the first time, a whole lot of colonies after winning the Spanish-American War. We had now Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines. There was a great debate America now being in charge of these colonies, does the Constitution follow the flag? Are the residents of those islands, American citizens with American rights or not? Does the Constitution follow the flag? People said, 'Well, we own them, they're Americans.' Others said 'No, no, we own them. We really do own them, they have no rights.' Finally the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution did not follow the flag and caused a very serious problem in American democracy. There was a great line about that, because there was a big debate and Theodore Roosevelt won the election of 1904 and the Supreme Court subsequently had decided that the people in those islands did not have rights. The Supreme Court did what Roosevelt wanted and Mr. Dooley said 'Well, people thought the question was "Does the Constitution follow the flag?" but the real point is that the Supreme Court follows the election returns.' That's what is tormenting to many of us who are strong supporters of Israel. Even with that, Israel continues to be the only democratic nation unfortunately in that part of the world. Lebanon for awhile, maybe Turkey a little further in that direction. But this is the problem and it is a terrible dilemma for people who feel committed for a variety of reasons to supporting Israel. If indefinitely Israel is ruling over these people and they cannot vote but they're ruled by Israel that is hard to reconcile.

Well, that's a dilemma more easily stated than resolved. The question is what do you do about it? If you are an Israeli, it's easy, you vote for people who take that position. That's easy. I think very encouraging that you now have leaders within Israel articulating that and I wish them well. The question to many of us is, what as Americans do we do? We're not Israelis and we don't vote in Israel. The first thing we have to dispatch, there's a two-sided coin. One side says, Americans, particularly American Jews who feel so strongly about Israel are not being patriotic. Are you an American or are you a Jew? Well, as I said, I have a lot of people in the district whom I represent who care very much about American relations with a foreign country. They want America to be very close to that country, very supportive and they're proud that it's a democracy. They want me to go there a lot and hang out there a lot. Of course, I'm talking about Portugal, because I have about 200,000 constituents who feel towards Portugal as many American Jews feel towards Israel. I mean, being a loyal American and feeling a strong emotional commitment to another country is very American. Most people do it. But then there's a flip side that says: Listen, you are an American and you don't have any right to meddle in Israeli politics, you can't criticize Israel.

First of all, it ought to be noted, that people who say that really do believe in the uniqueness of Israel because they don't believe it about any other country. People criticize other countries, whoever heard of the idea that you can't criticize another country? I can't tell Mahatvir that he's a bigoted anti-Semitic homophobe? I can't talk about the murderous gang in Burma who are persecuting that saintly woman and betraying democracy? Of course, we can do it. Even in other countries, people say you can't talk about Israel, you're not an Israeli citizen. Did that mean that I couldn't say that I thought Kurt Waldheim shouldn't be President of Austria? Or Jorg Haider shouldn't be in the government? Nobody believes that.

I have a rule which I was debating with an Asst. Atty. General a year ago, about the Patriot Act. He was explaining that the reason they had locked up 1,000 immigrants, who were here illegally. So we had a right to deport them but, we didn't have a right to keep them incommunicado indefinitely. Some of them in solitary confinement. They wouldn't even give us their names, they wouldn't even tell us who they were. When we were pressing that, he said 'We don't want to release their names because we didn't want to embarrass them.' I articulated a principle then which I believe in very strongly. In a political debate, try hard to avoid saying something that no one will believe. It may, given the position you've been forced to take, be hard to do. So arguing that people shouldn't criticize Israel because citizens of one country shouldn't express opinions about the public policy of other countries, no one believes it.

Then the other line is that somehow you're going to weaken Israel. That goes back to my basic point. Obviously if you really want to hit them with tough criticism, personal, abrasive criticism of the Israeli government, that it's destroying peace; you go to Israel, you go to the Knesset. What is this nonsense, that Israel is some delicate flower? And if people talk about how Sharon is not Gandhi, it's going to somehow be the end of the world? This misunderstands democracy and it misunderstands Israel. In fact, I believe that the truest act of friendship is to tell your friend when you think he is making a mistake. I understand, and I think supplying utilities to expansions in the settlements, building a wall in a way that is going to include some settlements (which because you're including the settlements bring people from the West Bank in), allowing new settlements, saying that Gaza and Tel Aviv are the same thing (because Sharon said the fate of Gaza is the fate of Tel Aviv)…

By the way I want to make one side point as well. People say, 'Well, what are you saying that the West Bank and Gaza should be free of Jews? Are you saying no Jews should live there?' People should have a right, in my judgment, to live where they want to live. I think prudent people might well decide that under certain circumstances, not to live in a certain place. People who tell me, it's a terrible thing that I say Jews shouldn't live there. I remember working with many of those people trying to get as many Jews as we could the Hell out of Russia. I mean, yeah, many people thought Russia should be free of Jews under the Communists. We did a very successful job of helping with political pressure and other things to help Jews leave Russia. We helped Jews leave Ethiopia. There are places where Jews would be better off not living because of hostility. You cannot ignore that fact. I don't remember anybody going to Ethiopia with a gun and saying 'You've got to leave.' But they gave them the opportunity.

To go back to the central point, I think September 11 factors into it. September 11 has created a higher degree of support for anything that anybody does that is oppositional to Arab governments, than will be sustained over the long term. From that standpoint, from the standpoint of maintaining support in America, I think it is essential for Israel to reverse the settlement policy because it will lead more and more people to conclude that if there isn't any peace it's Israel's fault. I don't understand why Israel would want to be in that position. They say they are prepared to meet the government if it says it is prepared to reach a two-state solution. It should not put itself in that position.

Beyond that I believe that there is support for Israel on a number of grounds. There are the Jews who support Israel for the obvious reasons of Jewish solidarity. Let me take one aside. I know there are some people who support Israel and support the claim to Gaza and the West Bank because it says so in the Old Testament. That's a terrible mistake. Trying to use anybody's Bible as a map, just doesn't work. I'm particularly interested when I hear people tell me that who don't keep kosher, or wear tefillin or do a lot of other things. Almost everybody is very selective about what they take from the Old Testament. That's even where we're in the midst of the gay marriage debate. I have people say to me, 'It says right there in the Bible, marriage is between one man and one woman.' No, it's not in the Old Testament. It says that marriage is between one man and at least one woman. Abraham had two wives and there were people who made him look like a picah. So, it is, I think, very important and this is the last point, how do you deal with that?

Here's the dilemma, I do believe that there are significant forces in the Arabic world that want there to be no Israel. I think that would be a terrible loss of human rights and a great shame. I don't want to do anything that would support that. Here is your problem, what do you do when another government that you basically support… I strongly support Israel, I want it to exist as a strong independent democratic Jewish nation. I think it is doing some things that are not in its own interest. I do think not being able to remain a strong Jewish democratic nation is not in its own interests. That is to say, there are people who support Israel because they're Jewish because of the Bible. There are people who support Israel because it's a strategic ally in the Middle East. Although that used to be based on the Cold War, that's an argument people kind of throw in and doesn't really motivate anybody. A large part of support for Israel in the US comes from admiration of its democracy, of its civil liberties, of the values. If in fact, because of the inevitable tensions of occupying hostile people in the West Bank and Gaza, hostile because they're being occupied. It erodes its democracy. There will be some erosion of its support in the United States. There are American Jews who support Israel no matter what, there will be others who support Israel no matter what. When September 11 wears off in America, that's going to be an important factor. So then the question is 'What do you do about it?'

Well, one is to express our support for those people in Israel who have recently taken the lead in showing with the plans that not only is peace desirable, but that it's possible. They have laid out a very plausible, post-hostility existence in which there is a strong and independent and democratic Jewish Israel. We should express our support for that. We should be lobbying hard. Part of the problem we have is this, there is an understandable unwillingness on the part of some Jews (particularly of older ones) even those who disagree with aspects of the Israeli government's policy to say so. By the way, I've got one other category of people who aren't totally consistent. Some of the people who tell me you can never criticize the government of Israel or differ with it, put that in suspension when Labor was in power. It doesn't apply to Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, or Ehud Barak, only when they like the government of Israel.

There's one other thing I want to talk about. They once had a book '100 Uses of a Dead Cat.' Somebody should do an essay about the 100 political uses of Israel. There is a temptation for people to use Israel in domestic policy. Let me give you an example. When Clinton was President, Barak was Prime Minister of Israel and they were trying seriously to make peace. I believe they were trying very seriously. I think that the efforts they made in 2000 were genuine and sincere and did not meet with an appropriate response. But the Republicans talking to some people in Likud then brought forward a resolution demanding that the US immediately move our embassy to Jerusalem. That was clearly intended to screw things up. I voted not present, because I do think, ultimately that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. But I thought it was a misstart. I didn't want to vote no, but I didn't want to vote yes because the purpose was just to screw things up. I was 1 of about 15 people, there were over 400 votes yes. A lot of my colleagues grumbled but felt intimidated. I can explain it very easily. When Clinton is President and Barak is Prime Minister, over 400 people voted yes. The Republicans in control of the House bring forward a resolution to move the embassy to Jerusalem. The next thing you know, Bush is President and Sharon is Prime Minister. And we receive a visit from Dori Gold and others (leading Americanist Likud people). They came and they said they had a good meeting with Bush and everything is wonderful. And I said, my one question, 'What did he say when you asked him to move the embassy to Jerusalem?' I got three dirty looks, 'We didn't ask him. Since the Republicans have been in power, and Likud has been in power, we haven't seen that resolution. We also haven't seen any moving vans on the highway taking the American Embassy there.' In other words, a resolution calling to move the embassy under Clinton and Barak was put forth solely to interfere with any peace process. So I don't believe people doing that, telling me that we can't interfere with Israeli politics. Then the question still is, 'What do you do?'

Apparently American Jews have been wanting to speak out, particularly people who lived through the Holocaust who have memories of it and feel some insecurity. I don't think that is necessarily wrong. I think it is important to make it clear that within the US and within Israel it is possible to believe strongly that an independent strong Jewish democratic State of Israel is a good thing. And that one way to do that is to disagree with the policies of the current Israeli government. People need to be speaking out more regularly to make it clear that support for Israel and criticism of the Israeli government is no more inconsistent than support for the US and criticism of the American government. And in particular, I believe many members of Congress would agree with that but feel that it would be misinterpreted. People can give the members of Congress the courage of their own convictions. They can let them know that saying that what Yossi Beilin did was a good idea, it was a good idea to meet with responsible Palestinians and see how this thing can work. Yeah, I think that's a good idea. To be critical of the settlements, to tell the Israelis: I am very supportive of Israel, I support aid to Israel, I think it's very important that we work closely with Israel. But that they will make a terrible mistake that will endanger some aspects of American help if they continue a policy that makes it look as if they plan to hold onto the West Bank and Gaza forever. By the way, with regard to Gaza, I'm no great prophet by Biblical standards but… When Weitzman was here, I said 'Why don't you give back Gaza? What do you want with Gaza?' He said 'They wouldn't take it.' I said 'Well, they're smarter than you then. What in the world to do with Gaza, nobody knows.' I think it's difficult, but it shouldn't be qualitatively different for Israel than elsewhere.

In almost every other issue, we accept the legitimacy of being genuinely supportive on some things and being critical of aspects. Why should Israel be different? The roles of Jews in America do not have the delicacy that people think. I believe that this is not only the morally correct position, I think it's in Israel's interest. The sentiments of September 11 will not last forever. If it appears to Americans that Israel plans to expand settlements in the West Bank and in Gaza and to continue that status quo and is not interested in changing it. In fact is not prepared to see a genuine two-state solution, which means obviously a state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank. Then support for Israel in the US will erode until, I would hope that even people who don't agree morally with that point about the incompatibility of Israeli rule in Gaza and the West Bank with a Jewish democratic state will understand that self-interest alone in a more pragmatic sense ought to lead to a reversal of the settlement policy.
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