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Ah, Those who are so wise --
In their own opinion;
In their own judgment!
-- Isaiah 5:20
For a decision or an action to be sensible, it must be based on knowledge of facts and realistic evaluation of them. A decision or action based on false premises is itself faulty and can be disastrous.
Premises that are demonstrably false may even so be accepted by those who
-- desire a particular goal so deeply that they refuse to recognize that it cannot be achieved* * * * * * * * * * * *
-- seek to evade harsh realities by denying that they exist
-- are misinformed by careless or corrupt news media, and/or professional propagandists
-- find it easier to accept misleading reporting than take the trouble to learn the facts
-- do not bother to consider whether a premise is true or false
-- are aware that a popular premise is false, but go along with it because it is popular
-- so cherish a false premise that they cannot part with it
-- because a policymaker is so committed to a failed policy that clinging to it becomes a obsessive compulsion
-- because a policymaker knows the premise is false but uses it as camouflage for an ulterior motive.
"Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to
-- Eric Hoffer
"Why, sometimes I believe as many as six impossible things
-- The White Queen, Through The Looking Glass
Some false premises are so widely repeated and accepted that they have become virtual dogma, accepted without question. Entire structures of policy are built on notions without question of whether they are true and valid.
Among such embedded false premises:
 False Premise:
A fundamental one upon which others rest is that Israel is an intruder into the midst of an Arab-Muslim region, and that intrusion has caused "the Palestine Problem".
Israel is the only nation in the world that is set in the same land, populated by the same people, practicing the same religion, speaking the same language, and following the same traditions, as it was 3,200-3,400 years ago.
The geographical Land of Israel was under the control of the Ottoman Turkish Empire that collapsed at the end of World War I. Many of the fragments of this Empire held Muslim-Arab populations who now have the independent states of the Gulf Emirates, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. The lands given to these new states and to the Arab-Muslim states of Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia also had other resident populations, many of them long pre-dating the Arab invasions of the seventh century: Among them Jews, Coptic Christians, Assyrian Christians, Maronite Christians, and Berbers. There is no historical or moral reason why within these regions Muslim-Arabs alone have exclusive rights, with all other peoples driven out or reduced to dhimmitude.
When the Balfour Declaration, that opened the way for the modern
re-establishment of biblical Israel, was published in 1917, Lord
Balfour himself expressed that hope that out of so many millions of
square miles of territory bestowed on Arabs, they "would not begrudge
the Jews their little notch". Instead, the Arabs count the existence
of that little notch as the greatest of crimes, and will stop at
nothing to take it away from the despised -- with their
resentment ever exacerbated by the successes of those Jews in the arts
and sciences as well as in defense of their little notch.
 False Premise:
Israel took land belonging to Palestine, displaced indigenous Palestinian[Arabs, occupies their territory, and illegally settles on their land.
There is not and never has been a Palestinian nation or nationality.
"Palestine" was a Roman name for a geographical region seven centuries before it was invaded from Arabia. In 1947, Arab official spokemen at the United Nations vehemently denied there was any such place as "Palestine", insisting that it is merely Southern Syria. [See Issue No. 2 in A Time To Speak (ATTS): "The History and Meaning of Palestine and Palestinians", available here.]
The faux-nationhood of "Palestine" that now claims roots in the most remote antiquity was actually invented after 1967, as a tactic to win support in depriving Israel of the fruits of its victory in the Six-Day-War.
[A] Palestinian People: At the start of Jewish resettlement of the Land of Israel, there was very sparse population west of the Jordan River, of mixed origins and with no national identity or history. Only after Jewish pioneers began to restore an abandoned wasteland to its ancient fruitfulness was there an influx of Arabic-speaking migrants from surrounding regions.
The widely beloved "good cause of the Palestinian people" -- as it is dubbed by George W. Bush -- is infatuation with a fraud.
[B] Palestinian Territory:
There is not and never has been any such thing as "Palestinian Territory". That is a false designation for the portion of Mandate Palestine not yet assigned to permanent sovereignty. The State of Israel that has the strongest claim to these parts of the historical Land of Israel, even though pusillanimous governments of Israel have failed to assert it.
The Arab war against Israel has been going on since its re-establishment in 1948. That Israel has redeemed biblical Judea and Samaria is the result not the cause of Arab wars against it. It has no legal or moral obligation to surrender it, except under the unique doctrine invented solely for this one occasion: To The Defeated Aggressor Belong the Spoils.
In any case, as far as the Muslim world is concerned all of Israel is "occupied Palestine", that can never be tolerated within any borders, however shrunken. Their claim is to every inch from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, with no scrap of Israeli sovereignty permitted to survive anywhere. [See Issue No. 8 ATTS, "Tongues of Deceit -- Part I" and Issue No. 65, "Fogbound - Part I", which is also available here.]
[C] Israeli Towns and Communities in "Disputed Territories"
Experts on international law have determined that these much-maligned "settlements" are not illegal nor in any way against any clauses of the Geneva Conventions [see Issue No. 6, ATTS "Thy Dwellings, O Israel"]. This fact does not inhibit sloppy news media and under-informed functionaries from calling them "illegal", but they simply are not. More cautious ill-will prefers to call them "obstacles to peace", though the war long pre-dated the "settlements" and the destruction of the flourishing Jewish communities of Gaza brought only more war.
Comment: The plaint that the Children of Israel should not "settle" in the Land of Israel hits a particularly sour note when it comes from a president of a nation that "settled" from Plymouth Rock to Waikiki, or a prime minister of an ex-empire that "settled" one-quarter of the globe. It is most sour of all when it comes from the obsessively secular environs of Tel-Aviv, whose comfortable denizens despise their fellow-countrymen who have undertaken the hard and dangerous tasks of rebuilding the Promised Land.
 False Premise:
Jerusalem and Temple Mount are as holy to Muslims as to Jews and Christians, and the city and mount should be divided between them.
Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran -- as acknowledged even by Muslim scholars.
In the period of the Muslim caliphate that ruled from Baghdad or Istanbul it was neglected and desolate. It was never a capital of a Muslim state. No mosque built there has any special sanctity. The Al-Aqsa Mosque that excites such agitation and false accusations of desecrations was originally a Christian church.
Trans-Jordan seized East Jerusalem in 1948, with British military assistance, and held it until 1967. During those years of occupation, its chief concern was to destroy or contemptuously abuse ancient Jewish holy places, sites and cemeteries. Under that regime, no Jew of any nationality was permitted to enter biblical Jerusalem, and there were no international protests at this discrimination. [See Issue No. 34 ATTS, "Weighed in the Balance"]
Upon the liberation of East Jerusalem and Temple Mount in 1967, the Muslim Waqf was permitted to keep administration of the Al-Aqsa compound. It has ever since been assiduously destroying ancient Jewish and Christian sites and trashing land that contains religious and archaeological relics. Despite protests of scholars, no government of Israel has taken any action to prevent this crime against history.
Only since 1967 has all of Jerusalem been freely open to residents, visitors and pilgrims of all faiths. Only in a united Jerusalem, belonging to the people who made it Holy in the first place, can this respect and freedom continue.
 False Premise:
The re-establishment of Israel in 1948 created millions of Palestinian-Arab refugees for whom the world must provide.
In 1948, about 500,000-600,000 Arabs, many of them recent arrivals with no historic roots in the land, left Israel on orders of the invading Arab states.
Ever since then, UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency] has -- mostly courtesy of the US taxpayers -- maintained these emigres and several generations of their descendants in camps that have become breeding and training grounds for terrorism. [See Issue No. 31 ATTS, "No Relief in the Works"].
The United States has contributed generously for the care of these refugees-in-perpetuity. The oil-rich Arab rulers have been considerably less generous.
All other refugees in all other parts of the world have been taken under the aegis of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and resettled in new homes where they can begin new lives. This solution is banned only for the "Arab refugees" so their plight can be used for propaganda, and for demands for a "Right of Return" as a political tsunami to drown Israel.
Comment: An equal or larger number of Jews who had lived in Muslim lands since pre-Muslim times came to Israel, many by choice but many others driven out by Arab governments. Arab governments confiscated their property and never paid any compensation therefore. They, like survivors of the Holocaust who reached Israel, were integrated into Israeli society without ever becoming a charge on the world or an object of concern to the world.
 False Premise:
Muslim resentment over "Palestine" is the cause of all jihadi threats and terrorism. If that resentment is assuaged -- at any cost to Israel -- jihad will end and the rest of the world will be safe. This may be summed up as The Tony Blair Doctrine -- touted by the long-time prime minister of Great Britain that as the Mandatory power created the Palestine Problem.
Jihad is against the entire infidel world, that is to be brought into subjugation to an Islamic caliphate [See Issue No. 65 ATTS, "Fogbound -- Part I", which is available here.].
Israel is the first target because it is the immediate neighborhood, and because the greatest of all jihadi hatreds is toward the Jews. Israel is not and will not be its only or last target. If Israel is forced into such weakness that it cannot defend itself, then jihad will triumph and move on to other battles -- probably starting with Western Europe.
Those who suppose otherwise need only refer to the slogan: "Today the Saturday people [Jews], tomorrow the Sunday people [Christians]".
 False Premise:
If Israel makes enough concessions, good-will gestures, and confidence-building gestures to the Arabs and takes enough "risks for peace" than it will be accepted into the Muslim Middle East.
There are absolutely no terms or conditions on which the Muslim Middle East will tolerate the survival of a sovereign Jewish state in its midst.
If they Arabs deign to accept a State of Palestine in Judea-Samaria, it is with the admitted intention of using it as a launching pad for the destruction of Israel [See Issue No. 8 ATTS, "Tongues of Deceit -- Part I"],
Israel has made a long series of futile surrenders, concessions, and gestures. Not one of them has been met with the tiniest reciprocation, not one of them has diminished Arab complaints and demands by a single iota. The response to this, among bungling Israeli officials as well as foreign political oracles, has been to keep on trying, and give still more.
Israel's "confidence building measures" serve only to build Arab confidence in the efficacy of aggression, terrorism, and intransigence.
[A] Whenever Israel gives the "Palestinians" land, it is used for attacks against Israel.
[B] Whenever Israel gives them money, it is used to subsidize terrorism or melts away in graft.
[C] When Israel gives in to outsider demands to ease security restrictions and checkpoints, Israelis are murdered and injured as a consequence.
[D] Large numbers of convicted terrorists are periodically released en masse. These releases are never made conditional on the release of abducted Israelis. A very high proportion of them return to terrorism.
In the most recent mass release of terrorists, they were asked to sign a promise not to resume terrorism. It was not reported whether or not these signatures were notarized. Nor was there any mention if they applied for the $100 a month U.S. pension to retired to terrorists once proposed by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice Some of them did turn in guns -- including 90-year-old World War I relics -- then enrolled in PA Security Forces to receive nice new ones.
[E] Israel supplies electricity, water, and fuel to Gaza, permits entry of food and consumer goods, and provides medical care for Gazans. This was the case under the rule of Fatah and now under the rule of Hamas. Both alike exist for no other purpose than the destruction of Israel. Both alike attack Israeli targets with missiles and other weaponry. This makes "humanitarian" services demanded of and produced by Israel equivalent to a British government during the blitz of 1940-41 sending humanitarian aid to Nazi Germany.
Meanwhile, not a word has been heard of Corporal Gilad Shalit, who was abducted in June 2006, and held hostage in Gaza.
 False Premise:
Mahmoud Abbas and his nice Fatah faction of the PLO must be supported against the naughty Hamas faction.
In any duel between two terrorist entities, the winner will be a terrorist entity.
It is questionable whether the current conflict between Fatah and Hamas is genuine or theatrical, but either way both are equally committed by their charters to the total destruction of Israel, both use violence and terrorism to that end, and both hate America and are gleeful when harm befalls Americans. The only difference is that Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas will lie about his goals when that is convenient for his outside patrons, while Hamas does not bother to lie.
The folly of both Israel and the United States in giving recognition, weapons, and vast sums of money to Yasser Arafat is being repeated with Mahmoud Abbas, with the folly compounded by the failure to learn anything from experience. Abbas has been a professional terrorist for more than 40 years, much of that as Arafat's second-in-command. He planned and financed the slaughter of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. He became "Dr. Abbas" with a Ph.D. from a Soviet university with a Holocaust Denial thesis.
Fatah under his rule follows the same old program of terrorism and incitement against Israel, propaganda against Israel and the United States, educating children to hate Judaism and Christianity and indoctrinating them in the cult of achieving martyrdom by killing Jews. He admonishes his subjects not to fight one another but save their rifles to shoot Jews. He describes terrorists as "heroes fighting for freedom" and explains that "Israel calls them murderers, we call them strugglers". When he does voice disapproval of some murderous assault, it is with the explanation that it does not advance the Palestinian cause -- never because it is something inherently bad.
This is the man touted as "President Abbas", a title to which he has no claim. This is the man the President of the United States fawns on in the White House Rose Garden. [See Issue No. 53 ATTS, "Fault Lines -- Part I], and hails as a champion of peace and democracy. Hundreds of billions of dollars are showered on him like confetti and melt away like snowflakes. The U.S. taxpayers are forced thus to subsidize anti-American terrorists who hate them, curse them, and rejoice when they are murdered. ]
Weapons, military advisors, and military trainers are bestowed upon Abbas and his gang. Israel is commanded to sacrifice its own interests, security, rights, and even endanger the lives of its people to "strengthen" the worthy Abbas against his Hamas rivals, and a wretched Israeli administration obeys.
 False Premise:
All peoples and societies really want peace and democracy and good fellowship. Most Muslims are moderates. Islam is a Religion of Peace hijacked by a few extremists.
Societies that have never in their history known anything but autocracy and repression, and are rent by ancient rivalries and jealousies, are not instantly transformed into peaceable cooperative democracies just by holding an election.
Adherents of a religion based on world domination and contempt for the infidel rarely cherish mutual respect and international cooperation. There may indeed be moderates within such societies, or self-exiled from such societies, but they do not set the agenda or influence the policies. It is understandable that only a few gallant souls dare even to speak out against that agenda.
[A] As far as the PA is concerned, evasion of reality is practised on the highest levels of policymaking. For example, in President George W. Bush's statement of May 2005: "I think Palestinian moms want their children to grow up in peace just like American moms want their children to grow up in peace". There may very well be mothers who would prefer this, but they are not the ones who are filmed and broadcast by the PLO. Rather, the models of maternal virtue are the ones who joyously send their children to murder Jews and thereby achieve shahida [martyrdom].
Secretary of State Rice shows even more dangerous ignorance of reality when she says "you can look at any opinion poll in the Palestinian territories and 70 percent of the people will say they're perfectly ready to live side by side with Israel because they just want to live in peace . . . . " In fact, polls report that some 75 percent of Palestinians believe Israel should not exist, and would not be willing to live in peace even within an independent State of Palestine.
When the PLO was granted autonomy in 1993, it began a calculated program of indoctrination in public media, religious sermons, universities, schools, children's summer camps and television shows, to inculcate hatred of Israel and dedication to its destruction. Textbooks are still full of anti-Jewish slanders, unchanged despite occasional very mild admonition from the European Union that pays for them.
Adolescents, children, even toddlers, are taught to seek martyrdom through terrorism, with the promise Kill a Jew and Go To Paradise. Small children are displayed on television, coached to say how proud and happy they are that their suicide-terrorist Mommy killed five Jews.
This is not the program of any society that means to live in peace with Israel, ever, at any time, anywhere, on any terms. For policymakers in either Israel or the United States to be ignorant of these facts is dereliction of duty. To ignore or dissemble about them is beyond malfeasance.
[B] It is naive to suppose that all people will be nice if only they are liberated from a mean regime. Deep-rooted attitudes and traditions of a society can survive even liberation, as apparent today in Iraq where Christians, whose communities long predate the Arab conquest, are threatened, mistreated, persecuted, and even murdered.
And, by the way, Iraq -- that is still officially at war with Israel -- is adhering to the Arab League anti-Israel boycott.
 False Premise:
The Palestine Problem can be solved by a Peace Process, Emissaries, Intermediaries, Conferences, Plans, Roadmaps, Quartets, backed up by UN resolutions and peacekeepers
Not one of these devices has ever worked. This does not inhibit the practitioners from going on repeated failed endeavors.
(Dennis Ross literally grew gray in his years of futile shuttling between Israel and the PLO.) Some of these missions and plans have imposed inimical conditions and concessions on Israel. None of them has ever made a scratch or a dent in PLO intransigence. Often, the very arrival of a foreign negotiator sets off deadly terrorist attacks to mark for the occasion, and innocent lives are lost because of this always futile meddling.
The succession of plans produced by the meddlers are generally meant to be balanced: That is, Israel it to make material concessions to the PLO and in exchange the PLO is to say a few words that it does not mean. This succession of plans and the personages for whom they were named are soon all but forgotten.
Now, Tony Blair -- who in his decade as prime minister of Great Britain dismantled the social and political institutions that had taken centuries to evolve -- has been appointed Prime Meddler. His new mission is to implement the Quartet Roadmap designed to strip Israel of its sovereignty and reduce it to impotent vassalage. [See Issues in ATTS No. 23, "Roadmap into the Whirlwind; Issue No. 28, "Express Road to Doom"; Issue No. 29, "Setting Snares"]
As for the United Nations, the built-in anti-Israel bloc renders it not merely useless but actively pernicious. The notion that any Peace Plan can depend on UN peacekeeping forces ignores all past experience; UN Peacekeepers in the Sinai, who simply ran away on the eve of the Six-Day War, in Lebanon where they have been in open collaboration with Hizb'allah, and those in other parts of the world notable only for their depredations and depravity.
For other pillars of support, the Peace Planners look to Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. That is:
-- To Jordan, an artificial state whose stability is gravely threatened from within, and whose royal regime may be brought down at any time,
-- To Egypt, that receives $2,000,000,000 a year from the United States as subsidy for its anti-US and anti-Israel stances and conniving,
-- To Saudi Arabia, whose oil-wealth is used to propagate Wabbahi Islamism everywhere that petrodollars are accepted. Vast supplies of weapons are to be bestowed on the Saudis in the name of the War on Terror, even while they supply many of the terrorists and their wherewithal.
 False Premise:
The incumbent faux-government in Israel represents the citizenry, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni speak for them.
There is a standard saying that "Nations get the governments they deserve" but this surely does not apply to Israel in recent years.
It is odd to argue that the elected government of a free and democratic nation, with a concerned and articulate public, does not represent it or seek its best interest. Yet this is the anomalous situation in Israel today.
The Osloid-Peresite-Kadimite clique, with the wicked and cunning Shimon Peres as its puppet-master, has done more damage to Israel than all its outside enemies together have managed to inflict. Yet the incumbent Kadimite party, begotten in electoral fraud, clings to power like a blood-sucking parasite, even though in the most recent election it was chosen by only 15 percent of all eligible voters and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert enjoys a public approval rating of circa three percent.
This is in good part due to the machinations of a clique composed of 19 families that control one-third of the economy of Israel and want to keep it that way, of leftist popular news media, much of owned by these same families, and left-wing self-anointed intellectuals and academics. They are devoutly secular, consider themselves sophisticated universalists, are anti-Judaic and despise out-of-date traditional Jews. Living stylishly in or near Tel-Aviv, they see no need for the rest of the Land of Israel and are hostile to those who insist upon cherishing it.
True friends of Israel in other lands are in despair at the degeneracy of this faux-government, and some who are not fully informed on how deeply it is despised by its own citizens may even come to suppose that Israel itself is degenerate and no longer worthy of support.
Untrue friends of Israel find Olmert & Co. useful, because they themselves are pursuing policies that they do not want their own electorates to recognize as inimical to Israel. They can camouflage them with the excuse "The Prime Minister of Israel approves, and the Foreign Minister of Israel says so, so it must be good for Israel". To preserve this tool, they praise Olmert, back his disastrous antics, and hope to keep him in office to exploit his slimy incompetence.
The despised regime will at some time in the not distant future have to face a special election, and in the meantime is desperately pushing its agenda as far as possible before it is swept into the political dustbin
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"They never learn anything and they never forget anything."
"They never learn anything and they never forget anything."
These and other False Premises underpin the egregiously False Premise of the Two-State Solution. That is, carving up the Land of Israel for a state for the imaginary Palestinian People, expected thereafter to live "side by side in peace with Israel". Not a single one of the arguments on behalf of this premise survives analysis. [See "Twelve Bad Arguments for a State of Palestine" at 12 bad args]
This notion has progressed from a doctrine to an obsession -- impervious to mere facts and all experience since the PLO was empowered by the Oslo Accords in 1993:
[A] Open avowals, by all the rival factions, that they will never accept anything but the total destruction of Israel.
[B] Officially-sponsored terrorism against Israelis.
[C] Violent internecine strife among rival terrorist factions.
[D] Misappropriation or squandering of the many billions of dollars of support pouring in from Israel, the United States, and Europe.
[E] No efforts to establish normal political, social, or economic institutions.
[F] No concern for the human or civil rights of its subjects.
[G] Predictably violent, non-functioning, non-viable, and perpetrually dependent on outside support.
These and other conditions should be warnings of the disastrous outcome of the Two-State Solution if its proponents ever succeed in forcing it through. Instead, they are either obstinately ignored or denied by those proponents.
The manner in which policymakers in Washington and their puppets-of-the-moment in Israel cling to such demonstrably bad a program goes far beyond mere incompetence and bad judgment into a shadowy zone of betrayal and bad faith.
This article is from Vol. VII:3 (No. 68) of "A Time To Speak"
(ATTS), which appears once a month. Each issue is on a theme
that relates to Israel and the Middle East past and present, including
history, background, current events, analysis and comment. All issues
appear on its website: http://www.israel.net/timetospeak. A
complimentary subscription to the e-mail edition is available by
request to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patricia Berlyn is a writer and editor who is a native of New York, N.Y. and now resides in Israel.
This article is from Vol. VII:3 (No. 68) of "A Time To Speak" (ATTS), which appears once a month. Each issue is on a theme that relates to Israel and the Middle East past and present, including history, background, current events, analysis and comment. All issues appear on its website: http://www.israel.net/timetospeak. A complimentary subscription to the e-mail edition is available by request to: email@example.com.
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