ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Geneva (Mis)Understandings 23.1.04

Geneva (Mis)Understandings

23 January 2004

By Yisrael Ne'eman

Tonight there was supposed to have been a mass rally in Tel Aviv in support of the Geneva Understandings brokered by Israel’s hard line Left opposition. Due to bad weather the demonstration was cancelled but that does not stop one from considering the peace initiative once again.

The Geneva Understandings look like peace, but in essence they are a conditional surrender document agreed to by Yossi Beilin and his leftist allies. Looking into the future, a generation from now, Israel is expected to concede state sovereignty on the condition of Jews becoming a protected community in the Middle East.

Today Israel is the embodiment of an independent Jewish State and due to hostility in the Middle East has determined to defend itself physically through it own military prowess and to enlist the support of a western patron. From the time of the Balfour Declaration and during the Mandate, the British were considered the Jewish community’s backbone, in the early days of the State it was France and since the 1967 War it is the Americans.

“Geneva” urges the dismantling of the IDF through the elimination of “weapons of mass destruction” whether conventional or not. A multi-national force in the West Bank and Gaza is to defend Israel from outside forces and terrorism and after three years there is no Israeli army presence on the Jordan River nor is Israel allowed to monitor possible weaponry coming into the supposedly demilitarized Palestinian areas. (See Chapter 5 – Security) Also see article:

By adhering to “Geneva”, Israel has no deterrence and in the climax of co-existence, no sovereignty. Historically, this is the greatest complaint and accusation made by the secular “moderate” Arabs, beginning with the Emir Faisal when he met with Chaim Weizmann in 1919. Neither Faisal, nor his brother Abdullah I, who as King of Jordan fought Israel in 1948, came to accept in principle, Jewish sovereignty. King Hussein and Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel, but did so to eliminate the ills of war, and not as a move to recognize Jewish political independence.

Weizmann was considered a super moderate and sought out moderate Arab partners with whom to negotiate. By 1922 he even came up with a draft for Jewish-Arab cooperation, the price being the non-validity of the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate supporting the Jewish National Home. The Arabs were to halt their anti-Zionist activities and not invoke the McMahon Correspondence, which they interpreted as giving them full rights in Palestine. The British, who had their own interests in Palestine, nixed the idea.

With the WWII catastrophe, Weizmann would fully favor independence, however he was heavily influenced by the Brit Shalom (Covenant of Peace) advocates of a bi-national entity. These included philosopher Martin Buber, Hebrew University President Yehuda Magnes and sociologist Arthur Ruppin. All were Zionists and Ruppin in particular was responsible for agricultural and urban development involving 10,000s of Jews. In essence, all the above saw Jewish existence in the Land of Israel predicated on Jewish-Arab cooperation and that meant an Arab patron, not a western one. Brit Shalom (and later Ichud) believed that Jewish independence was unacceptable to the Arabs and would only lead to continual conflict.

Philosophically and politically, the vast majority who were led by the Laborite David Ben Gurion and the right wing Revisionist Vladimir Jabotinsky, opposed them. Although at odds with each other, both worked diligently for an independent Jewish State, Jabotinsky with much fanfare and BG more surreptitiously. Both sought military strength and a strong western patron.

The Geneva Understandings take us back to the 1920s and the desire for full Arab-Jewish cooperation, this to be at the expense of Jewish sovereignty. The “Geneva” abdication of independence to ensure Jewish existence in the Land of Israel is certainly a legitimate issue for discussion.

What is illegitimate and worthy of condemnation however, is the “Geneva” hidden agenda, clothed in a tactical move to make a permanent peace with the Arabs and particularly the Palestinians.

Israelis who support the “Geneva” initiative have no inkling of the resurrection of the Brit Shalom agenda to negotiate away Jewish sovereignty. The “Geneva” authors should tell the whole truth. Until then, they are guilty of fraud and deceit.