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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 23, 2004 / 2 Iyar, 5764

A historic shift

By Jonathan Tobin

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America's unwillingness to disabuse the Palestinians of their illusions helped fuel the conflict for far too long.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | We don't know who will be sworn in as president of the United States in January. Nor can we be sure whether the present occupant of the prime minister's chair in Israel will still be in office by that time.

But we do know that the actions of the current White House tenant has just done something that will alter a diplomatic equation no matter who's in power in 2005.

By stating last week that the United States does not support the notion that Middle East peace is predicated on a complete Israeli withdrawal from all territory it won in the 1967 Six-Day War, and by spelling out that the United States rejects any Palestinian refugee "right of return," Bush has substantially altered the starting point for any future talks.

While Palestinians lament that what Bush has done is the equivalent of the 1917 Balfour Declaration — which set in motion Britain's commitment to creating a Jewish national homeland in Palestine — are hyperbole, they're not completely crazy. Bush has thoroughly debunked the idea, nourished for decades by muddle-headed American policies, that the United States would eventually deliver all of the territories, including Jerusalem, to the Palestinians on a silver platter.

No wonder they're screaming bloody murder! For the first time in decades, an American president stood up — ignoring the advice of the State Department and our European "allies" — and stated the obvious.

In a precedent-setting move, an American president made it clear to the Palestinians, and their cheerleaders in Europe and the international press, that their war against Israel will not produce a diplomatic solution to reverse the outcome of the 1967 war. Nor will it yield a treaty that will allow Palestinian Arabs to pursue the destruction of Israel by "peaceful" means, such as swamping it with millions who claim descent from those who fled the country during the course of a war they started to destroy the newborn state in 1948.

Israel paid a price for Bush's move. It came only after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pledged to completely evacuate Gaza and uproot 7,500 Israelis from their homes. He also promised to similarly displace those who lived in four settlements in northern Samaria. In exchange for this, Israel will get not a thing from the Palestinians, whose leadership remains just as committed to Israel's destruction as before.

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Those Israeli leaders who pursued the failed Oslo accords at least got Palestinian promises of peace and an end to terror, albeit promises that were blatantly insincere and never kept.

Why is Sharon's "deal" better for Israel?

Simply because, contrary to the Oslo gambit, Sharon is acting to carry out the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the Israeli people, who no longer wish to have anything to do with Gaza and think they will be better off without it, settlements notwithstanding.

Sharon's idea of a peace is far more realistic. Since he knows that the Arab war on Israel is ongoing, and that there's little, if any, hope of ending it via diplomacy, he seeks to unilaterally draw a border Israel can better defend, militarily and politically.

He hopes that giving up Gaza will consolidate Israel's hold on Jerusalem and on parts of the West Bank that no Israeli government ought to consider leaving, including areas where some 230,000 Jews reside.

Is this realistic? Bush's answer is "yes."

While Bush's move will probably win Sharon the support of the majority of his Likud Party in a referendum on the Gaza withdrawal, it isn't certain what Bush will get in return.

Instead of being lauded as a reaffirmation of America's alliance with Israel and its support for the Jewish state's continued existence, Bush has been widely slammed abroad and on the editorial pages of most American newspapers. Opponents, such as The Philadelphia Inquirer's cartoonist Tony Auth, accuse him of being Sharon's handpuppet. The Boston Globe's Thomas Oliphant said he was breaking faith with America's role as "honest broker" of the conflict. The New York Times lamented in an editorial that "Mr. Bush's drastic and unfortunate policy reversal" was essentially "supporting Israel's right to impose a settlement of its choice on the Palestinians."

What's really bothering Bush's critics? Did they think Israel will accept a "right of return" that would, in the end, destroy itself? Of course not. And even most Bush-bashers acknowledged that an Israeli surrender of all of the settlements was a nonstarter.

Part of this animus can be put down to partisanship. It is also driven by hostility to Sharon and other Israelis who have rejected the folly of Oslo. But the critics' real mistake? They fail to see that it was America's unwillingness to disabuse the Palestinians of their illusions that has helped fuel the conflict for so many years.

Why should Yasser Arafat or any other possible Palestinian leader agree to a peace agreement that would give him most of the West Bank and all of Gaza if he thinks that someday an American president will actually listen to the braying chorus of Israel-haters at the United Nations and impose a suicidal accord on Israel?

What Bush has done is to reverse the momentum in that direction that former President Bill Clinton, whose tireless efforts to force concessions on Israel in the name of an ever-elusive Nobel Peace Prize-winning treaty, did so much to encourage.

If there is ever to be a real peace between Israel and the Palestinians — and Sharon is right to doubt that any such thing will happen in the foreseeable future — Bush has shown the Palestinians that extremist demands are off the table. Bush's own war on Islamic terror has apparently given him enough insight to realize that Israel ought not to buckle under pressure the United States will not tolerate.

Some Israeli critics of Sharon, who see the Gaza withdrawal as encouraging Palestinian attacks, have a point. But they are wrong to parse the president's words for signs that America doesn't mean what it says. Bush clearly means what he says on this issue, and is getting a beating from Israel's foes for his troubles.

By staking out a position of support for Israel in this manner, he has also managed to maneuver his Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry, into endorsing the move.

A President Kerry could reverse Bush's stand, but why would he? Kerry would pay a high political price for undoing Bush's policy shift absent a genuine change in the Palestinians, something no rational observer ought to bet on. Bush's stance won't end the conflict. But it does give Israel some breathing room, which will enable it to better continue its defensive war against threats to its existence. This is no Balfour Declaration, but it is something that, notwithstanding his other achievements, merits him an honored place in history, no matter what happens in November.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here. In June, Mr. Tobin won first places honors in the American Jewish Press Association's Louis Rapaport Award for Excellence in Commentary as well as the Philadelphia Press Association's Media Award for top weekly columnist. Both competitions were for articles written in the year 2002.

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