Karl Vick’s report in Time magazine entitled Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace was driven by his own ideological bent toward Israel and the issue of Middle East peace; one that he clearly shares with the editorial board of Time magazine. The article’s validity was additionally compromised by the imbalance of those individuals the author chose to interview and the accompanying pictures.
In his article, Vick cited a recent poll that asked respondents to name “the most urgent problem facing Israel.” He did this in order to demonstrate that Israelis are not concerned with peace and are instead, more preoccupied with education, crime, national security and poverty. Yet he missed several points. The most obvious is that Israelis have always listed peace with the Arabs as their top concern. When, however, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and abandoned settlements in Samaria only to be repeatedly rocketed by Hamas, it became clear that peace is simply a pipe-dream. You simply cannot have a one-sided peace.
Polls have consistently shown – for decades – that Israelis have vigorously supported a two-state solution with the Palestinians as an end to the conflict. According to the prestigious Peace Index poll conducted by the Tamal Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University, more than 70% of Israelis backed negotiations with the Palestinians, and almost as many endorsed the two-state solution. Palestinians, on the other hand, oppose, by a majority, negotiations and peace with Israel.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, backed by President Bill Clinton, was ready to concede 95% of the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem, and compensate them with the remaining 5% with land inside the Green Line (Israeli territory). This generous offer was rejected by Arafat, who then responded with the Second Intifada. This convinced most Israelis of the futility of peace talks with the Palestinians.
Vick not only glosses over these historical facts in his article, but omits the fact that Israel, under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, repeated in 2008 the offer made by Barak, and upped the ante with even greater territorial and other concessions (including the release of Palestinian terrorists with “blood on their hands”) to Mahmoud Abbas-Chairman of the Palestinian Authority. All Abbas was required to do was to declare the conflict over and recognize Israel as a Jewish State. The Palestinian leadership rejected Olmert’s concession and demanded ‘the right of return for Palestinian refugees into Israel’ – a clear formula for the demographic destruction of the Jewish State. And, they also refused to recognize Israel as the Jewish State.
Vick reveals his bias when he states in his article that, “In the week that three Presidents, a King and their own Prime Minister gather at the White House to begin a fresh round of talks on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money; they’re enjoying the rays of late summer. A watching world may still define their country by the blood feud with the Arabs whose families used to live on this land and whether that conflict can be negotiated away, but Israelis say they have moved on.”
In his reference to Arabs “whose families used to live on this land,” Vick is apparently justifying Arab-Palestinian intransigence, while subtly rejecting Israel’s historic claims to the land. He is, in essence, implying that Israelis are at fault in the conflict, since the land really belongs to the Arabs.
Israel delivered to Egypt “the last grain of sand” and all of the Sinai Peninsula as part of the March 1979 Camp David Peace Accord, in exchange for a “Cold Peace” it got from Egypt. That small fact was conveniently ignored by Vick. How many countries would trade their energy independence (Sinai oil wells) for a cold peace? That question was apparently not on Vick’s mind. It was not only with Egypt that Israel made concessions in their search for peace, it also ceded disputed land along the border with Jordan in 1994 in 1994, and it has offered to do the same with Syria in exchange for a genuine peace. From 1948 onward Israelis sought to make peace with all or any Arab State, and in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, Israel invited the defeated Arabs to make peace with it in exchange for land it captured. The response was the famous Three No’s at the Khartoum Summit of late 1967, no to peace, no to negotiation, and no to recognition of Israel.
Vick chose – purposely? – to feature the hedonistic Israelis who are interested in money, pleasure, and leisure, and who choose to spend little time in pursuit of something as elusive as peace. This is not only a distortion of reality and truth; it reflects at best the insular world of a small Tel Aviv bohemian clique. For hundreds of thousands of Israeli mothers and fathers, wives and children, whose loved ones don the uniform of the Israel Defense Forces, and Border Police, and who are in constant danger from murderous Palestinian terrorists, no prayer and wish is greater than that of peace. It is expressed in popular songs, in synagogue prayers, in casual greetings, and in daily conversations. Somehow this was never mentioned in Vick’s article.
The obvious intent of Vick’s piece is to present Israelis as arrogant overlords who do not want to lose their possessions or share them with the “poor” and “injured” Palestinians who want their land back. Aside from the question of who has rights to the land (West Bank and Gaza), which is a separate issue, Abbas and the Palestinians have made impossible demands such as the aforementioned “Right of Return.” One should not forget that there were more Jewish refugees than displaced Palestinians – 850,000 Jews were booted out of their homes in Arab lands. The Jewish refugees were dealt with more humanely and were settled by Israel while the Palestinians refugees were deliberately kept in misery so as to help the Arabs score political and propaganda points against Israel. Peace talks focus on the concessions that Israel must make – as they recently did when Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered a freeze on all new construction in the Jewish settlements. What concessions have the Palestinians made? None…
The establishment media in the U.S. and the West, represented by such journalists as Karl Vick, hold Israel accountable for the lack of peace in the region despite the fact that historical facts dispute this. Cowardly journalists like Vick know that there is nothing to lose in smearing Israel, while presenting the truth about Palestinian and Islamist triumphalism might engender personal risk. It is therefore an easy job to paint the Palestinians as “victims” and Israelis as callous victimizers who – Do Not Care About Peace.
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