May 29th, 2011
01:59 PM ET

Fareed's Take: Netanyahu doesn't want a deal

We've just gone through an arcane debate about whether Barack Obama said anything new when he called for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed upon land swaps. In fact, that has been the working assumption of all negotiating parties - America, Israel and the Palestinian Authority - for over 20 years. It is what the Camp David talks of 2000 were based on; it's what former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's talks with the Palestinians was based on.

The newsworthy and real shift in U.S. policy was President Obama publicly condemning the Palestinian strategy to seek recognition as a state from the U.N. General Assembly in September.

Instead of thanking Obama for this, Prime Minister Netanyahu chose to stage, in the words of the former Israeli diplomat Alon Pinkas, "Nothing less than a bizarre tirade at the White House on Friday, educating the president about the plight and the pogroms of Jews throughout history."

So why did Netanyahu do this? Does it help Israel's security or strengthen it otherwise to stoke tensions with its strongest ally and largest benefactor, Washington? Does such behavior further the resolution of Israel's problems?

No, but it helps Netanyahu stir up support at home and maintain his fragile coalition.

The real revelation, which has been picked up by many in the Israeli press, is that it shows finally that Netanyahu simply doesn't want a deal. He always has a new objection, a new problem, a new delaying tactic because, at core, he has never believed that the Palestinians should have a state.

Here is the young Bibi, 33 years ago, at a forum in Cambridge, Massachusetts:

"I think the United States should oppose the creation of a Palestinian state for several reasons, the first one being that it is unjust to demand the creation of a 22nd Arab state and a second Palestinian state at the expense of the only Jewish state. There is no right to establish the second one on my doorstep, which will threaten my existence. There is no right whatsoever."

Prime Minister Netanyahu's references to the indefensible borders of 1967 last week also reveal him to be mired in a world that has really gone away. The chief threat to Israel today is not from a Palestinian army. Israel has the region's strongest economy and military by far, complete with an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

The chief threats to Israel are from new technologies - rockets and biological weapons - and from demography. Its physical existence is less in doubt than its democratic existence as it continues to rule millions of Palestinians who are entitled to neither a vote nor a country.

Ironically, the young Bibi understood that it was impossible to keep the Palestinians in such serf-like conditions forever. Listen to him advocating that Palestinians should be given citizenship, either in Jordan or in Israel:

"In the event that this negotiation process will continue, I am sure that what we're talking about is, in fact, eventual citizenship of some kind, either Jordanian or Israeli or in any other arrangement."

If the Palestinians were smart, they'd take Prime Minister Netanyahu up on that offer of citizenship in Israel, and then Bibi would wish he had been for a two-state solution all along.

soundoff (1,396 Responses)
  1. Jeanne

    Misha you little nazzi, go get a life. Miserable scum!

    May 30, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  2. ABDUL


    May 30, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  3. Lance

    Everything Fareed says is spot on. For example, it is ludicrous for Netanyahu to refuse to start with the 1967 lines because they are "indefensible." If a nine mile girth can't be defended, why would an eighteen mile path to the sea be materially more defensible, or 50? Where does Bibi want to draw the border? From what he said previously, the answer is clear - at the Jordan River. In fact, one of his explicit demands is for a permanent IDF presence at the river, the furthest edge of what would be Palestine.

    But the 1967 lines are not indefensible. They were defended very well in 1967, when Israel was attacked from all sides and, in six days, not only turned back the attack but captured the entire West Bank, the entire Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. Now, Israel is in a far more favorable position than it was then: (1) It has peace treaties with Egypt (its principal enemy in 1967) and Jordan, thus protecting most of its border, leaving only small frontiers with Syria and Lebanon, which are heavily fortified and which, in any event, could not be affected by a boundarydemarcation with Palestine. (2) Israel is much stronger, economically and militarily, than it was in 1967. (3) Israel is protected by a huge nuclear arsenal, said to contain about 250 warheads. In that situation, Israel could defend itself if it were no bigger than Liechtenstein.

    What Fareed does not express, although I sense he is aware of it, is that Netanyahu was not directing his remarks for the consumption of the President, Congress or even AIPAC. He was talking to his constituents and his cabinet partners. The Likud party has always taken the position that a Palestinian state is to be resisted at all costs, and it might still have language to this effect in its manifesto. Some other parties in the government coalition take even harder lines, including irredentist policies. When they and people like Netanyahu speak of the "Land of Israel" they do not mean the State of Israel, but they also include all territories which they believe to be their patrimony from Yahveh, including all of the West Bank ("Judea and Samaria") and the Gaza Strip. Pay attention the next time you hear a speech by these guys and see if you can discern the distinction between "Land of Israel" and "State of Israel." Their constituents surely know the difference.

    When Bibi was first elected, some U.S. pundits expressed optimism that a hardliner like him was better able to make peace than a wimp like Ehud Barak, because his motives and aggressiveness could not be questioned - "It took Nixon to go to China"; "Sadat was able to make peace because he had been willing to make war." But, sadly, events have proved the pundits wrong once again. Netanyahu has no intention of making a deal. That is what he is telling his voters, who, for him, are the only audience that counts.

    May 30, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  4. Stuart

    God help the Middle east Arab countries, when Israel is pushed into a corner. Every one in the world knows that except the Arabs.

    May 30, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  5. j

    Fareek=Unique common muslim name Ironic that his views on Jews and isreal are Common and not Unique. Now Im starting to think that if he called himself Bozo the Clown he would possible be taken more seriously

    May 30, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  6. misha

    Jeanne, you're missing the point dear. See, this is how missinformed out of touch elements such as yourself get into trouble and drag innocent jews with them in the process. Just get out of the way, would you?

    May 30, 2011 at 12:57 am |
  7. misha

    Stuart, right on the money.

    May 30, 2011 at 12:59 am |
  8. misha

    Mar: Bravo! Period.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:03 am |
  9. Mar

    Fareed i am ashamed to have once considered you inteligent
    Before posting a comment much less an article you shuld visit israel and see first hand what these pece loving Animals (Ham ass) do to their children in schools or what they in the name of peace send to israel in the form of Missiles
    It is easy to post a comment in the confort of your California or NY house
    I hape you have a chance to spend some time wuth us here at this Israeli hospital where we treat 142 children that have lost a parent to one of your so loving friends
    Go to hell with them !!!!

    May 30, 2011 at 1:06 am |
  10. misha

    Mar: bravo again. Keep it coming, and show these idiots light.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:10 am |
  11. John

    Fareed Zakaria is a classic, anti Semetic, bleeding heart liberal, who is clearly biased towards radical Muslim extremists...I don't know what is more frightening, his views or the fact that he has this pathetic soapbox and is held up as some "all knowing " gift to mankind...interpreting for the simple and the unwashed!

    May 30, 2011 at 1:10 am |
  12. Phil

    The tragic truth is, Israel 'needs' the barbaric confrontational policy of Palestinian oppression not only for it's expansionist land-grabbing, but even more so because with 'peace', with any kind of peace with it's down-trodden neighbours, it's own fragmented and mutually antagonistical society would seriously endanger any cohesive survival. Here the real reason why neither Netanyahu nor any other will ever foment anything even remotely resembling a 'fair' settlement. Only overwhelming international pressure and a total boycott of Israeli produce can ever bring about any hope for the human rights of Palestinians. However, as long as U.S. politicians are willing & anxious to accept money from Zionist supporters not much will change in DC. It is a brave Obama who even dared to utter the sentiments he has; it will 'cost' him millions at the next Presidential marketing. People seem to have forgotten how those who today use 'Terrorism' as their bandwagon, were correctly called 'Terrorists' themselves by the British Empire in 1947-48 and a pertinent question would be this: would we even know 'Terrorism' as we do today, if the Jewish 'state' had proceeded with more consideration and fairness toward the legitimate proprietors of that piece of real estate called Palestine ??!!

    May 30, 2011 at 1:14 am |
    • Steven A.

      It's not hate, but ignorance that will bring about the end of the world.

      In case you didn't get the memo, the Zionist movement is over. We have Israel now.

      If you think Israel is expansionist, maybe you'd like to tell me what the hell America is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq? Coffee klatch?

      May 30, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  13. misha

    John, correct.what is frightening that this guy Zakaria is allowed being aired. BUT, guess we're lucky to have Glenn Beck to counter Zak's evil with Beck's quality, undistorted and factual reports.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • Steven A.

      Yeah, thank God for the GOP Truth Machine lol.

      May 30, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  14. Brad76

    I support Israel to a degree, however I do not support alot of their machinations and philosophies. You cannot confront Israel or bring them to task with anything because they will bring up the holocaust and call you antisemitic. It's unfair, and it's frustrating. They simply will not admit to any wrongdoing, they will not sacrifice for the greater good, you cannot negotiate with Israel. Israel will keep expanding, and in the words of extremist Israeli's "there's nothing anyone can do about it." Israel must be held to task just as much as arabs. It's only fair. We will never have peace until this is settled, and we need Israel to make sacrifices to do so.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  15. Stuart

    Arabs are killing each other all over the Middle east, Egypt ,Libya ,Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, But Israel is classified an agresser nation by the Arabs. Now what is wrong with that picture? The one major fact that you don't hear from the Arabs, is they started every war with Israel, and in every war they got there butt kicked. The problem with the middle east is not Israel, but the Arabs.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  16. misha

    Stuart, right again. Maybe they (arabs) will do us a favor and mutually anihilate themselves so that the jews are not faced doing that necessary job.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  17. Love of God

    Mycology, my response only concerns your comments regarding God. Yes there is a God, but not the God described in the O/T. God loves all God's creatures equally and God does not reside in a "temple", for God is Spirit. Contrary to what you say, there were no ten commandments, but over 200 commandments that say such things as stoning your child to death. God is not racist and God does not wish for people to enslave other people. God does not want human sacrifices and God does not kill the first born of innocent people for the sake of other people. God does not write in stones that do not survive time. God writes in human hearts. God does command anyone to kill men, boys and non virgins! It is too obvious that the claim that God whispered the entire O/T to the scribe Ezra, is a myth and an insult to God. By the way, there is little substantive difference between the prophets of the O/T and those of the Koran. God is not religious. religions were invented to control people. All that God wants is for you and me to learn to love and cherish each other and to work towards a pure and blameless hearts. All groups on earth have suffered. Before Africans were enslaved, the Europeans had endured this cruelty which the O/T does not condemn. We have to move on and stop punishing children for the sins of their fathers. I know this is also in The O/T, but we must reject these divisive edicts and embrace the teachings of JESUS – Love your fellow human being as yourself. (Can you try to practice this, MYCOLOGY?)

    May 30, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  18. JJ the wonderful

    Ever notice how israelis look an awful lot like europeans? Wonder why that is? Nope guess again.... it isn't the lack of sunshine in the ukraine or poland that did that... What you say?? You mean the "jews" have mixed with the Europeans and now look just like them??? Weird how that works.... Religion is a joke, and israel is simply colonization by occupation.

    I think the descendants of american slaves should go back to africa and take back what should have been be theirs..... Let's see how the locals will like it. cough cough..... Liberia ... LOL that worked well!!!

    May 30, 2011 at 1:25 am |
  19. Johnny

    Zakaria made a unforgivable mistake by criticizing Bibi. CNN should remove Zak and employ only Jewish columnists so we can have real, unbiased news.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • Brad76

      No. Get out of here you supremacist.

      May 30, 2011 at 1:35 am |
  20. D Hochberg

    It seems to me that you've got extremists on both sides (Israeli and Palestinian) and then others who would like to just see some kind of compromise that results in peace. The unfortunate part is that the extremists tend to ruin it for everybody.

    There has been plenty of blameworthy behavior on both sides.

    One good book I read recently on the subject was "The Hour of Sunlight" by Sami al Jundi, who emerged from 10 years in the Israeli prison system advocating non-violent means as the best way to achieve change. His technique of getting people from each side together (in his case young people) to get to know and understand each other seems a good one.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  21. Mar

    Give California back to Mexico
    You allthat speak like you have a right in this issue
    Israel belongs to the Israelis from day one of the creation and if it wasnt for them all those catholic sacred places would mow be restrooms to those loving and peacefull hamas animals so think again before making stupud comments from your missile safe houses. I am sure most of you dont even know where israel is in a map

    May 30, 2011 at 1:29 am |
  22. misha

    All, I love you.
    I'm sorry.
    Pls. forgive me.
    Thank you.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:31 am |
  23. Mar

    Let me remind you all that the worst enemy of arabs is arabs
    Look how they love each other and then imagine why they hate peace
    For these dictators the best way to preserve their status quo is to blame some one else and Israel is their best excuse

    May 30, 2011 at 1:38 am |
  24. j

    Phil is so smart, did you get that straight out of Rolling Stone Magazine. I have an idea, since you have figured out the entire plight of the palestinian people in one paragraph, why dont you return your land to the people whom your forefathers raped and killed. Unless your a native american your just another thief. Hell lets not stop there lets return all the land we stole, blah blah blah.. Please folks I know we voted for Obama in 2008 to prove we are not Racist. So lets vote for someone else in 2012 to prove were not Idiots

    May 30, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • LG

      Yes this makes perfect sense, lets make decisions for the USA based on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. And if you voted for Obama just to show you are not a racist, perhaps you are the idiot and should have read up on important issues like health care, tax policy and that whole big recession thing we just went through. How does the Israeli Palestinian conflict affect the average American? Thats right it doesn't, stop trying to turn your personal interests into American interests.

      May 30, 2011 at 1:51 am |
  25. Mar

    Misha i love you

    May 30, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  26. Vivek Chaudhary

    Dear Mr. Zakaria, you spoke like a typical Muslim who do not use their brain. Before I say anything more let me clarify my 'typical Muslim' quote. Unfortunately, most of the Muslims think that all the problems are because of Israel. Educated Muslims can think rationally, may be opinionated but not biased.

    Israel has been fighting for its existence for more than half a century. They have given Gaza, they have allowed settlers, they have allowed humanitarian missions to do their job in Palestine controlled areas. Israel cannot and will not tolerate any terror activities whether in planning or in action. They will retaliate. They do not harm civilians. On the other hand, hundreds of rockets are being launched by Palestinians into Jewish state, generally killing or hurting innocent civilians. They are surrounded by the Arab countries who are threatening to wipe them off from the face of the world. Who is defendant here? Please stop writing such piece of garbage.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  27. JJ the wonderful

    Vivek, have you been living under a rock? If not, you might be one of the least informed people I've ever come across. I'm guessing your I.Q. is in the 70-75 range correct?
    I hope more people will post such comical and giggle inducing posts like yours.
    Night all you silly people.

    Message for the day:
    Read a book... nope pop-up doesn't count Vivek..

    May 30, 2011 at 1:47 am |
  28. Peikovian

    There are some unfortunate Germans living in Uruguay who deserve your sympathy. They also killed a lot of Jews but lost their war.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:51 am |
  29. Mar

    Vivek you are right
    JJ the ignorant stick a katiushka up you ass you ignorant hate loving animal

    May 30, 2011 at 1:52 am |
  30. Nick K

    Fareed is exactly correct that Netanyahu does not want peace. His Likud party always rejected a Palestine on the West Bank of Jordan river. His Likud party platform still rejects two states in historic Palestine. What is important to note here is that since the beginning of the Oslo Accords and later admitted by Shamir the PM at the time, was the strategy was to delay "Peace" and prolong "Process". The issue is that of the Likud Party disagreed on the nature of the Zionist Movement and subscribe to the Revisionist Zionist Movement of Vladimir Jabotinksy who is the ideological Father and Political enemy of the Labor Zionist Movement headed by David Ben Gurion. Jabotinsky was the Father of the Iron Wall Theory. Google it! Bibi is just one bug PR machine leading to no where but misery for all the peoples there.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:52 am |
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