Monday, December 8, 2014

It is sad that French Jewish intellectuals understand more what is at stake than Israeli authors

Israeli authors urge Belgium to recognize Palestine

Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua and David Grossman among 800 Israeli public figures who sign letter ahead of parliament vote

Many of the public figures behind the motion — including 10 Israel Prize winners, Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman, five former diplomats, several former MKs, and five ex-ministers — have already submitted the same appeal to the Danish and British parliaments, and will send a draft to other European countries seeking to pass a resolution on Palestine.

“Your initiative to recognize a Palestinian state will advance the peace prospects, and encourage Israelis and Palestinians to reach a resolution to the conflict,” the letter exhorted.
The missive called for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with “Israeli recognition of Palestine, and Palestinian recognition of Israel.” It also decried the “political deadlock and ongoing occupation and settlement, which leads to conflict with the Palestinians, and torpedoes any possibility of an agreement.”
Belgian legislators from the ruling coalition are working on a nonbinding resolution to recognize a Palestinian state, adding to a groundswell of support within the European Union.
Even if such a legislative resolution from the government parties comes quickly, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said Wednesday he would first push for a new EU initiative to bring Israel and the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table to reinvigorate the peace process.
Belgian legislators are completing work on a text and it was expected that a resolution would be tabled quickly, said Peter Luykx, a legislator for the N-VA party, the biggest in Belgium’s four-party ruling coalition.
“We have a first draft text and our ambition is to bring it swiftly to the parliamentary committee” dealing with foreign policy issues, Luykx said in an interview.
He insisted that the resolution wouldn’t show unconditional support for Palestinian statehood, but that “quite a few conditions and strings are attached.”
Reynders told VRT network that in the end, “it will be up to the government to decide when it is suitable to move toward recognition.”
Last Tuesday, France’s lower house voted to urge the government to recognize a Palestinian state. On October 30, Sweden became the first Western European nation to recognize Palestinian statehood. Parliamentarians in in Britain, Spain and Ireland have approved nonbinding motions urging recognition.
Israel has denounced the votes as counterproductive to peace efforts.
“Israel believes the vote in the National Assembly, which supports recognition of the state of Palestine, will only distance the chances of reaching an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,” said Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
“Such decisions will only make the Palestinian positions more extreme and sends the wrong message to the leaders and peoples of this region,” he said. A solution to the conflict will only be found through direct negotiations between the two parties and not through unilateral actions, Nahshon added.
News agencies contributed to this report.

 Bernard-Henri Lévy

  Author : Bernard-Henri Lévy
For nearly half a century I have favored the two-state solution. But I believe that the “unilateral recognition” of Palestine under consideration in the French parliament is a bad idea for three reasons.

1. Hamas.
Its charter and its agenda.
The fact that, for the time being at least, Hamas administers one of the two territories that make up the state that supposedly must be recognized immediately and with great fanfare. The fact that Hamas’s doctrine is that Israel must be destroyed.
One does not recognize, even symbolically, a state in which half of the government denies another state’s right to exist.
One does not recognize, especially not symbolically, a government in which half of the ministers dream of annihilating that state.

One extends a hand to its people, of course. One provides help. One supports and reinforces the other party, that of Mahmoud Abbas, and encourages it to break the unnatural alliance into which it has entered. But as long as that alliance remains intact; as long as Hamas remains Hamas; as long as a part of the state that one is preparing to recognize recognizes itself in a charter that orders all Muslims to come out from “behind the rocks and trees” where they are “hiding” to “kill … Jews” (article 7 of the charter); as long as Hamas professes (article 13) that “the supposed initiatives” and “peaceful solutions,” such as the current proposal in France, that would “settle the Palestinian question” are contrary to the faith, one must defer recognition.
2. The timing.
The worldwide rise of jihadism.
And the fact that the Palestinian political class and, alas, its civil society (not just Hamas), seem once again to be unclear on the question.
I am not referring to Mahmoud Abbas, who condemned the November 18 attack on a synagogue in West Jerusalem that left five people dead.
But I am referring to his allies in the PFLP who took credit for it. I am referring to the Islamic Jihad and, again, Hamas, which praised it.

And I am thinking of those thousands of young people who, as soon as the news became known, came out into the streets to light fireworks and celebrate.
One day, perhaps, a majority of Israelis may come to believe that the least bad form of protection against this situation is a clean break. But that will be their decision, not the decision of a Spanish, English, Swedish, or, now, French parliament improvising a hasty, ill-founded, and, above all, inconsequential resolution.
One cannot be horrified at the decapitations in Iraq and then dismiss murders with knives and hatchets in Israel.
One cannot, at one moment, reject the rhetoric of excuses (“those who have gone to fight in Syria are lost souls, victims of social malaise…”) and, the next moment, indulge in it (“the killer was humiliated, a victim of the occupation…”).
One cannot, with the right hand, strengthen the legislative arsenal that makes it possible for Europe or the United States to combat blind violence, then, with the left, approve a resolution that basically says “we understand” to aficionados of the ram raid hoping for a third Intifada.
There will be a state in Gaza and Ramallah. That is in Israel’s interest and it is the Palestinians’ right. But our involvement is justified only if we demand equal effort from both parties. From South Africa’s ANC to the Kurdish PKK, and including Menachem Begin’s Irgun, history is full of terrorist organizations that changed their tactics and spirit. We are waiting for Palestinian groups to follow the same path—and it is toward that goal that men and women of good will in France and elsewhere should work.
3. Because this is the essence of the problem.
No honest observer can ignore the fact that both sides have a long way to go.
No advocate of peace denies that between the governments in Jerusalem, which, from Rabin to  Netanyahu, have never renounced the settlements policy, and a Palestinian leadership that has oscillated between accepting Israel as a fact and rejecting any Jewish presence on Arab land, there is blame enough to go around.
But that is precisely what the proponents of unilateral recognition deny.
It is very precisely what they forget when they go around saying “we can’t take anymore of this” and “it is urgent that things move forward,” or that a “strong gesture” is needed in order to “apply pressure” and “unblock the situation,” and that no better “strong gesture” can be found than to impose on Netanyahu a non-negotiated Palestinian state.
And that points to the last critique to be laid against them: Their reasoning presupposes that there is only one blockage (the Israeli one) and only one party that needs to be pressured (Israel), and that nothing needs to come from the Palestinian camp—literally nothing: Stay put; take no initiative; whatever you do, do not demand the revocation of a Hamas charter that drips with hate for Jews and contempt for international law—because, hey, now you have your state.
It is hard to tell which is greater in this case: hostility to Israel, contempt for the Palestinians, or lack of seriousness. But one thing is certain. Without shared responsibility, there will be no shared land. By excusing one side from its historical and political burden, we may believe that we are seeking peace; in fact, we are perpetuating war.
Bernard-Henri Lévy is one of France’s most famed philosophers, a journalist, and a bestselling writer. He is considered a founder of the New Philosophy movement and is a leading thinker on religious issues, genocide, and international affairs. His 2013 book, Les Aventures de la vérité—Peinture et philosophie: un récit, explores the historical interplay of philosophy and art. His new play, “Hotel Europe,” which premiered in Sarajevo on June 27, 2014, and in Paris on September 9, is a cry of alarm about the crisis facing the European project and the dream behind it.
Translated by Steven B. Kennedy


Bernard-Henri Lévy et Shimon Peres
Je suis un partisan, depuis presque cinquante ans, de la solution des deux Etats. Mais je pense que cette « reconnaissance unilatérale » de la Palestine par le Parlement français serait une mauvaise idée pour trois raisons.
1. Le Hamas.
La charte et le programme du Hamas.
Le fait que le Hamas administre, jusqu’à plus ample informé, l’un des deux territoires constitutifs de cet Etat que l’on veut reconnaître à grand fracas et sans tarder – et le fait qu’il a pour doctrine la nécessaire destruction d’Israël.
On ne reconnaît pas, fût-ce symboliquement, un Etat dont la moitié du gouvernement pratique le déni de l’Autre.
On ne reconnaît pas, surtout symboliquement, un gouvernement dont la moitié des ministres rêveraient d’annihiler l’Etat voisin.
On tend la main à son peuple, bien sûr. On l’aide. On soutient et renforce l’autre parti, celui de Mahmoud Abbas, et on l’encourage à rompre l’alliance contre nature qu’il a nouée. Mais, tant que l’alliance n’est pas rompue, ou tant que le Hamas reste le Hamas et qu’une partie de l’Etat que l’on s’apprête à reconnaître se reconnaît lui-même dans une charte qui ordonne à tous les musulmans de « venir », jusque « derrière les pierres et les arbres » où ils sont « cachés », « tuer » les « juifs » (article 7 de la charte), tant que l’on y professe (article 13) que « les prétendues initiatives » et « solutions de paix » censées, comme le projet français d’aujourd’hui, « régler la question palestinienne » vont « à l’encontre » de la « foi », on ajourne la démarche.
2. Le moment.
La poussée mondiale du djihadisme.
Et le fait que la société politique et, hélas, civile palestinienne semble, par-delà même le Hamas, à nouveau peu claire sur la question.
Je ne parle pas de Mahmoud Abbas qui a condamné l’attentat qui vient de faire cinq morts, le 18 novembre, dans une synagogue de Jérusalem-Ouest.
Mais je parle de ses alliés du FPLP qui l’ont revendiqué.
Je parle du Jihad islamique et, encore, du Hamas qui l’ont salué.
Et je pense à ces milliers de jeunes qui, aussitôt connue la nouvelle, sont descendus dans la rue pour lancer des feux d’artifice et pavoiser.
Peut-être y aura-t-il, un jour, une majorité d’Israéliens pour estimer que la moins mauvaise des protections contre cette situation est encore une séparation sèche. Mais ce sera leur décision. Pas celle d’un Parlement espagnol, anglais, suédois ou, maintenant, français improvisant une résolution bâclée, mal étayée et, plus que tout, inconséquente.
On ne peut pas s’horrifier des décapitations en Irak et tenir pour négligeables, en Israël, les meurtres au couteau et à la hache.
On ne peut pas, ici, refuser la rhétorique de l’excuse (« les djihadistes partis pour la Syrie sont des paumés, victimes du malaise social… ») et, là, y consentir (« l’assassin est un humilié, victime de l’occupation… »).
On ne peut pas, de la main droite, renforcer l’arsenal législatif qui permet, en Europe, de lutter contre la violence aveugle et, de la gauche, voter une résolution qui revient à dire « je vous ai compris » aux aficionados de la voiture bélier rêvant d’une troisième Intifada.
Il y aura un Etat à Gaza et Ramallah. C’est l’intérêt d’Israël et c’est le droit des Palestiniens. Mais nous ne sommes fondés à nous en mêler qu’en demandant autant d’efforts à une partie et à l’autre : de l’ANC sud-africain au PKK kurde en passant par l’Irgoun de Begin, l’Histoire est pleine d’organisations terroristes qui se sont assagies – on attend des groupes palestiniens qu’ils suivent le même itinéraire et c’est à cela aussi que doivent œuvrer, en France, les hommes et femmes de bonne volonté.
3. Car tout le problème est là.
Aucun observateur honnête n’ignore qu’il y a du chemin à faire des deux côtés. Aucun partisan de la paix ne nie qu’entre les gouvernements de Jérusalem qui, de Rabin à Netanyahou, n’ont jamais renoncé à la politique d’implantations et la direction palestinienne qui oscille entre l’acceptation du fait israélien et le refus de toute présence juive en terre arabe, les torts sont partagés.
Or c’est précisément ce que nient les partisans de cette reconnaissance unilatérale.
C’est très exactement ce qu’ils oublient quand ils vont partout répétant qu’« on n’en peut plus » et qu’« il est urgent que les choses bougent », ou qu’il faut un « acte fort » permettant de « faire pression » et de « débloquer la situation » – et qu’ils ne trouvent d’autre « acte fort » que d’imposer à Netanyahou leur Etat palestinien non négocié.
Et le dernier reproche qu’on doit leur faire est bien là : leur raisonnement présuppose qu’il n’y a qu’un blocage, et qu’il est israélien ; qu’un acteur sur lequel il convient de faire pression, et que c’est Israël ; et que, du camp palestinien, il n’y a rien à attendre, littéralement rien (ne bougez pas ; ne prenez aucune initiative ; ne demandez surtout pas que soit déclarée caduque, par exemple, une charte du Hamas qui suinte, à chaque ligne, la haine des juifs et le mépris du droit international ; car votre Etat, vous l’avez)…
On ne sait ce qui, en la circonstance, l’emporte de l’hostilité à Israël, du mépris pour les Palestiniens ou, simplement, de la légèreté. Mais une chose est sûre. Sans partage des responsabilités, il n’y aura pas de partage de la terre ; et, en exonérant l’un des camps de sa tâche historique et politique, on croit vouloir la paix mais on perpétue, en réalité, la guerre.

Update. Dec 10, 2014

Sir, – I find it sad that leading Israeli writers understand less about the Middle East than does the French-Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy who recently wrote: “For nearly half a century I have favored the two-state solution.

But I believe that the ‘unilateral recognition’ of Palestine under consideration in the French parliament is a bad idea for three reasons. 1. Hamas. Its charter and its agenda. The fact that, for the time being at least, Hamas administers one of the two territories that make up the state that supposedly must be recognized immediately and with great fanfare. The fact that Hamas’s doctrine is that Israel must be destroyed.

One does not recognize, even symbolically, a state in which half of the government denies another state’s right to exist.

One does not recognize, especially not symbolically, a government in which half of the ministers dream of annihilating that state.”


BHL : « on ne peut pas reconnaître un Etat palestinien avec le Hamas aux commandes » (Vidéo)