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INDEX OF MYTHS:
             (2005-2012 archives - CLICK HERE)

2014

"UNRWA is a humanitarian organization that remains neutral in the conflict." (July 31)
"Journalists are never deceived by Palestinian propaganda.” (July 22)
"Hamas never endangers Palestinian civilians; it is the Israelis who target them.” (July 22)
“Hamas is firing rockets at Israel to end the 'occupation.'” (July 16)
“Israel is indiscriminately attacking Palestinian targets in Gaza.” (July 10)
“Summer camp for Palestinians in Gaza is a fun escape for children like American camps.” (June 17)
“Human rights organizations use reliable information in reports criticizing Israel.” (June 4)
“Human rights organizations present unbiased reports on Israel.” (May 15)
“Mosques are sacrosanct and never used by terrorists.” (May 7)
“Hamas-Fatah reconciliation paves the way to peace negotiations with Israel.” (April 29)
“Jonathan Pollard's conviction for espionage proved that Israel works against American interests.” (April 2)
“The Arab world and Palestinians have changed since the three "noes" of 1967.” (March 26)
“The Palestinians have recognized Israel as the state of the Jewish people.”(March 19)
“If Israel makes peace with the Palestinians the other Arab states will normalize ties with Israel.” (March 12)
“The Palestinian Authority no longer engages in terrorism against Israel.” (February 19)
“Jews will be welcome in a future Palestinian state.” (February 5)
“Arab militaries do everything possible to protect civilians in war zones.” (January 28)
“Academic boycotts of Israel are popular in America.” (January 9)

2013


“The Iranian government is committed to fulfilling the terms it agreed to in the Geneva nuclear deal“ (December 4)
“The negotiated compromise with Iran removes Tehran's nuclear weapons threat.” (November 25)
“A third intifada will erupt if Israel does not satisfy Palestinian demands.” (November 6)
“The Palestinians have made concessions to advance the peace process; Israel has remained uncompromising.” (October 30)
“Israel is responsible for expelling the Arabs of Palestine during the 1948 War of Independence.” (October 23)
“Iran is isolated because of the international sanctions regime.” (October 10)
“Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei issued a fatwa against producing nuclear weapons.” (October 3)
“Palestinians support the boycott and divestment movement against Israel.” (September 24)
“Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is disinterested in peace with the Palestinians.” (September 12)
“Christians are a protected minority in the Middle East.” (August 28)
“Israel must make concessions for the peace process to succeed.” (August 15)
“Palestinian leaders enter peace talks with Israel sharing a common desire for democacy.” (July 31)
“Israel 'occupies' the West Bank.” (July 24)
“The U.S. must be involved in any successful peace process between Israel and her neighbors.” (July 11)
“The election of Hassan Rouhani eliminates the Iranian nuclear threat.” (June 27)
“The United States helped Israel defeat the Arabs in six days in June 1967.” (June 6)
“An Israeli attack on Iran would endanger U.S. interests in the Middle East.” (May 30)
“'Nakba Day' has nothing to do with the peace process.” (May 22)
“Israel has refused to discuss a compromise on the future of Jerusalem.” (May 14)
“Syria’s chemical weapons pose no threat outside of Syria.” (May 2)
“Now is a good time to revive the Arab peace initiative.” (April 25)
“The Palestinian Authority is committed to reforming Palestinian society.” (April 18)
“Israelis overreact to harmless rock-throwing by Palestinians.” (April 3)
“Non-lethal Palestinian rocket attacks have no impact on Israel's civilian population.” (March 21)
“The European Union has no reason to name Hezbollah a terrorist organization.” (March 13)
“Israel has created separate bus lines to segregate Jews and Palestinians.” (March 7)
“If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was solved, the Middle East would be a peace.” (February 20)
“Attacking Iran will create more instability in the Middle East.” (February 13)
“The Palestinians are now ready to make peace with Israel.” (February 7)
“Israel has nothing to fear from a nuclear Iran.” (January 22)
“Israeli settlements are an obstacle to Mideast peace.” (January 17)


MYTH:

'Nakba Day' has nothing to do with the peace process.

FACT

On May 15, 2014, Palestinians across the Middle East commemorated the 66th anniversary of “al-Nakba,” marking “the catastrophe” of Israel’s creation in 1948. Palestinians are understandably bitter about their national history over the last six and a half decades, but if the Palestinians and the Arab states had accepted the United Nations partition resolution in 1947, the State of Palestine would instead have celebrated its 66th birthday alongside Israel.

We are often told that Palestinian intransigence in the peace process is because they object to the “occupation” of territories - namely the West Bank and East Jerusalem - which Israel captured in the Six Day War of 1967. But if this is true, then why is “Nakba Day“ celebrated on the date that Israel gained independence in 1948 rather than in June on the anniversary of the Arab defeat in the Six Day War?

The simple answer is that the Palestinians consider the creation of Israel the original sin, and their focus on that event is indicative of a refusal - even today - to reconcile themselves with the Jewish State. While Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas have many other political disagreements, they equally value the importance of publizing “Nakba Day.” As such, it should come as no surprise that Israelis find it difficult to be optimistic about the prospect of negotiating a two-state solution with a united Fatah-Hamas government that believes their country has no right to exist.


“Palestine means Palestine in its entirety - from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, from Ras Al-Naqura to Rafah. We cannot give up a single inch of it. Therefore, we will not recognize the Israeli enemy's [right] to a single inch.”

Hamas Leader Mahmoud Zahar 341



“The root of this conflict never was a Palestinian state, or lack thereof. The root of the conflict is, and always has been, [Palestinian] refusal to recognize the Jewish state. It is not a conflict over 1967, but over 1948, over the very existence of the State of Israel. [Nakba Day] events did not occur on June 5, the anniversary of the Six Day War. They occurred on May 15, the day the State of Israel was established. The Palestinians regard this day, the foundation of the State of Israel, [as] their nakba, their catastrophe.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 342

 

MYTH:

An Israeli attack on Iran would endanger U.S. interests in the Middle East.

FACT

Israel is doing everything possible to avoid the necessity of launching a self-defense operation to stop Iran’s nuclear program; nevertheless, it is conceivable that military action may be required if sanctions and negotiations continue to fail. Some, like former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, have warned that an attack on Iran will “haunt us for generations” in the Middle East.343 The truth is that U.S. interests are already threatened in the region, and will become more tenuous if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon.

This is not the first time that U.S. officials have feared dire consequences as a result of Israeli strikes against Arab threats. However, in the two prior examples of Israel attacking Arab nuclear sitesIraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007 – the threats were eliminated without any harm to American interests. In fact, in the former case, Israel ensured the United States would not face the possibility of an Iraqi nuclear response during the 1991 Gulf War.

Some analysts have warned that Iran will attack U.S. targets if Israel acts against Iran. This would be counterproductive since no one expects an Israeli military strike to be as effective as an American one. If Iran were to retaliate against the United States for any Israeli operation it would only provoke American forces to respond to protect our interests and exponentially increase the punishment inflicted on Iran.

Some analysts have warned that Iran will attack U.S. targets if Israel acts against Iran. This would be counterproductive since no one expects an Israeli military strike to be as effective as an American one. If Iran were to retaliate against the United States for any Israeli operation it would only provoke American forces to respond to protect our interests and exponentially increase the punishment inflicted on Iran.

This is not to say that American interests in the Middle East are not in danger, but the threats are unrelated to any action against Iran. Radical Islamists already threaten U.S. interests in the region and will continue to do so regardless of how the Iranian nuclear issue is resolved because they are determined to drive America out of the Middle East and to restore the Muslim empire.

 

MYTH:

The United States helped Israel defeat the Arabs in six days in June 1967.

Maps of Battle for Sinai (l) & Battle for Jerusalem (r) - Click to Enlarge

FACT

The United States tried to prevent the war through negotiations, but it could not persuade Nasser or the other Arab states to cease their belligerent statements and actions. Still, right before the war, President Johnson warned: “Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go alone.” 344 Then, when the war began, the State Department announced: “Our position is neutral in thought, word and deed.” 345

Moreover, while the Arabs were falsely accusing the United States of airlifting supplies to Israel, Johnson imposed an arms embargo on the region (France, Israel’s other main arms supplier, also embargoed arms to Israel).

By contrast, the Soviets were supplying massive amounts of arms to the Arabs. Simultaneously, the armies of Kuwait, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq were contributing troops and arms to the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian fronts.346

 

MYTH:

The election of Hassan Rouhani eliminates the Iranian nuclear threat.

FACT

The Iranian regime has apparently succeeded in bamboozling the Western media by portraying newly elected Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, as a moderate who could end the Islamic Republic’s showdown with the international community over its nuclear program. The Guardian, CNN, Reuters and Yahoo News all headlined stories about “Rouhani the Moderate” while The Washington Post went even further with the headline, “Rouhani seen as best hope for ending nuclear standoff with West.”347

The election of Rouhani, however, changes nothing in Iran’s strategic vision for its nuclear program and may even be a tactical victory for the Ayatollahs.  As Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator in the early 2000s, Rouhani never agreed to any real compromise with the West and later admitted that the temporary suspension of certain elements of the program in 2003 was a ploy to enable Iran to build up its nuclear infrastructure. In 2004 he spoke of using a “calculated strategy” in negotiations with the EU3 – France, UK, and Germany – to buy time, and then finding “the most suitable time to do away with the suspension.”348 In his first press conference as president-elect, he firmly announced that “the era of suspension is gone.”349

Moderation is a relative term.  Compared to the genocidal anti-Semite he will succeed, Rouhani may seem reasonable, but he has always been a staunch supporter of the Islamic Revolution and Ayatollah Khomeini. He became a close political ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and served as his personal assistant to the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC). Rouhani also served as national security advisor to past presidents Khatami and Rafsanjani who oversaw the advancement of Iran’s nuclear program.350

Rouhani’s comparative restraint, however, is irrelevant to the nuclear question since Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard control Iran’s nuclear policy.351 Rouhani has no mandate to modify Iran’s position toward its right to enrich uranium and has given no indication that he has any desire to do so anyways. Following his electoral victory, Rouhani pledged to continue to safeguard Iran’s “inalienable rights” to nuclear power.352

Rouhani’s election gives comfort to Iran’s apologists who now argue he should be given an opportunity to play his hand in negotiations. Some even argue that sanctions should be lifted and harsher measures delayed. That, however, would be an irreversible mistake that would give Iran more time to continue to advance toward the breakout point where it cannot be prevented from building a nuclear bomb.  Already, Iran is closing in on this red line – in mid-June, International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Yukiya Amano reported that Iran has made a “steady increase in capacity and production” of its nuclear program despite punitive measures taken by the West.353

If Rouhani is willing and able to shift Iran’s policy to comply with United Nations resolutions, then he should act accordingly; otherwise, he is just Ahmadinejad in a more palatable package.

 

MYTH:

The United States must be involved in any successful peace process between Israel and her neighbors.

FACT

Less than 24 hours after President Obama’s second inauguration, the first op-ed appeared suggesting he prioritize pushing Israel into a peace agreement with the Palestinians. This notion has become a familiar refrain from people frustrated with the reality that the Palestinians are divided and have demonstrated no interest in negotiating with Israel since Obama first took office.

Now, Secretary John Kerry is about to embark on his fifth trip to the Middle East in the last half-year with Israel's leaders continuing to say they are prepared to negotiate without preconditions. Meanwhile, the Palestinians persist in demanding that Israel make concessions (a settlement freeze and the release of convicted criminals) and agree to unacceptable terms (e.g., recognition of the 1967 border as the basis for negotiations) before they will sit with any Israeli officials. Given the intransigence of Mahmoud Abbas, and the outright hostility of Hamas, few people expect talks to occur or to achieve any breakthrough on the core issues that have bedeviled negotiators since 1993. Moreover, history shows American initiatives have not only been failures but sometimes make the situation worse by creating unreal expectations.354

While the United States can play a valuable role as a mediator, the parties themselves must resolve their differences.

The list of failed American initiatives to broker peace between Israel and her neighbors includes:

  • 1953: The Eisenhower Administration tried to ease Arab-Israeli tensions by proposing the joint Arab-Israeli use of the Jordan River, a plan that would have helped the Arab refugees by producing more irrigated land and would have reduced Israel’s need for more water resources. Israel cautiously accepted the plan, the Arab League rejected it.
  • 1967: President Johnson outlined five principles for peace. “The first and greatest principle,” he said, “is that every nation in the area has a fundamental right to live and to have this right respected by its neighbors.” The Arab response came a few weeks later: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it ... ”
  • 1969: President Nixon’s Secretary of State, William Rogers, offered a plan that sought to ““balance“” U.S. policy, but leaned on the Israelis to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders; to accept many Palestinian refugees; and to allow Jordan a role in Jerusalem. Israel deemed the plan completely unacceptable, and even though Rogers’ plan tilted toward the Arab position, they too rejected it.
  • 1975: President Ford’s Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, had a little more success in his shuttle diplomacy, arranging the disengagement of forces after the 1973 war, but he never put forward a peace plan, and failed to move the parties beyond the cessation of hostilities to the formalization of peace.
  • 1978: Jimmy Carter was the model for presidential engagement in the conflict. He wanted an international conference at Geneva to produce a comprehensive peace. While Carter spun his wheels trying to organize a conference, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat decided to bypass the Americans and go directly to the Israeli people and address the Knesset. Despite revisionist history by Carter’s former advisers, the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement was negotiated largely despite Carter. Menachem Begin and Sadat had carried on secret contacts long before Camp David and had reached the basis for an agreement before Carter’s intervention. Carter’s mediation helped seal the treaty, but Sadat’s decision to go to Jerusalem was stimulated largely by his conviction that Carter’s policies were misguided.
  • 1982: President Reagan announced a surprise peace initiative that called for allowing the Palestinians self-rule in the territories in association with Jordan. The plan rejected both Israeli annexation and the creation of a Palestinian state. Israel denounced the plan as endangering Israeli security. The plan had been formulated largely to pacify the Arab states, which had been angered by the expulsion of the PLO from Beirut, but they also rejected the Reagan Plan.
  • 1991: George Bush's Administration succeeded in convening a historic regional conference in Madrid in 1991, but it ended without any agreements and the multilateral tracks that were supposed to settle some of the more contentious issues rarely met and failed to resolve anything. Moreover, Bush’s perceived hostility toward Israel eroded trust and made it difficult to convince Israelis to take risks for peace.
  • 1993: President Clinton barely had time to get his vision of peace together when he discovered the Israelis had secretly negotiated an agreement with the Palestinians in Oslo. The United States had nothing to do with the breakthrough at Oslo and very little influence on the immediate aftermath. In fact, the peace process became increasingly muddled as the United States got more involved.
  • 1994: Peace with Jordan also required no real American involvement. The Israelis and Jordanians already were agreed on the main terms of peace, and the main obstacle had been King Hussein’s unwillingness to sign a treaty before Israel had reached an agreement with the Palestinians. After Oslo, he felt safe to move forward and no American plan was needed.
  • 2000: In a last ditch effort to save his presidential legacy, Clinton put forward a peace plan to establish a Palestinian state. Again, it was Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s willingness to offer dramatic concessions that raised the prospects for an agreement rather than the president’s initiative. Even after Clinton was prepared to give the Palestinians a state in virtually all the West Bank and Gaza, and to make east Jerusalem their capital, the Palestinians rejected the deal.
  • 2002: President George W. Bush also offered a plan, but it was undercut by Yasser Arafat, who obstructed the required reforms of the Palestinian Authority, and refused to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and stop the violence. Bush’s plan morphed into the Road Map, which drew the support of Great Britain, France, Russia, and the United Nations, but was never implemented because of continuing Palestinian violence. The peace process only began to move again when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made his disengagement proposal, a unilateral approach the State Department had long opposed. Rather than try to capitalize on the momentum created by Israel’s evacuation of the Gaza Strip, however, the Bush Administration remained wedded to the Road Map.
  • 2007: In his own last-ditch effort to bring momentum to a stalled process toward peace, George W. Bush organized the Annapolis Conference in Washington, D.C. While the conference did mark the first time the two-state solution was agreed upon as a framework for eventually ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this abstract commitment from both Israeli and Arab parties made no difference to the situation in Israel or the West Bank; and terrorist organization Hamas had been elected rulers of the all-Palestinian Gaza Strip just several months prior.
  • 2009: President Obama tried in his first term to bring about a peace agreement and not only failed, but was counterproductive and undermined hope for negotiations during those four years. Rather than proposing a peace plan, he began by focusing on a demand for a settlement freeze in the West Bank and Jerusalem in 2009. This, combined with other public comments and policies, caused the Israeli government to doubt his commitment to Israeli security and created tension in the U.S.-Israel relationship. Simultaneously, because Israel agreed only to a temporary 10-month freeze in the West Bank, Arab leaders saw Obama as too weak to force Israel to make concessions, and refused to respond positively to the administration’s requests that they take steps to show their willingness to make peace with Israel if a Palestinian state were established. Meanwhile, the Palestinians, who had negotiated for years without insisting on a settlement freeze, refused to talk to the Israelis unless a total settlement freeze was imposed. After two years, Obama had succeeded in alienating all the parties and the Palestinians refused all Israeli invitations to restart peace talks.
  • 2013: On his fourth visit in six months to the region, Secretary of State John Kerry tried to convene a four-party summit in Amman between Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, and American negotiators before Israeli-Palestinian direct talks. Instead, the press conference