With the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference shindig only ten days away, the Israel advocacy organization’s claims that Israel supports a two-state solution, and its attempts to have Congressmen do the same, are angering at least one Israeli NGO.
The organization, Mattot Arim, says that AIPAC is working, as is the American Jewish Committee, to have Senators sign letters of support for the two-state solution, and leads American rabbis to believe in and support the establishment of a Palestinian state in a peace agreement with Israel – but all under false pretenses.
Mattot Arim is an Israeli grassroots movement that “works to advance the national interests of the residents of central Israel and the large cities” and seeks “peace for peace,” as opposed to “land for peace.”
In AIPAC literature ahead of its upcoming conference in Washington, D.C., Israel is said to be “committed to a two-state solution—a Jewish state living side-by-side in peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state.” With that as a given, AIPAC continues to say that the U.S. must insist that “this goal” can be achieved only via direct negotiations between the parties.
However, Mattot Arim says, it is actually not true that Israel supports such a solution, and AIPAC should be more up-front about its dangers.
A request to AIPAC from Arutz Sheva to comment on this charge has thus far gone unanswered.
For one thing, Mattot Arim maintains, a recent JTA report stated that “fissures between the [two American political parties] have emerged [regarding Israel], with Democrats still forcefully backing a two-state solution… while President Donald Trump has retreated from explicitly backing that outcome.” A letter to the President from House members asking him to reaffirm support for the two-state solution has so far gathered 115 signatures – only two of them from Republicans.
AIPAC is thus taking the Democratic Party’s position, as opposed to Trump’s.
In addition, though Netanyahu is seen as the champion of two-states, his support for the idea has been downgraded significantly. At his recent meeting with President Trump in Washington, Netanyahu was asked if he still favors the two-state solution, and he “dodged the question,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “Asked about a two-state solution,” BBC reported, “Mr. Netanyahu said he wanted to focus on ‘substance’ and not ‘labels.'”
To whatever extent Netanyahu supports a Palestinian state, it is only on condition that it be demilitarized – a condition many analysts note is not likely to ever be accepted by the Palestinian Authority, and certainly not implemented in the long range. That is, if the PA does accept the condition, and then declares independence with Israel’s consent, and then takes up arms and forms an army, there is nothing that Israel would be able to do about it, nor would the new state cease being a state.
Mattot Arim avers that AIPAC is “intentionally ignoring the fact that [even] Netanyahu’s support for two-states was ambiguous.” It does not note the conditions that he has laid down for a Palestinian state, nor his warnings that it “could become another Islamic dictatorship, one of many in the Middle East.”
It must be further noted that, as former Secretary of State John Kerry has said, “more than 50% of the ministers in the current [Israeli] government have publicly stated they are opposed to a Palestinian state.” In Israel, it is the government as a whole that sets national policy, and not the Prime Minister alone.
Mattot Arim’s ire is further raised by how American rabbis are “led astray” by AIPAC. One prominent Orthodox rabbi, asked by Mattot Arim why he supports a Palestinian state, denied the charge. The organization representative explained that he supported AIPAC, and he acknowledged that this is true and that he encourages his congregation to do the same: “That is something completely different [than supporting a Palestinian state]… Of course we support AIPAC; they lobby for the Israeli government’s position in Washington.”
Mattot Arim said this is an example of a “leader of an Orthodox congregation who innocently leads his flock [into] supporting a Palestinian state because he is told by AIPAC that that is the Israeli government position – even though this is not true.”
As stated above, Arutz Sheva awaits AIPAC’s response to these charges.
Source material can be found at this site.