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Daniel Pipes


by Rhonda Spivak, April 16, 2016





In an exclusive interview with the Winnipeg Jewish Review just prior to his Winnipeg visit to give a talk sponsored by the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism on March 21, well known scholar Dr.  Daniel Pipes, President of the Middle East Forum, said in regard to the looming threat Iran poses to Israel, that it is possible that Iran could "already have " a nuclear bomb. "They could have purchased a full fledged weapon from the North Koreans," without the West actually knowing. Pipes noted that "we only learned about Natanz because of an Iranian opposition group" that leaked it.


Pipes listed "the looming threat of Iran" as the first on the list of current threats to the State of Israel. Second on his list was "Chemical weapons from Syria" and third was "Hizbollah's arsenal."


When asked about the possible collapse of the Palestinian Authority, Pipes said that "I will not, miss it, should it be gone." He explained that while the PA "does engage in security cooperation with Israel," it incites violence (in PA controlled television, schools, etc.) and this incitement outweighs the benefit of its security co-operation.


When asked what would happen if the PA collapsed, Pipes offered four scenarios. The first is that Israel could take control of the PA territories in the West Bank, but Pipes indicated that "both sides are loath to see that happen." The second option is that "Israel sponsors a new version of the PA that is more responsible." The third option is that some elements in the Palestinian community come up with a [Palestinian]warlord that Israel acquiesces to." The fourth option is that "there would be anarchy", as there is in Lebanon. Pipes said he preferred option 2, but option 3 would also be "ok", because whichever Palestinian "warlord" would take over "couldn't be much worse than the PA." Pipes said that Israel will prevent Hamas from rising to power in the West Bank.


Pipes said that any agreement between Israel and the Palestinians about the fate of the PA West Bank is "very far away." However, in this regard, Pipes rejects the notion that negotiations ought to be based on the principle of Israel returning to the 1967 lines. "Any settlement [of the   conflict] will not be along the 67 lines. "The 67 lines are the 1949 armistice lines... These lines only existed for 19 years. They have been gone 2.5 times more than they stayed," Pipes said.


Regarding the future of the West Bank, Pipes said he is against Caroline Glick's proposal to annex the West Bank to Israel as it would bring a hostile population into Israel.  But instead if and when there were ever serious negotiations, Pipes can see "horse trading" which would involve "land swaps" between the two sides. For example, Pipes suggested that the Palestinian city of Um Al Fahm in Israel could be traded so that Israel could retain the settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, near Jericho. If residents of Um Al Fahm didn't agree with the swap and wanted to stay in Israel, "then they could leave their homes and relocate elsewhere in Israel", or they could stay and become residents of a Palestinian state. When asked if there were any historical precedents for such a land swap (without the consent of residents subject to the swap) Pipes referred to purchase by the United States of Louisiana from the French in 1803, and the swap between Canada and the United states over territory in the Yukon in 1903. He also referred to the fact that when Israel withdrew from Gaza, "no one told them it was illegal," (albeit that residents of Gaza were not citizens of  Israel). He said that Israel could "retreat" from Um Al Fahm and should do so "overnight" before all the residents decided to move into other parts to Israel.  



The Winnipeg Jewish Review noted that t on March 10, 2016, during Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel, Israel's Civil Administration’s Head of the Government Property signed a declaration according to which 2,342 dunams (580 acres) south of Jericho are now government property. (This is meant for the expansion of nearby settlements as well as for trade and tourism projects operated by the settlers). Pipes said "I don't have a problem with it'[h this declaration]. He said that after the 1967 war the Arabs were "offered it [the West Bank in July 1967," but they gave the "three no's" in Kartoum. Pipes added that if the Palestinian Arabs do not like the building of settlements "too bad for them." He said, “This is a good way to put pressure on them. If they don't like the building of settlements, then they should come to terms with Israel" and "wake up." (Note that the Peace Now website explains this declared area is at the eastern edge of the Jerusalem-Jericho corridor, and control over this area is meant to split the West Bank in half and prevent the possibility to establish a viable and contiguous Palestinian State.]



When asked about Jordan's stability, Pipes replied that "I am worried about it. The backbone of Jordan has been the [Bedouin] tribes who have become more Islamist."


When asked about international delegitimization of Israel, Pipes said it is a threat to Israel, but he noted that "the BDS movement has "had a lot of failures" especially due to Anti-BDS legislation at the State level (i.e. Florida legislation prohibits the state from contracting with, or investing pension funds in, companies that boycott Israel, whether of their own initiative or due to pressure from the BDS movement. The regulated boycotts include those aimed at territories under Israeli jurisdiction.). "Companies will say "we can't do this as it's bad for business, "Pipes noted.


However, anti-Israel activity, according to Pipes comes from two sources, "Muslims and Leftists." Pipes, who lived in Egypt for a while in the 70's, says "Muslims are growing tired of a century long conflict that has no successes." They have witnessed the Zionist movement go "from strength to strength" where "161 out of 193 nations have relations with Israel." Pipes added, when he lived in Egypt, even then "I didn't have a sense that Egyptians were that engaged with this [Israeli-Palestinian conflict] Pipes believes that gradually over time Muslims will be less and less engaged with the Palestinian -Israeli conflict. He said that Muslims eventually accept the fact that previously Muslim lands are no longer Muslim. He cited the case of Spain where Muslims still talk about taking it back, "but where is it [this talk] going."


On the other hand, the Left's animosity towards Israel (including in 'churches, universities and the media") is "here to stay for a long time," according to Pipes. In regard to universities, Pipes said that left-wing academics will dominate universities and it is "nearly impossible to get tenure if you are right wing."


Pipes said that "the golden Age of Jewry" in North America is disappearing . "There is a hostile [Islamist] population that is growing." He said Jewish institutions in Canada and the US ought to be saying "that you have to look very carefully at who you are letting into the country." In regard to Europe, Pipes said that it's over for Jews living there and many will make their way to Israel and the United States. Pipes noted that Germany's Merkal made a "historic mistake" with her open border stance, with well over 1.1. million refugees entering the country in the past year. But, as Pipes said, "On March 9, there was a turning point. The gates were closed. Illegal immigration to Europe effectively ended. "Pipes further added that election results in Germany on March 13 "have shown a change of consciousness" against Merkal's asylum policy. (The anti-refugee party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), made dramatic gains at regional elections, entering state parliament for the first time due to rising anger with Merkel’s asylum policy. The euphoric welcome given to many refugees last summer at Munich train station has been replaced by anger, especially when, on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, over a thousand women were reported to have been sexually harassed and raped by men of largely north African and Arabic background.).


On the subject of improved ties between Israel and Turkey, "it's a tactical move on Erdogan's part. He's in terrible shape. He needs fewer enemies so he has made up a bit. But Israelis are weary, and they won't build a [gas]pipeline to Turkey."


Pipes spoke to a sold out crowd at the Berney Theatre at the Asper Campus when in Winnipeg.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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