Tag Archives: Peace

AN INTELLIGENT JEW BELIEVES

An intelligent Jew believes the following if he/she cares about Israel:

I support the right of Palestinians to the entire West Bank.

I believe all Jewish settlements on the West Bank should be turned over to Palestinian refugees.

I believe East Jerusalem should be the capital of Palestine.

I believe in the creation of a Middle East Economic Union.

I believe a regional education commission should revise textbooks to end bias and hate.

I believe secular minded Jews and Muslims should end the power of religious fanatics to dictate state policy.

I believe in the need to establish a Middle Eastern University devoted to technology and peace education.

I believe the people of Israel should vote out of office any government which allows Avigdor Lieberman to serve in any office.

I believe every Jewish and Muslim child should be allowed to sleep in peace.

Middle East Stubborness Pays Off In Nothing

The Netanyahu approach to peace in the Middle East is maintain the status quo because that ensures there will be no movement in the process of peace. Arab nations are awaiting some action on the part of Israel that heralds a new open approach to peace. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal indicated his nation was tired of delays and obstructions such as continued construction of settlements on the West Bank. “What is required as a comprehensive approach that defines the final outcome at the outset and launches into negotiations over final status issues.” Arab nations are under pressure from President Obama to make a dramatic move to display their desire for peace with Israel.

Saudi leaders argue Israel has displayed continual refusal to deal with the West Bank settlement issue and it is up to the Netanyahu government to make clear his nation is committed to recognize an independent Palestinian nation and to make major withdrawals from the West Bank. They point out Israel will not even respond to American requests to halt further West Bank construction.

If only Israel had a leader with vision other than placating West Bank fundamentalists. The dilemma for the moment is in which corner is the ball of peace?

Patience Instead Of Violence Urged On Israel

The rush to judgment on the part of the Netanyahu government reminds those who have studied American-Soviet relations of Americans who wanted to drop atomic bombs on the enemy because unless the US acted immediately, evil would triumph. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a recent TV interview, urged the Israel government to halt its head-long determination for a finality with Iran. She termed Israel’s Iran policy “futile” and that it would only result in disaster for both nations. “We have negotiated with many governments who we did not believe represented the will of their people. Look at all the negotiations that went on with the Soviet Union. That’s what you get to do in diplomacy. You don’t get to choose the people. It required fifty years of negotiation with the Soviet Union before democracy and peace came to that nation.

Recent events in Iran indicate a significant portion of its population seek peace and democracy. The future of Iran is still unknown, but one thing is for certain, an Israel air attack on Iran would unite the nation behind the current rulers and kill any hope for democracy in that nation for twenty years. Sometimes, the race actually goes to the turtle rather than the hare.

US Congressman Urges Settlement Freeze In West Bank

American Congressman Robert Wexler, a prominent political ally of President Obama, urged the Israel government to place a freeze on West Bank settlements, arguing to do so would send a message that Israel is ready to compromise. “A request for a moratorium or freeze in settlement activity that can be mutually agreed upon by the US and Israel in the next several weeks is a tiny, tiny gesture and down payment to make when you look at potentially what is on other side of the equation.” Wexler pointed out if the Israel willingness to compromise on an important issue did not meet with reciprocal gestures by President Abbas, Israel comes out on top as the nation seeking peace. In a sense, Congressman Wexler urged Israel to call the bluff of Palestinians regarding their interest in peace.

Hopefully, Prime Minister Netanyhu will listen carefully to sound advice. A few months of no housing in the West Bank is not a terrible price to pay to discover the seriousness of Palestinian leaders. Wexler also pointed out the Israel media has rarely reported what Obama is demanding of Arab nations such as direct economic links with Israel, cultural and educational exchanges and over-fly rights for Israel airlines.

Now is the time for Israel to demonstrate it is willing to go the extra mile in the quest for peace. That will achieve greater results than invading Gaza.

Jimmy Carter Works For Middle East Peace

Former president Jimmy Carter is reviled by conservative talk show hosts, supporters of Israel and any night on Fox News as someone who hates Israel. Of course, Jimmy Carter is the ONLY AMERICAN PRESIDENT WHO ACTUALLY HELPED NEGOTIATE A PEACE AGREEMENT BETWEEN ISRAEL AND AN ARAB NATION. I do not always agree with the ideas of Jimmy Carter, but his motives derive from a genuine desire to foster peace in the Middle East. He currently is talking with Hamas leaders who told him they were willing to accept the 1967 borders which, in effect, is recognizing the existence of the state of Israel. Ismail Haniyeh also told Carter he was willing to exchange captured Israel soldier Gilad Schalit for Palestinian prisoners.

Ironically, there are reports that al-Qaeda attempted to assassinate Carter by placing road side bombs on the route he was traveling. Ironically, the Shin Bet passed on information to Palestinian sources about the potential attack. The reality most Israelis do not wish to accept is they can have peace– based on 1967 borders if that is their desire. But, insisting that Israel can retain the West Bank is a killer in any attempt to secure peace. Accept the 1967 borders, be recognized by Arab nations and create a Middle Eastern version of the European Union– that is the road to peace.

Darfur Rebels Defeat Sudan Forces

Darfur rebels struck back at forces of the Sudan government and overwhelmed a garrison in the town of Umm Baru near the border of Chad and drove out Sudanese troops. Naturally, the Sudan government which insists only 10,000 have died in Darfur (most estimates are the dead are over 300,000) claim they drove back the rebels. The town has been the scene of bitter fighting because the Sudan government has supported rebels from Chad in order to destabilize that nation’s government. Darfur rebels are attempting to place pressure on the government of the Sudan to force them into peace talks.

The first step to ensure peace in Darfur is for China to cease supplying Sudan with arms and to impose an embargo on goods until President al-Bashir agrees to honest negotiations and ceases saying only 10,000 have died. Perhaps, if rebel forces obtained greater support, Sudan might change its mind about peace.

It’s All Over In Sri Lanka!

The twenty five year civil war has ended in Sri Lanka as government forces swept over the last defenses of rebels and most probably discovered the bodies of rebel leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran and his deputies in a pile of bodies of soldiers who most killed themselves rather than be captured. Yesterday, Tamil Tigers tried suicide attacks, but were killed in the attempt. Finally, on Sunday afternoon, came a statement from rebel official Selvarasa Pathmanathan which announced: “the battle has reached its bitter end. It is our people who are dying now from bombs, shells, illness and hunger. We cannot permit any more harm to come to them. We remain with one last choice –to remove the last weak excuse of the enemy for killing our people. We have to decided to silence our guns.”

The war is over. Now, comes the war of peace. There probably will be trials of leaders of the Tamil Tigers, but a spirit of reconciliation and hope is the best guarantee of possible long-term peace. Do not allow voices of hate to restart anger. Now, is the time for Sri Lanka leaders to follow the ideas of Abraham Lincoln who reached out the hand of peace to defeated Confederate soldiers.

Hamas Reaches Out To Europe While Israel Burns Itself

A new government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as the Israel people turned to right wing demagogues even as Hamas is reaching out to Europeans and putting on the face of compromise. Ahmed Yussef, a political advisor to the Hamas Foreign Ministry, revealed his group has been in contact with Norway and other European nations who are urging his organization to renounce violence and work for peace with Israel. A French official has been working with Hamas leaders in Gaza in an effort to secure the release of Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Hamas is finally realizing with Israel digging deep into its bunker, Europeans will welcome any group that comes across as desiring peace in the Middle East.

The key issue for Hamas is whether it will accept the concept of recognizing Israel as a legitimate state. If they are willing to make that commitment, it would not be difficult to become accepted by European nations as a legitimate force. Meanwhile, Israel has decided to go with right wing haters like Avigdor Lieberman who does not wish to recognize the right of a Palestinian state. It is not beyond the stretch of imagination for Europe to be on the side of Palestine and Hamas while Israel remains buried in its bunker mentality of denial.

Barack Obama wants peace in the Middle East. Hopefully, Israelis will finally grasp that Obama is not George Bush.

Israelis Retreat Into Bunkers Of Silence

The people of Israel have elected a government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu which refuses to indicate a commitment to work for a two state solution in which one of the states is an independent Palestine. President Obama told reporters in Washington that “the status quo is unsustainable. It is critical for us to advance a two state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in their own states with peace and security.” He also indicated the election of Netanyahu made prospects more difficult for peace, “it’s not easier than it was, but I think it’s just as necessary.” Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned his nation the selection of Netanyahu could result in Israel being isolated from other nations of the world.

EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana also made clear the European Union will not support an Israel government that refuses to accept the prospect of an independent Palestinian state. “They (Israelis) know it, and we have to keep saying that.”

The world is baffled by the actions of Israelis in voting for such anti-peace figures such as the nationalist demagogue Avigdor Lieberman. Granted, it may appear comfortable living in a bunker, but at some point, one must open the door and get back to reality. The Arab world is ready to sign a peace treaty with Israel based on the 1967 borders. It is the ONLY solution for an Israel that seeks peace and prosperity for its people.

Russia Warns US It Will Rearm

Several years ago, it appeared the United States and Russia would work together since they apparently had few outstanding issues of dispute. The Bush era led to American military threats such as the program to construct anti-missile bases on the border of Russia and warnings about what Russia should or should not do when Georgia invaded South Ossetia. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Seryukov now claims the United States has plans to seize control of resources within Russia. “US aspirations have been aimed at getting access to raw materials, energy and other resources.” It is difficult to ascertain exactly how this relates to Russia other than as an example of paranoia running wild.

It is time for President Obama to meet with President Medvedev and clear up the situation. Step one would be to abandon the irresponsible program of building missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Step two is working with Russia to deal with concrete issues such as Iran and the search for peace.