Members of the Knesset from every party except Labor urged Prime Minister Netanyahu not to give in to pressure from President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who want an agreement that recognizes the existence of a Palestinian state. Likud MK Danny Danon summed up the feelings of most members of the legislature by saying: “the press has been spreading the message that the good of the nation requires two states for two peoples and people have been accepting it even within Likud. There were elections, which gave mandate to the nationalist camp and not to a Palestinian state.” Even Prime Minister Netanyahu’s sister-in-law came out in support of this position.
The reality is hiding in a bunker while the rest of the world–the United States, the European Union, Turkey, Japan and virtually all Arab nations– want peace and reconciliation based on a two state solution is not only a symptom of an inability to accept reality, but also suggests the Likud crowd has no program other than digging the hole deeper, and the hole is not going to China, it is just going deeper. Israel, wake up to reality, even American Jews now support the two state solution. So, would you prefer being all alone in the world?
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told the new Israel prime minister that “peace is made by the strong and is achieved by those who possess the courage to make difficult decisions.” Unfortunately, he was talking with a man whose head faces toward those who seek to perpetuate the present into the indefinite future and are unable to risk moving toward peace. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued uttering his mantra about the only hope for peace is to maintain the status quo in which Israel controls all land and Palestinians accept being ruled by Israel. In exchange, however, he is willing to offer them economic development. One can only wonder if the founders of Israel would have accepted a bargain which allowed Jews to economically prosper in return for surrendering their right to a national state?
Netanyahu uttered his usual pablum about a struggle between moderates and extremists but somehow still doesn’t grasp his views fall within those of extremists, not moderates. The Israel leader will shortly be meeting with President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton who will make clear there must be a two state solution. Period, end of conversation.
It is ironic that a semi-dictator like Mubarak makes more common sense than the elected leader of a democratic state.
Even as President Obama’s envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, was expressing the American government’s commitment an independent Palestinian state, Israel ministers were arguing for the exact opposite position. Interior Minister Eli Yishai openly stated: “the preferable course of diplomatic action at this time is two economies for two peoples, not two states for two peoples.” He spoke in support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu/s idea for economic development in lieu of creation of a Palestinian state. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz rejected the two state solution and claimed “the Annapolis outline has failed and is no longer binding.”
Labor MP Yuli Tamir, expressed a touch of reality by noting: “it is rapidly emerging that the government has no understanding of our international context and is putting us on a collision course with Europe and the US. The entire world supports Annapolis while Israel alone singles itself out as a dissenter.”
On which planet are the people of Israel living? Perhaps, remaining in a bunker makes one feel secure but eventually, one must go up into reality. What are the people of Israel thinking?
President Mahmoud Abbas told Indonesian journalists during his visit to their nation of his willingness to accept the idea of Israel and to work toward creation of two states. In effect, he agreed Israel exists and that Palestinians can live in peace with an independent Israel. “We are committed to this vision, and we want the two states solution. We have two Jerusalems –the west and the east. We recognize that the west is Israel, but they should accept that east Jerusalem is an occupied territory and should be free as our capital.” Abbas believes this solution can be negotiated at the upcoming Annapolis conference with or without the presence and cooperation of Hamas.
For years, Israeli leaders have been claiming no Arab leader accepts their existence so how is it possible to negotiate for peace. President Abbas has openly stated Palestinian acceptance of the existence of an independent Israel. Undoubtedly, some Israel leaders will argue that Arafat made such statements but eventually refused to cooperate. Arafat is dead. Israel must decide whether it wishes to live in the past or to trust a more positive future. Of course, trusting the future carries risks, but continuing the present ongoing conflict also entails risks. Does Israel have leaders who are willing to trust in a future free of conflict?
Posted in George Bush, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy
Tagged Abbas, Indonesia, Israel, Olmert, Palestine, two states