Prime Minister Olmert Pledges To Work For Peace

Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised to use talks with Palestinians that begin on Wednesday as an opportunity to achieve a lasting peace. “This is an opportunity,” he said, “that entails many uncertainties, many risks, many dangers. We cannot ignore them. But, we absolutely must not allow uncertainty and risks to prevail because an opportunity also exists. I intend to take advantage of this opportunity to wage serious, ongoing and uninterrupted negotiations in order to forge an historic path toward a new diplomatic reality.” the prime minister’s words hopefully can become translated from verbal utterances to written documents that achieve his goals of a secure Israel that can live in peace with Palestinians. However, even as he spoke, President Abbas indicated he could not attend the scheduled Wednesday meeting unless Israel ceases further construction of housing on the West Bank or in East Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Olmert is obviously taking a gamble, one that will be attacked by those in the Jewish community who prefer the certainty of uncertainty to the risk of moving toward conflict resolution. Negotiation always entails a give and take since each side must be prepared to give up some of what they possess in order to possess peace. There is no necessity of building new housing at this moment in East Jerusalem nor on the West Bank. There comes a time when in negotiation one must take a step back in order to make a giant leap forward. Reality is that East Jerusalem will become the capital of a new Palestinian nation. The issue is ensuring religious freedom and access to all religious facilities for every person living in East Jerusalem. The West Bank can not remain as presently constituted, at best, a small portion of the settlers will be allowed to remain, but most must return to Israel.

As I write these words, it is clear some who consider themselves “defenders of Israel,” are furious because in their view not an inch of land should be abandoned. It is time for those who wish Israel to live in peace, security, and prosperity to be the voices of reason that Olmert must follow. Self righteous anger and hatred toward Palestinians will only result in ending all hopes for peace and reconciliation.

  • mendy

    territorial concessions even if they sound like a good deal and a difficult but bearable pain in exchange of peace is effectively the core of israel security problems.
    after oslo we gave palestinians autonomy and guns they used it against us then we gave them gaza and now they bomb us every day and now threaten almost 200000 civilians from those same spot we gave them……giving the west bank will now endanger tel aviv and ben gurion airport..and even the military recognize there is no solutions to rockets yet.
    also you forget that an agreement now will not be accepted in gaza ie: no peace maybe half peace no wait peace is only true if complete…..
    jerusalem is the capital of israel and the jewish people….today all muslims can come and go in security inside jerusalem and practice their religion which will not be the case if part of jerusalem becomes palestinian territory….
    also i dunno where is the claim to jerusalem originate from: there was never a palestinian capital called jerusalem.

    peace like a smile or love is something that enrich the receiver but does not impoverish the giver….peace is a state where all people want to live together in harmony.
    no piece (of land) will bring peace if hatred is taught in palestinian schools and martyrdom is the proudest achievement….
    gaza and south lebanon are two very good examples of territorials concessions that brought only more violence because it shoved weakness and the same enemy on the other side.

    har homa is a jewish neighborhood in a 2000 years old jewish city where the holiest place in judaisn is located and is today the capital of a jewish state,no palestinian or EU or america has to tell israel what to do in its own capital.

    for abbas this is an excuse not to attend he should just admit he doesn’t want to go on

    and just for your informations fred the project dates back to at least 2005 and is nothing new….the neighborhood will not be given back even by leftists after what we got in gaza….

  • mendy

    Why can’t Israel build homes in areas like Har Homa, where no Arabs lived before?
    har homa was an empty hill and no arabs ever lived there on the contrary in 1948 many places in haifa and tel-aviv were captured and had arabs living there. non of these places are considered ”illegal”
    to look at 1948 borders as ”israel” and the rest as occupation is just plain silly and narrow….
    har homa is not the issue and has never been,palestinians want to paralyze israeli development before they can take over one day

  • Fred Stopsky

    I can only repeat one more time. In negotiations between two parties who have been in conflict, there is a give and take. I have yet to hear from you exactly what you would offer the Palestinians in order to obtain peace. Could you share your thoughts on a compromise that would be acceptable to Palestinians?