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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Is Olmert peace plan real?

Ray Hanania

Is Olmert peace plan real?,7340,L-3334131,00.html

Regardless of Olmert's true intentions, Palestinians should embrace peace
Published: 11.29.06, 17:45

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said this week that he is prepared to grant
Palestinians a state, release funds, and free prisoners.

All he asked Palestinians to do is: Form a new government (the existing
government doesn't really exist); agree to international conditions such as
the "Road Map" (which they have already basically done); and, release Gilad
Shalit, the abducted Israeli soldier, (which is the right thing to do.)

Already, many among the Hamas fanatics and extremist "one-staters" are
criticizing Olmert's gesture as "empty," saying he is merely pandering to the
moment. He made his comments in a speech honoring the 1949 election of David
Ben Gurion as Israel's first prime minister.

I say, why not give it a try? Can things get worse?

The "one-staters" don't want peace, but as is their style, they never offer a
realistic or practical plan to make one-state happen, without destroying

Hamas, which is divided between practical political leaders on the frontlines
and the organizations more fanatic zealots in Syria, has brushed Olmert's
speech off as "rhetoric."

But why doesn't the Palestinian population, for the first time in Palestinian
history, take control of its own destiny and say yes? What's wrong with always
giving peace the benefit of the doubt over rejectionist rhetoric that always
fails to do anything except make things worse?

Why not set aside violence as the option of emotion, hysteria and fanaticism
and embrace non-violence and peace, even if peace is difficult, hard to
achieve and likely to fail again?

I'm not sure if Olmert is serious. He could be just pandering to redefine
himself. Let's face it. The Arabs, in the past several months, have made
several peace overtures and offered their own plans and Olmert's government
has rejected them.

Maybe Olmert just wants to do what public relations spin-meisters always
advise a client who is backed against a wall? Reject what is offered and
re-offer it as your own.

Take the focus off the fact that you have rejected peace gestures from the
Arab World by offering peace. What an ingenious political strategy for someone
whose government is somewhat shaky.

I mean, Olmert's government is shaky, isn't it? Why else would he join forces
with a racist fanatic like Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman, an
Israeli government official who has called for the outright murder of
Palestinian political activists and the expulsion of Palestinians to Arab

If Israel does have an Apartheid-like state as former American President Jimmy
Carter warns is transpiring, then Lieberman is the Apartheid King. Lieberman
is the "King anti-Solomon," the opposite of the Biblical King who wisely used
division as a means to bring beauty and truth to the surface.

Lieberman wants to use division as a means of creating more chaos and

Israeli extremist also slam Olmert

Not surprisingly, Olmert found himself criticized by Lieberman's followers,
too. So it's not just Palestinians who have spoken out against Olmert's
magnanimous gesture, empty or otherwise.

Many Israeli extremists have denounced Olmert, too.

But I say that should not stop Palestinians and Israelis from embracing Olmert's
pace gesture. It doesn't matter whether it is an empty gesture or not.

The reality of the Palestine-Israel conflict is that Palestinians and Israelis
are constantly making more emotional gestures that get out of hand and turn
into violence.

Why not allow peace to get out of hand, for once, and result in peace, too?

If Olmert lives up to his words - I'm not convinced he will live up to those
words, or that Palestinians will allow him to live up to his stated
intentions - then Palestinians must be ready to respond with a serious,
non-violent national front.

Israel gives us our land back and we give them an equal proportion of peace.
As the Israelis withdraw from occupied lands, Palestinians withdraw from

Sure, sounds like Oslo, but I heard Oslo is a beautiful and peaceful city.
Peace is always the better choice for everyone.

Even if a final agreement is never hammered out, I prefer the tenuous
relations that existed in the mid-1990s, before Rabin's death, Hamas, Benjamin
Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon and the 2nd Intifada undermined the public's
confidence that peace is possible.

I know that once peace is allowed to nurture, it will spread. Goodwill has a
way of resolving all old conflicts.

Eventually, Israel will give Palestinians land in Israel in exchange for West
Bank land used to build the illegal settlements. It means Israelis and
Palestinians will one day find a way to have two separate states and share

And it means that while Israelis will accept the limits of their greater
Zionist dreams, Palestinians will be honest with the refugees and tell them
that the most they can expect in any future is compensation and someday even
an Israeli apology.

Of course, Israelis and Palestinians will have to change how they respond to
violence, which is certain to take place no matter what peace plans are
offered, accepted or proposed.

As Palestinians and Israelis inch towards peace, violence will happen from
both sides. But rather than surrendering to that violence as has been done in
the past, Israelis and Palestinians will stand together and forge ahead
towards peace.

Eventually, the violence will disappear as the fanatics lose power. As peace
begins to flourish, suffering will end, animosity will dissipate, emotions
will subside and hope will grow.


Ray Hanania was named Best Ethnic Columnist for 2006/12007 by the New America
Media. He can be reached at

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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