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Friday, April 17, 2009

Proactive foreign policy: Israel meeting the Obama challenge

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2009/04/proactive-foreign-policy-israel-meeting.html

..."Moderate" Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. From the beginning, that should have been the cornerstone of Israeli policy - Arabs, Palestinians included, must recognize the validity of the League of Nations British Mandate for Palestine and of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, both of which explicitly recognize the right of the Jewish people to self determination. After all, that is what the whole conflict is about. Once the Palestinians are will willing to accept international law, we can quibble about borders, refugees and other issues. President Obama's off-the-cuff remarks must be converted into a commitment by the United States to support the existence of Israel and its recognition by its Arab neighbors as the homeland of the Jewish people. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already made a statement demanding that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Too bad that demand was not part of Avigdor Lieberman's speech. It will be remembered, also, that Ehud Olmert made a similar effort and then mysteriously dropped it. This issue has to be a centerpiece of Israeli policy, raised at every opportunity. not just a sound bite to be used when the occasion seems to call for it.


Similarly, though it is not a prior condition for negotiations, everyone should be made to understand that Israel will assert the historic rights of the Jewish people in "East Jerusalem." The Palestinians have been allowed to establish a historical "fact on the ground" by dint of repetition: They have convinced at least themselves, and perhaps much of the world, that they have a "right" to a capital in East Jerusalem, even though Jerusalem was never the capital of any Arab state, and was not even included in the Palestinian area in the 1947 partition plan. Jerusalem was always known as the ancient capital of Jewish people, and the old city had a large Jewish community until it was ethnically cleansed in pogroms beginning in 1920 and culminating in the expulsion of the remaining Jews by force by the Jordanian Legion in 1948. Absurdly, a sizeable part of world opinion now believes that somehow "East Jerusalem" ought to be the capital of an Arab state and that Israel and the Jews have no rights there.

On these bases, when it is clear what is is being negotiated and what the end of the process will be for Israel, and it is clear that the agreements will be kept at least by the Fatah lead Palestinian Authority, it makes sense to continue negotiations. If they have any intellectual honesty, even the most enthusiastic proponents of "Annapolis" in the USA and in the EU would have a hard time explaining why Israel has to negotiate and what is to be negotiated with a partner that declares that its constituent groups - containing the same personnel who do the negotiating - are not bound by any agreements, and that the end goal of the negotiations is to destroy Israel as a Jewish state. But we can hardly expect others to agree with this point of view if the Israel Foreign Ministry itself has not advanced it at every opportunity.

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Proactive foreign policy: Israel meeting the Obama challenge


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