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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Israel asked to respond to Obama peace initiative

Barack Obama will pressure Israel for a "peace policy" by July (see  Obama to tell Israel: Form new peace policy by July)  The problem seems to be that the Arabs have been turning down Obama's approaches at the threshold, so it is not clear what Israel has to respond to. Palestinians are not willing to soften their position on Jerusalem or right of return, Arabs say the peace initiative is enough and rebuff Obama's attempts to turn the Arab peace initiatve itno a realistic plan. Egypt turned down Obama's requests for further normalization steps with Israel by Arab states:
In an interview with the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al Awsat, Aboul Gheit said that U.S. officials had asked him what the Arab response would be if Washington pressured Israel to reach a peace agreement. He responded that after the Oslo Accords were signed, some Arab states allowed Israeli offices to open in their territory, but today, the Arab world insists on seeing concrete Israeli action before making any further gestures.

If Israel accedes to international demands, he continued, "the Arab states could accede to gradual normalization, each according to its own considerations."

That implies that Egypt does not see the Arab peace initiative as requiring Arab states to normalize relations with Israel uniformly and simultaneously. Rather, normalization is something each country would institute at a time it deems appropriate.

Aboul Gheit also rejected Jerusalem's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, saying this would endanger Israel's Arabs - "especially when Israel has a foreign minister who calls for expelling the Arabs to Palestine, or outside of Israel ... It is also impossible to rule out the possibility of an Israeli leader arising one day and saying, 'the number of Arabs in the state has risen, and we must reduce their demographic weight to maintain Israel's Jewish character.'"

It is not possible to rule out the possibility that some Arab leaders would arise who would kick all the Jews out of their countries. Oops, I forgot, they already did that! It is not possible to rule out the possibility that territory turned over to Palestinians could be used as a base for terror attacks against Israel. Oops, I forgot, that already happened too. What Gheit really said is that the Arab peace initiative does not obligate Arab states in any way. Israel is supposed to make concessions, Arab states can then do what they feel like doing. Each country does what seems appropriate when it seems to them to be appropriate, which is never. That's the end of the 57 state solution. That is not a peace plan, is it?  

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