Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bibi's Vision for Peace

Solving the Palestinians problems has become the holy grail of international diplomacy. Most politicians leave it until the end of their careers to tackle. They leave such lofty goals to a time when they are focusing on legacy building and marking off their page in history.

President Obama has seen the failure of leaving the biggest challenges to the last minute and has decided to make it a primary goal of his mandate. After failing to get his own party to pass legislation that would close Guantanamo Bay, he turned his focus to the Muslim world. Betraying a friend to pacify an enemy is an easier task than trying to keep both happy. Obama showed his willingness to betray Israel for the mere hope of capturing the holy grail.

On Sunday, Israel responded with an excellent speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu. While Obama has the luxury of treating the conflict like a giant chess game, Israelis do not have that option. The conflict is a reality where we understand our lives and our nation are on the line. Bibi took this tone and set the record straight on issues that reflect the lives of every single Israeli.

He gave a history lesson, reminding the world that Arabs attacking Jews in Israel was a problem long before the creation of the state. Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. The connection goes back thousands of years and is not simply a result of recent Jewish suffering. If Israel can absorb thousands of refugees from the Arab world, a home can be found for Palestinian refugees outside of Israel. In context of the history of Israel it is not settlers that pose a threat to peace. It is those who wish for Israel to be destroyed. Israel has tried different strategies to try to appease Palestinian demands. Such moves have been received with more terrorism and demands for even more. He even threw in the plight of Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped 3 years ago by Hamas. He has been denied access to the Red Cross, which is a war crime by any standard that does not bother the anti-Israel lobby.

The bottom line is that the government is willing to recognize Palestinian self rule or even possibly a state on condition that the entity is not a threat to Israel. Land for peace on condition peace is received in the exchange is a reasonable expectation. Having the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist should be an easy step forward towards peace.

The condemnation of the speech from those who usually attack Israel was swift and harsh. The message from Syria and Egypt was that a Jewish state is racist while an Arab or Islamic State is not. Any goodwill gesture is not enough unless it meets all of the Palestinian demands. Even the highly touted 2002 Arab Peace initiative calls for Israel to meet all of the original demands in exchange for 'normalized' relations with the Arab world. Israel already has a full out peace treaty with Egypt. Aside from a lack of war and some diplomatic channels the treaty has done little to improve relationships between the two countries.

Obama has set out his dream vision for peace. Israel has set out a realistic, yet unattainable visions for peace. When is the Palestinian Authority going to make their speech to the world of how they see their future country shaping up? They won't because they don't have any sort of vision outside of destroying whatever Israel has. Peace can be attained. It requires leadership who truly care about the lives of the Palestinian people. Until then Obama will fail just like all of the others in his quest for the holy grail.

No comments: