Double Speak at Annapolis
The peace talks next week in Annapolis all hinge on the Palestinians accepting the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State. They have been saying that they will not do this. The reason this is so important is because without this Jewish majority, it would become the 22nd Arab state and Israel as we know it would be no more without a shot fired.
The Arabs are saying that Israel cannot claim religious identity, as if they're not. They all belong to the Islamic Conference which is a group of 55 states. England's official religious identity is the Church of England. Most countries are either Christian, Muslim or some other religion. Israel is the only Jewish state in the world. Saudi Arabia does not allow Jews to set foot in their country because they are Jews. Many Muslim countries do not allow Jewish tourists, even.
The UN partition plan of 1947 called for dividing mandatory Palestine "into Jewish and Arab states." Moshe Sharon, professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem reminds us of the differences in bargaining in the middle east and the west, and there are big differences. The Israeli have always wished "to acquire peace based on the Arab-Muslim acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. The Arabs' objective is to annihilate the Jewish state, replace it with an Arab state, and get rid of the Jews." (See Itamar Marcus's speech at Portland State U. in my other blog, http://jewishfactsfromportland.blogspot.com/). So this denial of allowing Israel to claim religious identity is hogwash.
My view is that Olmert has not been tough with the Arabs. We have not been able to retaliate for the past year on Gaza's Hamas terrorist group due to Condoleeza Rice's objections. 2,586 rockets and mortar bombs have been fired from Gaza at Israeli communities since Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005. 10 people have been killed by this rocket fire including 4 children. More than 140 people have been wounded by missile fire in the city of Sderot in Israel, and we have promised Condoleezza Rice that we would not to retaliate. This constant bombardment of Israel has unnerved their 180,000 citizens who have only a few seconds to look for safety after hearing the sirens. They live in the cities of Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot, and over 20 kibbutzim and moshavim. Osnat Ben-Haim's house was struck in a direct hit while her 6 yr old son was eating a sandwich in the kitchen two minutes before a Kassam exploded there. The boy was traumatized.
Rice and Olmert do not know the rules in the bazaar in bartering. A Roman saying is that "if you want peace, prepare for war. Never come to the negotiating table from a position of weakness. Your adversary should always know that you are strong and ready for war even more than you are ready for peace. We're dealing with Middle Eastern mentality and have been thinking with Western ideas. It's not working. Condoleezza's experience with Russian History does not seem to be helping.
Yasser Arafat recognized Israel's right to exist in 1988 but this actually was not accepting Israel's existence. This was double-speak. The Palestinians must accept it as Jewish state, and that Arafat did not do. So, the Palestinians have not accepted Jews as a people. If the Palestinians want recognition of their existence and rights as a people, we expect the same and have waited 60 years for this.
References: A Short Guide to Bazaar Negotions by Moshe Sharon,
The Jerusalem Post November 14, 2007
Israeli Peace Efforts continue Despite Increased Attacks from the Israel Project.org.,
Arutz Sheva-Israel National News.com "Sderot Waits for Annapolis"