by Nadene Goldfoot
One thing I've always been able to count on since 1948 is that the Arabs have refused all our offers of being able to create their own nation next door to us. Arafat refused so many times that it simply was amazing to me. We've offered them everything including the kitchen sink and they have refused doing so. We've moved out of land we were living in and it only led to another place they could stage rocket firings upon us.
I've become very jaded in my attitude wondering which will happen first; the Messiach's arrival or a change in the Arabs. Not Netanyahu. He remains hopeful. Maybe it's because he's the prime minister, younger, and I'm not. He is ready to talk to their government leaders without preconditions. He said it wasn't Israel that had preconditions but that they have been placed on Israel, something that has not happened to previous Israeli governments. This is another stone thrown at Israel by the Obama government, as far as I can see.
Netanyahu isn't even saying that the "Palestinians have to recognize Israel as a Jewish homeland before he will talk with them. He's hoping that after the talks they will, though. He's hoping that the talks will be like a reconciliation of two people who will emerge with dignity, respect, and cooperation-something that has never taken place yet.
Netanyahu also has a vision for regional peace. All of Israel does and has been praying for it since 1948. It's not fun to always be immersed in a war or constantly threatened. Imagine what it does to the people. They cannot let their guard down. Their family members are always doing a milueem, which is going into the army for at least a month every year of practice. No one in Israel wants to be a warrior, but have to be alert and ready at anytime.
Netanyahu rightly hopes that many Arab states need to change their attitude and get involved in the peace process and help out the Palestinians economically, and not just arm them with weapons to be used against Israel. They need to advance income producing projects like commerce, agriculture and tourism. Palestine has to be demilitarized. Two Arab states have signed a peace treaty with Israel like Egypt and Jordan, but others have not. It's a belligerent neighborhood that Israel finds itself.
Our biggest problem with Abbas and his followers is that they still refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Israel and that it is a declared Jewish state. They refuse to accept Israel's right to national self-determination. They refuse to accept Israel-period.
Then again, the Hamas group living in Gaza refuse to accept Abbas or Israel. How in the world can there be a state of Palestine when their total being is to destroy Israel? Well, like waiting since 1948 when I was a little girl, it may have to take the arrival of the Messiach to bring this about.
Right now Netanyahu is going through tremendous pressure from the USA, Europe and from the Arab states to give in to their demands and expectations which are not considering the welfare of Israel at all. The whole world is pressuring him and they have not placed themselves in Israel's shoes at all. He's a bright man and does not want to repeat what happened in Gaza to happen in the "so called West Bank which we call Judea and Samaria". He will expect some international guarantees, especially from the USA. This cannot be conducted like promises in a political race where promises suddenly are off the table once elected. They must be made honestly. Obama is the one pressuring Israel so much. Will he take the responsibility of these guarantees? If the Arabs truly believe in peace, they will guarantee their acceptance of Israel and desire to live in peace. I haven't been able to count on that for 60 years. Why is this different now?
Netanyahu took a big step towards peace as Israel has done many times. He's using the word "state". He also intends to honor the road map, but then Bush also added guarantees onto that that haven't been met, and the wordage is not understood as having the same meaning by both Israel and the USA. (Read my blog article before this ). I wonder if he feels like me in that the Palestinians will exhibit the same old-same old attitude of rejection. They have yet to bend to anything that would spell out peace. Their response to Netanyahus speech has been most negative. I'm not surprised. Again-it's the same old same old attitude as usual.
I've had nightmares of Israel being surrounded by two Palestinian states; Gaza and the "West Bank". Gaza hasn't stopped firing upon Israel yet, and people in the West Bank have managed to get their licks in at Israel many times in ruthless terrorist attacks. Well, why should I be worried. Looking at past history, it'll be the day when they accept anything said by Israel to make peace.