Archive for August, 2011
Qualifying advocacy and
support with a caveat
The following article by Merten Harney is a powerful caveat … about a common caveat. Slightly amended, the article appearing on the website of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors (August 25, 2011), deals with the common tendency among many people who write in support of Israel in its stand against demonic odds, to nevertheless mention that Israel is far from perfect – supposedly to display objectivity. In this article one of Israel’s greatest and most powerful advocates, Alan Dershowitz is used as an example. We reckon that a comprehensive thinker like Mr Dershowitz will see this article in a positive light.
Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors was started by Doris Wise Montrose a few years ago, with the aim of promoting the promotion of Western democratic values, so as to combat the dual threats of complacency in the West vis a vis political Islam. Doris Wise Montrose says that a safe and secure Israel, prospering as a Jewish State, is a prerequisite to long-term global peace, adding that the Nazi Holocaust imposes upon all people of good will a moral and political imperative to prevent the next one. Merten Harney’s (slightly amended) article, which we present here, puts things very much in perspective – something sorely lacking with many people who focus on Israel.
Enough already Alan
By MERTEN HARNEY
Alan Dershowitz has just penned a very good editorial titled “Should Israel Welcome Glenn Beck’s Support?” He comes down in favor of Beck’s mission to Israel and his unwavering support for her. Israel needs allies and friends more than ever and if Beck, with millions watching him, can deliver his message of “Count me a Jew” we should be ever thankful.
Further on in his article however, Dershowitz makes a glaring … admission. In his praise for Israel, he slips in the caveat, “just as I feel free to criticize the Israeli government when I think it is wrong.” Dershowitz, like so many others who stand with Israel, just can’t seem to help entwining his praise with a critique.
But, why is this the case? It is an obvious thought, but completely misplaced in this setting. Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, the only nation in that area of the world where women are granted equal rights with men, where Christians and Jews are granted equal rights with Muslims, where gays need not fear for their lives. Is Israel perfect? Of course not – no nation is perfect. It is so obvious a point that by bringing up Israel’s imperfections – which are considerably less than those of most nations, one weakens the very point they are trying to make in Israel’s defense.
I would beg Alan Dershowitz, and others, to stop this ridiculous pandering that plays into the hands of those who want to destroy Israel. Does it make one feel good to admit that they find fault with loved ones? “I love my daughter, but I won’t shy away from exposing her faults …” That is what this caveat means. Israel’s worst faults are better than most countries best qualities. That is a fact. Israel on a bad day is better than almost any other country on their best day. Again, this is a fact. So, why the self-flagellation? Instead of fortifying Israel, it calls attention to Israel’s true enemies and it seems there are more and more each day. Such wavering from Israel’s defenders only serves to legitimize these zealots and their hate-filled diatribes.
If we love and support Israel, we must say so. We should declare it without caveats. Don’t hedge your bets and don’t apologize for your support of Israel. Don’t throw Israel’s suicidal enemies a bone, they don’t need it. Israel needs people to stand up and say, “I support Israel; Israel is a great nation; the Jewish people have given the world a great gift.” And save your “buts” and admonitions for those that truly deserve them.
There are a lot of very sensible voices coming out of Israel nowadays – perhaps more than ever before because of the growing gang-up against this beleaguered country by foes growing in number, military capacity and wrath. Even our friends seem to be mostly fair-weather friends. Israel’s struggle to survive has led to a concept known in Hebrew as “hasbara.” Translated directly, “hasbara” means “explanation.” But in the context of Israel’s stand, it means much more than that. It’s a requirement that is unique to Israel in order to combat the enormous amount of falsehood spread about this ancient nation by the neighboring peoples, leaders, politicians and public figures around the world, the media, as well as many Jews and Israelis whose criticism often slips into downright disloyalty and betrayal
All this has aroused a large number of very gifted writers, trying to set the record straight in various ways – through newspaper articles, television interviews, video clips on YouTube, and the use of other social media tools. Many of these people have been highly successful in other careers. Now they devote a lot of their time to “hasbara.”
In this blog we are featuring Sherwin Pomerantz, president of Atid EDI Ltd., a Jerusalem-based economic development consulting firm, and a prolific writer and lecturer. He has been sending out a daily blog which presents a countdown towards the upcoming United Nations General Assembly debate on Palestinian statehood. His blog appearing here is “22 days to go” in which he says, “I Agree – Glenn Beck Gets It!” You can read all his other blogs at: http://israelstreet.blogspot.com/
22 Days to Go –
I Agree – Glenn Beck Gets It!
By SHERWIN POMERANTZ
On September 13th at 3 pm Eastern Daylight Time in New York the 66th Regular Session of the UN General Assembly will convene … just 22 days from today. Will the leaders assembled there understand what the real issues are that face humanity at this critical time in world history? I’m not sure.
Glenn Beck, the Mormon commentator who has now allied himself with the Christian Evangelical Movement is in Israel this week for three events associated with his “Restoring Courage” project aimed at making the world aware of the perils that face humanity if support for Israel fails. Should we feel good about that or is he just another charlatan pouncing on a hot topic to grab headlines? As for me, I’m happy he is here and grateful for his support.
You can say what you will about his motives, his carelessness with certain words and his sometimes lack of critical research but, in the words of Barry Rubin, Director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Beck “gets it.”
In an op-ed in today’s Jerusalem Post Rubin says that Beck’s common sense, courage, knowing the difference between right and wrong, a willingness to learn and a readiness to admit when one has been wrong has allowed Beck to understand the real truths present in this region and what must be done to address the dangers we must engage. And what does Beck get right? 10 specific points:
1. The main threat in the Middle East is revolutionary Islamism, and the United States must combat it.
2. The problem is not Islam as a religion but revolutionary Islamism as a political ideology that draws on normative Islam to product its own plausible interpretation.
3. The revolutionary Islamist side is winning.
4. The “Arab Spring” contains many dangers.
5. Israel just happens to be largely right and deserves support.
6. One man’s terrorist…is still a terrorist.
7. The Obama administration has messed up the Middle East to a phenomenal extent.
8. One should be fearless in facing intimidation and politically motivated ridicule.
9. We must re-evaluate friends and enemies in this new era of revolutionary Islamism and post-Marxist leftism.
10. Whatever mistakes the United States has made, it is a good country and the hope of the world.
Rubin concludes with the words:
Any criticism one can make of Beck pales in comparison to all of the above points, on which he is quite correct. But then, as Jews, and Israelis most of all, should know, to be falsely reviled in not proof of being wrong or evil.
So, in spite of earlier criticism of Beck by respected members of the American Jewish Community such as ADL National Director Abraham Foxman and this morning’s diatribe against Beck in the Jerusalem Post by Likud right-winger Moshe Feiglin, because Beck “gets it” and he is prepared to put his money where his mouth is, I, for one, welcome his support.
Zev Chafets, who was former Prime Minister Menahem Begin’s Press Secretary writes in today’s Washington Post that in those days Israel was seeing the very beginning of Christian Evangelical support and did not really know how to deal with it. But Chafets recalls that:
“Begin asked his staff how many of these evangelicals there were in the United States. The answer was upward of 20 million. And that settled that. American Jewish leaders, virtually all of whom were (and are) liberal Democrats, were (and remain) scandalized. They argued that evangelical Christians believe that Jews don’t go to heaven and that they will die in some end-of-the-world scenario. Begin – and every subsequent Israeli prime minister of both the left and the right – preferred to let God sort out eternity. Here on Earth, actions speak louder than words.”
I agree with that and in this world, where Israel struggles every day to find supporters I am happy to take the support of the now 50 million Evangelical Christians and even the likes of Glen Beck, who proudly proclaim that they not only love Israel they love the Jewish people. As Pastor John Hagee often says, someday he and his Jewish friends will be walking the streets of the old city of Jerusalem and the Messiah will be coming the other way. At that point in time one of them will need to change their theology. Until then we need to be grateful for their support and bless them for it.
A Zionist success and
Gil Troy is professor of history at McGill University and a frequent contributor to The Jerusalem Post, well-known for his incisive, clearly written perspectives. He is the author of Why I Am A Zionist: Israel, Jewish Identity and the Challenges of Today, and The Reagan Revolution. Here are excerpts from an article that appeared in The Jerusalem Post on August 16th, 2011. It needs to be read by everyone who cares about Israel.
Israel’s social protests reflect two great failures for modern Zionism – and one extraordinary success. The success was demonstrated Sunday night when Professor Manuel Trajtenberg of Tel Aviv University (heading a government-appointed committee to find solutions to the current demands of the demonstrators) visited a Tel Aviv tent city. As a regular reader of the western media, I know what should have happened. Reading how the New York Times columnists Thomas Friedman and Roger Cohen, among others, eagerly linked the “Israeli summer” with “the Arab Spring” and the European riots, I expected the belligerent Israelis to pummel the professor, mobbing him, maybe robbing him too, British style, if they did not kill him.
Instead, the professor and the protesters exchanged views peacefully. “I can only help you do it,” Trajentberg said, acknowledging the protesters’ power.
The journalistic rush to globalize all these protests overlooked the Israeli exception. Israeli crowds, while passionate, have been peaceful. This civility is a Zionist achievement.
Israel’s Zionist founders were utopian; they dreamed of social perfection. Nevertheless, Israel’s creation resulted from pragmatism balancing out utopianism.
The bad news for modern Zionism is that these protests took place at all. The Zionist founders, be they capitalists like Theodor Herzl and Ze’ev Jabotinsky, or socialists like A.D. Gordon and Ber Borochov, shared a commitment to the dignity of all individuals. Today’s widening gap between rich and poor would have dismayed them. Today’s social pathologies would have shocked them. And today’s political paralysis, material excess and cultural passivity would have appalled them.
The early Zionists were can-do idealists, committed to building a better world, not just retreating into consumption cocoons or wallowing in self-pity.
This, therefore, is the devastating news for Zionism – that so few of the social protesters or media commentators see either the Zionist movement or Zionist ideology as helpful in achieving the social change the protesters demand. Just as Diaspora Zionists must learn that Zionism is about more than defending Israel when it’s attacked, Israeli Zionists must learn that Zionism is about perfecting the state, not just establishing it. Alas now, Zionism risks irrelevance in Israel, its great achievement.
Of course, in many ways this is a 21st century socio-economic conundrum, far beyond 19th century Zionist theorizing. All western democracies struggle with what Americans call the work force’s Walmartization.
Since the 1830s, the American democratic miracle, which culminated in the post-World War II creation of the first mass middle-class civilization, relied on thriving factories and corporations paying respectable wages. This social pyramid brought cultural and political stability too. Modern hi-tech economies use part-time workers and cheap labor, resulting in economic and political instability. At the same time, consumerism and libertine selfishness have undermined cultural values and collective commitment.
In the 20th century, socialism and communism failed even more spectacularly than did untrammeled capitalism, usually yielding flaccid economies and burdensome bureaucracies. Sometimes, totalitarian dictatorships resulted.
The cautionary tales must be remembered as we seek a more equitable distribution, a more humane capitalism.
Zionism can help by offering a collectivist counterweight rooted in nationalism and individual dignity rather than socialism or welfare statism. Israel can lead the world in pioneering new social solutions rooted in an enduring love of freedom, appreciation of markets and a sense of collective responsibility.
Thanks to Zionism, Israel already has its share of humane capitalists. Reading author Saul Singer’s latest writings, it becomes clear that the co-author of Start-Up Nation wants Israel to be a Values Nation, believing that the same ingenuity that made Israel a hi-tech center can make it a model society. Listening to developer David Azrieli, it emerges that this master builder invested in Israel when others would not because he believed in Israelis’ potential, and his entrepreneurial Zionism is about normalizing the country economically without sacrificing core values.
Watching the hi-tech guru Yossi Vardi pour resources and love into the Bialik-Rogozin School in Tel Aviv for children of migrant workers, it appears that there are many ways for those who have succeeded to re-invest in the community.
Traditional Zionism may not have the recipe for the 21st century that capitalist democracies need, but a Zionist sensibility can shape the Third-Way approach Professor Trajtenberg wants to help the protesters find. Zionism is about a sense of responsibility for one another. Zionism is about seeking social justice. Zionism is about instilling meaning, idealism and ethics into individual lives and the collective national enterprise. Zionism is about trying to perfect the Jewish state, not just establish it. Zionism is about bringing the best of Jewish values and the best of Western ideas into the altneuland, the old new land. And Zionism is about pioneering creative, cutting-edge solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
NOT ON THE SAME PAGE
This article by Morton Klein, president of ZOA, was syndicated by the JTA and offers a sober look at the US president and his attitude to Israel.
August 16, 2011
It’s high time to face an unpleasant fact: President Obama and Israel are not on the same page.
This has been true ever since Obama took office in January 2009, but it was most recently apparent this May when the president ambushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with an adversarial speech the day before Netanyahu’s U.S. visit by advocating that Israel return to the pre-1967 armistice lines (with mutually agreed swaps).
Obama’s speech meant that Israel cannot keep the Jewish neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the Western Wall or the major settlement blocs without Palestinian Authority approval. No previous U.S. president ever took this position.
Neither has any previous president ever suggested, as Obama has, that the issues of “territory and security” should be agreed upon first, and only then should the issues of Arab refugees and Jerusalem’s status be decided. Thus in Obama’s view, Israel should establish a Palestinian state and give away virtually all the disputed territory, thereby eliminating its negotiating leverage, before negotiating over Jerusalem and refugees from a weakened position.
An anonymous Israeli official interviewed in early August by Reuters denied recent reports that Netanyahu now accepts the pre-1967 lines as a basis for negotiations, and two senior Israeli officials recently told me the same.
It’s also shocking that Obama made these demands of Israel only two weeks after Fatah, the faction that leads the Palestinian Authority, signed a unity agreement with Hamas, the terrorist organization that calls in its charter for the murder of Jews.
Netanyahu has been clear: He won’t negotiate with a Hamas-linked Palestinian Authority. Yet Obama has refused to make diplomatic or financial support for the Palestinian Authority conditional on its abrogating its unity agreement with Hamas.
Obama’s first major Middle East speech in Cairo in June 2009, made clear his tenuous commitment to Israel. He ignored the legal, historical and religious basis of the Jewish claim to Israel, instead writing it off as a reward for enduring the Holocaust.
Obama also claimed that the Palestinians have been suffering in trying to establish their state for 60 years, but he ignored the fact that they turned down offers of statehood in 1937, 1947, 2000 and 2008. He spoke about the Arabs being “displaced” by Israel’s founding, ignoring the fact that if there had been no Arab war against Israel, there would have been no refugees.
Most egregiously, the president strongly implied that Palestinian suffering was equivalent to Jewish suffering during the Holocaust. And by framing his call for Palestinians to practice only nonviolent resistance by pointing to the experience of U.S. blacks during slavery and black Africans during South African apartheid, Obama effectively lumped in Israeli Jews with history’s oppressors.
In a January 2010 TV interview, Obama’s Middle East envoy George Mitchell — who has since left his post — told PBS’s Charlie Rose that “full implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative is the objective set forth by the president.” The so-called Arab Peace Initiative demands that Israel retreat to the pre-1967 lines, set up a Palestinian state and accept the right of millions of Arab refugees to move into Israel. That would end Israel as a Jewish state.
And let’s not forget Obama’s September 2009 UN speech, in which he spoke of the need to couple “unwavering commitment to Israel” with calls for Israel to “respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians.” Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton called this “the most radical anti-Israel speech I can recall any president making.”
Even former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat who campaigned for Obama, recently wrote in the Huffington Post, “I weep as I witness outrageous verbal attacks on Israel” that “are being orchestrated by President Obama.” Koch suggested that Obama is “throwing Israel under the bus.”
Perhaps Israel’s deepest concern is the existential threat posed by the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. Obama needlessly delayed congressional sanctions against Iran for a year while he tried to get multilateral, U.N.-backed sanctions enacted first. Now that sanctions have become U.S. law, Obama has not implemented them in a serious way.
Obama also sent Vice President Joe Biden to Israel to warn Netanyahu not to launch any military strikes against Iran without U.S. approval.
One of my most revealing experiences was a meeting I attended, along with 40 other Jewish leaders, with President Obama at the White House in March. The president told us, according to my notes: “You must speak to your Israeli friends and relatives and search your souls to determine how badly do you really want peace. Israelis think this peace business is overrated; their life is good, their economy is good, and things are quiet.”
Several times he emphasized that “the PA is sincere in wanting a peaceful settlement” and that “Israel has not sufficiently tried to make an acceptable offer.” He asked, “Is the Netanyahu government serious about territorial concessions?”
Things may get better or worse — more likely the latter — but one thing is clear: Obama and Israel are not of one mind, or anywhere close to being so.
What if Jews had followed
the Palestinian Path?
By Ralph Dobrin
Author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”
To order the book click: www.amazon.com type: how to avoid Armageddon
The Wall Street Journal ran a fascinating article by Warren Kozak on June 20th 2011. He posits a comparison between Jewish attitudes and the generations’-long Arab perpetuation of their largely self-inflicted refugee tragedy (self-inflicted because they had initiated the war in 1947-49 with the purpose of destroying the Jewish entity in Palestine).
Kozak, who is the author of “LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay” (Regnery, 2009), writes that there were hundreds of thousands of Jewish Holocaust survivors living in refugee camps throughout Europe after the Second World War in 1945. Jewish and international relief organizations worked to rehabilitate them. Many made their way to Palestine where they built up their lives and contributed greatly to their new country. They were supported by Jews all over the world. Kozak points out that had the Jewish people acted in the same petulant, blame-everyone-else way that the Arabs of the world have, everything would look very different today.
He writes: “To begin with, the Jews would all still be living in these DP (displaced persons) camps, only now the camps would have become squalid ghettos throughout Europe. The refugees would continue to be fed and clothed by a committee similar to UNRWA – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (paid for mostly by the United States since 1948). Blessed with one of the world’s highest birth rates, they would now number in the many millions. And 66 years later, new generations, fed on a mixture of hate and lies against the Europeans, would now seethe with anger.
Sometime in the early 1960s, the Jewish leadership of these refugee camps, having been trained in Moscow to wreak havoc on the West (as Yasser Arafat was) would have started to employ terrorism to shake down governments. Airplane hijackings in the 1970s would have been followed by passenger killings. There would have been attacks on high- profile targets as well – say, the German or Polish Olympic teams.
By the 1990s, the real mayhem would have begun. Raised on victimhood and used as cannon fodder by corrupt leaders, a generation of younger Jews would be blowing up buses and restaurants. Moreover, the billions of dollars extorted from various governments would not have gone to the inhabitants of the refugee camps. Most of the money would be in the Swiss bank accounts of the refugees’ famous and flamboyant leaders and their lackies.
So now it’s 2011, generations after the end of World War II, and there seems to be no end to the terrible, festering Jewish refugee problem throughout Europe. One awful aspect of this story would be the wasted lives of millions of human beings in the camps – entailing inventions not invented, illnesses not cured, high-tech startups not started up, symphonies and books not written – a real cultural and spiritual desert.
But … of course, none of this happened.
Instead, the Jewish refugees returned to their ancestral homeland. They left everything they had in Europe and turned their backs on the Continent – no “right of return” to their former homes requested from anyone. They simply returned to their ancient homeland and were welcomed by the 650,000 Jewish residents of Israel.
An additional 700,000 Jewish refugees flooded into the new state from Arab lands after they were summarily evicted. Again losing everything after generations in one place; again welcomed in their new home.
In Israel, they did it all the hard way. They built a new country from scratch with roads, housing and schools. They created agricultural collectives to feed their people. They created a successful economy – without any oil resources like the Arabs – and they built one of the world’s most vibrant democracies in a region sadly devoid of free thought.
Yes, the Israelis did all this with the financial assistance of Jews around the world and others who helped get them on their feet so they could take care of themselves. [It was simply the decent thing to do]. The erstwhile Jewish refugees weren’t ignored, or demeaned, or used as pawns for venal, cynical political schemes – as the Arab nations have so uniquely and shamefully done with their Palestinian brethren.
I imagine the argument will be made that while the Jews may have achieved all this, they did not have their land stolen from them. This is, of course, a canard, another blatant lie, as there had never been an independent Palestine ruled and run by Palestinian Arabs. Ever! Jews and Arabs lived in this area controlled first by the Turks and then by the British. The U.N. offered the two-state solution that we hear so much about in 1947. The problem then, and now, is that it was accepted by only one party, Israel. No doubt, the situation of Arab residents of the Middle East back then may have been difficult, but it is incomprehensible that their lot was worse than that of the Jews at the end of World War II.
We don’t hear about any of this because giving human beings hope and purpose doesn’t make great newspaper copy. Squalor, victimhood and terror are always look more fascinating in all forms of media. Perhaps in the end, the greatest Jews’ crime was that they quietly created something from nothing. And in the process, they transformed themselves.”
There’s a vital lesson here for the nations of the world and the Arabs everywhere. Especially the Arabs!
To order “How to avoid Armageddon” click: www.amazon.com type: how to avoid Armageddon
Unilateral declarations are not
the way to statehood
Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations addressed the Security Council on July 26th 2011 with a sober review of the Middle East in the light of the Palestine Authority’s declared intention of demanding recognition of its statehood from the General Assembly in September. Here is a somewhat condensed review of what he said:
I speak before this Council today as a proud representative of the Jewish state and the Jewish people – a people whose bond to the Land of Israel and its eternal capital of Jerusalem extends back 3,000 years. It is where we began and where we have been reborn, realizing the dreams of our forefathers to be a free people in our land.
Our Nation seeks a lasting peace in which the Palestinians will have their own state, alongside— but not instead of – the Jewish State of Israel. This morning I would like to share several observations about the Middle East Peace Process – which stands, yet again, at a critical juncture.
First, let me state clearly: unilateral actions will not bring peace to our region. Like a false idol, the Palestinian initiatives at the United Nations may be superficially attractive to some. Yet, they distract from the true path to peace.
Only this month, we were again reminded that negotiations are the route to statehood when South Sudan proclaimed its independence and was accepted as the 193rd member state of the United Nations. It marked a new chapter in a long and difficult journey. Both South and North Sudan harboured serious frustrations. Major problems arose. Yet, the parties did not seek quick fixes or instant solutions. They sat together – although it was hard — and negotiated, reaching a mutual agreement. This is why South Sudan was accepted by such a broad consensus in the international community.
It is no coincidence that we do not hear the same resounding enthusiasm for the Palestinian’s march toward unilateralism at the United Nations. On the contrary, many in the international community are looking for ways to avoid this action. They see the potential consequences of mistrust and unmet expectations that could lead to violence.
Now is the time for the international community to tell the Palestinian leadership what it refuses to tell its own people: there are no shortcuts to statehood. You cannot bypass the only path to peace. The Palestinians will have to make compromises and make hard choices. They will have to get off the bandwagon of unilateralism – and back to the hard work of direct peacemaking.
There are attempts to find a framework for re-launching the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. These efforts must be consistent, taking into consideration the vital interests of both sides.
Some of those who speak most loudly and clearly about the interests of Palestinians suddenly seem to lose their voice, hesitate, and sometimes even mumble when it comes to discussing Israel’s vital interests – its recognition as a Jewish state and it right to live within safe and secure borders.
Both of these issues – security and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – are absolutely essential for ensuring the future of the State of Israel.
With regards to our security challenges, let me remind this Council that Hamas and Hezbollah have fired 12,000 rockets into Israel since we withdrew from Gaza and Southern Lebanon. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to realize that if rockets fall on your cities, schools and citizens, your Government has a right to defend itself. Our civilians face this reality every single day. No target is free from attack.
Without clear security arrangements, there is no guarantee that terrorists, arms and munitions would not flow into the West Bank in a future Palestinian state, as they are being smuggled into Gaza as we speak.
One does not have to look too far to recognize Israel’s existential security challenges. Let me point out that Israel’s only international airport lies within a few miles of the West Bank. It is shorter than the distance from where we are sitting right now and JFK or Newark Airports. It could be a target of constant rocket fire. One can only imagine the reaction if other airports were placed under a similar threat.
Lasting peace must be based on a demilitarized Palestinian state and an emphasis on education that promotes peace instead of hate, tolerance instead of violence, and mutual understanding instead of martyrdom.
On the issue of the Jewish State, we must have clarity as well. For lasting peace to take hold, Israel’s recognition of a future Palestinian state must be met with an equal acknowledgement that Israel is the Jewish State.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated openly and repeatedly that we will accept a Palestinian state, alongside a Jewish state. Yet, the Palestinian leadership has not done the same. They will not tell their own people that they accept a Jewish State. Without such an acknowledgement, it will remain unclear whether the Palestinians’ quest for statehood is part of an effort to end the conflict with Israel or a pretext to continue it.
Palestinian leaders claim that they will be prepared for statehood by September 2011, parading this as a magic date before the international community.
We recognize the progress that the Palestinian Authority has made over the past two years with the assistance and cooperation of Israel and the international community. The West Bank economy is a bright spot in the midst of a global recession, growing by 10 percent in 2010. Yet, it is clear that much still needs to be done to create a functioning state that lives in peace with its neighbors.
Even the most basic condition for statehood does not exist. The Palestinian Authority does not maintain effective control of all its territory nor does it hold a monopoly on the use of force. The Hamas terrorist organization still maintains de facto control in Gaza.
Whether the Palestinians bring forward a resolution in the General Assembly or by invoking the “Uniting for Peace” resolution it is clear that the Palestinians are not united and are far from united for peace.
There is much uncertainty about the future Palestinian government: its acceptance of the Quartet conditions, the peace process, control of its security forces, and many other questions. It will take at least until after the Palestinian elections next year before it is clear what Palestinian unity really means.
For Israel, this so-called unity has only brought continued impunity for the terrorists that fire rockets into our cities.
Today’s debate is titled the “Situation in the Middle East”. The turmoil that is sweeping our region – from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea – has shown that there are many challenges facing the Middle East –most of which do not revolve around the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
In particular, the international community cannot allow the issue of Iran to fall under the radar screen. Iran remains the center of terrorism in our region, transferring arms to Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups in serial violation of numerous Security Council resolutions.
Iran continues to advance instability in the Middle East – from Syria to Bahrain to Morocco. Last month’s panel of experts report made clear that Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons capabilities, in complete disregard of the will of the international community.
New information shows Iran’s intention to install uranium centrifuges at its facility in Qom – a facility that was concealed for years from the IAEA. Such behavior does not just endanger only the Middle East, or a specific group of countries. It endangers us all.
We cannot underestimate the danger of long-range missiles and short-range minds. The international community cannot stand by as this Ayatollah regime seeks to assemble a dangerous mix of extremist ideology, missile technology, and nuclear radiology.
Let me remind this Council that Gilad Shalit, Israel’s kidnapped soldier, has been held in captivity for more than five years without a single visit from the Red Cross. Israel expects the international community to do all in its power – and more than it has done already – to bring about his swift release.
I issue a call to the true friends of the Palestinians – to those who want to see them fulfil their national aspirations. As they march down the path of unilateralism, the Palestinian’s true friends will speak the simple truths. Direct negotiations cannot be bypassed. Peace cannot be imposed from the outside.
To the Palestinians I also issue a call. Take Israel’s outstretched hand. Seize the opportunities before us to advance down the real road toward peace – a road of solutions not resolutions; dialogue not monologue; and direct negotiations not unilateral declarations.