Thursday, March 29, 2007

Israel Has A Choice To Make

If there is any realistic chance for a comprehensive Middle East peace, then the proposals from the Arab League are essentially a given:
The Arab summit drew world and Muslim leaders who backed the Arab plan offering Israel normal ties with all Arab countries in return for its withdrawal from land occupied in the 1967 Middle East war, the creation of a Palestinian state and a "just solution" for Palestinians displaced in 1948.

The final communiqué read by Arab League chief Amr Moussa at the close of the summit affirmed "just and comprehensive peace as a strategic option for the Arab nation in accordance with the Arab peace initiative" based on the "land for peace" formula.
Rejected by Israel when it was originally proposed at a Beirut summit in 2002, the plan has key hurdles to overcome.

Israel objects to important elements, including the proposed return to 1967 borders, the inclusion of Arab East Jerusalem in a Palestinian state and the return of Palestinian refugees to homes in what is now Israel. Backed by its U.S. ally, the Jewish state has said it prefers to negotiate the terms of peace first.

"I would say this: Let's conduct negotiations. You come with your positions, and we will come with ours," Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres told Israel Radio.

If Israel continues to reject the Arab proposals, it effectively endorses infinite hostility. How can expect peace if you are not prepared to withdraw from occupied terrorities? How can you expect peace if you don’t acknowledge the historical error that was perpetrated on the Palestinian people? How can you expect peace if you don’t respect the Palestinian right for self-determination?

I suppose you could argue that the Arab League position only represents one side of the argument, but if real peace is the goal, I would submit it is the only course and not unreasonable. Israelis are on land that doesn’t belong to them, many settlers are every bit the radicals so often decreed in Muslim nations. There are objective wrongs that Israel doesn’t seem to accept, and until they do so everything else is window dressing and peace an illusion.

Just imagine if Israel were to accept these proposals. What a terrific gesture that would end the cycle. I would argue that the world would be far more sympathetic to legitimate Israeli concerns if there was a good faith, bold endorsement of a real peace. There are human rights issues at the core of most of the problems, the only way to deal with them is to show Palestinians the respect they deserve. This translates into dealing with refugees in an honorable way, respecting borders and embracing the concept of Jerusalem as meeting place, a powerful symbol of a new reality. The Arab plan is not a negotiating point, it is the essence of a solution. Period.


Mike said...

Well said steve. Very rational and articulate points.

Cue the pooh flinging monkeys accusing you of:

a) antisemitism
b) supporting the terrorists
c) both a) and b)

Steve V said...

I think this is a pro-Israel position because of consequence. If Israel embraces a comprehensive peace, it will guarantee Israeli security, rob extremism of its most powerful draw and shore up international support.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious proposals! Like earlier Arab 'peace' agreements - it is meaningless, as soon as Israel agreed to this the Arabs would consider it a sign of weakness and demand more, that is what they have done every other time, what would be different about this time?

canuckistanian said...

it is pro-israeli for the majority of israelis; but not for the people in the west who call themselves pro-israeli. a pro-israeli position is: not 67 borders, no right of return for refugees, no east jerusalem, staus quo in perpetuity. the debate is hijacked by whether you support israel or not; not on whether you support peace or not. if you support peace, all these things are on the table.

Steve V said...

"as soon as Israel agreed to this the Arabs would consider it a sign of weakness and demand more"

Israel has never dealt with the Palestinian question in any real way, so there is no precedent to the "always want more" nonsense. The irritants have always existed, everyone has played around the margins, including Israel, which is why everything festers.

You're right, do nothing and fuel hatred, with legitimate underpinnings. The question, have the Palestinians been treated fairly? Can you expect a real peace when one occupies foreign terrority? Withdrawing from a few, easy settlements and other window dressing concessions doesn't translate into HUGE concesssions as your statement implies.

How about actually do something and then see if your assumption is true, instead of crying foul before the fact.

Mark Dowling said...

what part of these proposals from the Arab League should be deemed novel? Are they giving anything up to sweeten the deal? Can't say it looks like it - status quo ante, let's forget about the whole thing, let's not have you worrying that we would go "invasion '67 all over again".

To be honest I suspect these proposals will have more of an effect (negative) on the LPC than positively on the middle east, but I'm a bit jaundiced.

Steve V said...

""let's not have you worrying that we would go "invasion '67 all over again".

That simply won't happen, and if they even entertained it, Israel would have carte blanche to fully unleash its military, along with American forces. Mark, will all due respect, the idea that you would return the land and then invasion forces massing at Israel's doorstep is complete and utter BUNK.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Doesn't this argument basically amount to "if the Israelis would just agree to give us everything we want, we'd be OK with that"?

The Israelis say "let's come to the table with each of our proposals and negotiate". The Palestinians say "No, agree to OUR proposals first, and THEN we'll negotiate". Negotiate about WHAT at that point? How the Arab Leagues proposals will be implemented?

It's like the Americans with the Iranians. "Stop enriching uranium, and THEN we'll sit down at the table with you and negotiate the conditions under which you'll stop enriching uranium". Agree to give us what we want first, and only then will we enter negotiations into the manner by which you will give us what we want.

If "the Arab plan is not a negotiating point, it is the essence of a solution" then what's the point in even talking about it? Might as well cut off all discussions with the Israelis and simply wait for them to agree to the Arab plan.

Steve V said...

I'm just curious what demand is unreasonable? The return of land or self-determination?

Thor said...

This issue has been commented on for years by thousands of people from all perspectives. To view the rest of my comment, visit:

Ti-Guy said...

LKO, you're not dealing with the context of the conflict, just the substance of negotiation. Don't confuse the two things.

There are simply things Israel is not legally and morally entitled to. One is the Occupied territories and their settlement, and the other is the Treatment of displaced people. What Isreal is entitled to is good faith negotiation and binding agreements.

Anonymous said...

Go here and sign the petition.

Pseudonym said...

The Israelis don't have to be so difficult. Why don't they just pick up and leave. Surely Canada can give them Baffin Island.

Anonymous said...


Wesley Clark appeared with a Jewish U.S. soldier to argue that a strike against Iran was against Israel's interests. "One of its first immediate responses would be to trigger another attack against Israel by Hezbollah," Clark, a former NATO commander and a likely Democratic candidate for president, said in a video blog posted Thursday.

ALSO, video and petition at this link...

Bush's Iran Policy Hurts Israel

Last Friday, Iranian military forces seized 15 British sailors and marines in the Persian Gulf. Some believe this is an act of aggression by Iran and should be met with a commensurate military response.

I do not.

I believe it shows that the Bush Administration's current policy with Iran is not working. For sake of stability in the Middle East, it's time for direct diplomacy with Iran -- now more than ever.

Today, we're launching our third video blog for I'm joined by Iraq war veteran Jon Soltz of and Clark Community blogger Reg to discuss how President Bush's get tough policy with Iran is undermining the security of our most reliable ally in the region, Israel....

More at the link. These words are from Wes Clark, four star General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and possible Presidential candidate in 2008.

I am trying to bring this to the attention of the Canadian blogosphere and not spamming your site. It's just that hardly anyone here in Canada is discussing this. As a Canadian, I feel that if tere is anything we the people can do to prevent any madness on the part of Bush and Iran, then we must start making some noise. It would be bad for everyone, think Iraq times ten. Nuclear fallout if they strike with the nuclear bunker bombs, small nukes. Blowback on Israel and the west. The topic here in Canada will be forever changed and the Liberal message and our environmental concerns here will be overshadowed.


Steve V said...

"One of its first immediate responses would be to trigger another attack against Israel by Hezbollah,"

I don't mean to question the Supreme Commander, but is that feasible? Aren't their international soldiers on the Lebanese border?

I might add, Israel would relish the opportunity to finish off Hezbollah once and for all. If there was a provocation, then Israel would be afforded a certain latitude to respond with severe force. Don't get me wrong, Israeli actions were brutal last year, but they also didn't release the full fury of their military, primarily because of appearances. If Hezbollah attacked, Israel would level Lebanon in an unprecedented way. As a matter of fact, they may relish any opportunity to incite Hezbollah, so they can finish the job.

Anonymous said...

More Iran war vs Israel discussion here for those who are interested.