No Fanciful Thinking in Mideast Negotiations

(Indianapolis Star) Elliot Bartky and Allon Friedman - For the U.S. to succeed in its efforts to secure peace between Israel and the Palestinians, four fundamental misconceptions must be overcome. The first is that the Palestinian leadership and society have, over time, genuinely moderated their views about Israel. Even a cursory review of Palestinian media, schools, and mosques reveals that hateful anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement continues unabated. Palestinian attempts to erase millennia-old Jewish links to the Land of Israel are incessant. Misconception No. 2 is the "land for peace" fallacy, where Israel is expected to swap land for peace agreements. Israel has proven again and again a commitment to take enormous risks for peace, including giving up precious buffer territory captured in defensive wars, only to find its citizens being subject to terror and missile fire by Iranian-backed, jihadi groups Hizbullah and Hamas. Misconception No. 3 involves the presumption that Abbas and his government can actually negotiate on behalf of all Palestinians, when Hamas and Fatah are currently at war with each other. The fourth misconception involves acting as if the Arab-Israeli conflict is the number one priority in the region. It is only one of many conflicts in the Middle East and, as WikiLeaks documents reveal, even Arab leaders who curse Israel publicly are in private worried primarily about the threat of a nuclear Iran and its hegemonic ambitions. Bartky is president and Friedman a board member of the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana.

2010-12-23 10:29:07

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