UN Speeches Highlight Depths of Israeli-Palestinian Divide

(Ha'aretz) Shlomo Avineri - In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas once again made a common Palestinian mistake: a Palestinian leader does not have to persuade the nations of the world, but rather the Israelis. A Palestinian state will arise only if the Palestinians convince the Israelis that they are indeed ready to live in peace and mutual recognition. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was able to do so with his historic speech to the Knesset, which turned him in the blink of an eye from a bitter enemy to the most popular figure in Israel. Abbas' slanderous statements only deepened Israeli suspicions of Palestinian aims. The Quartet's call to renew talks with no preconditions is a diplomatic achievement for Israel, since it rejects the Palestinian approach, which, in presenting preconditions (stopping construction in the settlements and an Israeli pledge to return to 1967 borders) led to a failure of the very renewal of negotiations. The Israeli government welcomed the Quartet's call, while its rejection by the Palestinians shows them to be the recalcitrant party. The writer, professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, served as director-general of Israel's Foreign Ministry.

2011-10-05 00:00:00

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