by Kenneth J. Bialkin
Middle East peace diplomacy aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the broader Arab-Israeli conflict is bound to fail yet again unless the process is reconfigured to emphasize, as its centerpiece, Arab recognition of the Jewish People's ancient claims to their ancestral homeland and the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Waiting for this necessary change of heart among Palestinians and other Arabs concerning
American diplomacy has been very active, particularly in the last three decades, in trying to bring peace between Arabs and Israelis. There have been successive peace initiatives by Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and, more recently, Barack Obama. The record of American activism in the Arab-Israeli arena is mixed, although there is a clear improvement in Arab-Israeli relations.
The peace treaties signed by
The Saudi initiative ascribed to King Abdullah and the subsequent Arab League Peace Initiative of March 2002 supported the speculation that long-fixed attitudes may be subject to change.
The prospect that
The Palestinian issue remains unsolved despite the fact that the basic issues between
But the question must be asked: If this is accurate, why has there been no real peace progress? In all previous peace initiatives, the magic-bullet formula was for
The answer to the question above is this: A peace process which rests upon
The Jewish claim for land and recognition derive from the days of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jesus, King David and the prophets. This claim has abided for more than 3,000 years, persevering through the creation and universal reverence of the Bible. The Bible reports that in his first year (516 BCE), Cyrus, the King of Persia, in order to reverse the sacking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 597 BCE, and to fulfill the prophesy of Jeremiah, proclaimed that he had been charged by the Lord to build a house in Jerusalem and to send the Jews in his kingdom to "go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (he is the God) which is in Jerusalem" (Second Book of Chronicles 36:23). The revival of Zionism more than 100 years ago is a part of that history and its legitimacy lies in the continuous belief and aspirations of the Jewish people.
Netanyahu made it clear that his government has joined previous Israeli governments in accepting a demilitarized Palestinian state, which would include arrangements to protect
Neither the UN, the international community nor the
After years of unsuccessful peace strategies, it is time for a change. There are many reasons why a correction of strategy has a good chance to produce peaceful settlement for the true benefit of
The centerpiece of a new diplomatic strategy should now include, in the mix of basic conditions for a peace process, that the Palestinians and the Arab World accept an "End of the conflict" agreement with
When President Obama spoke to the world from
The consequences of maintenance of the status quo may be briefly considered:
Continuation of historical trends in economic and social development: Despite the absence of peace
Failure of Palestinian progress in self government and the responsibility of sovereignty: The failure of the Palestine Authority to develop a democratic polity or to achieve governmental stability raises questions whether it can fulfill the obligations of government to establish order and tranquility for its citizens and to ensure stable and peaceful relations with its neighbors.
Growing threat of terrorism: It is a sad fact that the consequences of Islamic terror falls most heavily on other Muslims. Failure to take steps necessary to counteract continued terrorism will delay the prospect of progress for the Palestinians and indeed for the Arab world.
For too long,
Kenneth J. Bialkin, a lawyer, is Chairman of the America-Israel Friendship League, former national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, and former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
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