Thursday, December 26, 2013

Counterproductive Israeli Left Silence To Noes of Abbas

by Dr. Aaron Lerner

Speaking before a meeting of the Arab leagues this week, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas detailed the Palestinian red lines for an agreement with Israel.

The red lines include:

+ No recognition of Israel as a Jewish State.

+ No demilitarized Palestinian state

+ No Israeli forces anywhere after 36 months.

+ Palestinian sovereignty over the entire "Holy Basin" of Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall.

Now there are certainly those in the radical Israeli left who have no problem with these demands.  There are, after all, some in the radical left who are genuinely convinced that if the IDF were to withdraw tonight to the '67 lines while the Israel Police packed up and abandoned the Jewish neighborhoods of Eastern Jerusalem that utopian peace would reign for generations to come regardless of security arrangements.

And there are also radical Leftist Israelis who want to see "peace in our time" even if it is a short lived peace.  Years ago I attended a local panel discussion in Raanana on the prospects for peace in the Middle East. The late Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz was one of the speakers. In the course of the discussion I cited the long history of conflict in our region, much of which has nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict, and asked Leibowitz what he thought the long-term prospects were for peace in the Middle East.

Leibowitz replied that it was clear that peace, any peace, would not last forever, and that the most one could expect was peace for a few years, possibly decades. He added, though, that Israel must make every sacrifice and take every risk in order to get a state of peace, no matter how fleeting.

No matter how fleeting.

But most of the Israeli Left insists that it is not part of either of these two radical camps.  They claim that they support a deal to create a sovereign Palestinian state with their eyes wide open, determined and confident that an agreement can be reached that truly and genuinely serves and protects Israel's  vital interests.

So why don't we hear a thundering response from this most articulate camp to the noes of Abbas?

Yes, they may be willing to even concede on some of these noes – but certainly they feel that at least some of the noes cross their own red lines.

Why the silence?

Here's the irony:  The silence of the moderate Israeli left (and for that matter their fellow travelers overseas) encourages Abbas to stand firm on red lines that will never be acceptable to any Israeli Government.

Put simply,  if the moderate Israeli Left, including President Shimon Peres, genuinely want to make a contribution towards bringing the negotiations to an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians then they should be as vocal in their criticism of unacceptable Palestinian positions as they are about Israeli policy.

Dr. Aaron Lerner


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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