Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Israel and History

The unhistorical and unwise remarks of President Bush concerning Israel's boundaries with an emerging Palestinian State are devastating for Israel and empowering for Islamic fundamentalists.

The President recently affirmed that the 1949 Armistice lines should guide current negotiations. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is working intently to remove Jewisg settlers from Gaza and most of the West Bank.

Israel is willing to displace thousands of her own people for a promise of peace with a neighbor that will not unambiguously acknowledge Israel's right to exist!

President Bush and others who wish to appease the Arabs are ignoring the history of the last 50+ years.

The United Nation has already created two states. In the 1947 partition, Israel and TransJordan (now shortened to Jordan) were formed, with Jordan getting the West Bank and Jerusalem. Egypt controlled Gaza and the Sinai, Syria possessed the Golan Heights and Israel placed her capital in Tel Aviv. The survivors of the pogroms and the Holocaust were not completely happy with the boundaries, but an imperfect homeland was better than none.

By 1949, truce lines were established, but there were no formal peace accords or diplomatic relations with any Arab states (though back- channel negotiations with Jordan and others occured sporadically). These lines affirmed the original mandate and the resolution passed in 1948 recognizing the state of Israel.

In 1967 Israel was attacked and in a week defeated her Arab foes and "conquered" the Sinai, the West Bank, the Gaza and the Golan heights. There are the "occupied territories" in Arab rhetoric. For Israel they have been a buffer and an aid in negotiation.

In 1978 Israel and Egypt made peace and the Sinai was returned and a promise made to create another Palestinian State. The Oslo Accords of 1992 reiterated these commitments and Arafat and the Palestinians were offered 98% of the land they desired.

For the past several years, radical Arab groups have sabotaged all attempts at reasonable solutions. In 2005 we have another opportunity for peace, but if Israel is asked to yield all territory back to 1949 lines and the new Palestinian State is allowed a corridor to connect Gaza and the West Bank, it is Israel that is eviscerated.

The creation of the "barrier" surrounding Israel has reduced terrorist bombings by over 90%. What is lacking in current talks is a failure to consider Israeli security and the ensure a Palestinian regime that will crack down on terrorism and be a real partner with Israel.

The events of the past half-century needs to be paramount in forming US policy. A strong Israel and a moderate Palestine would be a victory for good. The danger is giving in unconditionally to Palestinian demands is that they become merely a stepping stone for destabilizing and eventually devouring Israel. The end of the "Zionist entity" is still the stated purpose of the PLO Charter and the majority of Arab groups.

President Bush needs to read a bit of history, qualify his geopolitical boundaries and insist upon an end to a policy of rioting and terror as a precondition for final negotiations.

Mr. President, will you have the courage to do this, in spite of your coziness with the House of Saud?

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