Friday, April 24, 2009

"Reasons for Gratitude"

Arlene Kushner

Before Shabbat I would like to focus on sources of hope.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has given an interview to The Jerusalem Post -- his first such interview since taking office. f the international community wants to help bring stability to the area, he said, they should "stop speaking in slogans." His counterparts tend to speak as if they are in a campaign, using words like "occupation," "settlements," and "settlers." The slogans they rely upon -- such as "land for peace" and "two-state solution" are overly simplistic and ignore the root of the ongoing conflict.

"It's impossible to artificially impose any political solution. It will fail, for sure. You cannot start a peace process from nothing." The issues to deal with are "economy, security, stability."

Lieberman was emphatic in stating that there could be no negotiations that entertained the possibility of "right of return." "It cannot be on the table, I'm not willing to discuss the 'right of return' of even one refugee."

At the same time, he indicated that "somebody who really wants a solution, someone who desires a real peace and a real agreement, must realize that this would be impossible without recognizing Israel as a Jewish state...

"[The real reason for the deadlock with the Palestinians] is not occupation, not settlements and not settlers. This conflict is really a very deep conflict..."

What is more, it would be "impossible to resolve any problems in our region without resolving the Iranian problem [which is related to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria, and Hamas in Gaza]. He believes the prime responsibility for Iran rests with the international community.


Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to EU threats to suspend an upgrade in its relationship with Israel.

"Don't set conditions for us," Netanyahu told Czech Premier Mirek Topolanek during his visit here.

When Topolanek brought up the issue of settlements, Netanyahu responded, "If Israelis can't build homes in the West Bank then Palestinians shouldn't be allowed to either. I have no plans to build new settlements, but if someone wants to build a new home [in an existing one], I don't think there's a problem." The West Bank, he said, was "disputed territory" over which negotiations must be held. This cedes nothing.


Understand that a very short time ago we had a foreign minister and a prime minister who couldn't wait to give away parts of Israel, divide Jerusalem and push our people back to the '67 lines, all in the name of what we "had to do" for peace.

So, Baruch Hashem for what we have now: Leaders who won't be threatened and stand for Israeli rights. May their strength increase.

There will be more to say on this.


I'll look at Hillary's latest statement (a stupid threat) after Shabbat.

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