Friday, June 19, 2009

Netanyahu speech outlines what is really important to Israel and peace

Never fight the battle where the enemy wants you to fight it. Fight the battle on the ground most important to you, where the enemy is weakest.

Israeli policy after Netanyahu's speech

19.06. 2009
Original content copyright by the author
Zionism & Israel Center

To understand the proper direction of Israeli efforts to present its case, we must understand the significance of Benjamin Netanyahu's speech (see Address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Begin-Sadat Center.

The speech was a workmanlike and competent component that be the basis of a reasonable foreign policy. It served several very important purposes. The first was to return some of the "peace process" initiative to Israel, and to counter some of the extreme diplomatic isolation that Israel experienced following the installation of the Netanyahu government. The second was to pay the necessary debt to Barack Obama in his quest for Middle East peace. The third and most important was to provide a relatively clear policy statement and delineation of Israeli rights around three principles:

No 'return' of Palestinian refugees to Israel

No division of Jerusalem

Palestinians must recognize the right of the Jewish people to self determination.

These three conditions form the core of the Israeli case, and efforts at justifying and explaining the case for Israeli peace should focus on them, and not be distracted by gimmicks and side issues such as settlement freezes and outposts. In a hundred years, it will not matter if there was or was not a settlement freeze. But the decision on every one of the above issues will matter for as long as there is a Jewish state and a Jewish people. Palestinians have understood this longer than we have. It is no accident that they have objected strenuously to all three conditions, because they are the heart of peace for Israel. The aim of pro-Palestinian propaganda in the west is to divert attention from the focus of the conflict, defined in those issues, where the Israeli case is strong, to the issue of settlement freeze, and to force a split between the United States and Israel. Regrettably, some of the pro-Israel reaction in recent days has served the Palestinians very well.

Continued - Israeli policy after Netanyahu's speech

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