For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Weekly Commentary Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 4 June 2009
Some quick observations regarding Obama Addresses Muslim World in Cairo today:
#1 Obama's insult to Saudi Arabia?
After visiting Saudi Arabia, where it is against the law for Christians to worship freely, Obama says the following in Cairo:
"The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom. Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country."
#2. Absence of pluralism in thought on Arab-Israeli affairs
When President Obama ponders every and any other issue in the world there is the traditional pluralistic approach that entertains the possibility that one doesn't have a monopoly on wisdom. But when it come to the "two state solution" religion, there is no place and no space to consider alternative views that do not embrace this dogma.
the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true. "
Is Mr. Obama asserting that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is a figment of our imagination?
#3. Equivalence of rights to exit
"At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. "
And what if they are mutually exclusive? Oops.
And where is it etched in stone that a Palestinian "autonomous state", where Palestinians enjoy self rule but are denied the means to destroy the Jewish state is not acceptable?
#4 The big lie - settlements violate agreements and undermine peace process
". Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace."
Palestinian complaints about settlement activity cite Article XXXI Paragraph 7 of the Interim Agreement: "Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations."
The meaning of "status" means "legal status". A violation of the agreement would take place if Israel annexed part of the West Bank or Gaza Strip or the PA declared an independent state in the area before the negotiations were concluded. Israeli settlement activity is no more a violation of the Agreement than Palestinian construction. Many Palestinian officials recognize this and instead argue that the settlements are not "in the spirit of Oslo". But the agreements are legal documents, and as legal documents what counts is what is written - not some amorphous "spirit".
Israeli settlement activity is the only action from the Israeli side which threatens the Palestinians with the prospect that the deal they may refuse today may be considerably better than the deal that Israel will be able or willing to offer tomorrow. Even if the negotiations are bogged down due to Palestinian intransigence and Israeli redeployments are postponed, all of this is temporary in nature. A short blip in the century old Arab-Israeli conflict. But settlement activity is quite another story. Growing settlements define areas which the Israeli national consensus will never support returning. Settlements stretching on key roads turn the tables on future possible solutions, ending the isolation of Israeli settlements and, in turn, isolating Arab villages.
Besides encouraging the Palestinians to lower their demands and expectations, settlement activity, if properly packaged, can be used as a prime tool in the battle against terror. Historically, settlements were considered the "Zionist response to terror." A look at the map of modern Israel finds it sprinkled with the names of settlements named in memory of the victims of various Arab attacks. Today's terrorists are popular folk heroes in Palestinian society. The cost to the Palestinians of terror, in the form of restrictions on movement and commerce, may be painful, but the pain is temporary in nature. Large terrorist attacks may postpone Israeli redeployments and talks, but, again, these are temporary setbacks.
Terrorist attacks may, in fact, be viewed in the long run by the Palestinians as serving their interests by softening Israel's resolve. When one well known Israeli Leftist declared in an interview on Israel Radio after the bus bombings in Jerusalem that "we celebrated the day that the wall dividing Jerusalem was torn down in 1967 and we will celebrate the day it is erected again" this was not lost on the Palestinians.
But what if the Netanyahu Administration returns to the "Zionist response to terror"? Sure, the Palestinians won't be pleased to learn that the "Shchunat Munk" neighborhood is being built in the memory of the Munk family recently murdered in a drive-by shooting. But will the murderers still be the same heroes they were before their action lead to the building of yet more Jewish homes?
The "Zionist response to terror" has another benefit. Besides deterring Arab terror, it would serve to bolster the morale of the Israeli public by offering it a positive emotional outlet through which to respond to Arab terror. By establishing living memorials, Israel would be effectively saying: "We are on the map. Terror will not vanquish."
It is said that the Arabs decided to make peace with Israel when they came to the conclusion that they could not destroy the Jewish State on the battlefield. By the same token, settlement activity today may very well convince the Palestinians that they must compromise now or face the prospects of a considerably worse deal in the future.
5. The Pope was sorry Israel needed security measures - Obama just wants them dropped
Consider this contrast:
The Pope recognizes that Israel needs to carry out security measures:
"One of the saddest sights for me during my visit to these lands was the wall. As I passed alongside it, I prayed for a future in which the peoples of the Holy Land can live together in peace and harmony without the need for such instruments of security and separation" The Pope's deporting remarks - 15 May 2009
President Obama doesn't mention Israel's security needs:
"Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. "
So Israel should let the trucks carrying cement and rebar into Gaza so that Hamas can build more reinforced positions for its war against the Jewish State? Roadblocks should be dropped even if it means dead Israelis from terror attacks?
6. Obama's vision of open Jerusalem is here today - not under other arrangements
"when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together."
Mr. Obama describes the situation today in Jerusalem. The only restrictions on access are security related. The more solid the "calm" the broader the access to all.
Only those who are profoundly blinded by an ideological-religious commitment to removing Israeli sovereignty from Jerusalem can argue that some house-of-cards arrangement can replace Israeli sovereignty and still have Jerusalem as "a place for all of the children of Abraham" - including Jews - " to mingle peacefully together."
It takes absolutely no imagination to come up with a score of scenarios in which the various "solutions" proposed lead to restrictions and ultimately a ban on Jewish prayer at places also held holy by other faiths.
It should be noted that the true model of "a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together" is the Tomb of the Patriarchs (aka Ibrahim Mosque) in Hebron where not only do Jews and Moslems pray within close proximity, there are even arrangements to enable each faith to use the entire facility on their special holidays.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"