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.
P. David Hornik Frontpagemag.com 26 March '10 Posted before Shabbat
On Wednesday night in Washington Israeli and American officials worked feverishly—but failed—to produce a document stating Israel’s commitments regarding proximity talks with the Palestinian Authority. The U.S. was reportedly supposed to take the document to the Palestinians and then to the Arab League meeting in Tripoli, Libya, this weekend.
Days earlier Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had outlined such commitments in a letter to secretary of state Hillary Clinton. It was deemed insufficient and, in Washington, President Barack Obama sent Netanyahu and his accompanying officials back to the drawing board. According to one report, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman advised Netanyahu not to sign any such document that night, and to wait to return home and discuss the matter with the Israeli inner cabinet.
The commitments Obama seeks are variously reported to be: some sort of Israeli undertaking about a construction moratorium in the West Bank (where one is already in place) and East Jerusalem; a promise to engage in such final-status issues as refugees, borders, and Jerusalem in the proximity talks; and “gestures” to the Palestinian Authority such as the removal of additional checkpoints and the freeing of Palestinian security prisoners.
The pressures Obama directed at Netanyahu were severe, in one account even inducing a “panic” reaction in the Israeli leader. The total media blackout that accompanied their meeting led the Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl to comment that “Netanyahu is being treated as if he were an unsavory Third World dictator, needed for strategic reasons but conspicuously held at arm’s length.” Obama was further riled by news about an approval to build 20 apartments for Jews in a compound in East Jerusalem owned by an American Jewish millionaire since 1985—situated in a mostly-Arab neighborhood.
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!"