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.
France and Spain are laying the political groundwork for the European Union to recognize a Palestinian state — possibly as early as October 2011 — even if negotiations for a permanent settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are not concluded.
The initiative is being spearheaded by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his Spanish counterpart Miguel Ángel Moratinos, whose country currently holds the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union.
Palestinian Authority leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad have repeatedly said they intend to unilaterally declare Palestinian independence before the end of 2011, with or without a peace deal. Abbas and Fayyad have been visiting European capitals in recent months to drum up political and financial support for Palestinian statehood. Kouchner and Moratinos laid out their vision for Europe’s role in creating a Palestinian state in a recent opinion article titled “A Palestinian State: When?” The article, which was published in French by the center-left newspaper Le Monde, reminds readers that the European Union is the biggest single provider of financial aid to the Palestinians. Often described as a “payer but not a player” in the Middle East, the authors argue that the European Union must work more aggressively in bringing about Palestinian statehood.
The authors argue that time is of the essence and that the European Union “must not confine itself to the … outlines of the final settlement” and “should collectively recognize the Palestinian State.… There is no more time to lose. Europe must pave the way.” The authors say the upcoming twentieth anniversary of the Madrid peace conference, which was convened in October 1991, would be a good moment to recognize Palestinian independence.
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!"