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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why the Annapolis 'conference' ought to be doomed

In today's Wall Street Journal, Bernard Lewis, the dean of Islamic scholars, explains why the Annapolis conference mugging lynching ought to be doomed.
If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime.

If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist.

PLO and other Palestinian spokesmen have, from time to time, given formal indications of recognition of Israel in their diplomatic discourse in foreign languages. But that's not the message delivered at home in Arabic, in everything from primary school textbooks to political speeches and religious sermons. Here the terms used in Arabic denote, not the end of hostilities, but an armistice or truce, until such time that the war against Israel can be resumed with better prospects for success. Without genuine acceptance of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State, as the more than 20 members of the Arab League exist as Arab States, or the much larger number of members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference exist as Islamic states, peace cannot be negotiated.
Mr. Lewis' analysis is spot-on so read the whole thing.

Unfortunately, he never figured on the suicidal Olmert-Barak-Livni government, which is apparently willing to negotiate whether or not the State of Israel should exist. Some day, that will make an interesting historical study.


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