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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Israel's side of the story

You've heard America's side of the story from Tom Friedman and Martin Indyk. Now, please hear Israel's side of the story from David Hazony.
Israelis are not taking American friendship for granted. They are begging for it.

Israelis are a sentimental lot. Egypt’s Anwar Sadat laid the groundwork for peace just by agreeing to come to Jerusalem and addressing the Knesset — thus showing Israelis his sincerity in seeking coexistence. Bill Clinton won the hearts of millions in the Jewish state when he uttered two simple Hebrew words at the grave of slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin: “Shalom, chaver.” (Goodbye, friend.) Israelis have proven themselves capable of sacrificing a great deal if they are convinced that America is truly with them, supporting their right to live in peace in their ancestral homeland.

Yet President Obama has been unwilling to convey those kinds of simple signals to Israelis. Whether it was his gaffe on the campaign trail, when he called for Jerusalem to be Israel’s “undivided” capital and then immediately backtracked; or his Cairo speech, where he implied that Israel’s right to exist flows from the Holocaust rather than from the Jewish people’s deep roots in the land; or the fact that he has not bothered to visit Israel since taking office — the president has at every turn signaled to Israelis that he is fundamentally not on their side. The result: Judging from opinion polls, he is probably the least popular American president among Israelis in history.

Israelis are willing to give up lands in the West Bank that are suffused with Jewish history, to dismantle settlements and even to set up a Palestinian state, in exchange for peace and security. Jerusalem, however, is another story. It is, for Israelis, not a settlement to be uprooted. It is the country’s capital (America’s refusal to recognize it as such notwithstanding) and its most populous city. In every sense, it is as much a part of the Israeli experience as Tel Aviv or Haifa. Its Jews outnumber its Arabs by a ratio of 2-to-1. And it has had a Jewish majority since the 19th century. It is the city Jews longed to return to for millennia, the city whose reunification in 1967 is the only thing about the Six-Day War that still unites Israeli sentiment. Building in Jerusalem is not just fully within the Israeli consensus, it is for many Israelis the heart of what Zionism was always meant to be about.

By failing to respect Israeli opinion, the Obama administration has done immeasurable harm to Israelis’ sense that America is a friend upon whom they can rely. For Israelis really are looking for that friendship in every word and gesture that comes from Washington. They expect Americans, who tout freedom and democracy, to honor Israel’s own democracy by respecting the decisions of a government that enjoys broader public support than any in the last 20 years. They expect Americans to realize that for decades, Israelis have been fighting on the front lines of the same war that eventually reached Lower Manhattan. They expect a real friendship, one based not just on perceived mutual interests but on loyalty, respect, common ideals and, above all, understanding.
I don't know how much support there is right now in Israel for dismantling 'settlements' or giving up land in the 'West Bank.' There would probably be more support if Israelis felt that whatever land they give up will not be turned into a terror base as happened in Gaza. But other than that, David is spot-on.

Read the whole thing.


At 5:51 PM, Blogger nomatter said...

"There would probably be more support if Israelis felt that whatever land they give up will not be turned into a terror base as happened in Gaza."

Bravo. Right on.

I have to say however Israelis know this already. Sadly, false illusions never end up like a fairy tale where almost always they live happily ever after...

Thanks to a world which is primarily more against Israel then Islamists, hacking and skinning Christians alive in Narobi or the genocide in the Sudan,makes for a very debased and beaten down society. As Jewish babies were splattered on pizza parlor walls the world cared more for the family of the terrorist then the family that had to bury their tiny child. For that Israel got the US led quartet as a thank you gift/

At 6:12 PM, Blogger nomatter said...

BTW Carl,
Every world leader knows what a Palestinian state will ultimately mean for Israel.

I wonder when we will wake up to the reality of "seeing they know this" every bit as much as they know the "Palestinian agenda", why the push?

When we see with eyes wide open we must fight this fight alone breaking the illusion not one US president has worked from his heart for the ultimate security of Israel in a sea of terrorists, we are sunk.

The deal breaker;the key that opens the lock of truth remains shut until we open it ourselves. Our security means nothing for if it did, there never would be talk of a Palestinian state to begin with. Just like the idea of Kurdish statehood died with Woodrow Wilson.

The core of what drives that speeding train is the ugliness to which we have been punished for time and time again.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I think every one knows Israel has reached the point where it cannot give up more. The Palestinians don't want peace but Israel's destruction. Unless Israel is willing to sign its death warrant, further talks are simply an exercise in prolonging the Jewish State's death agonies. Its time Israel's leaders told the public the truth: there can be no peace with those who refuse to recognize its right to exist. That is the only duty for the honest man on earth to declare today.

At 10:47 PM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

I totally second NormanF! Each time Israel gives up some land, Sinai, Gaza, there is a moments breathing space and then the insatiable bloodsucking monster that is islam is back, wanting more.

Islams avowed intent is to destroy Israel, slowly or quickly and Jews etc. Time for Jerusalem to bare its nuclear-spiked teeth.


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