A few days ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made a speech in we he agreed for the first time to the possibility of a two state solution. To many countries in the world, this is considered a major breakthrough in the Palestinian conflict. For the first time in recent memory, Israel is ready to consider giving the Palestinians a homeland. The entire western world applauded the concessions. Of course, the Palestinians did not: they condemned them.
Why? Part of Netanyahu’s concessions consisted of two demands upon the Palestinians. Unfortunately, for the rest of the world, the Palestinian leaders refuse to accept them. For one, Palestine must accept that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem. And two, the Arab World and particularly the Palestinians must recognize Israel’s right to exist.
First, we will discuss the Jerusalem situation as this is the most complicated. Jerusalem is the natural homeland to all three of the major western religions. Christians, Moslems and Jews all consider it sacred. It has always been the natural center of Israel and the home of the original Jewish Temple built by David.
When Israel was created in 1948, all of Jerusalem was not within its borders. The city was completely taken by Israel in one of its many wars about forty years ago. The Moslem world has always felt that it should not remain part of Israel because of this and because it is the city in which one of the most sacred and important Mosques stands. Since the conflict in which Israel took Jerusalem, this has always been one of the major stumbling blocks in any peace accord.
In my opinion Israel will never concede any of Jerusalem and it should not. As this is the home of Judaism, Israel must retain it within its borders. The Palestinians must concede on this issue. Jerusalem was never part of Palestine as Palestine would be a newly created state. This was not a stumbling block to peace with Egypt and it should not be a stumbling block to a resolution to the Palestinian situation.
As for the second issue, I simple cannot understand why the Palestinians would not recognize Israel’s right to exist. After all this time and after the majority of the entire world have accepted Israel, why would the Palestinians not concede on this point? The reason is very simple and gets to the heart of the whole conflict. The Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world care more about the existence of a Jewish homeland than they care about the existence of a Palestinian homeland.
A quick review of the history of the region shows that every time the Palestinians were offered a homeland, they have always turned it down. This has been done at least four times since the creation of Israel. The Palestinians always say no because they do not really want a homeland, they want Israel to cease to exist, plain and simple. Until the Palestinians change their position on this, there will never be peace in the region.
President Obama should immediately put as much pressure on the Palestinians as he has put on Israel to change its position. He cannot continue to favor Palestine in this debate over Israel. He must change his viewpoint and take a firm stand. Netanyahu has made a major concession. Now, Obama must force the Palestinian leaders to do the same. If he does not, he is proving that he is not a true friend of Israel, which is still the only true democracy in the region.
Or, might that be changing?
Since the obviously fixed Iranian election last week, the people of Iran have been protesting by the thousands. In fact, the protests which started peacefully last week have now turned violent since the Supreme Commander of Iran has decided that they should be quashed in the same manner as the Chinese quashed the protests in Tiananmen Square. In fact, the bloodshed of the last few days actually is beginning to look exactly like the Chinese bloodshed 20 years ago.
It all started when the current President was declared the victor in the nationwide election in less than two days after the election took place. Considering that all of the ballots in Iran are handwritten, I simply do not understand how the current government of Iran would actually believe that the world would accept these results as being anything other than fixed. How is it possible to count 39 million ballots in a 48 hour period?
The opposition leader immediately declared the election a sham and told his supporters to take to the streets. And, they have! By the thousands! The protests which started in Tehran have spread to all sections of the country and most importantly, include women which in the Arab world is a major surprise.
At first the current regime allowed the protests. But, as they have become larger with each passing day, the dictators realized that their regime was in danger of collapsing. On Friday, the Supreme Leader, the current Ayatollah stated that any continued protests would be done at the peril of the demonstrators. Since this statement, the government has completely eliminated the press from the country and the bloodshed began. The only source of information from Iran is now coming from internet networking sites and Twitter of all places. Imagine Twitter is a proponent of a populist revolution.
And, what has our Supreme Leader Mr. Obama done while this was going on; absolutely nothing except to comment that the “The World is Watching You,” to the Iranian leaders. Of course, this plays well with dictators. Hitler listened very carefully when Mr. Chamberlain sold off Czechoslovakia in 1938 and came back to the UK and said “Peace in our time.”
President Obama must immediately put the same level of pressure on the Iranian government that he has put on the Israeli government. The Iranian election which was obviously a sham should be thrown out and a new election under the watch of the United Nations should be had.
Yet, President Obama does nothing except say our watchful eye is upon you. As of this writing, he has not, even so much as condemned the election results. The Iranians protest and lose their lives and President Obama just watches. In fact, a poll was recently released which shows only single digits of Americans approve of the President’s handling of this situation. Even approval among Democrats is in the single digits.
I guess Mr. Obama is just living up to his campaign promise of being a pragmatist in this situation. I just wish he would finally do something before something happens that he will woefully regret. Remember, Iran either has or is very close to having nuclear weapons. I’m quite sure the current dictator and the Supreme Leader will have no problem using them if necessary either against Israel or his own people to quell the uprising!
© 2009 by Frank T. DeMartini. Permission to copy will be given freely upon request.