Dear Friend of Israel, Friend of FLAME:
In the face of U.S. demands that Israel extend its 10-month-old moratorium on building on its eastern borders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to do so if the Palestinians would recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Simple enough. Last week the Arab League of nations affirmed its support of the Palestinians' decision not to recognize the Jewish state, nor to participate in the peace talks without a building moratorium.
Should we be surprised that the Palestinians are not eager to pursue peace? Not in the least. That's been the ingrained Palestinian message for decades, and they communicate this unwillingness with crystalline clarity in many other ways daily.
Start with incitement: The Palestinian Authority, mosques, schools and other public institutions continue unabated to praise and honor terrorists who have killed Israeli civilians in cold blood. A square in Ramallah, for example, was recently (with great ceremony!) renamed for Dalal Mughrabi, who killed 37 innocent Israelis in a bus hijacking. Any group eager for peace would surely cease enthusiastic glorification of such terrorist attacks.
Add institutionalized denial of Israel's existence: Palestinian children are taught categorically that Palestine extends from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River---Israel does not appear on maps in Gaza and the West Bank. Palestinian schoolbooks teach that Jews are newcomers to the Holy Land and have no right to live there---and that this land will eventually be returned to Palestinian rule. Is this the message of a peace-seeking people?
Don't forget the incessant racism: Jews have from the advent of Islam (and in the Koran itself) been characterized as sub-humans who must be dominated and even exterminated by Muslims. No surprise that from Palestinian pulpits Jews continue to be widely cursed by imams as monkeys and pigs. How would you feel about making peace with someone who tells his friends every day that you and your people are pigs?
No, we shouldn't be surprised the Palestinians won't recognize Israel. What is surprising, however, is President Obama's refusal so far to insist that they do so and his unwavering public pressure on Israel to reinstate the building moratorium with no reciprocal gesture on the part of the Palestinians.
As American supporters of Israel, it's critical we understand why peace will never be possible until the Palestinians acknowledge the Jewish state's right to exist. This week's FLAME Hotline, by Israel's ambassador, Michael Oren, lays this fact out with incontrovertible logic.
Please review this short op-ed and pass it along to your friends and correspondents using the "Forward to a Friend" button at the bottom of the article. We must continue to ensure that our fellow Americans---and especially our President---understand the depth of our support and the need for the Palestinians to step up if they really want peace.
Thanks for your continued support of FLAME and Israel!
Please take a minute to remind President Obama that Israel is our strongest, most valuable Middle East ally. Let him know that the absolute first step to peace is Palestinian recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. I urge you to stand up and speak out for Israel now. Use this link to write the President immediately.
How many times have you heard someone complain that "Israel just doesn't have good public relations"? Maybe you've even said the same yourself. But have you seen FLAME's latest hasbarah---our ad on "<u><a href="http://www.factsandlogic.org/ad_71c.html"><u>The Unrelenting and Virulent Hatred of the Arabs: Will peace ever be possible under those conditions?</u></a></u>"---which has appeared in publications nationwide, including college newspapers, with circulation in excess of 5 million? Please take a look at it, and if you agree that FLAME's brand of outspoken public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to <a href="http://www.factsandlogic.org/make_a_donation.html">http://www.factsandlogic.org/make_a_donation.html</a>. Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.
An End to Israel's Invisibility: No Peace without Recognition
By Michael B. Oren, October 13, 2010, The New York Times
Nearly 63 years after the United Nations recognized the right of the Jewish people to independence in their homeland — and more than 62 years since Israel's creation — the Palestinians are still denying the Jewish nature of the state.
"Israel can name itself whatever it wants," said the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, while, according to the newspaper Haaretz, his chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said that the Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel as the Jewish state. Back in 1948, opposition to the legitimacy of a Jewish state ignited a war. Today it threatens peace.
Mr. Abbas and Mr. Erekat were responding to the call by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu,for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, enabling his government to consider extending the moratorium on West Bank construction. "Such a step by the Palestinian Authority would be a confidence-building measure," Mr. Netanyahu explained, noting that Israel was not demanding recognition as a prerequisite for direct talks. It would "open a new horizon of hope as well as trust among broad parts of the Israeli public."
Why should it matter whether the Palestinians or any other people recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people? Indeed, Israel never sought similar acknowledgment in its peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Some analysts have suggested that Mr. Netanyahu is merely making a tactical demand that will block any chance for the peace they claim he does not really want.
Affirmation of Israel's Jewishness, however, is the very foundation of peace, its DNA. Just as Israel recognizes the existence of a Palestinian people with an inalienable right to self-determination in its homeland, so, too, must the Palestinians accede to the Jewish people's 3,000-year connection to our homeland and our right to sovereignty there. This mutual acceptance is essential if both peoples are to live side by side in two states in genuine and lasting peace.
So why won't the Palestinians reciprocate? After all, the Jewish right to statehood is a tenet of international law. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 called for the creation of "a national home for the Jewish people" in the land then known as Palestine and, in 1922, the League of Nations cited the "historical connection of the Jewish people" to that country as "the grounds for reconstituting their national home." In 1947, the United Nations authorized the establishment of "an independent Jewish state," and recently, while addressing the General Assembly, President Obama proclaimed Israel as "the historic homeland of the Jewish people." Why, then, can't the Palestinians simply say "Israel is the Jewish state"?
The reason, perhaps, is that so much of Palestinian identity as a people has coalesced around denying that same status to Jews. "I will not allow it to be written of me that I have ... confirmed the existence of the so-called Temple beneath the Mount," Yasir Arafat told President Bill Clinton in 2000.
For Palestinians, recognizing Israel as a Jewish state also means accepting that the millions of them residing in Arab countries would be resettled within a future Palestinian state and not within Israel, which their numbers would transform into a Palestinian state in all but name. Reconciling with the Jewish state means that the two-state solution is not a two-stage solution leading, as many Palestinians hope, to Israel's dissolution.
Which is precisely why Israelis seek the basic reassurance that the Palestinian Authority is ready to accept our state — to accept us. Israelis need to know that further concessions would not render us more vulnerable to terrorism and susceptible to unending demands. Though recognition of Israel as the Jewish state would not shield us from further assaults or pressure, it would prove that the Palestinians are serious about peace.
The core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been the refusal to recognize Jews as a people, indigenous to the region and endowed with the right to self-government. Criticism of Israeli policies often serves to obscure this fact, and peace continues to elude us. By urging the Palestinians to recognize us as their permanent and legitimate neighbors, Prime Minister Netanyahu is pointing the way out of the current impasse: he is identifying the only path to co-existence.