By Ted Belman
I attended an all day conference in Tel Aviv today entitled The Arab Peace Initiative (API) — Current Status backed by the S Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Studies and highlighting the Israel Peace Initiative (IPI). As you can imagine there were a lot of lefties there.
The IPI supports “the establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gazaon the basis of the ’67 lines and territorial swaps on a 1:1 basis in limited scope.” The state will be “demilitarized with strict security measures on its borders.” And of course, Jerusalem to be divided and refugees to return only to Palestinian state with symbolic and agreed exceptions”
There is little difference between their plan and that of the API.
The predominant message at the conference was that the API is a great opportunity for Israel and shouldn’t be missed. Most speakers lamented the fact that it has been ignored by the Israeli government. They were despondent that their views were out in, guess what, left field.
They waxed eloquently on the benefits to be derived from accepting it and having normal business and diplomatic ties with all the Arab countries. No one worried that experience teaches us that we can’t trust Arab promises and commitments set out in any peace agreement. No one mentioned how the Arabs are dedicated to destroying Israel and Islam prohibits the establishment of a non Islamic state in Islamic lands.
Some of the memorable quotes, “Israel must accept either occupation or peace”, “Israel is endangered morally but not militarily or existentially”, |”peace will reduce cost of security”, “if we do nothing, then we will become an apartheid state”, the “desire for political gains prevents acceptance of API”, “the right is delusional because they are ignoring Israel’s ongoing delegitimation”, “we don’t want to become a bi-national state”, etc.
As for the Arabs, they accuse Israel of not wanting peace and not being a partner for peace. Gee that’s what we say about the Mahmud Abbas. As for the Arab Spring, one speaker thought it was good for achieving regional peace. Poor Abu Massen was pessimistic and so was one of the speakers who was the PA Min of Prisoner’s Affairs. “Arabs want peace, Israelis don’t”, Israel’s leaders are intransigent”.
Everyone in the US and the EU fell in love with Fayyadism. He espoused building the economy and institutions first. But that was a dismal failure.
One professor talked about teaching his students the intricacies of the Khartoum Conference Resolution supporting the three “no’s”. He complained that they weren’t the slightest bit interested. To them it was irrelevant.
But it must be said that the one thing notable about the API was that it offered recognition whereas this was rejected at Khartoum. That’s progress I guess.
“Arab human nature has begun to change”, “Arabs are no longer afraid to speak out”. “This will serve Israel well”.