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Concerning Israeli settlements

Reader comment on item: Assessing Obama's Cairo Speech

Submitted by Stephen Berer (United States), Jun 8, 2009 at 00:06

Dear Daniel Pipes,
I just composed and sent the president the following email, concerning one small part of his speech. I thought you and your readers might find it of interest, as well.
Wishing well and every success,
Steve Berer

Dear Mr. President,

Let me first say, may God guide you in all your endeavors to bring prosperity and peace to our country and to the world.

I am writing this email to explain to you why your demands for Israel to end its settlement activity is unjust. It is a position that is lacking historical substantiation. Rather, it serves the ends of the clearly stated and widely desired Arab commitment to destroy Israel. Let me explain why.

Since Israel's creation on Nov. 29, 1947 by a 2/3 vote in the UN, partitioning the land into Jewish and Arab regions, the Arabs have unconditionally denied Israel's right to exist. And even before 1947, Arab riots and terrorism, notably in 1919, 1929, 1936-1939, and then throughout the years preceding Israel's establishment, showed Arab bigotry towards Jews and Arab intransigence towards the Biblical, historical, and societal necessity for Jews to have a nation. That nation is meant to be a safe haven against the very hatred that is embodied by a majority of Arabs in the world today.

Before we can postulate an appropriate policy towards settlements, we must understand why Palestinians do not have a nation today. There are 3 primary reasons:

1. They rejected nationhood and chose war. This persistent choice since the UN partition plan has consistently denied them any possibility of national aspirations. It has also undermined any trust in the goodwill that some of their people have generated over the years. There must be a cost for promoting hatred and choosing war.

2. Arab nations have no interest in creating a Palestinian nation. When Egypt controlled Gaza and Jordan controlled the West Bank (from 1948-1967), they aggressively rejected turning that territory into an independent Palestinian state. After 1967 Arab nations continued to vilify Israel, but made no effort to facilitate a Palestinian nation. Instead of investing in a Palestinian infrastructure, they fomented war, both in the halls of their governments and in the classrooms of their schools. There must be a cost to the cynical use of Palestinians as an excuse by Arab nations to justify their denial of Israel's unconditional right to exist.

3. Palestinians themselves have failed to invest in their own national identity and national unity. The Hamas-Fatah chasm is only the most obvious of the self-destructive fractures in Palestinian society. Palestinians have not, in any way, invested in their future, but rather have devoted themselves unrestrainedly to building only one kind of infrastructure: an infrastructure of hatred. They curse Israel for existing and in the same breath demand Israel support them. There must be a cost to the dysfunctional investment in hatred.

Israel's settlements are the cost of Arab hatred and Arab violence for over 60 years. This is the true, and ONLY viable meaning of "land for peace."

Israel must continue to build and expand settlements until the Arabs unconditionally commit themselves to non-violence and peace with Israel. And that must include the teaching of peace and acceptance of Israel in their schools. There will NEVER be peace when children are taught hatred.

I voted for you Mr. President, with the hope that you would re-establish the moral leadership of this nation. So far you have not let me down. You began that process from your first day in office, and you extended it last week with your speech in Cairo. However, moral leadership also demands the bold and honest exposure of hatred, and the condemnation of the double standards and lies that inform the vast majority of Arabs. Placating the Arabs by confronting Israel concerning its settlements is empty of realpolitik value, and empty of moral leadership. You are equivocating, perhaps with the hope of cajoling change in the Arab world. Enough equivocating, Mr. President. There is no future in it. You have read, and know well, the Hebrew Prophets. I ask you, judge your words and your policies by THEIR standards, not by the standards of the kings and dictators of the Arab world.

Proper policy cannot be derived when one includes hatred and ruthless vilification as a valid part of the political spectrum. Arab demands for a "just" solution are founded on their hatred and vilification of Israel and Jews. Take your hand and sweep these immoral demands from the table like so many marked and false cards. Then look at what remains. You will see that Israeli settlements are not the problem. They are merely one more excuse for refusing to welcome a Jewish nation into the community of nations.

I urge you to rethink your policy. And I wish you every blessing and all the good will that a man of your greatness and your clarity of vision deserves.

Your loyal supporter,
Stephen M. Berer

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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