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My letter in jpost on American role in negotiations

Reader comment on item: Poll: Israelis Find the Security Establishment "Too Timid"

Submitted by Dave (United States), Jul 24, 2019 at 06:02

"Trump's peace team is heading back to Israel next week" (July 21) is all about another well-intended plan that will probably go nowhere because it misses the crux of the problem, which involves differences in attitudes, in visions of an ideal society, not economics.

On one side is the Western democratic model based on political pluralism, free speech and other universal rights. An ideal statement of this view can be found in the US Bill of Rights, which is grounded in Judeo-Christian ethics. On the other side is a view of society informed by the Islamic holy texts and law. This view, defined in detail, is firmly backed by centuries of religiously sanctioned imperial rule. It is far more intolerant than the Western vision and has been far less successful.

When one examines such PA positions as the seemingly absurd denial of any historical connection between Jews and Israel, the glorification of terrorists or the consistent rejection of any Jewish sovereignty, it is evident that their goal is the annihilation and replacement of Israel. It is impossible to bribe one's way around that. No gifts of money or land, however generous, can change this deeply held worldview.

Instead of bribes, the US should offer an alternate vision based on Western values. This could take the form of a concise manifesto that paints a compelling, idealized vision of a happy, united and free region. At the same time, we must make it perfectly clear Israel is here to stay. Beyond that, we should butt out. Ultimately, we can lead the camel to water, but we can't make it drink.

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