Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bibi Could Have Done Better

From a CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer (the former Ze'ev Barak of Al-Hamishmar but that's a whole other story) - with comments of mine:-

...I hope to make peace.

Any time we have encountered an Arab leader who wanted to make peace, we made peace. Anwar Sadat came. Menachem Begin of the Likud made peace. The late King Hussein came. Yitzhak Rabin of Labor made peace. [yes, but we did that only by yielding and surrendering land; where's their contribution to a 'territorial compromise'?] I'm telling you that, if Mr. Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, [and if Hamas will take over or is posied to will Israel then yield?] genuinely steps forward and says, we recognize the State of Israel, we're willing to make peace with the Jewish state, just that, the Jewish state, and it will be a peace of the recognition and security, then my government will make peace. I'm no exception, because the people of Israel want peace. And I think people understand that now.

As to the question of settlements, I think that raising this condition, something that hasn't happened in 15 years of Israeli- Palestinian dialogue - nobody put this precondition - this is just costing us a great deal of time.

The issue of settlements has to be discussed at the end or in the context within these negotiations, not before. It has to be resolved. And we're prepared to look into this issue, as into other issues. But we have to talk in order to talk about it. That's obvious. And yet we haven't. For six months, we have been waiting to talk about talks. I say let's put that aside. Let's just get on with it and start the peace process again.

BLITZER: We're hearing from U.S. officials and Palestinian officials that the president gave them, the Palestinians, a commitment that, once the negotiations resume, they would resume where they left off, including such sensitive issues as the future of Jerusalem, allowing Jerusalem - at least part of it - to be under Palestinian control. Is that even available to you? Is that even open to you, that Jerusalem could be a subject for these negotiations?

NETANYAHU: Well, you asked me two questions in that question.

The first is, will the talks continue where they left off? Well, there were no agreements. I mean, the previous government spoke for three years, but came to no agreements. And we were elected with a clear mandate to provide peace and security. And, of course, we will do that. [this bit about 'talks continue where they left off' has always been Israel's bane. The Arabs never lose. Never get punished for not agreeing. They incrementally gain without comitting or conducting themselves according to agreement or do not fulfill their obligation. They break off and then assume that they start again from that point in the negotiations. If Bibi breaks that, well, great - but not by giving in on our rights]

We will take into account the 15 years of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but we will be committed to the mandate that we received. And that mandate seeks to arrive at a better future for all of us. That is a future of peace for our children and for future generations of Israelis and Palestinians, and, for that matter, any Arab party in the Middle East. We're prepared to begin negotiations immediately or go anywhere.

BLITZER: Are you ready to talk about Jerusalem?

NETANYAHU: We have certain views about Jerusalem. I think the fact that it's been united under Israeli sovereignty has ensured that, for the last four decades, all major faiths, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, all monotheistic faiths, have enjoyed the great freedom of worship and access to their religious sites, something that hasn't happened before since the rise of the three monotheistic religions. [aw, why didn't he say Muslims rip up Jewish graves, destroy synagogues and shoot from Jerusalem's ramparts killing civilians in the 19 years we didn't rule Jerusalem of 1948-1967?]

It's only under Israeli sovereignty that this city has been open to all religions. Jerusalem for us is our eternal capital. We don't want to redivide it and see a Berlin Wall in the center of it. So, obviously, that's our position.

The Palestinians will raise their point of view. And that's clear. But we will talk about these things, but my position is well-known.

Netanyahu is a great media personality but he could have done better.


Carl at Israel Matzav agrees.

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