Friday, April 20, 2007

More opinions on the Arab Initiative

From a former Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry:


By David Kimche
Jerusalem Post, Opinion (Israel)
April 12, 2007

Vernacular English has some lovely phrases. "Gift of the gab," and "too clever by half" are good examples. How better can one, for instance, describe our prime minister than by saying he has the gift of the gab or that he is too clever by half? His tongue-in-the-cheek offer to meet with moderate Arab leaders in the wake of the Riyadh summit was a typical example of his too-cleverness. "A wonderful spin," he must have thought to himself. "This will get all those well-wishing peaceniks off my back." He must have known that his offer was a nonstarter, that it could be considered only after his acceptance - in principle - of negotiations on the basis of the Arab peace initiative...

Prime Minister Olmert has, it is true, to contend with enormous internal problems. Winograd's sword of Damocles is hanging over his neck. His popularity is at an all-time low. His government is the weakest in Israel's history. Yet his coalition is stable and he might well survive till the end of his term. He can either limp along with only one strong agenda, to survive as prime minister from one day to the next - or he can act as a leader and walk in the footsteps of Ben-Gurion, Begin and Rabin.

The opportunity is there. Olmert can sidestep the Hamas government and pick up the gauntlet that Riyadh presents - negotiations for peace with the Arab world. I have no doubt that the majority of the Israeli public would applaud such a move. His call to meet with the Arab leaders would then take on a completely different connotation. Could it be that our government is afraid to enter into peace negotiations, because of the price tag that is inevitably attached to peace? Have we become afraid of peace?

Jerusalem can either replace Khartoum to become the capital of the word "No" - no to the Arab world, no to the Syrians, no to the Palestinians, no to our own citizens who yearn to see some hope on the horizon for a better future. Or our prime minister can display initiative, courage, and leadership and meet the challenge of Riyadh head-on. Which is it to be, Mr. Olmert?


And a Gulf News editorial:

Gulf News, Editorial
April 17, 2007

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday launched a US-initiated series of meetings aimed at reviving the long dormant peace talks.
However, Olmert says he was not ready to discuss main issues - an absurd position. But it is not surprising. Israel has missed too many opportunities to talk real peace with the Arabs. But it has always chosen to shun peace calls.


1 comment:

William said...

Such an opportunity. There's a Haaretz (Israel)opinion by one of our members today, Akiva Eldar, who argues for accepting both the Arab Peace Initiative and the Palestinian
unity government, warning that what may follow such a government if it is forced out will be much more problematic: