May 20, 2011


Netanyahu must move forward and accept 1967 borders (Ari Shavit, 5/190/11, Ha'aretz)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Knesset speech on Monday was a good one. He told the truth. He described the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as it is. He set down six principles for Israel as it seeks peace: recognition of Israel as the Jewish national home, a demilitarized Palestine that does not control the Jordan Valley, a solution outside Israel to the refugee problem, retention of settlement blocs, a united Jerusalem and a declaration of an end to the conflict with no further demands.

These six principles are completely loyal to the Rabin legacy, the Sharon legacy and the Kadima party's platform. They are principles that can be legitimately presented to the Palestinians. They are principles that can be explained to the world. They are principles that the sane Israeli majority accepts. Regarding Jerusalem, Israel will have to make another painful concession, but basically there's no two-state solution that is not founded on these six principles.

If we deserve peace, these are the principles it will be based on. If war is imposed on us, these are the principles that will be worth fighting for. This is the Israeli core.

But Netanyahu's speech to Congress next week will have to be even better than Monday's; it will have to be excellent. To achieve this, he will have to include another principle of peace that he didn't mention in the Knesset - the principle of 1967.

Israel's prime minister doesn't have to agree to withdraw to the 1967 borders. Such a withdrawal is impossible. But he will have to agree to give the Palestinians land equivalent to the territory captured in 1967. Such an agreement is vital. Without accepting the principle of 1967, Netanyahu's other principles will remain full of holes. The Palestinians will mock them and the world will reject them. They will end up the latest unimportant remarks by an unimportant prime minister who left no lasting mark.

...but Israel can enforce them for a few years and perhaps that's enough to make up for losing the war.

Posted by at May 20, 2011 6:05 AM

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