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Give Peace a Chance

Rabbi Stern has many good reasons to be pessimistic about the ultimate outcome of the peace discussions begun this week at Annapolis.
However, not everything appears as dark to me as it does to Rabbi Stern. Why? For several reasons. First, because at Annapolis, Saudi Arabia met for the first time directly with Israel. This is big news.
Speaking to my congregation last week as part of our series on “Israel: Can There Ever Be Peace?,” Rabbis for Human Rights Director Rabbi Arik Ascherman, explained that our wariness over provisions in the Arab peace plan proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002 have obscured how monumental a step it was that Saudi Arabia–protector of Mecca, Islam’s holiest city–was willing to publicly acknowledge its willingness to officially recognize Israel and sign a peace treaty with it. This is a far cry from the 1967 Khartoum Resolution of the Arab States that cited the three “no’s”: no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition of Israel.


By actually sitting down at the same table with Israel this week, Saudi Arabia reaffirmed its willingness to recognize Israel under the right conditions. While the devil remains in the details, such a public display helps pull the rug out from under obstructionists like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and their friends, as well as provide hope for the Arab street that a Palestinian State may indeed be possible. A recent poll shows that support for Hamas is waning, particularly after they fired upon Gazans who rallied in memory of Arafat a few weeks ago. If life becomes easier for Palestinians as a result of these talks, then support for Hamas will continue to wane.
Another reason for cautious optimism is that, for the first time in history, Saudi Arabia and its largely Sunni Arab allies finally have an existential incentive to seek peace with Israel: the threat of non-Arab Iran and its exported Shiite insurgents/terrorists. Dr. Rice is not the only one to realize that settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can help ease tensions across the Arab world and that failing to do so will continue the region down a road that leads to greater and greater danger for all of us.
Finally, as one of my other speakers, Dr. Ofir Ganel observed, both Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and PA President Abbas are so weak on their respective home fronts, they have little to loose and everything to gain by working together.
While there may be more reasons for pessimism, based on the failed history of early peace efforts like Oslo and the Road Map, there still are some good reasons for cautious optimism.
Scripture teaches us “Seek peace and pursue it” (Psalms 34:14). That is why I have been concentrating my prayers this week not only on the esoteric concept of peace, but also on the real politic of God softening the hearts of peace’s enemies and granting strength and wisdom to the peacemakers on both sides. While I have found that God helps those who help themselves, I have also found that prayer never hurts and often helps.

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Richard B. Cook

posted November 29, 2007 at 4:53 pm

As a very liberal, american Jew, I acknowledge that I know very little about Islam baised thinking. I have no way of putting 700 year old religious issues ahead of all other considerations in living in the twenty first century. I can not get past the culture shift that makes the middle east such a problem for the rest of the worled.
My huge investment in Modernism may make me a less comitted Jew. My father taught the here and now philosophy of Fritz Pearls. I have never understood why the offer of full partisipation was turned down by the native inhabitants of the land between the Negev and the Golan.
Any modern day agreement that does not respect the anchant differences is built on the same sand that is common in the region. The first agreement necessary is what centurary this agreement adresses.

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Eva Feld

posted November 29, 2007 at 5:48 pm

As long as any of the Arab nations do not recognize Israel as a sovereign nation and has the right to exist as such in the world communities of nations. Their text books and their children are raised that there is no such state as Israel. As long as such a mind-set exists, there is very little to talk about.

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The Palestinians Do NOT WANT PEACE!

posted November 30, 2007 at 10:31 am

The Palestinians clearly do not want peace (unless every Jew is dead). Here’s a few of the many reasons why this should be obvious:
1. The day after Annapolis, the PA published a map of “Palestine” which does NOT include Israel. In other words, they want Israel annhilated and wiped completely “off the map.”
2. During Abbas’ speech at Annapolis, he NEVER ONCE said that he would carry out his commitments to end terrorism and live in peace with Israel or recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Everything he said boiled down to “give ME more.”
3. The PA has still not lived up to its 14-year old commitments made in Oslo I and II, the Wye Accords, etc., etc. to end incitement to terrorism. Instead, Palestinian television, schools, mosques, and government speeches continue to call for the murder of every Jew and every American. Not surprisingly, Palestinian terrorism has INCREASED since Israel started entering into foolhardy agreements! Appeasement clearly does not work. There is no reason to think that it will work this time around.
4. The polls show that 70-80% of the Palestinian population support terrorism against Jews.
5. The Fatah Constitution still calls for the destruction of Israel by violent means. Abbas and the PA refuse to change it.
Israel’s best hope for survival and peace is to stand strong, and not give any more concessions to Palestinian terrorists.

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Ronel Harvey

posted December 5, 2007 at 3:37 pm

When Ariel Sharon stood on temple mount with 3000 Isaeli troops,a few
years ago, he was making a statement. What was that statement? Jerusalem and Temble mount belongs to–Israel.
The Psalmist in the Torah says,”…if I forget thee oh Jerusalem, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, let my right arm forget it’s cunning, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy…” this goes beyond the psalmist and hails from G-D himself. for it is said of the psalmist, that the Spirit of G-D spoke through him. I am not a naysayer,when it comes to peace, however, history wiil support the fact,that Palestine has always been against the right of Israel to exist as a nation( as though Israel must curry the favor of Palestine to dwell in peace! Complete and utter tripe!!).
Ishmael resented Isaac in Torah, and Ismael resents Isaac today.
As a Christian Pastor. I pray aways for the peace of Jerusalem, however,I know who holds the key, G-D almighty! Israel was His chosen then, and Israel is His chosen now.

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