Re: “Fate of Talks Hangs in Balance as Kerry Confers With Obama, Lieberman” (front page news story, April 11):
My skepticism about the sincerity of the Palestinians’ efforts to negotiate a settlement with Israel has been borne out by events. I agree with your editorial position that all along Mahmoud Abbas was simply trying to secure the release of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons for crimes ranging from mayhem to outright murder and always intended to return to the UN for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Israel, at the insistence of the U.S., participated in the charade by providing the Palestinians with incentives to sit at the negotiating table, largely in the form of the prisoner releases. Once they got most of the releases accomplished, the Palestinians started saying that there would be no negotiations over core issues like the status of Jerusalem, and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Israel simply had to agree to the Palestinian position according to the Palestinians.
This should be a lesson to all of us. The only results of the sham negotiations is that now the Palestinians are emboldened and there are more than a hundred terrorists free to continue the war against innocent Israelis.
What Resolution 242 Really Said
Kudos to The Jewish Press for putting the Obama Mideast policy in perspective. (Middle East Reassessment,” editorial, April 11). Setting the 1967 lines as a framework for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is an important departure from the policy of the Johnson administration, which shepherded Resolution 242 through the UN in the aftermath of the Six-Day War.
Back in 1967, the Johnson administration recognized that the Arab world would never accept the legitimacy of Israel and that therefore, to discourage the Arabs from initiating periodic wars seeing the destruction of Israel, Israel would need to keep as much land as it needed to provide for fully defensible borders.
The UN ambassador at the time, Arthur Goldberg, brought this about through artful jousting with the Soviet Ambassador, Nikolai Fedorenko, leading to UN Resolution 242 which provided that Israel did not have to give up the – i.e. all – land it seized in the Six-Day War.
Unfortunately, with the passage of time that understanding has faded, helped along by the growth of anti-Israel sentiment around the world and certainly in the UN. That careful distinction in language has become the victim of historical revisionism to the point where even presidents ranging from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush to Barack Obama have come to view the resolution as somehow granting equal status to Israeli and Palestinian concerns, when in fact the Palestinians weren’t a factor at all in the UN talks following the Six-Day War. The only question was how much territory Israel would eventually relinquish to Egypt, Jordan and Syria in the event of a peace agreement.
Spielberg And Obama
I recently read that “Schindler’s List” director Steven Spielberg plans to honor President Obama for the president’s work in human rights. This will take place at a planned May 7 event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Mr. Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation, an organization Mr. Spielberg founded to chronicle video and audiotapes of survivors of the Holocaust and other genocidal events of the 20th century.
Are we talking about the same Barack Obama who fiercely campaigned in 2008 that if he were calling the shots, the United States “wouldn’t have gone into Iraq in the first place”?