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February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
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The Speech Obama Didn’t Make

President Barack Obama met with Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators Tuesday morning

President Barack Obama met with Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators Tuesday morning
Photo Credit: Official White House Photo/Pete Souza.

Now that several weeks have passed since President Obama’s visit to Israel, it is possible to get a better perspective on many of its aspects. Focus must not only be placed on what was said and done, but also on what was missing.

One omission is a speech not given to Palestinian youngsters in Ramallah. A draft of what Obama could have said follows:

“In my Cairo speech in 2009 at the beginning of my first term, I made major efforts to accommodate the Muslim world. I did something similar in Israel this visit.

“But for you young Palestinians, peace is even more important than for Israelis. Their quality of life is much better, due to their efforts. Because of your various leaders’ policies, you live worse now than before the Oslo agreements were signed.

“You can all do a little research to learn how cooperation with Israel helped develop your society in many fields, before much of that cooperation was ended by your leaders.

“Palestinian Arabs were granted a state by the United Nations in 1947. The decision not to accept it was their right. A state was also granted to the Jews in what was then Palestine. It was a crime of the Palestinians to attack it, together with surrounding Arab states, in an effort to wipe Israel off the map.

“Some of your leaders have told you that in 1948 a naqba took place, similar to the Holocaust. That is a lie. European Jews did not attack the Germans who murdered them. Palestinians were among the failed aggressors in 1948. They had to bear the consequences of their acts. The Israelis were willing to live in peace with you.

“Some Palestinians and their foreign allies are now promoting the false notion that Israel is conducting a genocidal war against your people. Yet we see that the Palestinian population has kept on growing in recent years. In fact, Israeli doctors help save Palestinian lives.

“I doubt whether the Palestinian-Israeli struggle would make the list of the fifty bloodiest conflicts since the Second World War. In Syria in the past two years, approximately 70,000 people have been murdered by what are often called their “Arab brethren.” The tens of thousands killed during the “Arab Spring” in Libya, have almost been forgotten.

“You may believe I am not trying to accommodate you. As said, I already attempted to accommodate the Islamic world in Cairo, to little avail. What I am telling you may actually do the Palestinian people more good than any superficial charming.

“In 1967, after Israel conquered the territories west of the river Jordan, your leaders went along with the three ‘No’s’ of the Khartoum Arab summit. These were: ‘No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel.’ I have asked my staff to investigate whether there exists a people that could have received a state by making peace yet refused to do so. They haven’t come up with any so far.

“Before Israel, Jordan’s government ruled over the West Bank. It wasn’t recognized by the United Nations, or by almost anyone else. Yet no one ever spoke about territories being ‘occupied by the Jordanians.’ So why should one speak about ‘Israeli occupation’ today? Are there two types of international law? Can any one of you explain why Jordan is not a Palestinian state? The majority of its population is of Palestinian descent.

“One of my predecessors, Jimmy Carter, stressed how ‘democratic’ the Palestinian elections of 2006 were. The Hamas movement won 74 out of 132 seats – an absolute majority. Hamas promotes the mass murder of Israelis and Jews in its platform. You should also investigate how Hamas dealt with Fatah’s leadership when they took control of the Gaza Strip. In the meantime, the Palestinian Authority glorifies the murderers of Jewish men, women, children and babies.

“During this visit, rockets were launched at Israel from Hamas-controlled territory in Gaza. It may be true that you make peace with your enemies – but not with people like Hamas who promote genocide. Why make ‘peace’ with people who see it as an intermediate stage toward mass murder? Do you believe that voting for Hamas, glorifying murderers and shooting rockets promotes Israeli confidence in the value of signing agreements with Palestinian representatives? Do you think the Palestinian Authority’s preconditions for resuming negotiations with Israel are helpful?

“The Palestinians west of the Jordan river are one of the world’s few peoples desiring their own state who could attain it soon. If you want a better future, create a party that promotes real peace with Israel. Start pressuring your leaders to accept what the Israelis are proposing. Then you can help build a second Palestinian state in addition to Jordan. Afterward, make sure your state lives in peace with all of its neighbors.

“All this is far more important for your future than anything else.”

About the Author: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is a board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (2000-2012). He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.


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